Finally Out From Underneath My Rock

I hadn’t realized how long it had been since my last post until I was in the kitchen this morning, and noticed that all of my baking tools were spotlessly clean, each one exactly where I put it when we moved into our new house a month ago.  The only possible reason for this bizarre, perfect order in my kitchen is that it has been too long since I’ve baked.

As soon as I realized this, I raided my cabinets and went on a baking tear that left my beautiful, spotless kitchen covered in flour and cocoa powder, with a tower of dishes that looked like something of Dubai soaring from my sink.  And that may have been the moment that this place began to feel like home.

This recipe is one of my all-time favorites, a staple since I first dove into baking when I moved back from Istanbul.  The cookies are actually better than store-bought oreos, with a more intense, less sugary, chocolate flavor.  The icing is almost dead-on, if not a little better.  I tried something a little different this time, and used a cheesecake frosting.  I have to admit, it wasn’t quite as perfect as the traditional icing.

The bottom line: these cookies are delicious.  You need them.  No, seriously.

Right now.

“Oreo” Cookies

Recipe adapted from Sugar Cooking, originally from Smitten Kitchen

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder (as always, I used Hershey’s Special Dark)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup granulated sugar (the original recipe calls for 1 – 1 1/2 cups, but I prefer mine less tooth-achingly sweet)

10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 large egg

Cheesecake Filling

Recipe adapted from Cookies and Cups

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, slightly softened

4-ish cups sifted powdered sugar (you can always add a bit more to achieve your desired consistency)

I also added a few drops of blue and red food coloring, to create a lovely lavender color, and a splash of vanilla.

Tradition Cream Filling

Also adapted from Sugar Cooking

Even though I opted for the cheesecake frosting this time, this recipe for a denser filling is by far my favorite.  It tastes exactly like the filling in the store-bought cookies, and complements the cookies perfectly.

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/4 cup vegetable shortening (substituting butter for the shortening does change the taste and texture of the frosting, and not in a good way)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups sifted powdered sugar, or a bit more to achieve desired consistency

Directions for the Wafers

Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar until fully combined.

Add your butter and egg.  Mix with an electric mixer until the dough comes together in a ball.

Spoon rounded teaspoons (I used a half-tablespoon, to speed up the process) of dough onto parchment paper covered baking sheets.  Bake at 375 degrees for 9 minutes.  Allow to cool completely.

For the Cheesecake Filling

Whip together butter and cream cheese until smooth.  Add in your splash of vanilla.  Once fully combined, begin to sift in powdered sugar, making sure to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl after each addition.

Once you achieve the consistency you desire, add your food coloring or, if you’re going without, stick your frosting in the refridgerator to firm up for a few minutes.

To Assemble

Pipe frosting onto the backs of half your cookies, cover with the other half.  Let rest in refrigerator for a few minutes, for frosting to set.  If using the original frosting recipe, it’s not necessary to let the cookies set.

Enjoy!

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