Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (That Don't Suck)

A perfectly chewy oatmeal raisin cookie (that doesn't suck) is a thing of beauty. Raisins soaked overnight, coupled with 24 hours in the fridge to let the grains hydrate and a stint in the freezer to help the cookies keep their shape all go into making each bite a treat.

Don't be scared off by the time commitment! Since these freeze really well, I like to make a double batch at a time and bake as needed. For an extra treat, try soaking the raisins in butterscotch schnapps!

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There are two kinds of people in this world - the kind who see an oatmeal cookie and groan, or the kind that see one and immediately want it. This gets even more divisive when the cookie has "bits" in it. I know I'm not the only one who eagerly bit into an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie and was immediately confronted with burnt, crunchy raisins! 

That said, oatmeal raisin cookies can and should be delicious - with the right treatment. I have a few oatmeal cookie lovers in my life, and since I'm putting together Christmas care packages I knew these would be one of the offerings I'd include. I settled on a tried and true recipe from Elise at Simply Recipes as my base, and (as I am want to do) made a few tweaks to suit the people I'd be giving the cookies to as well as what I had on hand.

Perfecting the bake on these was the difficult part - freshly made dough led to insane spread on the cookie sheet, burning on the edges while still remaining raw in the middle. Refrigerating it helped the spread a bit, but we still had the raw middle issue. Finally, I froze the scooped cookie dough, then baked it at a lower temperature for a bit longer.

That last step was magic - problem solved! The cookies still spread a little bit, but they don't burn, and while the centres still look gooey when they come out of the oven, once cooled they are perfectly baked. The results are chewy, sturdy enough to pack, and full of toasted oat flavour and pops of plump raisins. They're as good as the ones I remember from the cookie factory by my grandparents' house growing up, and a lot easier to obtain.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (That Don't Suck)

Serves 15
1 cup raisins (we use Thompson, but use your favourite)
2 cups water (or 1 cup water and 1 cup liquor of your choice: rum, brandy, butterscotch schnapps...)
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1 tbsp honey
2 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour (or more AP)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 baking soda
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  1. Combine the raisins and the water in a bowl. Cover and let stand 24 hours. Drain and reserve.
  2. In a bowl, cream shortening, butter, sugars, spices, honey, vanilla and egg until well blended and creamy.
  3. Add the flours, salt, baking soda and oats and mix well.
  4. Fold in the raisins.
  5. Cover and refrigerate overnight - at least 12 hours, preferably 24.
  6. Scoop heaping tablespoons of dough onto a baking sheet and freeze solid, about 6 hours.
  7. Heat the oven to 325F and line a baking sheet with parchment
  8. Spread the frozen dough balls out onto the sheet about 2" apart.
  9. Bake for 22-25 minutes. Cookies should be golden and "baked" looking on the edges but still look shiny in the middle.
  10. Remove from the oven and let cool completely on the sheet.

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