A Cookie a Day: Oatmeal Creme Pies

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[Photograph: Sarah Jane Sanders]

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What are you, Oatmeal Creme Pie? Are you a cookie? A pie? A marshmallow sandwich? How are you so moist and chewy? What is creme? These are just a few of the many questions that plague me in the matter of this delicious, mysterious dessert that I will, for lack of a better word, refer to as "cookie."

It's likely that the true nature of Little Debbie's Oatmeal Creme Pies will elude me until my dying day. And I'm totally okay with that. I don't really want to know what all those long words on the back of the package actually mean. What I do want is a way to eliminate them entirely. A homemade Oatmeal Creme Pie just as soft and delicate, sweet and chewy as the original.

Let's start with the oatmeal cookie: thin, flat, moist, and totally pliable. A cookie that bridges the realms of gingerbread and cocoa over a river of molasses and milk and all those wintery mulling spices. And there's a fruity undercurrent (we use dried apples) to round out the oats, corn syrup, and butter. This, my friends, is not your average cookie. No, the Oatmeal Creme Pie is truly one of a kind.

And we haven't even gotten to the filling, which is firm but not sticky; soft but never mushy. Like a stale marshmallow without the off flavor, if you will. Above all, that creme must not squish out the sides when you take a bite. A packet of gelatin is all that's needed to stabilize the basic sugar syrup and transform it into a firm, whipped marshmallow-style cream. But what am I saying? Come see you for yourself.