Reimagine those nostalgic oatmeal cream pies from your lunchbox by adding bourbon and blueberries

A mascarpone cream with a hint of light brown sugar adds an earthy sweetness that enhances the flavor of the fruit

By Joseph Neese

Executive Editor

Published July 4, 2020 4:59PM (EDT)

Blueberry Bliss Oatmeal Cream Pies (Meghan McGarry/Buttercream Blondie)
Blueberry Bliss Oatmeal Cream Pies (Meghan McGarry/Buttercream Blondie)

One dessert reverently associated with the word "nostalgia" is the oatmeal cream pie. Those two soft cookies sandwiched in between a sweet layer of fluffy cream are often associated with Little Debbie, because they were the very first treat baked under the brand's name back in 1960. 

Salon's resident pastry chef Meghan McGarry has given the classic treats a makeover for adults, which will make your taste buds reminisce about those long summer days when life was simpler. Spiked with bourbon, her Blueberry Oatmeal Cream Pies are the dessert you wish you would have pulled out of your lunchbox back at summer camp. 

"I love using seasonal local fruits when I can to do a makeover," McGarry, owner of the Buttercream Blondie brand, tells Salon of her inspiration. "And blueberries were a way to upgrade that classic oatmeal cream pie that we all know and love."

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The cookie itself is exactly what you crave in an oatmeal cookie. Soft-baked and chewy, it will absolutely melt in your mouth. The cookie batter contains a hint of bourbon, which provides a cozy feeling against the sweet blueberries. The berries lend not only a fruity flavor to the cookie but also a bright pop of color. They look and taste like summer, providing a burst of freshness that really wakes the cookie up.

"I had to pry myself away from the cookies just to make the filling," McGarry said. "But it's worth it. I promise."

McGarry wanted to upgrade the filling to match this beautiful cookie, which is why she chose mascarpone. Commonly used in tiramisu, mascarpone is at the same time creamy and satisfying. A hint of light brown sugar adds earthy sweetness that enhances the flavor of the blueberries.

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"The filling is really what takes them up a notch," McGarry said. "I literally just used a mascarpone with a hint of brown sugar to sweeten it up, and that's all you need to anchor this satisfying hand-held treat."

This dessert is perfect for summer, because it's in the oven for only a short amount of time. While blueberries are ripe, there are several other recipes from McGarry featuring this summer fruit that you can find on Salon Food. Her Meyer Lemon Blueberry Loaf, which is a versatile quick loaf you can easily make from the ingredients already on hand in your pantry, is one of our most popular recipes of all time. This makes for the perfect brunch or afternoon snack. Eat half of this loaf and freeze the rest, or double the recipe and freeze an entire loaf for a day when it's too hot to turn on the oven.

We also have two variations on blueberry cheesecake: Blueberry Bliss Cheesecake Bars and No-Bake Blueberry Gingersnap Cheesecake Pie. Both are the perfect description of what McGarry does: reinventing classic desserts and taking them to soaring new heights. While both are also spiked with bourbon, but the crust of the cheesecake bars is also made with oatmeal cookies. Can it be summer all year long?


Recipe: Blueberry Oatmeal Cream Pies

Yield: 14 small oatmeal cream pies

Ingredients (Cookies):

  • 4 ounces unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (You can also use vanilla extract)
  • 3/4 cup AP flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 & 1/2 cups oats
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon 

Instructions (Cookies): 

  1. Cream butter and sugars till light and fluffy.
  2. Add egg and vanilla.
  3. Mix in flour, salt, and baking soda.

Click here to access the remainder of Meghan McGarry's cheesecake bars recipe. And don't forget to follow @ButtercreamBlondie on Instagram for more ways to spike your desserts!

By Joseph Neese

Joseph Neese is Executive Editor of Salon. You can follow him on Twitter: @josephneese.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Blueberries Buttercream Blondie Cookies Desserts Food Meghan Mcgarry Recipes Summer Eats