Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cream Pies

I mentioned in my last post that I found national food holidays interesting. I don’t know if interesting is really the correct word. I think they are bizarre, funny, weird and fascinating. When looking at the holidays listed here, I noticed that January is not only National Soup Month, but also National Oatmeal Month. So, less I offend my morning breakfast, I think it only fair to give oatmeal its moment in the sun as well. That actually works well since I’d been craving a Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pie lately.

I bought a box of the cream pies to do a little research – just for research purposes, I assure you. One bite and it was pretty obvious that although they were certainly edible (at least my first four have been), it would be very easy to make an at-home version that was better, and one that didn’t list corn syrup, white flour and partially hydrogenated fat as the first three ingredients.

Which would you rather have?

As in most of my recipes, the first thing I wanted to do was substitute out the white flour for whole wheat flour. With a textured cookie like an oatmeal cookie, it’s a no-brainer to make the change. I also found a few other tips for these little round bundles of happiness while reading through other people’s recipes. Cook’s Country Magazine suggests grinding some of the oatmeal to increase the oatmeal-y flavor in oatmeal cookies. That also worked well since I noticed that there were no large flakes of oatmeal in the store-bought cookies. Then I noticed the ingredients on the store-bought cookies listed raisins as an ingredient, but they were not advertised as “raisin” cookies, and it seemed doubtful that they would put in fruit unless it served a purpose. An internet search revealed that ground raisins are essential to keep the cookies soft and chewy. This sounded good to me since I love the chance to hide anything of real nutritional value in my recipes. Several other sites suggested that the cookies would not bake correctly when baked on a Silpat baking mat, and that parchment paper was a necessity to get the consistency right. This theory I tested, and they were right, the cookies baked on the baking mat did not spread enough and stayed smaller and puffier than those baked on parchment paper. Although the difference for my recipe was minimal.

But there was still one thing missing. Oatmeal cream pies are nice, but oatmeal chocolate chip cream pies are even nicer. The addition of chocolate chips and cocoa elevated these cookies to another level. Chocolate tends to have that effect on sweet foods. So, here is my recipe for oatmeal chocolate chip cream pies. Now, get in the kitchen and make them – now. Enjoy!

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cream PiesClick here for a printer-friendly version of this recipe
makes about 16 individual pies (32 cookies)

These hearty cookies are sweet without being too overpowering. The cocoa helps balance the flavors nicely. The filling is also sweet without being cloying. If you want the traditional ultra white filling, use the shortening. If you don’t care about the color, go with butter.

1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks)
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats, divided
1 cup whole wheat flour (I use white whole wheat)
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup mini chocolate chips

Filling: (based on this recipe from King Arthur Flour)

1/2 cup butter or vegetable shortening
1/2 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup Marshmallow Fluff
pinch salt dissolved in 1 teaspoon water
1 teaspoons vanilla extract

Heat oven to 375°F. Place raisins in a microwave safe bowl. Pour water over raisins, cover and microwave for 30 seconds. Let sit until cool. While raisins are cooling, place 1 1/2 cups of oats in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until oats are ground fine; there will be a few larger pieces and that is okay.

Transfer oats to a medium mixing bowl and combine with flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking soda. Set aside. When the raisins are cool, transfer along with any liquid to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until a paste forms and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer combine butter and both sugars. Mix on medium speed until light and creamy. Add raisin mixture and egg and beat until fluffy.

Add dry ingredients except for unground oats and chocolate chips and mix until well combined. Fold in unground oats and chocolate chips.

Spoon two tablespoons at a time on to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, putting no more than eight cookies per baking tray. Use a wet finger to lightly flatten each ball of cookie dough. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the edges are set and the middles are still slightly soft. Remove from oven and allow to cool before filling.

While cookies are baking combine shortening (or butter), powdered sugar and Fluff with a mixer until well mixed. Mix in salted water and vanilla extract and beat until light and fluffy.

When cookies are cool, spread a heaping tablespoon of filling onto half the cookies. Top with the other half of the cookies. Cover tightly to store for several days.


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