Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

oatmeal raisin cookies

We seem to be going though an age of competitions and it’s interesting for me to see so much fascination with being a chef, and people acting out on television what goes on (or they perceive goes on) in restaurant kitchens. I spent most of my life behind the stoves and let me tell you, it’s often not pretty and I would not want anyone following me around with a camera while I cooked. (Which is why this blog doesn’t include a webcam.)

I’m not sure how this fascination with being a chef came to be as it’s really ‘grunt’ work and there’s nothing at all glamorous about it; no matter how many tattoos you have or how much you swear at underlings, there’s still a ton of work involved and no way you’re going to get through it by the end of your shift. Sure, I had a great time cooking with friends and co-workers (well, most of them…), but the grueling hours and the physical labor involved is one of the main reasons that I’m permanently damaged, both physically and psychologically.

flocons d'avoine oats

Thankfully I was part of that elite group of people in the professional cooking world: The bakers and pastry chefs. Unlike the line cooks, who were whooping it up and play with fire, we disciplined souls were in the back of the kitchen, dusting doughs with flour, rolling out cookies, melting chocolate, and creaming buttery cake batters. But a regular chef once said to me—”Why are all you pastry chefs so weird?”

Because what he didn’t understand was the special position that bakers and pastry chefs have in the restaurant world. Yes, we are weird special because we make the birthday cakes for the staff, we send out extra treats to customers when the meal had some glitches (ie: someone else screwed up), we bandage up new busboys who cut themselves with the very sharp bread knives, and most of all, we listen to everyone in the restaurant, waiters and cooks, stopping by and telling us all their problems.

Hence we all share a global bond and we can walk into any professional kitchen around the world, swap our secret handshake, and be instantly accepted as part of the worldwide fraternity of bakers.

apple in brown sugar oatmeal cookie

Having been a baker most of my life, our network of bakers is a pretty close-knit group and I personally don’t know anyone who are competitive. Maybe I’ve been sheltered but the whole idea of baking invites sharing since no one bakes a cake or a batch of cookies all for themselves. And whenever I have a question or problem about baking, I have vast network of fellow bakers that I can turn to.

To expand that network, when I go to a new city, I love trying out small bakeries and meeting new bakers. (Although after I’ve exposed the fact that we have a secret handshake, we might have to change our secret signal.) People often point me toward bakeries that are fancy and extravagant, but I’m happy to go to places like Baked, Babycakes, and Citizen Cake, that bake up treats like I want to eat, not fussy showstoppers.

One bakery I haven’t been to is Flour in Boston, owned by Joanne Chang. But I’ve been reading through her first book, Flour, and the recipe that caught my eye was Oatmeal Raisin Cookies.

These Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, Joanne says, are “…as basic as it gets” and I’d have to agree. Don’t expect any curveballs or modern twists, and I’m fine with that. And when I went out to the French countryside recently, before the weather got too brisk and ferocious out there, I baked up a batch of these wholesome cookies and brought them along.

vietnamese cinnamon shelling bean salad and lotte (monkfish)

Even though she’s not part of our secret society, my friend Diane gave me this wonderfully spicy cinnamon from Vietnam that I used in these cookies, so probably I should to make her an honorary member, or at least our mascot.

And speaking of secrets, I did add one special touch to these cookies; about midway through cooking, when I rotate the baking sheet, I take a spatula and tap the tops of each cookie down to flatten it. That compacts the insides a bit and makes the cookies less-airy and more chewy, just the way I like my Oatmeal Cookies.

So after a pleasant lunch in the outdoors of grilled lotte (monkfish) and a salad of fresh shelling beans with avocados, tomatoes, and savory, (and the obligatory cheese course, bien sûr), I poured us cups of strong, very dark coffee and set out a tray of these cookies.

oatmeal cookie and coffee dipping oatmeal cookies

The French aren’t known for chomping down on monster sized cookies like we Americans, and French cookies are generally dainty circles of crisp sablés or similar, bite-sized disks. These are big, soft cookies and perhaps the cookies in France are firm because the French are ‘dunkers’. Being French and being a dunker, (and being a contrarian), Romain dipped his soft Oatmeal Cookie into his cup of hot coffee and said, “This is the perfect way to eat these cookies.”

Not being a dunker (but being a skeptic, which makes me a little French), I wasn’t so sure. But when I did give the oversized cookie a dip, it transformed the whole cookie into something entirely different and the coffee somehow highlighted the butterscotch-like flavors of oats enveloped in a buttery-sweet dough. So I guess I have more to learn from the French than I thought.

coffee cups oatmeal raisin cookies

Being someone whose mind is always thinking about his next batch of cookies, next time I make them to bring out to the country, I’m going to swap out dried sour cherries or cranberries for the raisins, and add a generous handful, about a heaping cupful, of white chocolate chips.

But that might have to wait until the spring. In the meantime, I gotta work on figuring out a new secret handshake now that I’ve blown it for all of us bakers out there.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
About 24 cookies

Adapted from Flour by Joanne Chang

Because we all like to share, I thought I’d share a baking tip. Some of you probably know this, but if your brown sugar clumps up into a hard mass that is impossible to measure, slip an apple slice in the container and let it sit for a few hours. Like magic, when you go to scoop of the brown sugar, you’ll find it light and fluffy again.

Be sure to really beat the butter and sugar together in the stand mixer. (If you don’t have a mixer, Joanne says you can beat it by hand for ten minutes instead.) She is emphatic about using fresh spices and I agree. I did dial up the cinnamon a little since I like a bit of punch to my oatmeal cookies, and if you want to swap out the raisins for another dried fruit, cranberries, sour cherries, or diced apricots could certain stand-in nicely.

  • 1 cup (225 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup (150 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (200 g) packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cup (245 g) flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 3/4 cup (175 g) old –fashioned rolled oats (not instant or quick-cooking)
  • 1 1/2 cups (240 g) raisins

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugars until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

2. Meanwhile in a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon, making sure there are no lumps of baking soda. Stir in the oats and raisins.

3. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until thoroughly combined. On low speed, or by hand, gradually add the flour and oat mixture to the creamed butter, mixing until completely incorporated.

4. Chill the batter a few hours or overnight, covered. (This step is optional, although recommended by the author.)

5. To bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

6. Drop the dough in 1/4 cup (50 g) balls evenly spaced on the baking sheet and flatten the tops slightly with your hand.

(I got about 8 cookies per baking sheet.)

7. Midway during baking, rotate the baking sheet and tap the tops of the cookies down somewhat firmly with a spatula to flatten the domes.

8. Bake the cookies for 20 to 22 minutes, until they just start to turn brown across the top, but do not overbake.

Remove from oven and cool completely.

Storage: Once cool, the cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to three days. The dough can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week, or frozen for up to two months.

Related Recipes & Links

Fruitcake Bars

Lowfat Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Apple Spice Cake

Baking Ingredients and Substitutions

French Sugars

American Baking Ingredients in Paris

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  • October 18, 2010 12:42pm

    I love a good oatmeal raisin cookie. It is rare I find a recipe better than my grandmothers, but I am going to give this one a shot!

  • October 18, 2010 12:51pm

    Dipping oatmeal raisin cookies in coffee sounds like heaven.

  • Stephanie
    October 18, 2010 12:53pm

    I made that kind of cookie once, and all my friends loved it ~~ I totally agree with what you said about bakers. I learned ” sharing ” from baking, and I love to bake for my family and friends.
    I want to say that, it s so nice to see your blog here. Your pics, your words are so clean. Easy, but directly point to my heart. I’m a normal Chinese girl, and I’m your fan ~ Bonne chance ~

  • October 18, 2010 12:57pm

    Wonderful pictures of a wonderful food!

  • October 18, 2010 1:13pm

    I love the smiley face at the bottom of the coffee mug! Clever boy. I can’t wait to try these, as oatmeal raisin cookies are my favorite.

    Delia: Well, the smiley face was unintentional, as was this unhappy fella! -dl

  • Paula
    October 18, 2010 1:13pm

    Funnily enough I started making oatmeal and raising cookies again last week having not made them for a few years. Will be trying out this recipe for the next batch, it sounds lovely.

    Not heard of the apple in brown sugar trick. I’ve been using a chunk of bread to do the same thing.

  • October 18, 2010 1:52pm

    As much as I love funky new recipes, the classics are… classic :) Can’t wait to try these, very “fall.” Brilliant idea about the apple slice b/c my brown sugar clumps all the time! Thanks, Dave!

  • October 18, 2010 2:11pm

    Totally agree about the celebrity chef thing – I mean, scrubbing down and wearing a uniform is SO glam, man. I got out but I still have the scars ;P

  • October 18, 2010 2:11pm

    french are definite dunkers, anything goes into those cafes of theirs. but we americans have the dunking thing down too – cookies and milk, but of course. i lived in boston for a couple of years and loved just about everything at flour bakery. excellent address. and i’m sure, an excellent cookie here too. thanks for the extra (secret) tips. oh, and like delia mentioned above, i totally saw a smiley face in that mug too ! :)

  • October 18, 2010 2:21pm

    Thank you, so enjoyed reading this! Here’s to the sweet(er) pastry chefs of the world ;)

  • October 18, 2010 2:22pm

    Bakers. An interesting bunch. Great description.
    But yes, even on the cruise ships, the patissiers and bakers were always the ones who had time for us poor schlepps from the dining room.

  • Katie K
    October 18, 2010 2:26pm

    My mother made the best oatmeal cookies I’ve ever had. She used the recipe in the old Betty Crocker’s Cookbook. I’ve never been able to duplicate them. BTW, she added chopped walnuts.

    How and where are the eggs added in the recipe? I bet it’s one at a time into the butter and sugar mixture.

    They’re added right where you said! Thanks.. : ) -dl

  • October 18, 2010 2:46pm

    I love a good oatmeal raisin cookie. Thank you, so enjoyed reading this!

  • October 18, 2010 2:50pm

    Well these look completely delicious…and we’re dying for a few to dunk into our morning coffee. Flour is such a fabulous bakery and we need that cookbook! And thanks for the brown sugar/apple tip – genius!

  • October 18, 2010 2:57pm

    no one bakes a cake or a batch of cookies all for themselves… really???? :)

    I use chocolate covered raisins in my oatmeal cookies… b/c what’s the point of having a cookie without chocolate?

  • Tamsin
    October 18, 2010 3:09pm

    You are quite clearly a generous soul sharing such lovely recipes and handy tips. In addition to the tip for brown sugar (a new one to me) I really have to thank you for recommending Wittamer. I’ve just come back from a trip to Brussels where I bought a box of the most divine chocolates, the fresh cream filled chocs are particularly good, especially the raspberry ones. If it wasn’t for your book and blog I would have missed out : )

  • October 18, 2010 3:12pm

    Thanks for the “tapping” tip midway through cooking, one I’ll use next time for sure!

    These are beautiful, such a basic, pleasing cooking. I might make these for my daughter’s school birthday snack. Thanks!

  • October 18, 2010 3:25pm

    Yuuuuummmm! Can’t wait for the white choc chip version. And thanks for the midway tip.

  • October 18, 2010 3:26pm

    Thanks for the tip….I’ll check out Flour, here in Boston. Our family loves oatmeal cookies, but not raisins, so we always substitute something else, like chocolate chips and nuts. Cherries are a favorite, but haven’t tried that…next time I’ll give it a go.

    I loved the happy face coffee cup, après dipping! Dipping does change the whole flavor. A favorite thing for me to dip is a chocolate marbled fingerella (finger shaped madeleine) into Earl Grey tea!! OMG!

    I have some of that rugged looking cinnamon that I got in London for my Indian cooking. The package didn’t say where they were from, and I always wondered.

    Thanks for another wonderful post.

  • Laurence
    October 18, 2010 3:35pm

    The “happy face” cup is a GREAT photo. (last batch, on the left.)

  • October 18, 2010 3:58pm

    I just got the Flour cookbook too, and was reading it over breakfast. I live in Boston and love the cookies, breads, and brioche-based items at Flour. I’m excited to try the recipes and to hear if you have any opinions on other recipes in the book!

  • Sini
    October 18, 2010 4:17pm

    Do I even have to mention how delicious those cookies look? I especially like the first picture of the post with its’ play of colours.

    And I haven’t heard about the brown-sugar-and-apple-slice-thing! Damn, are we lucky to have a baker like you who loves to share his secrets (at least some of them – after all, we can’t know what you are keeping for yourself…) ;)

  • October 18, 2010 4:31pm

    though i’m not a pastry chef, I’d be more than happy to be the provider of the BEST CINNAMON in the world to your elite group.
    that way, I can still have fun, participate in the elite society without having to swear, have tattoos and be permanently scared.
    I want those amazing cookies! please.

  • Dana
    October 18, 2010 4:47pm

    My husband works in the same building as Flour…it’s very dangerous…I can’t go visit him without buying a cookie

  • Martha in KS
    October 18, 2010 4:49pm

    I see bakers as the equivalent of engineers in a building firm. They’re looking for the best & most balanced way to make a dish. The bakers who are a little more on the wild side & competitive can be seen in the baking competitions on Food Network, while the others are at home with a crowd of friends watching, eating oatmeal cookies. Blessed be the mellow.

  • Marlene
    October 18, 2010 5:12pm

    Diane@2stews: Oh, I’m so with you about the raisins! As I read the post and looked at the recipe and cookie photos, my first thought was “…raisins, Fuhgeddaboudit!” but, must say these cookies do look really delicious. Walnuts work for me!

    And,”Flour” is added to my places to visit when I get into Boston next. Nice to discover all the New Englanders/Bostonians posting here!

  • October 18, 2010 5:28pm

    I’ve been a dunker since I was little–I guess it’s the French side of me. Anything can be dipped in hot chocolate, although I’ve never really understood why some Americans really do dip fries in ice cream. That’s one kind of dipping I never indulged in!

  • Erica
    October 18, 2010 6:03pm

    I’m from Boston and it’s so exciting to see Flour mentioned here! It’s truly fabulous, I’ve never had anything there that’s anything less than perfect. My favorite may be the cornmeal lime cookie, though their famous sticky buns are also life-changing.

  • October 18, 2010 6:32pm

    My grandmother is Italian and is a dunking fanatic! She always says that everything is better with some espresso along side it. It is hazelnut season here and I bet hazelnuts, some dried apples, and maybe a drizzle of dark chocolate (hell, maybe a dip) would be a very tasty modification to these cookies, then as you dunk all that yummy chocolate will be in the coffee! But I have to say they sound delicious as they are.

  • October 18, 2010 7:34pm

    This was so beautifully written!! I want to read more. There’s so much about your blog posts that I look forward to which why you’re so popular. Love this! And the cookies can not wait to try these although I already use a nice one (from Quaker Oats!).

    I love your techniques- pressing down the cookie midway for extra chewiness is genius! Like you said in the macaron recipe, anyone can mix up brownies, it’s the technique, and you chockful of very helpful ones!! Can not wait to try these cookies. I may even go buy the fancy steel-cut oats too :D is that fine for this recipe?

  • October 18, 2010 7:34pm

    Also the photos look amazing!

  • C
    October 18, 2010 8:01pm

    Thanks for the brown sugar tip– I’m among those who didn’t know it. Probably a good strategy to prevent myself from eating half the cookie dough, as well, since I’d feel obligated to eat the rest of the apple and the fiber would fill me up.

    Seems like magical things happen when you trap stuff in an enclosed space with an apple. Is it the same compound that’s responsible for helping tomatoes and bananas ripen that softens the sugar?

  • Susan
    October 18, 2010 8:17pm

    These cookies look like…cookies! I mean, most oatmeal cookie recipes look like granola bound together with a little batter. In most recipes, the amount of oats are usually double the amount of flour to make them unmistakably, oatmeal-y looking. I have always used the quick oats because of that since the rolled oats, in those proportions, are just too chewy and raw tasting. I always add more salt than my recipe calls for too..oats just need more salt than other grains, for me.
    I love your tip about tapping the top of the cookie duning baking. My husband baked some really puffy looking chocolate chip cookies yesterday and I remembered that tip (almost too late) from another recipe you presented here, and used it on his last batch. It worked so well. The cookies weren’t flat, but were definately chewier than the ones I didn’t top-tap. And speaking of technique. my husband is not a baker, this was probably the 3rd time he’d ever baked anything. He threw everything into the mixer, all at once, and let’er rip. Damn..they were excellent..if too puffy, but…damn! So much for the technique hints I kept getting shooshed away for telling him about! Ha!

  • October 18, 2010 8:49pm

    Those look wonderful!

    I have been following your blog for a while, but have never commented. Since I just made some oatmeal chocolate chip cookies this past weekend, I figured now would be a good time to start!

    I followed a recipe in Baking Illustrated, and although I was soooo careful not to overbake them, they were still a little hard and crunchy. My husband called them biscotti cookies and was dunking them in his coffee. I’m thinking maybe the dried fruit lends some moisture I missed out on when replacing raisins with the chocolate chips…

    I might try the dried cherries next time, that sounds amazing. Thanks for all of the great tips!

  • Jeannette
    October 18, 2010 9:19pm

    As an avid baking-book collector, I am tempted to order this book but would first like to know if the recipes show weights, preferably metric, or American measures?

  • October 18, 2010 9:46pm

    How cool is that cinnamon stick!? Makes me want to gnaw on it like a pencil!

  • October 18, 2010 11:04pm

    Oatmeal Raisin Cookies are a favorite. Looks like there is another cookbook to add to the collection.


  • NY Kate
    October 18, 2010 11:51pm

    I’d like to think great minds think alike because I got up this morning and before work made a batch of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies (husband is NOT a fan of raisins). And I always make them bite sized because usually one with be sufficient for a little snack.

  • October 19, 2010 12:05am

    I’m an MIT grad student, and the newest Flour location is about a block from my lab, which makes it a frequent stop on my way home…it’s that deadly.

    Their soups are fantastic, the bread is delicious, and their sweets are just incredible. Call ahead early in the morning to have sticky buns set aside for you, for they go fast. Oh–they also sell a bag of bread ends from that day’s sandwich making for $1.50…from six loaves of bread, this will go far for sandwiches, making croutons, or just eating straight up (had some with homemade apple butter this morning for breakfast, yum).

    So yes–if you’re able to visit Boston in the near future, let me know, and I’ll give you the combination eat-at-Flour-and-see-MIT tour!

  • Shari
    October 19, 2010 12:34am

    I so love to bake! And talk about baking! I sometimes wonder if I’m a repressed scientist. I still hold my amateur statis, but I’m sure that over the years I’ve made thousands of chocolate chip cookies and brownies. And I’m still searching for the perfect recipe. : ) And yes, sometimes I make oatmeal cookies, snickerdoodles, sugar or butter cookies (I’m still looking for the perfect sugar cookie also), and numerous bars and cakes. I’m really not into the fancy stuff, -I just want the best recipe I can find for the “classics”. I’ve got some malted barley flour in the freezer that I’ve really been wanting to do something with, and am wondering if you have any suggestions? I bought it to add to oatmeal raisin cookies coincidentally, – to hopefully keep them moist a few days longer, -which did work by the way, -but it seems like I could be doing more with it.

  • October 19, 2010 12:53am
    David Lebovitz

    Shari: It might be interesting to try this Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe using the barley flour in place of the mesquite. I haven’t even swapped it out but it would likely work. Let me know if it does!

    Jeanette: The recipes in the book are in both standard and metric measurements.

    Suzanne: The main thing is to watch cookies like a hawk. And even if a recipe says “Bake 10 minutes”, every oven is different so I just keep an eye on them the entire time. And when in doubt, underbake cookies a little. But you’ll find my trick of tapping the cookies down helps keep them dense and chewy.

  • Editorgirl
    October 19, 2010 12:54am

    Is that Vietnamese cinnamon in the pic, or its near-relative cassia? Cassia has a more robust flavour, and tends to be cut thicker than cinnamon. Cinnamon on steroids?

    We are great bikkie dunkers in Australia. A national dish (sort of) is the Tim Tam suck. Tim Tams are chocolate biscuits (cookies to most of the rest of the world) layered with chocolate cream and coated in chocolate. They come in milk, dark and white chocolate versions. What’s not to love? To Tim Tam dunk, nibble the ends from each bar-shaped biscuit, insert into the hot beverage of choice, and suck. The biscuit disintegrates/melts, and you slurp the lot before it submerges. Messy? Hell, yeah. But like the experience of elevating the good oatmeal cookie to sublime when dunked in strong, hot coffee, Tim Tams take on a whole new dimension when dunked.

  • Elizabeth
    October 19, 2010 12:58am

    I’ve been to Flour, and I strongly urge any Bostonians here to check it out. The location in Fort Point is a perfect walking distance for when you miss a train from South Station and need something to do until the next one. Last time I was there I had the cornmeal lime cookie, which was as intriguing as it was delicious.

    For Boston-based readers, you might also be interested to know that Joanne Chang is going to have a book signing (and sampling!) at the Brookline Booksmith next month. I might have to hold out getting this cookbook until then.

  • Pumpkin~Power
    October 19, 2010 1:37am

    Thanks for sharing this, oatmeal and raisin – my favourite! I am new to soft homemade cookies but delighted to have finally stumbled across the right recipe and with a bit of experimenting I adapted this recipe: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/09/dining/091crex.html?_r=1&ref=dining and made one batch with kirsch soaked cherries and dark chocolate chunks and one batch with cranberries and white chocolate chunks – both where divine so I thoroughly recommend it. Love the idea of the oatmeal so may have to try this next….. Thank you!

  • October 19, 2010 1:48am

    I am with you – being a chef, cook or other kitchen staff is lots of hard work – I think I’ll stick to my day job. Now pass me one of those cookies please …

  • October 19, 2010 2:41am

    It’s funny you talk about bakers not being competitive because, ironically, I found out about her on TV, she was competing (not by choice!) against Bobby Flay on Throwdown. They were making those sticky buns with the goo that made me feel like flying to Boston right that minute. It’s also funny you talk about the French people liking cute, delicate cookies (I agree!) but there is a market for good ol’ junk food too. My French BFF has requested I bring her Combos and Pop Tarts from the US. meanwhile, I will come back with a suitcase full of Paille d’Or.

  • lisa
    October 19, 2010 3:06am

    I was *just* thinking about my mom’s oatmeal raisin cookies (which are soft and chewy) and then this recipe post popped up. So, I just made the dough, but rather than raisins, I added some Michigan dried sour cherries. And, all I had on hand was dark brown sugar, so I used that instead. I also added a wee bit more freshly ground nutmeg and Vietnamese cinnamon and fleur de sel.
    Holy cow!! I tasted the dough and it’s amazing (and addictive)!! It’s now safely chilling in my fridge.

    Also, I learned the apple in the brown sugar trick when I was a young girl. Both my mom and grandma stored their brown sugar that way. Pretty smart.

    Again, as always, excellent post. :)

  • October 19, 2010 3:45am

    I’ve recently been stirring honey into raw oats and eating it with a spoon, so I think it’s time I get off my lazy bottom and make oatmeal raisin cookies instead. And I’ve just realised the wonderousness of coffee dipping via my most recent biscotti experiment, so will definitely try these with coffee :)

  • October 19, 2010 3:50am

    ditto on “again, as always, excellent post”!

  • Skippy
    October 19, 2010 3:58am

    Are you sure that “regular chef” didn’t ask you, “Why are pastry chefs so awesome?”

    I too fall into the not a huge raisin fan/need chocolate in my cookies category, though I do like Shira’s chocolate covered raisin suggestion!

    David, since you said the cookies tasted so good dunked in coffee, do you think it would be possible to add a coffee element to it, like maybe some espresso powder? Or would that dry it out or clash with the other flavors? I’m just trying to be creative….

  • Stefan Winter
    October 19, 2010 4:14am

    Try Joann’s Pecan Sticky Buns. They are beyond awesome. I have made them several times and they’ve always been a hit. I will definitely try these cookies and add her book to my collection. Thanks for the post!

  • Erika Shaffer
    October 19, 2010 5:29am

    I love oatmeal cookies. The recipe I have settled on is Clinton’s Oatmeal Cookie recipie by Sherry Yard which is GREAT. Reliably chewy. And I bang those pans on the counter when I shift them during baking to make them un-puff which is faster than the spatula method. (in my opinion) Fresch nutmeg makes it all taste great.

  • October 19, 2010 5:37am

    There is something so comforting about making (and eating) so wholesome and satisfying a cookie. I decided to plump the raisins by covering them with warm apple cider for an hour and then draining them well and placing on on paper towels. It added an additional, but complementary flavor as well as softer raisins.

  • October 19, 2010 5:53am

    Thank you for finally speaking the truth about life in the kitchen. My husband keeps trying to coax me out of retirement from professional cooking but it’s just not going to happen! He doesn’t get that if I did open a restaurant or bakery he and our daughter would never see me again… I once opened the bakery one day to find my midnight baker curled up on the floor mat behind his work table asleep, croissants waiting to be rolled up on the table. I thought he was… you know, but no he was just sleeping. Too funny. Love your blog, thanks!

  • Estelle
    October 19, 2010 6:51am

    How coincidental that your post contains an oatmeal cookie recipe. Just the other day I made for the first time ANZAC Biscuits and of course you know they too are a sort of oatmeal cookie. They were wonderful and I’m now eager to try these. I bake for friends and they’ll love these. One quarter cup each? That’s a big cookie.
    I love your your relaxed way of writing.
    Thanks for all that you do. I imagine you make a lot of people happy.
    Hmmm what could that hand shake exclusive to bakers be?

  • October 19, 2010 7:55am

    So would adding some really great dried espresso powder add anything if one doesn’t drink too much coffee?

  • Connie
    October 19, 2010 7:58am

    I’ve been loving so many of your recipes for quite awhile now. But to echo Shari’s comment above, you have another reader looking for the perfect sugar cookie and you’re the perfect go-to guy! So, could you give us “the perfect scoop” on that, pretty-please???

  • October 19, 2010 8:12am

    1) Thank goodness for you bakers and pastry chefs – my heroes.

    2) Flour is absolutely wonderful, for breakfast, lunch or at any time of the day for one of Joanne’s sublime sweets.

    3) Sigh. Oatmeal raisin cookies. I love! I miss! I am jealous!

  • ParisGrrl
    October 19, 2010 11:00am

    Given that I found poptarts at the Galeries Gourmandes yesterday, those poptart/icecream sandwiches may make it to Paris sooner than you think!

  • Cate
    October 19, 2010 11:20am

    One of my favorite cookies – I came across a recipe for these where the raisins were soaked first which sounds amazing. Have you ever done that David? I lost my best recipe for these which was given to me by a neighbor of the family.

  • October 19, 2010 11:40am

    I love the accidental smiley face, it seems to say “how wonderful is this, nice cookie with nice coffee, yay \o/ ” :D.

    I also love the pic where Romain holds his over-sized mug with the over-sized cookie. Being a dunker myself, I can’t help myself to enjoy this idea. I love to dunk because it brings so much nuance when we taste: you can soak a long time or not, let it soften or simply do a quick round trip in the liquid, and sometimes bite into the dry biscuit to appreciate the differences of flavor and texture. I see the act of dunking a symphony of flavors ♥ (or an interesting duet, musically speaking).

  • October 19, 2010 12:06pm

    Instead of a plain chef, I should have been a pastry cook. I mean, the pay must be astronomical, for you to be able to retire already, and live in the most expensive city in the world!

  • October 19, 2010 12:14pm
    David Lebovitz

    Gina: I wish! I went from living in a 3 bedroom house to a 2 room apartment, plus I no longer have a car. Unfortunately I’m still far from retirement, but I am paring things down. Although Paris is very expensive and with the decline of the dollar, it’s getting any more affordable.

    (Btw: Here’s an interesting salary survey of what chefs, line cooks and pastry chefs make. And most people in the restaurant business work far more than 40 hours a week.)

    Cate: You could soak raisins although I’d be concerned about adding too much moisture, so if you did, I’d be sure to squeeze out as much of it as possible before adding to the batter.

    Vicki: That’s an interesting idea, although it sounds like a roundabout way to go. If you try it, let me know how it turns out.

    Skippy: I’m sure that’s what he meant to say! : )

  • Rachel
    October 19, 2010 2:42pm

    What a great post. I feel all warm and cozy now and among the things I will bake today – I will now include this recipe.

  • October 19, 2010 4:05pm

    When he gets home tonight, I am going to give Paris Paul a cinnamon stick to chew on (he’s my other half). *snort* Whattup with that?!

    Wonderful description of bakers at the beginning of the post — I was totally captive with your writing about them. They sound like good people. :)

    It’s hard for me to visit here sometimes. I know I’ve written it here before, and I’ve even blogged about it on my own blog, but in this period of my life, I really related to what you wrote here: “…the grueling hours and the physical labor involved is one of the main reasons that I’m permanently damaged, both physically and psychologically.” This may or may not be tongue-in-cheek! I know with your writing and sense of humor it *could* be humorous. However, I’ve read Kitchen Confidential and, hey, I suspect this sentence is entirely truthful. I’ve had a couple of careers & some life experiences that sucked the life right out of me, and I am essentially in Paris because here is where life brought me to recuperate from those things. So I get it. In my case, though, part of the physical consequences is that food has nearly become my enemy at this point, as there are numerous foods, the primary culprits which are gluten and casein, which give me all kinds of hell when I eat them. The stuff in this absolutely amazing-looking cookie would put me in a practically comatose state if I ate it. So I’m wistful reading this post. Maaaan, those photos of Romain dunking the cookie and your subsequent descriptions? Gaaaaahhh. Yeah, sometimes I have to avoid your blog as it is an exquisite kind of torture.

    But I do love the writing here. I love how I can come here and know more about not just how to bake, but about life in Paris, a slice of life for a guy called David, who has some really interesting experiences and shares them in a really great way.

    And the photos of the coffee up there remind me that, while it’s really not doing me any favors, and I indulge in way too much of it, I can still drink coffee. I’m going to go and make a cup right now. And then maybe make the cookies for Paris Paul later on. I have a crapload of raisins that need to be used up in the cupboard! (A food I thought was okay for me to eat and then I started having problems with ’em. Godblessit. I’m crossing my fingers that whatever this is shall pass, eventually, in my life.)

    Meanwhile, I will keep coming back as I can handle it because you run a tight blogging ship here, Mr. Lebovitz. Thanks for another great post. :)

  • kayenne
    October 19, 2010 4:36pm

    Filipinos are dunkers too! there is nothing like pan de sal dunked in a steaming cup of coffee for breakfast or afternoon snack!

    and david, THANK YOU VERY MUCH for the weigh measures… since i converted a few years ago, i’ve gone OC and volume measures started driving me crazy! plus, i’m certainly less messy and getting more consistent results!

  • October 19, 2010 7:25pm

    I love an oatmeal cookie. To be honest, I’ve always used the recipe inside the oatmeal package. I think I’ll have to give this one a try! Thanks for the apple and brown sugar tip.

  • Jessica
    October 19, 2010 8:13pm

    I live in Boston and I absolutely adore Flour. Not just for the sandwiches (which are insanely addicting) but I am sometimes prone to dreaming about berry bread puddings or sticky buns. It’s insane how much press she’s getting, Joanne is also featured in this month’s Food & Wine magazine for a fusion Thanksgiving meal. I am eagerly awaiting her book and will be attending a cooking demo featuring her and some other pastry chefs in the area, but thank you so much for posting this!

  • October 19, 2010 8:15pm

    I’m allergic to eggs, what would you suggest for replacing them? Thanks!

  • October 19, 2010 8:30pm

    I think Bourdain had a lot to do with the rise of the chef, he made it sound like the life of a poor rockstar.

  • October 19, 2010 9:18pm

    Chopped dates are a really nice change from raisins if you ever have any on hand. Gorgeous with oatmeal cookies.

  • Seth
    October 19, 2010 9:28pm

    David – thanks so much for the wonderful recipe! I actually just made your Oatmeal Raisin ice cream which was wonderful and went incredibly well with Apple Crisp made from the ton of apples I picked a week ago. Great fall food… And Pastry Chefs SHOULD get a lot more credit – they can turn a mediocre meal at a restaurant into a fond memory, quite powerful!

  • Jean Marie
    October 19, 2010 10:15pm

    It’s been quite a while since I baked oatmeal cookies and with the air getting cooler, it seems like a good time to enjoy them again. Have you ever talked about light vs. dark brown sugar? I like dark better (as I like B grade maple syrup better) because it just seems to have more flavor and depth. But now I wonder if there’s something going on chemistry-wise that would make a difference. Are they interchangeable?

  • October 20, 2010 1:12am

    Is that an apple slice in the brown sugar?

    I’m out in San Francisco and it is COLD so maybe ill warm up by the oven baking a batch of these soon!

  • shelleyorama
    October 20, 2010 6:02am

    What’s with all the raisin hating? Sheesh!! I’m doubling the raisins in protest.

    Question 1: How do these compare with your Malghieri recipe? Toothier?

    Question 2: On an unrelated note, I’m borrowing your swell idea of cutting molasses with another sweetener (honey). I’m using it as a non-cake binder for power bars. Since I have to heat it, I would like to infuse a flavour into the syrup. Any ideas?

    In fact, if the idea of inventing a signature DL (dedadent) power bar were ever to catch your fancy, the recipe would be most welcome. : )

    Sorry to hear of your kitchen trauma. Hope you’ve found yourself a good yoga teacher or something.

  • October 20, 2010 6:44am

    Okay, I just made these… added dried cherries and chopped dried apricots, and they are delicious! The house smells amazing too. Thank you! :)

  • October 20, 2010 9:50am

    @ Renata — I regularly use applesauce or ground up flaxseed soaked in water to sub for eggs. If you Google “vegan baking” there are a ton of good ideas for substitutions on vegan sites around the ‘net! Those are two of my favorite methods, though. A quarter cup, or about 100 g, of applesauce subs for one egg, and with the flaxseed it’s about 1 TBS ground and whisked in 3 TBS water.

    Hope this helps.

  • Ruth, new yorker in la spezia/vernazza
    October 20, 2010 11:29am

    My favorite cookies! Of course unavailable here in Italy…good thing I carted some oats back from ny last trip….as always, thank you D! I will be baking this afternoon with the kids.

    And, to echo Paris Karin, although the recipes are fabulous, it is your INCREDIBLE writing that keeps me coming back. Seeing “David Lebovitz” in my inbox is my little treat to myself. Thank you for making life “sweet”…

  • Kelly
    October 20, 2010 5:14pm

    i know this doesn’t have much to do with oatmeal cookies- but i’m looking for pecans- i’m a american/french chef ( if you want to call me that, considering i’m a woman and american:) I live in paris and cook for a Baroness and I just finished my pecan stash from texas. Got a huge party for some french aristocrats for Friday and I know they were thrilled last time by the pecan pie I did. Where does one locate real pecans? They do work with oatmeal cookies, so perhaps this could pertain to your post. Wish i had more time to take a closer look on your website because I’m sure you have a link some where. Thanks, Kelly

  • Tara
    October 20, 2010 8:09pm

    My favorite substitute for raisins (since they’re not my thing) are cinnamon chips. Delicious I tell you!

  • October 20, 2010 10:59pm

    I love this little ode to bakers, David. I started out as a pastry chef and never pined away for the “excitement” of the line or of being a “real” chef. Give me the behind-the-scenes life anyday. Now that I’m out of cooking for a living for good I can watch the celebrity cooking shows with some measure of enjoyment, but it’s the bakers I want to be friends with.

  • October 21, 2010 4:11am

    What a beautiful post with delicious oatmeal raisin cookie photographs…I too, love sour cherries and white chocolate chips in an oatmeal cookie…I look forward to seeing your recipe for that cookie creation soon. Keep up the fabulous bakin’ and cookin’, David. You do beautiful work and I am a huge fan of all your uniquely delicious dishes n’ treats!

  • October 21, 2010 5:09am

    Aaahhh, respect to the pastry chefs for sure David. I was for a decade a line chef of sorts but now General Manager of some pretty cool function centres, still in the industry, still playing with food. Wonderful to connect Chef…, will be back.
    Cheers Anna

  • October 21, 2010 6:04am

    This is a particularly lovely post, David. and re: your next batch, I’ve had excellent results with the dried sour cherry & white chocolate variation– especially nice with a little orange zest thrown in.

  • October 21, 2010 6:11am

    As always, I am transfixed by your writing and photographs. You took such a simple cookie and elevated it. And you made me wish I had gone to pastry school!

  • Mona
    October 21, 2010 12:50pm

    David, how about a visit to Boston?

    Boston.com article

  • Kava
    October 21, 2010 3:25pm

    Dear David,

    thank you for these cookies – delicious! They chased the gloom of autumn right out.

  • October 21, 2010 5:01pm

    I love this post. Not only am I a fan of any baked good (and J. Chang b/c I love that she ditched her Ivy League degree for food), but also because I was lucky enough (when I had a small cookie company) to work with some of the most generous, welcoming folks — who all happened to be in the ‘sweets’ business. I’ve been lucky enough to bump into these people in SF as I eat around for my blog (like Steve, the Gobba Gobba Hey guy), and maybe one day, I’ll be lucky enough to ditch my Ivy League degree for food, too. Lord knows I certainly ditched a smaller waist size for it! Thanks for the heartwarming post.

  • October 21, 2010 6:21pm

    I love that you can start a post talking about the ‘grunt’ work of cooking when you’re making oatmeal cookies! The mind is a beautiful thing, and the cookies look scrumptious.

  • Karen Vikki
    October 22, 2010 6:06pm

    Thanks for this recipe, David. I made these with three quarters tart cherries and one quarter raisins and even let them sit overnight. They are so delicious. We love them. I love your column. Thanks for all the tips. You are a peach!

  • October 22, 2010 9:12pm

    I was given BAGS of apples and tried your Apply Jelly recipe which turned out very nicely. Never one to throw anything away I went on to try the gingerbread biscuits with the puree and they were delicious. … a bit like Lebkuchen. Also tried the Oatmeal biscuits but I had to bake them for longer to make them more crunchy. They are quite like Cowboy Cookies that I had in America so next time might put dessicated coconut in them.

    Anyway, thanks awfully for all the experimenting you do and the great recipes you provide. I liked the no fat biscuits but actually I love butter and wouldn’t mind leaving that in a recipe. It’s sugar I’d like to cut down on ……… hopefully one day you might come up with a low sugar biscuit or cake. Fingers crossed!

  • October 23, 2010 1:36am

    I can definitely attest to the sour cherry addition being amazing.


  • October 23, 2010 1:38am

    I love this post. “the grueling hours and the physical labor involved is one of the main reasons that I’m permanently damaged, both physically and psychologically” I’ve only worked in 1 hotel, 2 bakeries after i became a baker. Every time i quit a job, i make sure I have at least 2-3 weeks off before my next job to rethink my career choice. I love baking so much, right now I just can’t think of anything else I could be doing.

    Your stuff always look awesome!

  • Cam
    October 23, 2010 6:17pm

    David, I made these as written and they looked exactly as yours did in the pictures. I patted them down and they came out huge and hearty, just the way I love oatmeal cookies. Next time I’ll just crust them on top with some sugar crystals for that extra crunch.

    I also noticed that this cookie recipe is close enough to the momofuku compost cookies that I have been jonesing to make for a while, so I am saving half of the dough to throw some “compost” goodies in: toffee bits, coffee grinds, cracker jack popcorn, and ruffles. It sounds bizarre, I know, but that just makes me more curious to try them.

  • October 23, 2010 7:56pm

    Another great post. I’m always so impressed with how creative your photos are. I never would have thought of taking photos of dunking cookies with the remains in a coffee cup. Works perfectly and I wish I would think of doing photos like that. I’m always stuck behind my video camera seeing the world through a view finder. Cynthia

  • NYS
    October 24, 2010 2:54am

    David (or anyone for that matter), I have a question. I have a strong aversion to raisins. Though I know that the elimination of them from the recipe no longer makes “oatmeal raisin cookies,” and simply “oatmeal cookies,” I wondered if the cooking time should be adjusted for (a) their elimination and (b) the addition of finely-chopped walnuts? If so, by how much time for each? (By “each” I mean a batch without raisins or nuts and a batch without raisins but with nuts)

    Thank you!

  • October 24, 2010 9:53pm

    I’m something of a purist when it comes to cookies, although I’m not against a twist here and there. I’d like to try this with a touch of ground ginger.
    I’ve been a dunker my entire life. The shot of R dunking your cookies in strong coffee made my mouth water.
    My family is from the Azores, I wonder if the Azoreans are dunkers too….

  • Sandy T.
    October 24, 2010 11:48pm

    Thank you, David, for the most level-headed assessment of the current media obsession with “being a chef.” Most of the culinary shows on The Food Network and Bravo drive me crazy, mostly for the reasons you’ve outlined. Professional kitchen work IS gruntwork, pure and simple, with little to no glamour.

    We pastry chefs do get a lot of approbation that eludes everyone else in the professional kitchen (except for executive chefs and/or restaurant owners), which is another nice perk of the job. But yeah – we’re weird. We’re usually the loners of the restaurant kitchen. I don’t know about you (although once long ago you did allow me to observe you in the Chez Panisse kitchen and you seemed pretty laid back and social) but I was always highly territorial about my space in the kitchen AND what I produced. The wait staff was always terrified of me! Heh – another perk – striking fear in the minds of the servers (and even the other cooks/chefs).

    Anyway, loved the crack about the tattoos, and love the oatmeal cookie recipe. You will always rule amongst pastry chefs.

  • Mel Toys
    October 25, 2010 6:15pm

    I totally agree on him that the perfect way to eat cookies is by dunking it first on a hot tea of coffee. But when I was a child I dunk it on a hot fresh milk before eating and my kids love that one. Your article is truly awesome.

  • Victoria
    October 25, 2010 8:36pm

    They are really, really good with the addition of butterscotch chips.

  • Lisa Bergtraum
    October 25, 2010 9:16pm

    Thanks again, David. I made these a few days ago–easily the best oatmeal raisin cookies I’ve ever made! Brought some to the nursing home where I do volunteer work.
    One fellow said, with a big smile, “You are a good baker.” Oh the magic of cookies.

  • October 25, 2010 10:00pm

    Thank you so much for this post and the recipe. I made these cookies this morning and sharing them prompted a real trip down memory lane, which has led to a lovely evening thinking about my family http://spatulasatdawn.wordpress.com/2010/10/25/not-the-cookie-monster/

  • October 26, 2010 6:13am

    I haven’t ever eaten an oatmeal cookie that I didn’t like, but I tried this recipe and it was really, really delicious. I think the nutmeg and cinnamon is maybe what made them better than other oatmeal cookies I’ve made. I also love how the ingredients for this recipe don’t cost very much!

  • Sarah
    October 26, 2010 5:29pm

    I have a question for David, or anyone else who may have had similar experiences with flat cookies.

    Each and everytime I make a cookie recipe, they spread out and become flat as pancakes. After double and triple checking oven temps, parchment lined baking sheets, ingredient amounts and butter (even chilling the dough for days!) inevitably, my cookies are always flat. Delicious, but flat. The only reason I can think of is that the butter available in Italy has a much higher fat content than in other places in the world, but even cutting back on butter hasn’t helped.

    Is there someone out there who might have had this experience and found a solution?

    Many, many thanks and David, I adore your website. Excellent recipes and I love that you’ve already done the conversions to metric. Makes baking a Firenze so much easier!

  • October 26, 2010 11:44pm

    I truly enjoyed reading this post. Ashamed to tell you however, that it is my first visit to your blog. I just subscribed and hope to catch up on your earlier posts from time to time.

    My father was stationed in Marville France from 1955 to 1960. I was 9 mos. when we arrived and apparently we visited quite a bit of Europe while we lived in France. I don’t remember it unfortunately and hope to one day visit France and much of Europe again.

    I enjoy reading about your life there now. Your photographs are fantastic and I love that you are a pastry chef. Another confession, I don’t have any of your books either…not right now at least. Have just decided on a few books I would like for Christmas though :)

  • October 28, 2010 3:27am

    Love, love, love Flour! I live in Boston and frequent the one in Fort Point. Thanks for sharing this recipe. Oatmeal raisin cookies are my favorite and I’ll definitely have to try this recipe.

  • Jude
    October 28, 2010 2:11pm

    I’ve just baked these cookies and for the first time, my cookies taste… soft chewy and delicious just like I imagined American cookies should be, I never seemed to get it right before soooo really…thank you.
    I read somewhere on your blog about traditional French food (Bistro type) being difficult to find and I can’t remember whether you mentioned Le Troquet, 21 rue
    François Bonvin 75015- 01 45 66 89 00. We ate there a couple of years ago and it was great Bistro food, desserts especially!

  • Melissa in Toronto
    October 28, 2010 2:59pm

    Another fantastic recipe from this site! I adapted the recipe slightly by adding a chopped up Hershey’s dark-chocolate-with-cherries-and-almonds bar. And some walnuts and dried cranberries (I only had a couple of tablespoons of each). Anyway, these were lovely – crispy on the edges and chewy in the middle. And super buttery! Love!

  • Hannah @ greenoats&jam
    October 30, 2010 11:56am

    I think most pastry chefs are less coarse than regular chefs. I could be wrong.

    Anyway, I’m definitely going to give this recipe a shot! Thanks for sharing!

  • Christine in Philadelphia
    November 5, 2010 4:47am

    I don’t quite understand why these were the best oatmeal raisin cookies, but they were incredible! Chewy, buttery, and sweet. Thank you for the recipe!

  • kd in Cincy
    November 16, 2010 7:51pm

    Agree with all that these truly are the best oatmeal cookie. I have a persnickety child who hates oatmeal cookies and can pick out the slightest “oatey taste” in things and she actually loves these cookies!

    Sarah – I also typically have a problem with my cookies spreading flat, these however did not. I believe my issue may be that I can’t wait to bake and put the butter in the microwave to soften it. With this batch, I did not and they were perfect.

  • Briana
    November 25, 2010 5:53am

    I really appreciate this post! I have been a professional baker for 7 years, and yeah we’re weird! Or “special” I should say.

  • Beth Bromfield
    November 29, 2010 1:53am

    They are in the oven now. I had to refer to another recipe to determine the number of eggs as you omitted them in the list of ingredients.

    There are 2 eggs in the recipe, which are listed; they’re the forth item in the list of ingredients. -dl

  • Erbian
    December 3, 2010 6:48pm

    Thank you so much for the apple slice tip! It was a constant headache for me, trying to figure out what to do with all the hard as rock clumps.
    I followed your recipe to the letter, and the cookies were marvelous!

  • eugenia
    January 30, 2011 8:03am

    I’ve been using the same oatmel raisin cookie recipe for about a year with excellent results… but I decided to give this recipe a try (even though I replaced the raisins for chocolate chunks, since I’m giving some away to a friend who fell in a love with an oatmeal chocolate chip cake I baked a few days ago), see if it was better.
    Oh, it is DEFINITELY better. The other recipe was great, but this one is just… AWESOME. This will be my oatmeal raisin/chocolate chip recipe from now on.
    Thanks a lot. Oh, and thanks for the tip on flattening the tops halfway through baking. The cookies come out much more even-looking… and chewy and delicious.