I love oreos so much. Not so much the filling but those crunchy chocolatey cookies. We don’t usually have a lot of snacks at home but oreos and goldfish are always welcome. So when October neared and I saw Trader Joe’s chocolate sandwich cookies with festive jack-o-lanterns, I was super excited to take them with us on our road trip to the bay area to visit Roy’s family. But – and I don’t know how I wasn’t expecting this – off brand oreos are never ever as good as the real thing and I was so sad when the cute cookies just tasted so “meh”. I spent a good chunk of the drive searching for copy-cat oreo recipes and as soon as I had time to bake again back at home, I tested the only recipe I trusted. Plus, I can never turn down an opportunity to use cookie cutters 🙂
I’ve loved every one of Stella’s recipes I’ve tried and knew these cookies wouldn’t be anything but amazing and they were that and so much more! The secret to the color of these cookies is the dutch-process cocoa powder. I’d always thought oreos had to be made with black cocoa powder to get that deep dark, almost black color. Turns out, you can use dutch-process cocoa powder instead. Its reaction with the alkalinity of the dough is what makes it darken in color so the cookies look more like proper oreo copy-cats when baked. I promise you’ll love these cookies, and the best part is the recipe makes enough dough to store half of in the freezer for making a second batch whenever you’re craving it next!
Skellington Bear Oreo Cookies
Recipe adapted from BraveTart.
for the cookies
8 tbsp (115g) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup (100g) white granulated sugar
3 tbsp (55g) golden syrup, I used Lyle’s
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp coconut extract (optional but enhances that oreo flavor!)
1 1/4 cups (165g) all purpose flour
1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp (35g) dutch-process cocoa powder
for the royal icing
1 tbsp meringue powder
2 tbsp warm water
1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the butter, sugar, golden syrup, baking soda, salt, and coconut extract. Start on a low speed and then increase the mixture to medium. Beat for about 5 minutes until light and fluffy. Halfway through, scrape down the sides of the bowl.
2. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour and cocoa powder. With the stand mixer running on low, spoon the dry ingredients in a little at a time. The dough may seem dry and mealy at first but will transform into a smooth dough as you continue to mix.
3. Transfer the dough to a work surface. Split the dough in half and wrap each portion in plastic wrap. Use the dough immediately or store the dough in the refrigerator for up to a week.
4. Preheat the oven to 350°F. If at this point the dough is too soft to handle, let it firm up in the fridge for about 15 minutes. Roll the dough out to 1/8 in. of thickness between two pieces of parchment paper. Use a bear shaped cookie cutter to cut out as many cookies as possible. Re-roll the dough until you’ve made them all into cookies. Transfer to the freezer for about 15 minutes then bake for 12-15 minutes. The cookies will feel slightly soft to the touch right out of the oven but will crisp up as they cool. For softer cookies or to avoid burning, bake for closer to 12 minutes and check them closely as they’re baking just in case.
5. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, mix together the meringue powder and warm water. Let it sit together for a few minutes to activate and foam up. Start the mixer on a low speed and add the sifted powdered sugar to the bowl one spoonful at a time. Once all the powdered sugar has been added, mix on high speed for about 5 minutes until the icing is thick and glossy. Add a teaspoon more of water at a time if the icing is too thick to pipe. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a small round tip.
6. Once the cookies have cooled, use the royal icing to pipe out little skeletons. Let dry completely for a few hours. Cookies will keep in an airtight container stored at room temperature for about 1 week.