This will be quick. I'm just so absolutely excited to share it with you asap that I am not going to bother with one of my typical lame attempts at humorous preface prose.
It goes like this: I made the Homemade Oreos originally from Retro Desserts and posted on these here interwebs several places, most reliably of course on the Smitten Kitchen site. I thought they were delicious. I shared them with people. The people thought they were delicious. The people also analogized them to things like, say, "crack." I considered blogging about them in a post that thus far exists only in my head, wherein I write about several recipes, each one perfect as is, I link to the recipes, and then I just post my humble pictures and talk about how much I love food. The oreos were going to be included in this referral-type post because I didn't feel I could really own them at all, despite the fact that with each bite I wondered how a lemony filling would taste.
Then, this morning, my in-laws, who are hosting us at their lake cabin for the 4th of July and who consider me the family sweet tooth, asked me if I could make a dessert for tomorrow. One unnamed relative suggested perhaps a fruit pizza shaped like a flag. (If you are from Minnesota, you know the one.) Totally festive, for sure, but I didn't think it would travel well in the car (it's like 90 degrees here and we don't have a cooler), and also I think fruit pizza is one of those treats I prefer to have real Minnesotans make for me. I feel the same way about Susan Mary's hot dishes and Psycho Suzi's pickles wrapped in ham and cream cheese. (Oh my gosh so good.)
But anyway, being festive sounded fun, and so I said to my husband, "I'll make those Oreos again. Those are American." Then I paused and then I got super excited and then almost yelled, "I could make the filling red white and BLUE!" And so I did.
Now, remember: crack.
Tread cautiously. And don't drink and drive.
Enjoy your holiday. I will enjoy my cookies. And might possibly go visit my friend the treadmill.
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Yield: about 36 sandwich cookies
For the chocolate wafers
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1-1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temp
1 large egg
For the filling
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temp
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
red and blue food coloring
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.
In food processor or stand mixer, pulse or use low speed on mixer to combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar. Cut the butter into large chunks and add them into dry ingredients. Mix until incorporated and then do same with egg. The dough will come together in a nice big sticky ball. This part will make you really love your food processor if you are using one.
Form the dough into balls about 3/4" in diameter. This is small. These cookies are best small and the dough will spread while baking. I managed to get three sheets of 24 - enough to make 36 sandwich cookies. Bake cookies for 9 minutes, rotating the baking sheet 180 degrees half-way through baking time.
Allow cookies to cool for 2-3 minutes on the cookie sheet, then move to a cooling rack until you are ready to assemble sandwiches.
Now for the filling: I put the shortening, butter, sifted powdered sugar (I used 1 + 1/2 cups unsifted, FYI), and vanilla into a bowl and mixed with an electric hand mixer. This worked but involved several stages I did not anticipate (e.g. failure to combine stage, flying powdered sugar stage, crumbly topping-like stage, stiff peaks stage), all of which freaked me out and made me think this was never going to work. But it did work, both times, after about five minutes of mixing on low-speed. So my way works, but it doesn't feel good. If you'd rather have a stress-free time of making the filling, you might try creaming the butter and shortening, adding the vanilla, and then adding the powdered sugar gradually.
Once the filling is of a spreadable consistency, divide into thirds. Use one third as is to fill a third of your cookies by putting it in a plastic bag, snipping off a corner with scissors, and squeezing about half a teaspoon or slightly more filling onto one cookie and then gently pressing a second cookie on top. (This recipe makes a lot of filling. The first time I made them I was prudent with the first half of the batch and then by the end they were totally double-stuf. Don't be bashful. There will be enough.) To the second portion of the filling, add 1/4 teaspoon lemon extract and about 20 drops of red food coloring (I know. Sick. But also awesome.) and stir together with a spatula until no longer marbled. To the final third, add 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract and about 10-20 drops of blue food coloring, depending on how blue you want it. (Baby blue doesn't look as flawed as pink, you know? Use your best judgment here. I dare you.) Assemble the rest of your Independence Oreos and go be a star wherever you bring them.