Friday, June 11, 2010

Copycat Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pies

I love recreating retro dessert snacks. I'm not sure why since I didn't eat a whole lot of them growing up, just on occasion, but they are nostalgic none the less. I hate heavily processed foods and was quite annoyed the last time I had one of these type of desserts. I don't remember when it was or even what it was (maybe a HoHo?) but I do remember it not tasting even remotely as good had when I was a child. In fact, it was kind of nasty and very fake tasting. A big disappointment for sure. Anyway, a few years back I read an article about a woman who owned a bakery and a popular item on the menu were her homemade knockoff hostess cupcakes, cute loops and all. It was then I had a eureka moment. I realized, hey, you can actually make this stuff and it would taste a thousand times better than out of a 2 year old box they sell at the grocery store! It was a big day for me. I remember thinking that If I ever had a bakery, I too, would make the hostess cupcakes (and guess what? I do make them for Sugar Me Sweet! awww) because that idea is just too charming too pass up. I have this little vision of a dessert bar at a wedding made up entirely of homemade versions of these types of desserts. Twinkies, HoHo's, Hostess Cupcakes, oatmeal cream pies, glazed hand pies, and cute would that be? Not to mention delicious!

I went on a retro baking frenzy yesterday and made most of what I just wrote in the last paragraph. Everything turned out excellent, much to my delight. I decided I'd share the oatmeal cream pies with you (even though I have certain friends, cough, Melissa and Shawn, that flipped for the Twinkies) because they were always my favorite growing up, and I've never made a soft cookie that actually stayed soft before these, and I think that is very interesting. Not to mention that they are sooooo good. The soft oatmeal-y cookie sandwiched between fluffy vanilla cream, I mean, how could it not be? And as a bonus, they are so simple. You could make them in 35 or so minutes from start to finish.

Copycat Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pies
adapted from CDKitchen

2 sticks margarine
3/4 cup dark brown sugar ( I used golden)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon molasses (or honey or pure maple syrup)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cup quick cooking Quaker oats

Cream Filling
4 teaspoons very hot water
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 jars (7oz) marshmallow creme, or fluff
1 cup shortening
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a large bowl or an electric mixer, cream together margarine, sugars, molasses, vanilla and eggs. In a separate bowl combine the flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon. Combine the dry ingredients with the wet. Mix in the oats.

Drop by tablespoonfuls (mine were slightly bigger dollops) onto an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until cookies are just starting to darken around the edges. They will still appear moist in the center. Be careful not to overcook! When cooled, the cookies should be soft and chewy.

While the cookies bake, prepare the filling. Use a small bowl to dissolve the salt in 2 teaspoons of very hot tap water.Set the solution aside to cool.

Combine marshmallow creme, shortening, powdered sugar, and vanilla in a medium bowl and mix well with an electric mixer on high speed until fluffy. Add the cooled salt solution to the filling and combine with the mixer.

Assemble each cream pie by spreading the filling generously over one side of a cookie (the flat side) and press another cookie on top, making a sandwich. Repeat for the remaining cookies and filling.

Makes about 10-12 oatmeal cream pies (2 cookies to a pie)

The cookie batter does expand quite a bit in the oven, FYI. I removed the cookies from the pan when they were still warm and transferred them to a rack to cool completely flat side up. I found that you should you a thin, metal spatula to remove the cookies from the baking sheet as they are quite flexible and might break or bend if you try to scrape them off with a thicker plastic one, but even a knife might work if you are going to wing it. I like to put a generous amount of cream filling inbetween the pies. Otherwise they are too thin. This, by the way, is generally the same cream filling that gets injected into Twinkies and Hostess cupcakes. Enjoy!