Monday, October 13, 2008

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies ... Oatmeal Showdown!

The oats that I like to use here are the imported Quaker Oats. They are P111 per 510g package. This turns out to be about P1.58 per cookie. So, I wondered a bit about using them. Kind of expensive.

So, when I saw some oats imported from Australia here at just over half that price, I took interest.

I guess the overall question is: why am I using imported oats? Well, I wrote about it here. It's easy to see the difference in quality.

The Australian oats weren't quite as nice as the American oats. But, at a mere P60 per 500g package, I was willing to try them out.

So, we had a showdown! In the green, weighing in at 500g, oats from the Land of Oz! And, in the red, weighing slightly more at 510, old-fashioned Quaker export-only oats from the United States!


Ingredients
  • 450 grams (4 cups) butter, softened
  • 840 grams (4 cups) brown sugar
  • 380 grams (2 cups) white sugar
  • 8 eggs
  • 2 tablespoon vanilla
  • 840 grams (6 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 510 grams (about 6 cups) American Quaker oats
  • 200 grams (2 cups) raisins
  • 500 grams (about 6 cups) Australian oats
Procedure

I turned on my currently uncooperative oven (last night, it wouldn't go above 325F, now it will ... whoever heard of a fickle oven?) to 350F (175C).

Using Big Iron, I creamed the butter and sugars together. As usual, I creamed them well. Big Iron's #3 setting moves the mixer blade faster than the eye can focus. I know what you're thinking ... yeah, it is pretty cool!

Then, I mixed the vanilla and eggs in well.

While the eggs were mixing, in a separate bowl, I whisked together all the dry ingredients. This works so well. No more concentrated lumps of baking soda/powder on which to gag. I mixed in the dry ingredients and the raisins. Just enough to incorporate.

Now that I had the base mixture, I used my trusty kitchen scale to split the batch in two. In one half, I mixed in the American Quaker oats along with a half teaspoon of some red food coloring powder. In the other half, I mixed in the Australian oats with some green food coloring powder.


With each, I used my standard ice cream scoop, put 20 to a half-sized baking sheet ... and baked for 10-12 minutes at 350F (175C). About 6 minutes into each batch, I would swap (left-to-right) and rotate (front-to-back) the baking sheets to ensure even cooking.


Let cool completely on a rack ... and let the taste test begin!

Yield: 140 cookies.

Test Results

I tested based both on the looks of the cookies and on the taste. I setup nice plates that had bite-sized pieces to eat plus whole cookies to view.


From all test groups, the overwhelming favorite was "red" ... the imported from America Quaker Oats.

Conclusions

The smaller-sized Aussie flakes didn't hold the cookies together as well. The American cookies were taller and had better texture (to me).

Be willing to pay for good ingredients. They are worth the money.

4 comments:

Barbara said...

I love your scientific approach to this!

James said...

Thanks!

csquad said...

140 cookies! wow! it's interesting how one subtle change in ingredients can make a large difference in taste. they look very yummy :)

James said...

I was surprised myself. Now I need to make the without the color ...