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Long, long ago my family bought Buckhorn Oatmeal. I haven’t seen it in years and have no idea whatever happened to that brand. It was probably cheaper than Quaker Oats (a big reason to buy something when you have three kids in the family). I don’t remember it being better or worse than the name brand. Eventually we transitioned to Quaker Oats; I suppose Buckhorn became unavailable.

We made and ate a lot of oatmeal cookies. A few recipes came and went, but we always went back to the real deal, the recipe on the bag of rolled oats. My brother sometimes made oatmeal bars instead of cookies.

Nowadays I buy oatmeal in bulk at the supermarket, or a local brand made in town, Moore’s Flour Mill (which has a popular spinoff, Bob’s Red Mill). I avoid “instant” or “quick” oats, as they don’t have the taste or texture of rolled oats.

The secret to really great oatmeal cookies: remove from the oven before they are done.

This is the recipe I use, slightly adapted from the original:


  • 1 Cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 Cup firmly Packed Golden Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1-1/2 Cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 Tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt (optional)
  • 3 Cups raw rolled oats
  • 1 cup chopped nuts

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

  1. Beat together butter and sugars until creamy.
  2. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well.
  3. Add combined flour, baking soda and salt; mix well.
  4. Stir in oats and nuts; mix well.
  5. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet.
  6. Bake 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Do not overbake! For the most delicious soft chewy cookies, remove from the oven while tops are still slightly wet-looking. You won’t regret it!
  7. Cool  five minutes on cookie sheet; remove to wire rack.

Bar Cookies: Bake 30-35 minutes in ungreased 13″ X9″ greased metal baking pan.

Of course this recipe lends itself to all kinds of adaptatIons, additions and subtractions.  Dried fruit (raisins, apricots, chopped dates, shredded coconut, figs,  etc.) is a classic variation, as is a teaspoon of cinnamon or other spices. Nuts can be eliminated, or added to, as can chocolate or butterscotch chips.  Other whole-grain cereals similar to oatmeal can be mixed into the oats.

I’ve found that cutting back on the sugar makes a smaller, dryer, harder cookie than I like, so I prefer to use the full 1 cup brown sugar and 1/2 cup granulated sugar…  unless an adequate substitute is found. By happy coincidence, I found one.  Last Christmas, I set aside one Saturday to do an enormous baking of cookies and breads to send to my husband’s relatives in Nevada. Among the sweets I made that day was a batch of mincemeat cookies – which took half a jar of prepared mincemeat. I stuck the half-empty jar in the refrigerator and forgot about it.

Last weekend, my husband asked if that mincemeat was still good, and if so, shouldn’t we use it? I thought it could be in incorporated into oatmeal cookie dough. When mixing the cookie dough, I omitted the granulated sugar and added the leftover 1/2 jar of mincemeat along with the oats. We tossed in slivered almonds and walnuts. My husband started spooning the dough onto a cookie sheet, then asked if an ice cream scoop would work. It worked very well, though the cookies were enormous! The cookies spread out the same as if they’d had the granulated sugar added and were tender & soft.

I probably won’t be using mincemeat again until next Christmas, but when I do, I’ll save some to make oatmeal cookies with.


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