Monday, August 15, 2011

For my husband...

Even as I type this, I'm not sure which recipe I will choose to accompany this post.  However, it has been on my mind since I read of Jennie's sudden loss.  I don't know Jennie, and only discovered her blog after seeing so many posts in the food blog world in tribute to her husband.  But, I have learned in the last few days that Jennie isn't much different from me.  She has two young girls and a husband she adored.  She laughs and works hard and cherishes her family.  But, last week her husband was suddenly taken from her by a heart attack.  She's now a single mom and a widow, and from what I can tell she's not much - if any - older than me.  This is a time in our lives when we're supposed to be fretting over lack of sleep and how to potty train and teach manners.  We're not supposed to be learning how to cope without our husbands.  Our soul mates.

In loving memory of her husband, Jennie asked that everyone bake a peanut butter pie and share it with the ones they love this past Friday.  I found her posts on Saturday as I was already in the midst of baking a tart for Sunday School.  But, I haven't been able to get her - or her girls - off my mind.  Jennie's enormous loss has made me think about the love I have for my husband and how blessed I am God brought him to me.  I cannot imagine having to face each day without him beside me.  He's an incredible father who brings joy to each of our two daughters every day.  He's my partner, my best friend, my love.  Even in our worst moments, I love him fiercely.  So, with Mikey's memory in mind and in acknowledgement of the turmoil Jennie is facing, I wanted to bake my husband something truly special.  We don't eat peanut butter much in this house, as we are not yet sure if our girls have allergies, but my husband does love sweets.  And, I love baking them for him as they bring him such childlike joy.  I'm blessed not to be standing in Jennie's shoes, and I want to make sure my husband knows how much I truly cherish him.

But, which recipe should I bake?

Well, when my husband treats himself with a sinful, store-bought dessert, it is typically with Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pies.  I'll admit, they're a weakness of mine, so he knows to hide them away in his desk somewhere so I don't even know they're in the house.  But, because I know how happy they would make him, I've decided on a homemade version.  These were incredibly easy, and tasty - and I think he'll have to hide them, as well.

On half of the cookie pairs, I added a thin layer of melted chocolate to each inside, then plopped on the creme.  I didn't want to alter the original too much, which is why I only applied the chocolate to half.  (I have a tendency to want to over-complicate things).  It's all just a matter of personal taste, but I've included the how-to for adding it, if you want.

Oh, I also made these milk-free because, well, I'm not an idiot.  I know eventually, I'll give in and eat one.  But, the only ingredient to substitute was the butter.  Otherwise, the recipe is already milk-free.

Enjoy these and make sure you share them with someone you love.  For Mikey.

Homemade Oatmeal Creme Pies:

For the cookies:
1 cup butter (or Earth Balance vegan butter)
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
scant 1 Tbs. molasses
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
scant 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 cups quick oats (I don't think old fashioned would work as well here)

For the creme filling:
2 tsp. very hot water
1/4 tsp. salt (I used kosher, but I think regular ole table salt would dissolve better)
7 oz. marshmallow fluff
1/2 cup shortening (do not substitute butter.  The flavor will be off.)
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon in a bowl and set aside.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, sugars, molasses, vanilla, and eggs.  Add the flour mixture to the butter/sugar mixture and mix on low until combined.  With the mixer on low, add in the quick oats and mix until incorporated.  Drop dough in roughly equal amounts - about a Tbs. - onto cookie sheets covered in parchment paper.  Bake for 10-12 minutes (typically took about 10.5 mins).  The edges should just be starting to brown and the cookies should look just a little undercooked.  You do not want them to brown all over.  Move to a cooling rack and prepare the filling:

 In a small prep bowl, combine the very hot water and the 1/4 tsp. salt.  Allow the salt to dissolve and the water to cool.  Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the marshmallow fluff, shortening, powdered sugar, and vanilla.  Beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add the cooled water and mix well.

Once cookies are cooled, spoon filling onto one cookie, and top with another cookie similar in shape and size.

Makes about 15 sandwiches.

If using optional chocolate: 
Combine approx. 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips and a splash of vegetable oil in a microwave safe bowl.  Microwave in 30 second intervals until melted and spreadable.  Spread thin layer on desired number of cookies before topping with filling.

Source:  Slightly adapted from Nosh With Me

1 comment:

  1. I can't wait to try these. I may have to take these to our next advent at work. Yummy!