I didn’t grow up with a mom who baked. I also didn’t grow up with a mom who set any kind of food restrictions. Seriously – we had every manner of boxed or frozen snacks, cereals and sweets you could imagine.
See, my mom strangely “drew the line” at the most random things – and no amount of begging or pleading would get her to budge.
For example – we could have instant “crescent” rolls. But not the biscuits (never the biscuits).
Our cooked rice was Minute Rice. But she never allowed instant mashed potatoes (which, of course, I adored).
And desserts? There were Sara Lee’s, Entenmann’s and Drake’s Cakes in abundance. But NO Little Debbie’s. I have no idea why.
Enter Sherri K. – my grade school friend. Sherri K.’s house ALWAYS had Little Debbie’s. Zebra Cakes. Swiss Rolls. And my very favorites – Oatmeal Creme Pies. Oh, did I covet those creme pies. And the fact that they were only available at a friend’s house made them all the more enticing – and delicious – in my young mind.
Fast forward to me, all grown up. And as my baking skills evolved I decided to attempt a “hack” of my beloved cookies.
Only to fail. And fail again. And again.
It wasn’t that the cookies came out bad – they just never nailed that exact flavor and texture that I was looking for. The cookies were either too crispy or too cake-y. And the “creme”? It was always wrong. I didn’t want frosting. Or icing. Or buttercream. I wanted that gooey, marshmallow-y filling that I still recalled so well.
And then I came across this recipe:
And if you, too, love a Little Debbie’s, then this is the recipe of your dreams. Promise.
Just don’t tell my mom, ‘kay?
Oatmeal Creme Pies
adapted from Macaroni and Cheesecake
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 c. light brown sugar
1/2 c. sugar
1 T. honey
1 t. vanilla
1 3/4 c. flour
1 t. baking soda
1/8 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. salt
1 1/2 c. quick oats
2 egg whites (or 4 t. powdered whites dissolved in 1/4 c. warm water)
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 t. cream of tartar
1/2 t. clear vanilla
Make the cookies: Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 4 baking sheets with parchment paper.
In your mixing bowl beat butter and sugars till light and fluffy. Add eggs, honey and vanilla – beat till well blended. Add the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Beat on low speed till dry ingredients are incorporated; increase speed to medium and beat just till combined. Beat in oats.
Drop tablespoons of batter onto your prepared sheets – you should have about 12 cookies per sheet, making sure they are evenly space apart (the batter spreads quite a bit when baking). Place sheets in the fridge and chill for 15 minutes (if you don’t have room for all 4 baking sheets you can put 2 in the freezer and transfer those to the fridge while the first batches are baking).
Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes, or till lightly browned around the edges. Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining cookies.
Make the filling: Clean out your mixer bowl. Add the egg whites, sugar and cream of tarter. Set the bowl over a pot of simmering water, whisking constantly till sugar is dissolved and mixture is warm to the touch. Attach bowl to your mixer and, using the whisk attachment, beat the whites on high for about 5 minutes, or till mixture has glossy stiff peaks. Gently fold in vanilla. Transfer filling to a large ziploc bag; snip an opening in one corner.
Place half the cookies, flat side facing up, on a work surface. Pipe even amounts of filling onto the cookies. Top with remaining halves, matching up cookies as closely as possible.
Store in an airtight container for 2-3 days (giggle).