Thursday, July 7, 2011
Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies: One Cookie, Three Ways
Matt's heart may belong to Chocolate Chip Cookies, but I've always been partial to the wholesome, spiciness of a good, chewy Oatmeal Cookie. I can take or leave the raisin variety, but throw in some cranberries and you have the makings of one of my favorite cookies in the whole world. In fact, the only thing better is to add a few butterscotch chips!
When I was living in southern Arizona, I caught word of a magical little place called the Cookie Cabin, situated high above the cactus line, atop Tucson's Mt Lemmon. Located in the mountaintop community of Summerhaven, this little chalet-style eatery is famous for serving plate-sized cookies and thin crust pizzas. I'd been wanting to visit long before I heard that their most popular offering was a divinely rich and gooey oatmeal, coconut and butterscotch cookie, but when I learned that this confection was called the 'Rachel' cookie, I knew I was destined to make the trip!
I still remember every bite of that buttery treat, split three ways among friends (yes, they're that huge), and have often thought to try to recreate the recipe at home. Sadly, Matt isn't a great fan of oatmeal cookies and, since I can never bring myself to omit my cherished cranberries, recreating the 'Rachel' is still on my to-do list.
I don't often get to make oatmeal cookies, but my brother's recent birthday gave me the perfect excuse - he's just as fond of Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies as I am and, since he's now living in Japan and has no oven, I thought they'd be the perfect thing to send. My go-to recipe is the time-tested version from the Quaker Oats container which makes a lot of cookies. I spooned out a few dozen of the 'Classic' variety and was pleased to see that I still had dough left to play with. Unfortunately, I didn't have any butterscotch chips or coconut on hand, but I did have a few other tasty things (like Reeses Pieces and mini Oreos!)...and so this 'Three Ways' series was born. I'll start you off with the 'classic' version today, but come back for the other two, more decadent versions. I'm still a champion of the basic Cranberry Version, but if you're not usually an Oatmeal Cookie fan, these other recipes may just convert you!
Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies
adapted from the Quaker Oats 'Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies' recipe
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar (for a richer version, use only brown sugar)
2 eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups oatmeal (I prefer old-fashioned)
1 1/2 cups sweetened, dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 350 °F. Cream together butter and sugars until creamy and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla until well mixed. Gradually add combined flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Mix well. Stir in oats and cranberries by hand until combined. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes or until slightly browned. Allow to cool slightly on cookie sheet before transferring to a clean countertop or wire rack to cool completely. Makes about 4 dozen browned, oaty beauties.
A few notes: Matt finds it amusing that this is one of the few recipes I'll actually follow faithfully (well, sometimes I'll tweak the cinnamon or sugar a bit if I can't help myself) but in all my years of searching, I've never found one better. It's simple, straightforward and endlessly adaptable - and it makes some truly delicious cookies. This is a no fail recipe for which there aren't really any secrets or tricks. I do tend to underbake my cookies, in order to keep them chewy, but that's just personal preference. Also, the cookies in these pictures are baked with 100% whole wheat flour so if you follow the recipe as written, yours may be a little lighter in color and texture. As far as taste goes, I like both versions equally.
This post is linked at:
This Chick Cooks: These Chicks Cooked
33 Shades of Green: Tasty Tuesdays
Lady Behind the Curtain: Cast Party Wednesday
Two Maids a Milking: 2 Maids a Baking
Sweet as Sugar Cookies: Sweets for a Saturday