Sunday, July 05, 2009

The Perfect Oatmeal Raisin Cookie

I realize it has been far too long since I have made these classic cookies, and I am further made aware of that fact by these old photos which were taken in our old house on 101 street long before we made our move back to St. Albert.  

All I can say about these delectable treats is that their flavor and texture drum up nostalgia that harkens back to the days when helping grandma bake extended no further than licking the mixing bowl and ensuring that the entire kitchen was coated in a light dusting of flour...

Before you make these, please make sure that you are ready to enjoy a delicately spiced cookie flecked with juicy raisins and chalk full of healthy and toothsome oatmeal... I warn you, these cookies will elicit fond memories of family get-togethers, rainy day bake-a-thons and the good ol' days when a fake stomach ache was good enough for mom to keep you home from school... don't say I didn't warn you!

To the pantry!  Here is what you will need...

1/2 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon all-spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup raisins

Do you have all these things? If not, sadly, you are out of luck, although I am sure a helpful neighbor would be happy to pony up a cup of sugar or even an egg all in an effort to support the creation of these fine cookies.  If you are feeling adventurous, throw in a half cup of chopped walnuts for an extra crunch!

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter, the brown sugar, the egg and the vanilla until smooth.  In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, all-spice and salt.  Stir the dry ingredients into the butter/sugar mixture.  Stir in the oats, raisins and, if you are feeling a but nutty, the walnuts too!

At this point you can chill the dough before you scoop it, or scoop it directly onto parchment lined baking sheets and then chill the whole tray.  Chilling the dough before you bake the cookies keeps the dough from spreading out to thinly on the pan which would yield a thin, crispy cookie instead of a thick and chewy oatmeal cookie.  This essentially is the fork in the road... for those of you in love with the chewy cookie, chill your dough first.  If you are a crispy cookie fan like my mother, don't bother with the chilling.  To achieve a relatively uniform shape, I use a medium ice-cream scoop to form the cookies which allows me to fill the cookie sheets fast while keeping my hands clean!

Place the cookies about two inches apart on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake the cookies for 10 - 12 minutes.  Adjust the bake time according to how chilled the dough was before baking and also the temperature of your oven.  I like to take these out of the oven once the edges are golden brown and the tops are still a little undercooked.  Let the cookies sit about 5 minutes on the hot cookie sheet before transferring the cookies to a rack to cool fully.  Even if you pull the cookies out before they are fully baked, the residual heat from the baking sheet will finish them off!  

Enjoy these with a tall, cool glass of milk or, if you're like me, a cup of hot earl gray...  
... they won't last long!

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