February 26, 2013

The Great Oatmeal Debate

I've been working on this recipe for a year now, minor adjustments - adding raisins, removing raisins. Flip flopping between rolled and quick oats. It's been sort of a project. You see, people have strong convictions about their oatmeal cookies. I set out to interview a few cookie enthusiasts, and my results concluded that their convictions towards rolled oats were strong. Contrariwise, when the same group of people were asked to sample cookies made with quick oats, no one was the wiser. 

Initially, I too believed rolled oats provided a superior texture, but after some careful analysis, I released that in the end, I preferred a mix of the two - rolled and quick oats. Sure, the cookies made solely with quick oats looked a little prettier, more uniform, while the cookies made with rolled oats looked more rustic, like they were just out of grandma's oven. I found that when I added both quick and rolled oats, the texture was most desirable - a uniform consistency, chewy, with a few soft pieces of larger oats giving the mouth feel of being more rustic and hearty. I found that oatmeal cookies made with rolled oats, the oats never really felt cooked. They tasted a bit too chewy and fibery, and not in a good way. I guess it all boils down to personal preference. 

Essentially, rolled oats and quick oats are both made from whole oat grains minus the husk - which is called a groat. Rolled oats are steamed and then pressed whole, while quick oats are cracked into tiny pieces before they have been steamed and pressed, therefore they retain less texture than rolled oats but cook quicker. Rolled oats are often also called old-fashioned oats. Oats are an excellent addition to cookies, because they increase the protein, fibre and nutrient context, change the texture to become a bit more chewy, and impart a nutty flavor. This is how I justify eating cookies for breakfast. You're welcome. 

Before you begin this recipe, it is important to gather up your ingredients and ensure that they are at room temperature. When the eggs, butter, and milk are at room temperature, they will more easily bond together and form an emulsion that helps trap air, than if they are cold. During baking, the air will expand producing a light, airy, and evenly baked cookie. 

You now want to add the butter, sugars, and spices to a stand mixer bowl, while adding the sifted  flour, baking soda, and oats to a separate bowl. Measure out the raisins and chocolate chips, and have the eggs and vanilla close by. Begin to the cream the butter, sugar and spices on low speed until it becomes a spread - not light and fluffy, which is what we normally think of when creaming. If you continue to cream the mixture until it's light and fluffy, too much air will be incorporated into the cookies and they will spread too far when baking.

Add the eggs and vanilla and combine. Next, add the dry ingredients to the wet and combine until just moistened. Do not over mix, or you will start to develop the gluten which is undesirable in cookies making them too tough. The baking soda starts to work immediately once liquid has been added, therefore you should work quickly by shaping and placing the cookies into the oven as quickly as possible. Once in the oven, it is important to keep and eye on them. You want them to become light brown in color, yet still soft. Do not over bake, or they will turn out too crispy, unless that is your style. I like to use a combination of dark chocolate and soft fresh raisins. Feel free to omit the raisins, because throughout the years I have learned that not as many people adore them as much as I do. 

makes 18 cookies 

1 1/4 cup all purpose flour, sifted
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup quick oats

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup raisins

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Grease a cookie sheet and set to the side.

Soak the raisins in hot water for 15 minutes, and then drain and pat dry.

In a bowl, sift the flour and baking soda. Mix in the oats. Set to the side.

Place the butter, brown and white sugar, salt, and cinnamon in the bowl of a stand mixer. With the paddle attachment, cream the ingredients at low speed into it becomes a smooth paste. Add the eggs and vanilla, and blend on low speed until combined. Add the flour mixture to dough, and mix until just combined. Do not over mix. Add the chocolate chips and raisins.

Place 18 heaping 2 tbsp scoops of dough onto the baking sheet, each 2 inches apart. Place the baking sheet into the oven and bake for 12 minutes, or until golden brown.

Once the cookies are done, remove them from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling. Store in an airtight container for up to a week.


  1. Oh I love love love that first picture, so much! I love how much work you put into perfecting this recipe. I absolutely must try it now.

  2. These look delicious. I recently tried grinding the oats a bit in a food processor myself. I liked it.
    Oh, and GORGEOUS photographs!

  3. This post is awesome! I definitely did not know those things about oats before reading this--very cool. I love oatmeal cookies. I typically use porage oats, which are definitely much finer than rolled oats, and I do love the texture that results. However, I find that they lack a bit of the rusticity and heartiness of rolled--the oats get a bit lost with everything else. I will definitely have to try a combination next time, as these look perfect!

  4. Too funny, "This is how I justify eating cookies for breakfast". I love it.
    So, I would have thought for sure the old fashioned oats would be best, 100%, but a mixture of the two sounds wonderful, the best of both worlds! Thanks for sharing, these sound and look awesome.

  5. I love a good oatmeal chocolate chip or oatmeal raisin cookie, but for some reason, it never occurred to me to mix the two together! These cookies look delicious, and your photographs are beautiful. I'm definitely bookmarking this recipe for a rainy day!

  6. There definitely is a science to making the perfect oatmeal cookie. If these cookies taste even half as good as they look, I'm certain they will be perfection in oatmeal cookie form. :)

  7. You are completely right about mixing the different oats! I first discovered how good quick oats could be when I didn't have enough money in my bag to buy the rolled oats I'd always gone for - now I have no shame in using either (or both!) I can't wait to test them out in this recipe.

  8. This look incredible. I would eat a whole batch right this second if I had a plate of them in front of me. Yum! I've been looking for a perfect oatmeal cookie recipe. Cannot wait to try this!

  9. A perfect oatmeal cookie is a thing to behold, both in the eye, and the mouth. These look amazing.

  10. Funny that I have been reading your blog for ages but somehow missed your Victoria connection (that is where I live!) Now I love your blog even more- always my go to when I need inspiration! Thanks for being soooo awesome!

  11. They look absolutely perfect and lovely!

  12. this was so in depth and awesome, i love it!

  13. That first photo is stunning! Love it, and love the time you spent honing the recipe! :)

  14. I love that you worked in quick cook, and old fashioned, and choc chips and raisins, and brown & white sugar. Something to please everyone. Pinned!

  15. I've always gone back and forth on the rolled oats vs quick oats point without any resolution. Love the chocolate chips AND raisins in your recipe...can't wait to try it!

  16. Hi! I made these and they turned out wonderful! Thank you for posting.

  17. This is FANTASTIC! Thank you for the detailed steps and reasoning behind everything - I love to cook but I always shy away from "baking". These instructions might help me rescue a few of my failed recipes. Cheers!

  18. These look fantastic! I don´t have strong feelings about oatmeal cookies, other that than I love them! But regarding type of oats, I have no preferences, because I´ve never really made oatmeal cookies! That ends now - I´m making these as they seem to fit my description of a perfect oatmeal cookie - with raisins, of course!