The beginning of a new year is “supposed” to be about renewal, setting new goals & starting fresh. But here I am, bringing a recipe for homemade oatmeal creme pies, which doesn’t exactly fit into the “eating healthier” goal many people set at the start of a new year. Sorry, not sorry :)
By making your own, at least you have complete control over the ingredients go into (or are left out of) your version? These homemade oatmeal creme pies may not have the same shelf life as their pre-packaged Little Debbie predecessors, but these particular ones are gluten free, yet very tasty. In fact, I may need to send the remaining oatmeal creme pies with my husband to work because I can’t seem to stop eating them!
Because I attended a private elementary/middle school that didn’t have a hot lunch program, we had to bring a packed lunch from home. Bless my poor mother for packing lunches for myself and my sisters for 12 years! On very special occasions, we were allowed a treat, like Little Debbie oatmeal creme pies, in our lunch box. Sometimes there were zebra cakes or star crunch, but I think the oatmeal creme pie was my favorite :)
It has been years since I’ve had a Little Debbie oatmeal creme pie.... Especially now that I eat a mostly gluten free lifestyle, many of my favorite childhood lunchbox items are out of the question. Instead, I’m experimenting with making my own versions to fit my changing dietary needs.
I looked at many recipes online for homemade oatmeal creme pies before settling on the one I used. Many images showed the cookies much puffier than my memories of the prepackaged version. Some used a straight frosting as the filling, while I wanted something more marshmallow-y.
The cookie dough for these pies is much more sticky than traditional dough. And it really spreads in the oven during the baking process. In fact, during the baking process for my first test pan, I did have serious doubts about whether the recipe would work! Thankfully, it did.
Instead of sandwiching the cookies with a frosting or meringue, I turned to one of my favorite marshmallow recipes (the one I used for homemade peeps and adapted to top chocolate stout cupcakes) and used that recipe for the filling. I do have a serious love for homemade marshmallows :)
Stay tuned, there may be more Little Debbie copycat recipes in the future!
Note: If you’re following a gluten free lifestyle, please make sure the oats you use are certified gluten free. While traditional oats themselves do not contain gluten, they are often processed on equipment shared with gluten products, thus resulting in cross-contamination. Or the oat fields are cross-pollinated with glutinous grains, again resulting in cross-contamination. I personally have had good luck with Trader Joe's Gluten Free Rolled Oats and Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Rolled Oats but everyone is different. Also, some people who cannot tolerate the proteins that make gluten also cannot tolerate the proteins in oats, so check with your doctor before consuming.
Oatmeal Creme Pies
Yields approximately 60 cookies or 30 sandwiches.
adapted from Babble
8 oz / 2 stick unsalted butter, room temp
5.6 oz / 3/4 c Light brown Sugar
3.5 oz / 1/2 c Sugar
2 large eggs
1 Tbl Honey
1 tsp vanilla
7.45 oz / 1.75 c GF Flour (I used Jeanne’s Gluten Free AP mix or substitute AP if not GF)
1 t Baking Soda
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
4.7 oz / 1 1/2 c GF Oats (I used Trader Joe's version or substitute regular if not GF)
note: do not make until ready to assemble or else the gelatin will set in the bowl not on the cookies!)
2/3 c Cold Water
0.5 oz / 2 packets Granulated Gelatin
14 oz / 2 c Granulated Sugar
1/2 c Water
2 tsp Vanilla
- To make the cookies: Line 4 baking sheets with parchment paper
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together on medium speed the butter and sugars until the mixture has completely combined, and is lighter in color and fluffy in texture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Add the eggs, honey and vanilla and mix on low until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, soda, cinnamon and salt in a separate bowl. Set aside. Pulse the oats in a food processor or clean coffee grinder until coarsely chopped. Mix the oats in with the dry ingredients.
- Add the dry to the mixer bowl and mix on low speed until just combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Use a small 1 Tbl scoop to drop batter onto the prepared baking sheets. Pan the cookies 3 rows by 4 rows. Always start by portioning the outer edges (see photo below) & then filling in with the remaining rows.
- Chill the cookies in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the edges are light brown. Rotate the pans halfway through baking.
- Remove from the oven and cool on the baking sheets.
- To make the filling (do so just before assembly): Bloom gelatin in cold water in bowl of a 6 qt stand mixer. Attach the bowl (during the blooming process) & whisk attachment to the mixer.
- In a 3 qt saucepan, combine the sugar & water. Stir just until the mixture resembles wet sand. Heat the pan over medium high heat to 238 F (softball stage). Do not stir during the heating process.
- With mixer running on low, pour syrup over gelatin. Increase speed to medium for 3 minutes. Put on the splash guard as a precaution against burns. Increase speed to high & beat for 3 additional minutes.
- Add the vanilla extract. Beat on high for an additional 7 minutes (splash guard is not necessary).
- While the marshmallow is whipping, prepare a large piping bag by fitting it with a large round tip (I used an Ateco 804). Prepare the cookies by matching like sizes & flipping over the bottom cookies for piping. Also gather a back up baking sheet with sprayed parchment for the extra filling.
- Once the marshmallow is very thick & holds its shape/a stiff peak, use a portion scoop to scoop it into the prepared piping bag.
- Pipe the marshmallow in a spiral pattern onto the bottom of one cookie & top with another cookie to make a sandwich. Press slightly to adhere. Repeat with the remaining cookies. Work quickly so that the marshmallow does not set up in the mixing bowl or in the piping bag.
- Pipe any remaining marshmallow (there will be extra) into sprayed, parchment paper.
- Allow the sandwiched cookies to set at room temperature.
- Store any leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature. Eat within a few days, though they really do taste best have the best texture the day they are made.
panning example from step 6