These oatmeal sandwich cookies are like Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pies… if Debbie were 25 years older, recently purchased her first home (in this market??) and is thinking about getting her Ph. D. They are deeper, more mature, and have traded in sweetness for TASTE. Okay metaphor over, everyone breathe.
The addition of browned butter in the cookie dough gives these oatmeal cream pies an undertone of nutty, toffee-like flavor. And since American buttercream can be so… boring. And since I’m really not going to make you go out and buy shortening for this — cream cheese is the star of the filling, and outnumbers the butter 4-to-1.
What are the ingredients for oatmeal sandwich cookies?
Unsalted butter, browned Browned butter deepens the flavor of these cookies. Since the primary taste in the snack-aisle version is just….. sugar, I really want to amp up the caramel-y, butterscotch-y notes of the oatmeal cookies.
Unsulphered molasses Please ensure that you use regular, unsulphered molasses. This type has 70% sugar content compared to blackstrap style or “robust” style, which has 45%. They look similar on the grocery store shelf, so pay attention to the label.
Dark brown sugar With even more added molasses than light brown sugar (yes, molasses turns granulated sugar into brown sugar) using only dark brown sugar and no granulated sugar makes these cookies super chewy.
One large egg You can use an egg straight from the fridge because we’re trying to cool down and firm up the browned butter.
Vanilla extract There are few baking recipes where a little vanilla extract doesn’t belong. And though there are other flavors like molasses and oats and the nutty browned butter, the vanilla is still there in the background.
All-purpose flour This is where so many bakes go wrong. If you want to avoid cake-y, crumbly, or dry cookies that don’t spread, measure your flour correctly. Either use the spoon-and-sweep method (where you spoon the flour into your measuring cup, then sweep off the excess) or use a digital scale.
Corn starch The addition of corn starch helps keep these cookies soft and chewy, which is helpful so that when you bite down, the filling doesn’t just shoot out the sides.
Baking soda andbaking powder I like to use both in cookie recipes because you get lift from baking powder and spread from baking soda. Baking soda also helps give the cookies their iconic crackly tops.
Kosher salt I use Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt. If you’re using table salt or iodized salt, those have finer granules and therefore have more density and saltiness per teaspoon. So since I call for 1 teaspoon of kosher salt in this recipe, I recommend using a 1/2 teaspoon of table salt.
Ground cinnamon We’re just using 1/4 teaspoon in this recipe, just enough to give a little warm spice flavor but still let the other ingredients be the stars.
Rolled oats The reason we’re all here! Old-fashioned, rolled oats get ground up into a flour and also added whole to the finished dough for maximum flavor. They absorb a lot of moisture, which is why this recipe doesn’t have much all-purpose flour.
Cream cheese In the filling, cream cheese is the star. Please do not use cream cheese spread. That has additional liquid and additives that make it not ideal for fillings and frostings. Ensuring the cream cheese has time to come to room temperature and soften before mixing is key to a smooth filling with no lumps.
Unsalted butter This is mainly here to mellow out the tang of cream cheese and to loose up the filling to a piping consistency.
Powdered sugar Just enough to make it not-too-sweet, while also thickening the filling so it holds its shape and doesn’t shoot out the sides when you bite down.
Heavy whipping cream Also mainly here to loosen up the filling and help make it super smooth. You could also use whole milk or even non-dairy milk here.
What is the cream in oatmeal creme pies made of?
The FDA actually prohibits manufacturers from labeling fillings “creams” when they contain no dairy. That’s why you will see snack companies like Little Debbie and Oreo use the term “creme filling” or “creme pie”. In the Little Debbie snacks, there is no cream or butter in the filling. The ingredients do list nonfat dried milk, but it’s difficult to tell if that’s in the cookie or the filling. The filling is likely a marshmallow-type base mixed with oils. Of course, I can only go by taste, observation and what’s on the ingredients list (and in what order). I can’t claim to know exactly how it’s made.
In my version, the filling is comprised mostly of cream cheese. Then comes powdered sugar, unsalted butter, vanilla extract and just a little bit of heavy whipping cream to thin it out.
What if I don’t have a food processor?
Half of the oats in this recipe get blitzed into very fine pieces almost like flour, then they get mixed in with the other dry ingredients. If you don’t have a food processor, you can grind the oats in a blender until they are just little flecks, then transfer them a bowl and whisk in the rest of the dry ingredients. You could also buy ground oats at the store if you’re desperate.
Did you make these oatmeal sandwich cookies? I want to see! Tag me @easygayoven on Instagram and TikTok!
Brown the butter. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Cook the butter, stirring and scraping the bottom occasionally, until it begins to bubble and pop. Continue cooking until it starts foaming and you can see dark brown flecks swimming in the butter when you stir. You’ll know it’s done browning when you no longer hear bubbling and popping — as that’s when all the water has been cooked off. Transfer to a medium mixing bowl and place in the fridge until it is just barely warm.
In a food processor, blitz a half cup of the rolled oats until very finely ground. Add in the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon and pulse a few times to mix. Set aside.
Once the browned butter has cooled down, whisk in the molasses, dark brown sugar and vanilla extract just until combined and glossy. Whisk in the egg.
Dump in the dry ingredients and fold them into the wet ingredients. Once the mixture is almost totally combined, add in the oats and keep folding until the last streaks of flour disappear.
Scoop out about 20, 1-ounce dough balls (I used a heaping #40 scoop) and chill them in the refrigerator, covered, for at least 1 hour, or until completely firm.
Place 8 cookies on a half sheet tray and bake
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake for 6 minutes, then tap the tray against the rack to deflate the cookies and help them spread. Rotate the tray and continue baking for 3 to 4 more minutes or until the cookies are browning around the edges, and the center is just barely set. Transfer to a wire rack and repeat with remaining dough balls.
While the cookies are cooling, make the cream cheese filling. Using a hand mixer, or in the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter until combined. Add in the powdered sugar, heavy cream, salt and vanilla extract and continue to beat until fluffy and smooth, about 1 minute.
Using a piping bag fit with a round tip, or using a zipper bag with the corner cut off, pipe a swirl of filling onto 10 of the cookies. Leave enough room around the edges for the filling to spread when they are sandwiched with the tops. Then, top each with the remaining 10 cookies, pressing down just so that the filling comes to the edges.
These can be eaten right away but are best after chilling, covered in the fridge — at least an hour but up to 24 hours is great. This way, their filling has time to set in the fridge and the cookies absorb moisture and become super soft and chewy.
Do not use instant, quick-cook, or steel-cut (also called Irish) oats. Those will not achieve the same texture we want. Use old-fashioned, rolled oats.
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