Oatmeal Blender Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free}

Oatmeal Blender Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Sometimes I fall in love with an ingredient or a recipe and I just can’t help but blog about it twice in rapid succession.

Oatmeal Blender Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Exhibit A: that time I posted two layer cakes in a week.
Exhibit B: when I made cinnamon rolls and monkey bread in the same week with the same dough.

Oatmeal Blender Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free}This time (Exhibit C?), I’ve gone a little nuts about old-fashioned oats. I’ve waxed on and on (and on and on and on and on) about how much I love making and eating granola, but even I need a little variety in my repertoire. I mean, who eats their regular everyday breakfast on the weekend?!

Oatmeal Blender Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free}I have lots of weekend breakfasts (or brunches or company breakfasts or holiday breakfasts or whatever you want to call them) in the archives. The one I make most often is a Puff Pancake, but I think that’s about to change because I can’t get enough of these Oatmeal Blender Pancakes.

Oatmeal Blender Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Oatmeal Blender Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Oatmeal Blender Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Oatmeal Blender Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Oatmeal Blender Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free}I’ve made these easy-peasy pancakes four times since I got back from Christmas vacation and I don’t see any end in sight. I mean, what’s not to love about a stack of pancakes that’s completely whole grain, comes together in the blender, uses ingredients you probably already have, is vegan and gluten-free, and is still soft and fluffy?!

Seriously, y’all. I’m in love.Oatmeal Blender Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free}

Oatmeal Blender Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free}
makes 12-14 small pancakes

5 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
~1 2/3 cups milk of choice (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
2 1/4 cups old-fashioned oats (use certified gluten-free oats for gluten-free pancakes)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
3 tablespoons neutral-flavored oil (I like canola), plus more for cooking

For Serving:
pure maple syrup
butter or vegan margarine
fresh fruit

Place apple cider vinegar in a liquid measuring cup. Pour in milk of choice until it reaches the 1 2/3 cups mark. Let sit 5 minutes or until curdled.

Combine remaining ingredients in a high-powered blender. Add milk mixture. Blend until smooth, about 40-60 seconds. Scrape down the inside of the blender as necessary. Let mixture rest for 5 minutes; it will thicken slightly.

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Add batter to the pan in 1/4 cup increments, leaving space between pancakes. Let cook until bubbles form on the surface, about 2 minutes. Flip pancakes and cook an additional 1-2 minutes. Remove to a plate. Repeat process with all remaining batter, adding oil to the pan as necessary.

Divide pancakes among serving plates. Top with butter, maple syrup, and/or fresh fruit. Serve immediately.

Oatmeal Blender Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free}

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Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

 It seems like everyone hates Mondays, but I think Wednesdays are the real problem. On Monday and Tuesday, I just had a weekend, and on Thursday and Friday, I’m anticipating another. But on Wednesday, I’m just stuck in the middle. It’s torture. The idea that there are two more days until I can sleep in again is almost too much to bear 😭

Anybody else feel the same way?
 Perhaps, this Wednesday, you could use a cookie. A really big, puffy cookie full of peanut butter and chocolate, and super chewy from oats and brown sugar. Yes. That might make Wednesday worth surviving.

These Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies are super easy–perfect for a little weeknight baking session. All the ingredients are things you probably already have. The cookies turn out big and puffy, even though there’s no chill. And it doesn’t make a huge batch: only about fifteen cookies. That’s just enough to get you and your family through til Friday 😊 

We start by creaming together softened butter and peanut butter. I recommend using creamy peanut butter. Where most oatmeal cookies spread from the butter melting in the oven, the peanut butter in this recipe keeps these cookies puffing up instead of out. This is because peanut butter doesn’t have a fat content as high as butter’s. But don’t use just any peanut butter. The natural variety is simply too thin and runny to make these cookies anything but flat, and possibly lacy. With the thicker peanut butter, these cookies puff right up. I use Jif in my baking, but use whatever you like, as long as it’s thick.

Once the butter and peanut butter are fluffy, cream in the sugars. These cookies require one part granulated sugar, and two parts dark brown sugar. This will give the cookies a bit of molasses flavor and, with the addition of an egg, will keep everything moist and chewy. A little vanilla rounds out the flavor.

Next come the dry ingredients, a simple combination of flour, baking soda, and salt. Then, the oats! These will make everything nice and chewy, which contrasts sooo well with all the puffiness from the peanut butter! And then there are the chocolate chips, which of course, are perfect with peanut butter. They may have a little bit of a hard time incorporating into the dough, but just press them in. They’ll stay. 

 The dough is scooped in two tablespoon increments, rolled, and baked for about ten minutes. They puff up to be huge. The outsides get golden and crispy, and the insides stay a little underbaked and ultra-peanut buttery. The oats make for a ton of chew and texture. And of course, there’s a ton of melty chocolate!

My favorite way to enjoy these Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies is with a cup of coffee or tea, or crumbled over vanilla ice cream. No matter how you enjoy them, they’re sure to remedy any case of the mid-week blues! 

 Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
makes about 15 medium-large cookies

1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
6 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to cream together butter and peanut butter until smooth, about one minute. Add sugars, and beat until light and fluffy. Add egg, followed by vanilla. Mix in flour, baking soda, and salt, followed by oats. Fold in chocolate chips.

Scoop dough in two tablespoon increments. Roll into balls and set on prepared pan at least two inches apart. Bake for 9-11 minutes, until puffy and no longer raw looking. Let cool on pan for five minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely.

Cookies will keep covered at room temperature for up to one week. 

Pumpkin Oatmeal Creme Pies

imageRemember Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pies? I had totally forgotten about them until a few weeks ago. I had just finished a nine hour day nannying…a day when I had forgotten to eat. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it’s bad. I’ll eat anything that’s not nailed down. As I neared the subway, I realized that I was not going to make it home in one piece if I didn’t eat something immediately. I swung into the nearest bodega thinking I’d grab a Kind Bar, but they didn’t have any. I went for Cheez-Its, but they didn’t have those either. And that’s when I saw it: the familiar cellophane wrapper with two suuuuuper soft cookies sandwiched with marshmallow filling and a hefty dose of nostalgia. I gave the cashier a handful of change and promptly demolished that cookie. Once I had my brain functioning again, I got to thinking about Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pies. They are so soft that they can practically be rolled into a ball, there are no discernible oats, and they have an ingredient list that I would find horrifying on an occasion when I don’t feel like I’m about to pass out. I could do better. And as the weather was starting to turn cooler, I decided that I could make them pumpkin. And tiny. Little food just tastes better.

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When writing and testing this recipe, I tried to stay true to the Little Debbie classic. I wanted them to feel and taste authentic…but better, and with pumpkin spice. I didn’t want to take two Quaker Oatmeal Cookies, sandwich them with vanilla buttercream, and call them Oatmeal Creme Pies. Nope. I wanted for these cookies to be soft, sweet, not too oatey, chock-full of marshmallow–I wanted them to be nostalgia-inducing. But also pumpkin, because pumpkin. So I got to work.

Texture is key. These cookies have to be extra soft and puffy. Enter dark brown sugar and a bit of cornstarch. Egg yolks for richness. Pumpkin purée in place of egg whites (if we added both, these cookies would be cakey, and you know how I feel about cakey cookies 😭). Cinnamon and a hefty amount of my trusty pumpkin pie spice round out the pumpkin flavor. Yum.

Let’s talk about oats. I’ve never noticed any in Little Debbie’s cookies, which is probably why they are so incredibly soft. I thought about using oat flour to match their version, but instead went with quick oats. You can buy them in the store, but I just blitzed two cups of old-fashioned oats in the food processor until there were no visible whole oats. This gives our version a tiny bit of chew, but still keeps them feeling authentic. It’s an update worth making.

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The filling is made with marshmallow fluff, confectioner’s sugar, vanilla, and one very controversial ingredient. I’m kind of afraid to even talk about it because, well…it’s shortening. And it seems like today everybody hates shortening. And I understand! Hydrogenated oils are horrible for us! But if you want to keep the filling close to the original, shortening is a necessary evil. I use Spectrum brand, which I find at Whole Foods. I’m pretty sure an equal volume of room temperature butter would work in its place, but I haven’t actually attempted it. If you do, let me know in the comments! The filling is sticky (but not too sticky), and keeps these cookies soft and delicious for days. If you make a batch on Sunday, you’ll be able to tuck them in lunches all week long.

Now that I’ve mentioned shortening, is there anyone still reading this?! Maybe not, but if you are, make plans to make these this weekend and then send Little Debbie packing. These Pumpkin Oatmeal Creme Pies are so, so good. You’ll never go back.

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Pumpkin Oatmeal Creme Pies
makes about five dozen sandwich cookies

Cookies:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
4 tablespoons pure pumpkin purée
2 large egg yolks, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons real vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups quick oats*

Filling:
7oz marshmallow fluff (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup shortening, room temperature*
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
2 teaspoons hot water (from the tap is fine)

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about one minute. Beat in cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice until evenly dispersed. Add in dark brown and granulated sugars, and mix to combine. Beat in pumpkin purée, followed by the egg yolks and vanilla extract. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture in three installments, until completely combined. Mix in quick oats. Cover dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour, or up to three days.

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper.

Scoop cookie dough in one teaspoon increments. Roll into balls and set them two inches apart on prepared pans. Bake for 6-8 minutes, until the tops of the cookies no longer look wet. Let cool on the pans for five minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely. Repeat rolling and baking until you have used all the dough.

To make the filling, cream the marshmallow fluff and shortening with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in confectioner’s sugar and salt. Add in vanilla and hot water and mix on high until the filling is very fluffy. There are two options from here:

  1. To assemble a sandwich cookie by piping, apply filling by pipe a circle in the middle of the underside of one cookie, leaving about 1/4″ around the edge.
  2. Top with a second plain cookie, with the underside filling-side-in. Repeat until all cookies have been used. To assemble a sandwich cookie by spreading, use an offset frosting knife to spread 1/2-1 teaspoon on the underside of one cookie. Top with a second plain cookie, with the underside filling-side-in. Repeat until all cookies have been used.

Cookies will keep very well covered at room temperature for up to a week.

Notes:

  1. If you don’t have quick oats, you may blitz two cups of old fashioned oats in the food processor until there are no whole oats visible. Steel cut oats will not work in this recipe.
  2. If you don’t want to use shortening, you may use 1/2 cup of room temperature butter.