Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Oatmeal Raisin Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Oatmeal Raisin Chocolate Chunk Cookies



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Fear Conquered: Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Oatmeal cookies always make me think of meeting Boyfriend Javelin for lunch at Subway. A few years ago when I was working at my last job, I would often meet him for lunch on Fridays at a Subway about half-way between our two work locations. It was about the healthiest fast food (gasp!) option available and it made for a convenient excuse to get oatmeal cookies with our combo meal.

At the time, I wasn't too happy with my job and having a reason (any reason) to meet Boyfriend Javelin for lunch felt like a mini vacation: I got to hear about his day and complain about mine, and I got to share lunch with someone besides the inside of my car (yes, it's embarrassing and sad, but I would eat lunch in my car just to escape from work). And just to make Friday lunch even better, there were always three cookies for the two of us to split. And so oatmeal raisin cookies became a symbol of mid-day Friday freedom.

I don't eat Subway much anymore, but I still get a craving for oatmeal cookies (which may be just a craving for more of those happy mid-day Friday moments). I could satisfy the craving by driving to Subway and ordering three (or 24!) oatmeal cookies, but that would be the equivalent of opening a can of tomatoes when you've got fresh ones waiting in the garden - it doesn't say "I care (about myself or someone else)" but instead says "I can't be bothered". Besides, who knows what goes into those Subway cookies: preservatives, high fructose corn syrup, transfats, who knows?


So now, being the food snob that I am, I spend a couple hours baking my own oatmeal raisin cookies. Since I'm investing the time to make them, I figure I should try to make big batches so there'll be plenty to refuel me after all my hard work. Plus it's nice to have some to share - because everyone should share happy mid-day Friday moments by splitting a cookie with someone.

Sometimes I feel like really simple oatmeal cookies (with just oats and raisins), but in the last batch I made I added chopped dark chocolate and almonds. Boyfriend Javelin and coworkers seemed to like the flavor fusion (does that sound pretentious?) so I'm posting that recipe with some minor tweaks (less almond extract and more raisins).

I've experimented with this recipe a lot and I feel it's reasonably reliable - the cookies turn out chewy on the inside and crunchy on the outside with an almost savory bite from the dark chocolate to balance the sweetness of the raisins. And you get the wholesome goodness of oats and almonds. Feel free to make your own changes, but I really think the flavor combination in these cookies is superb.



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Photo Tutorial

Chopping Raw Almonds
Chop 1/2 cup raw almonds (I use this handy nut chopper)

Toasting Almonds in Pan
Toast chopped almonds over medium-low heat until fragrant; set aside

Chopping Dark Chocolate
Roughly chop 3.5 oz good dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa content)

Creaming Butter and Sugar
Beat together butter and sugars on medium speed for 5 minutes until light and fluffy

Creamed Butter and Sugar
Butter/sugar is ready when it is lightened in color and fluffy

Oats and Wheat Germ
While butter creams, combine rolled oats with toasted wheat germ

Cinnamon Added to Flour
Sift in flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon

Dry Ingredients Combined
Mix together dry ingredients with your fingers

3 Large Eggs
Add 2 large eggs and 1 large egg yolk, one at a time, to the creamed butter and sugar

Beating In Extracts
Beat thoroughly between each addition of egg

Organic Maple Syrup
Add 2 Tablespoons maple syrup to mixing bowl

Extracts Added to Cookie Dough
Add salt, vanilla and almond extracts to mixer bowl

Beating In Extracts
Beat in maple syrup, vanilla, almond extract and salt

Adding Dry Ingredients
Add dry oat and flour mixture in 3 parts, scraping down bottom and sides of mixer bowl between each addition

1 1/2 Cups Raisins
Mix in 1 1/2 cups raisins

Dark Chocolate Chunks
Mix in chopped dark chocolate

Cookie Dough Ready for Scooping
Mix in chopped toasted almonds

Scooped Cookies on Lined Baking Sheet
Scoop 1-inch cookie balls onto lined baking sheets, leaving 2 inches between each cookie

Baked Cookies Cooling on Baking Sheets
Bake cookies for 12 minutes at 350F, rotating cookies halfway through bake time

Cooking Cookies Closeup
Cool cookies on baking sheet for 4 minutes before transferring to wire cooling racks



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Oatmeal Raisin Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Updated 7/24/2012: After revisiting these cookies for my mother's wedding, I realized I was no longer really following the original recipe and that I had discovered some simple changes to make the cookies easier to make and even more delicious to eat. So I've updated the recipe, added photos for clarity, and I have also updated capitalization in the original post to make it easier to read. For comparison, you can print the original recipe here.


    by Javelin Warrior
     Prep Time: 40 min
     Cook Time: 12 min per batch

Ingredients (yields 5 dozen cookies)
  • 1/2 cup chopped raw almonds, toasted
  • 1 cup (16 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, at cool room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3 1/2 ounces dark chocolate, roughly chopped (70% cocoa)
  • 1 1/2 cups raisins
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350℉ and line baking sheets with parchment paper
  2. In a medium sauté pan, toast the almonds over medium-low heat for 5-7 minutes until fragrant. Remove from heat and set aside
  3. In the bowl of a stand stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes
  4. While the butter and sugars are creaming, combine the oats and wheat germ in a large bowl, then sift in flour, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon. Mix together with clean hands
  5. On medium mixer speed, add the eggs and egg yolk, one at a time, to the creamed butter/sugar and beat until well combined. Add the salt, vanilla and almond extracts and maple syrup; beat together until well combined
  6. On the lowest mixer speed, add the combined dry ingredients to the mixer in 3 parts, stopping the mixer and scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl between each addition. Add the dark chocolate chunks, toasted almonds and raisins to the dough and mix until just combined
  7. Using a small ice cream scoop or teaspoon, scoop 1-inch balls of cookie dough and drop onto lined baking sheets, allowing 2 inches between each cookie
  8. Bake the cookies for 12 minutes until lightly browned, rotating the baking sheet halfway through the bake time; allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 4 minutes before transferring to cooling racks
  9. Store the cooled cookies in an airtight container or sealable plastic bags for 2 days - or freeze for up to a month
An original recipe by Javelin Warrior. © 2010 Javelin Warrior. All rights reserved.
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Hungry for Tips?
  • I know this recipe has a long list of ingredients, but they're all fairly simple ingredients and there's nothing particularly tricky about these cookies. So don't let the laundry list scare you off...
     
  • Toast your almonds, chop your chocolate, and measure out the raisins while creaming the butter with the sugars. You don't want to be fussing around with chopping chocolate and measuring things after you added the dry ingredients to the wet...

    Chopping Dark Chocolate
     
  • I used to make these cookies with super-soft butter (really, really mushy), but then I discovered a little secret - cookies actually turn out softer and chewier when the butter in a little firmer or at "cool" room temperature. For best results, your butter should be softened and malleable, but not so soft that it just squishes

    Untitled
     
  • Adding the dry ingredients to the wet in three parts (and stopping the mixer to scrape down the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl in between each addition) helps to prevent over-mixing which would toughen the cookies and break down the oats too much. It's a bit of a pain, but it's an important step
     
  • Always add the salt to the wet ingredients when making anything baked - this allows the salt to dissolve and evenly distribute throughout the batter. Unless you're going for uneven salt distribution...
     
  • Do NOT use semi-sweet chocolate chips - they're too sweet for this recipe when combined with the raisins. I recommend starting at 72% cocoa dark chocolate but you could go darker to a 85% cocoa if you prefer
     
  • These cookies are awesome for making ice cream cookie sandwiches. So, so good. They have a really robust flavor and texture that stands up perfectly to vanilla ice cream - and these cookies freeze perfectly without becoming so hard that they'll crack a tooth. So remember these cookies the next time you want to make an ice cream sandwich...

    Cookie with Scoop and Homemade Ice Cream
     
  • Bake time depends on how hot (or cool) your oven cooks and on how many cookies you’re baking at a time - so check the cookies early if you’re not familiar with the recipe. I used to bake these cookies for 14 minutes, but I've found that reducing the bake time resulted in a chewier cookie which I prefer


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4 comments:

  1. Can one buy toasted wheat germ, or do you have to buy wheat germ and toast it, and if so, what is the best way to do that?

    ReplyDelete
  2. typically most grocery stores (like giant eagle or walmart) sell toasted wheat germ in bottle form, generally near stuff like oats and cold cereal. and the bottled stuff i buy has 3 ingredients listed: wheat germ, vitamin e acetate, and folic acid.

    i've thought about buying untoasted wheat germ and toasting it myself, but haven't tried this yet. i would toast it the same way i toast oats: spread out evenly on a baking sheet and toast in a 375 degree oven for approx 8-10 minutes or until it begins to smell or taste "toasted".

    ReplyDelete
  3. Does the toasted wheat germ lend flavor to the cookie, or just health?

    ReplyDelete
  4. wheat germ does add a certain heartiness and wholesomeness to the cookie, but i also like it's flavor. but if you don't have it around, you can swap it out for another 1/2 cup of oats. i don't feel there's quite the depth of flavor w/o it, but that's just my take on it...

    ReplyDelete