Monday, July 23, 2012

Simplest Scratch Oatmeal Cookies

This oatmeal cooky recipe uses the minimal amount of ingredients, for those who want a nekkid cooky that has lots of oatmeal, and no raisins, nuts, chocolate chips, white sugar, extracts, or whatever additional ingredients. The ingredients are simple—oatmeal, flour, baking soda, oil, eggs, and brown sugar. As a bonus, I include information for resoftening a brown sugar brick into its spoonable form. (How many of you bakers have found your brown sugar dried out like I did?)

Most oatmeal cookies call for butter (saturated fat!). A few call for oil. In both types of recipes, they seem to call for way more oil than I want to use. After having poked around several online and oatmeal box recipes, I've come up with a recipe that reflects fewer steps and fewer calories. Forget having to let butter soften and creaming it with sugars, in the cream-butter-and-sugar instructions.

  • One appealing recipe called for few ingredients (5). Seemed strange for no flour, however, and only brown sugar. The other appeal was the cooky's minimalism, with no raisins, chocolate chips, or nuts. The expected yield of 30 cookies seemed low for the effort I'd expend. The calorie count sounded okay, however at 89 calories apiece.
  • One recipe was interesting but not appealing for me because of the number of ingredients (13--LOTS of ingredients) and complicated process throughout. The expected yield of 36 cookies was more palatable than the previous recipe I cited. But at a reported 192 calories each, I'd have wanted to halve the cookie sizes and end up with 72 96-calorie cookies.
  • One oil-for-butter recipe claimed to be low fat. I dunno--18 cookies at 129 calories each. Their ideas of dropping by tablespoons must differ from mine. OTOH, the recipe calls for chocolate chips AND raisins.
  • The recipe that came with my oatmeal box was appealing because it called for the most oatmeal and claimed the yield to be about four dozen. It was weird that the oatmeal company did not list the calories. I had to look elsewhere for the recipe AND caloric info. BTW, the calories include added raisins.

Oddly, I have two oatmeal box lids with the same-name recipe. The only difference is that both call for 1/2 pound of butter, but one lists 2 sticks and the other one lists 1 stick and 6 tablespoons. Cooking measurements typically show 1/2 pound to equal 1 cup to equal 8 tablespoons when talking about water or fat.

My upper pixstrip shows five image areas:

  1. Implements
  2. Ingredients, dry and wet
  3. Mixed ingredients in one bowl
  4. Dough spoonfuls on pan
  5. Baked cookies

Implements

  • cooky pan(s)
  • pastry blender
  • mixer
  • large mixing bowl
  • medium small mixing bowl
  • measuring cups
  • measuring spoons
  • additional implements in case of needing to resoften brown sugar
  • rubber spatulas
  • cooling rack for done cookies

Ingredients (adapted from Dale Goodman's Food.com webpage)

  • 2/3 C oil
  • 1 1/3 C brown sugar, firmly packed (See note in Instruction 4 if you first need to resoften the brown sugar.)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 C all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 C Quicker Quaker Oats or 3 C Old-Fashioned Quaker oats, uncooked

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Pour the flour and soda into a large mixing bowl, using the pastry blender to blend well.
  3. Add the oatmeal, blending well.
  4. In the smaller bowl, mix the oil, eggs, and brown sugar.
    Note: If you need to resoften the brown sugar, refer to 10 Ways To Soften Hard Brown Sugar. (I used Quick Tip #1, the 7th suggestion—illustrated in the Brown sugar resoftening pixstrip at the top of this article.)
    Need it soft now? Put it in a container and set in the microwave with a small bowl full of water beside it. Microwave for about 1 minute–check. If it’s still hard, try for another 30 seconds. You can keep doing this until it’s soft, but watch that you don’t melt it.
  5. Pour the wet ingredients (oil, eggs, brown sugar) into the larger bowl.
  6. Use the pastry blender to stir the ingredients together.
  7. Use a tablespoon to scoop the dough.
  8. Drop the spoon's dough onto the cooky sheet.
  9. Bake for about 10-12 minutes until the edges are lightly browned.
  10. Transfer the done cookies onto cooling rack.

Calories

The recipe yielded 56 cookies, calculated to about 63 calories each. YMMV, depending on optional added ingredients and dough spoonful size.

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