Sunday, April 24, 2016

Peanut Butter Cream Cranberry Oatmeal Sandwich Cookies

I sometimes have trouble sleeping and it's usually caused by one of three things:

1) I ate a giant bowl of Moosetracks ice cream at 10:38pm,
2) I'm planning my grocery list for what I want to bake tomorrow and can't decide if it should involve chocolate or fruit (probably chocolate), or 3) I'm completely restless because I've convinced myself that sleeping is a waste of time.

Most people love sleeping for reasons which I completely understand. It rests the mind, rests your joints, helps to prevent nasty eye bags and makes you look a little more put together throughout the day. Because of my habit of feeling guilty for sleeping and not working on the second cookbook, e-mailing my friends overseas or ironing the pile of wrinkled everything at the foot of my bed, I end up tired, sore and with what looks like I put purple eye shadow on the wrong side of my eye.

I feel like making these cookies is a great alternative to sleeping, but then again I wouldn't take advice from someone who eats cookie dough for dinner....

These cookies are the perfect supplement for lunch because they are essentially peanut butter sandwiches. Except, the bread is cookies.

Sometimes I don't have bread, but I always have cookies. So, yeah... this is real. It happens.

There is thought that goes into building these sandwiches. They need to eat just as well as any sliced bread sarnie. That means we can't just bake up any old oatmeal cookie recipe. As much as I like a thick and chunky cookie, this is not the place for them.
Today's recipe makes thin, flat yet substantial oatmeal cookies perfect enough that we can fit two in our mouths at the same time. That's the goal after all isn't it?

To make flat cookies, we need to encourage spread. In this recipe I use a lower ratio of flour and oats to butter than I would normally. This makes a softer dough.

I also use only quick oats - not large flake rolled oats. Quick oats are the same thing except they have been broken up so that they hydrate faster and cook quickly. They will serve the same purpose in the cookie dough - they absorb moisture and hold the cookies together in an open way, like a net, as opposed to gluing them together densely like flour would.

The last trick is using just baking soda - no baking powder. Soda spreads and powder puffs. In this recipe we want all spread and leave the puff behind.

You only need a small amount of dough per cookie since they spread so well, so use restraint when portioning them out on your baking tray and leave ample space between them.

Let them cool completely on the tray so they can set up properly and they will handle just great when you are slathering on the peanut butter cream.

For that cream we only need three things: peanut butter, butter and icing sugar. It's a salty sweet thang. If your peanut butter is unsalted, make sure to add a pinch of salt.

Swooshes and swirls.

Pair each cookie up with another that is roughly the same size.

Smoosh them together to coax that filling right out to the edges and pack them up in your lunch bag for a banging breakfast on Monday morning.

I hope your week brings sounds sleeps, no traffic, only green lights on your way home from work, a husband who washes the dishes after dinner and a few movie nights accompanied by a plate or two of cookies.


Peanut Butter Cream Cranberry Oatmeal Sandwich Cookies
Makes 13 sandwich cookies

½ cup (113g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup (100g) granulated sugar
¼ cup (55g) packed dark brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
½ tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground ginger
2/3 cup (95g) all-purpose flour
¼ tsp baking soda
heaped ¼ tsp salt
1 cup (100g) quick oats
½ cup (60g) dried cranberries

For the filling:
½ cup creamy peanut butter
1 ½ tbsp (20g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup (40g) sifted icing sugar
pinch of salt 

Preheat the oven to 350°F and line two large baking trays with parchment paper.

Cream the butter with both sugars in a large bowl until smooth and creamy-looking. Mix in egg until well incorporated and then stir through vanilla and spices. Sprinkle flour, baking soda and salt over the mixture and stir it in until combined. Stir in the oats and then the cranberries.

Drop about 2 teaspoons of cookie dough onto prepared baking trays, spacing them at least 2 inches apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until nicely browned around the edges. Let cookies cool on the baking tray for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to finish cooling.

To prepare the filling, beat the butter until smooth in a medium bowl. Mix in peanut butter and then stir in sifted icing sugar and salt until smooth. Spread a layer of the filling one the bottom of one cookie and sandwich with a second cookie of the same size and shape. Continue with the remaining cookies.

These cookies will keep for 3 days in an airtight container at room temperature, but you can refrigerate them too for a cool snack on a warm day!

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