Friday, May 18, 2012

Madeline's Peanut Butter Oatmeal Sandwich Cookies

It's a welcome season of change in our home these days! The weather is warming bringing with it renewed growth of a green lawn, tiny leaves on the trees and definitely a skip in my step. The past few months have been tough on Y. He made a decision last fall to graduate early from high school. He finished up his course work in January at the semester break and gratefully and quickly found full time employment. While initially he enjoyed learning new things and expanding his skill set, he desperately missed the social side of life. His employment is working in a dark cool warehouse with minimal social interaction. He counts every paycheck in advance and puts it all in savings, but he is ready for the imminent change June will bring. He will begin as a full time student at Brigham Young University in a few weeks. I find myself busy with making a senior memory presentation, planning a celebratory backyard BBQ, and picking up random things at the store such as extension cords, paper clips, cold medicine and card games. I printed off a six page list from someone who thought to post one - of everything you need to set up a college dorm :) These tasks energize me as I envision Y at school playing pick up basketball games, Sunday afternoon cards with the guys (and gals) from the dorm, and hopefully finding time to utilize the school supplies I picked up...
This morning as I lie awake at 5:30 am mentally planning my day, my thoughts turned to a recipe I've been wanting to try. In actuality, the recipe had to be determined. It's the concept I was visualizing. Madeline's is a fantastic little bakery cafe in downtown Spokane. Last December I indulged with a peanut butter oatmeal sandwich cookie. It was fantastic! I've been wanting to experiment ever since, but got caught up in the excitement of Oatmeal Carmelitas and struggled to progress beyond them- for good reason. Today was the day to try and come up with my best copy- cat recipe. I'll give credit where due and call them -

Madeline's Peanut Butter Oatmeal Sandwich Cookies

1/2 cup soft butter
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups quick oats

Cream butter, peanut butter and sugars. Stir in eggs and vanilla. Add dry ingredients. Stir until well incorporated. Drop cookies onto greased aluminum baking sheet. Flatten a bit with your fingers. Bake at 350 degrees for 8+ minutes depending on size. Let cool completely.
Mix up peanut butter frosting:
4 oz. softened cream cheese
1/4 cup soft butter
1/3 cup peanut butter
2-21/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla.
Mix in Kitchenaid until fluffy.
Pipe a circle of frosting onto the back side of a cookie and place another cookie on top.

Madeline hasn't thought of this yet, but for a special occasion such as personal gratitude for doing some yard work, or checking your email... dip each cookie halfway in chocolate ( I used a package of Nestle's Milk Chocolate chips and 1 1/2 Tablespoons of Crisco)and let set. Then build the sandwich!
Enjoy the seasons as they change and share some joy with a friend or neighbor with these sandwiches!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Oatmeal Carmelitas

Do you know how when you get out of town for a few days, quite often a flood of perspective is what you return with? That happened to me this past weekend. I was in Minden, Nebraska chit-chatting with some amazing distant relatives I had the pleasure of sharing lunch and laughs with. I love how we are oft times fortunate in life, to find things that connect us to each other. I shared what is most certainly my new favorite recipe and the honest comment of why I haven't blogged it yet. I've rationalized over the past twelve weeks as I've made it again and again that once it's blogged, I'll stop experimenting and thus I won't have the mental excuse to make it 1-2 times per week :) Nevertheless, it's time.  
Oatmeal Carmelitas
2 cups quick oats
1 3/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
Mix the above dry ingredients.
 Add: 1 1/4 cups melted butter.
Stir until crumbs are the size of corn. (I did just come from Nebraska...) Press 2/3 of mixture in the bottom of a greased 9x13 pan. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and spoon on 1 1/4 cups of Carmel sauce. (make your own, or use jarred Mrs. Richardson's Butterscotch Caramel topping as I do.) Sprinkle on 2-2 1/2 cups chocolate chips (I prefer semi-sweet). Sprinkle remaining oat mixture over the top and return to the oven for 18 more minutes. Remove from oven and be careful!!!
You will want to grab a spoon and sample. I have spent many a days over the past twelve weeks with a burned mouth due to my inability to be patient :) You can quicken the cooling process in the refrigerator. Otherwise they will take several hours to set making them able to be served without falling apart. But I can promise you if you are a fan of ice cream, caramel, and chocolate, let them fall into the same bowl together. You won't be disappointed! Here's to a season of happy reunions with family and friends!