Homemade Oreos with an Optional Patriotic Twist
I can’t believe I haven’t talked about these yet, because I make them at least twice a year. The beloved carnivore likes the filling, which tastes a lot like the filling for whoopie pies. And I am an Oreo devotee with a passion for making things from scratch that you can much more easily purchase at a store. Because I can. And with companies like Hostess filing for bankruptcy and endangering such American favorites as Twinkies, it’s just safer if we all figure out how to make our favorite store-bought snacks, just in case.
I recently made a batch of these cookies and decided to make them patriotic, in anticipation of Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, etc. Also, I still have a lot of non-blue food dye left over from the many packs of food dye I got to make all those blue wedding mints. I couldn’t find blue food dye all by itself, unless I wanted to use the gel kind, which in my experience stains my hands a lot more than liquid food dye. Normally that’s not a serious problem, but I didn’t want to be known as the Smurf Bride. Far better that I be known as the Hurricane Bride, frankly. That sounds much tougher.
One more thing before I get into the recipe. While most cookie doughs I’ve made in my life refrigerate and freeze well, I don’t think this dough does. I’ve refrigerated it before with good results, though not as good as when I’ve made the cookies right after the dough is ready. The one time I’ve frozen the dough, the cookies had a different texture and didn’t taste quite right. I am not a scientist, like Emily, so I have no idea why this is, and it may have nothing to do with the fact that I froze the dough. Nonetheless, I’m still recommending that you not freeze it.
Adapted slightly from Smitten Kitchen; makes 2 dozen sandwich cookies
For the cookies
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the surface if rolling the cookies out (see below)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa (I’ve used non-Dutch process coca and it resulted in tasty, but puffier cookies)
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup plus 2 TBSP unsalted butter, softened
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
- 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- food dye, optional
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. (You can do 350 if you’re baking other things at the same time, just bake the cookies a little longer).
Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Combine the dry ingredients for the cookies in the bowl of an electric mixer and mix well. Add the 1/2 cup and 2 TBSP softened, unsalted butter and beat on medium speed until well-blended. Add the large egg and beat on medium speed until all the ingredients are thoroughly mixed.
(Note: Deb suggests using a food processor, but I have a medium-sized food processor and have never had much luck using a food processor for this. However, I have had plenty of luck mixing the ingredients by hand, back when the beloved carnivore lived in Tennessee in a dudepartment without many standard kitchen appliances.)
When it comes to forming the cookies, you have two options — it’s really a matter of preference.
You can form the dough into small balls less than one inch in diameter–rounded teaspoons work. Then, you can flatten the balls of dough, either by pressing them down into the parchment-lined cookie sheet with your hand or by smushing them between your hands and placing them on the cookie sheet.
If you use this method, make sure to smooth with your fingers any large cracks that develop in the outer edge of the cookie.
The second method is just to roll the cookies out on a lightly-floured surface, until the dough is 1/4 inch thick. Cut the dough with a small circular cookie cutter and transfer the cut-outs to the cookie sheet.
Frankly, both methods take approximately the same amount of time, so choose whichever method works the best for you.
Bake the cookies for 8 – 10 minutes, rotating halfway through the baking time if your oven is finicky.
Remove the cookies from the oven and let the cookies sit for 30 seconds to 1 minute on the cookie sheet. Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack and cool completely.
While the cookies are cooling, make the filling. Beat the shortening and butter together until thoroughly blended. Add in the confectioner’s sugar a half-cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and beat the filling on medium speed until fluffy and tempting.
If you want to make patriotic or otherwise fun-colored cookies, split the filling into as many equal parts as the number of colors you want to make. For each color, take one of the parts of filling, add in several drops of food dye, and blend until the filling is an even color. Sadly, you have to wash the bowl of the mixer after making each different color of dough, or you’ll cross-contaminate the dough with the food dye you used previously. This is one of those times I wish we hadn’t given our hand mixer away (and thus, one of those times that I have to tell my husband he was right about something. Darn).
Assemble the cookies. First, sort the cookies, matching up cookies that are roughly equal in size. Yes, theoretically, they should all come out the same size, but I’m not Martha Stewart, and I make imperfect cookies — if you’re Martha, feel free to skip this step.
Once again, you have two options. First, you can use a pastry bag to make blobs of filling on the bottom side of one cookie and then smush the matching cookie on top. I have never used this method. I have always washed my hands thoroughly, taken a small chunk of dough, placed it on the bottom side of one cookie, and sort of shaped it with my fingers till it looked round-ish. Then I put the matching cookie on top and smush them together a bit. I started using this method because the first time I made these, I was making them in the beloved carnivore’s dudepartment, and my attempts to create a makeshift pastry bag out of a cut Ziploc bag were not working out well. Now, it’s habit, and it works well.
These cookies will keep well and will stay fresh for at least a week, if you can keep yourself from devouring them.
They also, like store-bought Oreos, go well with a glass of milk.
That’s a mug from the best independent bookstore in the country, The Learned Owl. Sadly, I don’t live in Ohio anymore, so I no longer live within driving distance of this miraculous place. But I still have my mug.