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Peanut Butter Oatmeal Sandwich Cookies

  There are certain ingredients that bring back memories of my Grandma, and the baked goods she made.

  These usually include nuts (typically walnuts or pecans), freshly-ground nutmeg, fresh raspberries, fresh strawberries, apples, oats, anise, whole wheat flour, and the like.  To me, they're Grandma things.

  Now, I'm definitely a chewy cookie kind of girl, I've said so before.  I don't know if my Grandma had a huge preference, she liked almost anything she tried.  But I do remember her cookies were always on the crunchy side.  Even though that's not my favorite style, I still enjoy them, because of her.

  Her cookies had their own special flavor and smell, they were deep.  Crunchy, and chock-full of chocolate chips and walnuts.  Her cookie jar was always full of these.  Now that cookie jar is mine, and I try my best to live up to it.

Yes, they're that small.

  What I'm getting at here is that these cookies remind me of my Grandma.  Brown sugar, butter, spices, nuts, oats, and the crunchy factor.  I didn't even mean to make them crunchy, just left them in the oven a little too long.  I wanted chewy sandwich cookies.  I'll probably do that next time round, but one bite of these crispy delights and I was transported back to porch swings, hammocks, raspberry picking, and tall glasses of Yo-J.

  That bittersweet rush of memories made overbaking the cookies entirely worth it.

  So how 'bout them cookies?  Besides their nostalgic capabilities, these cookies are uh-mazing.  Seriously.  I made them yesterday, and there were 2 dozen little sandwiches.  Today, I think there's probably 6 left.  No joke.  They're that good.

  Thank you, pretty cookies, for bringing back some sweet memories.

  However, next time we meet, I'm either freezing most of you or giving you away.  I know that sounds harsh, my little temptresses, but measures must be taken; I simply can't call you dinner anymore.

  P.S. This was sort of unintentionally Grandma-themed, and it reminded me that I'm doing a guest post in a couple weeks on my friend Jeremy's blog, with one of her recipes and a story.  I'm excited to share, so stay tuned!

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Sandwich Cookies
Yield: about 2 dozen small sandwich cookies

Ingredients for the Cookies:
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Ingredients for the Filling:
  • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3-4 tbsp. milk

Place racks in the center and upper third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.  Add the egg and beat on medium speed for about 1 minute.  Add the vanilla extract and beat until blended.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt.  With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined.  Stir in the pecans.

The cookies will be small, so portion about 1 heaping teaspoon of cookie dough into your hand.  Roll into a ball and place on the prepared cookie sheet.  Keep cookies about 1 1/2-inches apart on the baking sheet.  If the cookie dough begins to stick to your hands as you’re making dough balls, rinse your hands and portion the dough with just slightly damp hands.

Bake for 10 to 13 minutes, or until they’ve reached your desired done-ness (If you like the chewy underdone thing, go for ten minutes.  If you want crispy, bake until the edges just start to harden, but any longer and they'll be quite rock-like.).  Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

To prepare the filling, place butter, peanut butter, and powdered sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer.  Beat on medium speed (start out low, of course, to incorporate the sugar; unless you want a snowstorm), drizzling in vanilla extract and salt.  Scrape down the bowl as necessary.  Add milk one tablespoon at a time until you’ve reached your desired consistency.  The filling should be easily spreadable. 

When cookies are completely cool, flip over and spread half of the cookie bottoms with peanut butter filling.  Top with a similarly-sized cookie.  Wrap individually in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.  Cookies are best served slightly chilled.    

Sources: adapted from Joy the Baker