oatmeal cookies with chocolate chips and cranberries

Oatmeal chocolate chip (or cranberry-raisin) cookies

15 December 2010

This is my family’s favorite cookie – soft, chewy, crisp around the edges and rich with either chocolate chips or dried cranberries and golden raisins. It also packs in three cups of oatmeal (six servings!). Take that, Toll House.

I never make chocolate chip cookies without oatmeal, because I like the taste and because I like the health benefits. I’m a big fan of my morning oatmeal, and if I can end the day with oatmeal disguised as a cookie, all the better.

I don’t often encounter a cookie I find entirely satisfying. When it comes to cookies, I’m a huge butter snob. There are certain baked goods – chocolate cake for example, or gingerbread cake – in which oil is actually preferable. I know margarine has its fans out there, but I am not one of them. This is why I rarely buy cookies – either they’re made with some nasty hydrogenated oil, or they cost $3 a cookie. And you know chinese grandmas don’t pay $3 a cookie.

Even home-baked cookies are often disappointing. I have made more flat chocolate chip cookies than I care to recall. Sure they taste good (butter, remember?) – but I’m not going for flat and crunchy, especially not with chocolate chip cookies. I concluded some years back that chilling cookie dough is a key to puffier cookies, but that requires a level of planning ahead I have rarely been able to achieve.

In recent years I’d modified a recipe for oatmeal cherry cookies from Sheila Lukins’s U.S.A. Cookbook, but I didn’t bring that cookbook to Ohio (though I was just able to look it up on Google Books, a ridiculously useful resource). So I developed this recipe, which was in part inspired by Savory Sweet Life’s “Best Chocolate Chip Recipe EVER!” and in part inspired by “Chewy Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies” recipe from allrecipes.com.

My eager in-house testers love this recipe. Last time I made it, 18 cookies disappeared before my second batch was out of the oven. I make small cookies, not like the $3 variety – but still. At least they collectively got a serving and a half of oatmeal in that feeding frenzy.

You can make this recipe with regular or quick cook rolled oats, or you can chop your oatmeal in a processor for a more subtle texture. I first made these cookies with McCann’s quick cook oats (by the way a great rolled-oat oatmeal for those who don’t have time for steel-cut), which are a bit chopped up compared to regular rolled oats. Here are McCann’s quick cook oats in the bowl and old fashioned rolled oats in the measuring cup.

I was reminded of that urban legend Neiman Marcus cookie recipe, which calls for oatmeal blended into a powder. That would work well here too, if you really want to disguise your oatmeal. But I like something in between. Here go my rolled oats into a mini processor.

A few pulses until coarsely chopped, similar to the McCann’s quick cook. Set aside.

Cream butter and sugars in a large bowl. Room temperature butter in the winter is still kind of hard, so this is an arm workout. At this moment I have stand mixer envy.

Add eggs (arm relief). And vanilla. Beat well.

Dry ingredients in separate bowl. Baking powder as well as soda in this recipe gives it extra lift. Mix with fork or whisk.

Add in batches to butter-sugar-egg mixture, mixing fully each time.

Add oats; mix.

My kids always request two versions: oatmeal chocolate chip and oatmeal cranberry (or raisin). I may have overestimated the chocolate chips here.

This time I made a cranberry-golden raisin version, thinking of my dried fruit cream scones.

I like to use a medium cookie scoop for measuring out the cookie dough. A full scoop makes a medium cookie, but I like to make small cookies using half a scoop.

Ready for oven. I am lazy and bake two sheets at a time on racks near the center of the oven. I use convection bake and swap the trays around once during baking to even things out.

Watch carefully toward the end of cooking time and pull them out when the edges are just starting to brown.

The cranberry-golden raisin version was my kids’ favorite this time around. But you can’t really go wrong. Store in airtight container to keep them soft and chewy.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip (or Cranberry-Raisin) Cookies
My family loves these soft, chewy cookies with crisp edges. Oatmeal adds some health to this variation on the classic Toll House. The cranberry-raisin variation is devoured even more quickly in our house than the chocolate chip.

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) butter, softened at room temperature
  • 1 1/3 c brown sugar
  • 1/3 c granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (coarse salt is nice)
  • 3 cups oats (regular or quick cook)
  • 2 1/4 c chocolate chips OR 1 1/2 cups dried cranberries and 3/4 cup golden raisins OR 2 1/4 cups of any combination you like

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  3. If desired, chop oatmeal in food processor to desired texture. Whole rolled oats will give traditional oatmeal cookie appearance; roughly chopped oats will give a more subtle texture; finely blended oatmeal will give chewiness without an noticeable oatmeal appearance.
  4. In large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy.
  5. Add eggs and vanilla, mix well.
  6. Add flour mixture, 1/3 at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  7. Add oats, mix well.
  8. Add chocolate chips or dried fruit. Fold in.
  9. Drop by spoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheet using tablespoon or medium cookie scoop.
  10. Bake for 12 minutes, or until edges just start to brown. If baking two sheets at a time, switch racks halfway through for even baking.

Makes approximately 72 small cookies, or 42 medium cookies.

Here’s the link to a printable version: Oatmeal chocolate chip (or cranberry-raisin) cookie recipe for printing.

This work, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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