Sunday, April 17, 2011

Homemade Oreos

I’ve heard rumors over the years about oreos being made with some pretty unsavory ingredients. Does the old rumor about the filling being made from whale blubber still persist? I used to hear that one pretty often when I was a kid. Never stopped me from eating them, though.

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.
Homemade Oreos
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.


  1. These look terrific! I grew up eating Oreos with my dad and haven't had one in years. These look like they'd be worth breaking out the measuring cups!

  2. That's it... this is definitely the first thing I'm baking in my new house... maybe tomorrow. YUMMY!!

  3. love love love the homemade oreos....yours look wonderful, Shelleyl! Who needs Nabisco?! Have a great week!

  4. Your oreos look a million times better than the packaged variety, and I'm sure taste a million times better too!!!

  5. I'm passing this on to my exroomie who's a baker. maybe she'll make some and give me some. Ha :)

  6. Wow Shelley...homemade oreos...between us...they sure have a healthier look than the oreos bought at stores. Nice pictures! Have a great week ahead :-)

  7. Your oreos look perfect, Shelley! I made them with the Baked group, but I didn't really care for the salt on top and kept flicking it off, so I will have to make them again without. These would be perfect will a cold glass of milk right now. An after work snack. Mmmm...

  8. Shelly

    These homemade oreos look amazing. My only minimal criticism is that they're not double-stuffed.

    Heguiberto loves oreos. When we were first dating he hinted about that to my mother. She sent him whole packages regularly for years after that and he'd eat them all. They are almost as addictive as crack! I can completely understand how you chomped yours in the car. Actually, you were probably being restrained as you did make it to the car, after all...

  9. These look so great! I completely agree about avoiding the yucky factor of shortening and whale blubber. I bet the flavor of these was incredible.

  10. I know the real ones aren't made with blubber because they are one of those crazy items that are accidentally vegan! It is about the only chocolate item that you can find in a gas station that is vegan! Yours look much more beautiful though!

  11. This photo popped up on the Baked Sunday Mornings blog roll so I just had to come over and read your take on these.

    I made Oreos using a recipe adapted from Joanne Chang's cookbook Flour, before we did the salt & pepper cookies ( I preferred the filling from the salt & pepper cookies, but I loved the way my cookies turned out. I used black cocoa powder from King Arthur flour and I can confirm that the cocoa powder makes a big difference.

    I also struggled with the decision to use shortening or not. I decided to go ahead because it provides a certain stability and texture. Spectrum brand is organic and made with palm oil.

  12. Also, your cookies are gorgeous!

  13. How I love oreos! I know this is horrid of me, but I'm ok with the shortening, because they are so tasty, but then again... yours look tasty too... but then again, I'd have to clean the kitchen.
    I am so naughty
    Hope you are having a great weekend.
    *kisses* HH

  14. Thanks, all! Oreos seem to be much beloved.

    @Sheri- Appreciate the tip about Spectrum natural shortening. I'll have to check it out.

  15. Finally! Hopefully I will make these soon. We eat Oreos a lot but always feel guilty for eating them (duh!). I agree with shortening exchange. I would prefer butter. Good one, Shelly :)

  16. Had some of those Bake Sale oreos last week but instead of shortening, she used lard from Salt and Time. Freaking delicious! Hopefully neither of you are making these for the Bloggers Alliance potluck because I ordered lard to pick up on at the Farmers Market and I think I will give these a whirl.

  17. @Christy I hate that I missed the potluck. Would have loved to try your batch. Thanks for stopping by!