Perfected Cookie Recipe: Oatmeal (Something) Cookies

There has been a lot of talk lately about the "perfect cookie," from The New York Times Online to NPR's chemically-inclined analysis.

While I'm not a fan of using the word "perfect" to describe anything, especially any food, I have spent the last three years perfecting my own signature cookie recipe, and I've finally nailed it.

The last time I made it, I made a few tweaks, forgetting that the index card I have now contains the true recipe, the one to trust, the one that needs no more tweaking.

The "(Something)" in Oatmeal (Something) Cookies can be: chocolate chips, raisins (soaked and drained), chocolate chunks, M&Ms, dried cranberries, or as most recently tested Reese's Pieces.

Oatmeal (Something) Cookies
3/4 cup, or 1 stick, good butter, preferably European, such as Lurpak, President, or Kerry Gold
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar (light or dark works fine)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 medium eggs (if using extra large eggs, use 1 egg and 1 yolk)
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour, sifted
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. table salt
2 3/4 cups rolled oats (not "quick" oats or instant)
1 cup of "something"
for raisin cookies, add 3/4 tsp. cinnamon

Let all ingredients reach room temperature of about 68 degrees. Make cookies the usual way: cream together butter and white sugar; add brown sugar and continue creaming; add vanilla, beat; add eggs, beat. Whisk next three ingredients together separately. Switch to a wooden spoon and incorporate the dry mix into the wet (I use the spoon, but I continue to beat the dough slightly here). Stir in the oats, and lastly, stir in the something else.

Refrigerate the dough for at least two hours.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Drop small amounts of dough onto a parchment-lined or Silpat-lined baking sheet two or three inches apart. It's very important to only put a small amount of dough for each cookie. Using too much dough will result in a puffy cookie. If using M&Ms or Reese's Pieces, you can tell the right amount by trying to get at least three, but no more than five, candy pieces in each lump.

Bake on the center or higher rack for about 8 minutes, or until the edges brown.

[See the follow up to this post: "Consistency!" January 17, 2009, about the baking process.]