Confession: I’m sort of terrible at making cookies. Occasionally, they turn out beautifully and trick people into thinking I’m an excellent cookie-baker (spoiler alert: these homemade oreos were perfection), but about 75% of the time they come out flat or dry or just plain wrong. I think it’s because I always try to add and change and swap and reinvent when I bake. That works great for ice cream, muffins, and even bars, but I don’t quite have the science down yet to pull it off with cookies.
This is generally annoying when I’m whipping up a batch to satisfy a cookie-craving of my own, but there’s extra pressure when the cookies are for someone else, and extra extra pressure when they’re for three other food bloggers as part of the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap.
So what’s a girl to do? The obvious answer would be to find a well-established recipe and follow it to a T—but that just isn’t me. Instead, I turned to two of my very favorite, most trusted, bakers: Joy the Baker and David Lebovitz, paired ’em up, and made a few very careful changes. A little extra vanilla in the chocolate wafers? Never a bad thing. A bit more cream to turn the caramelized while chocolate into a dreamy ganache? Totally safe. A dash of sea salt in the filling? Not a problem.
I’ll never be the sort of person that uses the same cookie recipe every time (I can’t help myself from trying something new!) but if I were, this would absolutely be my go-to recipe. The chocolate wafers are wonderfully cocoa-y and just the right texture (sturdy enough to hold up to the filling but soft enough to be yummy and not too dry). The caramelized white chocolate filling is sort of indescribable and a zillion times tastier than store-bought oreo “stuff”.
Best Ever Homemade Oreos
Adapted from Joy the Baker & David Lebovitz (makes about 30 sandwich cookies)
For the caramelized white chocolate:
- 12 oz white chocolate (not candy melts)
- 1/2 c heavy cream
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp flaky sea salt
For the chocolate cookies:
- 3/4 c sugar
- 1 1/2 c plus 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 3/4 c plus 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder, plus a little extra for dusting
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 15 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 3/4″ cubes (at room temperature)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Start by caramelizing the white chocolate. Preheat the oven to 275°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. If you’re using bars of white chocolate, chop them into small pieces (I cut each square roughly into quarters).
Spread the chocolate pieces in a single layer on your prepared baking sheet and place in the oven. Heat for 10 minutes, remove from the oven, and spread the chocolate with a clean, dry spatula (it’s important that there aren’t any droplets of water on it).
I took the picture below after the first 10 minutes in the oven. The chocolate will still have it’s shape at this point but should be spreadable.
Return the chocolate to the oven and continue cooking for 40–60 minutes or until it’s the color of peanut butter (pictured below), stirring at 10 minute intervals. It will probably be lumpy and chalky at times, but just keep stirring and it will smooth out again.
Once the white chocolate is caramelized (aka peanut butter-colored), remove it from the oven and transfer it to the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large mixing bowl).
In a small saucepan, warm the cream over medium heat until it begins to simmer, then remove from heat. Add about 1/4 of the hot cream mixture to your mixing bowl and set your mixer to stir. Once it’s incorporated, continue mixing as you slowly add the remaining cream, vanilla extract, and sea salt.
Transfer the caramelized white chocolate ganache to a bowl or large jar and let stand until room temperature.
Next, make the chocolate wafer cookies. Place the oven racks on the bottom and middle and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Combine the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and stir on low. While the mixer is running, add the vanilla extract, then the butter, a few pieces at a time. The mixture will have a sandy texture at first. Continue mixing until the butter is well-incorporated and the dough begins to come together in large pieces (pictured below).
Use your hands to make a ball with about a third of the un-chilled dough (if you need to make the dough ahead of time, allow it to reach room temperature before rolling it out). Lightly dust two pieces of parchment paper with cocoa powder. Flatten the ball of dough with your palms, then place it between the sheets of parchment paper and roll it out until it’s about 1/8″ thick (don’t worry too much about being exact here).
Use a cookie cutter to cut the dough into 2″ circles. Use a spatula to transfer the circles onto your prepared baking sheets, placing them about 1/2″ apart.
Repeat with remaining dough and scraps. Bake cookies for 12-15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool on the baking sheets for a couple of minutes (at least two) before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Wait until the cookies are completely cool, then assemble the cookies. Place half of the chocolate wafers upside down and pipe or spoon about one teaspoon of filling onto the center of each one (don’t try to spread it with a knife—the cookies are too soft and will likely crumble).
Place the remaining chocolate wafers on top and press the cookies together gently and evenly until the filling just reaches the edges.
I recommend eating these with a nice big glass of milk. Mmm… the sweet taste of success (and chocolate, and caramelized white chocolate)!