Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Dough Must Go On

So this is why I'll never be thin: I must have something sweet in the house for emergency purposes. These are Oatmeal Cookies with Golden Raisins and Milk Chocolate Chips, adapted from Kate Zuckerman's The Sweet Life. I say adapted because there are all sorts of strange things I do to make cookies turn out. (See notes following recipe.)

Oatmeal Cookies with Golden Raisins and Milk Chocolate Chips
2 3/4 c. flour
2 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
1 c. unsalted butter, room temp
1 c. shortening
2 c. white sugar
2 c. brown sugar
4 extra lg. eggs plus 1 egg white
6 c. oatmeal (can be a combination of old fashioned and quick oats, but at least half, if not all, should be the old fashioned kind)
2 c. milk chocolate chips
2 c. golden raisins, roughly chopped

Sift or whisk flour, baking soda, and salt in bowl and set aside. In mixing bowl w/paddle attachment beat butter and shortening for at least 1 minute, until light colored and creamy. Add white sugar and beat on medium-high speed until fluffy and light colored, about 5 minutes. Add brown sugar and beat an additional 3 to 4 minutes. Remember to stop occasionally to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Turn to low speed and add the egges, one at a time, beating well after each addition, until the batter looks smooth and glossy, 1 to 2 minutes.

Add flour to butter mixture and mix on low speed until just combined. Take the bowl off the mixer and stir in the remaining ingredients (oats, chocolate chips, raisins) by hand using a wooden spoon or sturdy spatula.

Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 3 days.

When you're ready to bake, preheat oven to 325 degrees (you may need to adjust the temp to 350 if your first batch is taking too long to bake). Shape dough into balls and flatten slightly if you're feeling fancy. Otherwise, just drop cookies on parchment lined baking sheets. Bake 10-15 minutes, depending on oven temp. Cookies are done when they begin to turn light brown but still look slightly wet in the middle.

Remove from oven but leave cookies on tray for at least 10 minutes. (I usually work w/two trays so one batch is cooling on the trays while the other is in the oven.) The cookies should be crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside.

This recipe can also be halved, since this makes a crapload of cookies. If you don't feel like baking this many, just take the remaining chilled dough and shape into a log(s) on parchment or wax paper, wrap well and freeze. Note that the are the best eaten the day they are made, and will only keep 3-4 days in a covered container. After that they get tough, which is still okay if you're really desperate.

Things I often do to make cookies turn out:

1. Instead of all butter, I use half butter, half shortening. I find that you need the butter for good flavor, but too much butter makes the cookies spread. Shortening has a higher melting point and helps the cookies keep your shape. I also find that many recipes require a little more flour than called for. I don't know if this is an altitude thing, but I usually add an extra 1/4 c. to the average recipe.
2. Make sure your butter is room temperature. If it's on the cool side, you'll need to mix it longer. It's ready when it looks fluffy, not chunky.
3. Blend the butter and sugars really, really well. Again, it should look nice 'n fluffy.
4. Room temp eggs. I just take them out of the fridge and place them in a bowl of hot water to warm them up.
5. After the eggs have been added, I usually mix in by hand the dry ingredients. You don't want to overmix at this point because you'll have, well, one tough cookie.
6. Chop raisins or other dried fruit. I like chopping raisins because when they bake they get all "oozy" and make a nice, moist cookie. It's so much better than biting into a whole raisin.
7. Blend oatmeal. Sometimes when making oatmeal cookies I'll roughly chop about 1/3 of the oats in a food processor. I think this helps the texture of the cookie. Or maybe I'm just crazy.
8. Chill the dough. I usually do this whether the recipe calls for it or not. It makes the dough easier to handle and I think it also gives time for the flour to absorb all the moisture so the dough firms up well. I also think, although this is pure speculation, that the dough tastes better. When making bread, long mixing and raising times help flavor so I think this may be the same concept at work.
9. Don't grease your pans - just line your pans w/parchment paper. Go right now and get some at Orson Gygi's. Do it now!
10. Cool the cookies on the tray. Don't even try to move them or they'll fall apart. Okay, fine - eat one.


Missy&Jake said...

I'm with you on the Parchment paper...I seroiusly dont know how people live with out it....i use it at least once a week! Take cathys advice and go get some now!!!

Carrie said...

these cookies are seriously soooo good! thanks for the recipe, I need to try making them very soon.
I buy my parchment paper from Orson Gygi' comes in packs of 100 and it fits my cookie sheets perfectly. It has revolutionized baking!