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.
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?
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.
- Homemade Oreos
- makes about 28 1 7/8″ sandwich 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
1/2 tsp. vanilla
113g (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
1/4 cup caster sugar
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.