While you may feel as though oatmeal raisin cookies are all relatively similar, this recipe will prove you wrong: here, we’re downplaying the often heavy-handed cinnamon and balancing it with a bit of cardamon, relying largely on brown sugar for sweetness, and browning the butter to ensure that each cookie has a supremely buttery, nutty flavor. These are moist and chewy – if you prefer a crisper cookie, bake them for 2 minutes longer.
Brown the butter: In a small, light-colored saucepan (this helps so you can see the color change that will occur), melt the butter over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Cook until the butter begins to foam, about 5 minutes. Continue cooking until the foam subsides and little brown bits appear at the bottom of the pan, smelling fragrant and nutty. During this time, stir vigorously with a wooden spoon, scraping the bits from the bottom of the pan. Pour butter into a heatproof bowl, and stir for 2-3 minutes to allow it to cool to room temperature. Set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and cardamom.
Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the browned butter and both sugars together on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla beat until combined. Slowly add the flour and beat until all dry bits are incorporated. Fold in the oats, raisins and nuts, if using, with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula.
Cover the bowl and chill for 30-60 minutes, or up to overnight.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Roll balls of dough (about 2 tablespoons of dough per cookie) and place them 2 inches apart on the baking sheets (they’ll spread a bit).
Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until they’re just brown around the edges. The center of the cookie will look a bit under baked, but they’ll firm up as they cool. Allow to cool for 5 minutes on baking sheet then transfer to cooling rack. Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days.