Chocolate chip cookies range from crispy to chewy, and hit every possible texture in between. Oatmeal raisin cookies, on the other hand, almost always aim for a nice, chewy consistency. This chewiness mimics the chewiness of the raisins baked into the dough and gives the cookies a uniform texture where individual flavors can stand out. At least, that’s my theory.
I made this batch of oatmeal raisin cookies into bars, rather like blondies. Blondies are bar cookies modeled after brownies, but with a non-chocolate base. They should have a chewy texture to them and a richer feel than a single, much thinner, cookie. This consistency seemed ideal for an oatmeal raisin theme. I used lots of oats in my batter and less flour than I might ordinarily use for cookies, as there was no danger of the cookies spreading too much or losing their shape within the pan. I stuck with the usual spices – cinnamon and nutmeg – and added some vanilla in to keep the flavor classic. And I used a ton of raisins.
The finished bars were satisfyingly thick and quite chewy. They were fantastic with coffee, really, and I’m sure they would be excellent with milk, as well. The flavors of the oats and the raisins really shone here, with the spices taking backstage. Melted butter contributed to the chewiness of the bars by tenderizing, but not aerating, the dough. All the oats keep the bars tender, as well. I used quick cooking oats, not instant. If you only have whole rolled oats, you can pulse them in a food processor a few times to break them up before using.
Try not to overbake these, as the texture will be less chewy and the bars could eventually become dry (they are fairly moist, for a cookie, when properly baked). I judge cookies to be done by looking for a golden brown color around the edges and for the cookie to look “set” and not wet/raw in the center. The standards are the same here, and the top of the bars should take on a light golden color as the bars finish baking.
Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Bars
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
2 cups quick cooking (not instant) oats
1 1/2 cups raisins
Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8×8-inch baking pan with parchment paper (optional, but aids in getting cookies out of pan).
Whisk together flour, sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, salt and spices in a large bowl.
Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and stir in vanilla, egg and melted butter until smooth. Stir in oats and raisins until they are evenly distributed.
Pour dough into prepared pan and spread into a even layer with a spatula or your fingers.
Bake for 22-26 minutes, or until bars are set and the center no longer looks wet. Edges will be golden brown. Cool pan on a wire rack before slicing.
Cut into 18 rectangular bars to serve.