When it comes to homemade cookies, Americans usually fall into one of two camps: Chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin. Now, before going further, let me make clear that cookie persuasion does not in any way preclude one from enjoying the crumb of another. That is to say, despite one's undying love for a chocolate chip cookie at any hour of the day, every once in a while, a hankering for an oatmeal raisin surfaces and it must be satisfied. After all, it's important to experience life from a different angle and taste what another camp has to offer.
Recently, I dipped my toes into the oatmeal-raisin pool, and I must admit, the water was lovely. It all got started during my Saturday morning shop at Arlington Courthouse farm market. While paying for a loaf of country white from the stand at Atwater's, a Baltimore-based bakery-cafÃ©, I noticed bags of cookies for sale. I asked the nice woman who always bags my bread what was on offer and she spouted off at least five kinds, oatmeal raisin the last to be mentioned. The words were the music I wanted to hear.
And as it turned out, these cookies possessed all the right notes. Chewy, not soft. Raisin-y, slightly cinnamon-y, and just enough oat-butter ratio. The precious bag of jewels disappeared by the next day.
To my surprise, my hankering hung around, like a cat in a need of a scratch. I began to scour the cabinets for oats and pored through a few old reliable sources for recipe ideas. Many of them -- including Joy of Cooking, Nick Malgieri's "Cookies Unlimited" and the lid of the Quaker Oats container -- called for 2 sticks of butter, which sounded excessive. I wanted something offering a more of a happy medium.
I turned to my first cookbook, "The New Basics Cookbook," which I bought in 1989, the year after I graduated from college. Now stained and in need of new binding, this book got me through my early days as a home cook. On page 741, there was an adhesive arrow pointing to "Lacy Oatmeal Cookies." In spite of the archival reminder, I couldn't remember when I first made these.
As luck would have it, the recipe is more moderate, calling for 1 stick of butter and 1 egg. The results: decidedly chewy, with a nice crisp edge from the butter, plenty of raisins (maybe even a wee too much) and enough oats to feel hearty. Success!
In the course of my research, I learned that Nick Malgieri has tweaked his aformentioned butter-laden oatmeal raisin cookie recipe in a new cookbook, "Perfect Light Desserts: Fabulous Cakes, Cookies, Pies, and More Made with Real Butter, Sugar, Flour, and Eggs, All Under 300 Calories Per Generous Serving." (How's that for a title?) Applesauce is the magic ingredient, replacing much of the butter fat, but a little is retained for flavor. I'll report back when I try Malgieri's enlightened version.
To all chocolate chip members: Don't be mad at me; I promise equal treatment in a blog soon coming your way. For now, though, tell me, what is your cookie affiliation? Share in the comments area below, and if you've got a recipe to share, let's get busy!
Talk to me, today at noon, for the first of two live chats this week.
Lacy Oatmeal Cookies
Adapted from "The New Basics Cookbook" by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins
1 Â½ cups quick-cooking rolled oats
Â¾ cup all-purpose flour
Â½ teaspoon ground cinnamon (I used 1 teaspoon instead)
Â½ teaspoon baking soda
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
Â½ cup (packed) brown sugar
Â½ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Â½ cup dried currants (I used nearly 1 cup raisins instead)
Â¼ cup chopped walnuts (I omitted)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease baking sheets (I did so with cooking spray.)
Toss oats, flour, cinnamon and baking soda together in a bowl.
Cream butter and both sugars together in a mixing bowl until combined and a bit fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Slowly beat in dry ingredients. At some point, you may want to use a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to incorporate mixture. Add dried fruit and nuts, if using.
Drop batter by rounded teaspoonfuls, 2 inches apart, onto prepared baking sheets and bake until golden, 10 minutes. Leave cookies on baking sheets for 2 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool.
Yields about 3 dozen cookies.
Please email us to report offensive comments.
Posted by: Southern Maryland | November 14, 2006 11:47 AM
Posted by: Meg | November 14, 2006 11:52 AM
Posted by: 20010 | November 14, 2006 12:08 PM
Posted by: Sugar Cookie | November 14, 2006 12:19 PM
Posted by: Chapel Hill | November 14, 2006 12:22 PM
Posted by: Cindy in Phoenix | November 14, 2006 12:35 PM
Posted by: C is for Cookie, Is good Enough for me! | November 14, 2006 12:47 PM
Posted by: bigolpoofter | November 14, 2006 12:55 PM
Posted by: Carmen | November 14, 2006 1:49 PM
Posted by: Anne | November 14, 2006 2:06 PM
Posted by: linda | November 14, 2006 2:40 PM
Posted by: alexandria | November 14, 2006 2:53 PM
Posted by: jlr | November 14, 2006 2:55 PM
Posted by: butter nut | November 14, 2006 3:05 PM
Posted by: nicole | November 14, 2006 3:18 PM
Posted by: Elizabeth | November 14, 2006 3:28 PM
Posted by: Providence | November 14, 2006 3:55 PM
Posted by: DC | November 14, 2006 4:35 PM
Posted by: Anonymous | November 14, 2006 4:43 PM
Posted by: Carrie | November 14, 2006 4:59 PM
Posted by: college kid | November 14, 2006 5:22 PM
Posted by: Anonymous | November 14, 2006 6:34 PM
Posted by: Dirk | November 14, 2006 8:01 PM
Posted by: JS | November 14, 2006 9:02 PM
Posted by: mel | November 14, 2006 10:26 PM
Posted by: SEL | November 15, 2006 11:32 AM
Posted by: Lisa | November 15, 2006 5:36 PM
Posted by: oat-ilicious | November 15, 2006 6:19 PM
Posted by: Chris in Vienna | November 16, 2006 6:04 PM
Posted by: Chris in Vienna | November 16, 2006 6:09 PM
Posted by: NCC - Laurel | November 17, 2006 12:14 PM
Posted by: Kerry | November 20, 2006 2:40 AM
Posted by: Chris in Vienna | November 21, 2006 4:38 PM
Posted by: Anonymous | November 21, 2006 5:17 PM
The comments to this entry are closed.