Homemade Oreo Cookies

garrett-newborn-pics-001

I’m still chuckling over the hugeness of this picture but alas, these cookies deserve to be in the spotlight. If you haven’t noticed yet, I have a soft spot for all things sweet and chocolaty. I suppose it is also contributing to my physical soft spot but details, shmetails. We have been making soft homemade oreo cookies for a few years from a cake box recipe that I received from Mike’s mom. They are pretty good but I have really been trying to move away from boxed anything and so one night I spent an exorbitant amount of time hunting for a good homemade version. I stumbled upon the recipe that I am going to share today and I LOVE IT! They are a lot different from the other version but I really like them because they more closely resemble an Oreo than the soft oreo counterparts.

The picture above was from the last time I made these cookies which happened to be the day before Garrett was born. I meant to post this recipe way back then but Garrett has had other things in mind. The last time we made these cookies I made half the batch regular and the other half with mint extract and some natural green food dye. Tomorrow the girls and I are going to make some of these for Christmas except for this time I am going to use peppermint extract and crunch up some natural candy canes and put them in the frosting as a tribute to my new favorite Candy Cane cookies from Trader Joe’s. I’ve also considered doing some dipped Oreo’s but for now I think I’ll stick with the Candy Cane ones. I’ll post pics when we finish them.

For now here is the recipe. Enjoy!

garrett-newborn-pics-013

Homemade Oreo Cookies

Makes 25-30 cookies


For the Cookie:

1 1/4 cup Flour

1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch Process Cocoa

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1 – 1 1/2 cups sugar

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 stick) room temperature butter

1 large egg

For the Frosting:

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) room temperature butter

1/4 cup vegetable shortening

2 cups sifted confectioners sugar (powdered sugar)

2 tsp vanilla extract.

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 375.

2. Mix flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt and sugar. While pulsing (or on low speed), add the butter and then the egg. Continue processing or mixing until dough comes together in a mass.

3. Take rounded teaspoons (or larger, just depends on how big you want your cookies) of batter and place on parchment paper lined baking sheets approximately 2 inches apart. With moistened hands, slightly flatten the dough (I had success by cooking these on our baking stone and flattening with a parchment paper lined glass to get them uniformly round and flat).

4. Bake 9 minutes, rotating once for even baking. Set baking sheets on a rack to cool.

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

5. To assemble cookies put filling in a  pastry bag with a 1/2 inch, round tip (or use a gallon size ziploc bag and snip off the corner). Pipe a teaspoon sized amount of filling onto a cookie and place another cookie (of equal size) on top. Lightly press to work the filling evenly to the outside of the cookie. Continue until cookies or frosting is gone.

6. Eat the cookies! I love to have extra cookies because they make the BEST ice-cream sandwiches. The best I tell you! Simply put your favorite ice cream in the middle of them. Wrap with plastic wrap and put it in the freezer for a few hours and then devour.

Tips:

Yes, you should use vegetable shortening. I try to avoid it too but really it is a somewhat necessary evil in these cookies to achieve the right consistency with the frosting. I have also used the Spectrum version of shortening and this worked pretty well. Lard would also work.

-The type of cocoa you use does make a slight difference because of the way the dutch cocoa affects the alkalinity of the cookies. If you can’t find the dutch process cocoa then you could also use Hershey’s Special Dark. If you don’t have that either you can use regular cocoa but your cookies may be puffier. They’ll still taste delish though!

-If you are going to make mint or peppermint filling omit the vanilla and replace with 1/2 teaspoon of pure mint or pure peppermint extract. Trust me you don’t need more than 1/2 teaspoon.

-The sugar content in the actual cookie (1 to 1 1/2 cups) should be adjusted based on how sweet you want your cookie. I prefer to use only 1 cup because I think it is plenty sweet with just the one cup.

-For a gluten free version go HERE.

I found the recipe HERE. Originally the recipe appeared, HERE.

Advertisements

The Perfect Alfredo Sauce

Finally, after years of trying many recipes and never achieving anything close to yummy Alfredo I have finally, finally found the perfect Alfredo Sauce. In fact, it tastes just like Olive Garden Alfredo sauce if you ask me. It is rich, creamy and absolutely delicious. Sinfully delicious. This is something you make when you have family and friends over to impress them with. I was so greedy to eat it that I didn’t bother to take a picture, so my apologies.

We served ours with Parmesan crusted chicken but you could serve with regular chicken, broccoli, etc or as is. Would also make a great pizza sauce, etc.

Here is the recipe (directions for making leftover Alfredo as good as the first time is at the bottom):

——————————————————————————————

The Perfect Alfredo Sauce

1 1/2 pint (3 cups) heavy cream. (Usually says, “heavy whipping cream”)

3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks)

3 Tablespoons cream cheese ( 1 1/2 ounces)

1 1/8 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

3 cloves freshly minced garlic

 

1. In saucepan combine butter, heavy cream and cream cheese

2. Simmer until melted (do not boil), mix well. Add the Parmesan cheese and garlic.

3. Simmer for 15-20 minutes on low

4. Season with salt & pepper, if desired (I found no need for salt)

————————————————————————————–

OK, so this sauce is very easy to make but some very simple things can also ruin it.

-Forget about the fat content. If you are going to make this you can’t substitute the butter or heavy cream, etc. Don’t get half & half and don’t use margarine. Buy the quart size of heavy whipping cream and get real butter. Don’t use low fat cream cheese. Retain the leftover heavy cream if you want leftovers the next day.

-I also think the type of Parmesan cheese you use is very important. Most definitely don’t use the Kraft Parmesan cheese that comes in that green can. You’ll have a gritty, nasty mess. My suggestion is to buy the Frigo Parmesan cheese that comes in the green package and is triangle shaped (or any other fresh variety) and grate the cheese yourself. Yes, it takes a little longer but the flavor is worth it. Frigo also has a pre-shredded version but I really recommend shredding it yourself.

– Use fresh garlic and mince it yourself. Fresh is better than the pre-minced refrigerated stuff and the refrigerated stuff is better than garlic powder (which you can use 1 1/2 tsp of instead of fresh).

-The sauce will be thin until it simmers for a long amount of time. I ran into a pinch last night when I made it because I couldn’t get my stove-top to maintain a simmer on low heat. I wound up doing a low boil at almost medium heat for about 5 minutes to thicken the sauce. If you do this you must whisk it constantly to avoid clumping and other yuckiness. The sauce turned out perfect but you have to be careful to avoid burning and clumping the sauce. Your best bet is to bring it to a simmer and then reduce heat but maintain the simmer. I just couldn’t get my stove to do it. No matter what don’t ever turn the heat up above medium and I wouldn’t even use medium. Right below medium is what I had to do to thicken the sauce. Be patient, as long as it is simmering it will thicken. If you need to speed it up turn up the heat a little but whisk constantly. I suggest always using a whisk when you make sauce, not a spoon.

-Don’t salt it before you taste it. The fresh Parmesan has plenty of saltiness to it. Plus my salted butter had enough salt. Taste it first and then decide if it needs salt.

-When you prepare the water for the noodles add a few tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and salt the water. Otherwise your noodles will stick. Do not over cook or they will get pasty. Drain completely in a colander, do not rinse.

-If you don’t time things right and the noodles are done first you can keep them nice and warm by draining them completely in your colander and then putting the colander (noodles and all) into the empty pot and putting the lid on top of the colander (the lid retains the steam and the steam keeps them warm). I kept my noodles warm and fresh this way for about 15 minutes last night when my noodles were done first.

Leftovers – Just as good as the first time

If you are not going to eat every last morsel you can heat this up the next day and it will be just as good as the day before as long as you do the following:

-On night one don’t combine all the sauce with all the noodles. Instead serve each plate with a pile of noodles and ladle servings of the sauce over each individual plate. Store sauce and noodles separately for the next day.

-To reheat the sauce, add the solid mass to a saucepan. It will be completely solid and that is ok. On low heat, whisk the sauce occasionally until it melts. It will look like a buttery, oily mess and that is ok. The secret to bringing your sauce back is in the fridge. Once the sauce is completely melted add a bit more of heavy cream into your sauce. Just slowly add some and whisk and it will magically turn back to its creamy state. Don’t add too much or you’ll dilute the sauce too much and it will be really thin. Once you’ve added the cream and it looks good continue to heat and whisk. At this time you can turn the heat up a bit and bring it to a simmer again. You won’t need to simmer as long, just long enough to thicken a little. Remember that if you bring the heat close to medium you will need to whisk constantly to avoid clumping.

-To reheat noodles boil a pot of water with olive oil again. No need to salt the water this time. Bring the water to a rapid boil and add the cold noodles to the water and boil for a minute or two. Just enough to get them hot again. Do not overcook. Drain completely.

 

 

The Best Oatmeal Cookies Ever

Oh My Stinkin Delicious


Ok, I have to share this because I am dying in oatmeal cookie heaven over here. After many disappointing oatmeal cookie recipes and hours of reading later I have finally found the perfect oatmeal cookie recipe for my family. I looked at a ton of recipes online and combined a few of them for a great combination. The cookies are crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside. They keep their shape and best of all they are SOOOOOO Good!The secret is the raisins. You have to soak them. I don’t even like raisins. In fact, I typically really DISLIKE raisins. But I decided to brave it and I can’t believe how good they are! You have to try it with the raisins (even if you normally hate them, you’ll see). I added chocolate chips to ours but they are totally not necessary. We had to omit the nuts because of nut allergies in our house but they would rock with some chopped pecans or walnuts. These cookies make your house smell soooo good.

Recipe:
1 cup butter, room temp
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs, well beaten
1 TBSP (yes tablespoon) vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinammon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
3 cups oatmeal (quick cooking or old fashioned, not instant)
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

To prep: The key is to soak the raisins. This makes all the difference in the world. Beat eggs and vanilla together and then add the raisins, stir. Soak for an hour or two. I just walked by a few times and stirred it while I waited.

Directions:

Preheat to 350 F

Cream butter and sugars with mixer. In a seperate bowl combine flour, salt, baking soda, cinammon, ginger & nutmeg. Stir the dry ingredients until well blended. Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture and mix well. Now add in the egg & raisin mixture (I used my hands). Then add oatmeal and chocolate chips/nuts and combine well. Form into balls on cookie sheet. Bake 10 minutes. Let cool on cookie sheet for 2-5 minutes or until firm enough to transfer to wire rack.

Made about 2 1/2 dozen cookies for me and I made them pretty big. You could get 4 dozen if you make them small.

 

UPDATE: Cooking time will vary depending on your oven. Since we’ve moved to a new house I have needed to up the cooking time to around 12-13 minutes. Just keep an eye on the cookies. Also, there are lots of great suggestions in the comments for great variations so be sure to take a look.