Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Oatmeal Raisin CookiesI have baked with oats a fair amount over the last few years. Granola, baked oatmeal, gluten-free vegan chocolate chip cookies, graham crackers, oatmeal creme pies, jam squares—I’ve made them all, but the most iconic oat dessert of all, the Oatmeal Raisin Cookie, has eluded me.Oatmeal Raisin CookiesOh, I’ve tried. Of course I have. But, prior to this, every oatmeal cookie that has come out of my kitchen has been disappointingly flat in both appearance and flavor, and I’ve had a bit of a complex about it. I mean, is it so wrong to want a thick, chewy cinnamon-scented cookie with toasty oats and raisins with actual flavor and texture???

Well, no. No, it is not.Oatmeal Raisin CookiesEnter my dream Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, the results of years of boredom and frustration and some concentrated testing. They take a little longer to prepare than your average oatmeal cookie, but that’s because you’re adding big flavor and texture you just can’t get otherwise.

  • I toast my oats because toasted oats have an incredible nutty flavor and crispness that regular oats do not. The process takes all of five minutes and makes a huge difference in the final product. Oatmeal cookies should have big oat flavor!
  • Nothing is worse than a tough, waxy raisin in an otherwise great cookie. I like to ensure that my cookies will be studded with plump, flavorful raisins by giving them a quick soak in boiling water. This step is hands-off, but makes the final cookies extra chewy and delicious and has the added benefit of keeping them from drying out after a day or two.
  • Most oatmeal cookie recipes call for creamed softened butter to aerate the dough, but melted butter generally produces chewier results. We want chewy cookies, do we not?! You could just use plain melted butter here, but I like to take it a step further—brown butter, y’all. That depth of flavor cannot be matched!Oatmeal Raisin CookiesOatmeal Raisin Cookies
  • This dough is sweetened with only dark brown sugar for both flavor and texture. The molasses in brown sugar helps these cookies stay soft and chewy for days.
  • I swapped some of the usual baking soda for baking powder, which is 4x weaker. Using equal volumes of both leaveners means that we get results that spread out less and puff up more.
  • I chill this cookie dough (and most of my others) because cold dough spreads less in the oven. We want thick cookies, not flat ones!Oatmeal Raisin CookiesOatmeal Raisin Cookies

The cold dough is scooped and rolled in two-tablespoon increments before being baked for 11-13 minutes, or until they look just slightly underdone. They’ll finish cooking as they cool, and the centers will stay soft and chewy.Oatmeal Raisin CookiesY’all! Are those not the most delicious-looking Oatmeal Raisin Cookies you’ve ever seen? Because those are the most delicious-looking Oatmeal Raisin Cookie I’ve ever seen. The best I’ve ever eaten, too–thick, rich and chewy with big hits of molasses and cinnamon, and all those toasty, buttery oats and raisins, of course!Oatmeal Raisin CookiesLike I said, they’re the Oatmeal Raisin Cookies of my dreams. (And maybe now your dreams, too.)Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
makes about 2 dozen

1 1/2 cups raisins
water
3 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 1/3 cups dark brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Plump the raisins. Place raisins in a small saucepan and cover with water. Heat over medium-high heat until it simmers, then remove from heat and set aside.

Toast the oats. Heat a large dry skillet over medium heat. Add oats and toast, stirring constantly, for 5-7 minutes or until fragrant with some darker pieces. Remove to a bowl. Set aside.

Brown the butter. Place butter in a light-colored saucepan over medium heat. Let butter melt. Butter will bubble and crackle as the water content evaporates. Swirl the pan frequently for 5-7 minutes, keeping an eye on the color. When the solids are turning brown and the butter is nutty and fragrant, remove the pot from the heat and immediately pour the brown butter into a large mixing bowl. Let cool a few minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

Whisk dark brown sugar into brown butter. Add eggs one at a time, whisking to combine, followed by vanilla. Mix in flour mixture. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold in toasted oats, followed by raisins. Cover cookie dough with plastic wrap and chill at least 2 hours or up to 3 days.

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.

Scoop dough in 2 tablespoon increments and roll into balls. Set at least 2 inches apart on prepared pans. Bake 11-13 minutes, rotating pans top-to-bottom and back-to-front at the 6 minute mark.

Let cookies cool on their pans for 7-10 minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely. Repeat dough rolling and baking until all dough is used.

Cookies may be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.Oatmeal Raisin CookiesOatmeal Raisin CookiesOatmeal Raisin Cookies

Advertisements

No-Churn Rice Krispies Treats Ice Cream

No-Churn Rice Krispies Treats Ice CreamCan you believe it’s Labor Day Weekend? I am stunned at how quickly this summer has gone by! It was a really great one for me: my entire immediate family visited over the course of three months and I got to go to my beloved Swan’s Island. The best.No-Churn Rice Krispies Treats Ice CreamOne of my favorite memories from the last few months is my parents’ last-minute trip to NYC. Long story short: in late June, I was telling my mom about how much I loved The Ferryman and how I wished she could see it before it closed in couple of weeks…and six hours later, she and my dad had booked flights and a hotel, we’d been offered a front row seat to the East River fireworks display, and we had tickets to both The Ferryman (the day before it closed!) and Come From Away! My family are not terribly spontaneous people, so this was pretty wild.No-Churn Rice Krispies Treats Ice CreamThe whole visit was a ball, and even though we were all exhausted by the last night, we decided to go for one last good meal. And so it was that I loaded my parents into a car and we took the short ride down to Red Hook for some harbor views (my favorite), lobster rolls (my mom’s favorite), and ice cream (my dad’s favorite). Red Hook’s got something for everyone.No-Churn Rice Krispies Treats Ice CreamThis recipe is based off the scoop of Rice Krispies Treats-centric Snap Mallow Pop! that I had that night at the Red Hook location of Ample Hills. Like the ice cream that inspired it, this one’s got a marshmallow base and is studded with Rice Krispies Treats. Unlike the original though, this recipe can be made at home without an ice cream machine—one of the few pieces of kitchen equipment I don’t have—instead relying on a four-ingredient no-churn base.No-Churn Rice Krispies Treats Ice CreamNo-Churn Rice Krispies Treats Ice CreamMaking a no-churn ice cream base is simple. At its most basic, it’s just folding whipped cream (for creaminess, heft and scoopability) into sweetened condensed milk (for sweetness and to prevent ice crystals from forming). I always throw in a little vanilla, and this time I added a cup of marshmallow fluff for big marshmallow flavor!No-Churn Rice Krispies Treats Ice CreamNo-Churn Rice Krispies Treats Ice CreamAs far as the Rice Krispies Treats go, you can make whichever version of that recipe you like (if you go with the original recipe on the back of the box, I’d cut it in half). I tend to go rogue and keep mine to a 1:1:1 formula: 1 tablespoon butter, 1 cup mini marshmallows, 1 cup Rice Krispies cereal. Except in this case I double it, so 2:2:2…?No-Churn Rice Krispies Treats Ice CreamNo-Churn Rice Krispies Treats Ice CreamNo-Churn Rice Krispies Treats Ice CreamOnce they’re made and cooled, pinch/pull the treats into small pieces. Those will get layered with the marshmallow ice cream base and then frozen.No-Churn Rice Krispies Treats Ice CreamAnd scooped. And eaten in a cup.No-Churn Rice Krispies Treats Ice CreamOr a cone. Or maybe both. It’s the last weekend of summer. Get wild. Eat ice cream twice.No-Churn Rice Krispies Treats Ice Cream

No-Churn Rice Krispies Treats Ice Cream
makes about 8 cups

Rice Krispies Treats:
2 tablespoons unsalted or salted butter
2 cups mini marshmallows
pinch of salt (optional)
2 cups Rice Krispies cereal

Marshmallow Ice Cream Base:
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup marshmallow fluff
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 pint (2 cups) heavy cream, very cold

Make Rice Krispies Treats. Grease a rimmed pan (I used a quarter sheet pan). Line with parchment and grease again. Set aside.

Heat a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Add butter and swirl to melt. Add mini marshmallows and salt and stir constantly until melted. Remove pan from heat and stir in Rice Krispies cereal.

Transfer cereal to prepared pan. Use greased implements or hands (be careful—the mixture is hot!) to press the mixture into an even layer. Let cool for about 30 minutes.

Use lightly greased hands to pull Rice Krispies Treats into small pieces. Set aside.

Make marshmallow ice cream base. In a large mixing bowl, stir together sweetened condensed milk, marshmallow fluff, and vanilla extract. Set aside.

In a separate large bowl, use an electric mixer (or a whisk) to whip heavy cream to stiff peaks. Fold whipped cream into sweetened condensed milk mixture just until combined.

Transfer 1/3 of the ice cream base to a 9×5-inch loaf pan or other freezer-friendly 8-cup vessel. Top with about 1/3 of the Rice Krispies Treats pieces. Repeat layering process two more times so that you have 3 layers each of the ice cream base and rice Krispies Treats pieces.

Cover with plastic wrap and aluminum foil before freezing for a minimum of 6 hours. Scoop and serve as desired. Leftovers should be kept covered in the freezer.No-Churn Rice Krispies Treats Ice CreamNo-Churn Rice Krispies Treats Ice CreamNo-Churn Rice Krispies Treats Ice Cream

Pineapple Kolaches

Pineapple KolachesThe end of summer always seems to be a time when I lose my recipe muse, albeit briefly. It’s disconcerting and annoying, but temporary, and understandable, I think.

I’m getting tired of berries. I’ve done everything I’m going to do with stone fruit. I’m eating figs on toast, but can’t seem to rustle up any fresh ideas for them. My head is filled with recipes for pumpkin, apples and pears, but I won’t be posting any of them until after September 20th (wrote ‘em all down—Thanksgiving is gonna be goooood this year, y’all).Pineapple KolachesTimes like this are why I have my ever-growing list of blog inspiration. I wrote down “pineapple kolaches maybe?” after I made pineapple-centric sweet rolls and Rosh Hashanah challah last year, knowing I would be glad to see those words weeks, months or years later.Pineapple KolachesAnd I am, thank goodness. I think we can all agree that the unofficial last week of summer deserves some quality baked goods.Pineapple KolachesMake no mistake: these Pineapple Kolaches are quality.

This take on the Czech pastry favorite is made with a pineapple juice-spiked version of my favorite kolache dough and a tart, gingery pineapple filling. YUM.Pineapple KolachesPineapple KolachesPineapple KolachesPineapple KolachesKolaches are surprisingly simple to make—I think they’re less intensive than your average cinnamon rolls. The dough and filling are both made the night before baking. The next day, the kolaches are assembled, proofed, sprinkled with posypka (crumble) and baked until ever-so-slightly golden. It sounds like a lot, but the total “active” work time is probably 60-75 minutes and the payoff is 🍍🍍🍍🙌💗🎉‼️Pineapple KolachesThere’s little that beats a soft, fresh from the oven, butter-brushed pastry with jammy pineapple filling.Pineapple KolachesI won’t be diving into any pools this holiday weekend, but I really want to dive into that well of filling. Don’t you?!Pineapple Kolaches

Pineapple Kolaches
makes about 18 pastries

Pineapple Filling:
1 20 ounce can crushed pineapple in juice
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
juice of 1/2 lime

Dough:
1/2 cup (1 stick) + 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1/2 cup unsweetened pineapple juice (reserved from filling)
2/3 cup full-fat sour cream
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon lime zest (from 1 medium lime)
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2 large eggs, room temperature

Posypka (Crumble):
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
pinch of ground cinnamon
pinch of ground ginger
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

The night before you want to eat kolaches, make the pineapple filling. Set a colander over a bowl and pour in crushed pineapple. Press out 1/2 cup of juice and set that aside for the dough.

Combine remaining crushed pineapple in juice, sugar, cornstarch, ground ginger, salt and lime juice in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes, or until juices are clear and mixture thickens slightly. Cool for a few minutes. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate overnight.

Make the dough. Cut 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter into 8 pieces.Combine butter, whole milk, and sour cream in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Melt together, stirring occasionally, until mixture is warm to the touch (about 115F). Pour into a large mixing bowl and stir in sugar. Sprinkle yeast over the top and allow to prove for 5 minutes. Mixture will have just a few small bubbles. If bubbles do not form, your yeast is dead. Discard mixture and start the dough from the beginning with fresh yeast.

Add 1 cup of the flour, the lime zest, and salt to the wet ingredients. Fold together. Fold in beaten eggs, followed by 2 1/4 more cups of flour. Dough will be very soft and a bit sticky.

Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead 5 minutes before forming into a ball. Dough will be very soft and sticky—use a bench scraper for easiest kneading. Grease a mixing bowl with oil. Place dough ball in the bowl, being sure to grease it on all sides. Press plastic wrap to the surface of the dough. Refrigerate overnight, about 8-12 hours.

In the morning, line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment. Remove dough from refrigerator and discard plastic wrap. Into two pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough until it’s 1/2-inch thick. Use a 2 1/2-inch round cutter to cut kolaches, rerolling as necessary. Place 3 inches apart on prepared pans.

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Brush on the tops of cut kolache dough. Flour the back of a tablespoon and press it into the center of one kolache to make a well. Immediately fill with a heaping 1/2 tablespoon (1 1/2 teaspoons) of pineapple filling. Flour the tablespoon again and repeat process with all remaining kolaches on the baking pan. Repeat process with remaining baking sheet.

Loosely cover with plastic wrap (or greased foil) and allow to rise in a warm, draft-free place for 30 minutes, or until puffy.

Make the posypka (crumble). Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Stir with a fork until crumbly.

Position oven racks near the center. Preheat the oven to 350F.

Remove plastic wrap from one baking sheet of dough. Top each kolache with a big pinch of posypka. Bake kolaches uncovered for 18-20 minutes, rotating pans front to back at the 10 minute mark. They will be barely-golden when they are done. Brush baked kolaches with 1 tablespoon melted butter.

Let kolaches cool slightly on the pans. Serve warm.

Kolaches are best the day they are made, but may be refrigerated for a couple of days. Warm before serving.Pineapple KolachesPineapple KolachesPineapple Kolaches

Mango Granita

Mango GranitaI first came across a granita recipe in the summer of 2009 and thought “That looks easy and delicious. I’m going to make that.” And then ten years passed.

But I did make granita, and it was/is easy and delicious, and now I’m here to tell you to do the same. Maybe skip the ten years of procrastination though.Mango GranitaMango GranitaIf you are wondering what the heck I’m talking about, granita is a semi-frozen Sicilian dessert–basically a classy snow cone. The texture is fluffy and snowy, but instead of being ice flavored with brightly-colored syrup, it’s made from real fruit with very limited added sugar, and you don’t need a special machine to make it.Mango GranitaTo make this Mango Granita, you’ll need:

  • a few pounds of fresh mango. You could probably use thawed frozen if that’s all you can find.
  • lime juice for brightness. Lime and mango are great together.
  • the tiniest amount of sugar to round things out. Yes, ripe mango is already very sweet, but cold temperatures mean that flavor doesn’t always shine through the way it does at room temperature. I like to add two tablespoons of sugar to the entire recipe. That small amount makes a big difference!
  • a pinch of salt for balance. You can leave this out if you want to, but salt is rarely a bad idea.
  • a blender (or food processor), a dish, a fork, and time.

Mango GranitaMango GranitaThe process is simple. Blitz all the ingredients in a blender until smooth, then pour the purée into a large dish and put it in the freezer for an hour.Mango GranitaWhen that time is up, remove the dish from the freezer. Starting at the outer edge, use a fork to drag the frozen purée into the looser center. This will begin the process of making fluffy, snowy ice crystals. At first, you may feel like you’re dragging a fork through soup, but an hour later, it’ll be a different story.Mango GranitaAnd then, thirty more minutes will go by and crystals will really begin to form! The grainy texture is the “gran-” in granita.Mango GranitaYou’ll know it’s ready when it looks like this:Mango GranitaMango GranitaMango GranitaMango Granita is as delicious as it is beautiful—light and refreshing and perfect for these sweltering last few weeks of summer! The texture is somewhere between a snow cone and a sorbet. Where you might think this would be icy, it’s super smooth and surprisingly creamy. This is the sort of dessert that is great for any occasion from watching Netflix in your PJs to a cookout to a dinner party. It’s vegan, nut-free, low calorie and low sugar–a wonderful option for a crowd!Mango GranitaMango GranitaBefore I get to the recipe, here are a few more tips for granita success:

  • use the largest dish you can. The shallower the layer of purée, the faster it will freeze.
  • you can use any fruit you like! I love mango, but peaches, melon or berries would be magnificent here!
  • make granita on a day you’ll be spending a lot of time at home. This recipe is low maintenance, but the ice crystals need to be scraped every hour at first and then every half-hour. Give ‘em one final scrape before serving.
  • for the love of everything, don’t wait ten years to make this. Ideally, you should make Mango Granita as soon as possible. Like tomorrow.

Have a great weekend, y’all!Mango Granita

Mango Granita
makes about a quart

3 large ripe mangoes (about 3 pounds), pits & skin removed, sliced
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt

Combine mango, lime juice, sugar and salt in a high-powered blender and blitz until smooth. Pour into a large shallow dish (I used a 9×13-inch casserole). Freeze for 60 minutes.

Remove cold mixture from freezer. Starting at the outer edge, use a fork to scrape/drag the icier edges of the mixture into the center of the dish. Mixture will still be quite loose. Return dish to the freezer for 45-60 minutes before repeating scraping. Continue to scrape every 30 minutes for the next 1-2 hours, or until the texture is fluffy and snow-like.

Freeze until ready to serve. Give one last scrape before serving in small bowls.

Leftover granita will keep in the freezer for about a week. Scrape before serving.Mango GranitaMango GranitaMango Granita

Plum Cobbler

Plum CobblerI have been asked many times over the last several summers for my favorite cobbler recipe. Every time, I have referred these inquiries elsewhere—usually to Deb—because the truth is that…I don’t like cobbler. It sounds so baby-ish to say it that way, that I just don’t like an entire category of food regardless of flavor or nuance or anything else. But I just don’t like it.

Or, as you may have gathered from the title of today’s recipe, I just didn’t like it.Plum CobblerBut that was before I started a blog and spent time trying to bake with all types of seasonal produce, even stone fruit, which I previously thought should never be warmed. Pre-2015 Liz would never, ever have eaten Plum Cake or Peach Tart and definitely would have passed on Peach Pie, and she would have looked on in horror as 2019 Liz ate apricot jam on an English muffin while in Maine a few weeks ago. But the truth is that having this blog has brought me around to all these things and more, and that’s how we got to this momentous day, on which I have prepared, eaten and enjoyed a cobbler.

*bows awkwardly*

*and metaphorically*

Um, sorry. Got a little carried away there.Plum CobblerIn retrospect, I’m not sure why I ever turned my nose up at this particular category of dessert—I mean, what could be bad about fluffy biscuits baked over seasonal fruit and served with ice cream?! Too many textures, maybe? I don’t know. Perhaps I’ll figure it out one day. For now, I know that I’m a cobbler convert, thanks in no small part to the glut of fabulous plums at my local green market and a drive to bake even when my un-air-conditioned kitchen is already 85 degrees.Plum CobblerTrust me, though. This Plum Cobbler is worth heating up the house. It may very well make a believer of even the staunchest of the anti-cooked-stone-fruit contingent.Plum CobblerThe filling is made of sliced fresh plums (I used a mix of red and black), sugar, lemon juice and ground ginger for depth, and a touch of cornstarch. It’s piled into a baking dish and dotted with butter.Plum CobblerPlum CobblerNext up is the topping, which is simply my Cream Biscuit recipe with an additional tablespoon of sugar. Instead of rolling and cutting the biscuit dough as I usually would, I prefer to scoop the dough in small increments and then flatten them with my hands.Plum CobblerPlum CobblerThe flattened pieces are then arranged in a cobblestone pattern—this is where the name cobbler comes from. After brushing the dough with cream and sprinkling on some coarse sugar, everything is baked for 45 minutes, or until the biscuits are golden and the filling is bubbling.Plum CobblerPlum CobblerMaybe my favorite thing about cobbler (and crisps and crumbles) is that it’s best hot from the oven. I like to let mine cool ten minutes, just until the filling stops bubbling, before spooning it into shallow bowls and finishing it off with vanilla ice cream.Plum CobblerPlum Cobbler is tart and sweet and a bit on the syrupy side, the perfect contrast to the fluffy biscuit topping. And that’s to say nothing of the outstanding vibrant color of the filling or the way slow-melting ice cream rounds out this bowl of late summer goodness. It’s damn near impossible to resist.Plum Cobbler

Plum Cobbler
makes one 9×13-inch dish, about 12-16 servings

Plum Filling:
4 pounds plums (about 10-12 plums; I used a mix of red & black)
1/2-2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons cornstarch
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces

Cream Biscuit Topping:
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2 cups (1 pint) cold heavy cream + more for brushing
1 tablespoon coarse sugar (optional)

For serving:
vanilla ice cream

Place an oven rack in the center position. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9×13-inch casserole dish. Set aside.

Use a large sharp chef’s knife to pit and slice plums into wedges (I got about 12 wedges per plum). Place plum pieces in a large mixing bowl. Fold in sugar, ground ginger, cornstarch, salt, and lemon juice. Transfer filling to prepared baking dish and dot with butter.

Make the cream biscuit topping. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Pour in heavy cream and fold into a sticky dough.

Scoop biscuit dough in ~2 tablespoon increments, flatten them with you hands, and arrange them in a cobblestone pattern over the filling. Brush the biscuit topping with more cream and sprinkle with coarse sugar, if using. Bake cobbler 45-50 minutes, or until golden on top with bubbling filling.

Let cobbler cool 5-10 minutes before serving with vanilla ice cream. Cobbler is best the day it’s made, but leftovers may be tightly covered and kept at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 4. Reheat before serving.Plum CobblerPlum CobblerPlum Cobbler