Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Dirty Cookies

When DrRuckus was at work last night, I looked at porn. Food porn that is! I was searching for inspiration for a delectable and fun treat to bring with me to our annual Moms' Spa Weekend on Friday and Saturday (yay!), and ended up finding all sorts of naughty things.

For some reason, I had an idea to look for homemade Oreo cookies. I have no idea how that got into my head. I never buy nor eat Oreos. Z Man refers to them as "dirty cookies" because of the mess they leave on your face (which, apparently, is caused by the black cocoa powder. I don't have it but will be putting it on my next KAF order). One quickie Google of "homemade oreos" and I found a fantastic food blogger who had a recipe and the most amazing pics of her homemade oreos. Smitten Kitchen was immediately bookmarked after I tried to scratch and sniff my monitor for those cookies. I was so on board with one of her commenters who said, "Brilliant! This falls right into my 'why buy it when i can make it for twice the cost and 20 times the work' ethic." That is so me!

After that, I moved on. I thought that the Oreos looked fantastic and I knew that I would be making them soon, but they would not be the right thing for our outing. I got it in my head that cupcakes would be more festive and happily spent the next few hours (no kidding, hours) looking at cupcake blogs. I finally settled on my choice for Friday night: vegan margarita cupcakes since margaritas are delicious, celebratory and probably the official drink of Texas. Plus my friend who is nursing dairy intolerant twins will be with us so she can partake in the treat! (Don't worry, the alcohol is cooked out during baking!)

Anyways, today I was gathering the ingredients for the cupcakes and I purchased vegan, organic shortening. I was going to get started on my cuppersons, but realized that I didn't have enough limes. However, I remembered that this same shortening was one of the ingredients in the filling of the homemade Oreos. How convenient! (Yeah right, as if this was not my plan the whole time, to do both, this week!) I had the ingredients, DrRuckus was working, Smitten Kitchen's recipe looked so easy, my kids were exhausted and in bed before 7, so the stars were aligned to make my Oreos.

From Smitten Kitchen:

Homemade Oreos
Adapted from Retro Desserts, Wayne Brachman

Let’s talk about the sugar for a minute, shall we? This is a sweet cookie. A good, sweet cookie. Yet, if you think of an actual Oreos, the wafers are fairly un-sweet and actually on the slightly salty side, which contrasts with the super-sweetness of the filling bringing harmony, happiness, yada yada. If you want your cookie closer to that original, you can take out a full half-cup of the sugar. If you want to make the cookie by itself (as I did a while back for ice cream sandwiches), go ahead and use the full amount.

Makes 25 to 30 sandwich cookies

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 to 1 1/2 cups sugar [see recipe note]
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

Set two racks in the middle of the oven. Preheat to 375°F.
In a food processor, or bowl of an electric mixer, thoroughly mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda and powder, salt, and sugar. While pulsing, or on low speed, add the butter, and then the egg. Continue processing or mixing until dough comes together in a mass.
Take rounded teaspoons 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.
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.
To assemble the cookies, in a pastry bag with a 1/2 inch, round tip, pipe teaspoon-size blobs of cream into the center of one cookie. Place another cookie, equal in size to the first, on top of the cream. 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. Dunk generously in a large glass of milk.

These really are super easy to make, but I do have a couple of notes:
1. I made most of them them too big. I used my teaspoon ice cream scoop to scoop them and then smooshed them down with a piece of parchment under a measuring cup. This worked great in getting the cookies to perfect shape and width, but they spread in the oven and they are about 4 inches in diameter.
2. The ones I baked on Silpat and my good cookie sheets did not puff up as much. The ones on parchment and old cookie sheets puffed up so I just smooshed them with the same parchment/measuring cup as soon as they came out of the oven.
3. I ran out of filling near the end and had to whip up another batch. I only used a little and have a bunch left in a container. I should have thrown it away because my dear husband does not need to be eating it with a spoon, like I know he will.
4. I made some that were tiny, little one inchers, and these baked in only 4 minutes. They are cute little bite size morsels and would look great on top of a cupcake!

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