I made these last week as favors for a baby shower. It was an office baby shower for my sweet friend, M. M is one of the happiest people I know, and I love it. Always smiling, she is so excited to meet her baby in the next few weeks, and I can't wait, either!
M and her husband decided not to find out the sex of the baby, and not to share the names they have on the table. I love that. I'm the kind of person (I think - who knows what will happen when I actually get there) that identifies with that more natural process, as opposed to knowing everything. It seems so unnatural to me for someone to know that Amanda Elizabeth will be born on December 12 between 9am and noon.
I realize that Type A personalities would not be able to handle that, and I realize that it's more difficult to prepare if you don't know if you're bringing home a boy or a girl. It's just not my thing - I want to preserve that ultimate surprise. I can't think of any other time in life where you could be more surprised and happy. I think not knowing will make that experience even more blissful.
Office showers are usually dreaded and awkward. Not this one - phew! It was a great time, and the menu aligned with our children's book/school/library theme. Everyone brought a book to jumpstart baby's library. We delegated titles so Baby B didn't wind up with 27 copies of Goodnight Moon.
The school lunch menu consisted of:
- Veggie sticks in small cups with ranch at the bottom (easiest way to serve veggie sticks!)
- Hot Ham & Cheese Sammies
- PB&J Cupcakes (can't wait to share that recipe with you!)
- Grape Kool-Aid
I wrapped these bad boys up in little cellophane bags and tied them with some grosgrain ribbon.
Now, I have to tell you, now that I've gotten your attention and caused you to drool all over your screen, these particular baked goods are not for the faint at heart. They're a bit finicky, and you'll need a lot of patience and to plan on throwing out your first pan or two.
Don't let that deter you - I just want to be honest and prepare you for making them so you're not cursing my name in your kitchen later. Hopefully, it will be easy peasy now that I've run through the learning curve with you. I've added all of my tips and tricks to the recipe, so it shouldn't be painful at all!
Homemade Oatmeal Creme Pies
Makes 24 pies
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups packed brown sugar
- 2 T molasses
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 1/4 cups flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 3 Tbsp boiling water
- 1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp unflavored gelatin (about 1 1/2 packets)
- 1/3 cup plus 1/4 cup water (divided)
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 8 oz. vegetable shortening
Make the cookies:
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly grease a baking sheet and set aside (or use parchment).
- Cream the butter, sugar, molasses, and eggs in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
- Add the salt, flour, and baking powder to the creamed mixture. Add the cinnamon and oats. Mix well.
- In a small dish, add the baking soda to the boiling water, and then stir the mixture into the rest of the batter. Mix well.
- Drop by the tablespoon (important to measure for uniformity so the cookies pair well to make the pies) onto the baking sheets about 2 inches apart and bake just until the cookies first turn golden in the center. Keep a close eye on the first batch - this change happens quickly and the cookies need to be pulled out at the exact moment the center darkens. The center will continue cooking until set for a minute or so after pulling from the oven.
- Let the cookies cool on the pan for a few minutes before removing to a cooling rack. If you don't wait, the cookies will scrunch up and lose their shape.
- Beware of too little flour in the batter - this will cause the middle of the cookies to be too thin and the bubbles will create holes that will allow the filling to seep through.
Make the filling:
- In a small measuring cup, slowly sprinkle the gelatin over 1/3 cup cold water while stirring. Let stand, stirring once or twice until the gelatin softens, about 5 minutes.
- In a heavy 2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat, stir together the granulated sugar, corn syrup, and 1/4 cup hot water until everything dissolves and the mixture is well-blended. Continuing to stir, raise the heat to high and bring to a full boil. Continue boiling for 30 seconds. Immediately remove from the heat. Stir in the gelatin mixture until it dissolves completely.
- Transfer the mixture to a large bowl or a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Add the vanilla.
- With the mixer on medium speed, beat for 20 seconds. Gradually raise the speed to high and beat until the mixture is stiffened, white, very fluffy, and cooled to barely warm, about 5 minutes.
- Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add the powdered sugar.
- Add the shortening and beat until completely smooth.
- The filling will set up as it sits, so wait until it is thick enough to spread or pipe before filling the cookies.
- Pair up the cookies with another of comparable size and shape.
- Even if you don't have piping bags, it's easiest to fill a ziploc bag and snip off a corner to use as a piping bag. Pipe onto one of the cookie pairs in a circle spiraling outward, leaving room around the edges to smoosh the cookie pairs together.