Sunday, June 8, 2014

School Bus Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

I never thought I'd be as much of an oatmeal raisin cookie fan as I am. As a kid, if the cookie didn't contain chocolate (or peanut butter), I didn't even bat an eye - the notable exception being my mom's killer shortbreads. As my palate matured, I became more open to oatmeal cookies in general, provided that they were chewy, toasty and their additions were moist. I've been on the hunt for a killer OR cookie recipe for years, and while each one I've made has merits, none of them will match the Dad's Cookies we would buy fresh from their bakery outlet store years ago. Ironically, the company now only sells crunchy cookies, so buying them is off the table!

School Bus Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

At least the dearth of good cookies in our vicinity has opened up the opportunity to experiment, and when I saw Donna Quan's (the Toronto District School Board Director) Oatmeal Cookies in the Toronto Star I knew they could be contenders. Heck, if the kids at school adore the recipe, I could definitely try them too! I took the original chewy, hearty cookies and made them even more school-friendly by using less sugar, cutting the cholesterol, boosting the whole grain content and adding a new layer of flavour with flavourful coconut oil. I also heeded the little bit of knowledge I've learned about making good oatmeal cookies and refrigerated the dough overnight, which let the oats and spelt flour fully hydrate and thus bake evenly. I was skeptical of the long bake time too, but it turned out to be a successful way of baking the drops through (and keeping them from falling apart) while maintaining their moisture.

All I know now is that these aren't 100% perfect, but they sure are close - and even with school ending (and Summer camp starting) soon, kids of all ages are going to need an afternoon snack!

School Bus Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Makes 35
½ cup non-hydrogenated shortening
6 tbsp (3 oz) butter
2 tbsp flavourful coconut oil
⅓ cup xylitol
⅓ cup brown sugar
2 egg whites
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup spelt flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp nutmeg
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup raisins, soaked in hot water and drained
  1. In a large bowl, beat together shortening, butter, coconut oil, xylitol and brown sugar until well combined.
  2. Beat in the egg whites and vanilla.
  3. Stir in the flour, baking soda, salt and nutmeg until combined.
  4. Fold in the oats and raisins.
  5. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour, preferably overnight.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  7. Roll tablespoons of dough into 1” balls and place 3” apart on parchment-lined baking sheets.
  8. Bake 20-25 minutes.
  9. Let cool on baking sheet 10 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
  10. Store in airtight container at room temperature up to one week or freeze up to one month.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 108.1
Total Fat: 6.2 g
Cholesterol: 6.9 mg
Sodium: 38.9 mg
Total Carbs: 12.1 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.1 g
Protein: 1.5 g