Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Maple, Raisins and Rolled Oats Cookies & Extra Bonus Rolled Oats Cookie Recipe

I bake, but baking with yeast as in these Quince Challah Knots is what I like best. 

In the past couple of years, thanks to you my friends, I mustered the courage and patience to embark on Holiday cookie baking. Although you will see in my cook's tips at the bottom of this post I advise you to follow the directions in the recipes, but the rebel in me got the best of me and I had to make some changes. Completely unruly. I did experiment all week long and mounds of cookies later I came up with this post.

Although I also baked these fussy sublimely elegant Meyer Lemon Butter Cookie Sandwiches this week among other cookies, I wish to focus on rolled oats granola cookies in this post. You might remember my Rolled Oats Pancakes - Quick, Healthy and Delicious! and my obsession with all things oats. When I stop by a bakery, Starbucks, Wegman's or Whole Foods bakery counters, I always ogle those gigantic oat cookie beauties, but every single time without fail, I talk myself out of buying one, and think to myself I could probably bake them myself. Same or even better.

Honestly falling into cookie abyss as I call it, yes, there is nothing better than the warmth of stepping into a home when a fresh batch of cookies is baking in the oven. Only thing, after a week long of ooey gooey sweetness that laced the air, it got me so light headed that I had to go outside for fresh cold crisp air. Good thing Wizzy had to be watched outside so the coyote won't snag him as a bony lunch or that he won't crawl into the rain water drain chasing a chipmunk or a squirrel. Prying Wizard away from the drain is practically impossible!

You probably gathered by now that I fondly like to complain about this cookie madness and if I didn't embark on it I would feel the void. With saying that, I am completely content to leave the cookie baking to you my friends mostly for the rest of the year and join you only in December! :) Now I am off to have something savory!

I used Martha Stewart's recipes for both Maple, Raisins Rolled Oats and the Cardamon, Honey, Sour Cherries Rolled Oats Cookies. In the recipes I made the following adjustments:

Maple, Raisins Rolled Oats Cookies
Original recipe is called Anytime Oatmeal Cookies

Instead of:
2/3 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
I used:
2/3 cup Sugar in the Raw
1/3 cup maple syrup
Instead of:
Golden raisins
I used:
Dark raisins

Cardamon, Honey, Sour Cherries Rolled Oats Cookies
Original recipe is called Chewy Cherry-Oatmeal Cookies

Instead of:
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/4 cup honey

I used:
3/4 cup Sugar in the raw
1/2 cup honey
Instead of: 
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
I used:
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamon
Since light brown sugar is packed with moisture and I used Sugar in the Raw instead, I compensated with the maple syrup and honey.

In my state of cookie panic yet again I turned to twitter for help. Today I was discussing the issue of freezing cookies and want to thank @scatteredmom, @thebravetart, @sarahklinkowitz, @Izzbell, @jesshose, @paulashoyer and @MrGuilt for their sound cookie advice.

Tips based on my week long experimentation:
1. These cookies are best same day. If freezing or storing the cookies then the consistency of the cookie will be a bit softer.
2. After cooling completely at room temperature, transfer to one baking sheet. Lay flat in one layer. Best way to keep edges crisp and chewy inside, if consumed the same day. No need to store in air tight container unless storing overnight on the counter or freezing.
3. Take out of oven carefully. Make sure the parchment paper doesn't slide. The cookie will break as it is very soft. At that point the butter didn't cool down and set the cookie yet. Once cooled down the cookie isn't that fragile. :)
4. Important to follow directions in the recipe. Unlike my mishap in first granola cookie batch I added the sugar into the dry ingredients mix and didn't whip it into the butter. Oops! The look of the cookie suffered. The texture and taste were good.
5. While previous batch is in the oven I keep the rest of the raw dough refrigerated and scoop it into a parchment paper lined cookie sheet just before inserting the tray into the oven.
6. I used a heaping melon ball scooper.
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18 comments :

  1. Your cookies are beautiful, Shulie. I know I would enjoy these. I haven't been in the habit of baking cookies during the holidays but seeing everyone post such beauties makes me want to rethink the idea. Enjoy the rest of your week!

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  2. This is my husband's favorite cookie! I'm glad you shared this recipe, I must make this one! Happy Holidays, Shulie & all the best for 2012!

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  3. The smell of cookies does permeate the entire house doesn't it? lol I would actually love that smell all year long except for the fact that it makes me insanely hungry!

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  4. Wonderful recipes! I am a sucker for oatmeal cookies.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  5. Congratulations on your cookie baking spree this week!

    You obviously had a bit of fun with your experimentation and what a wonderful way to learn by doing!

    I've always enjoyed teaching about cookie making during the holidays.

    Hopefully you won't mind if I share just a few quick thoughts based on your observation numbers:

    1 & 2. How you store a cookie will affect how much moisture it absorbs from its "environment" and you can indeed make choices that will influence that environment; also the choices you made when you did your substitutions of putting in hygroscopic syrup or add'l honey for sugar means the cookies will stay softer longer (both syrup and honey act as humectants in baked goods);

    3. Never cook sugar drop cookies as long as you think they need while still in the oven. The cookies will continue to cook AFTER you remove the cookie pan or cookie sheet from the oven. As the cookies hit the room air temperature, they will start to firm up--give them those extra seconds to do so. If the sugar drop cookies have been properly baked, you don't have to "rush" to get them off the silicone coated baking parchment paper. Let them set up a minute or two. It is key that you NEVER over bake them while they are still in the oven.

    4. Yes, please do follow the recipe directions. Different methods will yield very different results so following the method is important.

    5. Sugar cookies that are the drop style do best when you refrigerate the dough at least 24 hours and preferably 36 hours before baking them off.

    I have details about this on both my Facebook site
    https://www.facebook.com/sensorynutrition and my blog site http://www.sensorynutrition.com.

    Definitely keep the cookie dough refrigerated between batches--that is very critical as the dough needs to stay cold.

    Also allow the cookie sheets to cool COMPLETELY between batches! NEVER put cold cookie dough on a silicone coated parchment paper lined cookie sheet if the cookie sheet is still hot as that leads to excessive cookie spread.

    6. Cookie size, distance between cookies, number of cookie sheets in the oven at once, types of cookie sheets, and actual oven temperature will affect how long it takes to bake the cookies off. If you rotate the pans half way through baking, that will increase the time it takes for the cookies to finish bake off.

    Scoop sizes are based on number of portions per quart.

    A #60 scoop is the size of 1 Tbsp and a #40 scoop is the size of 1.5 Tbsp. Your melon ball scooper is probably one of those two sizes. Having consistent size cookies also means the cookies bake more evenly, especially if you remember to rotate the pans half way through baking.

    Larger cookies such as store bakeries make might be #30 scoop which is the size of 2 Tbsp. up through#24 which is the size of 2.75 Tbsp while a #20 scoop is the size of 3 Tbsp. and NYC bakeries often use #16 scoops aka the size of 1/4 cup of dough or perhaps make even larger size cookies.

    Wishing you continued success in your cookie adventures,

    Stephanie in NY
    https://www.facebook.com/sensorynutrition
    http://www.sensorynutrition.com

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  6. TY Jean. Me nether as you can see I am a complete novice when it comes to cookie baking I am not really much of a sweet tooth person though recently I find myself more and more craving cookies and ice cream. Ty E and Sylvie. Sylvie, see my comment to Jean, my cravings consist mostly of a hot samosa:). TY Rosa, yep oatmeal cookies are great. I wanted to keep the sugars as mentioned but next time I will probably reduce the amount of sugars. Excellent points and advice Stephanie. I could have used it this week. Thank you so much for the thought that went into leaving this comment I really appreciate your expertise. Good points on the cookie's continuing to bake when out. I was nervous they were not. Good thing I linked to original recipes:).

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  7. the cookies look great shulie...what were you worried about ;-) the baking aroma is very infectious....just that it makes me very hungry!

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  8. I was alos never really into cookie abking. I always assumed that cookies will not turn out great without eggs and (lots of) butter.
    Then I made the mistake of baking some delicious vegan cookies and now there is no looking back :(
    Your cookies look great :)

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  9. I love that you're a rebel with your baking :D These sound & look divine :D

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  10. Wow! These look fabulous! I waiting now more than ever for my care package. ;)

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  11. One of my favorite cookies and I think I'd love the maple in them! Happy you've joined the holiday cookie baking train!

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  12. You fell into cookie abyss and look at the yumminess that came out of it:) Cookoe baking is trickier than it may seem. Stephanie left great tips. can't wait to see what other beauties you baked up:)

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  13. So funny you don't like making cookies 'cept for this time of year. I still remember your linzer cookies! :) I've never thought to add syrup to cookies before. I bet these taste amazing and could even be eaten with breakfast perhaps?? ;) sshhh it'll be our secret

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  14. Shulie,

    You did a great job following your instincts when making & baking the cookies and the recipients of those delectable cookies will certainly agree!

    Did you know that sometimes when professional bakers want to improve browning in a baked good they might put in a little corn syrup? Yummy maple syrup can do the trick as well (maple syrup is definitely more flavorful than plain corn syrup, however, it is also a LOT more expensive).

    Grade B maple syrup is darker and more flavor intense and the viscosity is more like that of thicker pancake syrup and it is better for baking; while Grade A maple syrup will tend to be more runny and is thus loved on pancakes or French toast, etc. where it can soak right in.

    What's not to love when it comes to maple syrup? As I live in NYS, there is a lot of maple syrup production here and I must say how wonderfully rich maple flavor can be in so many recipes beyond baked goods as I love it with baked winter squashes, etc.

    I agree with Nelly that most likely the maple syrup made your cookies even more luscious and special!

    Even if you only bake cookies in December, I'm sure friends and family will look forward to what you do in 2012.

    You also mentioned baking yeast dough items and that is something I will be doing myself as we head into the weekend--love the smell of that type of dough baking off, too! With a house full of company for the holidays, I've also been cooking and baking a lot this week.

    Hope your savory dishes turn out well, too, and Happy Holidaze!

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  15. Hi, I am loving just drooling over your posts.

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  16. What's funny is that I don't really like baking cookies as it is messy and fussy, but at the same time I love the smell and warmth baking cookies brings to the house and I love having piles of cookies around for a snack. And the men love cookies! These look so delicious!!

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  17. So droolicious cookies -- I am willing to trade it with my hot chocolate :D

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  18. Yes! I do like baking with yeast the most! but cookies? I love them, too! :-)

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