I grew up mostly in Seoul, Korea. I attended an international school where I was taught entirely in English. The world I lived was very normal to me, but when I really think about it, it was a little bit strange, unique, and pretty interesting. I lived in an Asian country, in the land of my ethnic origin, but was primarily immersed in a Western based society that followed American pop culture. My background is a fusion of both American and Korean cultures. I watched Full House, had a crush on Zach Morris, and learned about terminal sicknesses and everlasting love through Korean melodramas. I ate tons of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, Korean takeout Chinese noodles, and these chewy treats. I usually had two Thanksgiving breaks, first in early-mid fall and later in November. I was fortunate to experience parts of both cultures and am really glad I grew up the way I did.
While I was in Korea, I think the most exotic and foreign part of America was its food and food products. It was easy to find out about American music and movies but a box of Sun-Maid Raisins and Betty Crocker Cake Mix, not so much. One of the products I found so fun was Quaker Oats. I know! It’s a sort of mundane, everyday brand here, but back then, that cylinder cardboard container was special. I probably bought them for well over their normal price at the black market where they sell American food items. I’m not sure why they call it the black market in Korea because those place are not illegal. Maybe it’s because everything is ridiculously expensive but people still find the need to buy them.
I didn’t and still don’t know many recipes that use oats. The only ones that I do know and have tried are the recipes/directions that come along with the container. That’s how I found out about oatmeal cookies. The first time I made them my cousin, Leon, and I devoured them. He asked me to make some more for him but I never got around to it and years have passed since then. I don’t see him very often because he still lives in Korea, but luckily I got to briefly see him this summer in San Diego. He was on a business trip and was only in town for a few days until he had to fly out to the East Coast. I wanted to bake him something for the flight and also to kind of say thank you. He was one of the first people, besides my mom and dad, to really enjoy what I had made. His thoughtful words and requests for more really encouraged me to embrace cooking and baking more, even though I didn’t know it at the time.
I started to search around for different recipes but stopped as soon as I came across this post by Joy the Baker. If she says the Quaker Oats recipe is the best, then I think there’s really no room to argue.
Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Adapted from Quaker Oats
Makes 2 dozen
1 stick butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cup oats, quick or old fashioned
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
Preheat oven at 350 degrees F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
In a bowl, cream butter and sugar with a whisk or electric beater. Add the egg and vanilla, mix well. Next add the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt until combined. Add the oats, raisins and walnuts until incorporated.
Drop rounded tablespoons of dough onto the cookie sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly brown. For 1 minute, cool on cookie sheet and then transfer to a wire rack. Store in an airtight container.