There’s a magical moment I always experience this time of year. It’s definitely within the top five elements of Christmas that I await from the moment October starts. And yet so far it hasn’t occurred this year! WTF. So I have to make up for it on here…
It’s that moment I’m listening to the oldies station, preferably alone in my car so I can sing along, and I hear this particular song:
…You don’t understand how happy it makes me…
And then there’s the cookies. I always await that, but then again, why do I need a calendar-excuse to bake?
Today it’s a homemade version of Oreos. Hells yeah. But we can’t call them that because of copyright laws or some bullshit like that. Whatevs.
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (you can use regular, or the “Dutch-processed”)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour (because we’re going for a fine-textured cookie, I wouldn’t use whole wheat)
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup faux butter, or non-hydrogenated shortening
1 cup sugar (brown or white is fine, either way, you know these cookies will be dark)
1 Tbsp flaxseed meal
3 Tbsp non-dairy milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1) In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa and salt, and set aside. I’m not big on Dutch processed cocoa, nor do I have it on hand, so I used regular cocoa. Dutch-processed will give a more Oreo-like flavor, but regular will have a more “real” chocolate taste, because the natural acidity has not been subdued. So there.
2) In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Like kittens and clouds.
3) Beat in the flaxseed, milk, and vanilla. It will look like this…
Any time you want a cookie to be crunchy or chewy, flaxseed meal (mixed with a bit of liquid) is a great egg substitute. It will not only lend the satisfying texture, but surely, you’ve heard that it’s good for you… Take that, Nabisco.
4) Now add half the flour mixture to the sugar goop and mix until the flour is absorbed. Add the rest and mix on low speed until everything is incorporated. The dough will be crumbly, but that’s okay, because you’re going to take a rubber or silicone spatula, bring it all together, and then use your hands to gently knead the dough into a ball.
GIANT BALL OF CHOCOLATE-FLAVORED DOOK
5) Wrap it up and chill for at least fifteen minutes. If you leave it overnight, let the dough soften at room temperature before you start rolling it out.
6) Roll the dough between two pieces of wax paper. Always roll from the center outwards, and flip the dough occasionally, to make sure it is even all around. It should be rolled to about 1/8 of an inch thick. Now you can cut it.
I used the cap from a jar of allspice. I don’t understand why anyone would need a round-shaped cookie cutter…
You can gather up the scraps and re-roll to cut out more cookies.
7) Bake them at 350°F, on parchment paper, for 18-20 minutes. It’s hard to tell when they’re done, but you’ll know if when lightly touched with your finger, no indent is left, it’s time. Check after 18 minutes. You reeeeaaallly don’t want to overbake them.
For the filling, you will need:
1/2 cup non-hydrogenated shortening
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1-2 tsp flavoring of your choice: vanilla, peppermint, almond, etc.
With an electric mixer, beat together the ingredients until smooth. Add a little milk if it’s too thick, or extra powdered sugar if you make it too thin.
I was gonna use peppermint for mine, and then I remembered I have this little guy from last year, and I’d be a fool not to use it.
Can you see the book I adapted this recipe from? It’s called Got Milk? The Cookie Book, by Peggy Cullen. Very good stuff. The first section focuses entirely on different forms of chocolate chip cookies. Me gustaaaa…
When your filling is done, put it in a large Ziploc bag, and cut a bit off one of the corners. Boom, temporary pastry bag. Now you can neatly dollop the filling onto your cookies like a pro.
I’m normally pretty judicious about how many cookies I eat when I bake. But then I was like, Who am I kidding?.“Chriiisstmas, Chriiisstmas tiiime is heeeeree….” Edit: After baking these guys a couple more times, I’ve found it’s best to roll the dough thicker, closer to a quarter of an inch. Also, I tried a shorter baking time– about fifteen minutes. And they look better: