Given the tagline “milk’s favorite cookie,” it’s no surprise Oreos unfailingly appeal to the kid in everyone, ourselves included. But at the risk of offending diehard Oreo fans, we have to admit that nostalgia may have clouded our memory, as we’ve come to realize that the flavor of Oreos is, in fact, pretty bland. However, once we figured out a few secrets, re-creating—and improving—these iconic cookies proved straightforward. For that midnight-black color of an Oreo, we turned to black cocoa powder. Black cocoa has almost no fat in it, so we cut it with some Dutch-processed cocoa to prevent our cookies from crumbling. A little espresso powder, in combination with the cocoas, gave our cookies the deep chocolaty punch we wanted. An all-butter filling was too similar to buttercream—much richer and softer than the filling of a classic Oreo. But one made from all shortening had no flavor; it just tasted sweet. A combination of butter and shortening resulted in a rich, round flavor and a melt-away texture. Whether you’re a dunker or you prefer to twist and lick, you’ll find these homemade cookies have supreme flavor and texture that make the effort worthwhile. It is important to slice these cookies exactly to size so they bake evenly and are thin enough to have the classic Oreo snap.
- Yield: 40 sandwich cookies
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus 5 tablespoons softened
- ¼ cup (¾ ounce) black cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon instant espresso powder
- ½ cup (3½ ounces) granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup (5 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
- 1 cup (4 ounces) confectioners’ sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch salt
For the Cookies
- Stir melted butter, black cocoa, Dutch-processed cocoa, and espresso powder in bowl until combined and smooth.
- Using stand mixer fitted with paddle, beat remaining 5 tablespoons butter, sugar, salt, and cocoa mixture on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes, scraping down bowl as needed. Add egg yolk and vanilla and beat until combined, about 30 seconds. Reduce speed to low and slowly add flour in 3 additions, mixing well after each addition and scraping down bowl as needed. Continue to mix until dough forms cohesive ball, about 30 seconds.
- Divide dough in half. Roll each half into 6-inch log. Wrap logs tightly in plastic wrap, twisting ends to firmly compact dough into tight cylinder, and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or up to 3 days.
- Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Trim ends of dough logs, then slice into ⅛-inch-thick rounds and space them ½ inch apart on prepared sheets.
- Bake until cookies are firm and reveal slight indentation when pressed with your finger, 14 to 16 minutes, switching and rotating sheets halfway through baking. Let cookies cool on sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack. Let cookies cool completely. For the Filling
- Using clean, dry mixer bowl and paddle, mix butter, shortening, sugar, vanilla, and salt on medium-low speed until combined, about 1 minute. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
- Place rounded ½ teaspoon filling in center of bottom of half of cookies, then top with remaining cookies, pressing gently until filling spreads to edges. Serve. (Cookies can be stored at room temperature for up to 1 week.)