Brown Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

I love oatmeal cookies. Actually, I think I love oatmeal. Period. Oatmeal raisin cookies are like, in my top three. The other two cookies are Oreos (duh), and sprinkle cookies. Probably. Only the ones from the bakery, though. You know, the crumbly, buttery ones with a million sprinkles? Those are the jam. Oatmeal raisin would be at the top because homemade, but either way, I needed to have an oatmeal cookie in my life soon.

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When I was brainstorming aloud to my friends on what I should make next, I mentioned an oatmeal cookie. I have already done my favorite, but with the mention of “oatmeal” alone was enough to cause a mini stir. I couldn’t finish my sentence before I heard “I HATE OATMEAL COOKIES.” Emphasis on hate. Mostly because oatmeal cookies always seemed to equal oatmeal raisin. While my little oatmeal raisin lovin’ heart broke, I reasoned with them. I also got the whole “raisins are deceiving” line, too. Although, that reaction is a lot funnier.

So, I settled on oatmeal chocolate chip. I get to eat my oatmeal cookie and everyone else gets to enjoy them raisin free. While I’m still a tad offended at the fact that there are so many raisin haters out there, I figured this was a good compromise.

BROWN (er, tan?) BUTTER THO

BROWN (er, tan?) BUTTER THO

Now, oatmeal chocolate chip cookies are basically a chocolate chip cookie but with oats. Sounds basic, to be honest. The last thing I want is a basic cookie. I sat there with my browser open and thought “how can I make these unbasic? How can I take them up a level?” And then it hit me.

In my time baking, well before this blog, I have only attempted to make brown butter once. Let’s just say, I took it too far. I had light black butter. Not appealing, and definitely not tasty. With the help of some instructional GIFs, from one of the last places I’d look to on the internet for kitchen advice, I tried to make brown butter again.

Oats, though

I was cautious of it going too brown, so my brown butter might actually be tan butter. Or light brown butter. Or maybe taupe butter. I don’t know! What I do know is that when I was making this, my house smelled heavenly. I could not believe that melting butter, and taking it a little further than just melting, could make my house smell that good. It smelled like warm, toasty, buttery, and nutty all at the same time. I was amazed, and then I got excited because if it smelled that good, I already knew my cookies were going to come out poppin’.

Ideally for cookies, you have softened butter. After browning mine, I let it sit room temp so it can harden a bit. It’s funny that I had to reverse the technique here and go from melted to softened; never thought I’d have to do that! I stirred it before it got too hard to evenly distribute all that golden brown deliciousness. Granted, I could’ve let it get a tad stiffer but I was short on time.

Cookie DOUGH

Anyway, the cookies came out unbelievably good. The brown butter was PERFECT in these cookies. Like, I can’t even at how great this came out. I’m still stunned. It added a hint of nuttiness to the cookies that I just couldn’t believe. I had a (ahem, or two) cookie while it was still warm, and I wanted to melt just like the chocolate chips. Super chocolatey, with that nutty hint from the brown butter, and then with the crispy but chewy addition of the oats. OMG. IT. WAS. CRAZY. I took them with me to work and they were gone in minutes. Even the oatmeal haters became oatmeal lovers after these cookies.

So, if you have an (or several) oatmeal skeptic(s) in your life but need to fill that oatmeal void with something everyone can enjoy, try this cookie. Oatmeal haters will see what they’ve been missing.

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Brown Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies – adapted from Joy the Baker

Makes about 4 dozen

  • 2 sticks of butter, browned and cooled
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg (fresh, if you can)
  • 2 1/2 cups of rolled oats
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (spoiler alert: a whole 12oz bag)

Directions:

  1. Make the brown butter: in a small pot or sauce pan, melt both sticks of butter over medium heat. Once completely melted, begin stirring. You’ll see the butter foam up as the milk solids rise to the top and begin to pop. KEEP STIRRING. While you’re stirring, pay attention to the butter’s color. A good way to see what’s happening, if the foam is all in the way, is on the sides of the pan. For me, it got brown as well, which is how I knew I was close. Once you see the butter is a nice light brown color, GET IT OFF THE HEAT ASAP. Pour your brown gold into a heatproof vessel and let it hang out. It’ll continue to get browner (allegedly) as it cools. Cool until it’s hard but soft enough to cream with butter.
  2. Cookies: Preheat the oven to 350F. Line your baking pans with parchment paper and set aside. In a large bowl, cream the cooled but softened brown butter and both sugars until creamy, for about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time, and beat well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract, and mix until blended.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Slowly incorporate the dry ingredients into the butter and egg mix; making sure to incorporate the dry ingredients well. Stir in the oats, and finally fold in the chocolate chips.
  5. Using a disher or tablespoon, scoop out the dough onto the prepared sheets, leaving a couple inches of space between each cookie. Bake the cookies for 10 to 13 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. Cool on the sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. (try them warm!)

Lucy’s Tips:

  • Don’t burn the butter. 
  • The whole wheat flour is optional! I threw it in there for added “health” but feel free to use the 2 full cups of all-purpose. 
  • Seriously, don’t burn the butter. 
  • Store in an airtight container at room temp. They should be good for a couple days, if they last that long. Alternatively, you can portion out the dough and freeze it for cookies anytime. 
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Kitchen Experiments: Pilot Cookies

Recipe development has always scared me. I’ve been baking for a while now, so it was only a matter of time until I finally made something up myself. Baking is a science and that means that if things aren’t exact in the formula, it can go south fairly quickly.

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I set out on trying my hand at cookies as my first attempt at sweet recipe development. The first thing I thought to myself was: “how many of my favorite mix-ins can I put into a cookie dough?” With that in mind, I looked for a guide to help me formulate this recipe.

Michael Ruhlman’s “Ratio” was the help I was looking for. I read and re-read the chapter on cookies one day at work, and without looking at the recipes included in the chapter, I used his formula and wrote my first draft on a piece of scrap paper.

The formula is fairly simple: 1 part sugar: 2 parts fat: 3 parts flour. This formula is the same one behind chocolate chip cookies, which is what I was going for. He measured by weights but I wanted to measure by volume, so my ratios were; 1/2 cup of sugar: 1 cup of butter: 1 1/2 cups of flour.

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From there, everything else was easy. I knew I wanted to put as many mix-ins as I could, but ended up settling for four: rolled oats, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, and pretzels. In my first draft, I wanted to replace some of the flour with ground oats, and chop up the pretzels to incorporate it into the dough.

Satisfied with my first draft, I made my first batch of cookies and ended up failing. Since I took out some of the flour for oats, the cookies were too brittle and barely made it from the tray to the cooling racks. The chopped up pretzels weren’t much help, as they made the cookie heavier and took over the entire cookie. I took my scrap paper and went back to the drawing board.

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Not to be defeated by a failed batch, I decided to put back the flour I took out and incorporate the rolled oats as a mix-in. I also took the chopped pretzels out and opted to top each scoop of dough with one instead. I said a little prayer and popped them into the oven on my second try. It took me two weeks to try to make this recipe and I think it was definitely worth the wait. The cookies came out with the right structure; sturdy but not heavy. The oats made them chewy, which went great with the soft chocolate and sweet butterscotch chips. And then the pretzel. Easily the best part of the cookie! I was worried the oven would soften them but they stayed crispy atop the cookie, and added a little saltiness.

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I took my cookies to class with me and they were definitely a hit! My classmates were already supportive of me and my baking endeavors (those sweethearts), so I already felt better about debuting these with them. One of my classmates even said these were her new favorite!

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To be completely honest, they were the inspiration behind this cookie. I am part of this super new and innovative program called CO*OP that aims to bridge the college to career gap in New York City for advertising and marketing graduates. For those who don’t know, I graduated college over a year ago and have been struggling to start my career ever since. This opportunity kind of fell into my lap this past summer, and I have been rocking with it ever since. We’re the guinea pigs for the program, so things are always changing and we’re just rolling with the punches. Our founder told us from the beginning that we were the pilot, hence the name of these cookies. We’re the first group and since this was my first try at creating a sweet recipe, I named them pilot cookies (that, and because ‘oatmeal butterscotch chocolate chip pretzel cookies’ is a mouthful).

I learned a lot while creating and trying these cookies out, and definitely had fun doing it. For one, I won’t replace ingredients for others without seeing how it’ll affect the final product. Since these are my pilot, it’s only a matter of time until I start creating more recipes on my own (with Ratio’s help, of course)!

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For more information on CO*OP, check us (and my face) out here and here

Pilot Cookies – a  Lucy the Baker Original

Makes 28-30 cookies

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) of unsalted butter, room temperature and slightly softened
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup each of rolled oats, chocolate chips, and butterscotch chips
  • 28-30 salted pretzels

Directions:

  1. Place the oven racks in the middle of the oven, and preheat to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a medium sized bowl, cream together with an electric mixer the slightly softened butter and the sugars until light and fluffy; up to five minutes. Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula and add the egg and vanilla extract. Mix until completely incorporated.
  4. Gradually add the flour mix to the batter, scraping down the sides of the bowl periodically. Do not overmix!
  5. Fold in the oats, chocolate and butterscotch chips with a rubber spatula. Using a small disher or two spoons, scoop the batter onto the prepared baking sheets, about an inch or two apart. Place a pretzel atop each scoop of batter and gently press down so the pretzel sticks to the cookie dough.
  6. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until edges are golden brown. Rotate the pans halfway through baking.
  7. Cool cookies on the pan for a minute before transferring to racks to cool completely. For storage, place in an airtight container at room temperature. Cookies should keep for about a week.

Lucy’s Tips:

  • Make sure your butter is room temp and slightly softened; not completely softened, as that will affect your final product. If your butter got too soft, make the batter and refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour to firm the dough back up. To know if your butter is ready, gently press it with a finger. It should be firm, not too cold, and your finger should only make a slight indent. 
  • To prevent overmixing, incorporate the last bit of flour with a rubber spatula instead of the mixer. It’s also a good opportunity to scrape the bowl and make sure all the flour is incorporated. 
  • I use a #50 disher (similar to this one), which holds 1 1/4 tablespoons of dough. Feel free to use a larger one or two spoons to scoop your batter. 
  • To rotate your pans during baking, switch the top tray and the bottom tray (so the top one is now on the bottom rack and vice versa), and turn them 180 degrees. Sounds confusing but I hope that makes sense!

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Oatmeal raisin cookies are my #1 favorite cookie. I’m talking about homemade cookies, because if this were the store bought category, Oreos will forever remain #1. Overall, they’re both tied. To me, oatmeal raisin cookies are superior to chocolate chip or sugar. There’s just no way any other cookie is better. I know there are thousands of people who disagree but I will fight to the death for oatmeal raisin cookies. I think the best thing I’ve heard from an oatmeal raisin cookie hater is that they suck because the raisins are and taste like deception; they apparently could’ve been chocolate chips.

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Oatmeal raisin cookies: deceptively delicious

I honestly don’t understand the hate or why they’re compared to chocolate chip cookies. They’re both awesome in their own right but oatmeal raisin cookies are just better. I mean, think about it. An oatmeal raisin cookie could be excused for breakfast. How many people can say they have chocolate chip cookies for breakfast? None. You say you had an oatmeal raisin cookie and people will only half-heartedly disapprove.

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Like, just look at an oatmeal raisin cookie. There’s tons of oats in there, which are whole grains with tons of fiber to help keep you full for a while (ahem, if you eat enough of them). Then there’s the raisins; not only delicious but could also count as a fruit serving (or at least part of one). And the cinnamon in there? Helps speed up your metabolism (don’t quote me on that). Look, I’m not saying that it’s a complete breakfast but they definitely have the potential to be.

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Besides the main ingredients, an underlying characteristic of an oatmeal raisin cookie is its soft and chewy texture. Do not come to me with crunchy oatmeal cookies. I’d probably still eat it but I wouldn’t enjoy it too much. Oatmeal cookies of any kind should be soft, tender, and chewy. The oats have a lot to do with this, but I think it’s all the awesome brown sugar and the tiny bit of flour in there. The key to these cookies’ thick and chewiness is actually a trip to the fridge. Deb (the genius behind this recipe) says that chilling the dough for a bit before baking helps the cookies keep their composure during baking; allowing them to stay tall, thick, and chewy. This is important because it helps firm up the butter in the cookie, meaning they won’t spread out like crazy on the cookie sheet.

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I think my opinion is obviously biased but these cookies are several kinds of awesome. They were nice and thick, with the slightest crunch on the crust. Underneath that layer is the chewy haven that can only be found in oatmeal raisin cookies. The raisins add to that chew, lending their deep and fruity flavor. The hint of cinnamon rounds out the chew with a smidgen of warmth and then BAM, you just had the best oatmeal raisin cookie you’ve ever baked. So good, you’ll want another. SO GOOD, you’ll want to eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Go ahead, I won’t judge. They’re almost a complete breakfast anyway.

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Oatmeal Raisin Cookies – adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Makes 23 cookies, 1 3/8″ in diameter

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup raisins

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar for about 5 minutes. Add the vanilla and the egg, mixing until smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture until combined. Stir in the oats and then the raisins.
  2. Chill the dough for at least 15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350F, and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a cookie scoop or a tablespoon, scoop out balls of dough onto the prepped sheets and place at least two inches apart. Bake for 10-14 minutes, or until edges are golden brown. Cooking times vary depending on how cold the dough is. Let cookies cool on the sheets for a couple of minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack.

Lucy’s Tips:

  • I added whole wheat flour and more cinnamon than the recipe called for. Feel free to reduce the cinnamon and use all AP flour
  • I like tossing the raisins in a bit of the flour before mixing them in, so that they won’t sink. Not sure if that happens in cookies but I do it anyway (really good to do for cakes and such for raisins and other heavy stir ins)
  • Deb has cookie dough freezing instructions in her original post, check that out if you’re interested
  • She also likes adding chocolate chips (gasp!) and nuts to her oatmeal raisin cookies. Add at your own discretion