There’s something comforting and wholesome about an oatmeal cookie. Whether it’s crisp or chewy, the oats provide texture and a subtle butterscotch flavor. Also, roughage. That’s where the wholesome part comes in.
As old-timey as oatmeal cookies may seem, it wasn’t until the late 1800s that the rolled oats crucial to their character even existed. A miller named Ferdinand Schumacher implemented the process for rolling oats at his giant Ravenna, Ohio mill; before that, oats were generally sold as whole oat groats, which took much longer to cook and would have been an unwelcome addition to cookie dough.
Schumacher eventually became of one the founders of Quaker Oats, and the new company soon launched a savvy marketing campaign, since many Americans still thought of oats as animal fodder. Convenient packaging and the iconic Quaker Oats dude helped change that.
Food writer Nancy Baggett speculates the first oatmeal cookie recipe in America was printed in 1881. By 1908, Quaker Oats put an oatmeal cookie recipe on its packaging for the first time.
April 30 is National Oatmeal Cookie Day, and we’re celebrating by gathering our favorite recipes together. Some have chocolate, some have raisins, some have neither. Whichever way you like them, go ahead and enjoy an oatmeal cookie or two for breakfast. We promise not to judge.
Sara Bir is Paste’s contributing food editor. She gladly ate two oatmeal cookies for breakfast today. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @Sausagetarian.