Old-fashioned Oatmeal Cookies: From Me to You

The Oatmeal Cookie is one of the most ordinary cookie there is, but it is well-loved. I love it’s rough chewy texture, the wholesome nutty flavor of oats combined with the earthy sweetness of brown sugar. It’s great with a cup of coffee or milk, an easy grab and go snack, even an effective alternative to a power bar. The best part is, oatmeal fights bad cholesterol (see, I told you!). Never have I baked some and did not get major cheers. This humble looking cookie is just filled with so much goodness and love.

It had been my goal in life to find THE BEST oatmeal cookie recipe. I’ve tried and tested many over the years, but there is this one recipe I’ve had since the 1990s, and it remains to be my personal best. I cannot claim it to be an original since it’s a little bit of this and that, but I have tweaked the recipe to suit my taste. The outcome is a robust cookie that is crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside, with just the right amount of sweetness without losing the rustic, old-fashioned taste. Isn’t that what we all want in our cookie?

We know that the secret to achieving success in baking mostly lies in the “HOW” (without undermining proper equipment and fresh ingredients). There are some essential “tricks” that many good recipes don’t demonstrate, so no matter how well we try to follow directions, it will just not come out right.

Here’s the recipe to my simple Old-fashioned Oatmeal Cookies. And because you like pictures as much as I do, instead of just pasting the recipe, I prepared (with a bit of nose-bleeding) a visual tutorial in the hopes of showing you exactly how I do it. If I’m not able to show it, I shall try to explain it in words. Here goes!

What you need:

Softened means NOT MELTED. In order for butter to be soft, it should’ve been out of the fridge 30 minutes ago (where I come from, 15 minutes does it). If you forgot and can’t wait, DON’T MICROWAVE! Cut it up in small pieces and proceed. If you use unsalted butter, add 1/8 tsp salt in the flour mix later.

When a recipe calls for brown sugar, it is always PACKED into the cup, as in press it tightly. It should hold it’s shape when inverted out. For white sugar, just fill and scrape with a straight edge and you’re good. If you prefer a crunchy cookie, reverse the proportion (1/2 cup brown, 1 Cup white), though I’ve never tried it.

If you’re not sure your egg is large enough, weigh it. Large eggs weigh about 57 grams or 2 oz. Where I come from, large is never large enough so I use XL eggs. To test if eggs are fresh, dip in a glass of water with a bit of salt. Fresh eggs sink, spoiled eggs float. Oh yeah. And make sure you use room temp eggs. Not sure why so just do it. As for the vanilla, it’s best to use the real extract. (I use an imitation kind, but never mind).

The Dry Ingredients:

A key when measuring flour:

Scoop flour GENTLY into cup. Make sure you’re not emotional or upset. Smile and think happy thoughts when you do this. Trust me. It makes a big difference. : ) For the other dry ingredients, just make sure they’re still fresh. Don’t use the baking soda you use to deodorize your fridge! LOL!

If you’re using unsalted butter, add the 1/8 tsp salt into the flour mixture.

While rolled oats are best, QUICK-COOKING oats can be a substitute. NEVER use the instant kind. Some recipes call for grinding the rolled oats, but I like mine as is.

Here’s the secret to a chewy cookie: add about a tablespoon of water! Well, it’s actually no secret to the old-timers (your grandma knows this).

I guess you can go 375˚ and bake in shorter time. Make sure your oven is this hot before you bake, so fire it up before you start measuring. It’s good to invest in an oven thermometer for more accuracy. Place it right in the center of your oven.

WHAT TO DO:

Did I say this already? It’s not really a Step 1, but I think the butter will make or break your cookie. Therefore, make sure you get it right from the start.

I know it’s a nuisance step but this can save everything… just in case.Only until blended. Seriously. It’s better for your batter to show some unmixed flour (it will eventually get mixed) than to have an overly worked up batter, which results in a dense and tough cookie.

It’s really worth saying again. Finish up by manually scraping the sides with a spatula and flipping the whole batter, making sure everything under gets turned over.

No need to grease (YAY!). You can use a spoon, but an ice cream scooper works best for OC bakers like me. It doesn’t matter what size you use. A smaller scooper yields more… obviously. : ) If your cookie sheet has a dark finish, your cookies will also turn out darker. I don’t know why. I probably wasn’t around when they taught this in chemistry… hahah!

I find I have to do this to help the mounds spread out in the oven:

As you can see, this recipe makes about 30 cookies for me. Do you see my oven thermometer in the center? Meet my best friend. When a recipe says to bake between 10-12, I take that to heart. I bake at 11 minutes. Because oven heat can be uneven, some people shift the cookie sheets up to down and left to right half way into the baking. You can, but I’m too lazy for that. I just accept my cookies the way they come out, light or dark.

You know your cookie is perfect when the bottoms look like this:

Try not to call the kids yet (mine have been poking their noses since step 5). Cool them on racks and brew some coffee. Mmmmm!!!

ENJOY!

A

P.S. I’d love to hear how your cookies turn out, so please get back to me, okay? If you have any question, I’d be glad to help you out. Leave a comment and I’ll try to get back to you shortly. Have fun!

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5 thoughts on “Old-fashioned Oatmeal Cookies: From Me to You

  1. Pingback: The sun will come out tomorrow. |

  2. Yay! I just checked. I have all of the ingredients. We love oatmeal cookies around our house. I’ll try these tonight and let you know how it goes. (Thanks for the recipe, Anne!) Do you have any good chocolate chip cookie recipes? I have yet to find the perfect one.

    • You’re welcome! I hope it turns out just the way you like it. “Perfect” is hard to find. It really depends on that your preferences are. Let me check what I have and maybe I can post it here.

      • Phenomenal, Anne! I didn’t get a chance to fix them the other day because I’d run out of brown sugar (I assumed I still had some). I popped them in the oven around 10pm this evening, and before they were ready, my 8 year-old was walking around the house saying, “Man, those cookies smell good!” Ha! Ha! Needless to say, they are a big hit. My oldest fell asleep before they were ready. I’m sure he’ll be begging for them in the morning.

        Thank you for sharing such a fantastic recipe! —Shannon

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