Now I have to tell you, I wasn’t a huge Oreos fan when I was a kid. The cookie part of the sandwich always crumbled tough against my teeth. More than any other packaged cookie, Oreos tasted like they had been weeks from the factory. That creamy filling tasted artificial, especially when I compared them to my mom’s buttercream frosting. Give me gingersnaps, the tiny crunchy ones that rattled in the box, any day. Or those flourescent pink sugar wafers. Those were so distinctly artificial, like nothing in nature, that I loved the shatter of sugar on my teeth. Animal crackers were always exciting for the little box with the string, so I could carry it around like a purse. And vanilla wafers were so laden with sugar the idea of them now makes my head hurt, but oh how I loved them when I was a kid, especially underneath a bowl of banana pudding.
But Danny loved them as a kid. When I showed the link to him, his eyes lit up like Christmas lights. We convert a lot of recipes around here. It’s easy for us now. Why not?
Danny and I danced in the kitchen in the early afternoon. Lu has been crazy about the Cookie Monster lately and saying, “Cookies!” in as deep a voice as she can manage. She stood on the chair and thwacked a spoon against the counter, drumming to the music we were playing. Once I decided on the flours (white rice for crispness, sweet rice for stick-to-itivenss, teff for the soft binding quality), and tossed in a bit of xanthan gum, the recipe was exactly the same. It came together in under ten minutes.
Danny swiped a bite of dough from the bowl of the stand mixer. He got that devilish grin on his face. Before Lu was big enough to understand everything, Danny used to mock smack my arm and say “SHUT UP!” when something tasted good. Now, he just swipes the air and mouths it. (If she starts imitating that, we’re okay.) I could tell he wanted to shout, though. “That dough tastes exactly like Oreos cookies.”
I took a bite. He was right.
The filling surprised me. I’ve never been a big fan of Crisco. In fact, we had some in the house because we are working on pie crusts again, and I had read that some people love half butter/half Crisco for their crusts. (I tried it. No thank you.) I scooped a couple of tablespoons into the bowl with the butter and let it whirl.
I’m convinced. This filling has the slightly stiff feeling of Oreos without all that industrial taste. I might just do this for frosting from now on.
Poor Danny and Lu. “Cookies!” she called. I kept her hands away from them so I could set up a photograph. The two of them hovered behind me, waiting, with Lu’s hands creeping toward the stack of cookies. Finally, one or two of the shots were at least in focus enough to call it good.
“Let’s eat!” I shouted.
Oh my gosh. These homemade Oreos, gluten-free? These are possibly the best cookie I have ever eaten. Danny says there should be no possibly in that sentence. These are his favorite cookie of all time.
You have to make them. Today.
GLUTEN-FREE OREO COOKIES, adapted from Kitchen Lab Project
I love how food blogs have become a communal recipe box. We share what we learned from someone else, like the index cards where women used to write recipes, and then the next person passes it on with a few crossed-out ingredients or notes added in red pen. I found the recipe for these cookies from someone in NYC who found it on a blog from Scotland called Kitchen Lab Project. She found the recipe from Deb at Smitten Kitchen, who adapted them from this book. You know that author was inspired by someone else’s recipe before him.
Those of you who have to avoid dairy might be adapting this again soon. I can’t see why a buttery substitute wouldn’t work for the butter in both places. If you can’t eat eggs, you could try the flax seed trick. Or maybe you have a better idea. If you adapt this version of the recipe for your own kitchen successfully, will you leave a link to it in the comments? Everyone should be able to eat these.
For the cookies:
80 grams sweet rice flour
60 grams white rice flour
35 grams teff flour
2 grams (1/2 teaspoon) xanthan gum
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (we used Dagoba organic)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar (we used 1/2 cup organic cane sugar and 1/2 cup coconut palm sugar)
140 grams (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons) room-temperature, unsalted butter
1 large egg
For the creamy filling:
58 grams (1/2 stick) room-temperature, unsalted butter
4 tablespoons vegetable shortening
2 cups sifted confectioners sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Preparing to bake. Preheat the oven to 375°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat.
Making the cookie dough. Put the sweet rice flour, white rice flour, and teff flour in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using a whisk, stir the flours together to combine and aerate them. Add the xanthan gum, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Turn the mixer on and let everything combine in motion. While the mixer is running on low speed, add large pieces of the butter until they are all incorporated. Add the egg and mix well. (At this point, you might think the dough will be too dry. Trust. Keep mixing. It will come together.)
Baking the cookies. Scoop a rounded teaspoon of batter (literally. scoop just more than a teaspoon’s worth) and form a ball. Gently, flatten the dough in the palm of your hand. After you have flattened, smooth the edges of the cookie dough disk to make it evenly rounded. Place the dough disks onto the prepared baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. (These will not spread, but you do not want them to touch each other.)
Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 5 minutes, then turn the baking sheet 180 degrees. Bake until the cookies are crisp on the edges with just a touch of softness in the center, about 5 more minutes. Take the cookies out of the oven. After a few moments, transfer the cookies to a cooling rack. Allow them to cool completely.
Repeat with the rest of the dough.
Making the creamy filling. Put the butter and vegetable shortening into the bowl of the stand mixer. (Clean the cookie dough out first!) Whip them up together, then add the sugar and vanilla extract. Beat the filling on high until it is fluffy frosting, about 5 minutes. (Be sure to turn off the stand mixer and scrape down the sides occasionally.)
Assembling the cookies. If you have a pastry bag with a 1/2-inch round tip, you can pipe tiny dots of filling onto a cookie. We couldn’t find ours, so we used a teaspoon measure and our fingers to spread the blob of creamy filling toward the edges but not entirely there. Gently, press the second cookie down onto the filling and watch the filling reach the edges.
Continue until all the cookies are little chocolate sandwiches with a creamy filling. Oreos.
Makes 25 to 30 Oreos.