Thursday, May 1, 2014

Oatmeal Ginger Cream Pies

       Be aware: I do not write the follow declarations lightly. If I ever had a small bakery, these would be a consistent menu options. They are downright phenomenal. The cookie is so perfectly chewy; I was shocked when I first bit into it. The texture is something I have strived for in many a cookie and when I finally achieved it in this one, I felt pure glee wash over me. 
       The oats are packed in to make a deliciously deep flavor and with the brown sugar, they create the most scrumptious sweet and nutty sensation. Now, I am not one of those people who rave about the healthy stomach benefits of crystalized ginger and truth be told, I am not its biggest fan. The one time I tried to eat it plain, I spit it out (just the honestly you needed, I am sure). However the way it plays with the sweet and simple cookie around it, and the harmony it has with the filling made me a lover. The large, chewy pieces of deep ginger flavor and hits of warm spice are how I want my oatmeal and ginger fed to me from now on. 
      Finally, the middle...the middle was what took this cookie from just being my happiness in a small little circle to being a wiggle back and forth, smile on my face, and pure joy of knowing this cookie was all I could ever ask of it to be. It was a simple combination of cream cheese, powdered sugar and plenty of vanilla. The plain cream cheese (no butter) base created an intensely creamy and tangy flavor profile next to the oats and ginger which I am convince made each of them taste their best. The large amount of vanilla used created a delicious, warm, simple and sweet accent that mellowed everything else out. 
     When I was making this cookie, I was not expecting to be head over heals for it you guys, but I am telling you, do not take this baby lightly. It will bring you kitchen bliss and if you have ever enjoyed a Little Debby Cream Pie, I am really positive you will completely forget about those very promptly.
Adapted from The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Dessert Cookbook's "Oatmeal Cream Pies with Ginger Cream"
Makes approximately 11 cookie sandwiches a.k.a. packages of love

3/4 C all purpose flour
1/2 TSP baking powder
1/2 TSP baking soda
1/2 TSP ground cinnamon
1/4 TSP fine salt
3/4 C rolled oats
3/4 C instant oats
8 TBSP (1stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 C granulated sugar
3/4 C light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
2 ounce (approx. 1/3 C) chopped crystalized ginger
1 package (8 ounces) full-fat cream cheese, room temperature 
1/3 C powdered sugar
1 1/2 TSP vanilla extract

1. Sift together the flour, baking soda and powder, cinnamon and salt in a mixing bowl. Add in the oats. 
2. In a stand mixer (or with a handheld mixer) beat together the butter and sugars until light and creamy-desired texture pictured here. Add in the egg and beat until combined on low speed, then continue for an additional 20 seconds on medium speed.
3. On low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients, scraping down the sides a few times until the mixture is fully combined (do not over mix here!) Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and fold in the crystalized ginger with a spatula.
4. Form the dough into an inch thick round and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. Let it chill in the fridge for 4-24 hours (the longer rest time is better). 
5. Remove the dough and let it come up to room temperature for about an hour before baking. When ready, preheat the oven to 350F and scoop the dough into rounds on a sheet tray (I used a 40 scoop, making 22 cookies**)
6. Bake the cookies for 13 minutes, rotating the sheet trays at 6 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow the cookies to cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
7. To make the filling, beat the cream cheese for a few seconds, and then add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Beat until thoroughly combined and some air has entered the mixture. 
8. Once the cookies have completely cooled, spread a dollop of the filling evenly over half of the cookies. Top with the other halves and melt into happiness when you dig in!
   Because of the cream cheese filling, these will need to be refrigerated the majority of the time, however you can take them out for 2 hours to come up to room temperature before eating if that is what you prefer; I do.

**Note: If you make cookies even once a year, buy one of these! It makes it so much easier and your cookies will bake evenly. You can buy various sizes depending on your cookie size preference. The larger ones are also a good way to measure out scoops of muffin or cake batter. I cannot stress how useful they are!  Look around for what you like or go to a kitchen store and they should have plenty of options :) P.S. They would also make a great way to measure equal filling amounts in all of the cookies. 

    Boulder Butter

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