Friday, December 18, 2009
Oatmeal Raisin Cranberry Cookies
Last week, as I was gearing up for my holiday baking, I asked my husband which Christmas cookies he'd like me to bake for him. I was expecting him to choose gingerbread cookies (which he eats by the plateful whenever they are available) or sugar cookies (which fit with his love of simple, plain flavors). Instead he replied, "oatmeal cookies."
According to food lore, oatmeal cookies are descended from traditional Scottish bannock cakes - an (unsweetened, usually) oat biscuit. My husband has Scottish blood on both sides, so maybe that's why he has an abiding love of oatmeal raisin cookies.
They might not be the first cookie that you (or I) think of on the Christmas cookie platter, but a sweet and chewy oatmeal cookie definitely fits well with other delicious holiday treats. And the oatmeal cookie lovers among your family and friends will be so glad to see them!
- I pulled out a recipe that I'd begun working on over a year ago. The last time I'd baked the cookies, we'd loved the flavor, but they needed a slight adjustment to the leavening. I was happy to have an excuse to return to the recipe and see if I could "get it right" this time around. Scroll down to the end of this post to find the recipe.
- I came up with this recipe by comparing three different “ultimate” oatmeal cookie recipes. That's why I call them "The Best of the Best." The recipe is closest to that found in Baking Illustrated, by the editors of Cook’s Illustrated Magazine.
- In a nod to the season, I used a combination of raisins and dried cranberries in the cookies this time.
- I used 3/8 cup wheat germ and 1/8 cup ground almonds. I'm pretty sure it would work if you used any combination of ground nuts, ground flaxmeal, wheat germ, or any whole grain flour, as long as there was 1/2 cup total.
- If you have a dark cookie pan reduce your oven temperature to around 330. Bake the cookies for 20 or so minutes, until the edges are golden and the centers are set and a little dry looking on top. If you like your cookies chewy, aim to underbake them by a minute or so.
- I baked half of the batch of dough. With the other half, I formed the dough into balls and froze them unbaked. When the oatmeal cookie mood hits next time, I'll have the cookies all ready to pop in the oven.
The Best of the Best Oatmeal Cookies
1 cup flour (4.5 oz)
3/8 cup toasted wheat germ
1/8 cup ground nuts
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla
16 T (2 sticks, ½ lb) butter, softened
¾ cup (5 oz) light brown sugar
¾ cup (5oz) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
3 cups old fashioned oats (not quick oats)
1 ½ cups raisins, cranberries, or chopped dried tart cherries, or a combination thereof
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment or baking mats
2. Stir flour, baking soda, baking powder, nutmeg and salt in medium bowl.
3. With electric mixer cream butter for 1 minute, then add 2 sugars and beat until fluffy, 3-5 minutes.
4. Add eggs, one at a time, and vanilla, beating to incorporate.
5. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture, mix on low
6. Stir in oats and dried fruit
7. Drop cookies in 2-inch balls onto prepared cookie sheets, spacing generously.
8. Bake until edges turn golden, and tops are set, around 20-22 minutes.
makes about 2 dozen cookies