Saturday, October 09, 2010

Reacquainting Myself with the Oreo Cookie

Oreo cookies are an American favorite that have remained virtually unchanged since they were introduced to us in 1912. Today, the original cookie has become an icon of our childhood days, and has provided Nabisco with an opportunity to build upon that Oreo cookie empire. Now we have more than 60 Oreo SKUs to choose from, including things like Double Stuf, Golden Oreos, White Fudge Covered with Chocolate Creme, Minis, low-carb Oreos, Halloween with orange crème, and limited edition football-shaped Oreos for tailgate parties. There is an Oreo for every occasion.
And, if you are looking to enjoy the flavor of Oreos outside of the cookie experience, there is a world of recipes that allow you to do so – from piecrusts, to mixing them Cool Whip, or deep-fried Oreos. If that isn’t enough, you can also find the Oreo ‘flavor’ in a host of packaged goods including Oreo-flavored cereal, Oreo cookie ice cream, and even a Japanese Oreo Matcha candy bar.
With all that Oreo cookie goodness surrounding me, I have to admit that I can’t remember the last time I ate an Oreo cookie. Am I un-American? Or just turned off by what can be found on the ingredient list?

Sugar, Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine
Mononitrate [Vitamin B1], Riboflavin [Vitamin B2], Folic Acid), Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Cococ (Processed with Alkali), High Fructose Corn Syrup, Whey (from Milk), Cornstarch, Baking Soda, Salt, Soy Lecithin (Emulsifier), Vanillin - an Artificial Flavor, Chocolate.

Yep, that’s what an Oreo is made of, and that list of undesirable ingredients just doesn’t sit well with me.
Actually, I don’t think it sat well with my brother either. I can still vividly remember the day nearly 35 years ago when he downed a whole row of Oreos. That night, he got sick . . . all over me ;-(
Needless to say, I haven’t been a big fan of Oreos since . . . until the other day.

A care package arrived from Mom. Among the craft supplies for the kids, Halloween decorations, and pictures from their latest European trip, was a small container of homemade Oreos.

They didn’t last long. The homemade version tasted just as I had remembered, only better. And, while they probably aren’t the healthiest treat to keep around, the recipe offered me a version of the store-bought variety that I could live with.

This weekend, I am once again becoming an Oreo fan, except this time around, it’s the homemade version. And, I may even make an extra batch and send them to my brother. (This time, I will keep my distance).


Makes about 30.

1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. baking powder
1 ½ cups sugar, plus more for flattening cookies
10 tablespoons (1 ¼ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg, room temperature

Vanilla Cream Filling

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Into a medium-size bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream sugar and butter until light and fluffy, about two minutes.  Add egg; beat to combine.  With mixer on low speed, gradually add the flour mixture; continue beating until dough is well combined.

3. Using a 1 ¼ inch ice cream scoop, drop dough onto parchment-lined baking sheets about two inches apart.  Dip bottom of a glass in sugar; press to flatten cookies to about 1/8 inch thick. (You may need to carefully remove dough from glass with a thin metal spatula.)

4. Transfer to oven, and bake until cookies are firm, about 10 to 12 minutes, rotating baking sheets halfway through.  Transfer baking sheets to wire racks to cool completely.

5. Place cream filling in a pastry bag fitted with a piping tip, and pipe about 1 tablespoon filling onto the flat side of half the cookies.  Place remaining cookies on top, and gently press on each to squeeze filling to edges.  Filled cookies can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature up to two days.


Makes about 1 cup.

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup solid vegetable shortening
3 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and shortening until well combined.  With mixer on low speed, gradually add the confectioners’ sugar, and continue beating until light and fluffy, about two minutes.  Add the vanilla, and beat to combine.  Set aside at room temperature until ready to use.

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