Homemade Oreos (via Flour Bakery)

A couple of weeks ago, when we took a brief road trip to Boston, I made sure we finally visited Flour Bakery.  I've wanted to go for a long time, after hearing so much about it and baking a few things from the first book that I really enjoyed (like these divine milk chocolate hazelnut cookies).  So my husband put it on the itinerary and it worked out perfectly because after visiting the MIT museum in Cambridge, we walked about a block over to one of Flour's 4 locations for lunch.
Replicating Flour Bakery's homemade oreo cookies, filled with vanilla bean cream
Judging by the serious crowd and lines when we walked in, I had a feeling it was going to be good.  I quickly got on line while my fellas somehow nabbed a few seats at the counter.  I ordered lunch and picked out a few sweets that I thought we'd like to try.  

A filled bakery case makes me so happy and I wanted to get one of everything but managed to restrain myself.  One thing I saw right away that I knew my son would want was the "Oreo" cookie. The little one is a big fan of the Oreo.
At Flour Bakery: their homemade Oreos (in the center of the photo), tinted for Easter.  I got the green mint for my son (other colors were vanilla-flavored)
After ordering and waiting another 20 minutes or so for our food, I can tell you it was worth it.  The salad and sandwiches were fresh and tasty, and the chocolate chip cookie and slice of hazelnut-almond dacquoise that we had were so good.  Their baked goods are real treats, made with real ingredients, done right and packed with flavor and texture.  My little guy adored his oreo cookie.  I stole a bite and it was really good - the cookie was very chocolaty for a change.  So seeing that gleam in the little one's eye and the adoration he had for that cookie, I wanted to make it for him myself back home.  I remembered the recipe in the book but what I didn't realize was how surprisingly easy it is.
I love the beginnings of a baking project that involves chocolate!
I fully expected these to be a pain to make but that's not the case. The cookies themselves are actually made by simple, old-fashioned, mixing - you might need a few bowls but no stand mixer even necessary at this step.  Once the dough comes together, you let it sit an hour, roll it into a log, and let it chill to firm up before slicing and baking.  

The filling is a simple vanilla cream mixed in the stand mixer.  If you want to, you could even do it by hand but that's a bit too hands-on for me!  I decided to use vanilla beans instead of extract, and you could easily switch up the flavor by adding, say, peppermint extract, or color it using food coloring if you're in the mood.  The great thing is both the cookies and the filling can be made in advance.
Vanilla bean cream filling for the homemade oreos
Personally, I like these cookies a whole lot just plain.  They are so good - crisp (not super crunchy) and full of dark cocoa flavor with a hint of salt.  They remind me of world peace cookies.  But for kids, like my son, you can't go without the cream filling!
Your house will smell intoxicating as these cookies bake.  They are really good, just plain.
My son, and my husband, were happy with this baking session inspired by our visit to Flour Bakery.  I had fun making them and learned that sandwich cookies like these can be relatively easy to make. And I really love making and eating something at home that conjures up a memory.  When I see/make/eat these homemade oreos, I'll think of our short spring break road trip - the one we took after the winter that we thought would never end!

The chocolate cookies

I was really surprised by how easy this cookie dough comes together.  You need a few bowls to melt some butter, chocolate chips (I threw in a little instant espresso powder), and to mix together with the dry ingredients but it's a straightforward job of mixing and combining.  I actually find it relaxing.
I didn't need to get my hands into the cookie dough to help it come together but you can work it with your hands if you find it necessary.  Once it comes together and pulls away from the bowl, let it sit for an hour at room temperature to firm up.
Then, it's time to roll the cookie dough into a log and here's my best tip - though admittedly, maybe it's not much of a tip because you've likely heard of it.  I first rolled the dough out into a log shape in a sheet of wax paper; the dough is still rather soft at this point.  Then, to help it maintain a nice round shape without a lot of babysitting (i.e., going into the fridge and taking it out and rolling it around every so often to keep it round), I set the log into a cut paper towel tube.  You need to cut the paper towel tube because the log you're aiming for will be about 2 1/2 inches, larger than the size of the tube.  Cut the tube length wise and nestle the cookie dough log inside. 
Cut the paper towel tube to accommodate the wider log; this will still keep the log nice and round
I've used this trick once or twice before for round slice-and-bake cookies where I fit the log right inside.  This method, with the slit tube, worked really well!  For extra insurance, I took it out a couple of times during the 2-hour refrigeration time and rolled it/re-positioned it a bit.  The end result was a nice round log!
Ready to be sliced with a sharp knife
Now, for once, I actually made my cookies a tad smaller and thinner than the recipe.  I usually do the exact opposite (which is generally not what I was aiming for)!  My cookies are about 2 inches wide (as opposed to 2 1/2 inches per the recipe) and they spread and bake up to about 2 1/2 inches wide.  Slice the cookies about 1/4 inch thick.  I tried very hard not to make them too thick - I have a tendency to do that - and it worked out well.  In this case, you don't want to go too thin since it has to hold the filling; aiming for a quarter inch is just right.
My rounds are about 2 inches (instead of 2 1/2 inches) wide.
The cookies only took about 15 minutes in my oven.  They can take anywhere from that to 25 minutes, depending upon your oven and the size/thickness of your cookies.  The trick is to start checking on them around the 15 minute mark.  You want to very lightly touch the center and if they feel firm, pull them out.
They spread a bit to about 2 1/2 inches round after baking.
Your house will smell incredible as these cookies bake and afterwards!  Let the cookies cool and firm up, then transfer to a wire rack while you work on the cream filling.

The vanilla cream filling

This is a very simple vanilla buttercream.  I decided to make it a vanilla bean cream filling by using the seeds of half a vanilla bean in place of a teaspoon of extract.  I can never have too much vanilla flavor so I even added a scant 1/4 teaspoon of extract for extra oomph.  
I like the dark specks of vanilla seeds speckled throughout the filling from using vanilla bean.
This is as simple as softened butter, vanilla beans, a little milk, and touch of salt, mixed in a stand mixer until creamy.  I like the specks of vanilla beans in the cream filling.  To change things up, use peppermint (or another flavor) extract.  For holidays or special occasions, add a little food coloring to tint the filling.
If you want a generous amount of cream in your sandwich cookies, you might find yourself short on the filling.  Since I wanted to enjoy some of the cookies plain, I had no problems but it's something to bare in mind depending on your needs.

I enjoyed sitting down and filling these sandwich cookies.  I was a bit under the spell of the chocolaty aroma of those cookies!  I recommend leaving the cookie halves on the cooling rack while spreading the filling over them.  If you are filling them fresh like I was, and with my cookies on the slightly thinner side, they can be fragile.  Filling them set down prevents breakage.
And that was my recent homemade oreo cookie baking project!  It got the stamp of approval from the resident 8-year old Oreo fan and my grown-up husband gave them a thumbs up, too.  

And now, while we're on the topic of Oreos...I often get requests from my son (in fact, I'm making it this very week by request) to make this cookies and cream gelato, with chopped Oreo cookies swirled in:
Homemade cookies & cream gelato, with chopped oreo cookies swirled in (one of my son's favorite things out of the ice cream maker)
And I've even taken that homemade gelato and made mini ice cream sandwiches with Oreo cookies:
I once filled some oreo cookies (minus the cream) with some of that homemade gelato
Now that's got me thinking...I should make some ice cream sandwiches with these homemade chocolate cookies!  Good thing I have a couple of inches of this cookie log tucked away in the freezer.


Recipe:

Homemade Oreo Cookies
Adapted from Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston's Flour Bakery + Cafe by Joanne Chang

- Makes approximately 18 (2 1/2 inch round) sandwich cookies - 

For chocolate cookies
2 sticks unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted and cooled slightly
1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder (optional)
1 egg
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

For vanilla bean cream filling
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 2/3 cups confectioners' sugar
Half a vanilla bean (or substitute with 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
1 tablespoon milk
Pinch of kosher salt

Make cookies:
In a medium bowl, whisk the butter and sugar together until well combined.  Whisk in the vanilla and chocolate, followed by the egg.

In another medium bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa powder, instant espresso powder (if using), salt, and baking soda together.  Add this dry mixture into the chocolate mixture and stir together with a wooden spoon.  Continue stirring until dough comes together and starts to pull away from the bowl. If necessary, you can use your hands to work the dough together.  Let dough sit at room temperature for about 1 hour to firm up.

Transfer the dough to a large, 15-inch square, sheet of parchment or wax paper.  Using your hands, shape the dough into a log about 10 inches long and 2 1/2 inches in diameter.  Place the log at the edge of the sheet of parchment and roll the paper around the log.  Roll the wrapped log a few times on the counter to shape it into a smoother round.  To help the log maintain its round shape, I nestle it inside a cut paper towel tube.  Take a paper towel tube and cut it straight down lengthwise (so the log can fit inside).  Place the wrapped log inside the tube and set it in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours to firm.  For added insurance, take the log out of the fridge once or twice and roll it around/turn it.  If you do not use the paper towel tube, you'll need to remove the log from the refrigerator and re-roll it every 15 minutes or so to ensure it stays round.

Do ahead: The dough log can be well wrapped in plastic wrap and stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week at this point.  It can also be frozen for up to 1 month; thaw overnight in the refrigerator before proceeding.

To bake, preheat oven to 325 degrees with a rack positioned in the middle of the oven.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat.  Cut dough log into 1/4 inch thick slices.  Place on baking sheet, about 1 inch apart.  Bake for 15-25 minutes.  Begin checking them at the minimum time.  Once they feel firm to the touch, remove the cookies from the oven.  Let cookies cool slightly on the baking sheet to firm up, then remove them to a cooling rack.  Repeat with remaining cookies.

Make cream filling:
Place butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise, scrape out the seeds and it add into the bowl with the butter.  Beat together for about 30 seconds, until butter is smooth.  Add confectioners' sugar (if using vanilla extract instead, add it here) and beat until mixture is completely smooth.  Scrape the sides of the bowl, as needed.  Add milk and salt, beating til smooth.  The finished filling will look and feel like spackle or putty.

Do ahead: 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 sandwich cookies:
Turn half the cookies around, bottom-side up, on the cooling rack.  Scoop about 1 rounded tablespoon of vanilla cream filling onto the upturned cookies.  Top with a second cookie, bottom side down.  Gently press together.  

Cookies can be stored in an airtight container, at room temperature, for up to 3 days.






54 comments:

  1. They're SPECTACULAR, Monica! I do not own Flour and i need to; it's been on and off many lists many times here, and i just need to go ahead and do it, because I want these cookies VERY badly right now. :) I screwed up my batch of TKO's (thomas keller's oreos) awhile back, or maybe i didn't, but they were lacking somehow, so now i'm going to have to try these. beautiful.

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    1. That visit and getting a chance to taste the real thing at the bakery rekindled my love of that book! I made a few things from it before and a couple were memorable enough that I think about it often...now, I see other recipes I want to make one day soon. It's such a good shop - the treats are rustic and real, as in real good! Great taste and that's what really matters.
      And I thought about the TKO's when I made these. I have never gotten one (we usually go for the macarons or tarts there) but I will have to have my Oreo-expert try and compare the two. I know the TKO has a white choc ganache filling...sounds good even if it veers more from traditional Oreos.

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  2. Firstly, your homemade oreos look like absolute perfection! Secondly, I think I need to get that cookbook :) And maybe make a trip to Boston!

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    1. Thank you, Christin! I am so happy I got to eat there. It was as good as I expected and having heard so much, I had high expectations. I think you would like the cookbook.

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  3. How exciting! I particularly like the ice cream version!
    :) ela@GrayApron

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    1. That ice cream is in my freezer as we speak...churned it this morning for the little guy.

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  4. Yum! I think my boys would like the cream filling too. However, I am with you the dark rich chocolate flavor and the crisp cookies is all I would need. Great post and photos! Take Care, BAM

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    1. I'm happy with just the cookies but my son needs the whole package. Thank you!!

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  5. You did an excellent job in creating these homemade oreos. Love the ice cream swirled with them. Beautiful!

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    1. Thanks, Angie. It was so much easier than I expected.

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  6. These oreos are so amazing. I am in love!

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    1. They really do taste good. Thank you!

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  7. My kids love oreos...but I don't always buy them. I can't wait to give your homemade version a try.

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    1. I rarely buy packaged cookies and things since I bake so much but frankly, I think my son wants those things he rarely gets...it's hard to replicate the tastiness of Keebler and such!

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  8. I'm so impressed! These look PERFECT, Monica!

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    1. The recipe was just much easier than you'd think, Marie! That paper towel tube saved me, too. Otherwise, I have a feeling it might have been more square than round. : )

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  9. I have wanted to try making homemade oreos for the longest time! These look great Monica!! And with the vanilla bean filling ... sold! We're heading up to Boston to see family in a few weeks and now I want to go to this place myself!

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    1. Have fun in Boston - we have gone several times but this is the first time we sought the bakery out. I'm so glad I did. If you go, try to go off-hours. It is packed and the wait for hot/cooked food can be long. The treats are really authentically good!

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  10. Homemade oreos are to die for! These look perfect. Well done, Monica! Pinning.

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    1. Aw, thanks for pinning! Appreciate it!

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  11. Holy smokes, these look drop dead gorgeous Monica! Your homemade oreos came out perfectly and I love that you filled them with vanilla bean cream. I love oreos but I can imagine that these would taste a thousand times better than the store bought ones and heck yes to using the cookies to make ice cream sandwiches too :)

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    1. Kelly - you know what's funny? You see that second picture with Flour's bakery case. I think *you* would have gone home and replicated the whole thing for your son! Don't try to deny it!! haha

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  12. Oh my goodness, this looks SO good! I think I might agree with your son. I want the cream filling :)

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    1. That's the spirit! I never stop anyone from enjoying everything full-on, as they like it! : )

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  13. Monica, these look so much more appetising than those packaged ones! Great job, they are fantastic. The ice cream looks pretty tempting too. I went to empty out my spam folder and found all your posts in there! And here I was thinking where you'd got to.

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    1. Thank you for rescuing my posts from the depths of you spam box, Nazneen! : ) I'm glad you found me. Homemade treats are really neat. Never know if your kid(s) will like/prefer it or not though. This was a winner, I have to say.

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  14. These cookies are little rounds from heaven!! Blessings dear. Catherine

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    1. Thanks so much. We all need a little sweet treat everyday, in my opinion.

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  15. My husband would absolutely LOVE these. He is a HUGE fan of Oreos! It's never occurred to me to make them at home, but I'll bet when I do, I'll never get to buy then again! Great recipe and idea! Love!

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    1. Guys tend to have a very healthy sweet tooth, don't they! I love baking for my husband and my son. These were fun.

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  16. I loved eating at the bakery too! I was wondering how the oreos were. Yours look perfectly smooth and flat. Awesome job!

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    1. Great to hear! The food was good, everything was fresh and wholesome. The treats are real - so plenty of butter, chocolate, etc. but it's all real and I can taste that and enjoy it in moderation.

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  17. I wish I went there when I was visiting Boston! Well, there's always next time :) These look amazing! Oreos are my addiction :)

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    1. Next time, Ashley. So many places, so little time, right?

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  18. I'm definitely glad you got to stop by Flour!! It's my favorite. It's a good thing that bakery wasn't there while I was at MIT, otherwise my freshman fifteen would have been a freshman forty! I've been meaning to make the oreos out of that cookbook...yours look like they turned out perfectly!

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    1. Joanne - you genius, you! We were walking around the MIT museum and I kept asking my husband, how do these students do it! It is all very impressive. Flour is totally awesome. What lucky people to live near there and have it as their local bakery.

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  19. These look amazing!!! Totally love. :)

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  20. Get out of town - these are GORGEOUS, Monica! Probably the best looking copycat Oreo I've ever seen. I can tell you made them with lots of tender lovin' care. Great photos! Hope you have a fab weekend!

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    1. That is such a compliment, Georgia! Thank you. I really didn't want to screw them up - I think I was hoping to "impress" the little one but I'l tell you right now...they get harder to impress with age! : ) I think these passed muster, luckily. Thanks again!

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  21. Monica, these are perfect!! I have never made Oreos before so definitely need to try them!! I so love hearing about bakery visits and what's on offer. Great for ideas and inspiration and I love seeing the photos. Enjoy the weekend!

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    1. It's exciting when you go somewhere and taste something you want to and actually can make at home! Glad you liked it, Jo. Thank you!

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  22. My daughter and her friend tested your recipe yesterday at my home, and they came out awesome! Thanks for posting around the time when her tests finished.

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    1. Hi Balvinder! Wow - your daughter and her friend made these oreos already?! That is spectacular! : ) I'm so happy to hear that and so glad they turned out so well. I imagine they were spectacular. Tell your daughter and her friend "great job!!" from me...and thank them (and you) for trying it out. And I'm glad her tests are finished for now. Yay for that...it's time to celebrate with cookies, for sure!

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    2. They really did and I am so happy that she is actually taking some interest in baking because of her friend who did pastry chef course.

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    3. That's fantastic! So happy to hear that and I'm sure she'll blossom into a great cook and baker with your influence. : )

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  23. Oh, yum! I love how fluffy and fresh the filling looks. I actually hadn't heard the tip about rolling the dough to chill in a cardboard tube, but it's genius! What a treat. :)

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    1. Oh good, I'm glad you're hearing that tip now. It really works wonders on these types of slice and bake cookies. Thanks, Alyssa.

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  24. Wowee, these look incredible and I love how easy they sound to make. You've made them look so neat! That paper tube tip is very interesting, will definitely be trying that - thanks for sharing :-)

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    1. Yes, much easier than I thought it would be. The paper tube totally makes it neater and easier to pull off, I think.

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  25. Oh my gosh, I'm so jealous that you were able to visit not just New York (my favorite city in the world) but Flour Bakery too! I'd totally have the same problem with self-restraint...These Oreo cookies look delicious and I wouldn't be surprised if they tasted even better than the commercialized kinds. There's something about homemade cookies that makes them so special. Oooh, and I love the ways that you incorporated the cookies into ice cream and ice cream sandwiches! Fantastic post!

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    1. Hi Monica - I actually live right in NJ so we're in NYC all the time (and we can get to Boston pretty quickly, obviously, so it makes a nice road trip). : ) You're right about homemade things being so good - must be the freshness. This was easy and a very good recipe.

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  26. I've never heard of Flour bakery but if I make it up that way, it sounds like I def need to visit! Your cookies came out absolutely perfectly. Love that paper towel tub trick ;)

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    1. I'd definitely recommend it! The paper towel tube works wonders! Thanks, Amy.

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