Tuesday 8 July 2014

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

We all have foods that say "comfort" to us.  For some it's tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. For others it's pasta.  A friend of mine makes soft boiled eggs and toast soldiers when she's feeling sad.  

When he's looking for comfort food, my fella wants oatmeal raisin cookies. They speak to him of his mother's kitchen, of after school snacks, and of a warm seat by the wood stove on a rainy day.

Oatmeal raisin cookies do have a lot going for them:  a nice soft texture, given a little chew from the oatmeal, iron rich raisins, B-vitamins and protein from the oats, and the delicious aroma of old fashioned baking spices.  

I use the soft oatmeal cookie recipe from "The Fanny Farmer Baking Book" by Marion Cunningham, but without the nuts or the milk.  It's a simple cookie to make, and inexpensive too.  My guy loves 'em.

Here's the recipe.  You'll need:

  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup water reserved from soaking the raisins
  • 1-1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1-1/2 cups oatmeal (not instant)

Begin by soaking the raisins.  Put them in a heat proof cup or bowl and cover them with boiling water.  Soak them until the water cools to room temperature, then drain them, reserving 1/4 cup of the soaking water.

When the raisins are ready to go, make the cookie batter.

Cream the butter and sugar together.

Crack one egg into a cup or small bowl and beat it, then mix it into the butter and sugar mixture.  Do the same with the second egg, then mix in the vanilla and the water you reserved from soaking the raisins.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and allspice.  

Add the oats and stir them through the flour mixture with a fork.

Add the flour and oat mixture to the butter, sugar, and egg mixture. Stir until the ingredients are well combined.

Add in the raisins and stir them through the dough.

Drop spoonfuls of cookie dough onto parchment lined baking sheets, spacing the cookies about 2 inches apart.

Bake the cookies on the middle rack of a 350F oven for about 12 minutes, or until they're set and lightly browned on the bottom.

Transfer the cookies to a sheet of brown paper to cool.

I buy rolls of brown paper at the office supply store for just this purpose.  (You can find them in the mailing section.)  The paper absorbs any excess oil that may be on the bottom of the cookies, resulting in a nicer texture once they are cooled, and it's compostable.

Store the cooled cookies in an airtight container.  They freeze well but do pack them with wax paper between each layer to prevent them from sticking together when they thaw.