Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Homemade "Little Debbie" Oatmeal Cream Pies

I get cravings for things and if I don't satisfy the craving I will crave it for weeks (I feel bad for Dan when we decide to have kiddos, I can only imagine what my cravings will be like then!) A few weeks ago I got this taste for a Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pie. I was never a fussy eater as a kid but when it came to snack cakes I only ever really cared for the oatmeal cream pie, the "zebra" cake also by Little Debbie and the butterscotch sponge cakes made by Tasty Kake (a northern thing my Aunt B would send to my dad from PA).

Each week as I passed the snack cake aisle at the grocery store I had to resist grabbing a box; I know it seems silly but after reading the ingredients on the back of the box I just couldn't bring myself to get them!!

Thus, I searched the web for a homemade version and I was not disappointed. I found a recipe on Recipe Zaar, which I typically do not trust and have rarely used anything from the site, but it was tested by many folks on the site, other food bloggers, etc. and all had rave reviews, so I figured why not give it a whirl.

I used Bob's Red Mill Organic Rolled Oats; as with all of their products, the quality is consistently good. Also, for this recipe, the rolled oats are far better than a quick oat (the quick oat just turns into mush whereas the rolled oat will give a better texture).
Call me old fashioned, but I get sastifaction out of making something from scratch; I can control the ingredients, use local, fresh items when available and know that though it's not "healthy" per say, it is also not chock full of mystery ingredients.

The filling is far from being healthy, with marshmallow cream, shortening and powdered sugar, however, Spectrum has a pretty decent shortening (I have their coconut oil too...looking to make a coconut cream pie soon...to be continued!)

On the whole these were a big hit with my co-workers and friends. I decided to individually wrap mine in plastic wrap for ease in transport, and it worked like a charm; I would highly advise this method if you do not want cream filling all over your container and all over the other cookies.

Oatmeal Cream Pies
Adapted from Recipe Zaar

1 cup butter (I used Plugra--it is my favorite)
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp molasses (used "Grandma's" brand original, but blackstrap would likely work as well)
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp cinnamon (used Ceylon cinnamon and just eyeballed this using a pinch and a half)
1 1/2 cups rolled oats

Cream Filling
2 tsp very hot water
1/4 tsp salt
1 (7 ounce) jar marshmallow cream
1/2 cup shortening
1/3 cup powdered sugar (I used a heaving 1/3 cup, so basically 1/3 cup plus 2 or 3 tbsps)
1 tsp vanilla

1. Combine flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon in a bowl.

2. In large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars. Add in eggs, beating after each. Finally beat in molasses and vanilla. (Keep in mind--butter and eggs should be at room temp before using--so throw these on your counter an hour or 2 before you plan on using).

3. Add to the flour mixture to creamed mixture and beat until just blended; mix in the oats with a wooden/plastic/silicone spoon.

4. Drop dough by tablespoons (they are apt to spread so be weary of this; I used a small ice cream scoop--it is PERFECT for cookies--a good investment if you bake cookies often) on parchment lined sheets, with plenty of space in between. Bake at 350 degrees (F) for 10-12 minutes, or until just starting to brown around the edges. They will look moist; don’t overcook...they will brown all around very quickly. Let sit on cookie sheet for about 5 minutes and then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

5. While the cookies bake prepare the filling. In small bowl, dissolve the salt in the hot water. Set aside and allow this to cool.

6. Combine marshmallow cream, shortening, powdered sugar, and vanilla in a bowl; mix on high until fluffy (roughly 3-4 minutes)

7. Add the cooled salt water and mix well (be careful not to add too much salt-I compensated with the extra few tbsps of powdered sugar-whatever floats your boat)

8. Spread filling on flat side of one cookie, press 2nd cookie on top.
Makes 1 1/2 – 2 dozen

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