Got a hankering for a sweet chewy cookie? Move on over, oatmeal raisin, there's a new game in town.
I know these cookies don't look all that sexy, but I promise that whatever they lack in looks, they more than make up for in the flavour department.
This recipe is adapted from Second Helpings, which is my go-to source anytime I'm craving easy old-fashioned recipes. The base recipe is more or less unchanged, but I added chopped dates and crunchy walnuts to come up with a thin, lacy oatmeal cookie that's got chew for days.
Basically, it's like the best oatmeal cookie you've ever had fell in love with an old-fashioned date bar, and they had a delicious baby together.
Between the oats, dried fruits and nuts, you could even justify eating a couple of these for breakfast... though I'm going to stick to enjoying them as an occasional afternoon treat, since they're not exactly low in sugar.
Other Variations on this Recipe
If you're not in the mood for dates and walnuts, these cookies are infinitely adaptable depending on what you choose to mix in!
- Oatmeal Chocolate Chip: Omit the dates and walnuts, and add 1 cup of semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips.
- Oat Scotchies: Omit the dates, and add 1 cup butterscotch chips.
- Trail Mix Cookies: Omit the dates and walnuts, and add 1 ½ cups of your favourite trail mix.
- Apple-Cinnamon Cookies: Omit the dates, and add ½ cup chopped dried apple, ¼ cup dried cranberries, ½ tsp ground ginger and a dash of ground nutmeg.
Choosing the Right Oats: Old-Fashioned vs. Quick
To get the absolutely perfect oatmeal cookie, it's important to start with the right oats.
Old-fashioned oats are whole oat grains that have been steamed and rolled flat. They're designed to cook faster than traditional steel-cut oats, but still retain their texture when cooked, which makes them ideal for baked goods.
Quick oats, as you might have guessed from their name, are designed to cook faster than old-fashioned oats. They're rolled thinner and steamed longer, but this also means they don't hold their texture quite as well. They're lovely for no-bake recipes where thicker flakes wouldn't have a chance to soften up.
But for these particular cookies, it's all about the texture, so old-fashioned is the way to go.
Yes, There's Margarine in that Cookie!
I know I'm all about the butter, but when it comes to home-baked cookies, our grandmothers were actually onto something... using margarine or shortening instead of butter makes for a softer, chewier cookie.
And when we're talking about oatmeal cookies, soft and chewy is an absolute must, even if that means sacrificing that beautiful butter flavour.
Besides. as a card-carrying member of Gen X, I've got a really nostalgic attachment to the flavour of margarine. It's what makes an old-school cookie taste just like grandma made it. Just make sure you're using the margarine that comes in solid blocks, rather than the kind that comes in a tub.
And yes, if you're not a retro purist like me, you can absolutely use butter instead.
More Old-Fashioned Cookie Favourites
Got a hankering for more old-fashioned treats? Here are a few more old-school cookies (and a few new-school twists) that you can whip up for a cookie assortment that would make your grandmother proud.
- Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprint Cookies
- Chai Spice Snickerdoodles
- Spicy Ginger Chews
- Applesauce Cookies with Browned Butter Icing
- Triple Chocolate Cookie Bars
- Earl Grey Icebox Cookies
These thin, lacy oatmeal cookies are chock-full of sweet dates and crunchy walnuts, all tied together with a generous dash of cinnamon. Their sweet flavour and chewy texture are guaranteed to help you power through the mid-afternoon slump.
- ½ cup margarine
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup lightly packed brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp water
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 ½ cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- ¾ cup flour
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 1 cup chopped dates
- ½ cup roughly chopped walnuts
- Preheat oven to 375F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, cream together the margarine, granulated sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg, water and vanilla, and beat until smooth.
- Add the rolled oats, flour, salt, and baking soda, and stir until well combined. Fold in the dates and walnuts.
- Drop heaping tablespoonfuls of dough onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes, or until centre is set and edges are golden-brown. Let cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool off completely.
Storage: The finished cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week, though they will start to lose their chewiness after 2 days or so.
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 12 mins
- Category: Cookies
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: Canadian