makes approximately 42 cookies
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons old-fashioned oats
1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup cane sugar
½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
½ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 extra-large egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ cup cake flour
½ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1?½ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
1 cup (6 ounces) butterscotch chips
There is one cookie that I cannot make: oatmeal raisin. When I was in culinary school, I spent a week trying to produce the perfect oatmeal raisin cookie. I was on a quest to make it flat and crisp, but it never worked out. The raisins always dried out or the cookies turned flabby. I finally set this cookie aside and moved on.
Yet two sources of inspiration drove me to revisit the oatmeal-cookie category. Three Sisters Garden in Kankakee, Illinois, sells unhulled oats that look like barley malt and I wanted to highlight these special oats in a cookie. Then along came my second source of inspiration. Luke LeFiles, a Carolina boy, managed the bar at Hot Chocolate for years. He constantly put in requests for oatmeal scotchies, the butterscotch-filled chewy cookies he remembered from home. One day I realized that swapping out raisins in exchange for butterscotch would solve my flabby oatmeal cookie problem: The butterscotch complemented the oats, and the batter baked like an oatmeal lace cookie.
Whether you have unhulled oats from a farm or old-fashioned oats from the grocery store, toasting oats before baking them draws out the flavor. I take a small amount of the toasted oats and grind them in a spice grinder to enhance the cookie's delicate texture. For a variation of this recipe, use shards of Toffee (page 250) in place of butterscotch chips.
Heat the oven to 350°F and line a couple of half sheet (13 by 18-inch) pans with parchment paper.
Spread the oats across a third half sheet pan and toast lightly until the oats smell like cooked oatmeal, approximately
5 minutes. (Keep the oven on for the cookies.) Let cool. In a spice grinder, grind 2 tablespoons of the oats into a fine powder.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the butter briefly on medium speed for 5 to
10 seconds. Add the sugars and beat until the butter mixture is aerated and pale in color, approximately 4 minutes. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula to bring the batter together.
Crack the egg into a small cup or bowl and add the vanilla.
Place the powdered and whole oats, flours, baking soda, and salts in a bowl and whisk to combine. Add the butterscotch chips and stir until lightly coated in flour.
On medium speed, add the egg and vanilla to the butter mixture and mix until the batter resembles cottage cheese, approximately 5 seconds. With a rubber spatula, scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to bring the batter together. Mix on medium speed for another 20 seconds to make nearly homogeneous.
Add the dry ingredients all at once and mix on low speed until the batter comes together but still looks shaggy, approximately 30 seconds. Do not overmix. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer. With a plastic bench scraper, bring the dough completely together by hand.
Portion the dough into 8 mounds using a ¾-ounce (1?½-tablespoon) ice cream scoop and evenly distribute onto a prepared sheet pan. (The cookies will spread significantly as they bake.)
Bake for 8 minutes. Give the pan a sturdy tap against the counter or the oven to deflate the cookies. Rotate the pan and continue to bake until the edges are a deep golden brown, the centers have fallen, and the cookies are beginning to crisp and brown, another 4 to 6 minutes (Do not underbake or the cookies won't crisp up when they cool.) Let the cookies cool completely on the pan. Repeat with the remaining dough.
The cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up
to 3 days. The cookies are best when baked the day the dough is made.