When it comes to cookies and brownies, everyone has his or her own idea of perfection—be it a baked good that's chewy or crispy; under-baked, over-baked or unbaked; jammed with add-ins; or simple and direct. This is the ultimate cookie jar oatmeal cookie, old-fashioned in its simplicity. It is crisp at the edges and chewy in the center, with lots of deep, caramelly brown sugar notes and the plumpest, juiciest raisins imaginable. The recipe comes (via my sister-in-law—I thought it was her recipe but she happily fessed up) from The Colorado Cache Cookbook, one of the all-time most popular community cookbooks, put out by the Junior League of Denver.
The secret to the amazing raisins is soaking them in beaten egg and vanilla before you add them to the dough, which plumps them up and packs them with flavor. I use the raisins from Earthbound Farms Organic. These cookies are very accommodating. I've added everything from dried cherries and white, milk and dark chocolate chips to toffee bits, pistachios and chopped Blenheim apricots. I've also pressed them into service as sandwich cookies, filling them with ice cream, peanut butter and cream cheese frosting.
Here's how to make them:
Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
(Adapted from The Colorado Cache Cookbook)
Makes about 3 dozen large cookies
3 large eggs
1 cup raisins
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup packed brown sugar (I use dark)
1 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
Nuts, if you like
Beat the eggs in a small bowl. Add the raisins and vanilla and let soak for at least 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large bowl, cream the butter with the sugars. Add the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt and beat until blended, then beat in the eggs and raisins and the oatmeal. Stir in nuts (and any other add-ins); the dough will be stiff.
Scoop golfball-size rounds of dough onto rimmed baking sheets and flatten slightly. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until nicely browned. Using a spatula, transfer to a rack and let cool.
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