When we were small kids, the only chocolate sandwich cookie to grace our house was the trashier and cheap cousin of the Oreo called Hydrox. If Wiki is to be believed (and we all know how that works) Hydrox was named for some itty bitty atomic elements. Marketed long before Oreo hit the stage, Hydrox was a kosher little cookie from the very beginning. Poor little Oreo got its start using
bacon, um pig lard as an ingredient. Oreo quickly switched to vegetable shortening and then the younger, newly successful kosher cousin took over the market share and never looked back.
Eventually we switched allegiance from Hydrox to the swanky cousin, Oreo. Ripping open the bag as soon as we got from the market to our car, we’d twist open the little lids and scrape off the creamy center with our teeth. By the time we got home, our lips and chins were littered with dark crumbs. If there were any spare cookies in the bag we’d finish them up by dipping the chocolate cookie into a tall glass of cold milk.
Sadly, from the moment we were gluten free, the Oreo became history. Visitation happened only in a supervised grocery store setting where they were safely wrapped in cellophane and monitored by store cameras. I’d visit the adorable little Oreo in the cookie aisle, but they never came home with me again.
But then a cookie miracle occurred. One morning I clicked on Gluten Free Girl’s blog and there they were. Her blog attributed the recipe to Kitchen Lab Project, Retro Desserts, and Smitten Kitchen (a blog, soon to be a book). I explored all the recipes and came up with my own modified version.
The recipe is easy to do and very forgiving. Shauna’s gluten free flour recommendation* for this cookie is spot-on perfect. Don’t change it. I already did and her original is much better so I switched back. Smitten Kitchen’s Deb recommends less sugar and a bit more salt to mimic the Oreo. That worked very well.
I also found that the baking powder in addition to baking soda makes the cookie rise giving it a softer puffy texture which I did not want. Leave out the baking powder. The filling hardens up a little better using glazing sugar. Glazing sugar is just powdered sugar without the starch addition. It might be available in some markets, but King Arthur flour sells it online here. I also like that the after-taste from powdered sugar is missing when you use glazing sugar. And just a note: many organic powdered sugar brands use tapioca starch instead of the corn starch found in the usual (non-organic) suspects. I try to not use tapioca flour because I don’t enjoy the weird after-taste. But not everyone feels that way, so use what tastes ok to you.
I am happy to be once again sitting at the table with a big glass of cold milk and a plate of gluten free home-made Oreo cookies. There is something quite right about this particular trip down memory lane. The cookie certainly doesn’t look like it was made in the Oreo factory, but it sure tastes familiar. It makes this holiday at our house a little more special because the Oreo doppelgänger is back, gluten free, and even better than I remember.
- About 1 ½ scant cups of gluten free flour – but this is the better choice: 80 grams sweet rice flour + 60 grams white rice flour + 35 grams of teff flour*
- ½ teaspoon xanthan gum
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ cup superfine sugar
- heaping ½ teaspoon salt (I use flake salt)
- 1 stick unsalted butter room temperature
- 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
- 1 extra large egg
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- 4 tablespoons unsalted room temperature butter
- 4 tablespoons vegetable shortening at room temperature
- 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon pure peppermint extract (optional)
- 2 cups of glazing sugar, sifted
Preheat oven to 375.
Place all the dry ingredients in the bowl of stand mixer and whisk them to incorporate. Add in the butter and shortening and mix on low-speed until it looks like tiny peas. Add in the egg and vanilla and mix until it all comes together.
You can roll the dough out and cut the cookies with a fluted edge cutter or roll into about 10g balls and flatten. If you roll it out, use a silpat and parchment for the top or two pieces of parchment, top and bottom.
Once they are on the cookie sheet, pop it into the freezer or the refrigerator for a good 15 minutes (10 for the freezer). If you’ve rolled the dough and cut out the shapes, this allows you to remove the dough with a small offset spatula more easily. Let the cold dough sit at room temperature for no more than 5 minutes and bake about 4 minutes. Rotate and bake about 4-5 minutes more. Leave them on the silpat or parchment to cool completely. They should be crispy when cold.
For the filling, whip up the flavoring with the butter and shortening in a stand mixer with the whip attachment. Turn to low and add the sifted powdered sugar. Once incorporated turn the mixer to high and whip for 2 minutes to make it fluffy.
Either pipe the desired amount onto the flat side of the cookie and place a lid on it with another cookie using the flat side, or use a small spoon or spatula to place the icing on the cookie.
They won’t completely harden like the original Oreo, so prepare to eat them sooner rather than later – like they would last that long anyway.