A few weeks ago we had a family get together where I overheard my brother- in- law comment that he would rather have an oatmeal raisin cookie any day over a dessert. My husband and his other brother also agreed with him, which had me wondering if that is how most men feel. Would they rather skip dessert and settle for a nice homemade cookie? Perhaps that with five kids to feed my mother-in-law didn’t have much time for fancy desserts, so it wasn’t something the boys were used to. Well, you can give me a good oatmeal raisin cookie any day and I will be happy, and I will also take the dessert as well!
What makes a good cookie anyway? For me, homemade is always best. Buttery, crunchy, spicy, chewy, big, are a few things that come to my mind. What’s your favourite cookie?
A few days after the cookie conversation, my brother-in-law and his wife came to our house for a visit. So of course, I just had to make oatmeal raisin cookies, and when they left I gave them a bag full of “Vern’s Oatmeal Raisin Cookies” for the long trip home. I like to think Vern was pretty happy about that.
To me, a good oatmeal raisin cookie gives you a comfy, cozy feeling of back home when the kitchen was flooded with the smell of butter, sugar, and cinnamon. Life was good with a fresh baked cookie and a cold glass of milk!
I’m quite sure oatmeal raisin cookies were a staple in many Canadian lunchboxes. No frills, just plain good wholesome cookies! Looking through my vintage cookbooks, it’s clearly evident that oats did play a very big part in baking. In my mom’s “Barbour Cook Book”, I counted over 18 recipes in the cookie section with oats in them.
So now it’s back to school time again. Why not pack a few of these easy to make cookies in your child’s lunch? In my Robin Hood Cookbook from 1947, it states: “Nobody should be too busy to make a batch now and then. There is such a feeling of satisfaction in having a cookie jar well filled.” Really it doesn’t take that much time to make these cookies, and your kids will be proud of you for it.
The little red plaid lunchbox in the photo is mine, and I carried it to school until grade three. Years ago I found it tucked away in a cupboard when I was visiting my dad after mom had passed away. I guess I take after my mom when it comes to sentimentality. Anyway, I remember one particularly cold winter day in the tiny community where I grew up outside Saint John, New Brunswick. I had to walk quite a distance to school in the knee-deep snow. By noon, I had worked up quite an appetite and was looking forward to my lunch. When I opened the lid of my lunchbox, I was shocked to discover that part of my lunch was missing! To make a long story short, poor Frankie got in trouble that day from the teacher for stealing a certain item from my lunchbox. Too bad Frankie didn’t ask me, I probably would have shared my cookies with him! Then again, maybe not, they were really good!
Oatmeal raisin cookies are crisp on the outside and chewy in the center, buttery, and plump with raisins all through. No wonder they are Vern’s favourite cookies! I find they are best eaten fresh, as they get a little softer after a day. They freeze very well though, in fact, my husband prefers frozen cookies and usually at eight o’clock in the evening you will see him rummaging through the freezer looking for one!
- 1 cup butter, at room temperature
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1½ cups large- flake rolled oats
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup raisins
- Preheat oven to 350 degreesF.
- Line 2 rimless baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl beat butter with sugars until light and smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla.
- In a separate bowl, combine flour, oats, soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add raisins.
- Fold into butter mixture and blend together.
- Using an ice-cream scoop ¾ full (I like my cookies fairly big, feel free to make them smaller), roll dough into a ball, and drop onto parchment paper lined baking sheet, placing the dough a couple of inches apart, remembering they will spread.
- Flatten slightly with your hand.
- Bake in the center of the oven for 12-14 minutes or until golden and just firm to the touch. Let cool on the baking sheets for a few minutes. Transfer to racks to cool completely.
- Store in a tightly covered container for a couple of days or freeze. Also, cookie dough can be frozen after it has been placed on the cookie sheets and flattened slightly. Once frozen, transfer to freezer bags, or an airtight container. To bake from frozen, let the dough rest at room temperature for a few minutes while the oven is pre-heating.