Vanilla bean oatmeal cookies are an old-fashioned classic that appeals to everyone. Crisp edges, a chewy center, and the heady perfume of vanilla bean make these biscuits beloved for a reason.
The farms, forests, and lakes that surround Toronto are invaluable resources for local and sustainable ingredients (and a good bit of foraging, too). Think wood-nettle spätzle or slow-cooked chicken with fresh corn pudding. Toronto is a city that likes to cheer on its sports teams with one-handed party food, and that’s where homemade pizzas, fried chicken and fish tacos come in handy.–Amy Rosen
Vanilla Bean Oatmeal Cookies
- 1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter softened to room temperature
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 large egg at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 vanilla bean* halved lengthwise
- 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon table salt
- 1 1/2 cups large flake oats
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugars on medium speed until smooth, 1 to 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla extract, scrape in the seeds of the vanilla bean, beat until smooth.
- In a separate bowl, mix flours, baking soda, and salt together until combined. Add flour mixture to wet mixture and mix for 30 seconds. Stir in oats and mix until just combined. (Don't overmix.)
- Place 2-tablespoon mounds of dough, 2 inches (5 cm) apart, on two rimmed baking sheets. Leave dough in a mound, rather than flattening. Stash in the refrigerator and chill for 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F (191°C).
- Bake until golden, 10 to 11 minutes. Let cool slightly, then move to a baking rack and let cool completely.
*Can I substitute vanilla bean paste for a vanilla bean?You can, indeed. The appeal of using fresh vanilla bean is the intensity of flavor and those telltale little specks you get in the finished product. However, sometimes all you have on hand is a paste or even powder. These can be subbed in—they might not be as intensely flavored but it will give you an extra layer of vanilla flavor and the look that you're, well..looking for. One teaspoon of vanilla bean paste equals one vanilla bean or one teaspoon of vanilla extract. Easy-peasy.
Recipe Testers' Reviews
I know oatmeal cookies can be somewhat polarizing. Seen as a humble biscuit loved by grandmas everywhere. Although some think that it can be saved with chocolate chips and will "settle" for an oatmeal cookie in some situations, I don't hold any of the above opinions. I LOVE the humble oatmeal cookie. In fact, if you put chocolate in my oatmeal cookies you've pretty much ruined them (there, I said it!).
I was very excited to try this cookie recipe for vanilla bean oatmeal cookies when I saw that it deviated from a more traditional recipe to something a little more elevated. The final product is something special. Sweeter than you'd expect from a simple oatmeal cookie, chewy texture, and the delicate flavor from the whole vanilla bean. If it seems just a little too extra to add a vanilla bean to a lowly oatmeal cookie, you could sub more extract, but I'd encourage you to give oatmeal its time to shine.
I like a recipe that I can whip up from the ingredients in my pantry and this one for vanilla bean oatmeal cookies uses things I always have on hand. The dough came together easily.
I used a 2 tablespoon scoop which yielded a 2 1/2" cookie. I think leaving the dough in a ball and not flattening it is key. The cookie was crispy on the bottom and edges, soft and chewy in the middle. It was a bit too sweet for me, next time I'll reduce the granulated sugar to 1/4 cup or maybe leave it out completely. That being said, I think these cookies would be good with chocolate chips or chopped walnuts. I only got 26 cookies so next time I'll double the recipe so I have some to share with friends.
Loved these vanilla bean oatmeal cookies, even though I kept thinking about what I wanted to add in for my next bake! The point is though, they taste great just like they are, so do give them a try this way first. This recipe produces a thin cookie with a crispy edge, slightly chewy middle, and wonderful caramel and vanilla undertones.
White chocolate chips, golden raisins, chopped pecans, coconut, crunchy salted top--I can see any one of these add-ins taking these oatmeal cookies over the top. Play with this recipe and make it your own. Be careful with the baking time and pull out a minute before you think they are done.
Our house might be described as ‘the lonely island of too few cookies.’ Not because we dislike or don't appreciate cookies, but because we might like them, or worse, love them! So, to make an appearance, they have to be very good. I loved the idea of an oatmeal cookie without the usual reliance on raisins for the chewy factor. And, once you add in the vanilla bean and extract, the heady perfume of it is gorgeously auspicious.
To get there, it did take me a little tinkering with method and flour, but in the end, I was very chuffed and we'll be rationing these little vanilla bean oatmeal cookies/gems for the whole week! On half the cookies, I sprinkled a tiny amount of Maldon salt and felt that was a really good addition (there is no other salt in this recipe).
To get three dozen wonderfully chewy cookies, chill your dough before baking for at least half an hour and between batches. Give them a nice amount of space (3 inches kept them from touching as they do spread some) and use a 1 tablespoon scoop. I used 25% less sugar, and a high-protein flour in place of the all-purpose (US A/P is generally a lower protein flour than Canadian) and felt like the cookie was much improved. Now I just have to put a padlock on them.
I'm on the fence about this one. Although I liked the vanilla flavor and the ease of making this cookie, I didn't do a "WOW, these are AMAZING." However, these vanilla bean oatmeal cookies are very good, the oats and brown sugar made for a nice chewy cookie (even though mine ended up flat, they were still chewy). I think a novice baker would enjoy the simplicity and speed of making this cookie and I believe it's versatile. You could add raisins or mini chocolate chips or butterscotch chips.
Originally published June 11, 2021