Hall-of-Achievement Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Posted on 23 April 2018

What do architects know about cookies?

A lot, I’m sure, since these chocolate chip oatmeal cookies won Best-Tasting Cookie at an architectural firm where my husband once worked. I had baked them early in the morning so they were still warm when he entered them into the contest, slightly crisp on the outside yet chewy inside. I suspect this structure may have swayed the judges as much as the flavor dimension added by an extra splash of bright vanilla and glug of bittersweet molasses.

It was decades ago, but the construction-paper blue ribbon still hangs as a reminder in our Hall of Achievement. The award proudly holds its own in the swarm of diplomas, certificates and licenses that fill the wall of the corridor, representing family milestones going back generations.

This recipephany grew out of a recipe for refrigerator cookies I found in a Maypo cook booklet. I used to love Maypo hot cereal and the mapleness of these cookies. But Maypo was a sugar splurge, so it eventually disappeared from our shelves and these cookies.

I substituted quick oats for the instant Maypo, fiddling around with proportions to get the right chew. As always, I replaced brown sugar with molasses and white sugar (that’s all brown sugar is, anyway), and doubled the vanilla. I also skipped the refrigerator steps and dropped the dough right onto the trays for instant gratification.

Bakers say the key to chewy cookies is underbaking. But how can you call it “underbaking” if the result is perfection? Yes, cookies should come out of the oven when they look a little underdone—golden around the edges and still a little puffy and moist in the center. But they will continue to cook on the rack, and when cooled there will be nothing underbaked about them.

These are gooiest and chewiest the day they’re made, and they crisp up as days pass. If you want to keep them fresh and chewy, freeze them, and then simply defrost and serve. They’ll still be award-winning delicious.

P.S. For a softer oatmeal chocolate chip cookie, you should try Jimmy Bruic’s Banana Vegan Cookies.

Hall-of-Achievement Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Makes about 36

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon soda
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups quick oats (or old-fashioned oats—they work well, too)
  • ½ cup chopped nuts, optional
  • 6-12 ounces chocolate chips or chunks

Preheat oven to 375°.

  1. Cream shortening, sugar and molasses together. Add eggs and vanilla and beat well.
  2. Add flour, salt and soda and mix. Stir in oats. Add chips and nuts, if using.
  3. Using a tablespoon cookie scoop, drop onto parchment-lined trays. Flatten slightly.
  4. Bake about 10 minutes, until edges are lightly browned and the center is still a bit puffy and moist. Slide parchment paper onto racks and let cool a few minutes before serving. Store in an airtight container for a few days or freeze to preserve chewiness.
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6 responses to Hall-of-Achievement Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

  • Ginnie Bacheler says:

    Hi Diane:

    Autumn and I made these Chocolate Chip Oatmeal cookies today – the best smelling cookies while in the oven! The magic of a bit of molasses! Thank you for introducing us to the best cookie recipe! Love to you and Dan.


    PS: wait until you bake these with your grandson!

    • Diane Brody says:

      Hey Ginnie!
      Thanks so much for baking these, and thanks for your sweet comments! You said it—it feels like all my baking has just been a lead-up to baking with a grandchild. Teddy’s got to get onto solid food first, but then it will be no time before he’ll be into chocolate. Thanks, and hope to see you and Skip soon.

  • Completely fascinated with your parentheses that tell me brown sugar is merely white sugar! What a boon!

  • Claire says:

    Just made a double batch of these to freeze and give to friends (frozen) so they can bake at home. Used chopped pecans and tart cherries instead of nuts. Its a crazy amount of cookie dough. Thank you so much <3

    • Diane Brody says:

      Dear Claire,
      Wow, I can’t imagine how much that made, since one batch is huge! But why not? What a great idea to share frozen dough, especially your delicious variation of pecans and tart cherries, which elevates the cookies to bakery quality. Thank you for making them, and I’m sure your friends appreciate the sweet gift. xoxox

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