Although I much more prefer Chocolate-Chip Cookies, this recipe for Reduced-Fat Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies from the February/March 2009 issue of Cook's Country magazine just caught my eye. I don't know exactly why... I don't usually choose recipes that are supposedly healthier just because they use the "better for you" version of the "non-healthy" ingredients. My diet is called "everything in moderation" diet. I'd rather eat a piece of fresh from the oven crusty bread with a pat of butter than with some chemically tasting margarine. And when I bake a batch of cookies, we usually eat a few and the rest of them gets packed up and shipped off to my hubby's work.
No, there was something about this recipe that got me intrigued. I think it was the unique technique. I've always liked the Cook's Illustrated, Cook's Country & America's Test Kitchen's sometimes almost scientific approach to cooking & baking. Every so often, I stumble onto their recipe that differs so much from the traditional one, that I just have to try it to see what all that fuss is about.
Anyway, this recipe has a couple of unusual steps. First of all, half of the raisins is finely chopped up and then plumped up by boiling it in water to create a raisin paste of some sort. And the minimal amount of butter (6 TBSP total) is melted & browned in a skillet and then the oats are toasted in it.
The process was pretty easy, although a little more time consuming than your average oatmeal-raisin cookie but you just can't rush perfection... When they came out of oven, they smelled incredible. They taste really good too. They are little bit on the crunchy side rather than chewy but that that might be because I left them in the oven a couple of minutes too long. My husband announced that they are his new favorites... Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies are his favorite to start with, but I guess there might be something to his statement because he liked them even after I mentioned to him that these are the healthy, reduced-fat kind...
Cook's Country Reduced-Fat Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies
Source: February/March 2009 issue of Cook's Country magazine
1 cup raisins; 1/2 cup chopped fine, 1/2 cup left whole
3/4 cup water
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1-3/4 cups old-fashioned oats
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat over to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Combine chopped raisins and water in a small saucepan and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until water has evaporated and raisins are plump, about 15 minutes; let cool.
Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add oats, and cook stirring constantly, until just golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in cinnamon and cook until fragrant, about 30 more seconds; let cool.
Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a small bowl. In a large bowl, whisk sugar, egg and vanilla until smooth. Stir in whole and plumped raisins, oat mixture, and flour until just combined.
Roll 2 tablespoons of the dough into 1-1/2" balls and place 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Gently press the balls with measuring cup until they are 1/2" thick discs. Bake cookies until edges are light golden and centers are just set, 13 to 16 minutes, switching and rotating baking sheets halfway through the baking. Cool 10 minutes on sheets, then transfer to wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.
The cooled cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.