Oreo Cookies

Oreo Cookies just celebrated their 100th Anniversary. Who knew that Oreo’s were that old……it seems like they have always been around, but I never thought they were that old! The exciting part about this news is,  I was interviewed by the local paper for an article about Oreo Cookies. One of my chefs from school gave a reporter from the Omaha World Hearld my name, and the rest is history.

The Oreo Cookie turns 100

By Michael O’Connor
WORLD-HERALD STAFF WRITER

STUFF TO KNOW ABOUT OREO:

OREO’S BIRTHDAY: March 6, 1912

More cookie or creme?
29% creme 71% cookie

Cookie count: More than 35 billion Oreos were sold around the world in 2011. If every one of those cookies was dunked in a 4-ounce glass of milk, it would take more than 1,650 competition-size swimming pools to hold all of the milk.
First Sale: The first Oreo cookie was baked in the National Biscuit Company’s Manhattan Bakery. The cookies were sold in Hoboken, N.J., where Oreo was originally packaged in bulk tins and sold by weight.
Design: The Oreo cookie design has undergone at least five changes since 1912, but the contemporary four-leaf clover design has not changed much since 1953. The design consists of 12 flowers, 12 dots and 12 dashes per side.
Each Oreo cookie contains 90 ridges.
Baking: The cookies are made at 21 bakeries around the world. From mixing to baking to packing, it takes exactly 59 minutes to make an Oreo. Each wafer is baked for exactly 290.6 seconds at 400 degrees from above and 300 degrees from below.

What’s in a Name?

While there is no definitive answer on where the name “Oreo” comes from, here are some of the best guesses:
» From “or”, the French word for gold, which was the main color on early Oreo packages.
» A combination of the “re” from “creme” between the two “o”s in “chocolate” — “o-re-o.”
» From the Greek word “oreo,” meaning hill or mountain. Initial Oreo creations were shaped like a baseball mound.
Source: Kraft Foods
DO THEY TWIST
Market research shows:
84 percent of men eat the cookies intact
41 percent of women pull them apart
50 percent of all Oreo cookie eaters pull them apart
They get dunked. They get twisted. They get dropped into dozens of recipes created just for them.
The Oreo turned 100 on Tuesday, giving fans of the crunchy, frosting-filled cookie a chance to reflect.
Why do they like the darn things so much?
You’ll find Oreos in more than 100 countries. You can buy them next door in Canada. But apparently they’re also big in China and Indonesia.
You’re thinking: They’ll never turn up in France, a country known for a sensitive palate. Wrong. Just got them.
On Facebook, Oreo has drawn more than 25 million fans. They’re like a cookie Kardashian.
Global annual revenue? $1.5 billion. That’s B, as in bucket loads.

Melissa Cole of Omaha has a theory about that popularity.

It’s about contrasts, a cookie yin and yang. You’ve got the crunchy chocolate cookie outside. You’ve got a soft creamy vanilla inside.

Sounds simple enough. Maybe it’s the same reason people like sweet and sour pork, or a little salt on the edge of a margarita glass.
Contrast. Cole knows that when she has a bag of the cookies at home, look out.
“They don’t last long,” said Cole, a student in the Institute for the Culinary Arts at Metropolitan Community College in Omaha.
Cole likes Oreos best straight up. Just the cookie and a glass of whole milk. Skim is for wimps.
But the Internet is filled with all kinds of Oreo recipes.
You’ve got Oreo Cookie Salad, a little dish that includes 21 Double Stuf Oreos, two boxes of vanilla pudding and 16 ounces of frozen whipped topping.
Not recommended if you’re trying to get swimsuit-ready.
Don’t forget about Oreo Cookie Freak Out. Toss in a dozen Oreos, 16 ounces of fudge topping and, of course, frozen whipped topping.
Frozen whipped topping seems to be a common thread in a lot of Oreo recipes, but that’s a whole other story.
You also can make other cookies out of an Oreo, like some kind of baking genetics.
We’re talking things like Oreo Cookie Balls. We’re talking Oreo-Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies, basically an Oreo baked inside a chocolate chip cookie.
Oddly, neither recipe calls for whipped topping.
In maybe one of the strongest testaments to the cookie, brides will even order Oreo cake for a tier of their wedding cake.
Forget the keg of Bud for the reception. Bring on the milk.

Contact the writer:

402-444-1122, michael.oconnor@owh.com

Not only was I interviewed, but, they published one of my photographs!  I submitted  a few photographs and they picked one of my photo’s of cookies and cream cupcakes!

Chocolate Caramel Tart

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

For the Crust:

2    cups chocolate or regular graham cracker crumbs, finely crushed

1 1/2  cups chocolate sandwich cookies (white centers removed) crushed finely

1/4   cup granulated sugar

1        stick unsalted butter, melted

In a food processor, finely ground your graham crackers, making enough to measure out 2 cups.  Pour into bowl, then crush your chocolate cookies in food processor, and pour into same bowl with your graham crackers.   Add sugar and melted butter and mix until well blended.  Press mixture evenly into a 9 inch pie plate or tart pan, making sure to press down the crumbs.  Place into a 375 degree oven and bake for 15 minutes or until done.  Take out of oven and let cool completely.

Caramel Filling:

1/2   cup water

2        cups sugar

1/4    cup light corn syrup

1/2    cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

1/2    cup heavy cream

2         tablespoons creme fraiche

Place 1/2 cup water in a large saucepan(this is an important step for even heating).  Add sugar and corn syrup and cook mixture over medium-high heat, swirling the pan occasionally until you have a dark amber caramel, about 10 minutes, but this can vary greatly.  Important not to stir this mixture, be sure to swirl pan.  Once the caramel has reached a nice brown color, take off heat. Add the butter, cream, and creme fraiche being very careful because it will bubble and steam when added. You need to protect your hands and face from getting burned from the steam.  I like to use a hot pad that covers your hand when I’m pouring into the hot sugar syrup.  Whisk this mixture until smooth.  Set aside and let it cool somewhat. Caramel can be tricky to make, if your sugar begins to smell burnt, you have  over cooked the mixture; start over. I know it has taken me a few attempts to get caramel right, so don’t be discouraged if the first time doesn’t work. When caramel has cooled, pour into pie shell and let cool completely.

Chocolate ganache glaze:

1/2   cup heavy cream

3 1/2  ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

In a small saucepan, bring cream to boil.  Place chopped chocolate in a bowl.  Pour hot cream over the chocolate and let stand for 2 minutes, then whisk until smooth.  Pour some of the still-warm glaze over the tart.  Let glaze set at room temperature for at least 2 hours before serving.  Sprinkle Fleur de sel lightly over the top.  In this picture I used left over cookie crumbs on top, but I have also used toasted pecans!

365 Project

Here are some of my favorite photographs from my 365 Project. The project is mainly a challenge to take a picture everyday and post it on a site! It’s fun, but more challenging than I thought it would be! Enjoy!

Making the Perfect Macaron

Last week I just couldn’t stop thinking about macarons……I don’t know why. I took a day and devoted it to macarons, they can be tricky to make, so I suggest setting aside sometime to make these delicious French cookies.   I did some research online and I found a site that gives you a booklet on making perfect macarons. I highly suggest signing up for her site, then she sends you a link to download the recipe booklet.   www.pastrypal.com/

When we learned how to make macarons in pastries class….well, they turned out awful.   Our chef never said a word to us, I’m grateful she didn’t because I did get the courage to make them again!!

Just for fun I looked up on Wikipedia the proper description of a macaron:

A macaron (French pronunciation: [makaˈʁɔ̃])[1][2] is a sweet meringue-based confectionery made with egg whites, icing sugar, granulated sugar, almond powder or ground almond, and food coloring. The macaron is commonly filled with buttercream or jam filling sandwiched between two cookies. Its name is derived from the Italian word maccarone or maccherone.

The confectionery is characterised by its smooth, domed top, ruffled circumference (referred to as the “foot”), and flat base. It is mildly moist and easily melts in the mouth.[3]

Macarons can be found in a wide variety of flavors that range from the traditional (raspberry, chocolate) to the new (truffle, green matcha tea). The fillings can range from jams, ganache, or buttercream. Since the English word macaroon can also refer to the coconut macaroon, many have adopted the French spelling of macaron to distinguish the two items in the English language. However, this has caused confusion over the correct spelling. Some recipes exclude the use of macaroon to refer to this French confection while others think that they are synonymous.[4]

Makes about 50 Macarons
(100 Halves)
……………………

1 cup (100 g) almond flour
1 1/2 cups (175g) powdered sugar
3 large (1/3 cup, 100g) egg whites, room temperature
2 T (30g) granulated sugar

My first suggestion is to go to the store and buy almond flour. There are many who make their own because it is pricey, but IT IS NOT worth the time you spend milling your own. When you make this recipe, you want to make it as easy as possible, so spend a few extra bucks and buy almond flour!! Measure out your almond flour and powdered sugar together and sift into a small bowl. Set aside

Into a large clean mixing bowl, pour in your egg whites. Beat on high until your egg whites become foamy, add your sugar slowly(sugar stabilizes the egg whites). Beat until your egg whites become stiff, and when you pull your beater away from the egg whites, the whites form a peak.

In a separate large bowl, take a small amount of the egg whites(meringue) and place into bowl. Sprinkle a small amount of the almond flour/powdered sugar mixture on top, and begin to fold in carefully. Once mixed, add the rest of your egg whites and sprinkle the rest of the flour mixture on top. Fold together carefully, and don’t over mix. The batter needs to be mixed completely, but you don’t want to deflate the egg whites, so mix/fold gently.

When everything is incorporated properly, pour into a prepared pastry bag, fitted with a size 12 pastry tip. On a cookie sheet fitted with a silpat pad, begin to portion out enough batter to make a circle a little bigger than a nickel. If your batter is the proper consistency, it will continue to spread out, so leave at least an inch in between the cookies. Leave the cookies out on the counter for at least 45 minutes, up to 90 minutes. You need to dry the top of the cookie out so it forms a skin on top. If you have the skin formed on top, the cookie will bake correctly in the oven.  As the cookies are drying out, preheat your over to 280 degrees.

Bake at  degrees for about 17 to 19 minutes.  When cookies have cooled off, remove them from your silpat pads onto a wire rack.

To make chocolate macarons, add 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder to your almond flour when you are getting ready to sift.

To make espresso macarons, add 1 1/2 teaspoons espresso powder to your almond flour when you are getting ready to sift.

Once your cookies are cooled, fill with your choice of filling.  I chose chocolate ganache for both cookies, and it was delicious!

Macarons

Espresso and Chocolate Macarons

Espresso Macarons

Chocolate Macarons drying out!

Ethel’s Sugar Cookies

Valentine’s day is coming on Tuesday, so I thought I would post some cookies I have made for at least 20 years.  When my kids were little, I found this recipe somewhere, I really don’t remember where.  I started out making Christmas cookies and had so much fun, I just kept going with all the holidays, birthdays and just for fun.  I think Katie and Chris have eaten more of these cookies than any other cookie combined.  For fun, I decided to make some for my son Chris, who is a Junior at the University of Oklahoma.  I really had to take in consideration that he really is a young man now and I couldn’t go crazy in my decorations, plus cookies ship better if you keep them simple.

Ethel’s Sugar Cookies

Cream Together:

  • 1/4     cup butter flavored shortening
  • 1/2     cup butter
  • 2         eggs
  • 1          cup sugar
  • 1          tsp. vanilla

Sift Together:

  • 2 1/2   cup flour
  • 1           tsp. salt
  • 1           tsp. baking powder

Cream shortening, butter, and sugar in mixing bowl.  Add eggs and vanilla and mix until smooth.  Sift all dry ingredients together.  Add to cream mixture slowly, making sure you get all the dough mixed well.  Cover dough and refrigerate for at least 3 hours before using.

On a floured surface, roll out dough to 1/4 inch thickness and use cookies cutters to make your shapes.  Place on cookie sheet 1 inch apart.  Bake @400 degrees until light brown, usually about 7 – 8 minutes.  Take cookies off cookie sheet when it comes out of the oven and place on wire rack and let cool.  After cookies are cooled, frost with your favorite frosting.  I like to make everything from scratch, but this is the one area I do use boxed frosting.  I have always used Jiffy’s white frosting mix, it is simple to make and delicious!  Happy Valentine Day’s!

Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes with Ganache Filling

To say I’m a fan of America’s Test Kitchen is an understatement at best.  Who doesn’t love a man in a bow tie (Christopher Kimbell) and the great Chefs that he has cooking along with him!  There has not been a recipe that I have tried from their cookbooks that hasn’t come out delicious.  I own 8 of their cookbooks, and was a subscriber on their website’s as well.  I really believe that if you need to know something about food, they are my go to for answers.  Along with all the great recipes, they also post video’s to help you understand the techniques that also go along with a recipe.  I wanted my first post about America’s Test Kitchen to be about my favorite cupcakes that I tried many years ago, and continue to make them every few months.

The Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes really describe this treat.  They are everything you could want in a cupcake;  deep rich chocolate flavor, moist and tender, and best of all….a chocolate ganache that gushes in your mouth as you bit into the cupcake.  To top it off, there is a Chocolate Swiss Buttercream frosting that melts in your mouth.  Amazing, delicious,  and tantalizing are words to describe these cupcakes.  I hope you enjoy my photograph, and you can see everything I was talking about!  I know I enjoyed eating them and for that matter, so did my neighbors!

Crumpets

This recipe calls for fresh compressed yeast, but I always use active dry yeast.  If you can find compressed yeast, you will need 2 ounces.  I like to use active dry yeast instead of instant yeast because I think there is a difference in flavor.  People will argue that statement, but in something like a crumpet I can tell a difference.  I have made this recipe both with instant yeast and with active dry yeast, and the winner in active dry yeast.

  • 1 ounce (30 g) active dry yeast
  • 2 1/2 cups (600 ml) warm whole milk (105 – 115 F)
  • 1 ounce (30 g)  granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (5 g) salt
  • 2 ounces (55 g) melted unsalted butter, let cool slightly
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 8 ounces (225 g) cake flour, measure in separate bowl from bread flour
  • 8 ounces (225 g) bread flour
  • Clarified butter
  • Accompaniments such as maple or golden syrup; marmalade, jam or jelly; Lemon Curd; clotted cream (traditional English) or whipped butter.

1.  Warm the 2 1/2 cups of milk on the stove, bringing to temperature slowly.  Make sure not to go over 115 degrees because you can kill the yeast if your milk as risen above that temperature.  Put warm milk into the bowl of your electric mixer, stir in yeast and sugar together; allow yeast to bloom for about 5 minutes.  In small bowl, beat together eggs and melted butter, set aside.  In the bowl that you measured out your cake flour (I always put a label on the bowls of the different flours) add salt, set aside.

2.  Use your paddle attachment, now blend into your yeast mixture the eggs and butter.  Next slowly stir in the cake flour and salt.  Next add your bread flour (reserve a handful), and mix until the batter is smooth.  The batter should be approximately the same as a buttermilk pancake batter.  If your batter is lumpy, you can use a large strainer and put the batter through to free it from lumps.  Now, cover the bowl and place in a warm place until the batter has doubled in volume.

3.  When you are ready to cook, brush the inside of 6 – 8 crumpet rings with the clarified butter and heat a large skillet with a flat even surface (or griddle) until very hot but not smoking.

4.  Stir down batter and I divide half the batter and pour batter into a pitcher, because I have found it is easier to pour the batter.  You can use a ladle as well and portion out about 1 ounce (2 tablespoons).  Brush clarified butter on griddle and place the rings on top.  Pour the batter into the rings, about 1/2 full.  The batter will spread out and should start to bubble in less than a minute.  If not, you need to turn your heat up a little.  When the bottoms of the crumpets begin to brown, turn the crumpets over.  The recipe tells you at this point to take the rings off the crumpet and turn over.  I have tried this way and find it sometimes difficult to get the ring off using tongs.  The last time I made them, I flipped them over with the rings on and it was way easier.  You have to make sure your batter reaches the top of the ring, or this method won’t work.  Continue cooking until this side is light brown and remove the crumpet from the heat and take out of ring.  Place on warm baking sheet.  Continue cooking until you use all your batter.

4.  Serve the crumpets with the above accompaniments and enjoy your treat!  Really crumpets are just like making pancakes, only way better!

Let’s make Crumpets!

This morning I’m going to post a very good recipe for Crumpets that comes from the very fine pastry book we use in class. It is called “The Professional Chef” by Bo Friberg”, fourth edition. His recipes are classic and delicious. Let’s have some fun making crumpets! First, the recipe!

Blogging – You have to start somewhere!

Today is really the day for me to start blogging at long last!  I started this weeks ago, but starting is not as easy as you think.  I have so much admiration for all the amazing blogs that I follow and read each day.  I can only hope that my readers(if I do in fact have some) learn and love my photo’s and recipes.  Since I’ve been talking about Crumpets since I started this whole thing…………..well here goes……….Crumpets!  After making three recipes of these delicious English treats, I can honestly say that I love them more than when I first ate them years ago.  I was introduced to them in Seattle, Washington while we where shopping at Pike’s Place Market.  If you have never been to Pike’s Place Market, let me just say, you need to go, truly one of the most delightful places in the USA!   The store is called “The Crumpet Shop” and I’m going to include an address in case you ever have the opportunity to go:  http://www.seriouseats.com/2010/02/the-crumpet-shop-in-seattle-washington-pike-place-market.html  Not only is Seattle a magical place, Pike’s Place Market is a foodie paradise.  Crumpets, you really must try making these at home.  You do need a few speciality items, mainly crumpet rings which you can purchase at any kitchen speciality store.  There is a griddle involved, yeast and a few other items.  I hope you love them as much as I do!  Thought I would post a picture of a ready to eat Crumpet just to get you in the mood!

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