Thursday, April 19, 2012

Homemade Oreos

With the early arrival of warm weather on the east coast, summer activities have started early in DC, and I couldn't be happier.   Rooftop drinks, camping, and hikes through the Arboretum have been some recent (and future) weekend activities, with more plans made all the time (it's going to be a busy summer!).

This past weekend, we celebrated our first BBQ of the season, complete with corn hole, grilling, kegs of Yuengling, and margaritas.  In fact, I had so much fun that I forgot to take any pictures, so you'll have to use your imagination.

I'm always looking for a crowd pleaser at these sorts of events, so of course I volunteered to bring dessert and dmade Deb's homemade oreos.  Always a hit (and quite impressive, if I do say so myself), these cream-filled cookies are the perfect balance of crunchy and sweet to remind you of the original.  Yes, they're full of butter and sugar, but I guarantee that at least one person will be asking, "Who brought the Oreos??"

To start, make the cookies (then you'll make the filling while they're baking).  In a food processor, blend together flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt, and sugar.

Mix in the butter and blend until well combined.  If you don't have a food processor, cut the butter into the dry mixture with a pastry blender or two knives.

Add the egg and pulse to blend.  The dough will slowly come together and eventually form a ball.  If you don't have a food processor, use a hand or stand mixer to blend the egg into the dough.

Drop the dough by rounded half teaspoons onto a greased cookie sheet.  This makes a small cookie, similar to the size of a real Oreo.  Feel free to make them bigger if you like!  But we warned, they're very rich.  Once you've dropped them on the cookie sheet, roll each into a cute little ball using the palms of your hands.  Bake at 375 degrees for about 9 minutes.  If you want a softer cookie, bake them for 1 minute less.  When they're done baking, remove them from the cookie sheet immediately and put them on a rack to cool.

Meanwhile, make the filling.  You'll only need four ingredients: butter, shortening, confectioners sugar, and vanilla.

In a medium bowl, beat together the butter and shortening with a mixer.

Gradually mix in the confectioners sugar.  And do it slowly!  Or else you'll find yourself with a kitchen covered in white powder.

Next, add the vanilla and beat the filling for several minutes, or until it's nice and fluffy.  Using a butter knife, spread about 1-2 tablespoons of filling on half of the cookies.  Don't be shy about loading it up!  I was very frugal with it at first to make sure I had enough, but ended up with a lot left over.  So go crazy!  These were some of the earlier ones -

Top each cookie with another to make a sandwich.  Chances are, all of your cookies won't come out identical, so try to match up cookies of similar size and shape.

Then serve those babies up, and enjoy!  And make sure you save a couple for yourself, because they'll be sure to go quickly!

Homemade Oreos
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen, May 2007
Makes 25-30 sandwiches

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup baking cocoa (unsweetened Dutch process is recommended)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) room-temperature, unsalted butter
1 large egg

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) room-temperature, unsalted butter
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Make the cookies.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a food processor or using a mixer, blend together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and sugar.  Add the butter and mix until small crumbs are formed.  Add the egg and blend until a ball of dough is formed. Drop the dough by rounded half teaspoons (or full teaspoons for larger cookies) onto a greased cookie sheet and use the palms of your hands to roll each into a ball.  Bake for 8-9 minutes.  Place on rack to cool.

Make the filling.  Using a mixer, whip together the butter and shortening until fluffy.  Gradually mix in the confectioners sugar until incorporated.  Add the vanilla and beat for 2-3 minutes more, or until the filling is fluffy.  

Once the cookies are cooled, assemble the sandwich.  Using a knife, spread 1-2 tablespoons of filling on a cookie and top with another.  Repeat until this has been done for all the cookies. Store in an airtight container.     

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