"Orange Molasses"
Raisin Cookies

Summer started with a flurry of activities and the excitement of a graduation. Our oldest daughter is now on her way to a collegiate course that may take another 8 years or so depending on whether or not she sticks with her plans! We are so proud of her and a little overwhelmed emotionally too.
Can you relate? :)

And now that their vacation has begun, I'm already realizing that with the kids home, writing and posting favorite recipes will probably come few and far between. This simple recipe was a perfect choice to start the kids' summer off with and to also share with visiting family in for the festivities. It may look like a simple Oatmeal Raisin Cookie..
but my play with ingredients gives it a complex flavor and texture.

You may have read my holiday cookie post a few years ago called the "Italian Filled Cookie". This cookie is my families version of the traditional Sicilian cookie called a Cucidati. It is so delicious and filled with yummy goodness in the form of chocolate, apple butter and rum soaked raisins. If you have never poached pears or soaked fruit.. you really need to try it. I don't normally enjoy raisins straight from the box, dry and shriveled, they, like prunes, really only remind me of growing old and "not so gracefully". :) So if I can help it.. smooth, plump and hydrate is my adage!

With this Oatmeal recipe I plump and hydrate the raisins. I was intending on using Rum or Marsala. I love those flavors together, they are a match made in heaven. But with none on hand I decided to improvise with what I did have. I had an assortment of juices.. apple, orange, pear.. but I also needed to have something that would intensify the flavor as the liquid and the raisins simmered. Molasses and raisins.. and with that, orange juice for the liquid became the perfect choice!

I wish I could bottle my husbands enthusiasm.. he is so kind and wonderful and gave these cookies the highest rating he has given any of my cookies before! I thought they were pretty good too, not so overpowering or bitter with molasses, but yet in my opinion not to sweet either. I say in my opinion, because my mom did say they were a little too sweet for her, but normally she adds very little sugar to anything. :)

As far as a recipe goes.. I took a generic oatmeal cookie recipe from one of my favorite wedding gift cookbooks and added my improv on ingredients from there. Chocolate pieces, coconut and walnuts were also added to my orange molasses soaked raisin oatmeal cookie batter. :) For a more intense orange flavor, I would add some zest of an orange. It all melded together so wonderfully! 

3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (optional)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups rolled oats
**1/2 cup raisins simmered in molasses and orange juice, then drained (read up above)
3/4 cups chocolate chips
3/4 cups chopped walnuts
1/2 cup coconut (optional but yummy)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees f. 
In a large mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add brown sugar, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and, if desired, cinnamon and cloves. Beat until combined, scraping side of bowl occasionally. Beat in eggs and vanilla until combined. beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour. Stir in rolled oats, drained raisins, chocolate chips, walnuts and coconut. refrigerate for 1 -2 hours.
Drop dough by rounded teaspoons 2 inches apart onto un-greased cookie sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are golden. Let stand on cookie sheets for 1 minute. Transfer to wire racks and let cool. Makes about 48 cookies.

**You can either soak your raisins and molasses in a jar for 1 day or over night, or you can speed up the process by simmering them on low in the orange juice and molasses till they are plump. I used 1 cup of orange juice to a 1/4 cup of molasses. When they were done I drained them in a sieve before I added them to the cookie batter.

Buon Appetito!


bellini valli said...

Oatmeal Raisin are definitely one of my favourites. I believe they are healthy too:D My own daughter is now in her 5th year of university, just moved to the coast for the time being and has another few years to go. We have given them wings and have become kind and caring human beings.

Joanne said...

congrats to your daughter! I'm sure she will succeed in whatever she chooses to do.

These cookies sound amazing! I love the idea to soak the raisins beforehand.

5 Star Foodie said...

Scrumptious cookies! I love the orange flavor together with raisins! Congrats to your daughter on her graduation!

The Food Hunter said...

These sound delicious. I love the flavor combo. congratulations to your daughter!

Lori Lynn said...

I could use that cookie (yum, great ideas) and a cup of coffee at my desk right now!
Congrats and best wishes to your daughter!

Ines said...

I want a cookie too. Congrats to your daughter.

Foodessa said...

Laura...this type of oatmeal cookie (esp. with molasses) is within my top 5 list. I'll have to bookmark these for when I start opening up my oven more often.

Great tasty treat...thanks,