Homemade Oreos for "Black Swan"

February 24, 2011

Is everyone excited about the Oscars? No. I am! Normally I don't watch award shows, I just wait for the highlights the following morning. But this year I'm actually going to sit down with some good food and a bottle of champagne, and keep my fingers crossed for Natalie Portman and Colin Firth. I've always been a fan of Natalie (she represents for all us bookish, smart, petite girls), and I'm so glad to see that her talent is getting the attention it deserves. Her performance in "Black Swan" is stellar. In my opinion, she has already earned that Oscar.

I wanted to make a dessert inspired by "Black Swan", but I wasn't in the mood for something as tedious as a layer cake. A few weeks ago I came across a recipe for homemade Oreos, and I thought, what better way to depict the light and the dark than an Oreo cookie?

These are the perfect example of two very different personalities crammed into one entity. On one had, you have the cookies, which are dark, richly seductive, and almost bitter. In contrast, the vanilla filling is light, sweet, and unassuming. Ultimately, the dark cookie consumes the sweet filling by attacking it from both sides...but I doubt that your taste buds will care about all the twisted psychology behind these. They'll be too busy enjoying the deliciousness and looking for a cold glass of milk.

Who are your Oscar favorites this year? *fingers crossed* for Natalie!

Homemade Oreos (adapted from Retro Desserts and smitten kitchen) Print

Cookie ingredients
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa (I used Hershey's Special Dark)
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1/4 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 cup of sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (that's 1 1/4 sticks) of unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 egg, at room temperature

Vanilla filling
1/4 cup (that's 1/2 a stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup (that's about 1/2 an 8oz package) of cream cheese, at room temperature
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and powder, salt, and sugar. On low speed, add the butter, and then the egg. Continue beating, gradually increasing the speed to medium, until dough comes together on the blade/paddle. [Note: It seems like it's never going to happen, but the dough will eventually come together. Just keep beating.]
Take rounded teaspoons of batter and place on the prepared sheets. Leave about 2-inches between each cookies. [Note: If you want your cookies to be larger, use 2 rounded teaspoonfuls. The cookies made with 1 teaspoon of dough were small and crunchy and tasted just like an actual Oreo. I'm weird and I wanted mine to be soft, so I made the rest larger.]
With moistened hands, slightly flatten the dough. Bake for 6-7 minutes. Allow the cookies to rest on the sheets for about 2 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack. Cool completely before adding the filling.

Place the butter and the cream cheese into the bowl of your mixer. Beat until light and fluffy. Gradually add the confectioners sugar and vanilla. Once combined, turn the mixer on high and beat for 2 to 3 minutes until filling is fluffy.
To assemble: Using 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. Press down lightly until the cream reaches the outer edges. [Note: If you're not as neurotic as I am about precision, you don't have to use a pastry bag. You can simply dollop a teaspoonful onto each cookie using...a teaspoon.]

Depending on the size you make them, this makes about 20-30 sandwich cookies.

Tuesdays with Dorie: Toasted Almond Scones

February 22, 2011

When I saw this week's Tuesdays with Dorie pick, I was so excited! I've been making googly eyes at these scones ever since I bought Dorie's book. Almonds and I are pretty tight. I know I can always turn to them if I think a recipe needs a little pick-me-up. So when almonds actually get to take center stage in a recipe, I'm in the front row, ready to give a standing ovation. And if ever a scone recipe deserves a round of applause, it's this one! I'm not a huge scone fan, and I don't know many scone fans, which is why I don't make them very often. But, based on this recipe, maybe I should start baking these coffee/tea companions more often.

S'mores Cupcakes

February 14, 2011

For months I've been having dreams about making these babies. It got to the point where I finally had to get up at 5am and just make a batch already.

Banoffee Pie

February 5, 2011

Hi Banoffee Pie. Is there an airport near by or is that just my heart taking off?

Candied Grapefruit Peels

February 3, 2011

It sounds good in theory, right? I thought it did. As a child I used to literally suck the juices out of lemons and limes. My parents had to hide them from me for fear that I would ruin my teeth before being able to experience the joy and confidence that comes with braces, retainer(s), and head-gear (did anyone else have to wear that horrible Hannibal Lecter-like contraption at night just for a slight overbite?) The plaid navy and white catholic school uniform was the icing on that gorgeous cake. So when I found a recipe for candied lemon peels, I thought "too predictable, too uniformy". Why not put the skins of some ruby red grapefruits to work? Much to my surprise, there are a few recipes out there, even more surprising, no one mentions the ensuing facial contortions upon taking a bite.

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