Friday, December 5, 2008
Back to Basics
Most people fall into one of two camps. Chocolate or vanilla. When you were a kid and you got to have a milkshake at McDonald's, did you choose chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry? I remember wondering why on earth anyone would order anything but chocolate. I was probably 7 years old.
Times haven't changed much. While I never go to McDonald's (my kids don't even know what it is, but they do recognize the Starbucks logo - even the 22 month old says, "Coffee!"), I still always choose chocolate if it's an option. My husband would always choose vanilla and it looks like my older son is following in his footsteps. My baby will eat anything sweet at any time until we take it away from him.
In my view, oatmeal raisin cookies are the vanilla of the cookie world. My 7 year old self and my 38 year old self wonder why anyone would choose an oatmeal raisin cookie when you can have chocolate chip. But, as a personal chef, I realize that I am cooking for an audience. Not everyone has the same love affair with chocolate that I do. Plus Randy specifically requested oatmeal raisin cookies after he had a particularly bland one recently.
When making something iconic like a cookie, I typically look around and try to find a recipe that takes a classic and makes it more interesting. In the past I have made oatmeal raisin cookies that have 5 different spices in them but truthfully, they are a little much. They lose the simple and straightforward flavor and become something complicated. I figured I'd go back to basics with this one and see. Verdict? Delicious. Exactly what an oatmeal raisin cookie should taste like. A hint of cinnamon, a hint of caramel from the brown sugar, and pure sweetness from the raisins. The texture is great too, moist and chewy throughout. I would still pick chocolate chip, but this one is pretty good.
"Vanishing" Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Adapted from the top of the Quaker Oat container
Makes 2-3 dozen
2 sticks butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
3 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup raisins
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Beat together butter and sugars until creamy, about 4 minutes on medium speed.
3. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well.
4. Combine flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a mixing bowl. Add to butter mixture and mix until combined.
5. Stir in oats and raisins and mix well.
6. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto ungreased cookie sheet.
7. Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.
8. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheet; remove to wire rack.