a foodie's chronicles about the plated pleasures of life :)
what is it about oatmeal-raisin cookies that spells instant comfort? i can’t say – and i have spent a good 10 minutes writing and erasing words trying to convey my feelings. but then again, if you like oatmeal-raisin cookies, you probably don’t need me to convince you about why they are so enticing but apart from their crispy-chewy texture and subtle flavour, if there is one thing that often makes me pick oatmeal-raisin over a chocolate-chip cookie (make no mistake here – i LOVE my chocolate-chip cookie too), it is the feeling that the former is a wee bit healthier - it does contain rolled oats and raisins, which are good stuff. right? and i am not the only one who thinks that way. i happened to stumble upon a page that talks about the history of oatmeal cookies, and guess what? “The Oatmeal cookie was an attempt at making cookies a health food that ended in a delicious result.”
Oatmeal cookies descended from the oatmeal cakes of Scotland. No one really knows just when or who decided to play around with the oatcakes, but there was a major kitchen discovery sometime in the 19th century. Apparently, the very first known record of the Oatmeal Raisin Cookie recipe was found in the Boston Cooking-School Cook Book by Fannie Merritt Farmer in 1896. And - apart from the taste factor – one of the reasons the oatmeal-raisin cookie quickly grew in popularity was due to its being called a health food. Just for the record, i have tasted oatcakes before – and to quote a colleague of mine, it tastes like “slightly salty cardboard”. Aren’t you glad someone changed it around to make oatmeal-raisin cookies?
and like with all classic favourites, there are several recipes that claim to produce amazing results. the one i like best is from Cuisine Asia, where Pauline Dawn Loh has listed her Perfect Oatmeal Cookie. As she writes, ”It’s a little like the Holy Grail, that search for the perfect oatmeal cookie.” Wise words indeed – and best appreciated when you have taken the first bite from a freshly-baked batch! :) (and that’s how i celebrated the fact that this is my 50th post! yep, i have penned 50 posts – seems like a long time since i wrote my first post on Cinnamon Rolls! )
200g soft brown sugar
1 tin (approx 400 gms) condensed milk
600g all-purpose flour
200g rolled oats
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup raisins
1 cup chocolate chips (*Note: I used mini chocolate chips. This is especially for those who don’t like the cookie to have a strong chocolate taste)
1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
2 tsp Vanilla essence (*Note: this is my addition and is entirely optional)
Preheat the oven to 180 deg C. Grease your baking try or line it with parchment paper and set aside. Sift the flour and baking powder, then mix in the rest of the dry ingredients. Cream butter and sugar, then add the condensed milk and vanilla essence (if using) and beat until combined. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in batches and stir well to combine. Drop tablespoonfuls of cookie dough onto the baking sheet with about 2 cm of space around them to allow the cookies to spread. I used a butter knife to further flatten the cookies with ridges to make it bake faster. Bake for about 12 to 15 minutes, until the tops start to look light brown. Take out and cool completely on a wire rack – this is important as the cookie may be a bit soft immediately upon being taken out, but will harden once it cools. finally, hold a cookie in your hand, and then take a bite!