Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Quest for the Perfect Oatmeal Raisin Cookie: Day 3

Left: Whipped's cookie
Right: Paula's cookie
Previously on The Quest for the Perfect Oatmeal Raisin Cookie:

     Spring Break is finally here today!  I know most other schools got out a week ago. Spring break means lots of time for baking and blogging, and that there's only one quarter of Freshman year left.  I don't know how I feel about that next part.  
      So today I bring you the last two recipes by other people that I will be testing.  Next, I will combine all the good aspects into one cookie, the one we're all waiting for.  Since Good Friday is tomorrow and Easter is this weekend, the ultimate oatmeal raisin cookie recipe may have to wait until next week, though.  Don't panic, it's worth waiting for.  

      This first recipe is by the famous Paula Deen and can be found here.  I'm sure you've heard of her.  I remember she made this crazy Krispie Kreme doughnut breakfast sandwich once.  It was like the epitome of unhealthfulness.  But it's not like her oatmeal raisin cookies are that bad for you, though there is more butter than usual. This recipe also has some nice PEE-cans, as Paula likes to call them.  It's pretty interesting how in this recipe, you put soak the pecans and raisins in water and then microwave the mixture for 90 seconds.  The resulting mix is delicious.  Also, the higher amount of butter and smaller amount of oats in the cookie results in a flatter cookie that spreads more when baked.

Name of Recipe: Paula Deen's Oatmeal Raisin Cookie
Time: 45 minutes
Yield: 3-4 dozen
Special Characteristics: more butter, less oats; has pecans; raisins and pecans are soaked
Taste: lots of good cinnamon flavor; nutty from pecans; buttery; very home-like taste
Texture: crispy, crunchy, a bit of softness in the middle
Appearance: lacy edges, very flat and spread out
Effort: easy to make
Overall Grade: B-
Pros: I like the pecans and the cinnamon
Cons: they are very flat-looking and don't have any chewiness

     This next recipe is from the food blog Whipped and the recipe can be found here.  The recipe is titled "The Best Oatmeal Raisin Cookies."  They're great, but I wouldn't say that they are the best.  They are a lot different from the oatmeal raisin cookie I'm used too, since they lack cinnamon and instead have a strong dark brown sugar flavor.  These cookies also use craisins in addition to raisins, which add some tang.  I adore dried cranberries.  The old-fashioned oats add a nice texture contrast to the chewiness of the buttery cookie, but I feel that the cookie needs a bit more oats.  The cookie feels like a chocolate chip cookie.  The recipe, like Paula Deen's, calls for 2 sticks of butter, but this cookie has more sugar. The dough is also refrigerated, which is supposed to make the cookie thicker.  Overall, I liked this cookie better than Paula's, but it still could use some improvement.

Name of Recipe: Whipped's "The Best Oatmeal Raisin Cookie"
Time: 45 minutes
Yield: 24-28 large cookies
Special Characteristics: has cranberries, more butter and sugar, old fashioned oats, dark brown sugar, and no cinnamon; dough is refrigerated for 10-15 minutes; cookies are not completely baked through in the oven
Taste: ruled by dark brown sugar and a vanilla taste; a bit too sweet
Texture: soft and chewy, slightly crisp outside
Appearance: deep brown, wrinkled edges; round and large
Effort: creaming the butter takes more effort because of the higher sugar to butter ratio; the dough has to be rolled into balls by hand
Overall Grade: A-
Pros: chewy, nice appearance, nice dark brown sugar flavor
Cons: needs more oaty flavor and some spice

     Now I'm done with testing other people's recipes, and I have to formulate my own.  Making all these recipes was a really nice, educational experience for me and I think I now know what makes an oatmeal raisin cookie good.  On the other hand, now I have a ton of oatmeal raisin cookies at my house, even though I halved each recipe!  I think I'm going to have a break from my favorite cookie for a while after this.  


Paula Deen's Oatmeal Raisin Cookie

makes 3-4 dozen cookies


1 cup pecans, chopped
1 cup raisins
2 sticks butter, at room temperature
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
2 cups old-fashioned oats, uncooked


  1. Preheat the oven to 350*F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Add 1/2 cup water to the pecans and raisins, then microwave for 90 seconds.  Allow the raisins and pecans to sit on the counter for about 10 minutes.  Drain the raisins and pecans and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the butter and the sugars and beat with an electric mixer until very creamy.  Add the vanilla extract and eggs, and beat again until mixed.
  4. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.  Add it to the butter mixture.  Add the oats, raisins, and pecans.  Mix together.
  5. Drop heaping tablespoons of batter onto the prepared baking sheet.  Leave plenty of room for the cookies to spread.  Bake until the cookies are cooked in the middle, 10-12 minutes.  Remove the cookies from the oven. Cool on the baking sheet for about 3 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. 

Whipped's "The Best Oatmeal Raisin Cookie"

makes 24-28 large, 3-inch cookies


1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 cups old fashioned oats
3/4 cups raisins
3/4 cups dried cranberries


  1. Preheat your oven to 350*F.  
  2. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.  Whisk to combine well. 
  3. In a separate bowl beat room temperature butter and both sugars until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add room temperature eggs, one at a time, beating each until fully incorporated.  Add vanilla and combine.
  4. Add the flout mixture little by little, mixing until fully incorporated.  Use a large wooden spoon to mix in the oats and the raisins and cranberries.
  5. Put the dough in the refrigerator while you prepare your baking sheets, lining each with parchment paper.  After about 10-15 minutes, remove the dough from the refrigerator and spoon out large scoops of dough making balls about 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick.  
  6. Place 6 balls on each pan so they won't be too close together.  Lightly press each ball to make a disk that is about 1/2 inch thick.
  7. Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes, turning the pans half way through.  When you remove them from the oven, the edges should be lightly brown and the inside should look uncooked.  Leave the cookies on the hot pan for 10 minutes when you take them out of the oven.  They will continue to cook and the middle will firm up.  

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