We all know that fibre is good for us and oats is generally considered "healthy", or a health food, being touted commercially as nutritious. The discovery of the healthy cholesterol-lowering properties has led to wider appreciation of oats as part of our daily diet. Some of us may not like it eaten straight but if you were to put it into a cookie, no adult or kid could possibly resist such a delicious treat!
There are so, so many oatmeal cookie recipes out there that it's confusing which recipe is good. As my very first attempt in baking oatmeal cookies, I finally decided to try out this recipe from Joy of Baking. I've tried a few recipes from this site and so far they have not failed me yet.
This particular recipe produces a chewy cookie which you can also fill with chocolate chips (white or dark chocolate), dried fruits, and/or chopped nuts of any kind. The other best tip with this recipe is that you can make the batter ahead of time and leave it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. This means that that you can have freshly baked cookies whenever you feel like having one. You can also freeze it for up to one month and then thaw it before baking.
Most oatmeal recipes will call for rolled oats to be used in the baking process, either old fashion or quick-cooking, instant oats is a no-no! Old-fashioned rolled oats are thicker because to make quick-cooking rolled oats the oat groats are first cut into pieces before being steamed and flattened. It is used in this recipe to give you a thicker texture and better flavored cookie.
Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Recipe from Joy of Baking
(makes about 20 - 24 large cookies)
3/4 cup (170 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup (215 grams) light brown sugar (if you don't have a sweet tooth like I do, I would recommend reducing the sugar as I found the original recipe of 1 cup somewhat sweet especially if raisins are added)
1 large egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup (105 grams) all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
3 cups (260 grams) old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup dried raisins (you can use dried cranberries and add some chopped walnuts, pecans as well)
1) Preheat oven to 177 C or 350 F.
2) If you are adding nuts (which I did not) you should toast the nuts for about 8-10 minutes until lightly browned and fragrant. Leave to cool and then chop into pieces. Set aside.
3) Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. (I've now discovered silicon paper which I find is so much easier to use as compared with parchment paper).
4) Cream the butter and sugar until creamy and smooth (about 2 - 3 minutes). Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat to combine. In a separate bowl, shift together the flour, baking soda, salt, and ground cinnamon. Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture and beat until incorporated. Stir in the oats and raisins (and nuts if you are including this into your recipe) .
5) I used an ice-cream scoop, about 3/4 full to scoop the batter onto the baking sheet (this will produce large cookies). Place each scoop about 2" apart on the baking sheet. Then wet your hand and flatten the cookies slightly with your fingers so they are about 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) thick. If you prefer smaller cookies, you can roll the batter into balls and then flatten each.
6) Bake the cookies for about 12 - 15 minutes, or until light golden brown around the edges but still soft and a little wet in the centers. (I baked mine slightly longer about 17 minutes as they were still soft around the edges. Don't worry if the cookies seem uncooked to you as they will harden once cooled. Note that this will produce a soft chewy cookie .... which is exactly what I like)
7) Remove from oven and let the cookies cool a few minutes on the baking sheet before transferring them to a wire rack to cool. Store in air-tight container once cooled. Best consumed within 2 - 3 days.