Harvest Oatmeal Sandwich Cookies / by Chelsea Zwieg

This week we started adding fall menu items at the bakery and most of my time is now spent squealing in excitement about things like pumpkin cake or going on and on about how much I love apples to anyone who will listen. Of course, the weather has been in the 90s which seems like cruelest joke to ever be played but thank goodness for the fact that most people don't seem to mind and will still go nuts over pumpkin everything and autumn leaf sprinkles becuase I have now started and I can. not. stop. So naturally, the fall baking madness had to carry over into my kitchen at home. I made Milk Bar's apple pie cake today (which I will post later on) which is full of sauteed apples and pie crumb frosting (!!!). But first, I made these oatmeal cookies filled with all good things and sandwiched together with brown butter buttercream. I told you, there's no stopping these fall flavors. 

The oatmeal cookies are made with maple syrup which makes them perfectly soft and also spot-on flavorwise. They then get packed with dried cranberries (you could also use dried cherries), pumpkin seeds, toasted coconut and chocolate chunks. This was obviously way too many words to put in the name, so I settled for calling them Harvest Cookies. In the theme of throwing in everything under the sun, feel free to add in any other mix-ins you love. If you do what I did and just casually stroll past (actually more like plant myself for two hours trying to decide) in front of the bulk food bins at the grocery store, you are bound to come away with 10 more things that work perfectly inside an oaty, mapley cookie. Nuts, seeds, dried fruit, chocolate anything. 

The cookies then get sandwiched together with a brown butter buttercream that is super creamy, fluffy and just plain delicious. I feel like a broken record with how many times I have talked about brown butter, so I will refrain. But if you are new/curious/interested in how to make all butter better I will direct you to this article I wrote a while back that will get you all up to speed. 

Ok, I'm going to go put autumn leaf shaped sprinkles on everything. Bakery related or not. Bye!

Harvest Oatmeal Sandwich Cookies

Makes 12-15 sandwiches 

Note: I know this ingredient list seems more like a short novel, but don't let that scare you away. An oatmeal cookie with every single fall type flavor packed into it is bound to get a little lengthy, but the actual process (throwing everything in a mixer and watching it mix for a few minutes) could not be easier. 

  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 2 1/4 cup oats
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup raw unsalted pumpkin seeds
  • 4 oz. dark chocolate, chopped

For the Brown Butter Buttercream: 

  • 1 1/2 sticks butter, room temp
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar 
  • 1 + tbsp. cream or milk
  • pinch of salt


| Instructions

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat 2 sticks of butter with both sugars until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs, vanilla and maple syrup, scraping the bowl and beating well after each addition. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and mix until just combined. Add the oats and mix briefly. 
  • In the small skillet over high heat, toast the coconut flakes, stirring often, until golden brown. This will take 1-2 minutes. Remove from the pan and let cool. Add the toasted coconut flakes, cranberries, pumpkin seeds and chocolate to the dough. Mix until fully incorporated. 
  • Scoop dough out using a 2tbsp. size cookie scoop onto a baking sheet. Chill the scooped dough for at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or a non-stick baking mat. 
  • In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 1/2 stick of butter (for the buttercream). Continue cooking, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan, until the butter turns nutty and brown. Transfer the butter to a bowl and place in the refrigerator or freezer to chill until resolidified. When you are transferring it, be sure to scrape all of the brown bits from the bottom of the pan into the bowl, this is where all the flavor comes from.
  • Once the dough is chilled, arrange on the prepared baking sheets, leaving several inches between each cookie. You may need to bake them in batches. Bake 15-18 minutes, until deeply golden around the edges. Because the maple syrup makes these cookies so soft, I found that they need a few extra minutes of baking time than my normal oatmeal cookies, which I like to take out while they are still mostly pale. Even though these cookies look darker in color, they will still be very soft. 
  • While the cookies are baking, finish the buttercream. Srape the chilled butter in the bowl of stand mixer. Add the remaining stick of butter and beat until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Add the vanilla and 1 tbsp. of cream and mix for 1 minute, until light and fluffy. If the buttercream seems very thick, add more cream one splash at a time until it reaches the desired consistency. 
  • Once the cookies are cooled, spread buttercream on the bottom of half of the cookies. Sandwich together with the remaining cookies, pressing gently to make sure they stick together.