Baking · Books

Eligible Woman in search of an Oatmeal Cream Pie…

FINALLY!!!! You can’t imagine how excited I am to finally be presenting the first review/set of recipes. I searching long and hard trying to come up with the perfect recipe to start this blog off with a bang, but with any new en devour, snafus are to be expected…

Let me begin by first giving you some background…

I suck at cooking. No, I can be honest with myself and everyone even if there is a twinge of pain on the heartstrings. I try, I really do, but its not my forte.  I learned to cook from my mother, whom is an excellent cook by the way. A majority of my youth was spent in the South due to my father being in the military and being around such rich and cultural atmosphere, you learn to cook with love and by love I mean with gravy.

Everything I learned to cook was smothered with gravy, fried, and made to portion sizes meant for families of 5+. This meant heaps of fried chicken, mountains of mash potatoes, and casseroles as far as the eye could see. I knew the key to a good southern recipes was all in the gravy and the more the merrier.

We ran into trouble with this style of cooking when I met and married my husband Ryan. Despite his imposing size, his taste’s tend to run on the leaner side. Again, not my forte… I could never grasp the notion of downsizing as I had always followed recipes that were meant to feed those with appetites rather than simply satisfy. He preferred his meals to be more on the lighter side rather than hearty. I tried to learn to cook with healthier intentions, but despite my efforts, I have been ingrained with the notion to batter, fry, and cover with gravy when possible.

We’ve been married now for over two years now and every day he blames me for the extra 30lbs he’s carrying. Though my cooking has improved through the use of many of my fellow food bloggers out there and their very useful hints and tips, one habit of mine hasn’t changed…baking.

I love to bake. I always have and probably always will. I love creating unique tasting cupcakes, traditional pies, and scrumptious treats for everyone to enjoy. Ask anyone who knows me and most will recognize me for the baked goods I am consistently bringing in for them to try. There is just something about a frosted cupcake that brightens people’s day and makes work just a touch easier.

Hence the blog!

Now that we are all caught up, let’s officially begin with the reason we are here.

Homemade Oatmeal Cream Pies

This week, I figured since we picked a classic to review, I’d stick to a classic treat that many of us grew up eating, Oatmeal Cream Pies. It was always a favorite of mine growing up and despite a metabolism that has always been stubborn, I couldn’t never turn one down when offered.  When I brought up this recipe to try, my taste-testers i.e. book club all agreed with saliva practically dripping, that it was an acceptable choice.

The recipe itself is very simply and not very time-consuming. With a prep time of less than 30 min (partially due to the lack of counter space), they came together in no time what-so-ever. Perfect for a quick afternoon snack to go along with your current book or for the team after a well played game.

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Homemade Oatmeal Cream Pies

yield: 9 LARGE SANDWICH COOKIES
prep time: 20 MINUTES
cook time: 15 MINUTES

Ingredients:

For the Cookies

  • 1 cup unsalted butter (softened)
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose bleached flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups quick whole grain oats

For the Cream Filling

  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) cup unsalted butter (softened)
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon milk or half and half

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together butter and  both sugars until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes) with electric mixer. Add in eggs and vanilla and mix until combined.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, mixing until just combined. Add in oats and mix until incorporated fully.
    1. To make large cookies, use an ice cream scoop to drop dough onto prepared cookie sheets. Bake in preheated oven for 13-15 minutes or until golden brown. Allow cookies to sit on cookie sheets for about 5 minutes before removing them to a wire rack to cool completely.
    2.  To makes small cookies, use a spoon to make balls of dough roughly about the size of a quarter of dough per cookie and bake for 10-12 minutes.

*I found that flattening the balls of the cookies prior to cooking help to make them of more edible sizes and easier to handle, especially for kids. If you leave them to spread on their own while cooking, they tend to be a little larger and bulky.

As the cookies are cooling, prepare the cream filling.

To Prepare the Cream Filling:

  1. With an electric mixer, beat butter on medium-high speed for about 5 minutes*
  2. Turn the speed down to low and gradually add in the powdered sugar. Continue mixing on low speed until the powdered sugar is completely incorporated. Add in vanilla extract and half and half and mix until combined. **

To Make the Cookies:

  1. To assemble the cookies, pipe or spread the cream filling on the flat side of half of the cookies and put the remaining cookies on top.
  2. Enjoy!

*The longer you allow the butter to be beaten, it will lighten the color of the buttercream and increase the level of fluffiness of the filling.

** I ended up adding an additional tsp of half and half to get the mixture to a level of extra creamy. You may need to beat the mixture for an additional few minutes to get it to an even consistency.

*The original recipe allows to use either milk or half and half for the cream portion. I found that because half and half already contains a cream base, it helps increase the level of creaminess for the filling and soften the overall taste of sugar. Using a milk base, it was a little strong for our tastes and took away a bit from the oatmeal.

Notes:

Homemade Oatmeal Pies can be stored in an airtight container within the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Allow Homemade Oatmeal Cream Pies to sit at room temperature for one hour before serving. Recipe will yield approximatelyt 9 large sandwich cookies or 18 small sandwich cookies.
Cookie recipe slightly adapted from Quaker and inspired by Kelsey Elizabeth Cakes and My Baking Addiction

 

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The cookies none-the-less were beyond delicious. Even of my book club member’s daughter was immersed in one as we discussed the book of the week. Needless to say, she enjoyed herself the entire time we talked through plots, characters, and references.

So getting to the book with the last few seconds of attention I have with all of you as I’m sure by now you’re already making a list of what you need from the store to start making these cookies. Eligible is a modern rewrite of the classic love story Pride and Prejudice. The author, Curtis Sittenfeld, takes us to the Queen City or known to most as Cincinnati and sets the tone to a modern beat.

We follow our heroine, Elizabeth Bennet,  a writer for the women’s maganize Mascara, as she sets home along with her sister Jane, a yoga instructor, to their ailing father whom just suffered a heart attack. Both sisters being in their late 30’s, single and having no children or serious relationships in the works, are at the discretion of their rather optionated shopaholic mother, Mrs Bennet.

Unknown to the rest of the family outside of Liz, Jane has been secretly going through in vitro with sperm donors in hopes of getting pregnant while Liz has been carrying on having an affair with a married man. Lydia and Kitty Bennet are Crossfit enthusiasts, obsessed with themselves and their paleo diets while their withdrawn sister Mary is working on yet another online master’s degree from the sanctity of her bedroom.

Our backup heartthrob Chip Bingley is not only an ER doctor, but recently a contestant/reality TV star from the popular show Eligible where he generously and diligently courted several women with them competing for the hope of a proposal at the end of the series. This endevour propels him into a degree of celebrity status and his arrival into the neighborhood sets Mrs. Bennet’s mind racing with the possibility of marrying off a daughter.

But what of Mr. Darcy????

Of course Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy is still in the story, present at Chip’s side as always and saving lives as a neurosurgeon at the local hospital. His demeanor remains the same and the classic tale of misunderstanding, premature dislike, and consistent sexual tension is quite present and unmistakable. Jane’s level of purity still shines through while Bingley’s sister’s snobbishness, Liz’s sister Lydia’s foolishness, and Darcy’s sister’s vulnerability are steadfast.

Despite the change on the importance of a woman’s future being determined by the marriage to one of that possesses financial well-being, Sittenfeld sits manages to channel Austin’s voice through her observations of the importance of money and gender expectations through “thoroughly liberated women corseted by old-fashioned attitudes about marriage”.

Mrs. Bennet exhibits an obvious air of pretension and pomposity while trying to present herself with a high level of gentility despite the failing structure of their ancient tudor mansion and her out-of-control spending habits that have nearly bankrupted the family beside Mr. Bennet’s hospital bills. Her level of crassness is overshadowed by her women’s club’s annual luncheon in which she has been placed in charge of planning that year, giving her reason to ignore Mr. Bennet ailment and place his care in the hands of her eldest daughters. Chip’s arrival, along with his fame and fortune, signal a chance for her to disperse one of her eligible daughters into arms that Mrs. Bennet has deemed worthy.

Jane’s determination to become a mother despite the social norm of marriage prior to or the obvious presence of a male figure upon conception  combats this issue as does the presence of hate sex indulged by Liz and Darcy to counteract their initial disdain and frustration with the consistent conflicts of work, family, and relationships. Liz’s determination to interview the famous Catherine de Bourgh, a wise savant for feminism, helps push past the archaic ideal of gender stereotypes and propels the story with a re-positioning of the original’s story attitude toward powerful women. She incinerates the proposition of an incestual relationship with her first cousin (by marriage) and in an ungenteel manner at times, demonstrates that the decision for her future lies in her own hands, despite the disparaging remarks made by Mr. Darcy.

Sittenfeld follows the underlying plot Austin set forth over 200 years ago, but infuses a degree of amusement and provocation that comes with today’s modern society. Sharp and witty with a biting tongue from our heroine, this chapter-a-page classic retell offers insight into an unforgettable tale with the spirit of Austin intertwined throughout the pages, but with an exploration into the tension between class and crass. Sittenfeld presents this well-known story with a touch of chic and a flash of sass.

So……… hopefully our insights have intrigued you and the recipes has wet your appetite until next time when I present As Old as Time, a twisted tale of Beauty and the Beast with  some Red velvet Nutella stuffed cookies, just in time for the movie release. Both are equally tasty and deserving of a bite…

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