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Bake up a batch of nostalgia and treat your family to a plate of homemade oatmeal cookies. When September rolls around, thoughts naturally turn to back to school, even though most of us are way beyond preparing lunches or after-school treats for our children. But no matter how old you or your offspring are, there’s always a place for wholesome, tasty oatmeal cookies.

Unlike chocolate-chip cookies — whose origins are decidedly American — the oatmeal cookie actually evolved from Scottish oat cakes. Oats had sustained the hardy Scots for hundreds of years, and according to the website cookies.com, “history records that raisins and nuts had been added to the cakes since the Middle Ages.” The site goes on to note that the redoubtable Fannie Farmer codified the first recipe for oatmeal cookies in 1896, and beginning a few years later, a recipe for these treats started appearing on every container of Quaker Oats — which is still the case today.

Offered here is a tried-and-true oatmeal cookie recipe, along with three variations you will enjoy. Either old-fashioned or quick-cooking rolled oats can be used in any of these recipes.

OATMEAL-RAISIN COOKIES
Here’s a classic treatment that never goes out of style. As with any of the recipes on this page, you can bake as many cookies as you want and freeze the rest of the dough for later.
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups rolled oats
1 cup raisins
½ cup chopped walnuts, optional

In a large bowl, with mixer on medium, cream the butter and both sugars until light. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Combine the next four ingredients and beat into the creamed mixture. With a wooden spoon stir in the oats, raisins and optional walnuts. Drop by rounded teaspoonsful onto greased baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees from 10 to 12 minutes, depending on whether you prefer soft or firm cookies. Cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes. Store in a tightly covered container. Makes about 6 dozen.

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE OATMEAL COOKIES
For those who like the luxurious taste of chocolate combined with the chewy goodness of oatmeal cookies, this recipe is a must.
1 cup butter, softened
1 ½ cups sugar
1 egg
¼ cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ¼ cups flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
3 cups rolled oats
1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

In a large bowl, with mixer on medium, cream the first five ingredients until fluffy. With a wooden spoon, stir in the remaining ingredients. Drop by rounded teaspoonsful onto ungreased cookies sheets and bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes, or until there is almost no indentation when a cookie is lightly touched. Immediately remove to wire racks to cool. Store in airtight container. Makes about five dozen.

GIANT CHERRY-OATMEAL COOKIES
If you would like to replicate the oversized cookies sold at area bakeries and some restaurants, try this recipe. Dried cherries offer a pleasant tang but they can be pricey. So it’s OK to substitute sweetened dried cranberries.
½ cup butter, softened
½ cup shortening
¾ cup brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/3 cups flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
2 ½ cups rolled oats
1 ½ cups dried cherries
1 teaspoon grated orange zest

In a large bowl, with mixer on medium, cream the butter, shortening and both sugars until fluffy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. In a 2-cup measure combine the next nine ingredients, tossing lightly with a fork. At low speed, beat into the creamed mixture. With a wooden spoon, stir in the oats, cherries and orange zest. Using a 1/3-cup measure, drop large mounds of dough onto a greased cookie sheet. Spray-coat the back of a spatula, and use it to flatten each mound into a 4-inch circle. Keep cookies about 3 inches apart. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes, or until the edges are golden. The centers should still look slightly underdone. Let stand for one minute; then transfer cookies to wire racks to cool completely. Store in airtight container. Makes about 1½ dozen large cookies.

PEANUT BUTTER OATMEAL COOKIES
This recipe marries two all-time favorites into a delicious cookie.
½ cup butter, softened
½ cup peanut butter
¾ cup brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ¼ cups sifted flour
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup rolled oats

In a large bowl, with mixer on medium, beat the first six ingredients until creamy. Sift the flour and salt together and combine with the oats. With a wooden spoon, stir into the creamed mixture until combined. Form the dough into 1-inch balls, and place on ungreased cookie sheets. Flatten each ball, using the tines of a fork in crisscross fashion. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool on wire racks and store in tightly covered container. Makes about 3 ½ dozen.