Monday, February 14, 2011

We made Oreos. Learn from our mistakes.

I've had this recipe from Smitten Kitchen on my list of baking projects to try for awhile.  Recently, I declared that every Monday is Baking Day with Bean, and he chose these from a list of options for today.  I swear some of the options are at least slightly healthier, but the only way to make these babies even a little healthier is to announce to everyone coming for a playdate that there will be homemade Oreos.  So we have to share. 

If ever I make these again, I will make a couple minor modifications.  First off, I will not be giving Bean the option of using the hand mixer instead of the food processor for making the cookie dough.  See, my planning-ahead fizzled at making sure we had all the ingredients.  So the butter was not room temperature.  When we started mixing it in, and Bean got so close so that he could see what was happening, a chunk of butter went through the mixers and shot dry ingredients everywhere.  Including into Bean's face.  It was simultaneously hilarious and pitiful.  It got in his eyes.

So he retreated to his bedroom and played with Duplos for a little while, while I got increasingly frustrated waiting for something to happen.  Finally, I dumped everything from the bowl into the food processor, and it went much faster.

So, the moral of the story is:  if you use cold butter, use the food processor!  Otherwise, at least slightly melt the butter in the microwave or something!

The other issue I had was that I made the cookies way too big.  They're enormous.  Two or three times the size of a real Oreo.  Bean couldn't even eat an entire one!  (Oh....but I could....)  I think I'll use a cookie scoop next time, just to help me make them more uniform in size and get a sense of how big they should really be.

 Really Big Oreos.

Oh - and smashing the cookies was a great task for Bean.  I just had him wash his hands right before, and he enjoyed smushing.

Also, I did find these a bit too sweet, so I think I'll go with the 1/2 cup less sugar.  The filling is pretty much pure confectioner's sugar - so it will still be plenty sweet with less sugar in the cookies!  Oh, and regarding the confectioner's sugar, the original recipe says to sift it.  I sifted one cup and then my impatience got the best of me (oh, and I forgot to sift the second cup because I had a small person running amok in the kitchen and I was sure he was going to eat the cookies any minute!).  Unsifted works just fine...

When I filled the cookies, I just used a ziploc bag - I don't have a pastry bag.  I filled the bag, cut a hole in one corner, and filled the cookies.  And then Bean and I ate the leftover filling with out fingers.  Yum.

And Bean's suggestion was "if you made it chocolate in the icing, that would sound good."  And then he clarified, "put in the chocolate, and mix it all to-gevv-oh."  So maybe I'll try chocolate-filled Oreos next time!

So, here would be my recipe for next time:

Makes 25 to 30 sandwich cookies.  (Or maybe not.)
For the chocolate wafers:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa
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

For the filling:
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) room-temperature, unsalted butter
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Some Cocoa Powder...I'll have to guesstimate...maybe a half cup?  Maybe replacing some of the confectioner's sugar?
  1. Set two racks in the middle of the oven. Preheat to 375°F.
  2. In a food processor, or bowl of an electric mixer definitely a food processor, thoroughly mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda and powder, salt, and sugar. While pulsing, add the butter, and then the egg. Continue processing until dough comes together in a mass.
  3. Take rounded teaspoons small cookie scoops of batter and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet approximately two inches apart. With moistened hands, slightly flatten the dough. Bake for 9 minutes, rotating once for even baking. Set baking sheets on a rack to cool.
  4. To make the cream, place butter and shortening in a mixing bowl, and at low speed, gradually beat in the sugar and vanilla. Turn the mixer on high and beat for 2 to 3 minutes until filling is light and fluffy.
  5. To assemble the cookies, in a pastry bag with a 1/2 inch, round tip, (or a ziploc bag with a hole cut in one corner) pipe teaspoon-size blobs of cream into the center of one cookie (or, if you make gigantic cookies like I did, make a giant mound...). Place another cookie, equal in size to the first, on top of the cream. (This was another fun thing for Bean - trying to match sizes of cookies!) Lightly press, to work the filling evenly to the outsides of the cookie. Continue this process until all the cookies have been sandwiched with cream. 
And my final lesson was not to give Bean a full glass of milk.  There was milk everywhere, even though he was narrating his actions like this:  "wait for it to stop careful.  Don't drip..."

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