Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Oatmeal Cream Pies

When I first met Joe, I'm pretty sure the only reason he was still alive was because of Little Debbie, but especially because of her oatmeal cream pies.

For years, I've been looking for recipes and trying to figure out a way to reproduce these things.  If you're not familiar with them, oatmeal cream pies are two soft-baked oatmeal cookies with a light, marshmallow frosting in the middle.  I'm not positive, but I suspect the secret ingredient might be crack or something other addictive substance, because they are THAT good.

The thing is, I knew I could make them better and more delicious.  And, perhaps, a tiny bit healthier, with ingredients that I knew how to pronounce and knew where they came from and/or how they came to be in my kitchen.

And, then, one day, like manna from heaven, I stumbled on a recipe.  I tweaked the recipe a bit, but you can adjust it to your liking.  We had one of our couple friends over for dinner, and the boyfriend was so excited when he saw the photo on Facebook.  We're trying to make a date to hang out again, and he suggested a dinner party - while it sounds like a great idea, I think he just wants me to make more of these!

I used my cookie scoop for these because I wanted to make sure that they were all the same size - easier to make sandwiches that way!  Don't pack these cookies too tight when you bake them, because they will definitely spread out a little bit. If it helps, mine were about 3 inches in diameter - about the same size as the store bought ones.  You'll also want to make sure you store these in an airtight container.  Mine were in an airtight container, and I'm not sure if it's because someone didn't close it right or just the nature of the recipe, but the marshmallow-like filling got a little hard around the edges.  It's not enough to discourage eating them, but is something to be aware of.

I had been looking for a recipe like this for so long that I wasn't quite sure what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised - these were SO good and pretty addicting.  You probably have everything you need to make them, (well, maybe not the oatmeal), making them much cheaper than the kind you buy at the store.  Winning!

Oatmeal Cream Pies

For the cookies:
1 c. (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
3/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1 3/4 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 c. quick cooking oats

Preheat oven to 350°F and grease cookie sheets; set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and cinnamon.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugars until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, syrup and vanilla and beat until incorporated.

Gradually add the flour mixture into the bitter; mix just until incorporated.  Stir in oats until evenly distributed.  Cover bowl and chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

Remove dough from refrigerator.  Drop by rounded tablespoons onto baking sheet.  Bake for 10 minutes until the edges are browned and middles are mostly set.  Let cool on baking sheet for a couple of minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the filling:
2 egg whites
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

In a double boiler, add egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar; heat over simmering water (I used a glass pyrex bowl set inside of a small saucepan filled with enough water to touch the bottom of the bowl).  Whisking frequently, heat until egg whites become frothy and sugar is dissolved, approx. 160°F.  Carefully add egg mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Whisk on high speed for several minutes, until stiff peaks form.  Carefully fold in the vanilla. (*Note: I couldn't find my candy thermometer, so I just kept mine on the double boiler the entire time.  Doing it this way, I was still able to get a fluffy and marshmallow-y frosting.)

Add frosting to the bottom of one cookie and top with a second cookie.

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