Friday, July 29, 2011

Not Quite an Oreo or a Whoopie Pie, but in Between

photo by Anthony Palatta

I've been making an easier version of Martha Stewart chocolate cream sandwich cookies (a.k.a. Oreos) for quite some time now, but I wanted to try the more difficult version, just to compare.

Both cookies are delicious. The easier version results in a denser, darker, crisper cookie, with a stiffer cream filling.  This more labor-intensive version gives you a softer, more cakelike cookie with a runnier filling, almost like a whoopie pie, but slimmer.

The downside of this cookie is that the dough is difficult to handle. It's quite soft and you have to freeze it in order to cut it and transfer it to a baking sheet. By the time you reroll the scraps, you have to put it in the freezer again to work with it.

Also, the cooking time in Martha's cookbook was a bit long, resulting in my first batch of cookies burning on the bottoms.  Then again, chocolate cookies are notoriously difficult, since there's no "golden brown" color at the edges to tip you off that they're done. Also, they often sit for a while on the baking sheet to firm up. You may want to do a practice run with one cookie to see how it responds in your oven.

Anthony thought of tinting the filling different colors, just to make them pretty, as you can see in the picture. But it could be fun to add some extract as well to flavor the filling to match the colors...

Chocolate Wafer Sandwich Cookies
(from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook)

1 1/4 cups flour
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temp
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
Vanilla Cream Filling (see below)

Mix dry ingredients.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy, then add egg and vanilla, just to combine.  Next, on low speed, add dry ingredient mixture.

Pour out dough and flatten into two discs.  Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Roll out the dough to 1/8 inch thickness, then freeze until very firm, about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350.  Quickly cut out rounds with 2-inch cookie cutter.  (If dough softens too much, put it back in the freezer to chill once more).  Freeze cut cookie dough once more until firm, about 15 minutes.

Bake about 10 minutes, until cookie centers feel firm when lightly pressed.  Transfer to racks to cool.

Fill with Vanilla Cream filling.

Vanilla Cream Filling

1-1/3 cups confectioner's sugar
1/3 cup vegetable shortening
1/3 cup unsalted butter, room temp
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Beat all ingredients for about 3 to 4 minutes.

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