When I was growing up, my idea of a fun weekend project was to throw a neighborhood bake sale in my front yard (I know, you’re SHOCKED!) Our town in New Jersey was fairly small, so pretty much everyone that lived on our street knew everyone else. Of course we did have that one obligatory random house with the poorly maintained, overgrown lawn and peeling paint–the one that all of the kids avoided at Halloween because we were 100% certain that it was haunted. In reality, the residence was probably just unoccupied, but the idea of having a mysterious creepy neighbor was so much more exciting. Hey–it was the suburbs before we had a computer or cable TV. Good imaginations were mandatory.
Since most of our neighbors were friends, or at least acquaintances, my mother had no problem with me whipping up a few batches of brownies or Rice Krispie Treats (the extent of my baking skills at the time) and selling them in the front yard, usually accompanied by a pitcher of pink Minute Maid lemonade or Tropical Punch Kool-Aid. She did have some ground rules though:
1. I had to clean up my mess in the kitchen.
2. I had to pay for the cost of ingredients.**
**Looking back, I have the feeling that I didn’t make enough to cover the cost of ingredients, even if I sold out of my $.25 brownies. My mom was obviously trying to teach me about running a business since I was essentially using whatever I found in her pantry for my bake sale. I think that she just pretended to figure out an amount and then charged me something like fifty cents. That seemed like a perfectly sensible number to me at the time. Mom (Moog), thanks for keeping my cottage baking business in the black.
I’m really looking forward to this Saturday, May 14th, because I’ve been asked to host a……GUESS WHAT????……..yes, a BAKE SALE!! Gosh, I hope it’s like riding a bike. I mean, it has been ages since my successful days as the mini Martha Stewart of Abey Drive. I have a reputation to uphold. Lots of pressure.
1. It is being held simultaneously with other bake sales in cities across America as a part of Share our Strength’s Great American Bake Sale.
2. 100% of the sales made will go directly to Share our Strength to help fight hunger in America.
3. It is being held at the Forum Shoppes at Caesar’s, in the (wait for it) KIEHL’S STORE!! Now, if that’s not a perfect match, then I don’t know what it. No, not a match between Kiehl’s and baking, a match between Kiehl’s and me. I’ve used their products for about 15 years now, so when they offered up their space for my sale?? No brainer.
4. In addition to an array of decadent treats, I will be selling bags of my granola at a discount, again with all of the sales going to Share our Strength.
You can view my bake sale page here. As you can see, I am a strong team of, well, one. Sad, I know. I tried to rally some baking troops, but I had little (OK, zero) response. Again, sad, I know. Oh, well. I’ve always been a do it yourself kinda gal anyhow. Oh, and as for that tiny little $10 number that keeps scrolling up the page, mocking me? Challenge accepted. (Of course, if you can’t make it to the sale, I am glad to accept donations on my team page too!)
So, in order to get into a bake sale state of mind, I did some playing around in the kitchen yesterday, experimenting with these homemade Oreos, or “Faux”-reos as I kept calling them. As you might be able to guess from the photo, I was working on these while watching my DVR’d episode of Oprah. I felt compelled to make an “O”-reo with her logo sprinkled on it with powdered sugar, perhaps an idea to accompany the viewing of her very last show? Yeah, that will be a depressing day, so I will need at least one of these cookies……likely more.
Although I didn’t perfectly replicate a store-bought Oreo with this recipe — the cookies are less crisp, and the filling is obviously made with butter as opposed to…..not butter–they are still best served alongside a glass of ice-cold milk. None of that skim stuff. Use at least 1% (or go completely crazy and use 2%.) I have two different fillings below. Both are addictively sweet with a little hint of salt, and both nicely complement the rich chocolate cookies.
And yes, mom. I cleaned up my mess after I was done.
- Once prepared, the cookie dough can be tightly wrapped and refrigerated for up to one week. It can be frozen for up to three weeks. Thaw the dough in the refrigerator overnight if frozen.
- The cream filling recipes below each make enough for 16 sandwiches, so halve the recipes if you would like to prepare both.
- Feel free to experiment with your own cream filling flavors: mint, Irish cream, cherry, almond/amaretto, and coconut are just a few that come to mind!
- Regarding the peanut butter filling, I have always liked a little hint of cinnamon with my peanut butter, which is why it is listed as “optional.” If that doesn’t sound like your cuppa tea, then feel free to leave it out!
- If you don’t have a 2 1/4 inch round cutter, try using the top rim of a drinking glass or an emptied (and cleaned!) tuna can.
Faux-reos with Two Fillings
Makes about 16 sandwiches
For the cookies
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup dark cocoa powder (the darker, the better!)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
8 ounces butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 ounces butter, softened
1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
For the peanut butter cream filling
4 ounces butter, softened
1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
1-2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
Prepare the cookies: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda,and the salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the butter with the sugar at medium speed until well combined and creamy, 2-3 minutes. Add the egg and mix for 1 minute more. Beat in the melted chocolate and the vanilla. On low speed, gradually add the flour mixture, mixing until it is thoroughly incorporated (dough will be stiff.) Divide the dough into three equal portions and shape each portion into a flat disk. Wrap each disk in plastic and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 325F degrees, and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Unwrap one of the disks of dough and place it between two large pieces of parchment paper or waxed paper. Roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness. Using a 2-1/4 inch round cutter, cut circles out of the dough and transfer them to the prepared baking sheets, placing 1 1/2 inches apart. Reroll scraps of dough as necessary, and repeat the process with the remaining disks of dough.
Bake the cookies until they are firm to the touch, 15-17 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool on the pans for 5 minutes, then transfer them to wire racks to cool completely.
Prepare the cream filling: For the vanilla cream, beat the butter with the confectioner’s sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until well incorporated. Add the cream, vanilla, and the salt, and beat the mixture at medium speed until light and fluffy.
For the peanut butter cream, beat the butter with the confectioner’s sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until well incorporated. Beat in the peanut butter and the optional cinnamon. Add 1 tablespoon of cream and the salt, and beat at medium speed for 30 seconds. If you would like a lighter consistency, add 1 additional tablespoon of cream and beat for 30 seconds more.
Assemble the cookies: Using an offset spatula, place a heaping tablespoon of either filling into the flat side of a cookie. Top with a second cookie, flat side down, and press to distribute the filling. Repeat with the remaining cookies. Serve with a glass of ice-cold milk!