March 25, 2009

Dairy-free TKOs (Thomas Keller Oreos)

A lot of people with dairy allergies eat Oreos but they haven't worked out for us. A couple of times my son has had questionable reactions on days when he ate them. On top of that I object to the HFCS in them and prefer making cookies to buying them. Who doesn't love the smell of freshly baked cookies? So when I saw a Thomas Keller version of Oreos on the blog Jumbo Empanadas I had to give it a try.

I used the ratio for white chocolate ganache that I finally perfected during my yule log trials this December and my favorite cocoa, Green & Black's. The dough is a little fussy to work with but well worth it. The cookies are very tender and very chocolaty. The white chocolate ganache was wonderful and I'd consider making the next batch double stuf'd (IE double the amount of ganache). My husband loved them but I think my son would prefer these made with vanilla or lemon cookies. He's just not that into chocolate. I think a batch of lemon shortbread sandwich cookies would be perfect for Easter but have to do some lemon shortbread research first. Does anyone have any good recipes?

Dairy-free Chocolate Sandwich Cookies
For those who can use real butter and cream please look at the following recipes, I adapted my recipe from Jumbo Empanadas' recipe for Baby TKOs. The original recipe comes from Thomas Keller in Essence of Chocolate.
Makes ~3 dozen (2-inch) sandwich cookies

Filling ingredients:
8 ounces white chocolate chips (I get my dairy-free white chocolate from Chocolate Emporium)
2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons soy milk
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon Earth Balance margarine

Cookie ingredients:
1 1/2 cup + 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
7 1/2 ounces (3/4 cup + 3 tablespoons) Earth Balance margarine, at room temperature

-Add the white chocolate, soy milk and margarine for the filling to a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for 1 1/2 minutes. *If you haven't microwaved chocolate before then check every 30 seconds and stir to make sure that the chocolate doesn't burn or use a double boiler instead. You don't want the chocolate to melt completely in the microwave. Instead you want to just warm the whole mixture and melt the chocolate most of the way in the next step.
-After microwaving, remove the chocolate and stir with a whisk until the mixture becomes homogeneous and smooth. It will look separated for awhile but keep stirring and it will eventually come together. If after stirring for a minute there are still large pieces of unmelted chocolate then you can microwave the mixture for 15 seconds once or twice to warm it enough to melt.
-Set the filling aside at room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Or chill in the fridge to make the process go faster. It will thicken further as it cools but you can rewarm it before using by carefully microwaving the mixture for 10-15 seconds to make it workable again. In this time get started making your cookies.
-Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
-Add the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer and stir together with the paddle attachment until mixed thoroughly.
-Add the room temperature margarine a bit at a time while the mixer is running. Mix until the dough starts to come together in a cohesive ball.
-Knead the dough a little on a floured surface until it is holding together nicely. Divide the dough in half and roll out one half between two sheets of parchment paper. The dough will still be fairly sticky. Cut out 2-inch circles of dough and carefully transfer them to the lined baking sheets, leaving a 1/2 inch between each cookie. Gather and reroll the scraps and repeat with the remaining dough until all dough is used up.
-Bake for 10-12 minutes. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets for at least 10 minutes before transferring them to wire racks to cool completely.
-Flip half of the cookies over and pipe or spoon on ~1 teaspoon of filling onto each cookie. Place another cookie on top and give a gentle squeeze to spread the filling between the two cookies. You may need to warm your filling in the microwave for 10-15 seconds to get it pipable. It should be the consistency of mayonnaise when piped.
-Dunk in (soy, rice, nut, cow's, hemp) milk and enjoy!

I'm adding this to Bookmarked Recipes, an event started by Ruth of Ruth's Kitchen's Experiments. Visit the new Bookmarked Recipes site on Monday for the roundup of other bookmarked and tested recipes. This week’s round up will be hosted by Psych Grad at Equal Opportunity Kitchen.