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S01E04 The one with Pheobe's cookies

Finally, cookie time! Tananananananana can't touch this! Break it down!

Now, some people may be confused by the title and mistakenly believe that I'm talking about the “Nestle Toulouse” cookies. No. The cookies in this episode are Pheobe's “best oatmeal cookies in the world”, that she offers Rachel after this particular incident:

Pheobe: Ok, uhm, we haven't known each other for that long a time, and, um, there are three things that you should know about me. One: my friends are the most important thing in my life. Two: I never lie. And three: I make the best oatmeal raisin cookies in the world.
Rachel: Ok, thanks, Pheebs. [tastes cookie] Oh my God! Why have I never tasted these before? Pheobe: Oh, I don't make them a lot, because I don't think it's fair to the other cookies.

Yeah, that sums it up nicely. Now that you know where we are on the cookie scale, let's get down to bussiness. As far as utensils go, you will need: a big bowl+a big spoon, an electric mixer/a whisk and some willpower, a sieve, a baking tray, parchment paper, ice cream scoop (not necessary, but helps get your cookies the same size) and a genuine love for cookies.

Most recipes I researched used two types of sugar. As I find myself so sick of unnecessary usage of sugar, this whole sugar conspiracy where there's sugar even where no sugars should be, I decided to use just one type of sugar, the better type–brown moscovado sugar. This one creates an awesome chewy texture and gives a caramel flavor, which creates amazing depth. You feel like that cookie could go all around the universe and back, that's the kind of magic I'm talking about! I'm not here to bash white sugar, but I always find myself (no matter what recipe I follow) overloaded with sugar. Every-time I make a new recipe I cut down 20-30 gr. of sugar from the start, and most of the time the end result is still too sweet! I find that usually half the amount of sugar is sufficient! Desserts are about more than sugar! They're about butter, and cream and eggs, and cinnamon and I don't need sugar overshadowing all that! Don't get me wrong , I love decadence in food, I'd just rather have in the french way: de la creme, du bon chocolat, beurre! No matter how amazing a dessert is, if after two bites I feel like I'm getting diabetes, you lost me! That being said, you should know I did the same thing for this recipe and I think next time I'll make these, I'll cut another 10-15gr. of sugar, so that they're perfect for my needs.

This batch made 18 giant cookies. If you make the normal-sized ones you will get about 30 cookies.

1.Ingredients and quantities

Given the fact that the weather was partly sunny, my camera's battery was fully charged this time, and I was baking some goodness, I felt pretty happy so I played with the camera a lot. About 200 pictures were taken for this particular post. Don't worry, only a few made it here. I present to you still life with spoons and vanilla:

 2.The process 

  • The very first thing you need to do is get the butter and the eggs out of the fridge. Everything needs to be at room temperature and the butter needs to be soft enough so that it blends easily with the sugar. I got mine out of the fridge about an hour before I started using it, because it's a whole pack, it needs some time to adjust. Have patience. Don't rush the butter. Just remember to do this first! Consider this like a pre-step to the entire process. 
  • Next, soak your raisins in warm water. This makes them nice and moist and prevents them from burning in the oven. The initial quantity of raisins was 220 gr. I soaked them and everything, and then I realised that that can't happen. Way too many raisins! So I used half – 110 gr. 
  • Turn your oven on so that it's nice and pre-heated for the cookies. It is indeed too early, but I tend to get wrapped up in the dough making process and forget about it. So I'd rather be too early than too late. When your butter is soft enough that a butter knife cuts through it easily, no opposition, we are ready to rumble. 
  • Cut the butter into small cubes and throw it in your big sexy bowl (1). 
  • Add the sugar (2) and mix them together until you get something that looks creamy and intense (3).
  • Add thy eggs and vanilla, fair maiden (4). Mix. Now it should look lighter and looser (5). 
  • Now, gently (or roughly, who am I to judge?) throw in there the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt and incorporate.

This is how it looks like:

Now is a good time to strain your raisins. And mix in the oats:

Ta-daaaa:

This is the moment I realised I underestimated the power of raisins and decided half is plenty: 

Incorporate the raisins, cover the bowl with cling film and chill your dough for 15 min in the fridge. 

After chilling time: tray, parchment paper and scoop, baby, scoop! This is my favorite part! 

Don't crowd them, they need space to “deflate” and you don't want them to form a monstrous coalition and take over your tray. 

Now bake those pretties in the oven on what should be 180 degrees for 10-12 min, or until the edges are golden brown. 

This is the perfect moment to tell you that my oven is weird. The heat is awkwardly distributed, the temperature is very hard to control, it's either too high or too low, doesn't really seem to have a middle ground. I have an oven thermometer so that I at least know how wrong it is and try to work with what I have. Of course, it broke. You may think I'm joking or making stuff up. No, it just stopped working. So, I was completely in the dark. I put the tray in the oven, had no idea what temperature was actually in there (even though theoretically gas mark 4 should be the equivalent of 180 degrees, my oven is not trustworthy) and also forgot to turn on my timer. Success all the way!

I am the living proof that you can make these cookies without the usually needed precision. Just go with your gut feeling, keep an eye on them and that should be enough. It was for me! Get the tray out of the oven and do not attempt to move the cookies, they are slightly too soft when hot. Don't worry, they're supposed to be like that. They get stronger with time. Like people! There's a little cookie-life-philosophy for you :P.

After they have cooled enough to hold their shape move them onto a cooling rack/grill thing and get ready for the next batch. 

I had mine with black tea with milk and honey, and I would repeat that combo any day! Except black tea makes me dizzy so I had a sip of tea and many cookies. You do what you have to do. 

Drumroll! Batch number two, boy, are we ready for you!

This was my first time making oatmeal raisin cookies and I actually believe they might outshine chocolate chip cookies! Just in MY heart! No need to start throwing rocks! I love the chewiness of the raisins, the sticky texture and the slightly burnt caramel flavor given by the brown sugar. The complete lack of white sugar did not affect anything! No regrets! In the first day these cookies were sweet and soft. The next day, I got to feel those little grains of salt here and there and I was bewitched, bothered and bewildered (the Ella Fitzgerald version). If you know the song, sing along!

If you are anything like me and enjoy your cookies as they toughen up, don't put them in a jar (just because you wanna be able to say that you have a cookie jar). They will get softer and softer in there, they'll feel safe and relaxed and they will never get strong enough to face life. So do them a favour, put them on a plate and let them evolve and grow. That is, before they find their end in your hungry mouth. Oh, what a lovely way to go!

And I'll tell you, it really isn't fair to the other cookies.

That's a wrap! Until the next one, happy eating!