Saturday, April 30, 2011

Browned Butter Oatmeal Cookies

Oatmeal Cookies - made April 28, 2011 from Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy by Alice Medrich

Growing up, I never ate oatmeal for breakfast.  It just wasn't your typical Asian way to start the day.  Although ironically, my parents now regularly have it for breakfast because of the health benefits of oatmeal (I think they actually like the taste too).  But I think the first time I was introduced to oatmeal, it was in cookie form.  I like a good oatmeal cookie as much as the next person but I haven't yet discovered a "go-to" recipe for oatmeal cookies.  A good oatmeal cookie should be thick and chunky, crisp at the edges, chewy in the middle and generously studded with chocolate chips.  Do not come near me with raisins or nuts for an oatmeal cookie.  My requirements for a good oatmeal cookie are similar to what I look for in a chocolate chip cookie.  But a good oatmeal cookie shouldn't just be a chocolate chip cookie with oatmeal added to it.  There's something whimsically wholesome about an oatmeal cookie and we're tempted to think of it as healthy as long as we conveniently ignore the butter, sugar and flour that also goes into it.  Granted, oats are good for you and they've endured through the ages with "their first known appearance being in combat when the Romans battled England hundreds of years ago....the English and Scots carried saddlebags filled with oatmeal cakes eaten as a quick, nourishing pick-me-up." (Source: press release from May Cookie Co)

We don't quite carbo load with oatcakes just to do hand to hand combat anymore but we do honor the oatmeal cookie properly nowadays.  Saturday, April 30, is National Oatmeal Cookie Day.  (Again, what an awesome country we have in that it has foodie "holidays".)  So, in my continuing quest for an awesome oatmeal cookie recipe, I turned to Alice Medrich's latest cookbook, Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-In-Your-Mouth Cookies, another book I want to eventually acquire but prudently borrowed from the library instead.  What caught my eye is that the recipe calls for melting the butter.  That immediately made me want to make the cookies with browned butter, similar to what I did with Alton Brown's chocolate chip cookie recipe.  Now that recipe has become my go-to recipe for chocolate chip cookies so I thought I could give Alice Medrich's recipe a boost by doing the same thing.  What I also liked about all the recipes in this book is she gives the weight measurement of the ingredients as well as the more traditional volume measurements.  If you have a food scale, it's better to weigh out your ingredients rather than volume measure them - it's more accurate that way.

Added milk chocolate chips and Hershey kisses
Browned butter smells good and makes everything tastes so much better.  Just mixing this cookie dough together was an alluring experience.  If I was the type of person to eat cookie dough, I could probably have downed half the batch in raw form.  Fortunately, I'm not and it was easy enough to put the bowl of cookie dough in the fridge to cool, unscathed.  Harder to wait overnight to bake the cookies.  The dough became considerably firmer after being chilled overnight so it was a little difficult to scoop into dough balls.  I'd advocate making the dough balls right after you mix the cookie dough and then chilling (not freezing) the dough balls if you want to bake them the next day.  The reason for not freezing them immediately is to let the oats absorb the moisture of the dough first.

Overall, this was a good cookie.  I underbaked them slightly so the edges weren't as crisp as I think they were meant to be but the middle was gooey.  I liked the caramelized taste a lot from the browned butter.  The cinnamon doesn't come out very much, probably because the browned butter is more prominent but I consider this another solidly good recipe from Alice Medrich.

2 cups (6.67 ounces) rolled oats
¼ cup water
1 ¼ cups (5.625 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter
¾ cup (5.25 ounces) packed light brown sugar
½ cup (3.5 ounces) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 cup (3.5 ounces) walnuts, chopped (I used milk chocolate chips)
1 cup (5 ounces) raisins (I used milk chocolate chips)

1.      Place the oats in a small bowl and sprinkle with the water. 
2.      Combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg in a medium bowl and mix together thoroughly with a whisk or fork.
3.      Cut the butter into chunks and melt in a large saucepan over medium heat.  (I browned the butter and let it cool for 10 minutes before adding the other ingredients.)  Remove from the heat and stir in the sugars, vanilla, and salt.  Add the egg and stir briskly.  Stir in the flour mixture just until all of the dry ingredients are moistened.  Stir in the walnuts, raisins and oats.  Let the dough stand for at least 1 but preferably 2 hours or (better still) cover and refrigerate overnight.
4.      Preheat the oven to 350⁰F.  Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven.
5.      For large cookies, scoop about 2 level tablespoons of dough and place the cookies about 3 inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheets.  For small cookies, scoop 1 level tablespoon of dough.  Bake for 12 to 15 minutes for large cookies, 10 to 12 minutes for small cookies, or until the cookies are golden brown on top.  Rotate the pans from top to bottom and from front to back halfway through the baking time to ensure even baking.  Cool the cookies completely before storing or stacking.  May be kept in an airtight container for several days.


  1. What a great cookie. The browned butter adds a great touch. I do like to consume my oatmeal in cookie form...healthy and naughty all in one. ;)

  2. These look absolutely delicious! I would love it if you would post them at my linky party: Sweet Indulgences Sunday on A Well-Seasoned Life.


  3. Thanks, Kim - I linked up a different recipe as I had already linked up these cookies to Sweet Tooth Friday. I'm trying to link different recipes to different link parties since they sometimes have the same audience :). Thanks for the invite.

  4. This is probably my current favorite so far but I'm still on the lookout for "THE ONE". Nick Malgieri's Oatmeal Raisin Cookies is also good but I make it without the raisins and put in chocolate chips instead.

  5. Thanks for the fantastic recipe. My friends and husband are raving about it.