Sunday, December 25, 2011

Anna's Old-Fashioned Oatmeal Cookies (small batch)

The first baking blog I ever read was Anna Ginsburg's Cookie Madness.  Anna has a wonderfully scientific approach to cooking which is combined with an unpretentious and eclectic attitude.  In my own baking, I've gone through various phases ('healthy,' vegan, small batch, and so forth) and now I'm pretty much focused on just making stuff really well that people like to eat, and not eating too much of it.  Throughout these 'periods' I have been able to find recipes on Anna's blog that suit virtually every specification imaginable--and all of them work.

Cookie Madness has such a wide variety of recipes that just about everyone can benefit from reading it, from serious from-scratch cooks to busy moms who want something to throw together before the kids get home.

It's often said that the best cookbooks are the ones that are the most disgusting and food-stained.  If Anna's blog was a cookbook, it would be smeared in cookie dough and the corners would have that odd, transparent quality that paper gets when it's stained with melted butter.  Fortunately for Anna, her blog can't get covered with food every time people use one of her recipes! 

Anna is coming out with a book...soon...though, so I'll have to find some way of preserving it.  Until then, I'll have to content myself with geeking out on her comparisons of different Italian rainbow cookie recipes

Just as a side note, from a purely unscientific poll of one, Anna's blog has inspired more of her commentators to blog (based upon what I've read over the years) and more of her commentators to try her recipes than just about any blog I am aware of--you know what I mean, if you read lots of food blogs.  There are blogs with pretty pictures that get lots of random comments like "yummy!" and "I love chocolate!"  But Anna's readers tend to ask questions about substitutions, or unusual aspects of techniques and ingredients. In other words, they really make and test her recipes.

(Oh, and did I forget to mention that Anna is a former Pillsbury Bake-Off Grand Prize winner)?

Anna has a wonderful recipe for old-fashioned oatmeal cookies, but it had a rather high yield, so I scaled it down a bit and made a few minor substitutions. I also increased the proportion of raisins and nuts based upon personal preferences and availability of ingredients.  The original is here.

Anna's Old-Fashioned Oatmeal Cookies

(scaled-down batch)

 -yields 36 large cookies-


2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup raisins (1/2 cup golden raisins (sultanas), 1/2 cup brown raisins)

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
11/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup rolled oats

1 cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped


1. Don't preheat your oven.  Instead 'marinate' the raisins in the eggs and vanilla for approximately one hour.

2. NOW you can preheat your oven to 350F and line two baking sheets with parchment.

3.  Cream butter and sugars.  Sift flour, salt, baking soda, and spices.  Gradually spoon flour into butter mixture. Add vanilla/egg/raisin mixture. Add oats, then nuts.

4. Scoop onto parchment, bake for 12-15 minutes.


  1. I want these cookies. I'm going to have to check her blog out! I hope you had a good Christmas!

  2. @The Blonde Duck-these were truly gift-worthy oatmeal cookies, and I really think you would like her blog!

  3. I'm inspired to bake because of you! :)