Monday, October 29, 2012

Homemade Oreos

A perfect treat to make for Halloween this year: homemade Oreos. Homemade versions of store bought items are always great because you can control the amount of fat and sugar and you know there are no chemical preservatives.

Flour Bakery (has multiple locations in Boston) makes homemade Oreos that are amazing. If you recall, I recreated their awesome sticky buns, which are also amazing. Anyway, this is Flour Bakery's recipe, not my own, so all credit where credit is due.

Ingredients [makes 3 dozen cookies]:
2 sticks of unsalted butter, melted
7 oz. chocolate (I used dark 70% cacao)
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1-1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder, unsweetened (I used dark cocoa powder)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
Start by melting the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. The process will depend on your microwave but what I like to do is set it on medium level and microwave it for 3 to 4 minutes, pausing the microwave every 30 seconds or so to stir. Give the chocolate a good stir after you remove it from the microwave and then set it aside to cool.

In a medium sized bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Carefully stir with a fork to combine. I say "carefully" because cocoa powder is really fine and light and it will poof up if you're too aggressive with it.
Next, melt the butter (I used the microwave again for 2 minutes on high). Whisk in the sugar until the mixture is uniform.
Next, add in the chocolate and whisk to combine. Then add in one egg, which should be at room temperature so as not to seize the chocolate and/or butter. Whisk the mixture until it's smooth and then switch to a wooden spoon.
By the way, make sure to use a rubber spatula to scrape all of the melted chocolate out of the bowl. It's a shame to waste any of it.
Scoop the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients a bit at a time and stir with the spoon until the mixture resembles a giant dirt clod. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
After 1 hour in the fridge, the batter should be much stiffer but still pliable. [[By the way, I suspect that this dough woul d make an amazing pie crust. To use as a pie crust, I'd smash this thing into a pie tin at this point, cover with plastic wrap or parchment and then refrigerate]]. If you're just taking the regular route and making cookies, divide the dough into workable portions (I divided mine in half), form each portion of dough into a log shape and wrap up with parchment paper (which makes it look like a giant tootsie roll). Refrigerate again for at least 2 hours or overnight. At this point, the dough can also be frozen. To freeze the dough, wrap up in parchment and then place in an air-tight container or zip-top bag (to prevent freezer burn and funky smell absorption).
Once the dough is firmed up enough, it will be ready to slice and bake. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Place cookies on a sheet pan (lined with either parchment or a silicone baking mat) and bake for 15 minutes until firm. Obviously, the cookies won't change color to indicate that they're burning so be mindful of the oven.
Let the cookies cool on the baking pan for 5 minutes or so.
Once they've cooled a bit on the sheet pan, move the cookies to a cooling rack.
Meanwhile, you can begin to work on the filling. Instead of a buttercream, which I despise for being too sweet, I decided to use a marshmallow frosting.
Ingredients:
1 egg white
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract + food coloring (optional)
Start by combining sugar, cream of tartar, and water in a sauce pan. Turn the heat on medium low and let the mixture heat up slowly. The sugar will dissolve and form a syrup which will then start bubbling rapidly. Remove from the heat immediately.
In a separate (clean and dry) bowl, whip egg whites to a soft peak.
Slowly drizzle in the hot syrup into the egg whites while continuously whipping. Continue beating for 10 minutes until the egg whites are really stiff and fluffy, like marshmallow. Add in vanilla extract and any food coloring, if you wish. I chose pink, which might be difficult to see, in honor of breast cancer awareness.
It's a bit easier to see the pink in this photo. It's subtle, because I don't like my food to look too artificial.
Place a dab of marshmallow frosting on the cooled cookies, spread out a bit with a knife, and then sandwich another cookie on top. I like to sort of swirl the two cookies together to make sure the filling is spread uniformly in between.
And tada, the cookies are complete and ready to be devoured.
And here is the recipe page:

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