During the holidays, I get a lot of requests for cookies. In addition to staples like gingersnaps and sugar cookies, I get requests for holiday versions of some of my favorites, such as peppermint snickerdoodles or boozy oatmeal raisin cookies, like these Big Bourbon Oatmeal Raisin Cookies. The cookies have a bit of an adult twist to them, but they’re not so boozy that you’re going to need a designated driver after eating a few. They’re a fun change of pace from the usual oatmeal cookie, to say the least!
These cookies are a riff on one of my favorites, my Big Bakery-Style Oatmeal Cookies. The main change that I made with these is to add bourbon – and quite a bit of it. Bourbon is aged in oak barrels and typically has notes of vanilla and caramel, in addition to oak, which help the bourbon blend nicely into many baked goods and desserts. The caramelized notes compliment the concentrated sugars in the dried fruit and the vanilla, of course, simply goes well with everything.
The raisins are soaked in bourbon before the rest of the cookie dough is prepared, then they are stirred in before baking. There will likely be a little extra bourbon leftover and it is perfectly ok to simply pour that into the dough along with the other ingredients. The raisins will have soaked up enough flavor to ensure that you get a nice hint of bourbon in every bite without feeling like you’re overindulging. It’s a less conventional pairing than rum raisin, but it is one that works and works well.
Bourbon Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
1 1/2 cups raisins
1/3 cup bourbon
1 tbsp sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup butter, room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups quick cooking oatmeal
In a small bowl, combine bourbon, raisins and sugar. Cover with plastic wrap and heat for 30-45 seconds in the microwave, until very warm. Microwave for a few additional seconds, if needed. Shake gently to dissolve the sugar. Allow mixture to sit for at least 20 minutes, for the raisins to absorb the bourbon and plump up.
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla extract and the eggs, incorporating the eggs one at a time. Gradually blend in the flour mixture, then stir in the oatmeal and bowl of raisins and bourbon (any leftover bourbon can be poured into the batter).
Pack the dough into 1/4-cup scoops to form evenly sized dough balls. Arrange dough balls onto the prepared baking sheet, allowing about 4 inches between each cookie to allow for spread.
Bake for 14-16 minutes, or until the cookies are just about set in the center and the edges are very lightly browned. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 4-5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes 20-22 large cookies.