I 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.Oh, 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.Enter 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!
- 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!
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.Y’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!Like I said, they’re the Oatmeal Raisin Cookies of my dreams. (And maybe now your dreams, too.)
Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
makes about 2 dozen
1 1/2 cups raisins
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.