If I were in Trader Joe’s during an earthquake, and all of the power went out, I could successfully navigate my way to the tub of teeny, crispy oatmeal cookies stocked over the frozen deserts. In fact, that is exactly what I would do, in turn plopping down to eat the whole tub, because in the dark, who’s gonna know?
Those cookies are a weakness of mine. I crave them. Trouble is, they’re too damn small for dipping in milk, or even to give you that true cookie satisfaction that comes with holding a full size cookie in your hand and taking a soulful, eyes-closed, hand under chin crumb scooping bite.
Well, this last week marked the first week in my online master’s coursework towards earning a Ms.Ed degree in administration and I was craving cookies like a blue furry Sesame Street regular, springing at every chance to make a batch. I even found a way to incorporate a delicious batch of peanut butter bacon cookies into a training I gave at my elementary school (recipe coming soon). Not to mention, when Pi day rolled around on Friday, I baked cookies for my students to use to practice finding Pi. They’re round, so it’s justified. But, with all of those cookies going around, I just couldn’t scratch my itch for the right cookie. The Trader Joe’s cookie. The full sized, crispy oatmeal cookie. That, and I really didn’t know how to achieve that perfectly crisp and flat oatmeal cookie. I have made oatmeal cookies in the past, and they were good and all, but they were all soft and chewy (not a bad thing, by any means, just not the desired effect). Luckily, I remembered an oatmeal cookie recipe in a volume of America’s Test Kitchen from 2009 where the chef pondered the same query. And I just so happened to have a giant jar of rolled oats.
It turns out that in order to achieve that crispy, crunchy cookie, more white sugar is used than brown due to the lack of moisture that lends itself to a crispier cookie. In addition, the use of more leavener than normal promotes a sort of blowout effect that puffs up the cookies to a certain extent, and then the gas bubbles burst resulting in a flat cookie. Typically, this is viewed as a mistake, but in my case, it got the job done.
Now that the flat and crispy was settled, I wanted to address another flavor issue. How to make the cookie toasty? Simple. I toasted the oats in a skillet before mixing them in to the batter.
It gives the cookie a slight nutty/popcorny flavor that I love! The more toasty you want it, the more you toast the oats.
I also had about a cup of dried black currants in my fridge, so I threw those in too.
Now I can turn my empty, sad cookie jar into a full and inviting cookie jar!!
Give them a try. I’m sure you’ll be pleased. Oh! And try heating them up in the microwave and having them with milk.
- 1 cup (5 ounces) unbleached all purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 14 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2½ cups rolled oats, toasted
- 1 cup dried black currants
- After positioning a rack in the center of the oven, heat to 350°. Prepare three large baking sheets with parchment and set aside.
- Begin by toasting the oats in a medium skillet over medium to medium-high heat, stirring and tossing occasionally, for about 5 to 8 minutes or until the oats are golden in color and begin to give off a nutty, toasted smell. Allow the oats to cool while you prepare the dough.
- Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars until combined. Increase the speed to medium and beat until fluffy, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the egg and vanilla. Beat on medium-low until completely incorporated. Scrape the bowl again and turn the mixer to low speed. Add the flour mixture and mix until just incorporated. With the mixture still running on low, ad the toasted oats and currants and mix until incorporated. Give the dough a final stir.
- Spoon the dough (about 1½ tablespoons) out onto the prepared baking sheets and then roll each mound of dough into a ball between the palm of your hands. Using your fingers, press the cookies down gently until they’re about ¾ of an inch thick.
- Bake one sheet at a time until the cookies are deep golden brown, the edges are crisp, and then centers give just a bit when pressed, 13 to 16 minutes. It may be best to rotate the baking sheet half way in case there are any oven hotspots. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack and let cool completely (on the baking sheet).