This is the first cookie I've made so far this winter and it's not even 100% a cookie! How is this possible!? I'm pretty sure next week is going to be filled with endless stacks of cookies, sugar coated counters, and an oven that's on for days.
But before I go into total cookie-bake-mode over here, I busted out something a little fancy to line your dessert table with this year. These Oatmeal Cookie Tarts with Vanilla Bean Cream Filling are pretty much all of my favorite dessert flavors + textures packed into a 2-bite treat.
Vanilla + oat lover 4 life.
This post is sponsored by Rodelle.
The other day, I tried making no-bake pecan tart crusts in a mini muffin pan. Total fail. They may look okay in this photo but they were pretty much a hot mess. After 10 minutes sitting out at room temp they would turn crumbly in your hand. The dough was also difficult to work with and it ended up being too soft paired with the vanilla cream filling. I'm sure I could have tested the pecan dough 17 more times to get it right, but I had another idea in mind.
Oatmeal cookie tart shells!
I remembered my vegan deep dish oatmeal cookie recipe from a few years ago and thought it might be the perfect dough to make a tart shell from. It's a little bit chewy, very sturdy, and doesn't have an overpowering flavor. I really wanted the vanilla cream filling to shine, so this oatmeal cookie crust is the perfect little nest to house that insanely delicious filling. I made a few tweaks, pressed the dough into the pan, and triple crossed my fingers while they were in the oven.
I had a mild panic attack when I pulled them out of the oven because they puffed all the way up to the top of the pan! However, this was quickly remedied with the back of a small spoon and 30 seconds of my time. Phew.
The filling was also a bit trickier than I anticipated. I didn't want to go fully cashew-based and coconut cream wasn't the direction I wanted to go in, either. The answer? A mix of silken tofu and cashews and loads of vanilla beans.
I used to be freaked out about using tofu in desserts. It definitely seems a little hippy-dip, out there. But once you see how easy this cream filling is to make and get your first taste, I can guarantee you'll be on board.
Just make sure you're using the silken (and firm) variety!
Chewy oatmeal cookie.
Sweet, juicy raspberry.
Kissed with chocolate shavings on top.
You'll probably have a little cream filling leftover after filling the shells, but I promise you won't mind. Spoon to face.
Oatmeal Cookie Tarts with Vanilla Bean Cream Filling
gluten-free, vegan // yields: 24 mini tarts
for the vanilla bean cream:
- 3/4 cup raw cashews, soaked (at least 4hrs) + drained
- 3/4 cup packed silken-firm tofu
- 6 tablespoons pure maple syrup (room temp)
- 1 1/2 vanilla bean pods, seeds scraped
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon almond extract
- 3 tablespoons melted unrefined coconut oil
for the tart shells:
- 1 1/2 cups gluten-free rolled oats
- 1/2 cup gluten-free oat flour
- 1/2 cup almond meal
- 1/3 cup muscovado sugar (or coconut sugar)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup softened unrefined coconut oil (not melted)
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup (room temp)
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- toppings: 24 raspberries, dark chocolate shavings
Place cashews, tofu, maple syrup, vanilla beans (scraped from pods), salt, cinnamon, and almond extract into your blender. Blend, working up to high power until creamy and smooth (30-60 seconds). Add the melted coconut oil and blend again until fully smooth. Pour into a sealable container and refrigerate until fully chilled and thickened (at least 4 hours).
Preheat your oven to 350° F. Grease a 24-mold mini muffin pan with softened coconut oil.
Place oats, flour, meal, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl and stir to combine. Add the softened coconut oil, syrup, and vanilla. Start to combine with a large fork then use your hands to finish mixing the dough, making sure the coconut oil is evenly dispersed. The dough should be stiff and hold together well when pressed.
Place just over 1 tablespoon of packed dough into each muffin cup. Press dough down to form the base and then work up the sides to create a thick edge all the way around (refer to photo 2). I used my thumb and pointer finger for this.
Bake for 8-11 minutes, until light golden brown (8 minutes for a chewier shell, 11 minutes for a crispier texture). Remove from the oven and gently press the center of each tart shell with the back of a small spoon while hot (I used the back of a rounded, 1 teaspoon measuring spoon). You want about a 3/4-inch deep pocket with 1/4-inch edge all the way around.
Allow to cool in the pan for 30 minutes, then gently press down on an edge to loosen and pop each tart shell out. Use a thin knife if needed. (Mine popped out very easily.) Fill the cups once fully cool. Top with a raspberry (patted dry after rinsing) and chocolate shavings and serve immediately.
You can make the cream filling 24 hours ahead. The cookie shells can also be made 1 day ahead. Keep covered after fully cooled. Fill tarts just before serving for the best taste. Refrigerate leftovers (they do hold up well overnight in the fridge).
The coconut oil adds a mild, coconut flavor. If you despise any coconut flavor at all, simply use refined coconut oil in it's place. Do not sub with any other other type of oil or butter.
Be sure to use firm-silken tofu for the creamiest texture. This type of tofu is found in the ethnic aisle of your store and is not refrigerated. It comes in a small cardboard box.
To quick soak the cashews: Cover with water in a small pot then bring to a boil. Remove from heat and cover in the pot for 1 hour. Drain and rinse cashes with cold water.
Happy Friday, friends. I so hope you're enjoy this season!
Today's post is sponsored by Rodelle. Product opinions are always my own. If I didn't love it, you wouldn't hear about it. Thank you for your continued support over the years! It is truly appreciated.