Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Which came first, the raisin, the oatmeal, or the whining?

Just gonna say right up front that if you hate raisins, use chocolate or butterscotch chips. Now you have no reason to complain, except that you just ruined this recipe if you use chocolate. Bleah...something about oatmeal, chocolate and spices is just wrongwrongwrong.

My neice just got married on New Year's Eve, and she wanted to have cookies and milk before midnight - her favorite is snickerdoodles, his is oatmeal raisin, and they thought chocolate chip would be a good third. I have a recipe I've used for years for oatmeal cookies, but have never been completely happy with it - it was too thick and not chewy enough. I found out years ago that allspice is the key to MY perfect oatmeal cookie - it doesn't taste right with any other spice or combo in my opinion...and since this is my blog, it's the ONLY opinion. Not to mention the chocolate chip's a damn oatmeal cookie, people! So I started looking for something new and fantastic, and did I ever say how much I LOVELOVELOVE the internet?? I swear I have found more fabulous recipes by just typing in the name along with the key words "best EVER"...sometimes they just ARE.

So using the word "chewy" as a cue, I came up with three new recipes, and tried each one. I found that cinnamon, as I already knew, makes a wimpy flavored cookie, molasses used in excess makes your oatmeal cookie a molasses cookie, and that soaking your raisins in the egg and vanilla makes them plumper and juicier....and that even a LOT of raisins is not enough if you really love oatmeal raisin. Funny thing - I don't like raisins in my oatmeal...go figure. Someday I want to make oatmeal cookies with would be fun to make gigantic ones on a pizza pan with a bunch of whole prunes in each one. I am so weird.

This came from Tasty Kitchen, a site that is within Pioneer Woman's website and consists of reader contributed recipes. I, of course, made changes....but mostly just the allspice thing - I also only had quick oats, and personally believe they make a less dry, more chewy cookie anyway. I think there are 2 key point to this recipe: 1. soak the raisins in the egg/vanilla 2. DO NOT overbake. That is a cardinal sin for cookies....unless you like to eat fruit studded hockey pucks. Following those rules, you should end up with an almost caramel-like flat cookie, studded with raisins, and that will bend without breaking when they are still fresh. They are shiny, brown and beautiful to behold, and have a wonderful warm flavor that the allspice and molasses impart without fighting each other or the oatmeal-raisiness of the cookie - perfect! Enjoy....

Heavenly Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

2 eggs
1 T. vanilla
1-1/2 C. raisins
1 C. butter
1 C. brown sugar
3/4 C. white sugar
2 T. molasses
1-1/2 C. flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1-1/4 tsp. allspice
3 C. quick oats

In a small bowl, beat eggs and vanilla together and stir in raisins. Let stand and soak for one hour.

Preheat oven to 350, line baking sheets with parchment paper (if you don't have it, just put cookies on ungreased pan - I just like using the paper).

Cream butter, sugars and molasses in mixer for 5 minutes. In separate bowl, combine flour, salt, soda and allspice and stir to blend. Add to creamed mixture and mix well, then add egg and raisin mixture and stir, then oatmeal and beat to combine.

I used my medium scoop for these, then cut them in half - that is 2 Tbsp. per cookie. A small cookie is 1 Tbsp, which would work fine for a small cookie, it's just up to you what size you want. I do know that a 2 T. cookie is 3 Weight Watchers points....but if you eat the middle and leave the outsides for your husband, he says they are no points because they're "crust". Don't crowd them on the cookie sheet, they will spread out a bit - I was able to get a dozen per jelly roll pan without too much "grow together". Bake one sheet at a time at 350 for 11-12 minutes - they will look slightly underdone in the center, but should have little tiny divots in the puffy part without looking doughy...kind of like the holes that appear in pancakes. Remove from oven and let stand 2 minutes (they WILL fall apart sooner if you did it right), remove to cooling rack

If you take one out and decide it isn't quite done enough, and you have another pan already in the oven, you can put it in under the other pan for a few takes a while to get back up to temp, so it will take another 4 or more minutes to cook what would have taken just one more minute if you just left them alone. But you can also just eat them that way too, they'll just be a little softer....really, how much RAW cookie dough did you eat anyway? Also, leaving them on the pan longer will help a little...that's why it's important to take perfectly cooked ones off in two minutes or less so they don't become overcooked.

And congratulations Tommy & Belle, you are possibly the cutest couple I have EVER seen - and what better way to start off your new life than milk and cookies in the new year? Weddings have become such productions, it's nice to see those little "down-home" touches...and no, I do NOT mean camo wedding garb, or pets as attendants...."class" is not spelled with a "K".

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