My first experience of replica Oreo cookies was on a dodgy bus in Nicaragua.
Dan and I were up at dawn to board a chicken bus to the capital, Managua where we were hustled off the bus (nearly losing our backpacks in the process) and left to pick up a waiting cab at the side of a (veryextremelyohmygod) busy road. The cab, which characteristically had no seat belts or doors that opened from the inside, took us on a crazy drive across town to the “bus station” where we awaited our next vehicle to speed us onto Leon.
Exhausted, sweaty, stressed out, and ready to be at our gorgeous hotel already, we were both silently questioning our decision to “rough it” and go cheap to get to our destination. Sometimes this kind of roughing it is fun…sometimes it is terrifying. This fell somewhere in the middle.
At the bus station as we sat waiting for our mini-bus to fill up with passengers, men and women came up to the windows selling snacks, drinks, and vigoron to hot, hungry passengers. Dan spotted coca cola and Oreo cookies in one woman’s overflowing basket of wares.
Never has he torn into something with so much vigour as those Oreo cookies. We each swigged cold coke and shoved one of the Oreos into our mouths, anticipating the taste of home, comfort, and normality. What we actually tasted was a weird, totally not delicious cookie. They were fake.
We laughed about it hysterically, as though it summed up everything about that little journey. It’s still one of those lingering memories that we laugh about now and I sense we will for some time to come.
These cookies are tasty but again…so not Oreo cookies. Dan put me straight about that immediately. That doesn’t mean that they’re not delicious chocolate wafer cookies with a rich vanilla-creme centre. It just means they’re not the same as Oreo cookies and I’ve finally learned my lesson. I’ll stop trying to replicate something that frankly cannot be improved.
Homemade Oreo Cookies
adapted from Smitten Kitchen
For the chocolate wafers:
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups sugar (I vote one – they’re pretty sweet with the filling otherwise)
- 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 bowl thoroughly mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda and powder, salt, and sugar. Cut the butter into the mix and then the egg, combining well. Continue 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 gradually beat in the sugar and vanilla. Beat vigorously 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. Alternatively, spread with a butter knife. 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.
Makes 25 to 30 sandwich cookies