Joanne Chang’s homemade Oreos are a definite adult upgrade made with intensely chocolatey cookies and filled with a lovely, buttery filling. They’re like Oreos but not quite–they’re even better.
Oreos used to be a mystery to me. The debates about splitting them and eating the filling first, eating them whole, or dunking them—none of it made any sense. My mom never bought commercial sweets, and she certainly never bought the almost-black cookies that looked burnt to her. For the same reason, they never appealed to me either—until one day when I finally bit into one at a friend’s house. Wow. I tried to convince my mom that Oreos were fantastic and that we really, really needed to buy them for after-school snacking. She refused, only saying that they looked too black to be good. Years later, I created my own version of an Oreo, made with real chocolate and bittersweet cocoa and filled with a creamy mixture of sugar, butter, and a little vanilla. It’s a decidedly grown-up version of the treat I fleetingly remember. And it’s delicious. Customers go crazy for them. At first, they expect a very sweet, vaguely chocolaty treat. Instead, they get an intense, rich chocolate cookie with a buttery vanilla cream filling—an Oreo like no other. Even Mom approves. When she visits, she always requests them for the care package I send home with her.–Joanne Chang
LC Dress Up Your Oreo Note
In the cookie world that exists within my house, just about any shortbread, biscotti, macaroon, brownie, or drop cookie can be made into a Christmas or holiday statement. Take this homemade Oreo. It can be dressed up for the holidays in many ways. The finished cookie could be dipped in chocolate and sprinkled with crushed candy canes. The filling could be spiked with about 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract, or you could tint the filling with a drop or two of food coloring (red or green for Christmas, pastels for Easter, or orange for Halloween). There’s no stopping what you can do.
For the cookies
For the filling
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 2/3 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon milk
- Pinch kosher salt
Make the cookies
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the butter and granulated sugar until well combined. Whisk in the vanilla and chocolate. Add the egg and whisk until thoroughly incorporated.
- In another medium bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda until well mixed. Using a wooden spoon or a fork, stir the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture. The dough will start to seem as though it’s too stiff, too floury. You may find it easier to switch to mixing it with your hands until the dough comes together and achieves the consistency of Play-Doh. Let the dough sit at room temperature for about 1 hour to firm up.
- Transfer the dough to a 15-inch square sheet of parchment or waxed paper. Using your hands, shape the dough into a log about 10 inches long and 2 to 2 1/2 inches in diameter. Place the log at the edge of the paper and roll the paper around the log. With the log fully encased in paper, roll it into a smoother log no more than 2 1/2 inches in diameter. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or until firm. The log may settle and sink a bit in the fridge; if you like, re-roll it every 15 minutes or so to maintain a nice round log. If not, your cookies will be more oblong than round, which is not a bad thing taste-wise, though they won’t look like the famous packaged cookie. (The dough can be wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 1 month. If the dough is frozen, thaw overnight in the refrigerator before proceeding.)
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F (163°C). Butter a baking sheet or line it with parchment paper.
- Slice the dough log into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Place the slices about 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the cookies are firm to the touch. Check them frequently after 15 or 16 minutes, poking them in the middle; as soon as they feel firm to the touch, remove them from the oven. You can’t judge by color because they start out black. Place the baking sheet on a wire rack and let the cookies cool on the baking sheet.
Make the frosting
- While the cookies are cooling, make the frosting. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a handheld mixer or even a wooden spoon, beat the butter on low speed for about 30 seconds, or until completely smooth and soft.
- Add the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla and beat until the mixture is perfectly smooth. Add the milk and salt and beat until smooth. The filling will look like white spackle and feel about the same—like putty. (You can also mix this frosting by hand, using your hands to mix and knead the confectioners’ sugar into the butter. Make sure the butter is very soft.) You should have about 1 cup. (The filling can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Bring to room temperature before using.)
Assemble the sandwich cookies
- Scoop about 1 rounded tablespoon of the filling onto the flat side of 1 cookie. Top with a second cookie, flat side down, then press the cookies together to spread the filling toward the edges. Repeat with the remaining cookies.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
These cookies aren’t exactly like the Oreos that many of us grew up with, but that’s not a bad thing since they’re amazing. The chocolate flavor is very deep, and the frosting is a delightfully sweet contrast. The cookie is much softer than store-bought Oreos, but after a day or so it takes on a crisper texture. Even if you’d rather stick to the store-bought Oreos, I encourage you to give these a try at least once—they really are a treat.
No one thought these were Oreos—they thought these were better, and more chocolatey. The only problem I had was that the filling was too loose, so I’d like to try again next time to get a better texture.
Originally published December 07, 2010