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by Jordan Ring
The older I get, the more I want to hold on to anything and everything that reminds me of my youth. Since donning sparkly hair clips, ying yangs, and ultra wide legged jeans would probably be frowned upon (and with good reason) for a woman my age, most of the memories I carry through into my adult years comes in the form of something that doesn’t really have an age range: food. It is a timeless comfort which, for me, holds high doses of nostalgia.
Growing up, we had a “snack drawer” in my house. This mystical creature held all the yummy goodness that you adore as a child but cannot possibly appreciate until you become an adult and your metabolism goes the way of the buffalo. Hostess and Little Debbie were our homies, and they never disappointed our household. My favorite snack cake has always been Oatmeal Cream Pies, which lucky for me, wasn’t the super popular choice among my family members. Since becoming a responsible adult (Look at me now, Mom!), my husband and I do not keep a snack drawer, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want something full of delicious nostalgia from time to time.
So, lets get to it. This recipe for homemade Oatmeal Cream Pies makes me so OVER the boxed version. There should be monuments, parades, festivals in their honor. I can neither confirm nor deny that Olivia Newton-John once dedicated the song “I Honestly Love You” to these Oatmeal Cream Pies, but I wouldn’t put it past her.
For the Cookies:
1½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup dark brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
1½ tablespoons unsulfured molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups old-fashioned oats
For the filling:
½ cup butter slightly softened
8 oz cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons marshmallow creme (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats; set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon; set aside.
3. Using an electric mixer (hand or stand: pick your poison), beat the butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar and molasses on high speed until light and fluffy and wonderful, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary, about 4(ish) minutes. Add the vanilla; beat until combined. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition.
4. Reduce the mixer speed to low, add the flour mixture spoonfuls at a time and beat until just combined. Don’t add it all at once unless you want it to look like a snowstorm in your kitchen. If you’re into that snowstorm look, by all means carry on. After it is all combined, do your best to not bury your face in the cookie dough. This will be difficult, but I believe in you. With a rubber spatula, stir in the oats.
By the way, the oats totally make this “healthy,” right? Ok, good. Thanks for clearing that up for me. Drop the dough in 2-tablespoonful mounds 2-inches apart onto the baking sheets you’ve already prepared.
Bake until the cookies are set at the edges and slightly soft in the middle, 12 to 14 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through. These minutes will be pure torture, and it will smell like Grandma Paradise in your kitchen, but keep the end game in mind. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Trust me, this is a vital part; it will make them best prepared for the wonderful filling heading their way.
5. For the filling: Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, butter, and powdered sugar on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Then stir in by hand about 2 tablespoons of marshmallow creme. You can skip this step if you would like, but trust me, it sends the filling over the top in the best possible way.
6. Spread the filling on the flat side of half of the cooled cookies. Sandwich them with the remaining cookies. Store cookies in an airtight container with wax paper or parchment paper between layers, refrigerated for up to 5 days. Haha, I am just joking. They won’t last that long.
Jordan Ring is an English and journalism teacher who hails from the 501. She is a world traveler, part-time photographer, and street-style enthusiast whose love language is cooking for others.