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Blast from the past: Homemade Oreos

oreos with milk

This post is not going to start with a fond childhood memory of eating Oreos accompanied by a tall glass of milk. I didn’t have that kind of childhood; my Mum doesn’t like sweet things much herself, and so endeavored to raise my sister and me to have similar tastes. When we were really young, the health quotient in our house was high. Cookies were always homemade (ginger snaps sweetened with molasses), peanut butter was natural and snacks consisted of a cup of frozen peas. We even drank unsweetened grapefruit juice, for heaven’s sake.

This changed once my sister and I got a bit older, of course. Perhaps it was too much effort for Mum to keep up the whole Earth-mother act, or maybe she just accepted that she’d lost us to the evils of sugar after we first tried orange juice at a friend’s house. Either way, we began to become a household of bought treats. (Much to my Dad’s relief, I imagine- he has a real sweet tooth.) 

My first Oreo-specific memories actually date from much later, though. High school, in fact. My parents’ house is only half a block from my old secondary, so naturally my place was the obvious hangout for lunchtime, spare periods, after school, etc. It wasn’t unusual for my Dad to come home at lunch to find ten shrieking 16-year-olds sitting around the dining room table.

oreos cooling

We each had our own unique lunchtime routine. Mira and Larissa would microwave the remaining dregs of morning tea from the teapot to a ridiculous temperature. (It didn’t matter how often I told them they were welcome to make a fresh pot- they evidently enjoyed having their throats scalded by tea that had been steeping for four hours.) Katy and Jessi would often buy their food from the school cafeteria (anyone else remember those curly fries?), and Margaux, with her homemade lunch, would muse about opening her own cafe one day. 

Myself? I’d heat up a no name brand burrito from Loblaws (you may scoff, but don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it) before enjoying a cup of fresh tea and two cookies. Often, those cookies were Oreos. I remember because around the year 2000, Oreos was loudly (proudly?) proclaiming on the side of their boxes: Only 3 1/2 grams of fat per cookie!, which never failed to make us all laugh hysterically (cue my Dad coming home). Because, I’m not really a calorie-counter, but I wouldn’t call three and a half grams of fat per cookie something to brag about, would you? 

oreos icing

Having said that, I have no idea how much fat is in these homemade Oreos, nor do I want to know. I botched the recipe together from several that I found online, with a dose of my own culinary intuition, and wasn’t particularly concerned with the caloric reward. The taste reward more than makes up for it, anyway.

These are truly the Oreos you (might) remember from childhood: dark, chocolatey and slighly salty, with a sweet vanilla-scented filling. Delicious with milk but even better with a cup of hot tea, they keep well, too. If my Mum had given me these as a child, the orange juice might not have been such a shock to the system. 

oreos in tupperware

  • Homemade Oreos
  • makes about 28 1 7/8″ sandwich cookies
  • Cookies
    70g (5 tablespoons) unsalted butter
    1 1/4 cups plain flour
    3/4 cup cocoa powder
    1/2 tsp. baking powder
    1/4 tsp. baking soda
    1/4 tsp. salt
    1/3 cup caster sugar
    1/3 cup dark brown sugar
    1 egg
    1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • Icing
    113g (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    1 1/2 cups icing sugar
    1/4 cup caster sugar
    pinch salt
    1 tsp. vanilla  
  • 1. In a small saucepan, heat the butter gently until just melted. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly. 

    2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside. 

    3. Add the sugars to the (now slightly cooled) butter and whisk until no lumps remain. Add the egg and vanilla and keep whisking until smooth and creamy. 

    4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix with a wooden spoon or dough whisk. This is a dry dough, so you will probably need to get in with your hands, as well. Once the dough has come together into a cohesive ball, divide into two separate pieces. Wrap each in clingfilm and place in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.

    5. Preheat your oven to  170°C/ 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and remove the dough from the fridge. Roll out, between two pieces of parchment, to a thickness of 1/8″. Using a 1 7/8″, cut out circles and place on the waiting baking sheets. (Obviously, you can use whatever size cutter you want, but I like these to be quite small.)  

    6. Bake cookies for 8 minutes, and remove to a wire rack to cool completely before icing. 

    7. To make the icing, beat the butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Slowly add the sugars, salt and vanilla, and continue beating until just combined. 

    8. Using a 1/2″ tip on a piping bag, pipe large dollops (about one teaspoon) into the centre of half the cookies. With a “matching cookie” (I pair them up according to size first) gently press down on the icing until it just reaches the sides. These cookies will keep in an airtight container for one week, and actually improve for for a day or so.


  1. MH says:

    WOW! These are beautiful AND delicious looking. Well done, woman!

  2. Hilary says:

    I loved this post – so many childhood memories! The tea anecdote also reminds me of the time we had Alan over for tea and I couldn’t understand why Dad was making a fresh pot because we had a two-hour old pot that was still warm and could just be reheated in the microwave…

    These cookies are absolutely gorgeous. They actually look tastier than the real thing.

  3. Mum says:

    I’d forgotten the frozen peas–but you both loved them. No, it was your Dad’s sweet tooth that did the health regime in. great post, Ele.

  4. Larissa says:

    Oh the hot tea…still drink it super hot these days but have given myself the luxury of making fresh tea…
    You also used to eat those chicken pot pies, delicious trans-fat goodness :)
    The cookies look delicious.

  5. Ele says:

    MH- thanks, woman. If you come visit me I’ll make you a whole batch ;)

    Hil- I know, fond memories indeed. I think you’re right and these are actually better than the real thing.

    Mum- I still love frozen peas as a snack! So yummy. Thank God for Dad, I guess ;)

    Larissa- Oh, I remember the pot pies, they were so good. Actually, they sort of turn my stomach when I think of them now, but I still crave those burritos. I think I might have to appropriate some kind of no-name brand burrito hack this week…

  6. Amy says:

    These are great!! And I just had to add how nice it is that you include metric AND standard measurements, that is one of the few turn offs I run into when considering a recipe. Thanks again!

  7. Ele says:

    Hi Amy, thanks! I confess that I actually don’t do that as often as I’d like, but always for butter at the very least. It might be just me, but weighing butter is just SO much easier than trying to measure out 5 Tablespoons! I like to include both °C and °F temperatures, too.

    You’ve actually given me something to think about- maybe I will make more of an effort to show every recipe in both systems in the future…. hmmm…


  8. Holly May says:

    I just made these :) I have eyed copycat oreo recipes for quite sometime and this one was the final straw, it was my turn to make them. they turned out very nice! they don’t taste exactly like the real mccoy, but the general idea is there, and hell, any chocolate sandwich cookie is good in my book! next time i might fiddle with a different recipe for the filling, as this one doesn’t match the oreo filling really.

    i’m looking forward to using this as a base to make some mint chocolate oreos, fudge/white fudge covered, and strawberry creme “oreos” :)


  9. Ele says:

    Hi Holly May, glad you liked the recipe! I agree that the filling isn’t quite there- most recipes I came across used half butter and half shortening, which might help. The idea of eating shortening in its raw form like that slightly turns my stomach, so I opted for all butter in mine ;)

    Also- the texture should improve over the next day or two. At first I thought the filling was too soft, but mine firmed up nicely.

    Mint oreos sound so good! I’ll have to try flavoured versions next time.

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  13. Nicolle says:

    Just made these for a last minute party. So easy! Your directions are great. The cookies are yummy. Thanks so much for a very sweet post.

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