The Only Flour You Need For Perfect Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

There's an old adage that oatmeal raisin cookies are universally shunned. Everyone hates biting into a chocolate chip cookie, only find that it's actually studded with dried fruit, right? On the contrary, the numbers tell a different story: As reported by StudyFinds, a 2022 OnePoll survey found that oatmeal raisin is America's fourth most popular cookie. Chocolate chip took the top spot, but its cousin is clearly beloved by a generous part of the population. 

If you've never been able to get behind these wholesome treats, now is the time to try baking an upgraded recipe at home. And adding one secret ingredient — oat flour — will make you see how tasty these cookies can be. Oat flour, made of nothing but finely-ground oats, has a mild yet unmistakably nutty flavor, with subtle essences of vanilla and butter. It not only reinforces the sweet, oat-y flavor of your cookies, but improves their texture, as well. 

The best oatmeal raisin cookies are known for their craveable chewiness, and using oat flour enhances that soft and chewy sensation. This is due to the flour's higher protein and fiber content. And just like oats, oat flour can absorb and hold a lot of liquid, making your cookies more moist. If everyone started using oat flour in their recipes, maybe oatmeal cookies would be as popular as they deserve to be.

Oat flour is easy to add to oatmeal cookies

Oat flour is easy to find in health food and specialty stores, but it's just as simple — and more economical — to make it at home. Just pulverize whole rolled oats (not steel cut or quick oats) in a food processor or blender until they turn as powdery and fine as wheat flour. Oat flour behaves similarly to wheat flour, so it's easy to add to cakes, cookies, and other baked goods, with less risk of completely throwing off your recipe. 

One important thing to know is that you can't substitute oat flour for wheat flour at a 1:1 ratio if you measure by volume. Wheat flour weighs more than oat flour, so break out a kitchen scale and use weight measurements instead, in which case a 1:1 ratio usually works. Or, just look for a cookie recipe that includes oat flour. Some recipes use it in combination with wheat flour, while others use 100% oat flour for the chewiest, most oat-tastic cookies possible.

Oat flour also gives your cookies a nutritional boost, as oats are full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, and protein. Those with gluten sensitivities also know that oats are gluten-free, but oats and oat flour are sometimes produced at mills that also process wheat, making cross-contamination a potential issue. To cut down on this risk, seek out products specifically labeled as "gluten-free" and processed at a wheat-free facility.

Other additions for the perfect oatmeal cookie

There are plenty of other ingredients that can make your oat cookies irresistible. For starters, you can make the raisins themselves more delicious by rehydrating them in hot water, or flavorful alternatives like fruit juice or rum. If you want to save time, but still avoid dry raisins, golden raisins tend to be softer and more moist than the purple kind. Or, for a more tart bite that contrasts with the soft and sweet cookie, use dried cranberries or cherries.

If dried fruit isn't your cup of tea, by all means, toss in some chocolate chips instead. This hybrid cookie delivers a wonderful chew and caramelized goodness from the oats, sugar, and butter, paired with rich melted chocolate. It gives those of us on Team Chocolate Chip or Team Oatmeal Raisin a treat we can all love. For another fusion treat, try adding bananas, nuts, dried pineapple, and shredded coconut to make some amazing hummingbird oatmeal cookies

Spices are another popular addition to oatmeal cookies, and you should try adding a bit of nutmeg along with the traditional cinnamon. Even better, sprinkle some crunchy flakes of sea salt on top of the scoops of dough before they go in the oven. It will give the cookies a surprising complexity and enhance all those deep, rich, and sweet flavors with a salty pop.