This is one of those recipes that came about because another oatmeal raisin cookie recipe didn't. I was insane to bake today in this ninety degree gawdawful heat. Cravings have priority. While I was at it--baking, that is, I whipped up some cinnamon raisin bread, too. It was a little steamy in here. (Something about the cinnamon being out made me crave the bread. But I don't know.) I can barely concentrate enough to stay on task going from one room to the next. But somehow today I was able to accomplish both bread and cookies thanks to a little cinnamon-obsessed moment.
I think of the oatmeal cookie in the way I was raised to think of them: chewy. There are other schools of thought on the matter of oatmeal cookies. And I won't eat them. You know who you are: dry and crumbly. Save that for the shortbread cookies. So after one huge, messy kitchen cookie disaster, I did what any other woman would do, I baked another batch of cookies again, only this time, I wasn't messing around. And brown butter showed up to take these to the next level of yum. It wasn't on purpose, sort of a happy accident with the butter. I wasn't paying attention. But it worked, okay?
I think I've mentioned my cookbook collection before. This is one of those days where it took flipping through at least half a dozen to find something close to what I wanted, only I had to veganize again and as I saw with the first try, I knew what not to do. (Sometimes you have to fall down in the kitchen to really be spectacular the next time.) Not literally. Though I've been known to do just that. Fall. Down.
See how the bottoms of these are all nice and crispy and tops are all fluffy and full of raisins--that's because we added some fat to them. No soy milk. Just plain old fat. Using Earth Balance vegan butter--and like I mentioned: browning it some.
(The vegan in me doesn't always crave uber-healthy.)
The mixture will be quite runny when you finish stirring and you may be left wondering what in the world I was thinking posting this recipe. But trust me, it firms up quickly in the fridge--just like the picture of this cold frosty bowl with its mound of raisin cookie dough (which I had to practice great restraint to keep from eating the entire thing myself). I made a small batch of dough--enough for a dozen cookies. I baked six at a time. I like to have the smell of the cookies in the house so I saved the rest of the dough for later. Use old fashioned rolled oats--not the quick cooking kind.
On a completely unrelated topic, I have been buying and storing cherries like they'll never return. I've walked around with red under my fingernails for a week from pitting them. I initially bought three pounds, intending to "just can a couple jars" of my favorite plum cherry preserves. But then I had to run the store again and I couldn't resist . . . just one more pound. And another. Well, let's just say that if the end of the world should happen tomorrow, we'll be okay. Er, I'll be okay. DH is not a fan. (How could this be--I ask him this every summer: How can you NOT like cherries?)
He prefers berries. So I canned mixed berry jam for him while I was at it. . . making for another steamy kitchen afternoon.
I used Pamona's Universal Pectin for all of my fruit canning this year. It's a saving grace when it comes to cutting back the sugar. My favorite plum cherry preserves usually takes seven cups of sugar for 4-5 half pints. This year, I measured my fruit out (after pitting) and then used the Pamona's create your own recipes chart to help me figure out the amount of sugar and pectin to use and cut my sugar I needed for the same recipe to two cups. Amazing. And better yet, I can taste the fruit and may possibly have saved myself from diabetes.
There's fifteen new jars of yum in the basement right now. This is just the beginning.
Next up: canning tomatoes!
Vegan Brown Butter Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
*Adapted from Chewy, Gooey, Crispy, Crunchy Melt-in-Your-Mouth Cookies by Alice Medrich
**makes 12-14 cookies
1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1/8 cup water
1/8 cup spelt flour
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 stick Earth Balance butter
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut *optional
1/2 cup raisins
Preheat oven to 350. Lightly spray a cookie sheet with nonstick spray and set aside. In a small bowl, add the oats and sprinkle the water over them and set aside. Melt the butter in a small sauce pan until the butter begins to change to a lovely light amber color. This may take five minutes or so--just keep and eye on it. Once you get a sort of amber color, remove from heat and set aside to cool. Measure out the dry ingredients into another bowl: flours, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt. Add the oats and sift together well. In the pan with the butter, add the sugars, vanilla extract, olive oil--mix well with a spoon--until sugars dissolve. Add the coconut (if using--and you should!), and raisins. Add all dry ingredients to the butter mixture and stir just until the dry pieces are incorporated--no vigorous stirring is needed! For one cookie, use about a tablespoon of dough. If you are baking these right away--the mixture may be too wet and would benefit from about 15-20 minutes in the fridge. Just trust me. Place the mound of dough for each cookie well-spaced apart on cookie sheet--about six cookies per cookie sheet because they will spread a bit. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until edges of cookies begin to turn golden brown. Remove pan from oven and allow cookies to cool completely on cookie sheet. Store in air tight cookie jar. (If you have dough left over, place in a container in fridge and remove about fifteen minutes prior to baking so you will have a softer cookie dough to work with.)