This has absolutely nothing to do with today's recipe, but I just read on-line that September 20, 2008, is Wife Appreciation Day! Now, if you're a wife, like I am, time is of the essence. You only have a few hours left in the day to take advantage of your position of power. Go downstairs, and with a big smile ask your husband that question that makes the color drain from his face: "Do you know what today is?" This inquiry will of course be followed by creative stalling while he racks his brain for the correct answer. Anniversary? No, that's sometime during the spring. Birthday? Didn't she just have one of those? Dear God, help me out here! You know what happened the last time I forgot something! This reaction alone should be enough of a gift in the form of entertainment. Let him off with a warning that he better not forget this very important holiday next year.
One way to ensure that people appreciate both you and your talents any day of the year is to make them a batch of these glazed oatmeal-raisin walnut cookies. There's a saying that goes "You can't be all things to all people." With respect to these cookies, I've learned that this saying does not apply. Each time I serve these delectable desserts, I am met with requests for the recipe, requests for seconds, and requests for personal trainer recommendations (from those who just couldn't stop eating them.)
I can't for the life of me remember where I first got the inspiration for this recipe, but if you're reading this blog and these cookies look really familiar, I thank you. Although the cookies themselves are wonderful, with their soft, chewy texture and toasty, spiced flavor, the real star of the show is the brown butter icing. Now, in previous posts, I have professed my love for all things brown butter, and this icing is certainly no exception. After taking just one bite of these cookies, people find themselves wandering into the kitchen, looking for leftover icing pieces on the cookie sheet. This stuff is really addictive--don't say that I didn't warn you! I Here are some extra tips for these popular, crowd-pleasing cookies:
- The cookie dough can be prepared up to 2 days in advance. Transfer the dough to an air-tight container and cover; chill. The brown butter icing can also be prepared in advance. Reheat the icing over low and add a few drops of water, if necessary, to return it to drizzling consistency.
- Pecans or even hazelnuts would make a nice substitution for the walnuts in this recipes. Dark raisins or dried cranberries can replace the golden raisins. You can also add 1 cup of shredded unsweetened or sweetened coconut to the batter to add another layer of flavor and texture.
- The easiest and most effective method for drizzling the icing onto the cookies is done by using a regular dinner fork. Dip the fork into the warmed icing and then run it back and forth across the cookie, making a zig-zag design. You can also make criss-cross designs, circles, or whatever appeals to you.
- These cookies will keep at room temperature, tightly covered, for up to 3 days, but I can guarantee that they will not last that long!
Spiced Oatmeal Raisin Walnut Cookies with Brown Butter Icing
Makes about 3 dozen
For the cookie dough
8 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup butter flavored solid vegetable shortening
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon each: cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup golden raisins
1 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
For the icing
8 tablespoons butter
3 cups confectioner's sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3-4 tablespoons water
Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, shortening, and sugar until light and fluffy, 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition, until the mixture is light in color. Mix in the buttermilk.
Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt, allspice, and cloves, and mix into the butter mixture. Stir in the oatmeal, vanilla, raisins, and walnuts until thoroughly incorporated.
Drop the batter by 2 tablespoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown. Drizzle with the brown butter icing (recipe follows) and cool completely on wire racks.
For the brown butter icing: In a small saucepan, heat the butter over medium heat until it is golden brown in color and has a nutty aroma. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the confectioner's sugar (mixture will be thick.) Add the vanilla and enough water to make an icing of drizzling consistency.