And here we find ourselves at Monday again after a short semi-relaxing, semi-despairing weekend.
Kristen is in the thick of studying for finals and I've forgotten how much I don't miss that. To be fair, design students usually finished their finals the week before normal schedule. Still, I don't miss it at all. What I do miss are the long winter breaks where all I did was make food (surprise!), decorate cookies, paint ceramics, chat with Popo, go on mini adventures, and play board games with Qiao. All of this will be consolidated to a long weekend this year. Adulting is tough.
This weekend was three-quarters delicious and one-quarter disaster. Sometimes, I have these grand visions in my head of food projects that I want to tackle. Other times, I make up lunch as part of the great fridge clean-out. This weekend's successes included that random hash, some jook from scratch complete with Lay's potato chips, Kristen's lemon chiffon cake, banh mi sandwiches, and some chocolate buns (actually, this was a semi-success).
What wasn't a success were some Yoda-shaped Star Wars buns made green from matcha powder and filled with adzuki bean. I'll go into more detail about that when my Kitchen Mishaps post comes out at the end of the month. Let's just say I had two attempts and ended the night terribly disappointed. Now, I have some sad Yodas that look more like the pigs from Angry Birds with the texture of bagels in my freezer.
Instead, this week you get the Homemade Oreos I made almost a month ago. I was saving this for a rainy day but it seems like that rainy day came earlier than I expected.
Kristen was the one who started making these Homemade Oreos a few years back. Some versions were more cakey like a whoopie pie, some versions had an interesting texture because of the use of dark cocoa (not recommended), and some were cut using a bottle cap. But all were incredibly addicting.
So when my hapkido school had a post-black-belt-test-after-party last month, these were the cookies I decided to bring. Everyone oohed and aahed and ate them all. Arriving with a container full of cookies and coming home with it empty is my definition of success.
These cookies are a little bit time consuming but there are certain measures you can take to split up the steps if you find you are crunched on time.
Make the dough the night before and have it chill over night. It has to chill for an hour before you can roll it out anyways.
Cut and bake the cookies ahead of time and leave them out in an airtight container or ziploc bag for several days or in the freezer for several weeks to a month.
Assemble the frosting and freeze it in an airtight container/ziploc bag or save it in the fridge for up to a month.
Assemble the cookies a day ahead and have them sit in an airtight container overnight. They're actually better this way as the flavors meld together as the cookies soften slightly.
Other than the longer assembly steps, the dough and filling are easy to mix together.
To make small, Oreo-sized cookies, use a cookie cutter that is 1 - 1.5 inches in diameter. If you don't have a cookie cutter, a bottle cap also works. Or, use another shape altogether which makes these perfect for the upcoming holidays. For the filling, place it in a piping bag or ziploc bag with the end snipped off. Be careful not to fill the bag all the way to the top with the filling or you'll risk having an explosion on the other end. Not pleasant.
These cookies are on another level compared to regular Oreos. Packaged cookies are not my favorite and Oreos are definitely not at the top of that list. I think it's because the cookies are too crunchy and the filling is just too sweet and too much. I make a bad American.
These on the other hand are chocolatey and slightly chewy with a creamy filling that melts in your mouth.
By all means, if you like your Oreos crunchy, bake them a few minutes longer. But, if you want them to be not so crunchy, take them out of the oven just as the tops are slightly soft to the touch.
It's a homemade Oreo package, too!
These would be great half dipped in melted chocolate and coated in candy canes, just saying.
Perhaps I should just call these Vanilla Cream Filled Chocolate Cookies instead? But, that's a mouthful.
Adapted from this recipe from momables.com
Yields: 6 dozen 1½-inch cookies
This recipe can easily be halved.
See above for notes on how to split the steps up.
Use regular cocoa powder versus dark or black cocoa. Something about the dark chocolate changes the texture of the cookie.
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup cocoa powder
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
3-3½ cups powdered sugar, sifted
Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Cream together the butter and the sugar. Add the egg and vanilla, scraping down when necessary. Add the sifted mixture to the butter mixture and mix on low until incorporated.
Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour - overnight. Once the dough is chilled, preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a non-stick mat.
Cut the dough into 4 pieces. Roll the one section of dough on a lightly floured work surface until about ⅛ - ¼-inch thick. Cut in the shape of your choice and bake for 8-10 minutes or until the tops are slightly soft to your touch. Longer baking time may be required for larger cookies.
Remove from the baking sheet and set to cool completely on a wire rack. Continue with the rest of the dough, allowing it to chill in the fridge in between rolling until all of the dough is finished.
Cream together the butter, milk, vanilla and salt until well incorporated and smooth.
Add the sifted powder sugar on low speed until well incorporated. You want the filling to be slightly thicker than cake frosting.
Transfer the filling to a piping bag or plastic bag. It's easy to fill a bag by pulling the sides over a glass and scooping spoonfuls in that way. Once the bag is filled about halfway, push the filling down to release any air bubbles and trim the end. Or, use a knife or offset spatula to fill the cookies.
Fill one side of the cookie leaving a little bit of room on the edge. Top with another cookie and press down to stick together.