Monday, June 4, 2012

Hey Quaker! These Cookies are Nothing to Smile About.

My kid taste buds kicked in when I saw the ad on TV for my favorite treat, the baked perfection known as the oatmeal raisin cookie.  Even better, they were made by none other than Quaker Oats, Emperor of Oatdom.

My mother used to bake my favorite cookie using the recipe inside the lid of the familiar cylindrical paperboard box with the smiley Quaker man on the front.

The cookies were chewy and moist and yum yum yummy.  No nuts.  No chocolate chips.  Just raisins.  I am an oatmeal raisin cookie purist.

In the grocery store, I hunted in the cookie maze until I spotted the smiley Quaker himself.  Oh joy!

Then gloom.  The package said banana nut.  A travesty. 

It's neighbor said chocolate almond.  Heresy.

Next to chocolate almond was cranberry and yogurt. 

Was I sleepwalking in a bad cookie nightmare?

Not wanting to cry in the store, I frantically pushed packages around until I finally found one on the very back of the shelf that said Raisins.

Oh joy!

Of course I couldn't wait until I got home to try one.  I tore open the box on my way to the car, then tore open the individual wrapper. 

The first bite!

Then gloom.  The soft baked object from the Quaker package on the cookie shelf in the cookie aisle tasted nothing like my mom's oatmeal raisin cookie.  Not chewy.  Not oaty.  Not even close.  It was soft.  It was dry.  It was gummy.  It had a weird flavor.  It was ick ick icky. 

I threw the rest away.

The box revealed why these faux oatmeal cookies are such a disappointment.  The Quaker changed his own recipe.  His new recipe has more than 50 ingredients.  This is it:

Whole grain oat flour

Enriched flour (Bleached and unbleached wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron,
      thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid)
Whole grain rolled oats
Whole wheat flour
Palm and high oleic canola oil (with TBHQ preservative)
Invert sugar syrup
Mid-oleic sunflower oil
Raisin paste
Granola (whole grain rolled oats, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, sugar,
        partially hydrogenated soybean oil, honey, brown sugar, molasses)
Dried eggs
Modified corn starch
Corn syrup
Poly dextrose
Leavening agents (sodium bicarbonate, ammonium bicarbonate)
Oat fiber
Propylene glycol
Mono and di-esters of fat and fatty acids
Mono and digycerides
Soy lecithin
Citric Acid
Wheat gluten
Calcium phosphate
Natural flavor
Corn starch
Enzymes (1422-RV1)

Here is the original recipe, first printed on the box in 1955.  It has 11 ingredients.  It still makes my perfect favorite cookie:

2 cups flour
½ t salt
½ t baking powder
1 t cinnamon
½ t ground cloves
1 cup vegetable shortening
1 ½ cups brown sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
2/3 C sour milk (make by adding scant T lemon juice to milk)
1 1/3 cups Quaker oats
1 cup raisins

Sift first five ingredients together.

Cream shortening and sugar. 

Add eggs and beat until smooth.

Add dry ingredients in small amounts alternatively with milk.

Stir in last three ingredients.

Drop by teaspoon onto greased cookie sheets.

Bake at 350 degrees until golden and springy to the touch, usually for 8 minutes.

Cool slightly.

Pour the milk.