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Disgusting Oatmeal Cookies!!!

  • h

I made the most awful ones yesterday. Followed the recipe on the oatmeal box, which is how I'm sure I've always made them. I haven't made them in about 5 years so can't remember for sure.
They were hard, didn't spread out at all and even though they tasted OK, a real disappointment. I'm used to a soft,chewy cookie. What could have gone wrong? I used Butter Flavored Crisco, and then the usual ingredients. Any helpful ideas?

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  1. I make that recipe non-stop. Normally, I only use 1/2 the call-ed for butter, and even though they don't spread quite as much nor are they quite as soft as the full fat version, they spread sufficiently and are plenty soft IF I DON"T OVERBAKE THEM. Two minutes too long and you get a brick-hard cookie (which I still eat w/ abandon).

    So my first suspicion is you overbaked them. They should just barely start taking on golden color when you take them out, and they should still be slightly gooey in the middle. If they are already quite firm when you remove them from the oven, they will be WAY hard as they cool.

    I'm not sure why you substituted Crisco, but since trans-fats are used to give baked goods a crispy, flakey snap (as well as longer shelf life), I would think that might have added to the hardness.

    Also, if you used the instant oatmeal that looks more like flakes than rolled oats (as is called for in some oatmeal cookie recipes that IMO suck), that might affect the outcome as well. Further, if your raisins are dried out, that's bad. Soak them in very hot water for a bit first.

    Better luck next time!

    10 Replies
    1. re: danna

      There is a really big difference when you use Instant Quaker vs Old Fashioned. The instant come out thinner, almost runny. I prefer the Old Fashioned type myself, but maybe you're used to the other way?

      1. re: coll

        I may have been unclear. I think the Old Fashioned is immensely better. That's what I use.

        1. re: danna

          That's what everyone I know prefers also.

          1. re: coll

            Everyone prefers Old Fashioned but I have to say that there is less work involved for the jaws when you use instant/minute oatmeal. I think it's time to reassess this old fashion favoritism, I tried instant and loved it.

            1. re: domesticjoy

              I just like Old Fashioned because they come out puffy, but if you like flat cookies then you should use the other. I expect oatmeal cookies to be chewy, if I want flat, melt in the mouth I make Toll House.

              1. re: domesticjoy

                When I started making oatmeal cookies again after several years, I couldn't remember what kind of oatmeal grandma used. Since I had both kinds, I used a mixture of both, and that's what i have stuck with. The old fasioned give it a nice chew, but using some instant seems to make the surrounding dough kind of soft and puffy, like getting the best of both worlds.

                I also never measure the oats or chocolate chips, as per family tradition. You add oats until it looks and tastes right (as long as the dough isn't super-dry, they come out fine), and as to chocolate chips, you add either as many as you desire or as many as you have on hand :D

                1. re: domesticjoy

                  Instant or 5-minute? I prefer 5-minute to old fashioned, but would never use "instant."

                  1. re: wyogal

                    Now that you mention it.......I don't even use Quaker, and forget the exact designations! Instant seems weird.

                  2. re: domesticjoy

                    The "mrs. fields" recipe calls for putting oatmeal in the blender. My husband acted like he'd been personally betrayed when I tried that in place of Old Fashioned. Different strokes, I suppose. ;-)

                    1. re: danna

                      I've been making some Scottish style oat cookies using rolled oats that I chopped in the coffee/spice mill. In England/Scotland, porridge oats are finer than steel cut oats, more a coarse flour.

          2. The recipe called for vegetable shortening, hence the Crisco, and they weren't over baked. They stayed exactly as placed on the cookie sheet, so if I put them on as little balls, that's how they stayed.
            Am trying again today. Have never before had a failure with Oatmeal Cookies. Maybe it was a fluke of some sort.
            Thanks for your suggestions.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Hanky

              Huh. Are you using the Quaker Oats Box? If it says vegetable shortening, I guess I never noticed. I always use butter in place of any recipe that calls for margarine or vegetable shortening. If it's not Quaker, then I guess my reply is not really applicable.

              One other thought: was your oven fully pre-heated? That might account for the little balls not flattening out. I have had that occur (I'm the queen of small disasters), but I think it was when I got too aggressive in pushing the butter-reduction envelope.

              Anyhow, good luck, and I'd love to know how it turns out.

              1. re: Hanky

                Try using a fresh box of baking soda. Are your eggs very small? Step up to a large or extra large egg. Do beat the sugar into the shortening until fluffy before continuing to the next step. You want the sugar to dissolve before you add anything else.

                1. Everything you describe suggests to me that there was too much flour in the dough - I'd take out a tablespoon or so. Personally I'd also use butter rather than Crisco but that's mainly a taste preference - the differences in texture wouldn't be that apparent in a cookie. Good luck with batch # 2.

                  1. I'm thinking that you accidently left something out that would have provided the missing moisture.

                    1. One step that helps maintain consistent results in baking is weighing dry ingredients. It is also much simpler and less messy. Humidity, or lack thereof, can make a difference in the amount of flour used. Also, I find cookies come out "softer" when I use butter, a bit more firm with half butter/half shortening, and crisp when shortening is used (e.g. Snickerdoodles).

                      Good luck with the next batch!

                      1. Our standard recipe is a modified version of the "vanishing" cookies-which are far too along the crispy/crunchy end of the spectrum. We double the oats and halve the flour. We also always add far more goodies (pecans, raisins, dried apples, dried cherries, cranberries, etc) than the original Quaker dictates.

                        1. I wanted to take this opportunity to test out attaching a photo. These (assuming you can see them) are my 1/2 fat oatmeal cookies.

                          1. You are not imagining things. I have two box lids with 2 different oatmeal cookie recipes under the same name on them. It appears they changed their classic recipe some time this past year and I also find the results disgusting....a pasty, blah version of the original recipe. The 'old' recipe calls for 1 Cup margerine or butter, 1 cup packed brown sugar, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, then bake 10-12 min. The rest is the same. I usually substitute the butter with 1 cup butter flavored Crisco.
                            I can only guess that Quaker has taken upon themselves to dictate how we should make our cookies more healthful instead of flavorful.....a move I don't appreciate AT ALL!

                            7 Replies
                            1. re: openeyed

                              what are the changes to the new recipe? I noticed it now called for 2 tbs less butter, but I didn't notice any other changes. thanks...guess I better write down the old one before I forget. FWIW, though, I think leaving out some of the butter is a plus, but I can't imagine monkeying with anything else.

                              1. re: danna

                                I find it amazing they keep changing the recipe! My recipe is based on the one from maybe the 70's, calls for 3/4 cup of crisco (I now use 1/2 cup of butter + 1/4 cup of oil), 1 egg, 1 cup brown sugar, 1/3 or 1/2 cup of sugar ( I use 1/4 cup), 1/4 cup of water, vanila, baking soda, 1 cup of flour and 3 cups of oats. Plus I add a cup each of chocolate chips, raisens, and walnuts.

                                1. re: firecooked

                                  I have been using that same recipe for years! I tried using butter, but the cookies would spread out like flat pancakes, due to the faster melting-point. Actually, I do love this old recipe! I add 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 tsp cloves and 1/2 tsp nutmeg. I also like to add 1 cup walnuts... For some odd reason, I do not like adding raisins unless they are chopped up first! Sometimes, for reasons I am not certain, my cookies will spread out flat! I am wondering if I should weigh out the flour or test my baking soda? So random!

                                  1. re: Awwshucks

                                    I don't know if this idea will appeal, but I use butter, exactly half what's called for (used to be called for?) . That is, 1 stick. My cookies don't spread out much at all. You could try that.

                                    1. re: Awwshucks

                                      I find that creaming the butter and sugar really well, then beating in the eggs, water, and vanilla until the batter is very light helps with preventing too much spread.

                                2. re: openeyed

                                  The original post is 5 years old.

                                  1. re: openeyed

                                    The website has at least three different recipes that are very close to each other with the exceptions of three different levels of butter. Having made the version with less butter, I can imagine the more butter version being older and much better. Could also use a bit more salt.