Every few weeks or so, the irresistible urge to bake a batch of cookies creeps into the back walls of my mind. Usually after these thoughts occur, only a day or two can pass before the impulsive craving fast becomes my reality.
This weekend, the obligatory cookie craving struck again. Unsure of what I wanted, but certain of what I did not want, I set out on a sugar fuelled expedition, searching for the perfect cookie recipe.
My never-ending search took me through cookbooks, past family recipes and all-over the endless realms of the internet. I found many different (and delicious) recipes and ideas, yet none of these seemed to live up to my cookie craving expectations. I wanted something more than the usual.
Inspiration struck when I saw packages of miserable sandwich cookies stacked on shelves at the grocery store. The poor cookies were over-processed, wrapped in cheap plastic and appeared bland, dry and plain sad.
It was most shocking, as these cookies were being sold as ‘delicious’ holiday treats in the Christmas aisle! I then and there vowed to give the classic and humble sandwich cookie the respect and love that they deserve.
So, let’s talk about these Oatmeal Sandwich Cookies with Smoked Treacle Buttercream. The cookie part of the sandwich is made up of a ‘basic’ oatmeal cookie. I use the word ‘basic’ rather loosely though, as nothing about these cookies is normal or ordinary.
A classic oatmeal cookie batter is sweetened by brown sugar, peppered by the earthy spice of cinnamon and given an extra textural crunch by crushed pecans. These cookies are lightly browned, crisp and crunchy on the outside and chewily soft in their thick middles.
By themselves, they are, some of the best cookies I have ever eaten – so much more than the usual lack lustre oatmeal cookie that many have been accustomed to.
A thick smoked treacle buttercream is then sandwiched between the oatmeal cookies. The treacle buttercream is also given a further flavour twist – with a just a little hint of liquid smoke and fleur de sel added, making for a rich, decadent and delicious surprise.
These Oatmeal Sandwich Cookies with Smoked Treacle Buttercream are so delicious in fact that the entire time they sat on my countertop, I did not stop at just devouring one. To relieve myself of the sweet cookie burden, I had to pass the plate and share these sandwich cookies with family, friends and neighbours. I even had to exile myself to the bedroom for the evening to keep myself from being further tempted by their sweet allure.
These Oatmeal Sandwich Cookies with Smoked Treacle Buttercream are utterly delicious and open to endless customisation. Next time, I think I’ll try some chopped raisins or walnuts in the cookie batter or even add a hint of espresso to the buttercream. I also might omit the treacle and use honey or maple syrup instead. You see, variations are unlimited.
Oatmeal Sandwich Cookies with Smoked Treacle Buttercream are the king of all cookies. I like to eat them when the cookies are still warm from the oven and are then quickly filled with the smoked treacle buttercream, so that each bite results in a crisp, gooey and melted mouthful – but they are equally as delicious when left to slightly harden upon cooling. They are the ultimate sweet fantasy.
- 150 g (5 oz/ ⅔ cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 100 g (3 ½ oz/1/2 cup) caster sugar
- 150 g (5 oz/3/4 cup) brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 120 g (4 oz/1 cup) plain flour
- 240 g (8 ½ oz, 2 ½ cups) oats
- 75 g (2 ½ oz, ½ cup) chopped pecans
- 1 ½ cups unsalted butter (3 sticks), at room temperature
- 3 tablespoons treacle
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp liquid smoke (optional)
- ½ tsp salt, fleur de sel or smoked salt
- 3 cups icing sugar
- Preheat an oven to 180 C (350 F) and line two baking trays with baking paper.
- In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars together using a wooden spoon. Mix in the egg and vanilla extract, then the vinegar and salt. Add the baking powder, soda, cinnamon, flour and oats and stir well to combine. Once combined, stir through the pecans.
- Scoop 1 ½ tablespoons of the mixture into a ball, place it on one of the lined baking trays and lightly flatten. Repeat with the rest of the dough. Bake the cookies for 8 – 10 minutes. Halfway through baking, rotate the trays and gently re-shape the cookies if beginning to flatten too much.
- Remove from the oven when the edges are golden and centres are still slightly soft, the oatmeal cookies will harden upon cooling. Leave the cookies to slightly cool on their tray and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before assembly.
- Once the cookies are cooled, place the smoked treacle buttercream (recipe follows) on the bottom side of one cookie, and top with another (how much you put is completely up to you!).
- In a large bowl or stand-alone mixer, cream the unsalted butter to a uniform, light and fluffy paste. Add the treacle, vanilla, smoke and salt and beat to combine. Slowly add the icing sugar on low speed. Once it is incorporated, increase the speed to medium and beat until the cream is smooth and fluffy, roughly 4 to 6 minutes. The buttercream should be thick and hold its shape, if it is too runny add a tablespoon of icing sugar or alternatively if it is too thick, add a tablespoon of milk.