Now that I’m old enough to know that oreos may not be made with whale blubber but that the actual ingredients are even scarier, I’m glad that there's an alternative that just might even be tastier.
Imagine my delight at being introduced to homemade oreos by Andrea from Bake Sale, a local bakery by order here in Austin.
Andrea joined in for an ATXSwappers meet up and brought a box full of homemade oreos. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you she was pretty popular with the other swappers. I managed to snag a couple of her oreos and they didn’t even make it home that evening. I ate both of them in the car while driving home. (I’m not proud to admit that but I think it well illustrates that my love of these cookies goes a little farther than the norm.)
After eating Andrea’s homemade oreos, I decided that I just had to give them a go.
adapted from Baked Explorations
Baked Explorations includes a recipe for a salt and pepper sandwich cookie, a take off on an oreo, that could be easily adapted by omitting a few ingredients. I think my first attempt went pretty well with only one caveat: I should have heeded the advice to use a dark chocolate cocoa powder. My stash of Valrhona dark cocoa was low so I subbed a regular cocoa powder. The flavor just wasn’t as rich so don’t make my mistake. Note, I omitted the shortening called for in the original icing recipe and upped the butter quotient to compensate. The texture of my icing may not have been as smooth as an icing made with shortening but to me, it's a small price to pay to avoid the yucky factor of shortening.
3 1/2 c all purpose flour
3/4 t salt
1/4 c dark unsweetened cocoa powder (I would highly suggest Valrhona)
1 1/2 c (3 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1 inch cubes, cool but not cold
1 1/4 c granulated sugar
1 3/4 c confectioner's sugar
3 large egg yolks
1 T pure vanilla extract
3 ounces good quality dark chocolate (60 to 72%), melted
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into small chunks, at room temperature
2-3 c confectioners' sugar, sifted
2-3 t pure vanilla extract
1. To make the cookies, sift together flour, salt, and cocoa powder in a large bowl and set aside. In a standing mixer with a paddle attachment, beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl between additions. Add the egg yolks and beat in one at a time until fully mixed in. Add vanilla and melted chocolate and beat until the mixture is a consistent color and the chocolate has been fully incorporated.
2. Add one half of the dry ingredients to the mixing bowel and beat for 15 seconds. Add the other half of the dry ingredients and beat for a few seconds until just incorporated. Shape the dough into two balls and wrap in plastic before refrigerating for at least 3 hours.
3. Preheat the oven to 350º Fahrenheit and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silpats. When the dough has fully chilled, take one ball of dough and divide into two pieces and return one to the refrigerator. Place the other piece on a lightly floured surface and knead the dough with your hands until pliable and form into a disk. Use a rolling pin to roll out the disk to a 1/4" thick round. Flour the dough as needed as it may be sticky when working it. Cut out approximately 2” rounds with a cookie cutter and transfer them to the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 1 inch of space around each cookie. Continue the process with the remaining dough.
4. Bake the cookies for approximately 10 to 12 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through the baking time until the tops of the cookies look dry and lightly cracked. Cool the baking sheets on wire racks for a few minutes and then transfer the cookies to the racks to cool completely before filling.
5. To make the filling, beat the butter until smooth in a standing mixer using the paddle attachment. Begin adding the confectioners’ sugar one cup at a time until combined with the butter and the filling is to your desired consistency. Add an equivalent amount of vanilla by teaspoon to match the amount of confectioners’ sugar added (ex. if you used 2.5 cups of confectioners’ sugar then add 2.5 t of vanilla) and beat in for 10 seconds. The filling should be thick but spreadable. If it is too thick, add a drop or two of water as needed. If it becomes too thin you can add a tablespoon or two of confectioners’ sugar to thicken it back up.
6. To assemble the cookies, use a pastry bag or a small spatula or spoon to fill the flat side of a cookie and sandwich with another cookie. Press down lightly to spread the filling to the edges of the cookie. Allow filled cookies to set up for approximatley 15 mintues before serving. These cookies will keep at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days.