>> Tuesday, January 04, 2011
As a kid, I always scraped off the sugar of my Oreo cookies. I much preferred eating the dark, chocolately cookie alone rather than suffer through the sugary chalky center. I wished for the day when Nabisco would sell the chocolate cookie separately, which it never did.
Then one day, (maybe 20 years later), I tried a TKO ("Thomas Keller Oreo") for the first time at Bouchon Bakery.
Now THIS is no ordinary chocolate sandwich cookie. The cookie itself is dark and richly chocolate-y, while the filling is creamy yet not too sweet. Together, they form the ultimate sandwich cookie that I'm more than happy to eat whole.
No need to dissect my Oreos anymore. These are perfect as is.
But wouldn't it be more perfect if I didn't have to haul myself out to New York, San Francisco, or Las Vegas every time I wanted to taste one of these beauties?
Sometimes, with the help of the internet, life can be even more perfect.
On New Year's Eve, I decided to try making these delectable sandwich cookies.
It was going to be a bit challenging. I didn't have a stand mixer, nor did I have a pastry bag. I hardly had any experience using cookie cutters, rolling pins, or Silpat liners. To top that all off, I'd never used cookie stamps before.
Nevertheless with the help of a friend and the internet, we managed to make a huge successful batch of these delicious sandwich cookies.
I love these cool letter press stamps that I bought in Japan. You can spell out whatever you want and make personalized cookies! Hee hee, I also bought some with Japanese hiragana characters. One of these days I'll make Japanese stamped cookies!
Of course I thought it would be fun to make some Tiny Urban Kitchen cookies.
One word of warning, though (I learned this the hard way), these stamps are best used to make cookies that don't use rising agents (e.g. baking soda, baking powder, yeast). Shortbread cookies or simple butter cookies work the best. Cookies with baking soda in the recipe (like this one) will rise a bit, causing the letters to expand and stretch out.
The best way to deal with this is to stamp after the cookies are done baking.
Once the cookies come out of the oven (while they are still warm and not yet completely hard), stamp them with the letter press. When finished, transfer the cookies to a rack to cool.
Once the cream filling is done, you can assemble the cookie and then serve!
This is definitely a cookie totally worth making over and over. The dark, not-too-sweet chocolate cookie pairs really well with the white chocolate, more intense filling. The bit of salt in the chocolate cookie actually enhances the flavor of chocolate. The individual parts actually don't taste nearly as good separately. They need to be together!
I am so excited that I can make these at home and that they're not THAT hard to make. You don't have to use a pastry bag. We did alright without a stand mixer (although we did need two people at times!), and the stamps are pretty easy to use. Yay! No need to drive all the way to New York just to get my TKO fix anymore (though I still won't hesitate to buy one if I happen to be at a Bouchon Bakery!).
Life is good.
Yes, I realize they look like Whoopie Pies, but trust me, they taste SO MUCH better! I lacked many key baking supplies (such as a pastry bag) so I wasn't able to make the insides look nearly as pretty. I just spread the cream with a knife!
Note: the official recipe from Bouchon Bakery (via the Kitchn) is actually found here. That official version uses weight measurements, which is much more accurate for baking. I would recommend using that recipe if possible. However, for those without a kitchen scale, below is a version from The Essence of Chocolate that uses volume measurements instead. It will be less precise, but still works pretty well. It is the one I used.
1 1/2 cups plus 3 Tbsp all purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
15 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 3/4" cubes, at room temperature
1/2 cup heavy cream
8 oz. white chocolate, chopped
1. For the Filling: In a small pan, bring the cream to a boil. Remove from heat and add the chocolate. Let stand for 1 minute, then whisk to melt the chocolate until smooth. Transfer to a small bowl, and let stand for 6 hours to thicken up.
2. For the Cookies: Combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and mix to combine. With the mixer running, add the butter, a piece at a time (to avoid clumping). The mixture will be dry and sandy at first, but over 2 minutes, will form pebble-size pieces that start to cling together (see picture in the collage above). Stop the mixture and transfer the dough mixture to a work board.
Jen's comments: I used the above-described method but it was sort of a pain. Check out the official Bouchon Bakery method, which involves creaming the butter and sugar together first and then adding the dry ingredients. I actually think that may be an easier way to go. I definitely to plan on trying that method next time. No need to cube butter!
3. Preheat oven to 350F.
4. Separate dough into 2 pieces. If there's time, refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes. Roll each piece of dough between 2 pieces of plastic wrap or parchment paper to 1/8" inch thick. Using a cookie cutter, cut out cookies. Place 1/2" apart on baking sheets lined with Silpat liners or parchment paper.
5. Bake for 12-15 minutes, rotating halfway through baking. Remove. Optionally stamp with letter press. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer cookies to a cooling rack. Cool completely.
6. To Assemble: Lightly whip the white chocolate cream to aerate and fluff up. Transfer filling to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4" plain tip. Pipe about 1 1/2 tsp in the center of half the cookies. Top with another cookie to sandwich. Gently press down until the cream comes to the edges.
Jen's note: if you don't have a pastry bag, you can just spread the filling with a knife or squeeze the filling out of a cut out plastic bag. I won't look as good, but that won't affect the taste at all!
Don't try to whip the white chocolate filling early, as it will be too runny. If you want to speed up the thickening process, you can try putting the filling in the refrigerator.
Enjoy!!!! [I know I am!!!]