Homemade Oreos

Slightly belated for Valentine’s day, I wanted to share with all of you the most wonderful recipe that no one can resist.  Homemade Oreos.

This recipe has been in the back of my mind for a while.  It has made the rounds of food blogs, and it seems everyone is making them now.  I can tell you why now.

These. Are. Amazing.  And dare I say . . . BETTER than actual Oreos. *gasp*  I know.  Why better?  Because, they have a nice homemade crunch without all the crazy unintelligible chemical ingredients.  Soy lecithin?  What?  Why do I need that in my cookie?

Plus, they are much easier to make than I anticipated.  I know I say that a lot in this blog, but part of the reason I stared at this recipe for about a year and a half is that I kept thinking about all the work involved in making a homemade sandwich cookie.  First you have to make the cookie.  Then you have to concoct some sort of filling.  I mean, its double the dishes.  And I’m not one for a ton of work.

There are two steps to this cookie.  I made them on two different days, which was totally fine and helps save on clean up.  I got a little nervous when the cookies were in the oven, thinking they looked a little too fluffy when cooking.  But sure enough, they deflated and turned into the perfect little wafer right before I took them out of the oven. I was concerned about the (very) short time frame between cookies-too-soft-they-fall-apart and burnt with these types of wafers, but the time frame in the recipe is spot on.

The chocolate wafers are a deep, chocolaty flavor with just a hint of sweetness.  The filling nicely compliments the wafers with a sweet vanilla creaminess.  Mmmm.  This might be my new favorite cookie.

A couple of recipe notes.  I always use unsalted butter.  You can always add salt to a dish, but you can’t take it out.  I don’t like to over-salt my food.  Also, the original recipe called for 1 to 1 1/2 cups of sugar for the wafers.  I split the difference and used 1 1/4 cups, which I thought was perfect.

From Smitten Kitchen

Cookie wafers

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) room-temperature
1 large egg

Filling

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) room-temperature
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.  Preheat oven to 375°F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda and powder, salt, and sugar. On low speed, add the butter, and then the egg until a dough forms and mixture begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl.

With moistened hands, form 1 inch balls and place approximately two inches apart on parchment then, slightly flatten the dough. Bake for 9 minutes, rotating once for even baking. Set baking sheets on a rack to cool.

To make the filling, place butter and shortening in a mixing bowl, and at low speed, gradually beat in the sugar and vanilla. Turn the mixer on high and beat for 2 to 3 minutes until filling is light and fluffy.

To assemble the cookies, spoon or pipe teaspoon-size blobs of cream into the center of one cookie. Place another cookie, equal in size to the first, on top of the cream. Lightly press, to work the filling evenly to the outsides of the cookie. I don’t have a pastry bag, so I do this by filling a plastic zip bag and cutting off the corner.

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Chicken and Leek Puff Pastry Tart

This might be my best invention yet.  It is reminiscent of something you might get in a French cafe, and it’s incredibly simple to make.  I imagine you would look like quite the host if you whipped this up for a lunch with friends.  Served with a side of mixed greens, it looks like something you might pay a pretty penny for in a trendy restaurant.

I had originally planned to make this recipe from Kayotic Kitchen.  But, in true home-cook fashion, I didn’t have all the ingredients I needed, including the bacon I had cooked and my husband ATE when he wasn’t supposed to.  *ahem*  So I had to improvise, and the end product had little to no resemblance to Kays’ recipe.  But it DID turn out amazing!

I still totally love her blog, and HIGHLY reccommend you check it out.

Chicken and Leek Puff Pastry Tart, inspired by Kayotic Kitchen

2 chicken breasts – approximately 3/4 lbs

1 package of puff pastry – two

sheets, defrosted

1 egg

1 large leek

1 Tbl vegetable oil

2 Tbl butter

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp dried parsley

2 Tbl dry, white wine

1 1/2 Tbl stone ground mustard

4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature

Preheat oven 400 degrees.  Chop chicken into small, bite-sized pieces.  Clean and chop the leek into fine pieces.   Heat the oil on medium-low heat.

Season chicken with salt and pepper.  Cook chicken in oil until nearly done.  Then, add butter until melted.  Add garlic and parsley and toss. Add leeks to chicken mixture.  Cook for a few minutes until bright green.  Add wine and deglaze pan.  Let the wine cook off a bit, approximately 7 minutes.  To finish, add mustard and mix well.  Take pan off the heat and let cool for a few minutes.

In a separate bowl, add cream cheese and chicken mixture from pan.  Mix well.  Place chicken and cream cheese mixture in the middle of defrosted pastry.  Pinch edges well and brush the pastry with whisked egg.  Cut a couple of slits in the top of the pastry.

Cook for approximately 30 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown and flaky.  Cut into 1-2 inch pieces and serve warm.

Brunch Series – Dutch Baby

I can’t help but giggle a little every time I hear the name “dutch baby”. 

It’s a rather funny name for a pancake.  The dutch baby is one of my husband’s favorite breakfasts.  He likes ordering it at pancake houses and then cracking a joke about how it is the best way to eat an infant, or some other joke of questionable taste.

Dutch babies look like you took a large, oversized pancake that deflated and flopped back on top of itself.  Because, essentially, that is what a dutch baby is – a type of  German pancake.  In fact, the word dutch stands for “Deutsch” or German, kind of like the Pennsylvania dutch.  These are the fun facts you learn when you marry someone who is German and has an affinity for pancakes.  And a dutch baby is De-licious and somewhat reminiscent of an eggy popover.  It has a crispy crust and custardy, but light center.  I prefer them served with freshly squeezed lemon and  copious amounts of powdered sugar.

This was my first try at a dutch baby, and I have to say, it turned out great!  I was a little concerned because they seem so large and intimidating at The Pancake House.  It turns out, there is very little to be afraid of.  In fact, this might be one of the simplest, quickest brunches EVER.  There, I said it.  Now try it out for yourself.

Foodiecrush has a great Dutch Baby recipe and little graph that explains how to make it with great ease.  I am not even going to attempt to recreate their explanation, as it is seamless.  Check out the website!