Oatmeal Cookie Kings

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Oatmeal Cookie Kings

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Published prior to 2008

We recently received a fax from U.S. Steel in Gary, Indiana. Wow, we thought. What could U.S. Steel want with The Baker's Catalogue? Some industrial-sized whisks? Perhaps a heat-resistant spatula or two? As it turns out, the fax was from fellow baker Bruce Schenker, who enclosed a recipe and note: "Here's a cookie recipe I feel is so good, I had to share it with you. This was Donna Riesenberg of West Allis, Wisconsin's, favorite cookie, and it just might be mine."

We decided to give them a try. And guess what? He's right. These oatmeal cookies have a rich, buttery, oat-y taste that we think is the result, strangely enough, of the ground vanilla bean. We suggest adding this recipe post-haste to your list of favorite basic cookies.

By the way, if you don't have time to make cookies, try this recipe baked as bars. Just press the dough into two greased 9 x 9-inch pans, and bake the bars in a preheated 350°F oven for 25 to 30 minutes.

1 1/2 cups (6 3/8 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup (4 ounces) butter*
1/2 cup (3 1/4 ounces) butter-flavored shortening*
1 cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar
1 cup (7 1/2 ounces) brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla crush
2 large eggs
3 cups (11 1/4 ounces) quick-cooking oats**
3/4 cup (3 ounces) nuts (we used chopped, toasted hazelnuts)
3/4 cup (3 ounces) diced dried cranberries and/or apples (optional)

*You may use 1 cup (2 sticks) of butter rather than 1 stick of butter and 1/2 cup shortening, if you prefer.

**The texture changes completely if you substitute old-fashioned (or thick oats) for quick-cooking oats. Cookies made with old-fashioned oats will spread much more, sometimes to the point of becoming lace cookies; we prefer using quick-cooking oats in this recipe.

In a medium-sized bowl, sift together the flour, salt and baking soda. In a separate bowl, cream together the butter, shortening, sugars and vanilla(s). Beat in the eggs, then the flour mixture. Add the oatmeal, nuts, and fruit, if using, and mix well.

Drop the dough by teaspoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet, and bake the cookies in a preheated 375°F oven for 10 to 12 minutes, until they're a very light golden brown around the edges. Remove them from the oven, and cool them on a rack. Yield: about 3 1/2 dozen cookies.

Nutrition information per serving (1 cookie, 19g): 81 cal, 4g fat, 1g protein, 5g complex carbohydrates, 6g sugar, 1g dietary fiber, 9mg cholesterol, 60mg sodium, 37mg potassium, 19RE vitamin A, 8mg calcium, 30mg phosphorus.

Nutrition information per serving (1 bar, 1/16 of a pan, 42g): 183 cal, 8g fat, 3g protein, 11g complex carbohydrates, 13g sugar, 1g dietary fiber, 21mg cholesterol, 134mg sodium, 83mg potassium, 43RE vitamin A, 1mg iron, 19mg calcium, 68mg phosphorus.

This recipe reprinted from The Baking Sheet Newsletter, Vol. XII, No. 1, Holiday 2000 issue.


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  • star rating 03/09/2015
  • Teresa from Mount Rainier, MD
  • Aha. I was making notes on my copy of the recipe, and I see where I went "wrong" -- I used butter and my mind ignored the "butter-flavored shortening" ingredient. So I used half the amount of butter and full amounts of everything else. So there's a hint why the "creaming" part yielded sand, not cream! :) Now I'm really curious whether to stick to the lower amount of fat or whether to try the correct proportions. I really like the chewiness and height of the cookie the way it came out for me. Guess I need to experiment.

    Teresa, it sounds like you've got a Test Kitchen mission on your hands. Have fun experimenting and be sure to share you results with the Oatmeal Cookie King community so others can learn from all your hard work as well. Happy baking! --Kye@KAF

  • star rating 03/09/2015
  • Teresa from Mount Rainier, MD
  • With some adjustments, this is an excellent recipe. SWEETNESS: I automatically cut the sugar by 25% and didn't pack the brown sugar -- and still these are sweeter than I like. Perhaps that's just personal preference but I was surprised by the sweetness. I may try a sprinkle of salt on top before baking. Wish I'd thought of it this time; that would have been so easy to do SIZE: The teaspoon size is way too small. After testing, I ended up using a 1.5 TBSP scoop. Flattened each one before baking. When this larger size came out of the oven they were still raw inside but within ten minutes they finished baking on the cooling rack. RISE: They didn't really "rise" but they kept their nice shape. This is one thing I really like about this cookie. Mine look like the photo, except mine are darker. May use a lower temperature next time. VANILLA: As for the vanillas, I happened to have a small jar of ground vanilla bean in my cupboard and used the original recipe notes of 1 teaspoon ground beans and 1 teaspoon extract. The vanilla flavor was stronger than I care for. I have to admit, I was tasting the cookies hot (or barely cooled) and that when I had one an hour later, the vanilla seemed milder. I know from other uses that ground vanilla is milder, teaspoon for teaspoon, than vanilla extract. When making this again, I will cut the extract by half and see how that tastes. THE DOUGH: Man, oh, man this was a STIFF dough. Granted it's been years since I've made cookies but I don't remember cookie dough being so hard to mix. My kitchen is cool (below 65F) and while I did leave the butter out overnight, being room temperature isn't really "soft" so maybe that's what it was. I checked and re-checked and checked again to make sure I wasn't missing any liquid in the recipe. But I had all the ingredients. It was a workout, every step of the way.

    Teresa--thanks for sharing your thorough feedback. The Oatmeal Cookie Kings dough is a bit more stiff than other cookie recipes. This is so that the final product is a bit more shortbread-like than soft and chewy. If you are looking for something a little more tender and easier to work with, try melted your butter so that it acts as a liquid in this recipe and then chilling the dough in the fridge for 30 minutes after you have shaped them into balls. You can also add 1-2 tablespoons of water to fully hydrate the dough. This will make it softer and also rise a bit more in the oven. We hope you try this recipe again and get the results you are looking for. Happy baking! --Kye@KAF

  • star rating 10/31/2014
  • geripage from KAF Community
  • Tuned out perfect! I followed recipe exactly as written, with craisins and walnuts.
  • star rating 08/24/2014
  • TerriSue from Mid-Cities, TX
  • This is not the original recipe as it was first posted. It was first posted using the seeds scraped from vanilla beans. Sadly I never copied that recipe. You went on and on about how these cookies had to be extra special in flavor because of the vanilla seeds. How I wish I had the original intro and recipe. My granddaughter came over today to make cookies for her first day of school which starts tomorrow. Last night while trying to decide what cookie to make, I realized I had some vanilla beans and I could finally make these. Imagine my disappointment when I looked up the recipe and found the one here. I have Vanilla Crush. I keep it on hand at all times along with Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract & Nielsen-Massey Mexican Pure Vanilla Extract. To be honest the Vanilla Crush is my all purpose vanilla. The Nielsen-Massey ones are the ones I keep for special and when I really care about the taste of the vanilla in my baked goods. So your suggesting Vanilla Crush did not excite me much. I had waited so long to make these cookies that quite honestly they were a huge disappointment. That is not to say though that it was the vanilla. I do not use artificial flavors, so of course I do not have Crisco Butter Flavored Shortening. I also did not have quick cooking oats but only the old-fashioned oats. We used dried chopped apple seeing as tomorrow is the first day of school. I doubled up on the apples and left out the nuts as my granddaughter dis-likes nuts. She was a champion at scraping out the seeds of the vanilla bean, the problem being we didn't know how much to use. These were a good Oatmeal Cookie, but that's all. Whose to say if it was because I didn't use shortening or quick oats, or it is because I did not know the correct amount of vanilla beans to use. I will say you are misrepresenting the recipe that was sent to you, because this was not it. It had scraped seeds of vanilla bean(s) in it. When you first posted it Vanilla Crush was not out on the market. So don't lie about it. Return the original recipe and next to the vanilla seeds put or this much Vanilla Crush. I know I wouldn't like it if I sent you a recipe that was tried and true and you changed it to put in one of your specialty products.
    We are sorry to hear you were unhappy with the changes made to the recipe. Originally it called for 1 teaspoon of extract and 1 teaspoon of ground vanilla beans (not seeds, but ground whole beans). Ground beans have become pretty hard to find these days, so we did make the switch to the Crush. For most folks the Crush is a nice combo of extract plus added seeds, and different from "everyday" vanilla". We would be happy to print out a copy of the original recipe as it appeared in our Holiday 2000 Baking Sheet and send it to you. Just email or phone our hotline and we'll be happy to take care of it. MJR
  • star rating 05/09/2013
  • Dona from Fredericksburg texas
  • Made these for our Wounded Warriors and they tasted incredible!
  • star rating 02/22/2012
  • Sri from Topeka, KS
  • Made mine w all butter, toasted walnuts and mini choc chips, then added some mini m&ms when I didn't have enough. The batter had promise and the cookies were good but not as good as I expected. Frankly, painful as they are to make, I still prefer my Internet supposed Neiman Marcus recipe. I'll try the kid's choice version and see if they trump these. I was afraid to make them wo the nuts, thought they might not hold their form but I think I would've liked these better wo the toasted walnuts. Maybe even w untoasted walnuts would've been better. Bottom line, good but not the best oatmeal cookie I've had.
  • star rating 02/20/2012
  • mrsnarbonne from KAF Community
  • Excellent flavor! My husband pronounced them the best oatmeal cookie he's ever had. I used walnuts and chocolate chips, as well as Nielsen Massey vanilla bean paste (what I had on hand). I also used old-fashioned oatmeal, but whizzed them in the blender before adding them to the dough so that they were cut into finer pieces to approximate the quick-cooking oats.
  • star rating 12/23/2011
  • akhix from KAF Community
  • I just made these for my husband this morning using bittersweet chocolate chips, coconut and pecans. He raved they were amazing. He raved so much I tried one even though I do not like pecans. They're FANTASTIC. Chewy on the inside, crisp on the outside and the vanilla bean crush melds perfectly with the oatmeal for a really smooth flavor that lingers on your tongue. This is my new go to oatmeal cookie for our family! I am so glad I gave these a try. I can't wait to hear what my father-in-law thinks of his batch with pecans and cranberries.
  • star rating 07/22/2011
  • Tonya from Oklahoma
  • followed the recipe exactly. taste was ok. used quick cooking oats like suggested, and they turned out like lace cookies. they spread and ended up more crispy and thin...nothing like the picture! i have had much better oatmeal cookies than this. not sure what the hype is about???
    Sounds like it could have been a few things. Give us a call on the Baker's Hotline if you would wish to try again! We hope you give it another go, and we'd love to help troubleshoot! ~JDT@KAF
  • star rating 02/03/2011
  • mumpy from KAF Community
  • terrific recipe!...used all butter, pecans for the nuts and diced dried apples and i think that's the way i'll always make them because i can't imagine them tasting any better...made half as drop cookies and half as bars...haven't tasted the bars yet (still too hot) but they're sure to be wonderful since the drops were so good. thanks for another success!
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