Saturday, June 19, 2010

reverse fauxreos

Oreos are my favorite store-bought cookie. As a kid, we were usually allowed two cookies. Once, my sister and I had a babysitter who looked in the cookie jar, counted out all the remaining cookies, and divided them by three. "Eighteen cookies, so that's six for each of us." I still haven't recovered from the shock (you can do that?) or the deliciousness.

There are certain things that are hard to replicate at home, and Oreos are one. Think of these as an interpretation on a theme. In fact, a reverse interpretation on a theme, because these are King Arthur Flour reverse fauxreos: crisp vanilla cookies sandwiched with dark chocolate ganache.

Now, the cautionary tale. The photos above are from the first time I made these. They were picture-perfect and delicious. The second time, the dough misbehaved. The ones below ended up tasting delicious, but something went very wrong with the dough, and I had to adjust, and adjust, and adjust, until finally I came out with these. See how the cookies themselves look rougher?

The texture wouldn't cooperate no matter how much extra flour I kneaded in, a tablespoon at a time, upon the counsel of the King Arthur advice line (yes, such a bounty exists!). Ultimately, the cookies looked remotely like they were supposed to, though with lacy, flat edges, so I used a small cookie cutter to reshape them right out of the oven.

This is the dirty little secret of bakers: sometimes stuff just doesn't work. You can't always pinpoint the reason. Unfortunately, these were for a client who LOVES reverse fauxreos, and I was on a tight timeline with no time to remake the dough. I just had to make them work. Luckily, I'm my own toughest critic: with my adjustments, these came out just fine, and were in fact my client's guests' favorite.

Since I don't know what went wrong the second time (or right the first time), I'll just give you the directions as written and hope for your success!

Reverse Fauxreos
Makes about 33- 2 1/2" sandwich cookies (or make them smaller for less guilt!)

1 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baker's ammonia or 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder*
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups (8 3/4 ounces) sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter
2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) flour

2 cups (12 ounces) chocolate chips
1 1/2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon espresso powder**
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) powdered sugar, sifted

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment. (I would usually substitute silpats here, but who knows if they contributed to my difficulty with batch two.)

If you're using baker's ammonia, combine the vanilla, baker's ammonia, and salt in a small bowl. Stir to dissolve the ammonia; the salt won't fully dissolve. (If you're using baking powder, you can skip this step.) Combine the vanilla mixture with the baking powder (if using), butter and sugar; beat until smooth.

Mix in the flour. The mixture may seem dry at first, but keep beating until it comes together. Scoop into 1" balls (or even smaller - these are pretty rich). Place the balls on the cookie sheets leaving about 1 1/2" between them. Use the pusher from your food processor to flatten the cookies to about 1/4" thick. It will make a pretty circular pattern. You can also just use a glass. Either way, you may need to dip the pusher/glass in sugar so it doesn't stick to the cookies.***

Bake the cookies until set, about 11-15 minutes (maybe even less for smaller cookies). They should be very light golden brown at the edges and the cookies themselves should be very pale. Ovens can be very different - if your oven takes longer or a little less time, that's fine. Just bake 'em 'til they're done.

These are easy because you can cool them right on the cookie sheet while you make the filling.

Place the chocolate chips, corn syrup, vanilla, espresso powder, and cream in a large, microwave-safe bowl. Heat until the mixture is very hot and the cream starts to form bubbles. Stir until everything is incorporated and smooth, and then beat in the powdered sugar. You'll want to work with this ganache soon, while it's still a little warm. If you are baking the cookies first and plan to assemble them later, make the ganache right before you're ready to use it.

Match up the cookies so you have pairs that are about the same shape and size. Dollop some filling onto the center of the flat side (bottom) of one cookie. Top it with its partner cookie and press down gently to push the filling out to the edges. You'll want to play around with how much filling to use, but in general you want it to be reasonably thick without oozing out. (The original recipe calls for 4 teaspoons per cookie, but I found that was way too much.) Place the cookies on a rack to let the filling set. They won't get that Fauxreo-like consistency until the filling firms up. Wrap in plastic and store at room temperature. (I had good success with a tupperware.)

These ship well... I stacked them up, wrapped them tightly (and padded them), and they kept for several days!

*I have never tried baker's ammonia. Supposedly, the dough will taste icky, but that taste won't transfer to the cookie. It will yield a crispier cookie than baking powder.

**I swear to you, I DO NOT drink coffee, but espresso powder in small amounts does amazing things to enhance chocolate flavor. Strongly recommended, even to my non-coffee friends.

***My difficulty baking these the second time around leads me to suggest you bake off two or three test cookies before committing to an entire batch. I am not usually so timid, but I hate wasting ingredients! If they turn out fine, press on and bake the rest. If they spread and are flat and greasy, knead in more flour, a tablespoon at a time, and continue testing until they come out right.


Sandra Dee said...

I was looking at the first picture wondering how you made such a cool design on the cookie. An old school cookie cutter? Nope! The pusher from the Cuisinart!! Awesomely cool....

ajcabuang04 said...

YUM!! How did you get the little design in the first pictures? Did they just come out that way? Looks great!
Would you mind checking out my blog? :D

jami said...

AJ - used the "pusher" from my cuisinart to press down the cookies. Check out your various kitchen tools - potato mashers, forks, slotted spoons all can make good patterns!

Hannah said...

Those look way better than the originals! I'm not crazy about those dry, weakly-flavored cocoa cookies. This sounds like a big improvement.