The Chewiest Cinnamon Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

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Cookies are my kryptonite. Now that I think about it, that’s probably why I don’t bake them very often. I can say “no” to cupcakes, brownies and virtually every other dessert, but if there’s a soft, chewy cookie anywhere in my vicinity, I’m done for. I’m not quite sure when it started, because when I was little I never really had much of a sweet tooth. Maybe all the exposure I had to Publix cookies growing up actually did stick with me (anyone from the south knows about Publix cookies – no explanation needed. And if you don’t, then, quite frankly, you haven’t lived.). Or maybe it was those amazing “Chef Raymond cookies” the chef in our sorority house made every Friday in undergrad (God I can still taste those things, and I STILL have yet to replicate the recipe. Sigh.). Whatever it was, it happened, and it really is a problem.

As I was putting this blog together and sorting through my recent baking projects, I realized that all I had really baked in the past couple months were cupcakes. Any cookie cravings I had gotten had apparently been remedied by the ever-present extras left over from meetings and events at my office (ugh). That being said, I decided the time was ripe for a batch of good, old fashioned cookies. Lately I’ve been on an oatmeal raisin kick, so oatmeal raisin it was.

Like I’ve mentioned before, if you’re going to take on a classic, you better do it right. Oatmeal raisin cookies are no exception. Since I will absolutely not tolerate a crunchy cookie (again – standards, people), I searched for a recipe that was certain to give me that thick and chewy texture. And since people count on oatmeal raisin cookies for their rich, hearty, spice-filled flavor, that was a “must” as well. And then of course there are the raisins. It definitely needed to be loaded with raisins.

I came across one recipe that stood out, primarily because it included whole-rolled oats, loads of cinnamon and brown sugar, and called for bread flour instead of all-purpose flour. I had never used bread flower, so I was intrigued. Turns out, bread flower is used to achieve a thicker, chewier end result than other flours. Its higher gluten (ie, protein) content allows the dough to stretch and rise, while providing the cookie more structure so it will stay thick with minimal spreading. A science lesson AND the promise of a chewy, hearty cookie? Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner.

Since I was making these on a weeknight and this recipe stressed the need for the dough to be chilled for at least 2 hours prior to baking, I ran home during my lunch hour to quickly throw the dough together (living so close to work has its perks!). I’ve read on multiple blogs that chilling the dough is essential for chewy cookies, so I didn’t want to mess around with that! I followed the directions to a “t,” including making sure to invest ample time into creaming the ingredients. The air incorporated into the batter during this process keeps the cookies thick during baking, which you of course want. I ended up using a full 2 teaspoons of cinnamon in this batch, but actually will probably add nutmeg and ground cloves next time to create some more depth in the flavor. These were divine with just the cinnamon though, so the spices are totally up to you. I sealed the dough in an airtight container and chilled it for 6 hours before baking.

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When I got home from work, I pre-heated the oven, lined my cookie sheets with parchment paper, and used a cookie scoop to form balls of dough measuring about 2 heaping tablespoons each, as instructed. I put 8 balls of dough, 2 inches apart, on each cookie sheet and placed them in the oven. I didn’t flatten the dough at all before baking, but, in hindsight, I probably could’ve. They turned out perfectly fine, but they did stay very dome-shaped while baking, and didn’t spread at all until the very end. I baked each batch for 11 minutes, but this may depend on your oven, so just watch closely so you don’t overbake! You know my feelings on crunchy cookies, so just don’t go there.

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These are probably some of the best oatmeal raisin cookies I’ve had in a long time. As promised, they came out so thick and chewy, and were really bursting with cinnamon flavor. They even stayed soft after being stored in tupperware for a few days! That, my friends, is how cookies should be.

Talking about these things in such detail has now officially made me want one. Good thing I saved a couple before I brought them into the office, because my mouth is literally watering right now. I’m going to go raid my stash, and you should go make a batch ASAP. Aaand…break.

The Chewiest Cinnamon Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

From Averie Cooks 

INGREDIENTS:

1 large egg, room temperature
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups whole rolled old-fashioned oats (not the quick cook kind!)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, or to taste (you can also sub/add other spices if desired)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt, optional and to taste
3/4 cup plus 2 T bread flour (or, 1 cup minus 2 T)
1 cup raisins

DIRECTIONS:

1. Add the butter, egg, brown sugar, and vanilla to a large bowl and beat on medium-high speed for 4-5 minutes, creaming ingredients until very light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the oats, cinnamon, baking soda, salt (if desired). Beat for about 1 minute to incorporate. Add the bread flour and beat for about 30 seconds, only until just incorporated. Add the raisins and beat momentarily to incorporate.

2. Transfer mixture to an airtight container (or cover mixing bowl with plastic wrap) and refrigerate dough for at least two hours, or for up to 5 days. Again, don’t skip this step! Baking these cookies with dough that has not been properly chilled will result in unwanted spreading.

3. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray. Use a medium-sized, two-inch cookie scoop to form dough mounds, approximately 2 heaping tablespoons each. Place dough on cookie sheet, with mounds spaced at least 2 inches apart and only a maximum of 8 each cookie sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until edges are set and tops have just set. It’s ok if they’re slightly undercooked in the center – they will firm up as they cool. It’s a little tricky to judge doneness because of the oats and the minimal spreading, but err on the side of caution and shoot for the lower end of the baking range to ensure soft and chewy cookies.

4. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, and then remove to a wire rack to continue cooling. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Also note that unbaked dough can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

5. Serve and enjoy!

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