Duff Goldman's Prep Tip For Unrivaled Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Duff Goldman is known for his masterful cakes, but he also has a few tricks up his sleeves when it comes to cookies, including an old-fashioned and well-known goodie: oatmeal raisin. According to Goldman, the secret to making these cookies truly delicious involves a little extra preparation of the two namesake ingredients. 

While a typical oatmeal cookie recipe takes just a few minutes to whip together, Goldman recommends starting the process well before baking by placing the requisite quantities of both oats and raisins into bowls filled with water to soak.

Both raisins and oats undergo a process of dehydration before they make it to our kitchen pantries, which removes moisture in order to prevent the growth of bacteria. While this is beneficial in terms of improving food safety and prolonging the shelf-life of these ingredients, in the case of baking, overly parched raisins and oats can lead to dry, crumbly cookies. By rehydrating these two ingredients before making a batch, your oatmeal cookies will be deliciously moist and chewy. 

Even better, you can enjoy the advantages of this method by soaking for as little as 10 minutes on the countertop or up to three days in the fridge.

Get creative by soaking other dried fruits for cookies

The reason Duff Goldman's trick improves the texture of oatmeal cookies is a two-parter. Doing so makes the fruit plump and juicy in every bite, while also preventing it from absorbing moisture from the dough.

And, once you've mastered Goldman's oatmeal raisin cookie hack, don't limit yourself to just dried grapes — there's a whole world of dried fruits out there that would make an excellent addition to your next batch of baked goods. You can soak and substitute most kinds of whole, dried berries, such as blueberries and cranberries, as well as larger fruits that have been chopped into small pieces, including cherries, pears, prunes, and apricots. 

For an extra layer of flavor, you can skip the water and soak your mix-ins in something stronger or sweeter — or make them adult treats. When it comes to alcohol, whiskey is a game changer for rehydrating dried fruit, but you can use brandy, rum, or just about any booze you have on hand. For a nonalcoholic option, try fruit juices, such as orange juice, to add complexity and brightness.

Optimizing the oats in your cookies

When it comes to choosing the best type of oats for oatmeal cookies, opting for the old-fashioned variety is a good start, but there are a couple other steps to make sure you're getting the most out of this key ingredient. 

If you're wondering whether it's worth it to soak your oats, it's helpful to note that these grains are made up of about 40-60% starch, which is well-suited to absorbing water. Once they become wet, a process called starch gelatinization begins, causing the grains to thicken and become sticky. This is crucial for an oatmeal cookie texture that is more bendy and less brittle, so getting a head start here is helpful.

As with the dried fruit, you can level up your cookies by soaking the oats in liquids other than water, such as whole milk or dairy-free alternatives like almond milk. You can even soak the grains in oat milk and blend some additional morsels in a food processor to make an ideal flour for oatmeal raisin cookies, so that every bite has layers of that earthy flavor.