A couple weeks ago I was watching The Colbert Report, and Stephen Colbert had Michael Pollan as his guest. I’ve always been a fan from afar, wanting to read his books but never taking the time to do so, so I was glad to have the chance to see Pollan “in person.” (Plus it was fun to watch him interact with the hilarious absurdity of Stephen Colbert.) One thing Pollan said stuck with me: “The most important thing about your diet is not a nutrient but an activity: cooking… As long as a human being is cooking for you, and not a corporation, you’re fine.”
The basic idea here is that most Americans won’t take the time to make French fries or ice cream at home– or there’s no possible way to make things like Cheetos from scratch– so cooking more means we’ll automatically eat less junk food. But even if you’re like me and love the challenge of making homemade versions of things like oreos, it’s so much better to be making them than buying them. Fewer pseudo foods and harmful chemicals and more control over ingredients and portion sizes can only be a good thing.
So with that in mind, here’s a recipe for homemade mint oreos. They’re not too difficult but do require some time and effort. If we all had to pull out the cookie sheets every time we wanted an oreo, we’d be a lot better off.
Homemade Mint Oreos
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup dutch-process cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 1/8 tsp peppermint extract, or to taste
- 2 Tbs. milk or heavy cream
- green food coloring
- 1 oz. dark chocolate (optional)
Make cookies: Cream together butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and mix well. Add flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt, and mix on low speed until just combined. Divide dough in half, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill in the freezer for 30 minutes or the refrigerator for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350° F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll out dough onto a lightly floured surface until very thin– about 1/8 inch. Cut out using a round cookie cutter; I used one 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Carefully transfer cookies to the baking sheets and bake for 10 minutes or until crispy but not burnt. Let cool on a wire rack.
Prepare frosting: Beat the butter on medium-high speed until smooth, about 1-2 minutes. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating well on medium speed. Add milk or cream and beat until fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in peppermint extract to taste (start with 1/8 tsp. and add more if it’s not minty enough) and add green food coloring. Using a fine grater, grate the chocolate bar over the frosting and stir to combine. (This will give it lovely little flecks of chocolate.)
Assemble oreos by sandwiching two cookies around a smidgen of frosting.
Makes approximately four dozen cookies, although the amount will vary based on the size cookie cutter used.