Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

Sweet Recipes, Winter • 22 Jan 2009

Oreo cookies are a time-honored snack long favored by children and big kids-at-heart. There’s no denying that the 97 year-old toothsome snack is not healthy. But that hasn’t stopped cross-generational consumers from snapping up bags upon bags of the historic cookie, making it one of America’s most enduring and beloved treats.

Eating an Oreo has never been a simple act: twisting the cookie open, licking down the creamy center, dipping the crunchy halves into milk until rendered soggy. But the pure, unadulterated joy of Oreo consumption can turn any stone-cold scrooge into a jubilant kid.

Lets face the facts, though. Home baked goods are always a better alternative to the trans fat laden commercial desserts from your local grocer. Rather than devour an entire bag of chemically processed (albeit yummy) goodness, why not make your own?

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This recipe for chocolate sandwich cookies is not difficult, but it is certainly tedious, a perfect activity for a blustery, snowed-in day. Although time consuming, the finished product is well worth the effort.

The cookies are sublime, like a homemade version of the Oreo: crunchy, wafer-thin, slightly flaky and subtly salty cocoa-infused biscuits wedged together by a sugary, creamy white chocolate ganache. The effort is certainly a worthy indulgence. These “Oreos” are a grown-up, sumptuously mature reworking of the childhood classic.

Chocolate Sandwich Cookies
Adapted from Gourmet Magazine

For dough:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For ganache:
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 tablespoons light corn syrup
3/4 pound fine-quality white chocolate, melted
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Equipment: a 1 3/4-inch fluted round cookie cutter

1. Make dough: Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy, then beat in yolk and vanilla. At low speed, mix in flour mixture in 3 batches just until a dough forms. Divide dough in half and form each piece into a 6-inch square, then chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, until firm, 2 to 3 hours.

2. Make ganache while dough chills: Bring cream and corn syrup just to a simmer in a small heavy saucepan, then stir into melted chocolate. Stir in butter and vanilla until smooth. Cover surface with parchment paper and chill, stirring occasionally, until very thick, about 30 minutes.

3. Cut and bake cookies: Preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack in middle. Butter 2 large baking sheets. Roll out 1 piece of dough between sheets of parchment paper into a 14- by 10-inch rectangle (1/8 inch thick). Slide dough in parchment onto a tray and freeze until dough is firm, about 10 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough.

4. Cut out as many rounds as possible from first chilled square with cutter, reserving and chilling scraps, then quickly transfer cookies to a buttered baking sheet, arranging them 1/2 inch apart. (If dough becomes too soft, return to freezer until firm.)

5. Sprinkle half of cookies with decorative sugar (if using), then bake cookies until baked through and slightly puffed, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on sheet on rack 5 minutes, then transfer to rack to cool completely (cookies will crisp as they cool). Make more cookies with remaining dough and scraps (reroll only once).

6. Assemble sandwich cookies: Beat ganache with an electric mixer at high speed just until light and fluffy. Transfer to a sealable plastic bag (snip off 1/8 to 1/4 inch from 1 corner with scissors). Pipe ganache onto flat sides of plain cookies, then top with sugared cookies to make sandwiches. Chill, layered between sheets of parchment, in an airtight container until filling is set, at least 1 hour. Sandwiched cookies keep, chilled, 4 days.

Yield: Makes 3 1/2 dozen cookies.

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