Monday, May 3, 2010


Sing it with me gang (and I apologize for the awful quality; but hey, it was the 80s):
Who's that kid with the faux-reo cookie; licking up the creamy middle like she did when she was little. . . . . it's hard to hide the kid inside when you're eatin' - a faux-r-e-o!!
Twice now in the last week, I have been faced with homemade oreo-ness; faux-reo if you will (and I will).  I don't know if I ever told you this dirty little secret of mine, but one of my All Time Favorite desserts was the Oreo Madness from TGIFriday's.  Really.  It was two coffee plate sized dark black oreo-esque cookies, with vanilla ice cream in the middle; drizzled with packets of hot fudge and caramel sauce that we'd nuke in the microwave.  Really.  And it was DIVINE.  Once I no longer worked there and didn't have access to them whenever I wanted (and when we had them in stock), I came to love brownies in place of the cookie.  It's still one of my absolute favorite combos.
Well then I was playing on the interwebs, discovering the world of black cocoa, and it's few uses (no really, what else do you use this stuff for?) and there you have it.  My introduction to the faux-reo.
THEN - I was reading Food Network Magazine (no, it's not enough to just watch it on tv every day, I also need to read about it on airplanes, yes - thanks for asking), and they reference this chocolate cookie ice cream sandwich with butter pecan ice cream and caramel and YES PLEASE.  And now I'm obsessing.  Which is maybe where the name for the replacement dessert at TGIF came from - Brownie Obsession.  Hmmm.

Thanks Kyle Minor!  I have GOT to get that King Arthur cookbook!  And I am TOTALLY making these with mint this Christmas. 


If they gave Pulitzer Prizes for cookbooks, The King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion would likely be among their oldest laureates. The basics are there, of course -- wheat bread, cream scones, shortbread, croissants, the perfect yellow cake -- but like a hymnal that ventures into the gems of modern church music, this book has charming and innovative variations and unique concoctions that make a baker sit up and take notice.

Black cocoa powder being as it is a hyper-Dutched version of standard cocoa powder usually far to powerful to use on it's own, needing to be added in small amounts to supplement regular Dutch-process cocoa to give it that je ne sais quoi that every baker wants to wow his audience with.  Here, though, it is the only "chocolate" used in the whole recipe, and stands on it's own only because it's relative bitterness is offset by the sweetness of the cookie and filling -- and probably to a large extent because it's the unmistakable taste of Oreos™ that so many of us know and love.

Remember to watch the time when baking these dark chocolate cookies... you won't be able to eyeball them to figure out when they're done since they start out almost black to begin with!  Get them to uniform thickness, watch your timer, and always know how accurate your oven temperature is.

Use a cookie scoop to help keep the cookies uniform in size; matching up two halves to make a whole sandwich cookie is SO much easier when you've taken that extra step ahead of time. If you want your filling to be stiffer and more like actual Oreo™ filling, you can also try adding 1 tsp + ¼ heaping tsp unflavored gelatin to 2 Tbsp of cold water and letting it sit for a few minutes, mixing the resulting slurry into the filling. I liked the addition of a Tbsp of salted butter for the richer flavor that both the butterfat and the salt brought to the table. If you want the mint version, crush up a few candy canes or peppermint candies to taste, or simply add a teaspoon or less of peppermint extract -- and maybe leave out the vanilla extract.

This recipe makes about 25 sandwich cookies that keep for 3-5 days at room temperature in an airtight container.

For the cookies:

    • 1 cup + 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
    • ¾ cup unsalted butter
    • ½ tsp salt
    • 1 tsp espresso powder (optional, mainly for use with Dutched cocoa)
    • 1 large egg
    • 1 Tbsp cold water
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
    • ¾ cup black cocoa or Dutch-process cocoa

For the filling:

    • 2 ½ cups confectioners' sugar
    • ½ cup vegetable shortening
    • 1 Tbsp salted butter (or unsalted with a dash of salt added), room temperature to slightly cool, but still mixable
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 2 teaspoons cold water*

*If you're adding the crushed peppermint candy, increase water to 2 Tbsp

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets, or more if you have them.

To make the cookies: In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat together the sugar, butter, salt, and espresso powder. That's right; there's no leavening in this recipe, so don't worry that something's been left out.

Beat in the egg, water, and vanilla, then the flour and cocoa. The dough will be very stiff.

Roll or scoop the dough into balls about the size of a chestnut (about 2 level teaspoons). A teaspoon-sized cookie scoop is IDEAL for this job. Place the dough balls on the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 1½" to 2" between them.

Use the flat bottom of a glass, dipped in cocoa as necessary to prevent sticking, to flatten the cookies to about 1/8" to 3/16" thick. Take a ruler and measure the cookies' thickness; you want to get pretty close to this measurement.

Bake the cookies (in batches if need be) for 18 to 20 minutes. It's important to bake them just the right amount of time; too little, and they won't be crisp; too much, and they'll scorch. Watch them closely at the end of the baking time, and if you start to smell scorching chocolate before the time is up, take them out. When they're done, remove the cookies from the oven, and allow them to cool completely, on a rack or on the pan.

While the cookies are cooling, make the filling: Beat together the sugar, shortening, butter and vanilla. It'll seem very dry at first, but will eventually begin to clump together.

Add the water a little at a time, beating till smooth and spreadable. The filing should be stiff, but not so stiff that you can't flatten it when you sandwich it between the cookies. Adding a little extra confectioners sugar can help stiffen up a too-loose dough.

Place one Tbsp filling in the center of one cookie; again, a teaspoon cookie scoop, slightly heaped, is perfect for this task. Place another cookie atop the filling, and squeeze to distribute the filling evenly. Repeat with the remaining cookies. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Now, take Kyle's faux-reo wafers (sans filling), and add the Food Network ice cream cookie plan and you're in business!  The business of delicious.

And if you're feeling gifty, here is the book I want.  Or you can pick it up for yourself if you'd prefer.


PJH said...

Hey, RD - thanks so much for the riff on our Faux-Reo recipe. It is indeed a Good Thing in Life. I'm with you on Oreos, too - in all forms, including that over-the-top dessert you describe... And thanks for mentioning us in the same sentence with "Pulitzer"! Cheers - PJ Hamel, King Arthur Flour baker/blogger (and Baker's Companion author)

Rogue Designs said...

Thanks PJ - I wish I could take credit for bestowing that honor upon you - but that was Kyle Minor's article that I reposted here to remind myself to try these awesome cookies!
In any case - I'm tickled that you found it and are pleased!