This past weekend, Audrey visited me at school. Because my school is in a (very) small town where there isn't much to do that doesn't have something to do with food, and because I wanted to show Audrey what my "every day" life is like at school, including the ordeal that is undertaking baking projects in my pathetic dorm kitchen, we decided to bake something together.
And boy, do I have new respect and awe for everything Molly bakes. I've always thought what she makes looks good, but now that I know about her dorm baking conditions, everything that she is able to make is like a miracle. A feat of extreme skill and patience and timing.
I can't remember where the original idea came from, but somehow we decided that we wanted to make something to do with cookie dough frosting. But not just regular cookie dough frosting. Oh no, that would be too dull, too "done." We were going to make oatmeal cookie dough frosting.
Turns out, there aren't any recipes out there for oatmeal cookie dough frosting. Great! That means we're pioneers! Except it also meant that we had to create our own recipe. Easier said than done, sometimes. We first thought that we could just replace part of the flour with quick oats. But then we realized that without being baked, the oats would remain tough and dry. Which aren't usually adjectives I like to associate with frosting. Or cookie dough.
Luckily, Audrey had a stroke of brilliance, as she is wont to do. If we pulverized the quick oats into oat flour, we would retain their oat-y flavor without forfeiting the smooth cookie dough texture.
D'aw, shucks, thanks.
But just turning the cookie dough frosting into oatmeal cookie dough frosting wasn't enough, apparently. We had to add brown butter, too. So Audrey got to witness the ordeal that is browning butter in the microwave. It is a slow process. (Especially when you have to do it on the other side of the dorm because the microwave in the kitchen by your room broke in October and has yet to be replaced. Not that I'm bitter or anything.) It is a messy process. It is an imperfect process. But it does get the job done. Eventually.
Of course brown butter was necessary. Sure, oatmeal cookie dough frosting is good. But go hard or go home, right? That is my motto for all things baking related. When I thought this, however, I did not realize just how hard it is to brown butter in a microwave. You have to walk halfway across the building and then microwave it in small increments whilst it explodes and creates a mess. I will always appreciate the pots and stoves at our house now. I could have hugged them when I got back.
As Audrey observed, neither the whoopie pie nor the frosting are all that special on their own. But together - together they are something special. Simple brown butter/brown sugar/oat-y goodness. No pretensions or affectations. Just your average Girl-Next-Door yumminess here - sweet, uncomplicated, and irresistible.
They are all part of the same kind of flavor genre that just effortlessly combines together. Other things might have added too much to the Girl-Next-Door. Made her like the next-door-neighbor-girl-who-you-never-talk-to-because-she's-out-of-your-league-or-just-really-irritating-and-her-family-creeps-you-out.
Go ahead and find something to dislike about them. I dare you.
Triple-dog-dare you. Quadruple-cat-dare you.
- Molly and Audrey
Oatmeal Cookie Dough Whoopie Pies
Brown Sugar Whoopie Pies:
Adapted from Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts
2 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
8 tbsp butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 Tbls milk
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Combine flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. Cream the butter, shortening, and brown sugar until light and fluffy (approx 3-4 min). Add eggs and buttermilk and beat until combined. (It will look curdled, that is OK.)
In a 1 cup measuring cup combine milk, baking soda, and vinegar. With your mixer on low pour in half of the flour mixture, then the milk, then the rest of the flour. Mix until just combined. Stir in vanilla.
Use a small cookie scoop to drop dough onto baking sheets. Leave about 2 inches between the cookies. Bake for about 8-10 minutes or until they are set, and just starting to brown around the edges. Let cool for a few minutes, then cool on a wire rack.
Oatmeal Brown Butter Cookie Dough Frosting:
Adapted from Beth Bakes
1 cup brown butter (chilled and then brought to room temp)
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup milk
1 cup oat flour + 8 tbsp all purpose flour
3/4 cup powdered sugar + 1 tsp cinnamon
Cream butter and brown sugar on medium-high speed for about two minutes, or until fluffy.
Add vanilla and milk. Mix until incorporated.
Next, add flour and mix on low speed.
Add powdered sugar, mixing on low speed, until just combined. Mix on medium for another minute or two.
If the frosting is too thick at this point, add another tablespoon of milk. If it's too runny, add 1/4 cup flour or powdered sugar.