Reprinted from the book Baking Out Loud by Hedy Goldsmith. Copyright © 2012 by Hedy Goldsmith. Photographs copyright © 2012 by Ben Fink. Published by Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House, Inc.
Makes 24 sandwich cookies
Honestly, I’ve never connected to the Oreo experience. People love twisting off the top, licking the hydrogenated “cream,” and eating the cookie. It finally clicked with me when I came up with this recipe, which takes the idea and makes it better by adding real chocolate, cocoa nibs, and fresh butter. These are little works of baked art.
For the cookies
- 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (preferably Valrhona Caraïbe 66%), chopped
- 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup finely ground cocoa nibs (see note below)
- ¼ cup natural dark cocoa powder (preferably Valrhona)
- 1 tablespoon finely ground espresso beans
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ½ cup (packed) dark brown sugar
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 extra-large egg, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract
- ¼ cup buttermilk, at room temperature
For the filling
1 To make the cookies, melt the chocolate in a small heatproof bowl set over simmering water, stirring until the chocolate is melted and smooth, about 4 minutes. Remove the bowl from the heat and set aside to cool slightly.
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract
2 Sift together the flour, cocoa nibs, cocoa powder, ground espresso beans, and baking soda. Make sure to toss any unsifted nibs back into the mixture.
3 Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until soft and smooth. Add the brown sugar, granulated sugar, and salt and beat on medium-high speed for 5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the egg and vanilla and beat for 1 minute, until combined. The mixture will look curdled, but trust me, it will all come together.
4 Add the melted chocolate and beat on low speed for about 1 minute, until blended. Add half of the flour mixture and beat on low speed until just combined. Add the buttermilk and mix until blended. Add the remaining flour and mix until just combined. Do not overmix.
5 Arrange 2 large pieces of plastic wrap on a work surface. Divide the dough into 2 pieces, drop them onto the plastic, cover, and shape each into an even, flat disc. Refrigerate for about 1 hour, or until firm enough to roll out.
6 Position the oven racks in the upper middle and lower middle of the oven, and preheat the oven to 375°F (350°F if using a convection oven). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick liners.
7 Put a large piece of parchment paper on a work surface. Working with one piece of dough at a time, put the dough on the center of the paper and top with another sheet of parchment paper. Roll the dough to a scant ¼-inch thickness, stopping occasionally to peel away the paper, dust the dough lightly with flour, and reposition the paper so you don’t get any wrinkles. If the dough is too hard to roll, set it aside for 15 to 20 minutes until it is softer.
8 Using a round 2-inch cookie cutter, punch out rounds and arrange them about ¾ inch apart on the prepared baking sheets (they don’t spread much, if at all). Reroll and cut the scraps once.
9 Bake for 8 to 10 minutes (7 to 9 minutes if using a convection oven), switching the baking sheets’ positions halfway through baking. (If you like crisper cookies, add a minute or two to the baking time.) Transfer the baking sheets to wire racks and let cool completely.
10 To make the filling, using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until soft and smooth. Add the sugar, salt, and vanilla and beat on medium-high speed for 3 minutes, until smooth, light, and fluffy.
11 Scrape the filling into a pastry bag fitted with a ½-inch plain tip. (You can use a 2-tablespoon ice cream scoop instead.) Arrange half of the cooled cookies bottom side up on a work surface. Pipe about 2 tablespoons of filling in the center of each cookie. Top with the remaining cookies, top side up, and press gently to push the filling to the edges. Let the filling set so that it doesn’t “splooge” out when you take a bite. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
Variations: Experiment with this recipe by playing around with different fillings; the chocolate filling of the Mochaccino Whoopie Pies (page 26) is killer. Adding crushed Hazelnut Praline (page 210) to the filling is awesome too. The cookies also make a great ice cream sandwich when paired with one of my recipes from the Everything Frozen chapter, such as Chocolate, Cherries + Chipotle Ice Cream (page 174); Coffee + Toffee Ice Cream (page 166); or Old-Fashioned Strawberry Buttermilk Ice Cream (page 152).
Note: Cocoa nibs pack a powerful chocolate flavor. They are dried, roasted, and crushed cacao beans. Crunchy and tender at the same, cocoa nibs have a special flavor. Use them in ice creams, cookies, cakes, and muffins.