Wednesday, June 5, 2013

homemade oreos.

Oreos will always and forever make me nostalgic for the summers of my youth.  They make me think about mornings spent at the pool with my friends, swimming for hours until our hands and toes turned to raisins.  They make me think of afternoons at the beach where my siblings and I would lie on sheets covered in a combination of sand and cookie crumbs.  Oreo’s make me think about long lazy days.   The kind that only exists during the months of June – August when days are so long they practically require a sugary afternoon snack, the snack of choice being an Oreo cookie.  I’ve fallen hard for the combination of chocolaty crispy cookie with a creamy sweet center.  It’s perfection.  It melts my heart.   It makes me ache for childhood. 

Recently I’ve thought a lot about a homemade Oreo, one that is reminiscent of my youth but updated and a little more homey.  This recipe produces an Oreo even better I could have ever imagined.  The cookie itself is crumbly with a deep chocolate flavor (so much more adult in taste!).  The filling is pure creamy sugary vanilla that somehow balances perfectly with the cookie.  It’s the kind of thing you want to pack on a picnic and eat during the days of summer when you want to be a little kid again.  I promise it will transport you there.       

Homemade Oreos
Recipe from Flour by Joanne Chang

Ok!  Some notes.  The original cookie from Flour Bakery in Boston is rather large in size (about 3 inches in diameter) which makes it perfect for sharing (or if you are feeling particularly indulgent a splurge for one and let’s be honest if you are at Flour you splurge).  I find if you are bringing these to a party that a smaller size (about 2 inches in diameter) is more conducive (and more reminiscent of the original).  If you choose to make these in the smaller size you may want to roll the dough into 2 logs instead of 1 really long log as that makes it easier to store in the fridge.   I also recommend storing them in the fridge until you are ready to serve them and then take them out about 30 minutes before serving to bring to room temperature.  The finished cookies can also be frozen in an air tight container. 

For the cookies

1 cup (2 sticks/228 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
¾ cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup (200 grams) semisweet chocolate chips, melted and cooled slightly
1 eggs
1 ½ cups (210 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
¾ cup (90 grams) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon baking soda

For the frosting

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 2/3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon milk
Pinch of kosher salt

For the cookies: In a medium bowl, whisk together the butter and sugar until well combined. Whisk in the vanilla and chocolate. Add the egg and whisk until thoroughly incorporated.  Set aside.

In another medium bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda until well mixed. Using a wooden spoon or spatula, stir the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture. The dough will start to seem too floury and you may find it easiest to switch to mixing it with your hands until it comes together. It will have the consistency of Play-Doh. Let the dough sit at room temperature for about 1 hour to firm up.

Transfer the dough to a 15-inch square sheet of parchment or waxed paper. Using your hands, shape the dough into a rough log about 10 inches long and 2-1/2 inches in diameter (see note above about size and shaping). Place the log at the edge of the sheet of parchment paper, and roll the parchment around the log. With the log fully encased in parchment, roll it into a smoother log, keeping it at 2-1/2 inches in diameter. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or until firm. The log may settle and sink a bit in the fridge, so reroll it every 15 minutes or so to maintain a nice round log, if you like. If not, your cookies will be more oblong than round, which is not a bad thing taste-wise, though they won’t look like the famous packaged cookie. (At this point, the dough log can be well wrapped in plastic wrap and stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 1 month. If the dough is frozen, thaw overnight in the refrigerator before proceeding.)
Position a rack in the center of the oven, and heat the oven to 325°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or butter it.

Cut the dough log into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Place the slices about 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the cookies are firm to the touch. Check them frequently after 16 or 17 minutes, poking them in the middle. As soon as they feel firm to the touch, remove them from the oven. You can’t judge by color because they start out black. Let cool on the baking sheet on a wire rack to warm or room temperature. They don’t have to cool completely before you fill them, but you can’t fill them while they are hot.

For the frosting: While the cookies are cooling, make the frosting. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or a handheld mixer), beat the butter on low speed for about 30 seconds, or until completely smooth and soft. Add the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla and beat until the mixture is perfectly smooth. Add the milk and salt and again beat until smooth. It will look like white spackle and feel about the same—like putty. You can also mix this frosting by hand. Make sure the butter is very soft, and use your hands to mix and knead the confectioners’ sugar into the butter. You should have about 1 cup. (The filling can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Bring to room temperature before using.)

Scoop about 1 rounded tablespoon of the filling onto the bottom of 1 cookie. Top with a second cookie, bottom side down, then press the cookies together to spread the filling toward the edges. Repeat until all of the cookies are filled.

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