Monday, January 21, 2013

Makeover Monday: Homemade Oatmeal Creme Pies

I didn't eat a lot of store-bought goodies growing up.  I guess I've always been more of a homemade kind of girl.  When I was a kid though, I used to go to my grandma's house after school until my mom got off work.  Like all good grandmas, mine kept lots, and lots, and lots, of snacks on hand.  Looking back on it, it is a wonder that I wasn't obese as a child!  I have many fond memories of delicious treats at my grandma's house, and one of my favorites was Little Debbie's Oatmeal Creme Pies.

But, the doctors keep telling me that I'm done growing, so I guess childhood is over.  And I haven't had an oatmeal creme pie since I was knee high to a grasshopper.  So when I saw a recipe on the internet for homemade oatmeal creme pies, I knew I had found something special.  I love the idea of taking store-bought favorites and making them myself.  

When I finally got around to making these yummy treats, I decided that I would try my hand at making these a little easier on the waistline.  I made a few simple swaps to help me feel less guilty about devouring them, which I knew I would do as soon as they were made.  Which I did.  Hey, they were delicious!  

To lighten these up, I used Splenda (granulated and brown sugar) instead of regular sugar.  I also added fiber by using some whole wheat flour instead of white flour.  As the name implies, these cookies have oatmeal which is a whole grain.  So you can practically think of them as breakfast! :)

I used margarine to make the cookies, but used butter for the filling.  The original recipe I used called for butter flavored Crisco.  I decided that real butter would taste better, and would actually have slightly fewer calories.    I cut out additional calories from the filling by using Splenda instead of powdered sugar.  I have tried this before and it worked out pretty well.  The granulated version of Splenda is pretty powdery so it fills in nicely for powdered sugar.  My only concern with the Splenda in the filling is that it did form a few lumps when I added the hot water to it.  But when you put it between two oatmeal cookies, you really can't tell because the cookies are a bit chewy thanks to the oatmeal.

As I said, it has been a long, long time since I have indulged myself in an oatmeal creme pie.  So it is a little difficult for me to accurately compare how this lightened-up homemade version compares to the real thing.  I will say that I think my cookies had more of a fluffy texture than the slightly chewy texture I remember from Little Debbie.  I think next time I make these, I will try flattening the cookies slightly before baking.  As you can see, they were a little puffy.  And did they look all perfect and uniform?  No.  But that's part of the charm of homemade!
But regardless of how they looked, I can tell you that these tasted absolutely fantastic!  I didn't tell my husband I had made any changes to the recipe.  And, as usual, he had no idea they were a lighter version.  He raved about them.  I asked him he thought they were better than the Little Debbie cookies, and he said they were 10 times better.  And there you have it, straight from the horse's mouth.  Not that my husband is a horse.  It's an expression.  Anyway, just make the darn cookies!

Homemade Oatmeal Creme Pies
1 cup margarine
1/2 cup Splenda
3/4 cup Splenda Brown Sugar Blend
1 Tbsp lite pancake syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
For filling
1 1/2 cup quick oats
2 tsp very hot water
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 (7oz) jars of marshmallow fluff
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup Splenda
1 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.  Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat margarine, Splenda, Splenda Brown Sugar, syrup, vanilla, and eggs.  Add flours, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon until combined.  Mix in the oats.  Drop by tablespoons onto prepared cookie sheets.
Bake 8-10 minutes, until just starting to brown around the edges.  Allow to cool.
While cookies are cooling, combine hot water with salt and mix until salt is dissolved.  In large bowl, beat marshmallow fluff, butter, Splenda, and vanilla.  Beat on high until fluffy.  Add in salt water and mix until well combined.  Spread filling on one cookie and press second cookie on top.

Recipe adapted from Sugary Sweets.  Makes about 16 Oatmeal Creme Pies

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