Monday, December 20, 2010

Homemade oreos: Even better than the real thing

It's that time of year-- JoeJoe time. Candy Cane Joe Joe's, to be precise. If you've got a Trader Joe's near you, you won't be able to escape without seeing these puppies prominently displayed. Trader Joe's knows they've got a good thing going.

If you haven't tasted one, well. Then. Perhaps you live in TJ-free zone and I need to get one in the mail to you. If you have access to TJ's and just haven't picked up the box, I congratulate you and your stable blood sugar levels.

(For the uninitiated, JoeJoe's are basically TJ-brand Oreos, but much better. They use vanilla bean in the creamy center and Candy Cane JoeJoes have that red and white minty sticky crunch.)

I had a yen for them, but am also trying to shake off the last 5-8 lbs of baby weight. I totally refuse to give into the notion of spreading out with the years. If anything, I want to get stronger and faster as the years go by. So we've totally been decimating bedtime to go to the gym (something had to give).  But everyone knows, half an hour of butt-busting sweat-dripping heart-pounding burns a solid 200 calories, which, even accounting for afterburn, can be reacquired by merely looking at a slice of pizza or box of cookies. Calories are calories, way easy to put on and tough to take off. Good for our Neanderthal ancestors, bad for us desk dwellers.

SO! I didn't have them in the house.  I had decided awhile ago that if I wanted white sugar, I'd have to bake it up myself instead of making it all mindlessly accessible. Nope, I'd need to *mindfully* consume my cookies, after mindfully baking and mindfully cleaning up. (Geez, it makes it sound almost worth it to pay $3 for a box of JoeJoes!)

My ever-heroic group of online mama friends had just been discussing homemade oreos, however, and I was led to this Smitten Kitchen recipe. Besides being a fun blog to read, she also has terrific recipes and beautiful photos of her work.  She also has a delicious Homemade Oreo recipe!

These are HIGHLY worth it. Quick to make and really delicious. My modification of her recipe is that I used only 1 cup of sugar for the chocolate cookies and clarified butter instead of shortening for the filling. I cannot recommend enough clarified butter for this purpose. This is what separates the store-bought cookies from the homemade to me-- this special ingredient that really makes the vanilla stand up proud against the darkly rich crumbly chocolate background.

Use parchment or a Silpat. Bring over a couple cookies, I'll bring the milk, and we'll talk about the gym. :)