August 27, 2012

Chewy Oatmeal, Carrot and Raisin Cookies

I am perpetually on a hunt for the ideal oatmeal cookie. Soft, chewy, full of raisins, crispy on the outside. My bookshelf is flooded with a collection of thick chewy cookie recipes, the ones that taste remarkably like a granola bar and less like a cookie. The oatmeal cookie is something that I find extremely challenging. Before this recipe, I had been experimenting with a few others. In one particular attempt, I tried to leave out the flour and add extra oats, eventually trying to produce a cookie that is less dense, thinner, and crispier. The butter must have been a tad too warm, because after 5 minutes in the oven, my cookies had melted into a pool of butter and sugar with some scattered bits of oats. Conversely, I tried a recipe in which I though would result in a soft, crisp, thin cookie, but instead my cookies turned out too thick and overly chewy, a small bite of regret.


In an attempt to rectify my situation, I turned to Deb Perelman from Smitten Kitchen. She has an extraordinary gift when it comes to recipe development. Never have I been let down by her carefully thought out recipes. I searched her site for oatmeal cookies, and sure enough, we were on the same quest. To find that perfect oatmeal cookie. She started with the recipe on the side of the Quaker oats tin, and modified it to her own tastes. I did the same, only modifying her modified recipe. 


For my version of Deb's cookies, I added 1/2 cup of grated carrots, a few more raisins, and flax seeds. Left out the walnuts, because quite frankly, I am a no-nuts in my cookie kinda girl. I used half white and half brown sugar and increased the amount by 1/3 cup, making them a tad bit sweeter. 


I was certain that these cookies would come out a bit thicker if the dough was chilled before baking, therefore baking them immediately while the butter is still at room temperature, will help them spread out onto the pan. Chilling the dough firms up the butter, resulting in a thicker cookie as it supports the structure.  If this is how you prefer your cookies, than I suggest the later. I baked them on the lower side, 10 minutes in our new oven. They would have likely taken longer in my previous one, so be careful when you bake. Oven temperatures vary widely, and what works for one, may not for another. Watching in anticipation, the cookies melted and spread. The corners of my mouth rose to form a small smile. The cookies edges started to brown, as I stared through the glass like a small child, barely containing my excitement. I was progressively getting more nervous as the timer moved closer 10, not knowing when to remove them from the oven, being a relatively new introduction to my life (this particular oven). I removed the cookies, let them cool, and then transferred to a wire rack. One bite, as I sunk my teeth into the soft chewy center, they tasted wonderful. If you are looking for something a bit healthier accompanied with a guilt-free eating enjoyment when you scarf down 3 in a row, this is the perfect recipe. I've been enjoying a few for breakfast in the morning with my cup of coffee. 


CHEWY RAISIN OATMEAL COOKIE RECIPE
makes 20 - 24 cookies
recipe inspired by Smitten Kitchen

notes: you can substitute dried cranberries and cherries for raisins, also the carrots can be substituted with shredded coconut. This recipe should make anywhere from 20 - 24 cookies. I like to make my cookies a bit bigger, so I usually end up with 18. Also, if you don't like the taste of flax seeds, they can be omitted. 

INGREDIENTS
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup grated carrot
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 cup raisins
2 tbsp flax seeds

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. 

Place the raisins in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Set to the side.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar. With the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars - approximately 2 - 3 minutes, on medium speed.

Add the egg, and mix until fully incorporated. At this point you will need to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Stir in the vanilla.

In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Add to the butter and egg mixture, and mix until just combined. 

Strain the water from the raisins, ensuring that you remove most of it. Add the carrots, rolled oats, raisins and flax seeds to the cookie dough and stir. Do not over-mix the dough, you still want to see crumbly bits of oats. If you over mix, the cookies will likely melt too fast on the tray when baking. If this happens, add a bit more oats to the dough and stir.

With a melon-baller, scoop each cookie and place it on an ungreased baking sheet 4 inches apart. Flatten each cookie slightly with a spoon. Place the baking sheet into the oven on the middle rack and bake for 10 - 12 minutes. Baking time will vary depending on the oven. After 8 minutes start to watch the cookies. Once the edges have started to brown and the middle looks like it has started to firmed slightly (should not appear soft and wet in the center), remove from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack. Cookies can be stored in the fridge or the freezer. 


9 comments:

  1. I've never added carrots to oatmeal raisin cookies! It's almost like an oatmeal raisin/carrot cake cookie. YUM!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have a ton of flax seeds that I need to use up, so I may try this recipe...I posted what I thought was the ultimate oatmeal raisin cookie a few months ago, but it never hurts to find another!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have a few in my recipe collection already, and I am always keen for more as well.

      Delete
  3. These look great, Heather. I bet they have a very wholesome taste. I'll confess to despising raisins though - think I could sub chocolate?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Funny, My husband doesn't like raisins too much, but I caught him sneaking into the stash.

      Delete
  4. Just made these, they turned out tasty but very crumbly!

    ReplyDelete
  5. How much maple syrup would be a good substitute for a less sweet version? I love carrot/ raisin cake sweetened with maple.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In baking, you usually replace 1 cup of white sugar with 3/4 cup of maple syrup and reduce the wet ingredients by 3 tbsp for every cup of maple syrup. I would start off by using 1/3 cup + 2 tsp of maple syrup. If the cookies turn out too wet, then you will need to adjust the wet ingredients by a tbsp or so. Good luck!

      Delete