Archive for burn down the kitchen

Defeat doesn’t taste very good-part 2: Victory is sweeter

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on April 2, 2010 by grimgastronomicon

I am back, and I am slightly more accomplished in my kitchenly duties.  Today, I marched into the kitchen, and did what needed to be done to finish my attempt at homemade Oreos. It took hours, and the final product didn’t quite meet my expectations, but I feel I did my best.

Frozen dough, pre-fix

Dark chocolate, before I reduced it to dust

The dough. If you recall (and really, pt1 was yesterday, so I expect that you do), I had a lapse in thinking, and put in far too much butter. I also mentioned the obvious solution being to increase the other ingredients by the same amount (basically 4x). Did that. It went from being a batter, to something actually resembling a cookie dough. Now, my main concern was the sheer amount of dough sitting in the mixing bowl.

I began balling it, finding it still very stick and clingy, so I added a fair amount more flour to the dough, and coated my hands in it (which only really seems to help for a few of them, at which point all the fatty oil from the nascent cookie exudes itself onto your palms), and began the arduous process of placing them on the tray, and then flattening them. I also found the flatter you squished them, the more attractive the final product, but the more likely the edges would get too thin and crisp up. Actually, with the assumed 1tsp sized balls, 9 minutes is a little too generous-the cookies actually do best closer to around 7:45-8:15.

I had a lot of practice with the cooking times, given my quadrupled batch size-to the point that it was hard to maintain interest in it, and the last couple batches suffered unduly. I’ll also level-the first batch, while fine, caused voluminous smoke to invade the entire goddamn apartment. When Jess came to see why I was attempting to burn the place down, she realized that I had used waxed paper, instead of waxed parchment paper.

Honestly, wtf? They’re sitting next to each other in the drawer of food wrap materials, and the insignificance of the word ‘parchment’ is such that I assumed they were different ways to brand the same product (as they look and feel nearly identical). One eventually browns after being used a half dozen times in a row; the other has its coating melt off, and causes billowing smoke. Hmmm, something to keep in mind (and yet another, “Ummm, common knowledge doesn’t necessarily impart itself through osmosis-it has to pass itself on somehow”).

So, back to the successful batches. After letting them cool enough to be spatula’d off the tray, I began establishing groups of wafers on 3 plates.

Plate 1. The Beauties. These are the cookies which have a uniformity of colour, shape, and size, and are easy to pair-bond with a second cookie. Nearly half of my cookies wound up given this passing grade.

Plate 1, not entirely filled yet.

Plate 2. The Misfits. These obviously held some congenital defects, but still were more or less edible, if slightly less picturesque. There weren’t a lot of these.

Plate 3. The Burnouts. Sadly, there were far too many of these slightly-blackened cookies. Any that suffered even mildly were added to this pile, and then quietly disposed of.  My stringency meant a lot of cookies wound up in this pile.

Making the icing wasn’t especially noteworthy, but it went smoothly (except for a large puff of icing sugar cascading onto much of my pants and shirt).

The assembly process eventually became the assembly-line, with Jess icing a cookie I’d hand her, and then I’d find its duplicate to create the sandwich. These were then stacked on a plate.

During this process, the Burnouts sadly increased (and doubly sadly, they were the most visually uniform, and closest in size to real Oreos).

Now, after previously stressing the criteria on which I’d judge these, you must be hotly anticipating my results, no? While I could save that for a part 3, I’ll deliver the goods.

The Wafer-

In terms of texture, this has the mouth-feel of the average flour based, homemade cookie. It’s crunchy and crisp (Jess claims that it’s “Short” and crisp, not crunchy, and that that’s a by-product of the amount of butter this requires), but not even remotely in the same way as an Oreo. The chocolate flavour is mild, but noticeably sugary-even with a reduced amount of sugar, I still found it too sweet for what it’s attempting to emulate. The colour is also a touch too light. Presented as a solo cookie, I’d honestly draw no similarities between it and an Oreo, unless heavily prompted in advance.

The Filling-

A ton of sugar, shortening, butter, and vanilla, and then some more sugar. It tasted fairly similar, but doesn’t have that dry texture. In this instance, not necessarily a bad thing, though it does mean the filling likes to run out the sides while you bite down on the cookie.

The Experience-


Sadly, not worth the insane amounts of hype this recipe seems to have received online. Yeah, it’s decent, but for one, it’s still decidedly homemade tasting, and if I’m making homemade cookies, they probably need to have peanut butter in them for me to care. For seconders, even with the high concentration of sugar, the filling doesn’t really stand out between the two wafers. Thirdly, with my inexperience in the kitchen, and some finicky product, the amount of waste was kind of ridiculous; it’d be more cost-efficient (and possibly environmentally friendly) to just purchase the packaged product of which I’m trying to emulate.

The Rub-

I’ll attempt homemade Oreo’s again at some point, but will put some serious consideration into what level of faithfulness I require in the cookie (or if I’m willing to settle for a good cookie sandwich, not a good homemade Oreo), and what elements of the Oreo are actually appealing/required for true authenticity (mainly, I need a more manufactured crunch to it).

They’re not bad cookies by any means, they’re just not Oreo’s.

I hope this POV shot makes you feel like you’re a special part of this experience.