Lately I have been craving oatmeal raisin cookies like they were a force of nature. But the idea of nibbling at tempting cookies was not exactly in line with my summer "shape-up" plan. Or so I thought. Then I found this recipe by David Lebovitz for all natural, chewy oatmeal raisin cookies. Folks, I may never try another oatmeal raisin cookie recipe again. I'm willing to believe there may be tastier recipes out there. If Trotter put his mind to it and got out a couple sticks of butter, perhaps a more decadent cookie could be made. But I'm pretty convinced that this recipe wins hands down for the combination of healthfulness and delicious cookie goodness. Results
This recipe has 25 percent fewer calories, half the saturated fat and a quarter the regular fats of other oatmeal raisin cookies. All that with a chewy texture and a delicious hint of caramel sweetness that plays off the deep natural taste of raisins and the satisfying chew of heart-healthy oatmeal. In other words, I was smitten.
Which is a good thing, because the very next day I found myself in need of just such a cookie recipe.
Where I come from, the neighborly way you thank someone for a kind deed is through food. We Wisconsinites commemorate all kinds of kindnesses through the language of casseroles and cookies. Pairing a kind act to its culinary counterpart is a fine art in the Midwest, taken as seriously as wine pairing is elsewhere in the country. So yesterday when my husband and I found ourselves locked out of our Chicago condo, it was already a foregone conclusion that I was going to be baking someone a thank you...the only question was who. We passed an increasingly panicked morning tracking down each of our friends whom we thought we had given keys to, only to discover that in one way or another those keys weren't there anymore. Our last hope was our neighbors who live below us, and they came through for us with flying colors.
As soon as we got back inside, having been locked out for about six hours, my husband said, "We have to thank them. Should we give them a bottle of wine?" I scoffed, "Wine? That's what you bring over to some one's house for dinner. It doesn't have the right feel for thanking someone for a neighborly kind deed." My husband isn't from the Midwest, so sometimes he just doesn't get these things. He continued, "Well, what do you give someone then?" And I didn't even hesitate, "Oatmeal Raisin Cookies."
I'm a tinkerer by nature. Have been since I was a kid. So this time around I had to literally slap my hand several times as I reached to add in some different ingredient or fuss with the proportions. This was a recipe that subs in applesauce for some of the fat in the cookies, which I would have been hesitant to do myself. But it comes recommended by a pastry chef living in Paris, and that is just a good enough bona fide for me.
When I made this recipe, it made 28 good sized-cookies. Libovitz said his made closer to 18, the original says it is for 36. The nutritional information provided below is per cookie, based on 28 cookies.
This recipe is a definite keeper. I followed the recipe precisely, except that I couldn't resist adding 1 teaspoon of ground flax seed. My cookies baked up a little thinner than the photo shown on the original site, but they were divine. I found them a great snack or dessert that was both satisfying to the tastebuds and filling thanks to all the healthy oats.
I loved them so much that after the first batch was gone, I made it again. This time I gave myself a little leverage to play around. I increased the amount of oats to 1.5 cups of old fashioned oats, and added 2 Tbsp wheat bran and 1/2 Tbsp ground flax. I wanted a little more heartiness and fiber. The original recipe contains no spices, so this time around I experimented by adding two sprinkles cinnamon, 1 pinch cloves and 1 sprinkle cardamom. The cookies from this batch taste less "caramelly" than before, which is perhaps because I increased the grains. If I made them a third time I might include some of the additional grains but omit the spices. I would also like to try increasing the raisins a little more.
ResultsThe recipe comes from Nick Malgieri's book, Perfect Light Desserts: Fabulous Cakes, Cookies, Pies, and More Made with Real Butter, Sugar, Flour, and Eggs (All Under 300 Calories Per Generous Serving) reproduced on David Lebovitz's blog.