In case you can't already tell, I'm sticking to the really easy comfort-food recipes at the moment. I wanted something that I could whip up really quickly to have with a cup of tea while I whinged about how tired I was and how achey all my muscled are from packing and moving. These oatmeal cookies sandwiched with a date & strawberry filling were perfect.
I didn't realise until after I was done making these that they would be the last thing I would ever bake in my current kitchen. It's made me a little sad because this is the kitchen where I really learnt to bake, the kitchen where I started my baking blog. Oatmeal cookies are definitely not the prettiest of baked goods, but something about them is so happy and warm. It wasn't a bad way to say goodbye to my current oven.
The original recipe that I used for the cookies was a fantastic one from Joy of Baking, but it was a tad too much oats and not enough cookie for my liking so I have adjusted the quantities of the oats slightly in the recipe below. Feel free to use the original recipe though, it may be because the original recipe mixes fruits and nuts into the cookie dough as well. Vanilla beans and strawberry jam are mixed into a date puree to make the filling, which was quite sweet so I reduced the amount of sugar in the recipe. They look a bit like Kingston biscuits, so there was some initial confusion from the people tasting them when they realised it was fruit and not chocolate in the middle. It's not usually a good thing to give people fruit when they are expecting chocolate but these biscuits are pretty great so they'll just have to get over it.
It took me nearly three days to pack up all my props. I can't believe how much blogging-related crap I have accumulated over the last four years! A got all judgey and was like, "Do you really need that many cake stands?". The answer is OF COURSE. Have you seen how many cakes I bake?! Geez. The next post will be coming to you from my new place, it will definitely be interesting to find out how the oven over there performs, and to get used to photographing with different light. I really need a nap right now.
Date & Strawberry Oatmeal Cookies
(makes about 20 sandwiched cookies, adapted from Joy of Baking)
170 g (3/4 cup) butter, room temperature
3/4 cup (about 150 g) packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup (about 100g) plain/all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 1/2 cups (about 220g) old-fashioned rolled oats
For the date filling:
1 1/2 cups (about 200g) dried pitted dates
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup strawberry jam
Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F) and line two cookie trays with baking paper. Cream butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on high until light and fluffly. Add egg and vanilla extract and beat to combine. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and ground cinnamon. Add the flour mixture and beat on low until incorporated. Stir in the oats until mixture is uniform. Roll about 1 tbsp worth of mixture in your hands and gently flatten into the prepared trays so they are about 1cm thick. Make sure to leave about 1.5 cm space around each cookie as they will spread slightly. Bake for about 10-12 minutes or until golden brown but still soft in the centre. Cool for 5 minutes on the tray then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
For the filling, place dates. vanilla bean paste and water in a small saucepan on low heat and stir occasionally, until the dates are soft and have absorbed most of the water (about 5-10 minutes). Cool to room temperature and puree in a food processor or blender with the strawberry jam. Sandwich biscuits with a small dollop of filling. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days (I kept mine in the fridge to stop them from getting too soggy).