Cookie Quest, The Final Chapter
When I last talked of oatmeal cookies, I mentioned how I disliked the soda flavor that seemed to be prominent in most oatmeal cookie recipes. Well, I did manage to find a recipe with no baking soda and it is a recipe I have made many times before, with varying results. It’s the Oatmeal Raisin cookie recipe from Baking Illustrated by the Cook’s Illustrated people. I remember way back, many moons ago, when I first made the recipe that I thought they were fantastic, but the past couple of times I made them, They have been much less than fantastic. They were dry and kinda hard. But, there was no baking soda in sight, just a little baking powder.
So, I decided to take matters into my own hands and figure out an oatmeal raisin cookie recipe that I could love. Several (almost a dozen) batches later, here is the result.
There are a couple of things that make this recipe different from others. Firstly, it calls for both baking soda and baking powder. The soda helps to keep the cookie soft, but there isn’t so much that it is a prominent flavor.
Secondly, one of the things I liked about the cookies I made awhile back with my leftover rummy fruit mix was the orange flavor that came through from the candied orange peel. So, I decided to throw in a little orange marmalade to bring in that citrus flavor. Why marmalade and not candied peel? Well, I am all out of candied peel right now, that’s why! Plus, it is easier to obtain than good quality candied peel. Actually, I have never seen good candied peel for sale in the store. I have always made it myself. Try to find marmalade that has a lot of peel in it, not just a few bits floating around in gel. You’ll get more texture and orange flavor.
One thing I tried and left out of the final recipe was soaking the fruit in some rum or grand marnier. I liked how the fruit was moist, but it was throwing off the moisture balance of the cookie. Still, if you have dried fruit that is drier than usual, more like jerky than softly dried, you may want to macerate the fruit in 1/2-1 tablespoon of hot water or booze for at least 15 minutes. Just be sure to cool and pat the fruit dry before adding it to the batter.
These cookies are good with any combo of fruit, nuts, and chocolate. The version pictured here has raisins and a cup of chocolate chips thrown in. During holiday time, I would probably use cranberries and white chocolate. Whatever you decide to put in it, they will be tasty–crispy on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside, with bursts of orange and chocolate flavor.
They are just right for the cookie jar.
Orange Oatmeal Cookies with Fruit
Makes about 4 dozen 3 inch cookies. If you don’t want to bake the full batch of cookies at once, form the dough balls onto a baking sheet and freeze them. When they are frozen, take them off the pan and put into a plastic bag to store in the freezer. This way you can bake as many or little as you need.
215g or 2 sticks (8oz) unsalted butter at room temperature
150g or 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
150g or 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
85g or 1/4 cup orange marmalade
106g or 2 large eggs
10g or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
215g or 1 1/2 (7.5oz) cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
185g or 2 cups old fashioned oatmeal (do not use the instant kind)
195g or 1 1/4 cups raisins or dried cranberries or other fruit
180g or 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (325 if using a convection oven). Line your baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Combine butter with sugars in a mixer bowl and cream on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the marmalade and vanilla extract. Then, add the eggs, one at a time and mix at medium low until fully combined. You may need to scrape the bowl once or twice.
3. Whisk together the dry ingredients (not the mix-ins) together in a medium bowl. With the mixer running on low, add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until almost fully combined. A few streaks of flour are ok.
4. Add the oatmeal, fruit, and chocolate and mix on low until just combined. Give the dough a few stirs by hand at the end to ensure all the batter is smoothly mixed.
5. Using a medium sized cookie scoop or a large tablespoon, scoop the dough onto the baking sheets at least 2 inches apart. Flatten the dough balls slightly with your fingers. Bake 12-15 minutes or until the cookies are golden brown and no longer look wet in the center. Cool on pan for at least 5 minutes before removing to a rack.
The cookies will keep in an airtight container for several days, but they will lose their crispness after the first day.