Saturday, January 19, 2008

Ginger Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Ginger Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Ginger Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

When a batch of cookies goes awry, sometimes it's the recipe's fault. Other times, it's your fault. Well- at least your equipment's fault.

Once, I took a batch of these gingersnaps to my friend's office the same day one of his coworkers did. Even though we used the same recipe, our cookies looked and tasted nothing alike. It was clear we approached things very differently; he mentioned spending time in Whole Foods searching for "packed brown sugar."

There are so many variables involved in cookie baking: technique, baking time, temperature, equipment, ingredients, cooling understand them, you must bake lots of cookies.

I made a big bowl of Ginger Oatmeal Raisin Cookie dough and experimented with each dozen I baked. I baked some batches for 10 minutes, and others for 12-16. I used different types of cookie sheets. I left some cookies on the sheet to cool and moved others to racks individually. I flattened the cookies to different thicknesses. I put little squares of candied ginger on some and left others plain. I fiddled with the oven temperature and oven rack position.

Eventually, I found my favorite combination: one inch balls of dough, flattened and garnished with ginger, baked on a parchment-lined half-sheet pan in the upper middle rack of my oven for 10 minutes at 325 F and an extra 2-3 minutes at 330 F, and cooled completely on the cookie sheet.

There's no guarantee this method will work for you. You probably have a different oven, different cookie sheets, different weather, and a different taste in cookies. I like mine crunchy at the edges, chewy in the middle, nicely golden, and well spiced.

I like this recipe. The cayenne pepper and ginger add a nice bite to an otherwise traditional, satisfying oatmeal raisin cookie.

Ginger Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
adapted from Pichet Ong's The Sweet Spot
1 1/2 cups (223g) all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup (226g) unsalted butter, cut into 1 inch cubes and chilled
2/3 cup (114g) packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup (114g) sugar
2 tbsp candied ginger, finely chopped, plus more for garnish if desired
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
2 large eggs
1 tbsp whole milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups (170g) old fashioned rolled oats
1 1/4 cups (170g) raisins, preferably golden

1. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda and set aside.

2. Put the butter, both sugars, the ginger, cinnamon, salt, and cayenne, into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. With the machine running, add the eggs one at a time, then add the milk and vanilla. As soon as the liquids are incorporated, stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.

3. Turn the mixer speed to low and add half the flour mixture. When it is incorporated, add the remaining flour and mix until no traces of flour remain. Stir in the oats and raisins. If you have time, cover the dough and let chill for at least 2 hours, or up to 3 days, before baking.

4. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 325 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

5. Scoop the cookie dough into 1 inch balls and put 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. Use your palm to slightly flatten each ball, then sprinkle the tops with chopped candied ginger, if desired.

6. Bake the cookies until lightly golden brown, about 10 minutes*. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. The cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

*I pulled one batch of cookies at exactly 10 minutes and they were way under-baked. My baking time also varied depending on the type of cookie sheet I used. Wait until the cookies are no longer wet/shiny on top. They should be just golden at the edges. Bake them longer for a crispier cookie.


Koren said...

What a fun experiment. I made oatmeal cookies a few weeks ago and sadly overbaked one batch. I realized that I really don't like them crunchy all the way through; they must have a soft center. I actually froze the too-hard cookies with the hopes of crushing them and using them as a crisp topping (I might be a little neurotic about not wasting food). Oatmeal cookies are my absolute favorite cookies, and I love ginger, but I've never thought to combine them! I might have to give it a try.

FranMag said...

Those look amazing! The packed brown sugar story reminds me of a friend of a friend who went to the grocery store and asked for devenayed shrimp (deveined).

Patricia Scarpin said...

Your cookies look perfect.