Saturday, February 18, 2006

Rum Raisin Oatmeal Cookies (+ WCB #37)

My father loves ice cream. He will not admit it, claiming he is too healthy to put such garbage in his mouth. When I was younger, my father used to purchase ice cream “for the kids;" Rum Raisin and Coffee. I do not know very many children whose favorite ice cream flavors are Rum Raisin or Coffee. Placing the pints in the freezer, talking more to himself than any of us, he would exclaim, “don’t eat too much or you’ll get stomach aches.” In the morning, the pints were gone.

Exploring these two ice cream flavors as a child has probably done worlds for my taste buds: On a family vacation in the Dominican Republic I happily participated in taste tests at a rum factory. I am sure the top destination choice for my 6 year old self was in fact, the rum factory. Mesmerized by the gilded thread hugging the bottles, I did not blink when we left the factory with more caseloads of rum than could be carried.

Over the years I developed a taste for Rum Raisin ice cream. The smooth vanilla bean base blended perfectly with the spicy kick of rum. When a recent cookie craving threatened an otherwise sweet-less week, a bout of inspiration came to pass: oatmeal raisin cookies, spiked with rum.

As the raisins soaked overnight in their rum bath, I plucked one out for a tasting and was brought back to the rum factory; back to the vanishing pints in the freezer. I adapted this recipe from the best oatmeal raisin cookie I know: the bottom of the Quaker Oats box. The changes, other than the rum-soaked raisins, include less butter, allspice, and the addition of rum extract for an extra kick. These cookies are thin and golden with crisp edges, keeping soft centers days later. The rum provides the perfect winter spice while the oats whisper at a meal.

Makes about 25 cookies. Prep Time= 10 minutes. Cook Time= 10-12 minutes.
* ¾ cup (1-½ sticks) butter, softened
* 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
* ½ cup granulated sugar
* 2 eggs
* ½ tsp vanilla extract
* ½ tsp rum extract
* 1-½ cups all-purpose flour
* 1 tsp baking soda
* 1 tsp cinnamon
* 1 tsp allspice
* ½ tsp salt
* 3 cups Quaker Oats
* 1-½ cups raisins, soaked overnight in white rum

1) Soak raisins in white rum overnight.
2) Preheat oven to 350F. Beat together butter and sugars until creamy. Add eggs, vanilla and rum extract; beat well.
3) Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, and salt; mix well. Stir in oats and raisins; mix well.
4) Drop by heaping tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet, 2 inches apart. Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheet; remove to wire rack.

And for the non-food related WCB #37 hosted by Clare at Eat Stuff. I bring you The Face Off:

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