I work at the San Francisco Film Society on Tuesdays and Thursdays from nine to six. Those are long, eventful days.
In the same building as the film society offices at the Presidio, there is a restaurant called Dish. At about 10:30, it was my wont to get an oatmeal raisin cookie at Dish. I would eat half mid-morning and half mid-afternoon as a pick me up.
The supply of my favorite cookie was only fairly reliable. Sometimes I’d have to settle for oatmeal chocolate chip; or in the worst case scenerio, a scone. I’m not a baker, but in thinking about my oatmeal raisin cookie, it occurred to me that I could make my own.
My recipe files did not include cookie recipes, so I looked in my cookbooks likely to have such a recipe. Perhaps it’s such a ubiquitous cookie that most cookbooks don’t include it, at least not my cookbooks. I found it only in the Silver Palate Cookbook. I went to my bookmarked food blogs that I respect and found no recipes for oatmeal raisin cookies, but I did find other kinds of oatmeal cookies; Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies at Orangette and the very interesting Pistachio Apricot Oatmeal Cookies from Gourmet via 101 Cookbooks, with the comment that they seemed too buttery.
That’s a good start; I bought some pistachios and dried apricots at the farmers market. Meanwhile, Cook’s Illustrated has good, tested recipes for everything the home cook might want to make, and indeed, they have a recipe for Big Chewey Oatmeal Raisin Cookies. Further, in our Yellow Binder of family recipes, we have Famous Oatmeal Cookies from Quaker Oats.
Looking at the various recipes I found an astounding disparity in the ingredient ratios:
So, what’s a novice to do, but make some cookies? Carol has made plenty of cookies, but she’s off in Ohio visiting her family, so I’m on my own. I fashioned the following:
2 cups flour 1 1/2 cups oats 1/3 cup each pistachios and apricots
As I made the dough, the mixture seemed dry and stiff and didn’t spread out much while baking. Indeed, the cookies turned out a bit dry and heavy, not Dish quality, but they tasted very good. Love the apricots, and the pistachios, while not totally flavorful, added a bright green chunkiness.
I needed cookies that I could take and share with my colleagues at the Film Society.
Shopping for ingredients for another batch, packages of dried cranberries were right beside the apricots. Hmmm, I picked them up and paired them with peanuts. For this round, I cut back on the flour, added oats and increased the liquid from one egg and a yolk to one egg and 1/4 cup water (from the Quaker Oats recipe):
1 cup flour 2 1/2 cups oats 1/2 cup each cranberries and peanuts
Coming together, the dough was very workable. The cookies spread out nicely as they baked, and by gosh, they tasted good enough to take and share. My colleagues all said they were good, they are very nice people. Best of all, none were left.
Oatmeal Peanut Cranberry Cookies
Made 17 for me.
Oven at 350, 16 to 20 minutes.
1 cup AP flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup water
2 1/2 cups quick cook oats
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup peanuts
Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat to 350 °F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Beat together butter and sugars in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until fluffy, then beat in vanilla. Add egg and beat until combined well.
Stir together flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a small bowl, then add to dough and mix at low speed until just combined. Fold in oats, fruit and nuts.
Scoop up some dough with an average size ice cream scoop, drop the ball onto parchment paper, wet your hand and flatten the dough. Bake cookies, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until golden brown, 16 to 18 minutes. Transfer cookies with a spatula to racks.
I plan to tinker with the recipe, as I’m in need of more cookies. When I find the GREAT and perfect combination of ingredients, you’ll be the first to know.