Last year, my best friend Laura and I threw our first annual ladies-only holiday bash. We decorated my little apartment like it was the North Pole, made more appetizers than we could ever eat, baked a million cookies for our guests to decorate, and whipped up about 15 different colors of icing to top both the cookies and homemade gingerbread houses.
Needless to say, we were exhausted by the end of the day, but the party was a huge success and we vowed to learn from our mistakes when we planned our holiday extravaganza the next year. Fast forward one year later, and our now-annual Christmas party is only a week away.
We decided to forego a cooking decorating party for the ever-popular cookie exchange so we could greatly limit the number of cookies (and batches of icing) we have to make in advance. Plus, now we can focus more on our savory appetizers, mulled wine, prizes and our (sort of) larger-than-life Christmas decorations.
Laura and I start planning weeks in advance for this yuletide shindig: “Trophies” need to be found and assembled for each category winner; decorations need to be collected and hung; menus need to be planned; food needs to be bought and cooked as far in advance as possible; and last, but certainly not least, we need to do a trial run on our cookie recipe.
We made enough sugar cookies and royal icing last year that I don’t want to look at the stuff for at least another year, so we reviewed our collective repertoire for a real crowd pleaser. It didn’t take us long to decide we needed to do a take on everyone’s favorite snack cookie—OREOS.
You’d be hard pressed to find a guy or gal who doesn’t love these great chocolate sandwich cookies. When two barely sweetened chocolate cookies sandwich a plump smear of sweet cream icing, great things are bound to happen (like eating a half dozen of them in a single sitting). We decided to jazz up the recipe by adding food coloring and a splash of peppermint extract to the icing to really make them festive.
If you love Oreos, you’ve got to try making these little babies at home. You’ll be the most popular person in your home or office—as long as the cookie jar stays full. 🙂
If you want to make these really festive, you can add a splash of peppermint extract to the filling when you add the vanilla, or add food coloring to the icing for colorful holiday treat. I originally found this recipe on SmittenKitchen.com; it’s adopted from Retro Desserts by Wayne Brachman. Click here to download a copy of this recipe.
For the chocolate wafers:
1¼ c. all-purpose flour
1 c. sugar
½ c. unsweetened Dutch process cocoa
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
½ c. + 2 Tbs. (1¼ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg
For the filling:
¼ c. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
¼ c. vegetable shortening
2 c. confectioner’s sugar, sifted
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Make cookie batter. Set two oven racks in the middle of the oven. Preheat to 375˚F. In the bowl of an electric mixer or a food processor, mix the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. While pulsing, or on slow speed, add the butter, and then the egg. Continue mixing until dough comes together in a mass.
Form and bake cookies. Take rounded teaspoons of batter and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet about 2 inches apart. With moistened hands, slightly flatten the dough. Bake until cookies begin to crisp slightly around the edges, about 8-10 minutes, rotating once halfway through for even baking. Set cookies on a wire rack to cool.
Make cream filling. Beat together butter and shortening in a large mixing bowl. At low speed, gradually beat in the sugar and vanilla. Turn the mixer on high and beat for 2 to 3 minutes until filling is light and fluffy.
Assemble cookies. Spoon filling into a pastry bag or zip-top bag with a ½-inch round tip. Choose two cookies similar in size and pipe a teaspoon of the filling cream into the center of one cookie. Place the other cookie on top of the cream and press gently to spread the filling. Repeat this process until all the cookies have been sandwiched with cream. Dunk in a large glass of milk.