After a computer-related rescue from the IT guys at school, I wanted to bake them a thank you gift. I think these homemade Oreos might be the secret to staying in their good graces in the future…they are goooooood.
Before we get to the cooking part, though, I want to publicly praise my new and already beloved Flour Bakery cookbook. Even though it’s missing my most favorite Flour recipe (the Twice-Baked Almond Brioche…sigh…), it’s near perfect. Great pictures, great combination of recipes and instruction, and a convenient hard cover without one of those dumb dust jackets that will inevitably tear. It deserves a big OMG.
I go to Flour as often as I possibly can, which isn’t very often. I live in California and it’s in Boston. To help me through Flour-withdrawl (an official condition, I think) my family in Boston sent me my wonderful Flour cookbook (thank you, thank you, thank you!). In the cookbook I found this recipe for Homemade Oreos and squealed with glee. Oh happy day! Homemade Oreos?! Picture from amazon.com
Conveniently, the recipe is also posted online. Should you be shopping around for a recipe, look no further. These are for certain the best Oreos going, including the real, Nabisco Oreos (hard to imagine, right?).
The picture from the cookbook is slightly deceiving. Before making them I thought the cookie might be a little soft (even though the recipes says to bake until firm). I pictured a whoopie pie (I know…these are Oreos, not whoopie pies). Rest assured, the cookie is not like a soft, cakey whoopie pie. It’s the best dense, short chocolate cookie you’ve ever had. In fact, on the occasions that you’re feeling too grown-up for an Oreo, the cookies would be perfect to serve with coffee, petite syrah or port.
The recipe is an easy one. The thing to be aware of, though, is that it takes a long time from start to finish (4+ hours). The problem is that the dough is supposed to rest for 3 hours (1 at room temp and 2 in the fridge) before it’s sliced and baked. I didn’t want to wait that long, so I tried to hurry things up by throwing the cookie dough into the freezer for a little bit. The freezer didn’t seem to harm anything, but it also didn’t speed things up much. At the very most I may have trimmed 30 minutes off the process. Next time I’m going to try to put in the fridge and walk away instead of fussing over the dough and moving it back and forth.
With all that background info aside, let’s start cooking!
Here’s the dough after I mixed all the ingredients together and before I left it alone to firm up for an hour at room temperature. The recipe mentions you may need to mix the dough by hand. I didn’t do that.
Next, I turned the lump of dough on to some parchment paper and shaped it into a cookie tube. This is definitely easier if you twist one end of the parchment paper closed while you roll it into the proper diameter (next time I’m going to make mine smaller than her recommended 2.5″). Then I threw it into the fridge.
Here’s the first few slices after the tube came out of the refrigerator. The recipe calls for slices 1/4″ thick. I was sloppy slicing and later regretted it. The cookies keep almost the identical shape they have when they go into the oven. I wish I had made my slices a bit thinner and had cut the slices using a sharp chef’s knife instead of a serrated knife (I think that would give the cookie a smoother face).
Making the Oreo creme filling. It would have been better if it were thicker — it wasn’t quite like “spackle,” as was recommended in the recipe. Next time I’ll measure a bit heavier on the sugar.
The cookies out of the oven and cooling.
And now, sandwiched! I went a little light on the frosting, which I was happy with. It’s a super intense, rich cookie and more frosting would have been too much for me.
Finally, I wrapped stacks of four Oreos in parchment paper and tied off the sides with ribbons (this took a little dexterity, but I finally got it after a few tries).
And, of course, I kept a couple aside for me, too…
I’m already thinking of variations on this recipe that could be good. Maybe a mint or ginger-infused filling? What do you think?
*Update! My lovely neighbor who is trained as a pastry chef made these Oreo cookies with a fantastic change. Rather than using vanilla extract in the creme filling, she used vanilla bean paste. Vanilla bean paste? Right, I hadn’t heard of it either. It gives a much more real vanilla flavor to the filling. It takes the filling from a little ho-hum to equally as good as the cookie (and, remember, the cookie is to die for). Oh, and to clear up some of the very confusing verbiage, vanilla bean paste is not a paste. It’ a liquid. It resembles a syrupy coffee with little flecks of crushed beans floating throughout. Here’s some great info on vanilla bean paste on cupcakeproject.com.