“If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with him…the people who give you their food give you their heart.” —Cesar Chavez
Food creates memories, transports you to places of past or far way. How many arguments have you defended your moms meatloaf or your dad’s BBQ as being the best? What Little Debbie takes you back to the lunch room where life was all about talking your parents into letting you go to your friends house after school? When you walk down the cookie aisle, what package jumps into your cart because you haven’t had it in years? Whether food instills memories, remembrance of a mothers love or a cherished tradition, we all have those go to items that take you to another place.
The many ways to eat the Oreo- often the discussion at the school lunch room table when someone’s mom packed them into a metal lunch box. Quite the debate, twist and lick, double milk dip, prefer double stuff or straight up, plenty of heated conversation to fill up a lunch period. I can remember strategically planting myself next to the “boy of the moment” when I had the occasional Oreos packed in my lunch- surely he could not resist me or my Oreos that day and would become my forever boyfriend.
30 years later I tried again, this time successfully but I went with a homemade version of the iconic cookie- Wes agreed, if cookies kept making there way into his lunchbag, he would assume the role of my forever boyfriend, on top of being my husband.
I used the recipe from Flour Bakery and Café-
- 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
- 1 egg
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 2/3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 1 pinch salt
- In a medium bowl, whisk the butter and the sugar until combined. Whisk in the vanilla and melted chocolate. Add the egg and stir until well blended.
- In another bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir to blend them. Using a wooden spoon, stir the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture. The finished dough should feel like Play-Doh. Cover the dough with plastic, and set aside for 1 hour or until firm.
- Place the dough on a long sheet of parchment paper. Use your hands to shape it into a rough log, about 10 inches long and 2 1/2 inches in diameter. Place the log at the edge of the parchment. Roll the parchment around the log. With your hands on the paper, roll the dough into a tighter log, keeping the diameter the same.
- Refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours, or until it is firm enough to slice without crumbling.
- Set the oven at 325 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Remove the dough from the paper. Cut the log into 32 slices, each a quarter-inch. Set them on the baking sheets 1 inch apart. **I cookie used stamps somewhat unsuccessfully as the cookies rose a bit and lost their pattern. Going to have to retry the stamp on more of a shortbread cookie.
- Bake the cookies for 20 to 25 minutes, checking them often after 15 minutes, or until they are firm when touched in the center.
- Cool completely on the sheets.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter on low speed for half a minute. Add the vanilla and confectioners sugar and beat until smooth.
- Beat in the milk and salt. The filling will look and feel like spackle.
- Place 1 tablespoon of filling on the flat side of 16 cookies. Press the remaining 16 cookies on the filling, flat sides against the cream, to evenly distribute the filling.
Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Food has power to connect people to loved ones, to memories and even future goals. The are experiences and artistry within food, dishes and meals that tell stories from both sides of the plate. As the chef creates moments and emotions that the diners are left to interpret and enjoy.
A small moment in my life with the boy at the lunch room table and an Oreo, captured the heart of my husband all over again.