Diane's 6-spice oatmeal raisin cookies

A quick post between projects to tide you over 'til the weekend. These cookies are a perfect mid-week baking project: they're quick, chewy and pack well in lunches.

Don't be intimated by the lengthy ingredient list. If you don't already have everything on hand, you'll find what you're missing in any respectable grocery store. Once you've measured out all of the spices, the dough comes together in a snap.

My fondness for oatmeal raisin cookies surprises even me. I was an extremely picky eater as a kid, and raisins are surely among the top 10 most despised foods. In my experience, putting raisins in virtually anything is a surefire way to win a handful of scornful glances in any crowd. I've always kind of liked them though: they're sweet, plump and fabulous friends with oatmeal. Must be all those porridge breakfasts growing up.

R. has nothing against raisins, but cookies without chocolate concern him. And so, Diane's 6-Spice Oatmeal Raisin Cookies came to have chocolate chips.

That Diane was sure on to something, putting cumin in cookies, but I daresay it was R. that gave them a shot at stardom.

Diane's 6-Spice Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cumin
pinch of ground cloves
pinch of cayenne
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups rolled oats, old-fashioned or quick-cooking
1 cup raisins
1 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone baking mat.

Sift the flour, spices, baking soda and salt into a medium bowl. Set aside.

In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until smooth. Whip out your wooden spoon, the rest will be by hand.

Add the flour mixture and stir slowly, just until combined. Stir in the rolled oats, raisins and chocolate chips (if using). The dough should be quite stiff, but still sticky.

Drop by the tablespoonful onto prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Bake until golden (about 8-10 minutes).

Cool cookies on the baking sheet for 1 minute, before transferring them to racks to cool completely.

Source: Epicurious.com, originally published in Gourmet, September 1997.