In my grandma’s world, there were two good Christmas gifts: clothes hangers, wrapped with their heads sticking out and placed under the tree, and homemade food.
Every December, she stacked dozens of aluminum tins on the stairs to the dark, creaky attic of her Maywood bungalow. They were all different shapes and colors, some with holiday pictures of winter sleigh rides or smiling snowmen.
And for the weeks leading up to December 25th, she filled them with what she baked: fudge, sugar cookies, pecan tassies, kolachkys, peanut butter cookies, chocolate chip cookies, and dessert bars.
If you were one of the relatives, you got a tin. If you lived next door, you got a tin. If you were in one of her clubs or helped run her garage sales or somehow in some way knew Caroline, you got a tin.
Bonus points if she found a recipe you liked, by the way: after she knew, you’d get it every year after.
This is the woman who gave me my first cookie lesson, letting me sample chocolate chips and lick the bowl afterwards. So I hardly need to say, when it came to baking in my book, she was the queen of cool.
I liked everything she made, thought it over-the-moon delicious. And now, almost a decade after she died, I realize that by teaching me to love food, she gave me another gift, something to keep when she left, to stay connected to her.
If she were alive, these oatmeal chocolate chip cookies are what she’d make me for Christmas. They’re my favorites, and let’s be honest, that’s saying something.
The dough is simple: a basic chocolate chip cookie with the addition of oatmeal.
Yet the results are complex: a golden, crunchy texture with a strong bite, the kind that creates tiny crumbs on the corners of your lips and that fall from your fingers. Rich with chunks of semisweet chocolate, the shape is bumpy and wrinkled.
Because this recipe is from Grandma, there is one thing thatt you have to understand:
Every time I make this recipe, it turns out a little different. Even though I’ve made it so many times, it’s near memorized. See, the thing about Grandma’s recipes, this one having been recorded by my mom, is that they were written from cook to cook.
She assumed I’d know how many chocolate chips to add when she wrote “Additions: nuts, chocolate chips, raisins” and in what order to combine the list of ingredients.
So I’m going to reproduce the instructions here with the kind of specifics that she’d give (with a touch more detail), and you can feel free to tweak – really, you’d make my grandma proud.
Just be prepared. Rarely does a batch of these come out of the oven without disappearing as quickly as it baked.
From my grandma Caroline, the best cookie maker there ever was.
|32 cookies||10 minutes|
|Cook Time||Passive Time|
|20 minutes||5 minutes|
Looking for mouthwatering oatmeal chocolate chip cookies? Try this old fashioned recipe that includes optional walnuts and raisins. Crunchy, sweet, golden.
- 1 stick softened margarine (butter doesn't work as well)
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
- 1 egg*
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup all purpose flour (scant - not over)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
- 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
- raisins (optional)
- walnuts (optional)
- Preheat oven to 325°F.
- In a large bowl, combine the margarine, brown sugar, white sugar, egg, water, vanilla, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
- After well mixed, add the oats and stir to combine. Then add the chocolate chips, and nuts and/or raisins if you are using them.
- Drop by rounded tablespoonful onto greased or Silpat-lined cookie sheets. Baked for 20 to 23 minutes.
Cooking by the Numbers…
Step 1 – Mise En Place
Assemble all of the ingredients in one central place so you aren’t rummaging all over your kitchen or pantry looking for things.
While you are collecting all of your ingredients, go ahead and preheat your oven to 325°F.
Step 2 – Combine and Mix
Add the brown sugar, white sugar, margarine, egg, vanilla, water, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to a large mixing bowl. Or use a stand mixer if you have one. I’m using one of my favorite stand mixers here – the Cuisinart SM55.
Mix until all ingredients are thoroughly combined.
Step 3 – Form the Dough
Grease a 1/2 sized baking sheet with a bit of shortening or use a Silpat or another type of silicone liner. Use a medium sized cookie scoop to form dough balls or use a tablespoon to measure out rounded portions of about 1 1/2 tablespoons each.
Step 4 – Bake and Enjoy
Bake for 20 to 23 minutes or until firm and no dough remains on a toothpick when conducting the almighty “toothpick test.”
Place on a cooling rack and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes. Eat them slightly warm or at room temperature. Each batch will keep for around a week, but both the raw dough or baked cookies can be frozen for longer storage.
What about you? What are your favorite add-ins for oatmeal cookies? Chocolate chips? White chocolate chips? Walnuts? M&Ms? Raisins? Something more exotic?
Let us know the comments below!
Are you infatuated with tasty cookie recipes? Then take a look at some our oat-y favorites below:
Don’t forget to Pin It!
Photos by Mike Quinn, © Foodal / Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published December 5th, 2008 by Shanna Mallon. Revised and updated November 11th, 2017, with additional writing by Mike Quinn.
*Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Shanna Mallon
Shanna Mallon is a freelance writer who holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her work has been featured in a variety of media outlets, including The Kitchn, Better Homes & Gardens, Taste of Home, Houzz.com, Foodista, Entrepreneur, and Ragan PR. In 2014, she co-authored The Einkorn Cookbook with her husband, Tim. Today, you can find her digging into food topics and celebrating the everyday grace of eating on her blog, Go Eat Your Bread with Joy. Shanna lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with Tim and their two small kids.
30 thoughts on “Have a Blast From the Past With These Classic Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies”
yes! a grandma recipe! loves it. and you know, i have ALL of these ingredients on hand at home now. however, you KNOW i just bought a kitchen aid mixer that i HAVE to bust out this week. i have a teaser for you now, maple cookies sometimes this week …. mmmm.
i think this year i’m going to copy your grandma. i’ve bought tins, small and big, for homemade goodies as gifts. she sounds like a wonderful woman!
The oatmeal and chocolate chip combo is THE BEST!
ok. i lied. i made these last night because i had all the ingredients handy. i was also lazy and i used my mixer (it was already dirty from a previous batch of cookies!)… they came out lovely. soft and chewy and crispy. i’d to think with the raisins, and oats, it’s good for me. 🙂 i’ll be making these again but i’ll probably make them a bit smaller. thanks for posting your grandma’s recipe!
Great post. I love grandma’s recipes that don’t have measurements or expectations, only memories and comfort. The best.
i’ve been looking for a good oatmeal chocolate chip cookie recipe for a while, and these might just be the ones! i love the texture of oatmeal, but i’m not a huge fan of raisins, so chocolate chips are perfect!
Lan: You’re awesome–so glad you got to try them already! Everyone else: take it from Lan—the standmixer still works well with these. (I’ll never know firsthand.. just can’t do it!)
Elizabeth: Right? SO GOOD.
MFK: You’d love her two little tins, then, filled with cryptic notes and clippings. I think they’re adventures, every one. 🙂
Amy: Agreed 100%. No raisins in my cookies, no sir. But chocolate? OH YEAH.
you and your cookies! mm……..
Janet: Good call about the oats–you should use old-fashioned (not instant) ones, and I’ve updated the ingredients list accordingly. As for PB Chips… I’m guessing they’re peanut-butter chips, but I’ve never used those in these cookies (although I don’t see why you couldn’t!). Thanks for stopping by!
Hi there, lovely picture you have here, chocolate cookies is really a big thing and a lot of people’s favorite. Do you use the small oats (like instant ones) or big ones, do you call them old fashioned oats? What is PB Chips by the way?
I made these today and they were a hit! People were just raving about them. Thanks so much for sharing the recipe. And yes, I mixed by hand. 🙂
That’s fantastic, Kristin! Way to go with the hand mixing (it’s hard to resist alternatives!) and I’m so glad they were a hit! 🙂
It is best to make these small…they spread a LOT when cooking.
Desiree: What might help with that is to keep them chilled between batches. I mean, when the first group is in the oven, put the bowl in the fridge until it’s time to scoop them out. Alternatively, scoop them all out and put them in the fridge. If they’re very cold when they enter the oven, they’ll spread less.
I made these last night, without a mixer, pretty small. I baked for 13 min. and cooled them on a wire rack. They were good and didn’t spread too much, but were very flat and crispy. How do I get them to be more chewy?
Rachel: The only thing I can think, and this is what I’d say for any cookies that turned out flatter than expected, is that maybe it has to do with your baking soda? We’re supposed to replace it every 30 days, which is hard to do! And if it does get old, it loses its ability to make the cookies rise. Other than that, I’m stumped, too! Wish I could be of more help!
What an amazing post, I almost licked the screen. These cookies look so good and I can’t wait to try the recipe.
These were perfect! I used quick oats because I didn’t have any old-fashioned oats, and they turned out fine. Thanks for the post!
I’m so glad, Stefanie!
Elana, Oh, good! I’ve made them with quick oats before, too, but old-fashioned is still my favorite. So glad you enjoyed them!
I asked my mother why grandma’s cookies were always go great and mine fall so short. Two secrets:
1. They were made by my grandmother and
2. She always used rounded measurements, never level measurements.
David, Ha, that’s so true!
I just finished baking this. I used the quick oats, because I don’t know where to find the old fashioned oats around here.
This is such a great recipe, the cookies are delicious! Just the way I always liked an oatmeal cookie. Thanks for sharing it.
I’m going to write and link your recipe in my blog.
That’s fantastic, Klarissa! My grandma would be proud. Thanks for letting me know!
these look amazing! i only have unsalted butter on hand. will that be a waste of time?
Veronica, Butter will make different cookies unfortunately. I’d recommend swapping the margarine for oil or, if you must, half butter and half oil.
I’m just reading about your grandma’s famous cookies now – I first read about them in your ebook, but then got carried away with the story and left this recipe somewhere behind. But the image of your granny handing out tins and tins and tins of cookies like these (together with hangers wrapped with their heads sticking out) is just hilarious. She sounds like she was a wonderful grandma, and I’m glad you had the joy of having her.
bookmarking these for one day!
Thanks, Felicia — I hope you enjoy them! You inspired me to go back another batch, so they’re in the oven now. : )
Hey the recipe sounds wonderful! I am planning to bake them tomorrow but I had one doubt. I would be using quick oats, is it necessary to partially grind the oats as some recipes mention? Or do I just pour in the oats as they are?
Hi Fabia, I have made these cookies with quick oats before, and it will work… rolled oats provide a preferable texture, but the quick oats are usable when you’re in a pinch. You don’t need to grind them or partially grind them at all. Just pour them in as they are. Hope you enjoy!
Very easy and yummy will make again