I really do cherish the time I spend in the role of babysitter. Seeing the world through children’s eyes can make everyday experiences so much more meaningful. My boy walks up to other children on the playground without fear or hesitation and asks if they’d like to play. My girl takes out her nail polish collection and lotions and transforms her room into the most imaginative beauty salon. My boy runs outside with his net and searches tirelessly for butterflies. My girl finds a recipe for a salad that she would like to try making for her parents. They’re active and interested and they seek joy out of life. I’m learning so much about the person I want to be through the time I spend with them.
This morning we brought breakfast to the bay. We spent hours exploring the nooks and crannies of the of the jetties, where we found crabs, mussels, and snails. We then took a long walk down the beach, with a mission to find beach glass. We’ve decided to keep a collection of all the beach glass we find together this summer, and hopefully by the end of August we will have enough to fill a small jar. All summers should be measured in pieces of beach glass. And pretty seashells, too.
These homemade oreos are a tribute to the inner child I’ve been reconnecting with over the past several weeks. She is adventurous and curious, and she sees so much beauty in the world. I need more of her in my life. She also has a sweet tooth, which comes as no surprise to me. These cookies are reminiscent of a childhood favorite, with the added experience of baking from scratch.
adapted from flour
for the cookies:
- 1 cup (2 sticks/228 grams) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
- ¾ cup (150 grams) sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup (200 grams) semisweet chocolate chips, melted and slightly cooled
- 1 egg
- 1 ½ cups (210 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup (90 grams) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp baking soda
for the filling:
- ½ cup (1 stick/114 grams) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 2/3 cups (230 grams) confectioners’ sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon milk
- pinch of kosher salt
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the butter and granulated sugar until well combined. Whisk in the vanilla and chocolate. Add the egg and whisk until thoroughly incorporated.
- In another medium bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda until well mixed. Using a wooden spoon, stir the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture. The dough will start to seem too floury, and you will find it easiest to switch to mixing it with your hands until it comes together. It will have the consistency of Play-Doh. Let the dough sit at room temperature for about 1 hour to firm up.
- Transfer the dough to a 15-inch square sheet of parchment or waxed paper. Using you hands, shape the dough into a rough log about 10 inches long and 2½ inches in diameter. Place the log at the edge of the sheet of parchment paper, and roll the parchment around the log. With the log fully encased in parchment, roll it into a smoother log, keeping it at 2½ inches in diameter. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or until firm. The log may settle and sink a bit in the fridge, so reroll it every 15 minutes or so to maintain a nice round log. (At this point, the dough log can be well wrapped in plastic wrap and stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 1 month. If the dough it frozen, thaw it overnight in the refrigerator before proceeding.)
- Position a rack in the center of the oven, and heat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter a baking sheet or line it with parchment paper.
- Cut the dough log into ¼-inch-thick slices. Place the slices about 1 inch apart of the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the cookies are firm to the touch. Check them frequently after 16 or 17 minutes, poking them in the middle. As soon as they feel firm to the touch, remove them from the oven. You can’t judge by color because they start out black. Let cool on the baking sheet to warm or room temperature. They don’t have to cool completely before you fill them, but you can’t fill them while they are hot.
- To make the filling: While the cookies are cooling, using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or a handheld mixer), beat the butter on low speed for about 20 seconds, or until completely smooth and soft. Add the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla and beat until the mixture is perfectly smooth. Add the milk and salt and again beat until smooth. It will look like white spackle and feel about the same – like putty. The filling can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Bring to room temperature before using.
- Scoop about 1 rounded tablespoon of the filling onto the bottom of one cookie. Top with a second cookie, bottom-side down, then press the cookies together to spread the filling toward the edges. Repeat until all of the cookies are filled.