Saturday, February 25, 2017

Remembering Some Cookies Called Gauchos

Long ago (in the late 1960s, but don't tell anybody, okay?), I used to love these cookies called "Gauchos." I guess the brand name was "Burry's," though that part didn't stick in my memory. I did remember the elephant on the box, when I saw them online. Gauchos were oatmeal peanut butter cookies with a sweet peanut butter filling.

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies
Oatmeal Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies

I have never, ever been one of those who would eat a teaspoon (or tablespoon) of plain peanut butter from the jar. I don't think I have ever done that, even in childhood. I have lots of vices, but that isn't one. On the contrary, I am most certainly one of those who eat cookie dough, lick the beaters after cake or cookies, scoop out remains in the bowl. I know this gives some people the shudders, and maybe the "raw egg police" will come after me, but since my earliest childhood I followed Mom around by her apron strings in the kitchen waiting just for these treats. I never got sick from it, either, not in all these years since. And yes, she wore aprons, mostly those with the bib top like this pattern shown at left.

Somehow though, I just really loved these Gauchos cookies. I love oatmeal cookies, and these had oatmeal in them, too. Maybe that was my tipping point. Or maybe it is just the fact of sweetened peanut butter in the middle? I have a really serious sweet tooth. I love peanut butter cookie dough, but not the cookies once they are baked.

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies
Oatmeal Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies
All these musings, and I still cannot say what specific thing is what made me love these particular cookies, but I recall going through whole boxes all on my own! So this morning, I suddenly remembered these, and wondered if someone had a recipe out there. As it turns out, there are lots of the exact same recipe posted on many blog sites. I made only a minor change in the cookies and one in the filling. Most places show the same recipe whether it is for what used to be Gauchos, or the Girl Scout Cookies called "Do-Si-Dos®," and apparently the same company made both, or so I read somewhere. 

Long and short of it all is that I gave into the temptation this morning, and though the recipe is the same on numerous web or blog sites, I am posting it here one more time, with my own small changes and observations. 

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies

Makes about 45 large sandwich cookies or up to 60 smaller ones

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookies before sandwiching
Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookies before sandwiching
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
2 cups quick cooking rolled oats

6 tablespoons butter, room temperature
¾ cup peanut butter
2 cups confectioners' sugar
3 tablespoons heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut parchment to fit various cookie sheets.

In bowl of a stand mixer, add in the first 4 ingredients for the cookies and start beating slowly, until the mixture is creamy. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat to combine. 

In a separate bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Add this to the mixer bowl and starting on low speed, gently mix until there is no fluffy powder left. Increase speed and combine well. Add the oatmeal and mix to just combine. 

I used a 2-teaspoon cookie scoop first, which yielded large cookies almost 3-inches in diameter. A little past halfway scooping the cookies, I switched to a 1-teaspoon scoop. They seem small, but puff and spread when they bake. Allow plenty of room on the parchment lined sheets. Flatten the cookie mounds to about ¼-inch thick. Bake larger cookies for about 9 to 11 minutes, or until lightly golden. Smaller sized cookies bake for about 8 minutes total.

Allow the cookies to cool completely. They will harden enough to handle. Then make the Filling. Place the first three Filling ingredients into the clean mixer bowl and begin beating slowly, until all the confectioners' sugar is moistened. Increase speed slightly to cream. Mixture will be thick. Add in 3 tablespoons of heavy cream and beat to combine. 

If a piping bag is available, it makes quick work of piping the filling onto the cookies. Turn one cookie bottom side up and pipe on the filling (or spread with a knife or icing spatula), then top with another cookie, right side up. Repeat with all pairs of cookies. 

My passion is to teach people how to create a harmony of flavors with their cooking, and help pass along my love and joy of food, both simple and exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things weekly. Join me at A Harmony of Flavors Website and Marketplace, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. I am also on a spiritual journey and hope you will join me at my new blog, An Eagle Flies.