I clearly feel a need to make up for all those cooking years of not making biscuits. When I was younger I had a much sweeter tooth than I do now and was very into making fancy desserts. I’ve never been a big cake maker, other than for birthdays or dessert-type cakes like Torta Caprese, but I did make them sometimes. But biscuits … well, I just never really got into making them at all.
Now, however, after the Chocolate Orange Biscuits I made at the weekend being met with such enthusiasm and delight by my family, I looked again at Delia Smith’s Book of Cakes. I had looked at the biscuit section a few weeks’ ago, thinking that biscuits are easy to make and perhaps a good thing to try with the little grandsons who are into cooking. And I remembered seeing some oat cookies that looked good. So, still on a bit of a high after my son saying the biscuits at the weekend were ‘spectacular’ and he’d never buy a packet of biscuits again, I couldn’t resist another biscuit bake. Would this one meet with such excited pleasure? Only an hour or so in the kitchen would tell.
I pretty much followed Delia’s recipe, but I did – again – dramatically cut the sugar quantity. This was a bit of a leap in the dark, doing this the very first time I tried the recipe. Having spent a now quite long lifetime believing one should never tamper with baking recipes, I seem to be doing it all the time. There was the huge cut of sugar in Ottolenghi’s glorious Hazelnut, Peach & Raspberry Cake, the big cut in the biscuits at the weekend, and with these oat cookies, I cut the sugar from 175g to 125g. Then I hoped big time that it would work okay. It did! The other changes were that I used light soft brown sugar because I didn’t have dark; neither did I have wholemeal flour so used my standard Sharpham Park organic spelt flour; and I didn’t add a small amount of salt as I used salted butter.
Oat & Raisin Cookies – Makes 24
- 75g butter, melted and left to cool before using
- 1 large egg
- 125g light soft brown sugar
- 200g medium oatmeal
- 110g flour (see note above)
- ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 150g raisins
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Preheat the oven to 180C/Fan 160/Gas 4
Break the egg into the cooled melted butter and whisk together.
Put the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl and mix together so that everything is distributed evenly before you add the liquid.
Add the butter and egg mixture and combine into a stiff dough. I used a wooden spoon to start and finished mixing with my hands.
Next I decided to get a bit mathematical rather than just follow Delia’s instructions to make balls of dough ‘about the size of a walnut’. I weighed the dough and used the calculator on my phone to divide by 24. Then I weighed out little balls to that weight. I rolled them till smooth, put them on the lined baking sheet – and then did follow her instructions to press them down a little to flatten slightly. I also baked them in two batches as she suggests as you need to have a good gap between each dough ball as they’ll spread a little while cooking.
They went into the preheated oven for 18 minutes – or until nicely golden brown and reasonably firm in the middle when gently touched. Leave to cool on the baking tray before transferring to a cooling rack to get quite cold.
They came out of the oven not long before I set off to pick up grandson Freddie (6¾) from school. He was excited by the sight of them when we got back and they smelled wonderful too. He sat down with one and a drink; I had one with a cup of tea. We were both seriously impressed! They were delicious and slightly chewy inside a crunchy casing, just as cookies should be. And were they sweet enough? Definitely. I really don’t think I would want them sweeter.
Did Freddie think they were as good as the chocolate ones? I asked. Or better? Or the same? The same, he said. Do you think Daddy will like them? Yes!
Well Daddy, aka my son Jonathan, loved them. And he agreed they were as good as the chocolate ones at the weekend.
I’m really excited to have finally discovered how quick and easy biscuits and cookies are to make. And how much nicer to make ones with less sugar and good organic ingredients for the family rather than buying biscuits.