While I’ve never met a cookie I didn’t like, I like oatmeal cookies more than most. The best kinds are a comforting and welcome treat after school or midafternoon, when you need a boost. Whole grains and dried fruit even make them feel somewhat virtuous—no shame in eating one for breakfast, right? A few details give this recipe (slightly adapted from Food 52’s website) extraordinary flavor and texture. First, the butter is browned before mixing, which gives the cookies a rich, nutty flavor. Second, the raisins are puréed before they’re incorporated into the dough, creating a moist, chewy texture. Rolling the cookies in sugar before baking gives a delightfully crunchy coating.
Brown Butter Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
2 cups dark raisins
2 cups flour, divided use
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon espresso powder
Sugar or turbinado sugar, for rolling (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment.
2. Toss the raisins with 1/4 cup flour. Place them in a food processor and pulse 20–30 seconds, until the raisins form a very thick paste and come together in a ball.
3. Heat the butter in a skillet over medium heat, watching it closely. When you see the bottom of the pan becoming browned, remove from heat and set aside.
4. Combine the sugars, vanilla and browned butter in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on medium speed about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time and continue to mix on medium speed. When the mixture pulls together into an even texture, add the raisin paste and mix until thoroughly combined.
5. In a separate bowl, combine the remaining flour, oats, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and espresso powder. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet mixture in two additions, until there is no flour visible.
6. Using a soup spoon and your hands, roll the dough into rounds about the size of a Ping-Pong ball. Roll the balls of dough in a dish of sugar and place them on the prepared baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. Using the flat part of your palm, flatten each dough ball slightly to allow for even baking.
7. Bake 12–15 minutes, until cookies just begin to turn golden brown and are crinkly on top. Another good way of testing is to lift a corner of the cookie—if it bends slightly and re-forms when let go, they are ready. Allow to cool 5 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container up to 10 days.
Makes about 40 cookies.