Sunday, March 13, 2011

Baked Sunday Mornings: High-Class Oreos

NOTE:  Sarah made these a few weeks ago and I decided to repost, since I didn't have time to remake this time.  I know they were enjoyed by all.

The other week I saw the movie Kings of Pastry. It's about a French contest to see who can be (duh) the best pastry chef in the land, or a MOF (Meilleur Ouvrier de France). They didn't focus much on the actual pastry/baking, but I can't blame them, since the sugar sculpting was so spectacular, not to mention emotionally compelling. If you thought that the people who did sugar sculpting on the Food Network Challenge were impressive (and I did), wait until you see these guys! They make the Food Network Challenge people look like total amateurs. It's also full of humor, like when Jacquy, the incredibly affable and charming protagonist of the film, makes an elaborate 12-layer cake and brings a piece home to his daughter, who comments that the cake is very good, very simple. Will they finish in time? Will their sculptures, and with it, their dreams of being a MOF, come crashing down when they move it to a display table? Will the tough former MOF judges cry? Will the entire audience gain 15 pounds just from watching the movie? Go see it for yourself and find out!

Watching this movie will make even an accomplished chef feel pretty bad about him or herself, never mind a beginner like me. Nevertheless, I will recommend these delicious and classy variations on an Oreo cookie, which will probably impress anyone who has never heard of a MOF. They are from the book Baked Explorations, one of the cookbooks of the Baked bakery in Brooklyn - in fact, they are on the cover. Since I bought the book last month, I've made four things from it. All of them have been tasty, but this one was the best.

Like most dough that has to be refrigerated and then rolled out, this dough was kind of a pain, but I guess that's unavoidable, and at least it didn't crumble beyond all recognition when I rolled it out. As for the frosting, I'm firmly in the Shortening Is The Devil camp, so I substituted butter and it came out fine. Just a warning - it's quite an intense cookie, especially if you like a thicker, softer cookie like I do, so be sure not to include too much frosting or it will a) squirt out when you bite into it and b) make it pack the punch (caloric and otherwise) of two or three cookies. My dad and I each ate a whole bunch and then he took them to the office, where he said they got eaten in a jiffy!

Salt-N-Pepper Sandwich Cookies
From Baked Explorations

Ingredients for the cookies:

  • 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon fleur de sel, plus more for decorating
  • 2 teaspoons white pepper
  • ¼ cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder (like Valrhona)
  • 1 ½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes, cool, but not cold
  • 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 ¾ cups confectioners' sugar
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 ounces good-quality dark chocolate (60 to 72%), melted

For the vanilla filling
  • 5 ounces vegetable shortening, at room temperature
  • 2 ounces (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into small chunks, at room temperature
  • 3 ½ cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon light rum
Yield: approximately 36 cookie sandwiches
Make the Cookies:
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, salt, fleur de sel, white pepper, and cocoa powder. Set aside.
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the bowl, and add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated. Add the vanilla and melted chocolate and beat until uniform in color. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and beat again for 10 seconds.
Add half of the dry ingredients and beat for 15 seconds. Again, scrape down the bowl, add the remaining dry ingredients and beat until just incorporated. Loosely shape the dough into two balls, wrap them tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate them for at least 3 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Unwrap one ball of dough and divide it into two equal portions. Place the first portion on a lightly flour-dusted work surface and return the other to the refrigerator.
Use your hands to knead the dough until pliable and form into a small disc. Roll the dough into a ¼ -inch-thick round. It will be slightly sticky, so you may have to flip and lightly flour it a few times while you work. Use a 2-inch round cookie cutter to create your sandwich tops and bottoms, and transfer them to the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 1 inch of space around each cookie. Continue the process with the remaining dough. Extra dough scraps can be refrigerated and rerolled, if desired.
Sprinkle the tops of the cookies with a little fleur de sel, then bake them for 10 to 12 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through the baking time. The tops of the cookies should look a bit dry and possibly cracked. Place the baking sheets on wire racks to cool for 5 minutes. Use a spatula to transfer the cookies to the racks to cool completely before filling them.
Make the Vanilla Filling:
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the shortening and butter until lump free and smooth. Add the sugar in three parts, mixing each part until just combined. Add the salt, vanilla, and rum and beat again for 10 seconds. The filling should be thick but spreadable (like the inside of an Oreo). If it is too thick, add a drop or two of water as needed. Keep adding water to reach the desired consistency, but do not add too much water or the filling will be too thin.
Alternatively if the mixture is too thin, add a few tablespoons of confectioners' sugar.
Assemble the Salt-N-Pepper Sandwich Cookies:
Use a pastry bag or a small spoon to apply about 2 tablespoons of filling to the flat side of a cookie. Place another cookie, flat side down, on top. Press down slightly so that the filling spreads to the edges of the cookie. Repeat until all the sandwich cookies are made. Let them set up for about 15 minutes before serving. Store the cookies at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Baked Note: In this recipe, I suggest using a 2-inch round cookie cutter; however, it is only for guidance. Obviously, you can use any size, shape, and type of cookie cutter you fancy or have on hand. Also, note that while I prefer a crisp 1/4-inch cookie, I have plenty of friends that like them a bit thicker and chewier. If you are like them, simply roll out the dough to 1/2 inch thick and bake the cookies for a minute less.


  1. I really want to see this movie, but I think the only way I can get it is to order it or join Netflix.

    I had the incredible privilege of meeting Jacquy about two years ago at a cake decorating contest. I was one of the "home cook" judges and Jacquy gave me a lot of tips on judging. He's a really funny guy with a dry sense of humor.

  2. I keep reading good things about this film - I'll have to keep an eye out for it.

    Your cookies look beautiful! I'm not a huge fan of shortening but do think it works well for things like this frosting. Having said that, the frosting was my least favorite part of the cookie.

  3. THat movie will be fantastic and make for an absolute fun watch.
    I think i should make sure i have some treats with me when i do watch it , like these fantastic cookies and a pie or 2:-)
    The cookies look fab and i aint suprised they got eaten in a jiff.

  4. Your cookies are so nice and thick - I love them! I almost subbed the extra butter instead of the crisco in the filling and wondered if it would have made much difference. Glad to know that you liked the filling with the butter only. I am going to have to check that movie out - it sounds really good.

  5. I love the look of your cookies-they turned out beautifully,but I have to admit I like the thins ones better-they don't squeeze out as much icing when you bite into them like the thicker ones ! Nice job


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