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Thursday, July 16, 2015

Recipe: (Not So) Old-Fashioned Oatmeal Raisin Peanut Cookies

Cooling Chocolate Oatmeal Raisin Peanut Cookies

Recipe: (Not So) Old-Fashioned Oatmeal Raisin Peanut Cookies



Ever notice that most cookie recipes read exactly the same way? 

"Cream the Butter and the Sugar. Beat in the Eggs. Add the Flour. Plop the dough on a sheet tray. Bake. Eat. Regret. Eat some more!" 

Well, there's a good reason you why you have seen those steps repeated over and over and over. They work! But just like skinning cats (and far more appetizing), there's more than one way to make cookies.

This take on the Old-Fashioned Oatmeal Cookie steps away from that more common "Creaming Method" of mixing (i.e. solid Butter and Sugar are beaten until they are smooth, light in color and airy in texture) and introduces liquid fat in the form of Brown Butter.

For the amount of flavor it adds to a recipe, Brown Butter is remarkably easy to make. Simply heat Butter in a saucepan to a gentle boil. Boil the Butter until the water content evaporates and the milk solids (the remaining non-fat portion of the Butter) cook and begin to turn brown. The process unlocks a deep, nutty flavor that truly enhances the recipe.

But I didn't stop there. Wanting to take a few more steps away from the classic incarnation, I also decided this cookie needed to be Chocolate... and also needed to be packed with Roasted Peanuts, Raisins and Chocolate Chips. The end result is a mouthful (quite literally).


Chocolate Oatmeal Raisin Peanut Cookie
There's certainly nothing wrong with an Old-Fashioned Oatmeal Cookie. But that doesn't mean there's no place for a Chocolate Oatmeal Peanut Raisin Cookie made with Brown Butter. 

Brown ButterBegin by making the Brown Butter so that it can cool before you mix the other ingredients (you don't want to see what happens when you try to mix boiling fat with raw eggs). Brown Butter has a deep, nutty flavor that will add a lot to the cookie.

Start by cubing the Butter and place it in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Heat the Butter to a gentle boil, stirring occasionally. As the Butter boils, the water will evaporate and the  milk solids will begin to brown (they will appear as little golden flecks). Continue heating the Butter until these milk solids turn a deep brown. To keep the milk solids from burning, immediately transfer the Butter to a separate container to stop the cooking process. Set the Brown Butter aside to cool.

Bowl of Brown Sugar and White SugarAs the Butter cools, scale out the remaining ingredients.

Brown Butter Mixed with White Sugar and Brown SugarOnce the Brown Butter is cool, place it in a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and combine it with the Sugars. Since the fat from the Butter is melted, the Butter and Sugars will not whip into a light and airy appearing mixture. But don't worry. The mixture will come together when you add the Eggs, which contain natural emulsifiers that help to hold the ingredients together.

Bowl of Eggs and Vanilla ExtractAdd the Eggs to the batter one at a time, mixing until the batter is light in color and airy between additions. Then stir in the Vanilla Extract.

Dough with Eggs Emulsified into Sugars and Butter
The Eggs noticeably change the appearance of the batter. Because of the emulsifiers in the Eggs, air gets trapped in the batter which lightens in color and texture.

Bowl of Dry Ingredients
Next, combine all of the dry ingredients (Oats, Flour, Cocoa Powder, Salt, Baking Soda, Baking Powder, Cinnamon and Nutmeg) in a large bowl and stir to combine. Add the dry ingredients to the batter in two additions while mixing on medium speed.

Bowl of Raisins, Toasted Peanuts and Chocolate Chips
As the dough begins to come together, add the Raisins, Roasted Peanuts and Chocolate Chips. If you don't like Peanuts or Raisins, any Nut or Dried Fruit will work.

For the Peanuts, you can buy pre-roasted nuts or you can place raw peanuts in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes (but allow the nuts to cool before placing them in a bowl with Chocolate Chips).

Bowl of Final Dough for Chocolate Oatmeal Raisin Peanut Cookies
Mix all of the ingredients together until the dough just comes together.

Final Dough for Chocolate Oatmeal Raisin Peanut Cookies
The dough will be very solid and chunky given the texture of the Oats, Peanuts, Raisins and Chocolate Chips.

Final Dough for Chocolate Oatmeal Raisin Peanut Cookies
Portion individual cookies weighing 60g and roll them into balls. Place the cookies on a parchment lined sheet tray and gently flatten them in place (this will prevent the cookies from rolling as you move the sheet trays).

Individual Chocolate Oatmeal Raisin Peanut Cookie
Bake the cookies at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 15 minutes, rotating the sheet tray halfway through the bake time.

Cooling Chocolate Oatmeal Raisin Peanut Cookies
Allow the cookies to cool for 5 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack. The cookies will be very tender when they come out of the oven.

Once the cookies have cooled completely, they can be stored in an air tight container. The cookies will keep well for a week, or they can be frozen for several months in an air tight container. Allow frozen cookies to temper to room temperature for about an hour before serving.




- The Recipe -



(Not So) Old-Fashioned Oatmeal Raisin Cookies:

Yield1,500g - Two Dozen

Ingredients:
  • Unsalted Butter, browned: 225g (1 Cup / 2 Sticks)
  • White Granulated Sugar: 200g (1 Cup)
  • Light Brown Sugar: 200g (1 Cup)

  • Whole Eggs: 100g (2x)
  • Vanilla Extract: 4g (1 Tsp)

  • Old-Fashioned Oats: 240g (3 Cups)
  • All Purpose Flour: 180g (1.5 Cups)
  • Cocoa Powder: 60g (0.5 Cup)
  • Salt: 6g (1 Tsp)
  • Baking Soda: 6g (1 Tsp)
  • Baking Powder: 6g (1 Tsp)
  • Cinnamon: 1 Tsp
  • Nutmeg: 0.5 Tsp

  • Peanuts, roasted: 110g (1 Cup)
  • Raisins: 80g (0.5 Cup)
  • Chocolate Chips: 90g (0.5 Cup)


Directions:


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 

2. Brown the Butter: Cube the Butter and place it in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Heat the Butter until it comes to a boil, stirring occasionally. As the Butter boils, the water content will evaporate and the milk solids will begin to brown. Continue heating until the Butter turns a deep brown. Immediately transfer the Brown Butter to a separate bowl to stop the cooking process. Set the Brown Butter aside to cool.

Chef's Note: Brown Butter will add a nutty, depth of flavor to the cookies. The longer you cook the Butter, the deeper and richer the flavor will be, but take care not to burn the Butter. The Butter will be extremely hot when you remove it from the stove. Cooling the Brown Butter before adding it to the other ingredients, particularly the Eggs which could cook on contact, is critical.

3. If you are using Peanuts that have not already been roasted, place them on a sheet tray in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven until they begin to brown and release oils - about 10 minutes. Set the Peanuts aside to cool.

4. Once the Brown Butter has cooled, combine it with the White Sugar and Brown Sugar in a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Keeping the mixer on medium speed, add the Eggs one at a time, waiting until the batter is light in color and airy between additions. Stir in the Vanilla Extract.

Chef's Note: When Sugars are beaten with solid Butter, air becomes trapped in the mixture and the batter takes on a light color and texture. With liquid fats, like Brown Butter, it is harder to trap air. However, natural emulsifier in the Eggs fix the issue and help to emulsify the batter.

5. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients (Oats, Flour, Cocoa Powder, Salt, Baking Soda, Baking Powder, Cinnamon and Nutmeg) ensuring that they are well distributed. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add half of the dry ingredients. Mix the dough briefly. While the dough is still streaky, add the remaining dry ingredients and continue mixing. As soon as a homogeneous dough forms, add the Peanuts, Raisins and Chocolate Chips and mix until just combined.

Chef's Note: Once the dry ingredients, which include the All Purpose Flour, have been added to the dough, the mixing process should be as gentle and as brief as possible. Overworking the dough with develop gluten, which will result in a tougher-textured Cookie.

6. Portion the dough into 60g pieces and roll each cookie into a ball. Place the cookies on a parchment lined sheet tray with a couple of inches between each cookie to allow for some spreading. Gently press down on each cookie to prevent it from rolling as you move the sheet tray.

7. Bake the Cookies for approximately 15 minutes, rotating the sheet tray after 8 minutes. Allow the Cookies to cool for at least 5 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack. 

The cookies should be stored in an air tight container and will keep well for a week. The cookies will also freeze well in an air tight container. Allow frozen cookies to temper to room temperature for about an hour before serving.

Plate with Chocolate Oatmeal Raisin Peanut Cookie




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