When I was playing around with the idea of writing a low-sugar book, I had one and only one priority: the recipes had to be so good and so delicious that you could serve them without announcing the caveat that they were made with less sugar. They had to stand on their own as scrumptious and mouthwatering—and it just so happened that they were also low sugar.
I started with a classic—oatmeal-raisin cookies—and tweaked and tested until I had a recipe that I could proudly serve at a dessert reception. And that’s exactly what we did. These cookies made their debut at a reception welcoming one of my favorite food writers, Mark Bittman, to Boston.
Recipe and headnote excerpted from Baking With Less Sugar (Chronicle Books, 2015). —Joanne Chang
If you’re baking the cookies on the same day you prepare the batter, heat the oven to 350° F (175° C) and position a rack in the center of the oven. Place walnuts on a baking sheet and toast for about 10 minutes, until lightly toasted. Set aside to cool. Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside.
Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or mixing by hand with a wooden spoon or an electric hand mixer), mix the butter and sugar together on medium speed until the two are completely mixed together, about 5 to 7 minutes (10 minutes if mixing by hand). Stop the mixer and use a rubber spatula to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and the paddle itself a few times; the sugar and butter love to collect here and stay unmixed.
Beat in the eggs, egg yolk, and vanilla on medium speed until thoroughly combined, 1 to 2 minutes. Again scrape the bowl and the paddle to make sure the eggs are thoroughly incorporated.
In a separate bowl, mix together the all-purpose flour, oats, baking soda, salt, grated nutmeg, and ground cinnamon. Add the raisins (both whole and chopped), cranberries, and walnuts to the flour mix and toss to combine. Turn the mixer on low speed (or continue to use a wooden spoon if mixing by hand) and slowly blend the flour mixture into the butter mixture. Mix until the flour and raisins are totally incorporated and the dough is completely mixed.
For best results, scrape dough into an airtight container and let it rest in the refrigerator overnight (or at least 3 to 4 hours) before baking.
When ready to bake, heat the oven to 350° F/175° C and position a rack in the center of the oven.
Drop the dough in approximately 1/4-cup balls onto a baking sheet, with about 2 inches (5 centimeters) of space between each one—they don't really spread that much.
Bake until the cookies are golden brown on the edges and
slightly soft in the center, 14 to 18 minutes, rotating the tray about halfway during baking. Be careful not to overbake! Remove the cookies from the oven and let them cool for 5 to 10 minutes on the sheet, then remove the cookies from the sheet and let them continue cooling on a wire rack.
The cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days. The unbaked dough can be stored for up to 1 week in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
I am a pastry chef/restaurateur in Boston passionate about all things sweet and savory. I co-own Flour Bakery+Cafe and co-own Myers+Chang, both in Boston. I love my work, I'm crazy about my husband, my staff keeps me going and is truly the most amazing group of people I've ever known, I am addicted to ice cream and fruit of all kinds. I used to run marathons but have scaled back a bit and am trying to be more well-rounded by attempting yoga. I read voraciously, I plan obsessively, I feel so very lucky to have found a life partner and a life passion both of which make me happy every day.