Oreo cookies are the best selling cookies in the world for good reason: each cookie is a great combination of sweet, crispy, chocolatey and creamy flavors and textures. And they are even better when dipped in a tall, cold glass of milk. The cookies have been made more or less the same way for the past 100 years and some of the magic of the Oreo is the way that the cookies are formed and made with machines. The wafer cookies are essentially just pressed into place and aren’t held together by much, which is what makes them so deliciously tender.You just can’t get the exact same results with homemade knockoffs, but you can get something close that captures that much loved cookies n’ cream flavor and is made entirely from scratch.
My Homemade Oreo Cookies start out with a chocolate wafer cookie dough that is shaped into logs and chilled. The dough is made with a generous amount of cocoa powder to give the cookies a deep chocolate flavor and very dark color. Slicing the cookies when the dough is chilled allows you to get a uniform look and shape, keeping the cookies nice and flat during baking. The wafer cookies aren’t too sweet (so that they can handle a sweet vanilla filling) but have a strong chocolate flavor when they’re done. The dough should be sliced thinly (about 1/8-inch) so that that wafers can bake up to be nice and crispy. If you cut your dough too thick, the cookies will not get crispy all the way through and will remain slightly soft (still tasty, but not like a real Oreo!).
Regular Oreos are made without any dairy products and without eggs (yes, they’re vegan!), so I kept with that standard when creating this recipe and used shortening instead of butter in both the cookie dough and the filling. You can make the cookies with butter instead of shortening and still get good results, but if you want the most authentic Oreo creme filling, opt for shortening (trans-fat free, of course). The vanilla will stand out in a filling made with shortening, while in a filling made with butter, you’ll have a more frosting-like flavor.
These cookies are at their best when dipped in milk, but they’re tasty on their own, too. They are not quite as crumbly as a “real” Oreo, though they are crispy, chocolatey and have a filling that is as creamy as the real thing. If you don’t want to make the whole batch at once, you can keep some of the cookie dough in the freezer, well-wrapped, for a few weeks and bake off a new bunch when the mood strikes.
Homemade Oreo Cookies
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup + 2 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup vegetable shortening (or butter), room temperature
1/3 cup water
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, cocoa powder and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together shortening and sugar until light. With the mixer on low speed, add in the water and the vanilla. Mixture will look curdled. Gradually, add in the flour mixture and continue to mix until dough comes together. Dough should be fairly dry.
Shape dough into two logs, about 1 1/2 inches (or about 4 cm) in diameter, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for at least 1-2 hours, until dough is very firm.
Preheat oven to 375F.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
Slice dough into rounds about 1/8 inch thick (slightly thicker is ok) – if they are too thick, they will not be as crisp – and place on prepared baking sheet. Cookies will not spread very much, so you can put them quite close together.
Bake for 12-15 minutes, until cookies are firm at the edges. Cool cookies completely on a wire rack before filling.
To fill, transfer cookie filling to a piping bag (or just use a small knife) and pipe a circle of filling onto half of the baked cookies. Place a second cookie on top and press lightly to spread the filling and stick the cookies firmly together.
Makes about 2 1/2 dozen cookies.
Vanilla Oreo Cookie Filling
1/2 cup vegetable shortening, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 – 2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
Beat all ingredients together until smooth, gradually adding the confectioners’ sugar until the filling is fluffy and easy to spread. If filling becomes too dry, add a few teaspoons of water to moisten it.