Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

I don’t like to play favorites, but I think cookies are the best sweet treat. A wide variety of textures, flavors, and styles, mean that cookies can satisfy so many different tastes. They’re also quick to put together, easily assembled from your standard pantry ingredients, and flexible. I’ve been working my way through Alice Medrich’s Chewy, Gooey, Crispy, Crunchy, Melt-In-Your-Mouth Cookies recently; see the Peanut Butter Cookies I made a few months ago. Teaching high school students gives me a lot of opportunity to test recipes, and my family is also willing to evaluate any treats that happen to appear in the kitchen. So far, everything has gone over superbly; the Salted Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies are becoming my signature recipe.

The most amazing thing about Medrich’s book is how perfectly every recipe turns out. Medrich is fastidious about her books, each recipe tested extensively, and the specificity of ingredients unparalleled. I’ve never been a huge fan of oatmeal raisin cookies. They seemed kind of pedestrian, nothing spectacular. But, somehow Medrich manages to elevate even the simplest of cookies. Melted butter and sugar creates a caramelized edge, pairing perfectly with cinnamon, chewy oatmeal, and plump raisins. Great texture and great flavor have now made these cookies among my favorites.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

2 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup water
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup non dairy butter
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
3 tablespoons water
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 cup raisins

In a small bowl, combine the oats and 1/4 cup water. Stir to combine, then set aside.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Whisk together thoroughly.

Blend the flaxseed and 3 tablespoons water until thick and frothy.

Add the butter to a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat until completely melted. Remove from heat, and add the brown sugar, granulated sugar, vanilla and salt. Whisk together thoroughly. Add the flaxseed mixture, and stir to combine. Add the flour mixture, and stir until just combined. Stir in the raisins, walnuts, and oats. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least two hours, preferably overnight.

Heat the oven to 350ºF. Scoop tablespoons of dough onto cookie sheets, and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, rotating the pans from top to bottom, and front to back halfway through. Remove from the oven when the cookies are golden brown on the bottom, and transfer to a cooling rack.

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