Newlyweds navigating their way through married life – and the kitchen

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Homemade Oreo Cookies

There’s a lot of great things about Boston – one of them being Flour Bakery.  Joanne Chang, the owner and brains behind the operation, decided that her degree in Applied Mathematics & Economics from Harvard and thriving consulting career wasn’t making her jump out of bed with excitement every morning, so she decided to pursue her love of cooking.  And after spending several years at several jobs as a pastry chef in Boston and NYC, Flour was born – and it’s now one of the best bakeries in Boston (in my opinion anyway!), with three locations throughout the city and it’s very own cookbook! Love inspirational stories of success such as that one!

My first Flour experience was a mixed box of treats – one of them resembling a whoopie pie, one of my all-time favorite desserts.  But when I bit into it, it wasn’t in fact a whoopie pie – it was actually an Oreo! Tasting very similar to everyone’s favorite cream filled cookie, but softer and MUCH bigger – bonus!

I’ve been meaning to try these for years now so Christmas was the perfect opportunity to give them a whirl.  They took a bit of time to make, primarily because of the chilling time required for the dough, but I’ve always been a firm believer that patience is a virtue 🙂

Homemade Oreo Cookies
*Adapted from Flour Bakery’s Recipe

INGREDIENTS
*yields about 16-18 large oreos

For the Cookie

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted

3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted

1 egg

1 & 1/2 cups flour

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

For the Filling
(this is actually doubled from the original recipe – I prefer Double Stuff if ya know what I mean)

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 & 1/3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

2 tablespoons milk or cream

2 Pinches salt

1) In a medium bowl, whisk the butter and the sugar until combined. Whisk in the vanilla and melted chocolate. Add the egg and stir until well blended.

2) In another bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir to blend them. Using a wooden spoon, stir the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture. The finished dough should feel like Play-Doh. Cover the dough with plastic, and chill for 1 hour.

3) Place the dough on a long sheet of wax or parchment paper. Use your hands to shape it into a rough log, about 10 inches long and 2 & 1/2 inches in diameter. Place the log at the wide edge of the paper and roll it around the log. With your hands on the paper, roll the dough into a tighter log, keeping the diameter the same.

4) Refrigerate the log for at least 2 hours  – after 2 hours it should be firm enough to slice without crumbling.

5) Set the oven at 325 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or spray with non-stick cooking spray.

6) Remove the dough from the paper. Cut the log into 32 slices, each about 1/4″ – 1/2″ thick. Set them on the baking sheets 1 inch apart.

7) Bake the cookies for 20 to 25 minutes, checking them often after 15 minutes, or until they are firm when touched in the center. Let them cool completely on the sheets.

8) In the meantime, prepare the filling  – in the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter on low speed for half a minute. Add the vanilla and confectioners sugar and beat until smooth.

9) Beat in the milk and salt. The filling will be somewhat stiff and spackle’ish.

10) Place 2 tablespoons of filling on the flat side of 16 cookies. Press the remaining 16 cookies on the filling, flat sides against the cream, to evenly distribute the filling.  Be careful when pressing the top cookie down onto the filling.  I found that the stiff texture of the filling caused the top cookie to crack a little when I was pressing it down so just be gentle with it.

11) Store finished cookies in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Safe to say you’ll never go back to store bought after having these puppies 🙂

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Lemon Surprise CookiesMy Uncle Jimmy is a great and funny guy – a creature of habit if you will.

On summer days when I’d be over playing with my cousins Erin and Jen, he’d come home from work every day at noon on the dot, watch t.v. for a bit, and eat his lunch with one of ten bags of ‘Tri-Sum’ potato chips on top of the fridge.  At every holiday, when stocking the fridge or cooler, you’d see at least 1 liter or a few cans of Coke, an Uncle Jimmy necessity.  There’s a comfort in people like my Uncle Jim, in their predictability and routine – they make you feel like in this crazy world we live in that changes every hour of every day, that as long as there’s ice-cold Coke in the fridge and potato chips for lunch, than all will be o.k with the world.

But….since he’s retired….he’s gone a little crazy….

Lemon Surprise Cookies

…doing things like growing goatees – going to Ireland for bachelor parties and drinking whisky! WITHOUT Coke! And much to my delight, he’s developed a knack for baking, which I discovered at Thanksgiving.

Of 75 desserts on the table, you really need to strategize your plan of attack.  But there was one dessert on the table that I noticed was new, not one of the old stand by’s like my Aunt Kathy’s Eclair Ring or my cousin Jen’s picture perfect trifle.  These little bite size, ball shaped cookies with chocolate drizzle.  I popped one in my mouth, and not only was it delicious, but it had a surprise chocolate kiss interior – and after I ate about 1/2 dozen of them I said “ok, who made these?”  And who was the culprit?

Uncle Jim.  Who knew?

Now this past weekend, I tried making them for a cookie swap.  I followed the recipe to a T and waited with baited breath for them to come out of the oven.  But when it was time to take them out, they looked NOTHING like Uncle Jim’s – TASTED nothing like them either – they were a hot mess of cookie, pun intended.  Honestly, I have no idea what happened.  My theory is that perhaps I chilled the dough for too long (the original recipe called for some chilling time to make the dough easier to handle, which is pretty standard with shortbread recipes) Disappointed was an understatement, because I was so excited to showcase these.

I woke up Sunday morning though, feeling determined to get these right, so I tried AGAIN using a different shortbread recipe, this time not chilling the dough and making a few other changes here and there, and B.I.N.G.O! Success!

Lemon Surprise Cookies
*Uncle Jim (and pillsbury & simple bites)

INGREDIENTS
*makes about 6 dozen

3 sticks of unsalted butter, softened

1 cup sugar

1 tablespoon lemon extract

3 & 1/2 cups  all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 bag (13 oz) KISSES® milk chocolates, unwrapped

Powdered sugar

8 oz. milk chocolate, melted
(about 1/2 bag chocolate chips – I used Trader Joe’s 1lb Milk Chocolate Bar)

Lemon Surprise Cookies

1) Preheat oven to 350°F.

2) In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the butter and sugar until they are just combined. Add the lemon extract.

3) In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and salt, then add them to the butter-and-sugar mixture. Mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together.

4) Dump onto a surface dusted with flour and bring everything together with your hands.  Take about 1/2 tbsp. of the dough and wrap it around the hershey kiss.
*This step is key, as you really only want enough dough to just cover the hershey kiss.  If you use too much dough (which is another mistake I made first time around) the shortbread will flatten out on the bottom, making the finished product look more like little hats instead of balls. 

5) Take the dough-wrapped hershey kiss and roll it in between the palms of your hands to form a ball.  Place them on an ungreased cookie sheet.

6) Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until set and bottom edges are light golden brown. Cool 1 minute then remove from cookie sheets. Cool completely, about 15 minutes on wire racks.

7) Lightly sprinkle cooled cookies with powdered sugar. In a double boiler or microwave, melt the chocolate and drizzle over each cookie.

Lemon Surprise Cookies

While being slightly labor intensive, the end result is well worth it as this slightly lemon flavored shortbread has a chocolatey surprise center and the recipe makes a TON, so they’re perfect for gift giving or swapping – 1 batch will make more cookies than you’ll know what to do with!

So thanks for the recipe Uncle Jim! Keep livin’ that ‘crazy’ retired life – it looks good on you 🙂



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