When it comes to cookies, it's hard to beat a warm, freshly baked batch featuring the dynamic duo of oats and raisins. Each sweet, lightly spiced bite of a chewy oatmeal cookie is like catching up with an old friend — a friend that you can eat.
The Identity of an Oatmeal Cookie
Oatmeal cookies are a timeless classic. They are one of the sweet treats many of us have been enjoying since childhood, eventually baking batches of our own. There are subtle variations from recipe to recipe, producing cookies with varying textures, levels of sweetness, and spice. For me, though, there are certain elements that are crucial for a really great oatmeal cookie.
The best oatmeal cookies, like the kind we're sharing here, are soft and chewy through the center with crispy edges. They're studded with plenty of old-fashioned whole rolled oats and plump, sweet raisins. Bite after bite, the flavor is a warm blend of nutty oats and brown sugar, with hints of cinnamon and vanilla.
And just as good as the taste is the sweet, spiced scent that wafts from the oven throughout the house as the cookies bake. Thanks to the cinnamon, these oatmeal cookies bring a scent that can beat even a batch of chocolate chip cookies.
Choosing the Oats
There's quite a selection when it comes to choosing oats. Steel-cut, whole oats, and quick oats all make a nice hearty breakfast each in their own way, but when it comes to cookies, there's one variety that reigns supreme: old-fashioned whole rolled oats are what you want to use. These flat, rounded discs hold their shape really well during baking and bring the desired "chew" to these chewy oatmeal cookies.
The Secret to Getting Even More Flavor out of the Oats
Before tossing the oats with the other dry ingredients, there's one extra step that makes a huge difference in flavor: toasting your oats! If you're already doing this, then you know what I'm talking about, and if you haven't tried it before, just wait until you do — it will change the way you make oatmeal cookies. Before starting on the dough, spread the oats across a large baking sheet and bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until the oats are golden-brown with a nutty, toasted aroma. This simple step makes a key difference between a good oatmeal cookie and the best oatmeal cookie. And don't you want the best?
How To Make Oatmeal Cookies
What You Need
3 1/2 cups old-fashioned whole oats, divided
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups raisins
Large baking sheet(s)
High-speed blender or food processor (optional)
Parchment paper or Silpat
Medium mixing bowl
Stand mixer with paddle attachment or hand mixer and large bowl
Wire cooling rack
- Preheat the oven to 350°F, and line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Toast the oats: Spread the oats in a single layer on a large baking sheet (use two, if necessary), and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring once halfway through. Remove the baking sheet from the oven, and cool until the oats are cool enough to handle.
- Process the oats: Add 1/2 cup of the toasted oats to a food processor, blender, or spice grinder, and process until the oats are finely ground.
- Combine the dry ingredients: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, whole and ground oats, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
- Cream the butter and sugars: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
- Add the eggs and vanilla: Mix in the eggs one at a time and beat thoroughly after each addition, scraping down the sides of the bowl if necessary. Beat in the vanilla.
- Mix in the dry ingredients: With the mixer on low, or by hand, gently mix in the dry ingredients until they are just combined and all the flour has been incorporated.
- Fold in the raisins: Fold the raisins into the dough so they're evenly distributed throughout.
- Scoop the dough onto the baking sheet: Drop rounded, heaping tablespoon-sized mounds of dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, spaced about 2 inches apart.
- Bake the cookies: Transfer the baking sheets to the oven. Bake 8 to 9 minutes for soft and chewy cookies, or 11 to 12 minutes for crispy cookies.
- Remove from the oven and cool: Remove the baking sheets from the oven. Cool the cookies for 1 to 2 minutes on the baking sheets, and then use a spatula to transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Cookies will last for about 5 days when stored in an airtight container.
- Cookie dough can be refrigerated for several days before baking, or frozen for several months.