Iced Oatmeal Raisin Cookies and a Lesson in Cookie Texture

The oatmeal raisin cookie I use is no secret. I got it from the inside of the lid of my cardboard Quaker oats container. I’ve had this container for what seems like years and I just keep refilling it with organic rolled oats from the bulk bins. Perhaps I hang onto it for sentimental value–in first grade when we were learning about Thanksgiving we made tomtoms out of oatmeal containers and I thought that was so great.

For the record, this is not the same oatmeal container I used in first grade, though I’d be willing to bet the recipe printed inside hasn’t changed.

Iced Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (adapted from the Quaker Oats lid with Alton Brown‘s help; icing from Smitten Kitchen)
Yum Factor (out of 10): Alex 8, Jessalyn 7

(makes 24)

1. Preheat oven to 350F.

Wet Ingredients:
– 1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
– 1/2 cup brown sugar
– 1/4 cup white sugar
– 1 egg
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2. Cream together butter and sugars until light and fluffy.

3. Add egg and vanilla and mix to fully incorporate.

Dry Ingredients:
– 1/2 cup bread flour
– 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
– generous 1 teaspoon cinnamon
– scant 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
4. Sift dry ingredients together, whisking to combine. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients in two additions, mixing until combined.

The good stuff:
1 1/2 cups rolled oats

– 1/2 cup raisins
5. Fold into the batter. Use a mini ice-cream scoop to place on parchment-lined baking sheet.

6. Bake for 11-12 minutes. Remove baking sheet and allow cookies to rest on the sheet for 1 minute before removing to a cooling rack.

The icing:
There’s no rule that says oatmeal raisin cookies have to be iced. Eat ’em plain for all I care. But if you are looking for a little extra snazz, try this.
– generous 1 cup powdered sugar
– 2 tablespoons milk (plus a tiny splash more if needed)
– 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
7. Whisk to combine and get out the sugar lumps. Texture will be pretty thick. Pour into a small ziploc bag and cut a tiny piece of one bottom corner off. Pipe the icing in a zigzag fashion over the cookies.

Now, the question is, how do you prefer your oatmeal cookies: soft and chewy or crisp and crunchy? This recipe was for soft and chewy, and according to Alton Brown, there are several modifications you can make to make this cookie’s (or any cookie’s) texture come out the way you prefer. Simply take your recipe and make any of the following adjustments:

For softer, chewier cookies:
– higher ratio of brown sugar to white sugar
– less baking soda
– shorter bake time
– addition of milk in place of an egg white

For thinner, crispier cookies:
– higher ratio of white sugar to brown sugar
– more baking soda
– slightly longer bake time

Granted, baking is a bit more scientific than just throwing a dash of this or a dash of that into a saucepot, but these modifications are tame enough that you should experience success if you would like to change your cookie’s texture. Class dismissed!

So, how do you like your cookies? Chewy or crunchy? Iced or plain? Does it depend on the variety of the cookie? Tell me more! Leave a comment.

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