Have you ever eaten an oatmeal cookie that tastes like overly sweet yet bland hot cereal? I have. So when I set out to create oatmeal cookie recipes, I wanted to pack as much flavor as possible into each bite. If the ingredient lists for this week’s recipes seem long, it’s intentional: Good cookies contain layers of flavors and textures.
I started by thinking about how to bring out the best flavor from the rolled oats. As I’ve shared elsewhere, I’ve never been a fan of plain oatmeal and instead mix several grains into my hot cereal and granola blends. But cookies bake so quickly that some grains don’t have time to soften. So I stuck with rolled oats (never instant) and used browned butter to boost the nutty flavor of the cookies—all without actually adding nuts.
Several blends build on this base layer of flavor and texture. Blending white and whole-wheat flours balances the oat flakes. Using baking soda and baking powder gives cookies Goldilocks cred—not too flat, not too tall. Blending spices or using smoky salt deepens their flavor. Finally, combining sweeteners enhances flavor and hits the happy medium between too chewy and too crispy.
If you have a cookie craving and limited supplies, you can replace these blends with all-purpose flour, baking powder, cinnamon and regular salt, and white sugar. If you’re in a rush, just cream room-temperature butter instead of browning it. Try simplifying each recipe sometime as an experiment: You’ll still make cookies, but they’ll taste a little one-dimensional.
Learn to make Smoky Oatmeal–Cranberry Cookies and Oatmeal–Pumpkin Cookies