Despite living very near the home of the very delightful RC Cola and Moon Pie Festival in Bell Buckle, Tennessee (click here for my tips on visiting Bell Buckle) I had yet to ever actually sample a Moon Pie or any sandwich cookie for that matter. After making these spectacular little morsels of faintly spiced, tender cookie and a delicate smear of cream cheese, I am champing at the bit to make more sandwich cookies: every combination I can think of! I may have to invest in my own treadmill to work off the consequences of my (very important) research, but I think when cookies taste like these, it’s well worth it. Plus, they just look so darn cute stacked up on a cake plate. Make these the next time you invite friends over for a movie viewing, or, y’know, anytime.
Oatmeal Raisin Cream Pie Cookies
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice*
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened to room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon molasses (Use unsulfured molasses. Got sorghum in your cabinet but no molasses? Substitute that.)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups rolled oats **
1/2 cup raisins (golden raisins work excellently here)
Preheat your oven to 350. In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda, the cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice, and give it a little whisk to combine it. In another large bowl or in the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and the sugars together. Add the molasses or sorghum, and scrape down the sides to make sure it’s all thoroughly incorporated. Next add the vanilla, and beat in the eggs, one at a time. Now that the sugars have been creamed you can turn the mixer speed down to low or slowly stir in the flour mixture until it’s combined. Add in the oats and raisins and stir until everything is incorporated. A small sized ice cream scoop, sometimes sold in stores as a “cookie scoop” is an excellent tool for portioning out perfectly sized drops of dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. If you don’t have parchment paper, you may lightly grease your cookie sheets but I would very much recommend using parchment paper or, if you have one, a silicone baking pat. If you don’t have a cookie or ice-cream scoop, use two spoons to drop about 2-tablespoons worth of dough about 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. These are a flatter cookie that spread more than a typical oatmeal raisin cookie, so that they make attractive cream pies, so you want to be sure to leave plenty of room on the baking sheet so that they don’t run together. Bake for 11 minutes or until the cookies are lightly browned at the edges and just set in the middle. Remove the trays from the oven and allow the cookies to cool completely on the trays. Spread the cream filling on the flat side of one cookie and sandwich it together with the flat side of another cookie, making one cream pie. Quickly sneak a bite, realize that one heavenly bite won’t be enough to satisfy you, devour the whole thing, and then continue to assemble the rest of the cream pies for your loved ones, who will be oblivious that one is missing. Enjoy!
8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature***
6 tablespoons powdered sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a medium bowl or in the bowl of an electric mixer (which makes whipping up a batch of frosting a veritable breeze!), combine all the ingredients and whisk until the mixture is smooth.
Word to the Wise
*If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice on hand, substitute cinnamon. I disdained pumpkin pie spice for years but then I realized it’s a wonderful way to incorporate complementary spices (such as cardamom, which you don’t use a lot of generally) without having to keep around a multitude of individual jars.
** As far as oats are concerned, you should only ever bake with the normal, old fashioned, 5 minute cooking-time ones. Under no circumstances should you use “quick cooking” (1-2 minute cook-time) oats for this recipe, or, for that matter, for anything. There’s almost no nutritional value in ‘em anymore, after they process them to the point where they can cook that quickly. If you even have instant oatmeal in your cabinet, well, I’m not sure this is the website for you.
***For a low-fat version of the cream filling, use a reduced-fat cream cheese, sometimes called “Neufchatel” cheese. No one will know, trust me. Just hide the wrapper.