I go through periods where I like to eat the same foods several days a row and sometimes up to a week. This creature of habit of mine most likely goes back to my elementary school days. Kids who lived close enough to school weren't allowed to stay for lunch unless they brought a note with an explanation as to why they couldn't go home for lunch (those were the days when mothers who 'didn't work' were expected to be home to make their children lunches). But on those rare days when I was lucky enough to have lunch with my school friends my lunch sack always contained the same thing, a bologna sandwich on white bread (was there any other kind back then?) with a smear of yellow mustard. From elementary to high school, this remained my favorite, my only eat at school lunch with one exception. Once I discovered mayonnaise I no longer made these bologna sandwiches with mustard. This story from my past might help to explain in part my latest obsession with currants.
Everyone seems to have a preference about the taste and texture of oatmeal raisin cookies. Some like them crunchy and others like them soft. And still others like the combination of the two textures. I was beside myself with excitement when I came across a recipe that I thought would result in a cookie that was both crunchy and soft. And it was. The fact that it had currants in it made it all the more appealing. Because if given a choice between an oatmeal raisin and oatmeal currant cookie, I will always, always, no exceptions, choose the one with currants (remember I have some creature of habit tendencies). There is just something about the taste of these tiny morsels that I love, particularly in an oatmeal cookie.
As much as I love the rustic look of a cookie, I also love when a cookie made at home looks as if it came from a bakery. This is one of those bakery perfect looking cookies. And I don't think I will ever try another oatmeal raisin, oatmeal currant cookie recipe as I have finally found cookie perfection. If only I could have had this cookie in my lunches back in elementary school I would have figured out a way to eat lunch at school every day.
The ingredients for the cookie included light brown sugar, however, I like a cookie having a bit of a molasses flavor, so I decided to used all dark brown sugar instead. I would definitely make these cookies using all dark brown sugar again, but they can easily be made with light brown sugar or a combination of the two sugars. While you too may have strong preferences for your oatmeal cookies, I encourage you to give the all dark brown sugar version a try.
And oh, there are three tablespoons of Saigon cinnamon in these cookies, this is not a typing error. Trust me it is not too much, it is just the right amount.
The protein in flours is related to how much gluten is formed which in turns creates the texture in baked goods. Less protein creates a more light and airy structure, more protein creates a denser, chewy structure. Pastry flour has a lower percentage of protein compared to other flours. So when I saw this cookie called for the use of pastry flour I immediately knew it was going to have that bakery like texture. The good news is that pastry flour is so much more accessible in grocery stores these days (my favorite brand is Bob's Red Mill) and not one requiring a trip to Whole Foods or a gourmet food store.
The process for making this oatmeal raisin cookie is the same as most other cookies. The pastry flour, cinnamon, salt and baking powder are sifted and set aside. The unsalted butter, dark brown and granulated sugars are beat in a standing mixer using a paddle attachment until light and fluffy, a process taking about five minutes. Don't rush this stage, set a timer on the stove if you need to but the butter and sugars will go through a few transformations until it gets to the light and fluffy stage.
The eggs are beat in one at a time until thoroughly mixed in before the vanilla gets mixed in. The sifted flour is added in batches versus all at once. I had cut the recipe in half so I added the flour in in four batches. If I had made the full recipe, I would have added the flour in in eight batches.
Once the flour is mixed in, the oatmeal and currants are stirred in by hand. This is a very dense batter so use a wooden spoon. If you need to, you can finish up the mixing in the mixer, but start by working it in with a wooden spoon.
On a parchment paper lined baking sheet, the equivalent of two tablespoons of dough are formed. I like using an ice cream scoop to ensure that all of the cookies will be even. You will be able to get nine dough balls on a cookie sheet. Before putting into a preheated 350 degree oven, gently press down on the dough balls to very slightly flatten (just enough so the top is flattened).
The baking time on the cookies is 18 to 20 minutes. My baking time was 18 minutes and I might reduce it down to 17 minutes the next time. Halfway through the baking process rotate the baking sheet to ensure even baking.
If you want a crunchier cookie, allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet. If you want your cookies to be crunchy on the outside and softer on the inside, transfer to a cooling rack. To keep the cookies fresh, store in a covered container. For those of you who have creature of habit tendencies, this could be the just cookie to cause a shift in your cookie eating preferences.
Oatmeal Currant Cookies (adaptation to Corner Bakery's Oatmeal Currant Cookie recipe)
Yield: 4 dozen large cookies
Ingredients (Recipe can be halved)
3 1/2 cups pastry flour
4 teaspoons baking soda
3 Tablespoons Saigon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
2 1/3 cups dark brown sugar (can use light brown sugar or combination of the two sugars)
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
Scant 4 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 heaping cup currants (or raisins)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
2. Sift flour, baking soda, cinnamon and Kosher salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
3. Using a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugars in a standing mixer. Beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes (don't rush this step).
4. Add eggs one at a time and beat in until fully incorporated.
5. Beat in vanilla.
6. Add sifted flour mixture in 8 batches until just incorporated.
7. Fold in the oats and currants.
8. Using an ice cream scoop (about a 2 tablespoon equivalent), form balls and place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Flatten the dough balls slightly. About 9 cookies to a sheet.
9. Bake 17 to 20 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through to ensure even baking.
10. Remove cookies from oven when golden and set.
11. For a crunchier cookie, allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet. For a softer cookie, transfer cookies to a cooling rack.
12. Store cooled cookies in a covered container.