I was an asthmatic child. Coughing, shortness of breathing, wheezing, the whole deal. Chocolate made it worse. One too many chocolate chips and forget it, I’d be gasping for air for hours.
But as my mother learned, there is no cupboard high enough to keep chocolate away from an 8-year-old girl. Every Saturday I would wake up in the wee hours of the morning and find the secret stash of peanut butter cups. I’d take the whole bag into the living room and chow down in front of the television, singing along to the Smurfs’ theme song.
Apparently chocolate was more important than breathing.
But like lace-up converse, I grew out of asthma by the time I was 12. With the sweets now out in the open, I expanded my Saturday morning menu to include non-chocolate treats like Twinkies and my new favorite, Little Debbie’s Oatmeal Crème Pies.
How I loved those soft oatmeal cookies, and the creamy goodness mashed in between. I would eat at least five in one sitting, stopping only when I’d hear my mother coming down the stairs. The incriminating wrappers were pushed under the couch, a habit leftover from my asthmatic days.
These cookies are even better than those from my childhood, sweetened with maple syrup and brown sugar. I looked to Dana from Dana Treat for inspiration for the cookie recipe, and altered the proportions a bit to accommodate for the maple syrup. Stuffed between these chewy cookies is a cranberry marshmallow creme, made from fresh cranberries, sugar and egg whites. The basic marshmallow créme recipe came from another of my favorite food blogs, Furey and the Feast, where Cynthia used it (minus the cranberry jam) to coat big fat red strawberries. You’ll notice my créme recipe calls for white vinegar. I used it in place of cream of tartar to stabilize and give volume the whisked egg whites. Yes, it works, and no, you do not taste the vinegar. Use 1/8 teaspoon for each egg white.
This recipe makes about 60 cookies, which is more than enough for you to participate in the “Glad to Give” Bake sale. The Glad Products Company is partnering with Cookies for Kids’ Cancer™ to help increase awareness of pediatric cancer and raise money to support research for new and improved therapies. You can help by hosting a bake sale to benefit the charity and Glad® will match all funds raised by this November and December, up to $100,000. Simply register your Bake Sale at www.CookiesforKidsCancer.org, and Glad will even send you a free bake sale starter kit to help make your bake sale a success.
Every day, 36 children are diagnosed with cancer. I was lucky that asthma didn’t follow me into adult life, but 3 out 5 children with cancer are not as fortunate as I was. If you can help just buy by selling a few cookies, why wouldn’t you? To find out more, go to www.glad.com/gladtogive.
Oatmeal Maple Cookies with Cranberry Marshmallow Creme
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 sticks organic unsalted butter, softened
2 1/2 cups organic oats
1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup real maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 egg whites
1/2 cup organic cane sugar
1/4 teaspoon white vinegar
8 ounces fresh cranberries
1/2 cup organic cane sugar
1/2 cup water
Place the cranberries, water and 1/2 cup of sugar in a small cast iron pot and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes. Stir occasionally. Set aside.
Put egg whites and 1/2 cup sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk on medium-high speed for about 6 minutes, or until the egg whites hold stiff peaks. Add the white vinegar and whisk for another minute. Add 3 tablespoons of the cranberry jam and stir to fully combine. Your marshmallow creme should thick and fluffy (and pink!).
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Using the paddle attachment of a stand mixer, cream the butter and brown sugar until fluffy.
In a separate bowl, crack eggs and beat in the maple syrup and vanilla. Slowly pour into the butter mixture.
Sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Little by little, add the flour to the bowl and mix until just combined. Stir in the oats.
Roll the dough into a log, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
If you want mini cookies, use a teaspoon to scoop out dough onto un-greased cookie sheets. Flatten cookies with the back of a spoon, and bake for 11 minutes. Cool on a cooling rack before filling the cookies with the cranberry créme. If you want big cookies a la Little Debbie Oatmeal Créme Pies, use a tablespoon and bake for 12 minutes.
Store in the fridge–they are even better the next day!