These started off as a whim while I was trying to figure out what to do with the pint of ginger ice cream in my freezer. I first considered sauteéing some apples to go over it, but I knew I’d need some sort of crumble topping for texture– and once I had the idea of a baked oatmeal topping it was just a short step to thinking of oatmeal cookies. After those got into my head the apples just sort of fell to the side as unnecessary, as I envisioned adorably tiny bite-sized ice cream sandwiches, made with homemade oatmeal cookies. Who could resist?
Unfortunately, the road to oatmeal-ginger perfection was fraught with hazards, or at least it was by the time I was done with it.
I knew that I wanted to find a cookie recipe using melted butter rather than softened, creamed butter, because let’s face it, waiting for butter to soften is really annoying. Plus, with melted butter you can use a spoon to mix up the dough instead of a mixer, which makes things easier all around.
Anyway, I compared a bunch of recipes and came up with one that seemed to be the basic ratio used in almost all of the recipes labelled “chewy,” which was what I was going for. It was only after I preheated the oven that I realized that I didn’t actually have enough butter in the house to make them. Can you believe it? Me! With no butter! It’s practically unheard of! It was raining and I didn’t want to go out and get more, so I sent my husband up to our upstairs neighbors to trade a bottle of his home-brewed beer for a stick of butter. Luckily it worked!
Okay, so I had butter. I dutifully melted it, then stirred up the rest of the ingredients. But the finished dough looked a little weird. And by “weird” I mean “more like batter than dough.” It really did look extremely soupy, and I worried that I’d made a mistake. Maybe I’d inadvertently forgotten to add enough oatmeal? I was supposed to have used 2 cups, but had I added the second cup? I knew I’d used a brand-new 18-oz. container of rolled oats, so I weighed what was left– 15 oz. Then I weighed a full cup of oats, and it weighed just about 3 oz. Clearly I had not added the second cup of oatmeal, so I dutifully added it. That made the dough much more dough-like. Whew!
Except than I happened to glance down at my written recipe to see that I was supposed to have only 1 1/4 cups of oats, not 2 cups. Oops.
As I didn’t have enough butter to try adding in enough extra ingredients to make up for the excessive oatmeal, I just went with it. What could a little more oatmeal hurt, right? I scooped small balls of dough (about 2 tsp. each) onto foil-lined baking sheets and baked them for 10 minutes, until the edges were set and slightly browned, but the tops still looked underdone.
There was a bit too much oatmeal, I admit, but the overall flavor balance was fine. I think if I’d used quick-cooking oats instead of rolled oats, the cookies would have turned out better. Or if I’d used the correct amount of rolled oats and let them soak up a bit more of the liquid to tenderize them during baking. As it was, the oats had just a bit too much texture to them, making the cookies a little bit tough to chew.
They still made delicious ice cream sandwiches, though. Just make sure your ice cream is softened before you scoop it, or it won’t “sandwich” well. You can always re-freeze the whole sandwich after you’re done if you want it to firm up some more.
Anyway, here’s the recipe. Just be sure to follow it, unlike me!
Chewy Oatmeal Cookies (makes about 30 2″ cookies)
1 1/4 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup flour
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup butter, melted and slightly cooled
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line two baking sheets with foil or parchment.
2. Combine oats, flour, salt, and baking soda in a medium-sized bowl.
3. In a separate bowl, combine remaining ingredients and mix well.
4. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. The mixture will be wet, like a thick batter instead of a dough. Don’t worry about it!
5. Let your batter chill in the refrigerator or sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Either way the butter will firm up a bit and you’ll be able to scoop your dough more easily.
6. Scoop batter into 1″ balls onto prepared baking sheets, leaving at least 2″ between each ball to allow for spreading.
7. Bake 10 minutes at 350 degrees F, or until slightly browned at the edges. The tops will still look slightly wet, but this is fine. Let the cookies sit on the hot baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely.
- Most recipes I’ve seen call for a bit more sugar– a full cup instead of 3/4 cup. I think this amount is fine, and it was fine even with the increased oatmeal, so I wouldn’t recommend going with a full cup of sugar in any event. I also used more brown than white sugar, while many recipes do a 50/50 proportion. Just a matter of personal taste, though extra brown sugar does make the cookies chewier.
- I considered adding some cinnamon to the dough– many recipes use it, and oatmeal and cinnamon is a natural combination– but decided against it, going for pure oatmeal flavor rather than adding anything. Still, a teaspoon (or even half a teaspoon) of cinnamon would go nicely with this recipe, so feel free to add it if you like.
- Larger cookies will of course require more baking time, but be sure to take them out while the tops still look a bit wet. Otherwise you’ll end up with crunchy cookies rather than nice, chewy ones.
- Finally, while the amount of salt is nice in these, next time I might consider sprinkling just a touch more over the unbaked dough balls. Then again, I love the sweet/salty combination and others may not. Up to you.