This week’s obsession: Oreos from Scratch
Now that San Francisco is allowing us to actually eat inside restaurants (which is a HUGE relief given that outside temps are never above the 50s at dinner time) I was sipping my cool ginger, lychee, and sake cocktail inside a restaurant the other night, musing about the direction my business is heading, when I asked my man candy, “what should I make for my blog this week?” He has just started getting back into competing in IRONman races now that those are allowed again, too, and he quietly asked me, “do you know how to make anything healthy?”
My snort of derision was the only answer he got.
“Alright, fine,” he conceded. “What about Oreos? Don’t you know how to make those?”
YES, in fact. I do. 😇
Ah, the one-of-a-kind Oreo. What does one say about them that hasn’t already been said? Well, I certainly have something to say, but no one is going to like it. But since I’m the queen of unpopular opinions when it comes to the realm of sweet treats, I’ll just go ahead and tell you what I think...
Something that just doesn’t sit well with me about brand name Oreos is that… well… they’re vegan. I know, I know, I’m now obligated to clarify that I have nothing against vegan food. I have really enjoyed some spectacular vegan food (in fact I’ve been on a Hippeas vegan white cheddar binge lately. SO GOOD!), so veganism in general is clearly not a problem with me. What bothers me is that there is no cream in the “cream” filling, and there is neither butter nor eggs in the cookie.
(Fun fact: Oreos have a disclaimer stating that they may come into contact with the equipment used to make non-vegan cookies, which is why vegans don’t fully accept Oreos as a vegan food. Read more about it here. I almost feel sad for Oreos at this point because they really don’t have a place to fit in. But then I remember how wildly popular they are and then I don’t feel so bad for them.)
Regardless, just because the original recipe for Oreos is vegan doesn’t mean I have to make it that way, especially since I don’t make vegan pastries. When vegans bake the things they want, they modify the recipe to exclude milk, butter, eggs, and sometimes even honey (I was just chatting with a colleague about what we were calling “honey vegans”. It’s a thing.), so I decided to modify mine, too!
I learned a few things from using butter and eggs in this recipe instead of oil and shortening. First off, these ingredients make the cookies so, so soft! Even the cookies that I tried to over bake to get that classic crispness of Oreo cookies couldn’t get there without having a burnt flavor. And instead of using shortening in the cream filling, I used butter which is mighty delicious but is still not the same flavor as a classic Oreo. So I guess on my journey to un-vegan these cookies, I ended up altering the flavor a bit but still ended up with a really tasty end result (I think vegans have this reaction often to things they veganize - it doesn't taste quite like whatever they were emulating, but it’s still something good that they would like to eat again).
My tip of the week is in regard to the filling. I found that the consistency was very much like fondant, so I knew there was no way I could pipe it onto one of the cookies before sandwiching them together like I do for macarons. Instead, I balled up the filling like Play-Doh™ then flattened it into a disk and smashed it in between two of the cookies. It was quite fun and an easy process.
What sweets and treats would you like to see next? Leave a comment below!
Happy eating, y’all!