we’re not the type of household that stocks boxes of store-bought cookies and treats in our pantry. anyone who knows me knows that instead, there is always a container of homemade chocolate chip cookie dough waiting for its moment to be baked and devoured. that there must be some leftover nutella ice cream hiding in my freezer, or a cake recipe in my head waiting to be tested. those are the desserts i eat, right?
for the most part, yes. i do love to bake. love. even though it is my job and my business, which sometimes haunts me in my dreams, i still adore it. because of the creativity, the freshness, the quality, the un-matched flavor. but if you look really closely in my secret pantry, the one in my basement that stocks the extra cans of tomatoes for sauce, the bottles of pellegrino and the tubs of cocoa powder, you will almost always find a box of oreos.
mmmm. there is nothing like that crispy dark chocolate cookie combined with perfectly sweet cream filling, especially when dunked in a big glass of milk. i’m a big dunker, holding the cookie in the ice cold liquid until it is nearly falling apart mushy. it is a moment of pure yum.
so when i was in godiva last week and saw a milk chocolate covered oreo, of course i bought one. i ate it and enjoyed it and thought, “dipping oreos in chocolate? this is something that i need to do on a regular basis”. until my conscious reminded me that “on a regular basis” should be more like “on a really special occassion when there will be lots of other people around to stop me from eating the entire batch”. and as good as that dreamy chocolate covered heaven was, you certainly can’t dunk it in milk, and eating more than one at a time could certainly prove to have its share of post-snack regret.
and that’s when i stumbled upon not one, but two blog posts about homemade oreo cookies. they weren’t new entries, but they were on two blogs that i visit regularly. a sign from the cookie gods. my baking addiction found the recipe on smitten kitchen, who adapted it from wayne harley brachman’s book retro desserts. that was a few days ago, before my trip to the chalet, where i couldn’t knock the thought of making them out of my head (even after an entire bottle of red).
so this morning i baked up a batch. needless to say, they are fabulous. the cookie is dark and crispy and the filling is almost identical to the original. i haven’t tried dunking them yet, as i’ve only had one so far, purely for quality control. i have a feeling they’ll taste better tomorrow, as the flavors sit and develop, which i’ll be sure to let you know.
the recipe is ridiculously easy to make. it calls for using 1 to 1 1/2 cups of sugar, depending on your taste. per smitten kitchen, because the filling is so sweet, you can get away with using just 1 cup, but if you use the cookie with a less sweet filling, or for something like ice cream sandwiches, go with the full amount. i went with 1 1/4 cups, taking the middle road. they turned out great, and if you want to reduce your sugar intake, you can certainly use just 1 cup with wonderful results.
homemade cream filled chocolate sandwich cookies (oreos)
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened dutch process cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 to 1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) room-temperature, unsalted butter
1 large egg
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) room-temperature, unsalted butter
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
set two racks in the middle of the oven. preheat to 375° f.
in a food processor, or bowl of an electric mixer, thoroughly mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda and powder, salt, and sugar. while pulsing, or on low speed, add the butter, and then the egg. continue processing or mixing until dough comes together in a mass.
take rounded teaspoons of batter and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet approximately two inches apart. with moistened hands, slightly flatten the dough. bake for 9 minutes, rotating once for even baking. set baking sheets on a rack to cool.
to make the cream, place butter and shortening in a mixing bowl, and at low speed, gradually beat in the sugar and vanilla. turn the mixer on high and beat for 2 to 3 minutes until filling is light and fluffy.
to assemble the cookies, in a pastry bag with a 1/2 inch, round tip, pipe teaspoon-size blobs of cream into the center of one cookie. place another cookie, equal in size to the first, on top of the cream. lightly press to work the filling evenly to the outsides of the cookie. continue this process until all the cookies have been sandwiched with cream.
i used extra dark cocoa powder for that extra dark chocolate taste. you can certainly find great brands at restaurant depot, whole foods or costco, but hershey’s also sells a version that you can find in your favorite grocery store.
there are those out there who will poo-poo the idea of using shortening. trust me, i’m a butter girl all the way. but you will not be able to achieve the same flavor or texture using all butter. so just go with it this time. all things in moderation! plus, nowadays you can find trans-fat free shortening.
regarding the ‘flattening’ of the cookie dough, i used the bottom of a juice glass. no messy fingers!
the cookies will appear slightly puffed when you take them out of the oven. they will flatten within a few minutes, or you can just lightly bang the bottom of the pan on the counter, which will deflate them immediately. (i prefer this. there is a strange satisfaction in watching the cookies shrink)