Monday, July 7, 2014

Crispy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies - Dutch Oven Style

Since you've asked for some recipes from the dutch oven gathering - I asked Daniel and Susan to share how they made their yummy oatmeal cookies. These were seriously the best oatmeal cookies I had ever eaten. This is their reply.

Crispy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Susan makes the crispy oatmeal the recipe at Mel's Kitchen Cafe., using the mixer and baking in the oven and so forth. 

Some of the children like them best as 'crispy oatmeal cookies'.

Daniel prefers 'crispy oatmeal raisin cookies'--with about a pint or more of raisins in the doubled recipe (you can tell if you have too many raisins when the cookie dough doesn't stay together ;) ).

Susan & Daniel enjoy them with apricots instead of raisins (although with apricots plus raisins would probably be good too).  Daniel stacks several dried apricots (about 6), then cuts thru the stack to make 'halves'; then rotate the stacks and thinly slice perpendicular to the first cut.

Daniel prefers to not use the mixer when making these.  

*He uses the proportions of Mel's recipe doubled; 
* in Mel's step 2, uses a fork to blend/stir/mix the powdered ingredients;
* for step 3, use a 4.5 quart glass mixing bowl;
* in step 3, use a pastry cutter to blend near room-temperature butter with the sugars, egg, and vanilla (as one operation) until thoroughly mixed;
* continuing step 3, add the dry ingredients and use the pastry cutter to cut the flour into the buttery mixture.  Like for any good pastry, do the minimum necessary to achieve an mostly thorough mixing of the flour into the butter;
* continuing step 3, use a spurtle (basically a 3/4" dowel with rounded ends, to minimally blend the oatmeal into the butter/sugar/flour mixture.  If adding dried fruit, mix the oatmeal until about half blended, then add the fruit and finish the mixing.  Daniel has some small pockets of unblended oatmeal left when finished mixing.
* for step 4, use a standard soup spoon and gather a lump of the dough.  This is where you artfully finish incorporating the unmixed oats.  Place lump into hand and squeeze a couple of times to form a ball.  The perfect size of the ball is about 1.5" diameter.  Your perfect size may be different. Use baking parchment.  For baking in the kitchen oven, you don't need to squish them flat--they spread quite nicely.  Unsquished cookies are a bit thicker, squished ones are a bit more lacy.  Daniel's 1.5" ball will make a cookie almost 5" diameter.  Susan uses a 1.5" cookie scoop, but has less dough as she makes mostly hemispheres, so her cookies are a bit smaller.
* for step 5, cook a bit longer then recommended--depending on oven--for a crispier product.

For dutch oven baking, the hardest part is getting, then maintaining, the oven at the proper temperature.  The next hardest part is patience, as you can only make several per batch in the dutch oven.  Daniel has noticed that the dutch oven baked cookies are a bit more gooey when finished than the kitchen-oven baked cookies--it seems difficult to get enough top heat without burning the bottoms (or maybe Daniel is not experienced enough, yet).  Daniel recommends squishing the ball when baking in the dutch oven, unless a gooey cookie is preferred.  But any variety of the cookie is good!

These are generally too thin/lacy for proper cookie dipping in milk, but that doesn't prevent Daniel from trying.

Enjoy your cookies.  You would probably have to work hard to make then wrong.

Thanks Daniel and Susan for sharing this recipe!

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