Food + Drink

From the Chronicle Kitchen

My Chronicle work colleagues and I were very lucky right before our holiday break. Boston’s Flour Bakery graciously agreed to send us an amazing assortment of treats via overnight mail for our annual white elephant party. The majority of us who have yet to visit the bakery in Boston were finally able to understand why so many people are obsessed with Joanne Chang’s ridiculously fabulous baked goods. We had an exclusive “pop-up” Flour Bakery here at Chronicle headquarters in San Francisco, just for us.

The first of the treats to vanish were the Homemade Oreos (Oreos are a registered trademark of Nabisco Inc., as you surely know!). I haven’t had time after the holidays to try this recipe out yet, but this weekend I’m going for it. Below is the recipe that will hopefully inspire you to make them too. Since I’ve had the real thing, direct from Boston, I can attest that they are wicked good (do they still say that in New England?).

Leave me a comment about this recipe, Flour Bakery, Joanne’s appearance on the TODAY Show this morning, or what you’ve heard about the book if you haven’t managed to get a copy yet (the first print run sold out very quickly, and it’s now back in stock), and you may be the lucky random winner of a copy of Flour that I’m giving away.

I always appreciate your comments, and I wish you happy baking.

Homemade Oreos
Makes 16 to 18 sandwich cookies

Oreos used to be a mystery to me. The debates about splitting them and eating the filling first, eating them whole, or dunking them—none of it made any sense. My mom never bought commercial sweets, and she certainly never bought the almost-black cookies that looked burnt to her. For the same reason, they never appealed to me either—until one day when I finally bit into one at a friend’s house. Wow. I tried to convince my mom that they were fantastic and that we really, really needed to buy them for after-school snacking. She refused, only saying that they looked too black to be good. Years later, I created my own version of an Oreo, made with real chocolate and bittersweet cocoa and filled with a creamy mixture of sugar, butter, and a little vanilla. It’s a decidedly grown-up version of the treat I fleetingly remember. And it’s delicious. Flour customers go crazy for them. At first, they expect a very sweet, vaguely chocolaty treat. Instead, they get an intense, rich chocolate cookie with a buttery vanilla cream filling—an Oreo like no other. Even Mom approves. When she visits, she always requests them for the care package I send home with her.

1 cup (2 sticks/228 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup (200 grams) semisweet chocolate chips, melted and cooled slightly
1 egg
1 1/2 cups (210 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (90 grams) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Vanilla Cream Filling
1/2 cup (1 stick/114 grams) unsalted butter, softened
1 2/3 cups (230 grams) confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon milk
Pinch of kosher salt

In a medium bowl, whisk together the butter and granulated sugar until well combined. Whisk in the vanilla and chocolate. Add the egg and whisk until thoroughly incorporated.

In another medium bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda until well mixed. Using a wooden spoon, stir the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture. The dough will start to seem too floury, and you will find it easiest to switch to mixing it with your hands until it comes together. It will have the consistency of Play-Doh. Let the dough sit at room temperature for about 1 hour to firm up.

Transfer the dough to a 15-inch square sheet of parchment or waxed paper. Using your hands, shape the dough into a rough log about 10 inches long and 2 1/2 inches in diameter. Place the log at the edge of the sheet of parchment paper, and roll the parchment around the log. With the log fully encased in parchment, roll it into a smoother log, keeping it at 2 1/2 inches in diameter. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or until firm. The log may settle and sink a bit in the fridge, so reroll it every 15 minutes or so to maintain a nice round log, if you like. If not, your cookies will be more oblong than round, which is not a bad thing taste-wise, though they won’t look like the famous packaged cookie. (At this point, the dough log can be well wrapped in plastic wrap and stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 1 month. If the dough is frozen, thaw overnight in the refrigerator before proceeding.)

Position a rack in the center of the oven, and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or butter it.

Cut the dough log into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Place the slices about 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the cookies are firm to the touch. Check them frequently after 16 or 17 minutes, poking them in the middle. As soon as they feel firm to the touch, remove them from the oven. You can’t judge by color because they start out black. Let cool on the baking sheet on a wire rack to warm or room temperature. They don’t have to cool completely before you fill them, but you can’t fill them while they are hot.

To make the filling: While the cookies are cooling, make the frosting. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or a handheld mixer), beat the butter on low speed for about 30 seconds, or until completely smooth and soft. Add the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla and beat until the mixture is perfectly smooth. Add the milk and salt and again beat until smooth. It will look like white spackle and feel about the same—like putty. You can also mix this frosting by hand. Make sure the butter is very soft, and use your hands to mix and knead the confectioners’ sugar into the butter. You should have about 1 cup. (The filling can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Bring to room temperature before using.)

Scoop about 1 rounded tablespoon of the filling onto the bottom of 1 cookie. Top with a second cookie, bottom side down, then press the cookies together to spread the filling toward the edges. Repeat until all of the cookies are filled.

Purchase Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston’s Flour Bakery + Cafe.

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  • Sarah January 26, 2011 at 7:44 pm

    Definitely going to try this one.


  • Sarah January 26, 2011 at 10:16 pm

    Living in Boston, I never get to visit Flour as often as I would like. I would love to try t o replicate those tasty treats at home.


  • purplelarkspur January 27, 2011 at 12:01 am

    Yum! Everything looks delicious. I would love to try to make the homemade oreos. I am a sucker for anything with a cream filling.


  • se7en January 27, 2011 at 6:09 am

    We have got to try this… my hubs is working all Saturday and I am going to distract the kids by making these!!! It is printed out and good to go!!!


  • Debby January 27, 2011 at 7:28 am

    Wow! That recipe looks fabulous. I think I have all the ingredients to try them today. Thanks!


  • Kim January 27, 2011 at 7:59 am

    Mmmmm I love baked goods so much. I've actually never heard these called homemade Oreos – where I live they are commonly called "Whoopie Pies" (though perhaps the cookies in these are a tad different? Not sure). In any case, they are incredibly delicious


  • ncnguyen514 January 27, 2011 at 8:53 am

    i haven't gotten my hands on this book yet.. and i haven't heard much about it.. but I can't wait to get it! will be trying this oreo recipe at home!


  • tati January 27, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    I saw this yesterday and asked my hubby what he thought about homemade Oreos this weekend. He said he doesn’t think the creme can be reproduced well-enough. I’m willing to try, though LOL

    To the poster above, re: whoopie pies. If these are cakey, then yes. But if the cookies are crisp, like Oreos (or close to it), then they just may be labeled correctly!


  • Bavarian Erin January 27, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    Well these sound like the perfect Valentine treat to make my husband! We have both been counting calories but I think I’ll make an exception, just this once! 🙂


  • Kay January 27, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    Homemade Oreos, yum! I've heard about this store but haven't been able to try it out yet!


  • @jenle33 January 27, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    I would LOVE to try this recipe! Everything looks so good to eat! Mmmmm!


  • @chrisfalman January 27, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    we still say "wicked" in new england…all too often. i've had those cookies before…we had a cookie swap at work—delicious. i should get up to boston one of these days to try the real version!


  • Nicole H. January 27, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    Saw Joanne on the Today show and it was the first I'd heard of her, the bakery or the cookbook. Definitely will try to get by there next time I'm in Boston. The oreos do remind me of whoopie pies – regardless of what they're called, they look delicious!


  • @darciegriffin January 27, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    I'd love to win a copy of this! I'm forbidden from eating off the shelf goodies due to a corn allergy. But replace the powdered sugar in the filling with regular sugar ground in my coffee grinder, and we're good!! I do sooo miss treats like this. Saw the clip from yesterday's show. My kids want those homemade pop-tarts, since I don't buy them anymore!


  • Lanieekat January 27, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    I think I will be trying this out this weekend, everyone in our house loves Oreos and making them at home – you cant ask for anything more.


  • renee January 27, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    these look divine…i will be making this with my children on Sunday!!


  • amy dendy January 27, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    Home made baked goods. I luv,luv,luv these.


  • Amy January 27, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    Yum, yum, yum, this looks like a very fun cookbook! No on-line samples!?


  • Kate January 27, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    Wow, these look amazing! Reminds me a bit of a friend whose mom makes homemade fig newtons… also yummy (in a totally different way).


  • Farmingmom January 27, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    these are amazing!!


  • jennifer January 27, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    oh my goodness my friend got this book for christmas and has raved about it! it was on my wish list but i didn't get it…got other fun chronicle books though :). this would be a killer win!
    thanks for the chance!


  • Sarah P January 27, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    YUM! I made homemade oreos recently but the filling called for Crisco…based on a Smitten Kitchen recipe, I think. This looks great. I'll have to try it.


  • @wirechairs January 27, 2011 at 1:49 pm

    I went to summer camp as a kid in Maine, and we said 'wicked' all the time while we were eating whoopie pies and drinking frappes and eating at Friendly's – so I'm glad the word hasn't fallen out of usage. 🙂


  • Erica January 27, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    i saw her on the today show. The homemade pop tarts also looked delish. I would love to have a copy of her cookbook.


  • MsMarz January 27, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    i've been dying to get my hands on this book! my son had his first oreo ever this week, and i can't wait to make these so he can try one! yum!!!!


  • @marbleoc January 27, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    I love Flour and now the cookbook will let me share more of her treats with my son. He has Celiac Disease and has always been jealous when we buy treats from Flour. I Found her pop tart recipe on line this summer and he was in heaven when I made them for him gluten free. He already has a list of what he'd like to make for him: Snickerdoodles


  • AmyK January 27, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    So anxious to get my hands on this book! Thanks for sharing a recipe from it. I’m making these this weekend for sure!


  • DavidF January 27, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    Cake based whoopie pies! Buttercream flavored frosting isn’t quite an Oreo for me, but I’ll still try it this weekend with my boys!


  • Jimmy January 27, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    I have tried these at the bakery and all I can say is WOW. They are the better than anything you'll find at the grocery store! They are perfectly crunchy and crumbly at the same time and the filling is to die for!


  • Janel January 27, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    The homemade pop tarts look divine. I really liked her kneading technique to get flaky dough. I'm thinking Nutella would be a good filling!


  • Maxwell Sherry January 27, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    Flour Bakery is so excellent. Always great food and service!


  • @WeBeReading January 27, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    The one thing I never try baking are homemade versions of store products but this seems like a good place to start! I think I even have all of the ingredients here at home. Diet? What diet?


  • Sylvia January 27, 2011 at 7:59 pm

    I`ve read some good reviews about the book and the recipe looks delish!


  • Mia January 28, 2011 at 12:33 am

    I’m running out of milk! What will we dip these yummy oreos in? 🙂 We’ll need to run to the store, pronto.


  • Carly January 28, 2011 at 7:41 am

    Holy Moley those look fantastic! I will happily add these to my dessert repertoire! Thanks!


  • Lindsay January 28, 2011 at 8:14 am

    Thanks for sharing the recipe and thanks especially for the weight conversions so us non-US bakers can make them too! They look delish, I am definately going to have to try them out.


  • lauren January 28, 2011 at 9:27 am

    oh! i can't wait to try this recipe! i really want to see what the rest of the book is like!


  • Penny January 28, 2011 at 9:33 am

    I can't wait to try this recipe–thanks so much for posting it and thanks to Flour Bakery for sharing. Your blog is great!


  • Tracey January 28, 2011 at 10:02 am

    These sound wicked awesome!!! As soon as our oven gets fixed I want to try this!


  • Ramona January 28, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    so cool! I'd love a copy!


  • nina January 28, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    Oooh, it's probably too late to comment to win the book, but I just had to say that I am SO making those Oreo cookies. They look divine! I will have to see if I can find a copy of this cookbook – looks great.


  • jen January 28, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    yes they still say wicked good here in boston. I'm lucky to live near all three flour venues-would love the cookbook!!


  • heybales January 28, 2011 at 7:55 pm

    These look delicious! I am making them tomorrow and (if there's any left) will blow my co-workers mind with these tasty treats on Monday. Flour should open a pop-up store in Portland, in the Pearl district. That would be wonderful!


  • TV Kennedy January 29, 2011 at 6:09 am

    I've heard good things about this book, and that spread in your photo look delish! I'm heading to the bookstore, to see if they have any copies left. Thanks for the recipe, I love chocolate wafer cookies.


  • Marguerite January 29, 2011 at 6:28 am

    I love chocolate, I love cream filling and I love baking. If the rest of the book is as creative as this recipe, I'm sold!


  • daspears January 29, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    I've heard so many good things about the cookbook – would love to have a copy!


  • Debbe Bloom January 29, 2011 at 6:08 pm

    Oh I remember my days in Boston! These look fabulous and I will be making them for my knitting group next Wednesday!

    Warm regards from chilly Canada,


  • Lita January 31, 2011 at 9:29 am

    I've never been to Boston, so clearly I need this book most.


  • @wirechairs February 2, 2011 at 11:50 am

    And… @marbleoc, you are the lucky random winner of a copy of the "Flour" cookbook.
    Happy baking to you all! Appreciate all the fantastic comments for this recipe post.
    Something new to come later today…


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