Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Filled Oatmeal Cookies/ Golden Girls

First, let me clarify the specifics of this cookie.  It is not a sandwich cookie, but a cookie with cream cheese sealed inside. The outside is a soft oatmeal cookie made with graham cracker crumbs and cinnamon.  The tang of the cream cheese really changes the ordinary oatmeal cookie into something extraordinary.

This recipe comes from Greg at oatmealcookie.typepad.  With all the chocolate chip cookies around, there is a reference that the oatmeal cookie is the "forgotten" cookie.  However, Greg is determined that they will not be forgotten with a goal of 365 unique oatmeal cookie recipes.  By the number of recipes on his blog, he is well on his way. This recipe makes about 4 dz cookies.

Cream Filled Oatmeal Cookies/Golden Girls
adapted from 

3 eggs
4 tsp vanilla
2 tbs cinnamon
1/2 cup plus 4 tbs granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 cup or 2 sticks of butter (room temp)
8 oz cream cheese (room temp)
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups flour
2 1/2 cups oatmeal
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups graham cracker crumbs

Prepare 3 baking sheets by lining 2 with parchment paper and one with waxed paper. In a medium bowl, beat together 4 tbs of white sugar, 2 tsp vanilla and cream cheese.   Once completely mixed together, measure out a tsp of the cream cheese mixture and empty it in a small lump on the wax paper. Continue with this process until there is no more cream cheese left in the bowl.  Place baking sheet into freezer.

In another medium size bowl, sift together 1 tbs cinnamon, salt, baking soda and flour.  Then add graham crumbs and oatmeal, stirring with a wooden spoon until evenly distributed.  Set bowl aside.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Beat the eggs in a small bowl with the remaining 2 tbs of vanilla extract and set aside. Grab a regular large bowl or stand mixer bowl and fill with 1/2 cup white sugar, brown sugar, butter and remaining tablespoon of cinnamon.  Beat with electric mixer about 3 minutes or until it has a creamy consistency and no dry sugar or butter lumps remain.  Then pour in the egg mixture, beating until blended.

Take your flour mixture and, with a wooden spoon, fold into the sugar mixture in 3 additions, making sure all is mixed before adding the next portion.

Now you are ready to form your cookies.  Take and measure out 1 tbs of dough and place it on your baking sheet.  Continue this process until you have 24 pieces.  Then take 2 pieces and form into a ball.  You should end up with 12 round balls.  Break each ball in half and leave the back part attached (like the spine in a book).  Make a thumbprint inside each of the halves.  It should resemble an empty nutshell or clamshell.

For more information on assembly, you can see Greg's video here.  He shows how to fill the cookies with cold cream cheese (not frozen).  I find that when the cream cheese is frozen you have no chance of it being mixed in with the dough or having it seep or leak out.  It is much easier to seal the edges together.

Remove the pan of frozen cream cheese pieces and place one piece inside each clamshell or ball of dough. Seal dough and roll back into round shape.  Place 2 inches apart on baking sheet and continue to fill up sheet, keeping the spacing the same. Put baking sheet of dough balls into freezer for 5 minutes to firm up.

Note that in between the baking and forming of the cookies, you will not always need the cream cheese.  When not in use, make sure baking sheet of cream cheese goes back in freezer.

Once cookies have firmed up in the freezer, take out and check the dough balls to make sure they are still 2 inches apart.  Adjust placement if needed.  Then put the baking sheet in the oven and bake cookies until golden brown, turning pan at the halfway point of baking time.  Cookies should take about 10-12 minutes to bake.  Remove pan and let cookies cool on baking sheet for 2 minutes.  Then transfer cookies to wire rack for final cooling.

With a twist: You can have many variations if you add different flavors to the cream cheese mixture such as cherry brandy or chocolate.