Oreos, Gluten-Free

by Jeanne on January 19, 2011

Hey everyone! So sorry I’ve been missing in action for a couple of weeks. We had a lovely holiday break.  dAhub took two weeks off from work and Girlfriend was home from school.  We have a new family that has moved in next door and they have a girl who is Girlfriend’s age–hooray!  As you can imagine, Girlfriend is in heaven.  Our street has many kids, but they are all boys (except for a much younger girl) and it’s always been Girlfriend’s dream to have a girl pal her age so close.   They have been running back and forth in between our houses, happy as peas in a pod.  dAhub’s parents were in town for about a week and we always enjoy time with them.  I feel so lucky to have such lovely in-laws.   Sigh.  It was, as always, a terrific holiday break.

Now we’re fully back into the swing of things and it’s been a little nuts around here.  Of course, through all of this, I have been baking. As you know, I bake any time I can.  For the past couple of weeks I’ve been testing and perfecting an gluten-free Oreo®-like cookie recipe. I’ve been making Alice Medrich’s chocolate wafer cookies from her new book, Chewy, Gooey, Crispy, Crunchy Melt-in-Your-Mouth Cookies on a regular basis, ever since I was asked to bake for her Seattle book tour event (squee) last month.  I’ve also been tinkering with Thomas Keller’s version of Oreo®, “TKOs”, from The Essence of Chocolate  by John Scharffenberger (yes, of Scharffenberger chocolate) and Robert Steinberg.  One of the most fabulous things about his recipe is that it is made with a white chocolate and cream center.  So, I’ve been working on something of a mash up between these two cookies, eventually coming up with a version of an Oreo®-type cookie that has a bit more of an elegant center than the real thing, but with a taste that is very close to the real thing.

I brought these cookies to a foodie potluck over the weekend and I was so thrilled that everyone really liked them and asked for the recipe!  My daughter and husband tell me that these “taste like the real thing but better.”  And that’s exactly what I was aiming for!

Just Like Oreos®, Gluten-Free
-makes about 30 sandwich cookies

Special Equipment Needed
-a food processor is nice, but isn’t absolutely necessary
-plastic wrap
or
-waxed paper and 2″ round cookie cutter

Note: this recipe uses my gf flour mix, Jeanne’s Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Mix (mix together and store in a cool, dark place):
1 1/4 C (170g) brown rice flour
1 1/4 C (205g) white rice flour
1 C (120g) tapioca flour
1 C (165g) sweet rice flour (also known as Mochiko or glutinous rice flour)
2 scant tsp. xanthan gum
(you can also use the gluten-free flour mixture (not baking mix) of your choice–just be sure it contains xanthan gum. Or, you can add 1/4 tsp. xanthan gum per cup of gluten-free flour. If you use bean flour, it will add a bean taste to the cookies)

Ingredients
For the cookies:
1 1/2 C  (210g) Jeanne’s Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Mix
3/4 C (65g) unsweetend cocoa powder (not the Dutch process kind)
1 C (200g) granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
14 TBL (1 3/4 sticks; 7oz; 200g) unsalted butter (or butter substitute), slightly softened, cut into 14 pieces
3 TBL milk or milk substitute
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

For the filling
8 oz (230g) white chocolate, chopped (be sure it’s gluten-free)
1/3 C (80ml) heavy cream (or cream substitute)

Make the cookie dough
Method 1 In the bowl of a food processor, place flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, and salt.  Pulse a few times to mix.  Add butter pieces, pulse until the mixture looks like sand mixed with pebbles.  Add the milk and the vanilla.  Run until everything is combined and the mixture looks like clumpy, wet sand (a few seconds).

Method 2 If not using a food processor, do this by hand.  Place dry ingredients in a bowl, mix to combine.  Add butter pieces and rub/squish into the dry mixture until the mixture looks like sand mixed with pebbles.  Add the milk and the vanilla and mix by hand until everything is combined and looks like clumpy wet, sand.

With either method, now gather the dough together in your hands and knead until it holds together.  This should only take a few kneads.  Don’t work with it so long that the butter in the dough begins to melt and gets super-soft.  You want the dough to stay cool.   If you’re using the food processor method, you may want to dump your dough into a large bowl for this part of the process.

To shape your cookies
Method A In this method you will be making two cylinders of cookie dough that you later cut into disks.  Once the dough is together, divide the dough into two similarly-sized pieces.  With your hands, shape the first blob of dough into a rough cyliner shape.  Press on the ends to make the ends flat.  Place on a piece of plastic and wrap dough completely.  Now roll your cylinder of dough (in the plastic wrap) like you would Play Doh until it is a uniformly shaped cylinder and is about 2″ in diameter.  Wrap the ends of the plastic wrap over themselves so they are sealed and place in the refrigerator to chill.  Repeat with the second blob of dough.

Method B In this method you will roll out the dough like you would for cut-out cookies.  Divide the dough into two similarly sized blobs.  Shape that blob into a roughly round ball and place between two large pieces of waxed paper. With a rolling pin, roll the dough until it is about 1/4″ in thickness.  Place the rolled dough into the refrigerator to chill.  Repeat with second piece of dough.

Both methods: Chill the dough for at least 1 hour and up to 3 days. 

Before you are ready to bake your cookies, prepare the filling.  Place the heavy cream into a small, heavy saucepan and bring to a boil (this will not take long–watch it carefully so it doesn’t burn).  Turn off the heat and pour in the chopped white chocolate.  Push the chocolate around so it is evenly distributed around the cream.  Let sit for a minute.  With a whisk, stir the melting chocolate into the cream until it is smooth.  Remove from heat and let sit for about 1/2 hour, until it firms up a bit and is not too runny.  You may also place it in the refrigerator to accelerate this process.  Please note that you need to monitor the firmness of the filling–it will become pretty solid if left too long in the refrigerator.  If that happens, gently heat filling a bit and whisk again until smooth.

Cutting and Baking the Cookies
For both methods, line your cookie sheets with parchment paper.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Method A Remove one of the cylinders from the refrigerator and remove it from the plastic wrap.  Using a ruler or a measuring tape, carefully measure and mark the cylinder into 1/4″ sections.  Using a sharp knife, cut the cylinder along these lines and place the 1/4″ thick disks on your prepared cookie sheets, leaving 1/2″-1″ in between each cookie.  Bake at 350 for 13-15 minutes.  I have been routinely baking mine for 15 minutes to make the cookies crisp.  Remove from oven and cool on cookie sheets for a few minutes before removing a wire rack to cool completely.

Method B Remove one of your rolled portions of dough from the refrigerator.  With a 2″ round cookie cutter, cut out as many rounds as you can and place them on prepared cookie sheets, with 1/2″-1″ between each disk.  I use a fluted-edge cookie cutter, but the cookies don’t really retain that amount of detail during the baking process.  You can see from the photo that the edges are faintly fluted.  Bake at 350 degrees for 13-15 minutes–I have routinely been baking mine for 15 minutes to make the cookies crisp.  Remove from oven and let cool on cookie sheet for a few minutes before removing to a wire rack to cook completely.

Assembling the cookies
Once the cookies are cool, assemble.  With spatula or a knife, spread some of the filling onto the bottom of one of your cookies, and place the bottom of another cookie on top of the filling to make a sandwich.  Repeat with all cookies.

Of course, you can just eat the cookies by themselves without the filling–they are yummy as-is, too!

Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Enjoy!
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