Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Bourbon Oatmeal Brown Butter Cream Pies

I've had my eye on these cookies for a while now.  I tend to forget about how much I like other cookies.  You see, I--like most people in the world--gravitate towards chocolate chip cookies.  What's not to like?  They have a sweet buttery dough with chocolate morsels dispersed throughout and every time you bite into one of those morsels it's quite pleasant.  Quite pleasant indeed.  So every time I want a cookie I always just default to the chocolate chip cookie.  But every once in a while I'll take a bite from a peanut butter or oatmeal raisin cookie and I'm like, oh this is also a fucking amazing cookie!  So one day I saw these oatmeal cream pies and I felt drawn to them, to both make them and shove several of them in my mouth in a glutinous, greedy fashion.

A few weeks ago I made an attempt to make them but I was thwarted by lack of butter.  This recipe calls for five sticks of butter.  I only had four.  So I put the kibosh on that endeavor and decided to put them on the back burner when I had a sufficient supply of butter.  And a couple of days ago I had such a supply and moved forward with the cream pies.  There are a lot of things that appeal to me about these cream pies.  As if two cookies sandwiching buttercream isn't enough, they also called for bourbon in the cookie batter and browned butter for the cream filling.  It seemed so warm and cozy and boozy and perfect for the crap cold Fall weather that just engulfed our city.  And they were. These cream pies were damn good, amazing.  I loved them.  But I felt there were a couple of things that could be improved.

When I was reading through the recipe I saw that, for the cookies, it included mostly brown sugar plus some molasses which made me think these were going to be very soft and chewy.  And they were--so much so that they immediately reminded me of those Little Debbie oatmeal cream pies--which for some reason I had completely forgotten about.  But these weren't as wholesome as the Little Debbie ones because--and since I'm not a parent I suppose I couldn't vouch for this--I don't think a parent would send their kids to school with something that had bourbon in it.  However, since these only had a tablespoon they actually weren't so boozy.  Maybe it's because I used Makers Mark instead of actual bourbon?  I doubt that actually.  I think they could use more than a tablespoon perhaps to taste the liquor.  But that wasn't the only thing that I felt could be improved with the cookie portion of the cream pies.

Overall they were good but they were also a little bland. They either needed more salt to bring out some of the flavor or some other spice like cinnamon or nutmeg or allspice or some shit like that.  I think I would try maybe some more salt and some cinnamon.  As for the cream filling, I wouldn't really change a thing (except I added a bit more salt because I'm really into salting buttercreams lately).  Browned butter is good in itself --as an addition to most things.  But browned butter buttercream is so fucking good. And as the thing that ties these two seemingly blander cookies together, it's truly the shining star of the overall cream pie.  And maybe it's supposed to be that way and that's why the cookie portions are a little just so..  But, I personally would like to try to add a little zing to the cookies too.  Nevertheless, this is a fantastic recipe and it reminded me that I should be more open-minded with my cookie making and consuming (I still love chocolate chips more than anything) because there are a ton of good ass cookies out there.

Original recipe just oh so slightly adapted from Food52

*Bring everything to room temperature--specifically the stuff you normally keep cold (butter, eggs)

-Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats and set aside

Ingredients for the oatmeal cookies:

2c all-purpose flour sifted
1tsp baking soda
1/2tsp salt (next time, I might use 3/4tsp)
1c/2 sticks unsalted butter at room temp.
1c light brown sugar
1/2c granulated sugar
2T unsulphured molasses
2 large eggs at room temp.
1T whiskey (original recipe called for bourbon)
1 1/2tsp vanilla paste or extract
2 1/2c rolled oats

-In a medium bowl, sift and whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.
-In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, cream together the sugars and butter for about 5 minutes or until the mixture is light and fluffy.
-Add the molasses and beat to combine.
-Add both of the eggs and beat until well combined
-Add the whiskey and vanilla and beat until well combined
-Add the flour mixture all at once and using the lowest setting of your stand mixer, mix until just fully incorporated
-Add the oats and still using the lowest setting mix until just incorporated.  Or, cease using the mixer at this point and using a rubber spatula, fold the oats into the batter.
-For each cookie, place a heaping tablespoon on the baking sheets.  I fit 12 on each sheet and spaced them apart about 2 inches on all sides.
-Bake for 8-12 minutes (took me 10) or until golden brown.
-Remove from oven and cool completely on some cooling racks or something like that.

Ingredients for the cream:

1 1/2c/3 sticks of butter at room temp., divided
2T heavy cream
2tsp vanilla paste or extract
3/4tsp kosher salt
3c confectioners sugar

-First, brown 1c/2 sticks of the butter (here is a great tutorial on browning butter if you have never done it--it's very easy).  Once browned, remove from the heat and place it in a freezer proof bowl. Let it cool for about ten minutes and then place it in the freezer for about 25-30 minutes until it solidifies but isn't frozen.
-Once all of that is done, in the bowl of a stand mixer using a paddle attachment, cream both the browned butter and the third stick of unbrowned butter together until well combined and light and fluffy.
-Add the heavy cream and vanilla and mix until well combined.
-Add the confectioners sugar, 1 cup at a time, until fully combined.
-Beat until fluffy and light--another minute or two.

To assemble:

-Place a giant spoonful of cream onto the bottom of one, completely cooled, oatmeal cookie.
-Top that with another cookie and press them together very lightly to make sure they stick together.
-Eat and enjoy them in a major fucking way--with a glass of milk.

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