To some, it is the eternal question. To others, it is a simple, straightforward answer. But ultimately, we all must face the question: raisins or chocolate chips? In this case the specific realm is the oatmeal cookie and its best partner. The recipe in question is the Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookie from Veganomicon (one of my favorite cookbooks by two of my favorite cookbook authors!). A fabulous recipe that uses brown rice syrup to add a subtle sweetness, it comes together quickly and has a delightful texture. Personally, I could have used a little more of the chew that most oatmeal cookies provide, but they were wonderful, and get bonus points for being vegan.
The one place I deviated from the recipe was even addressed in its introduction: they say you can substitute chocolate chips, but “why mess with perfection?” Because I’m a chocoholic, that’s why. Chocolate is the quintessential cookie-companion. Who doesn’t love the delicately melting chocolate chips on freshly-baked cookies, or the ones that stick to the baking sheet that I simply have to snatch up (the calories don’t count, you know)?
Raisins, on the other hand, are plump, juicy tidbits of sweetness typically equated with health-food. They are the true underdog of this competition. Cup for cup, there is actually a minimal caloric difference between chocolate chips and raisins (yes, that means that you can go ahead and swap out all your raisins and feel a little less bad about it!). What they do have going for them are their natural sugars and lack of fat, for anyone who’s counting. But in most taste-tests, chocolate wins by a large margin.
In this case, I had a hard time choosing, as did the rest of my family. My younger brother and one of my friends gravitated toward the chocolate-filled specimens, while my more “granola”-inclined best friend went predictably for the raisins. I myself had a bit of each. Isa and Terry were right (as usual); the raisins are prepared for in this perfectly spiced dough in a way that the chocolate chips are not. That’s not to say that the spices don’t work with the chocolate, because they do. But they’re clearly made for the raisins.
Unfortunately, this is not my recipe to share with you. So instead I will tell you to get a copy of Veganomicon and look it up and try it yourself! You pretty much have a win-win situation on your hands, and will have many cookies to enjoy!