Better Baking Academy: Three Ways with Oatmeal Cookies

In our August lesson of the Better Baking Academy with Bob’s Red Mill, we give you three takes on a classic: the oatmeal cookie. They’re soft and chewy, perfectly spiced, and dotted with specks of juicy raisin. In order to achieve perfectly chewy yet tender cookies, this set of recipes utilizes both Bob’s Red Mill […] The post Better Baking Academy: Three Ways with Oatmeal Cookies appeared first on Bake from Scratch.

Better Baking Academy: Three Ways with Oatmeal Cookies

In our August lesson of the Better Baking Academy with Bob’s Red Mill, we give you three takes on a classic: the oatmeal cookie. They’re soft and chewy, perfectly spiced, and dotted with specks of juicy raisin. In order to achieve perfectly chewy yet tender cookies, this set of recipes utilizes both Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Organic Old Fashioned Rolled Oats and Bob’s Red Mill Organic All-Purpose Flour. We walk you through each step of the process, from creaming butter and sugar to getting the perfect-size oat pieces to shaping and baking. Whether sandwiched with buttercream, stuffed with cream cheese filling, or dipped in vanilla glaze, these cookies are sure to serve up a healthy dose of nostalgia. Click here for the printable PDF version of the module! We’ve also answered your top five questions about this module here

INGREDIENT BREAKDOWN

Great recipes require great ingredients. Here’s how each ingredient creates the ultimate oatmeal cookie.

BOB’S RED MILL GLUTEN FREE ORGANIC OLD FASHIONED ROLLED OATS: The star of the show! By blitzing the oats in a food processor, we’ve found the ultimate way to create the chewiest oatmeal cookie. Unlike quick-cooking oats, old- fashioned oats hold their texture and give these cookies a signature toasted oat flavor. They’re also the goldilocks ingredient of these cookies. The crumbled oats are just large enough to offer a slight bite and create little air pockets in the dough (thus creating an even more tender cookie), but they’re also small enough to keep them tender and allow them to absorb moisture and cook thoroughly in the oven.

CHOPPED RAISINS: The essential addition to any oatmeal cookie recipe is raisins. But in this recipe, we create an extra level of chewiness by pulsing the raisins in a food processor until they’re finely chopped. That means a more even distribution of sweet, chewy goodness.

BOB’S RED MILL ORGANIC ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR: Bob’s versatile all-purpose wheat flour has a protein content of 10% to 12%, creating cookies that are tender but have enough gluten structure to form a satisfyingly chewy interior. All-purpose flour is fairly neutral in flavor, so this gives the toasted flavor of the oats, the fruity sweetness of the raisins, and the rich caramel flavor of the molasses and brown sugar a chance to shine.

UNSWEETENED COCOA POWDER: Cocoa powder provides just the right amount of earthiness to cut through the sweet, buttery notes of these cookies. This flavor profile plays perfectly with the rustic flavor of the oats. The cocoa powder in this recipe also serves a scientific purpose. When moistened and heated, the alkali of baking soda and acid in cocoa powder react, neutralizing one another and giving off carbon dioxide gas, which aerates the dough, making the finished cookie puffier.

KOSHER SALT: Our salt of choice, kosher salt, is a pure, mined, additive-free salt that dissolves readily and has a crisp, clean taste. It is flaked rather than granulated, which allows for more even distribution.

GROUND CINNAMON: Perhaps one of the most quintessential flavors of the oatmeal cookie is the sweet hint of spice offered by cinnamon. It plays beautifully with the toasted nuttiness of the oats, the raisins’ sweetness, and the caramel notes offered by the molasses and brown sugar. In short, it wouldn’t really be an oatmeal cookie without a little bit of cinnamon.

BAKING SODA: When baking soda is combined with an acid, like the cocoa powder, baking powder, and brown sugar in this recipe, it produces carbon dioxide, which helps the cookie dough rise and eventually spread. It also helps the cookies caramelize, raising the pH level in the dough for peak browning.

BAKING POWDER: Comprised of baking soda, powdered acid or acids, and a starch, most baking powders are double-acting, meaning their chemical reaction occurs twice, using two different acids. The first is a very quick reaction that occurs when baking powder is combined with a liquid, aerating the dough. The second reaction is slower-acting, occurring when heated and baked. Bubbles of carbon dioxide are generated and are ultimately responsible for creating a lighter, more tender crumb when the cookie sets.

UNSALTED BUTTER: Butter contributes significant flavor and texture to cookies. It has a lower melting point than shortening or margarine, causing it to spread more during baking. For our recipe, we cream softened butter and brown sugar together, a classic technique that whips air pockets into the dough. Cookies that use the creaming method will be puffier and hold their shape during baking, ensuring a melt-in-the-mouth interior.

LIGHT BROWN SUGAR: Ultimately, brown sugar makes cookies moister and chewier than granulated sugar does. That’s because brown sugar contains molasses (about 10% molasses for light brown sugar and 20% for dark brown sugar). The molasses adds moisture and, because it’s slightly acidic, causes the proteins in cookie dough to firm up faster, creating a chewier texture.

EGGS: Eggs provide most of the moisture in cookie dough. In addition to binding everything together, eggs enrich and tenderize the dough. The more eggs you add to a cookie recipe, the cakier your cookie becomes. We found two eggs give the dough just the right amount of fluffy texture.

MOLASSES: Molasses is a thick, dark syrup resulting from the sugar-making process. Sugarcane is crushed, the juices are extracted, and then the juices are boiled down to form sugar crystals, which are removed from the liquid. Molasses is
the thick, brown syrup left after the sugar crystals have been removed from the liquid. In this recipe, it adds both moisture and flavor.

VANILLA EXTRACT: Vanilla complements the caramelly molasses flavor in the dough and the rich, slightly acidic flavor of the cocoa powder. A bit of vanilla extract rounds out the flavor of your cookie dough.

OATMEAL COOKIES

Oatmeal Cookies
 
These cookies are the best of all worlds. They’re soft and buttery, chewy, a little bit fruity, and perfectly crisp and caramelized around the edges. Cinnamon gives them their quintessential warm spice, and molasses adds a rich caramel flavor that complements the toasted earthy flavor of Bob’s Red Mill Old Fashioned Rolled Oats. Not to mention, these cookies provide the perfect base for an array of sweet and creamy vanilla accompaniments.
Makes about 45 cookies
Ingredients
  • 3 cups (300 grams) Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
  • ½ cup (80 grams) chopped raisins
  • 2 cups (250 grams) Bob’s Red Mill Organic All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 tablespoons (10 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1½ teaspoons (4.5 grams) kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon (2 grams) ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon (2.5 grams) baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon (1.25 gram) baking powder
  • 1 cup (227 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1¾ cups (385 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs (100 grams), room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons (42 grams) molasses
  • 1 teaspoon (4 grams) vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. In the work bowl of a food processor, pulse oats until almost ground and uniform in size but not too powdery. Add raisins, and pulse until finely chopped. Add flour, cocoa, salt, cinnamon, baking soda, and baking powder; pulse just until combined.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and brown sugar at medium speed until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in molasses and vanilla until combined. With mixer on low speed, add oats mixture in two additions, beating until combined after each addition. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line several baking sheets with parchment paper.
  4. Using a 1½-tablespoon spring-loaded scoop, scoop dough (about 30 grams each), and roll into smooth balls. Place 2 inches apart on prepared pans.
  5. Bake until bottom edges are golden but centers look a little wet, 8 to 12 minutes. (Do not overbake.) Let cool on pans for 5 minutes. Remove from pans, and let cool completely on wire racks.
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Oatmeal Sandwich Cookies with Vanilla Buttercream
 
Do you remember opening up those crinkly plastic wrappers and getting hit with the sweet, oat-y smell of pillowy soft cookies and sugary frosting? Well, these are all that and more. For the ultimate nostalgic treat, we sandwiched our classic Oatmeal Cookies with a creamy vanilla buttercream. The cookies are slightly crisp on the outside and perfectly chewy on the inside, making them perfect for sandwiching together with a generous slathering of vanilla buttercream.
Makes about 22 sandwich cookies
Ingredients
  • 1 cup (227 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon (6 grams) vanilla bean paste
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 cups (480 grams) confectioners’ sugar, divided
  • 1 tablespoon (15 grams) whole milk
  • Oatmeal Cookies (recipe precedes)
Instructions
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, vanilla bean paste, and salt at medium speed until smooth and well combined. Reduce mixer speed to low; gradually add 2 cups (240 grams) confectioners’ sugar, beating until smooth. Beat in milk until combined; scrape sides of bowl. Add remaining 2 cups (240 grams) confectioners’ sugar, and beat until smooth and well combined. Place in a pastry bag fitted with a ½-inch piping tip. Pipe buttercream onto flat side of half of Oatmeal Cookies. Place remaining Oatmeal Cookies, flat side down, on top of buttercream.
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Cream Cheese-Stuffed Oatmeal Cookies
 
Looking for a tangy twist to the classic? Try out this stuffed alternative. Whisking together cream cheese, sugar, and just a hint of salt makes for a decadently rich and creamy filling for our crisp and chewy Oatmeal Cookies. You almost won’t even need the usual cool glass of milk on the side. This cookie offers all you could ever need in each bite.
Makes about 22 cookies
Ingredients
  • Oatmeal Cookies (recipe precedes)
  • 8 ounces (226 grams) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3½ tablespoons (42 grams) granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
Instructions
  1. Proceed with Oatmeal Cookies recipe as directed through step 2.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together cream cheese, sugar, and salt until smooth and combined. Cover and freeze for 15 minutes.
  3. Using a 1½-tablespoon spring- loaded scoop, scoop Oatmeal Cookies dough (about 30 grams each). Roll into balls, and flatten into 2¼- to 2½-inch disks. Spoon or scoop 2 teaspoons (12 grams) cream cheese mixture into center of 1 disk, and cover with a second disk. Crimp edges to seal, and gently shape (or roll) into a ball. Repeat with remaining cream cheese mixture and remaining dough disks. Place dough balls about 3 inches apart on prepared pans. Gently flatten balls to ¾-inch thickness, crimping any cracks to seal, if necessary.
  4. Bake until bottom edges are golden but centers look a little wet, 10 to 14 minutes. (Do not overbake.) Let cool on pans for 5 minutes. Remove from pans, and let cool completely on wire racks.
Notes
Note: Feel free to glaze these stuffed cookies with the sugar glaze recipe that follows. A little extra sweetness never hurt anybody!
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Sugar-Glazed Oatmeal Cookies
 
Makes about 45 cookies
Ingredients
  • 2½ cups (300 grams) confectioners’ sugar, divided
  • 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon (50 grams) water
  • Oatmeal Cookies (recipe precedes)
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together 2 cups (240 grams) confectioners’ sugar and 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon (50 grams) water until smooth. Add remaining ½ cup (60 grams) confectioners’ sugar, and whisk until combined. Tap bowl on a kitchen towel-lined counter to remove any air bubbles from surface. Dip tops of Oatmeal Cookies in glaze, letting excess drip off. Let stand until glaze is set.
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MAKING THE DOUGH

With cookies, detail is everything. The perfect cookie crumb is achieved only when the utmost attention is given to the process of making the dough. In order to attain a tender crumb, it’s important that the dough stay cool during the mixing and shaping process and that you avoid overmixing the dough at all costs.

1. In the work bowl of a food processor, pulse oats until uniform in size and almost ground but not too powdery. Add raisins, and pulse until raisins are finely chopped. Add flour, cocoa, salt, cinnamon, baking soda, and baking powder; pulse just until combined. The texture we’re looking for in this step is just short of creating your own oat flour. Not only will little flecks of oats create a perfectly textured cookie, but the smaller pieces will also ensure a more even distribution of oats throughout the dough.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and brown sugar at medium speed until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. This step is known as creaming butter, where softened butter and sugar are beaten not just for the purpose of mixing them together but also to incorporate precious air into the dough. Science-wise, the sharp sugar crystals break into the dense fat of the butter, creating little pockets. The mixer simultaneously fills these voids with air, creating microscopic bubbles that expand and lighten the butter-sugar mixture. Every minute you mix, more air is incorporated—but take time to scrape the bowl. Certain spots of butter will stubbornly stick to the sides, not getting proper creaming attention. If not scraped before creaming is done, these leftover spots become dreaded butter streaks in your cookie dough, creating greasy pockets in some cookies.

Regarding consistency, your properly creamed butter and brown sugar will be fluffy like whipped cream and pale tan in color. Creamed too little, it’ll look and feel like gritty clumps of sand, making cookies that will spread more and have a denser texture. Butter that has been creamed too much, say 6 minutes when it should take 2 to 3, will look soupy and greasy, as the butter will begin to separate from the mixture. This will lead to gummy cookies. You can’t salvage over- creamed butter, so pay attention to the changing consistency of your mixture carefully.

3. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. The cleanest, easiest way to add eggs to your batter is to place them in a small bowl or measuring cup and then pour them in one at time. Doing so will give you greater control, allowing you to direct the egg flow gradually and directly into the batter so the egg doesn’t hit and cling to the sides of the bowl. Why beat them in one at a time/gradually? Eggs are emulsifiers, which means they help bind ingredients together to create a homogenous mixture. However, if you add them all at once, they emulsify with each other first, creating a large, scrambled mixture that resists smooth incorporation. Make it easier on your dough and add them gradually.

4. Beat in molasses and vanilla until combined. The last thing to add to the wet batter is your molasses and vanilla extract. Both liquids won’t distribute as smoothly in the thicker, flour-incorporated batter. You’d have to mix longer, creating a tougher cookie.

5. With mixer on low speed, add oats mixture in two additions, beating until combined after each addition. It’s important not to overmix; it’s OK to have a couple streaks of flour.

6. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. A chill in the refrigerator does so many fantastic things to cookie dough. First, it allows the different flavors to mingle and intensify. Second, the butter will firm back up and the brown sugar will absorb more liquid, meaning that when these cookies are baked, the butter will melt slower, the cookies will spread less, and the texture will be significantly better. Third, the flour and oats will have time to hydrate, which will also keep the cookies from spreading too much during baking.

 

SHAPING TUTORIAL: SCOOPING YOUR WAY TO SUCCESS

Learn how to shape your dough before the big bake.

1. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a 1½-tablespoon spring-loaded scoop, scoop dough (about 30 grams each), and roll into smooth balls. Place 2 inches apart on prepared pans. A spring-loaded scoop is a baker’s best friend. It creates evenly portioned cookie dough balls without using your hands directly. To scoop, dig your spring-loaded scoop into the dough and then scrape the cookie dough in the scoop along the side of your mixer bowl, removing excess cookie dough from the lip of the scoop and pressing the dough in tighter (think of packing brown sugar into a measuring cup). Then release the cookie dough from the scoop, roll into a ball, and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.

 

SOME MAKE-AHEAD MAGIC

Very few things freeze better than cookie dough. That being said, there’s definitely a right way and a wrong way to freeze your dough. When freezing cookie dough, it’s best to have your dough already portioned out; otherwise, you’ll be trying to ice-pick dough off a frozen block, which isn’t really a time-saver. Instead, we recommend freezing the cookie dough balls on the pan until they are frozen solid, about 1 hour. If you’re making the stuffed cookies, you’ll want to stuff and crimp your cookies before freezing. While the dough is freezing, use a marker to label a resealable plastic freezer bag with the recipe’s required oven temperature and bake time as well as the date the dough was made. Once the cookie dough balls or disks are frozen, place them into the labeled plastic bag and freeze for up to 3 months. You can bake these directly from frozen, adding 1 to 2 minutes to bake time. Alternatively, you can let the cookie dough thaw in the refrigerator overnight and then bake as directed.

If you’re looking to refrigerate your dough, you can refrigerate it as a whole or portion it out. With refrigeration, it’s especially important to make sure your dough is sealed in an airtight container to prevent any air from entering in and drying out your dough. Sealed and refrigerated, your dough will keep for up to 5 days.

 

LET THE BAKING BEGIN

Your cookie dough has rested and been shaped. Now’s the time to preheat your oven and bake.

1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). If your oven takes a while to heat up, don’t be afraid to pop your cookies back in the refrigerator until it’s up to temperature.

2. Bake until bottom edges are golden but centers look a little wet, 8 to 12 minutes. (Do not overbake.) Let cool on pans for 5 minutes. Remove from pans, and let cool completely on wire racks. It might feel strange to take the cookies out of the oven with the centers looking underdone. However, if cookies are left on the pan, they will continue to bake even after they’ve been pulled from the oven. So, as the cookies cool on the pan, the centers will continue to bake ever so slightly, making them perfectly chewy and soft. By pulling the cookies before they are uniformly golden, you avoid a crunchy, hard cookie.

 

OATMEAL SANDWICH COOKIES WITH VANILLA BUTTERCREAM

In this classic twist, we show you how to pipe the perfect amount of buttercream to create the ultimate sandwich cookie. Just make sure your cookies are completely cool before you start filling them, or you might just lose all your filling in the first bite.

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, vanilla bean paste, and salt at medium speed until smooth and well combined. Reduce mixer speed to low; gradually add 2 cups (240 grams) confectioners’ sugar, beating until smooth. Beat in milk until combined; scrape sides of bowl. Add remaining 2 cups (240 grams) confectioners’ sugar, and beat until smooth and well combined.

2. Place in a pastry bag fitted with a ½-inch piping tip. Pipe buttercream onto flat side of half of Oatmeal Cookies. Place remaining Oatmeal Cookies, flat side down, on top of buttercream. To fill the bag, hold the bag in the middle and fold the top half down over your hand to open it up. Using a spoon or spatula, place the buttercream in the bottom of the pastry bag. Scrape any excess buttercream off the spoon or spatula against the side of the bag before withdrawing it. It’s important not to overfill the pastry bag, so you’ll want to fill the bag only about two-thirds full. Twist the top of the bag once and gently “burp” the bag by adding a bit of pressure to eliminate any air bubbles that may have gotten trapped before piping. Then, starting in the middle of a cookie and swirling outward, pipe buttercream onto the flat side of half of the cookies, and place the remaining cookies, flat side down, on top of the buttercream and press together.

 

CREAM CHEESE-STUFFED OATMEAL COOKIES

Lately, stuffed cookies have been all the rage. In this take on the classic, we show you how to properly fill, crimp, and bake your stuffed cookies for the ultimate all-in-one treat.

1. Proceed with Oatmeal Cookies recipe as directed through step 2.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together cream cheese, sugar, and salt until smooth and combined. Cover and freeze for 15 minutes.

3. Using a 1½-tablespoon spring-loaded scoop, scoop Oatmeal Cookies dough (about 30 grams each). Roll into balls, and flatten into 2¼- to 2½-inch disks. Spoon or scoop 2 teaspoons (12 grams) cream cheese mixture in center of 1 dough disk, and cover with a second disk.

4. Crimp edges to seal, and gently shape (or roll) into a ball. Repeat with remaining cream cheese mixture and remaining dough disks. Place dough balls about 3 inches apart on prepared pans. Gently flatten balls to ¾-inch thickness, crimping any cracks to seal, if necessary.

5. Bake until bottom edges are golden but centers look a little wet, 10 to 14 minutes. (Do not overbake.) Let cool on pans for 5 minutes. Remove from pans, and let cool completely on wire racks.

 

SUGAR-GLAZED OATMEAL COOKIES

Give your oatmeal cookies a sweet and simple finish with the help of this stress-free sugar glaze. It’s the perfect addition to any one of the recipes above, be it plain, filled, or sandwiched.

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together 2 cups (240 grams) confectioners’ sugar and 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon (50 grams) water until smooth. Add remaining ½ cup (60 grams) confectioners’ sugar, and whisk until combined. Tap bowl on a kitchen towel-lined counter to remove any air bubbles from surface.

2. Dip tops of Oatmeal Cookies in glaze, letting excess drip off. Let stand until glaze is set. To dip, simply grab a cookie around the outer edge, dip in the glaze, and lift straight up. Let any excess glaze drip away and then, in a twisting motion, turn the cookie upright and place on a flat surface to set. If your glaze starts to form a crust, simply whisk the mixture again and then continue dipping.

The post Better Baking Academy: Three Ways with Oatmeal Cookies appeared first on Bake from Scratch.