I haven’t been consistently happy with my oatmeal cookie recipe for a while. Sometimes they turn out perfectly — fairly flat, chewy and moist in the middle, with crinkly, caramelized edges (not cakey or rounded) and a butterscotch-esque flavor. Other times, they don’t follow orders, staying too puffed, or becoming a little dry and less damply dense than I crave.
So I took the recipe, reduced the amount of flour and oats slightly, upped the butter considerably (even in an oatmeal cookie, I am not looking for healthy; it’s still a cookie), took out one egg, increased the salt and the vanilla, changed the sugar ratio a bit to favor the brown variety, and tried it again.
I also baked bigger cookies. Only when your cookies are at least 3 inches wide can you approach the nirvana that comes with a cookie that has different textures throughout: a ring of crispness around the edge, firm but with some give as you head in for the next bite, and, finally, soft but chewy in the middle.
I also took a page from my favorite chocolate chip (or chunk) cookie recipe, and let the dough rest for two days. You could skip this step, or you could leave the dough for as long as four days before baking. The resting time allows the dough to absorb all the extra liquid and develop a deeper, richer, more caramel-y flavor. That’s the difference between a merely great cookie and a truly memorable one (she said opinionatedly).
And, a tip for those trying this recipe: If you started with your dough at room temperature, start checking the cookies at 11 minutes. They tend to go from almost done to definitely done very quickly. The longer baking time is for dough that goes straight from the fridge into the oven. Room temperature seems to yield the most successful results in terms of texture and consistency. Having said that, the few that got a bit crispier were unbelievable crumbled over a bowl of vanilla ice cream.
I am happier now.
BIG BUTTERSCOTCHY OATMEAL COOKIES
Heat oven to 350 degrees (postpone this step if you plan to refrigerate your dough for a couple of days).
Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl.
In a separate bowl, blend butter and both sugars together with a mixer, until well blended. Beat in egg, then vanilla. Add flour mixture gradually, mixing on low speed until each batch is incorporated. Mix in oats and raisins.
Use a 1/4-cup measuring cup (or ice cream scoop) to measure out balls of dough, which should be placed on an ungreased cookie sheet with at least 3 inches between each ball (bake only six cookies per classic-size cookie sheet). Use your hand to flatten each ball.
Optional: Cover baking sheet with plastic wrap and refrigerate two days, or longer if you like. (The flattened disks of dough can be layered two deep in a container, with parchment or wax paper in between the layers, to save fridge space.)
Bake cookies 11 to 15 minutes until they are golden brown but still have nice give in the middle. Let them sit on the baking sheet for a minute before transferring them to a cooling rack. Makes 16 to 18 cookies.
Approximate nutritional information, per serving: 253 calories, 11 g total fat, 7 g saturated fat, 39 mg cholesterol, 188 mg sodium, 36 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 22 g sugar, 3 g protein.