Monday, May 27, 2013

Oatmeal Scotchies

It's a rainy Memorial Day in Michigan, so it seems as good a day as any to bake up a batch of cookies.  I'm stuck inside anyway, I may as well have something good to eat.  I've decided to go with another childhood favorite, Oatmeal Scotchies. 

I used browned butter to make this batch.
Chewy oatmeal cookies, studded with rich, butterscotch chips.  Does an oatmeal cookie get any better?  You can keep your raisins, for my money, an oatmeal cookie doesn't get any better. This was another common recipe in our house, and I have always loved these cookies.  I even went so far as to carefully copy it from my mom's recipe card, so I could recreate the magic after I moved out.  Much later, I would discover that the recipe had actually come from the back of the bag of butterscotch chips. 
I followed the classic recipe for this batch.

After reading about the joy and deliciousness of browned butter over at Bakergirl, I decided to try my hand at it.  And, what better medium for something so rich than oatmeal and butterscotch?  I thought it would change the flavor of the cookie, but I wasn't expecting to end up with two cookies that look like they came from two different recipes.

Oatmeal Scotchies

Printable Recipe

You'll need...
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened or browned and cooled
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups quick or old-fashioned oats
If you're going to try the browned butter version, start there so you can allow the butter time to cool.  Feeling uncertain about the process?  Basically, you're going to melt the butter over medium low heat in a saucepan, watch it like a hawk, and stir it constantly until the milk solids separate and brown, and the thing becomes a saucepan of golden deliciousness.  Once that happens, remove the saucepan from heat, pour the butter into a heat safe bowl and put it aside to cool while you assemble the rest of the ingredients.

Combine the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a bowl.  If you're not grating your own cinnamon, you should be.  It seriously tastes so much better than the stuff in the jar and makes a real difference in your recipes.

Classic recipe.
Browned butter.
 In another mixing bowl, cream together the butter (browned or softened)
and both sugars. 
You really can't over
mix at this point, and you want
the butter and sugar to be really well combined.
Once the butter and sugars are well combined, add the eggs (one at a time) and the vanilla extract.  Next, gradually beat in the flour mixture.  Go slowly, especially if you're using an electric mixer of any sort and you don't want to spend the rest of forever finding flour everywhere.  Once you have the flour incorporated, mix in the oats and butterscotch morsels. 

Let's just take a moment to appreciate them before we go any further.

There, that's better. 

Now, whenever you're ready, maybe after you've snuck a new butterscotch morsels into your mouth, after all, as Julia Child said, "Remember, you are alone in the kitchen and no body can see you", mix the oats and morsels into the rest of the dough.

At this point, I like to put my dough into the fridge for a few minutes, just to firm it up a bit before I scoop the cookies.  While it's resting and cooling off, preheat your oven to 375° F, find your 1 inch cookie scoop (or a couple of tablespoons), and pull out your cookie sheets.   I cover mine with parchment paper, or a Silpat to make cleanup easier later.  Scoop the cookies onto the baking sheets and into the oven they go.  Seven to eight minutes for chewy cookies, nine to ten for crispy.

Just 7 to 10 minutes to go.
Let the cookies cool for a few minutes on the baking sheets then move to a wire rack to cool completely.  This recipe makes about four dozen cookies, so be careful with that kind of responsibility.

So, one minor change in the ingredients (browned butter) resulted in several major differences in the finished cookies. 
Left: Browned Butter
Right: Classic Recipe
  • Size.  I used the same size cookie scoop on both variations but the browned butter version retained the ice cream scoop shape much better, while the classic version spread and flattened and basically looked like the picture with the original recipe. 
  • Color.  The browned butter version browned better than the original, imagine that!
  • Texture.  The browned butter cookies were crispier and drier than the classic, though they baked for the same times.
What's the verdict?  Both of these cookies are yummy options.  The browned butter does add some richness and depth of flavor to the cookie, and I don't think this is the last time I'll be using it.  Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Very Best Baking/NestlĂ© Toll House Butterscotch Morsels

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