There's something about the way a cookie crumbles in your mouth after a dip in a glass of milk that brings back instant nostalgia for most folks. For me, oreos were my go-to childhood cookie. They were so dry and crunchy that they readily absorbed the milk and would leave little crumbs in the glass, giving me a cookies n' cream-type beverage long after the cookie was gone. As an adult, I never buy oreos. This is because if I have them in the house I know I will eat them all in a couple days. Sometimes being a grown-up means knowing what makes you loose all self-control and keeping that thing far, far away from you. But, (yes, there is always a but), a friend offered me one a few weeks ago and I readily accepted (not wanting to be rude and all) and that little bite brought back waves of pleasant cookie-inspired memories. So, I decided I needed to try my hand at making them myself, and making them a little more grown-up.
All the milk and butter in the cookies has been substituted out for coconut milk and coconut butter. You can buy coconut butter from the store, but it's a bit pricey, so I'd recommend making it at home. Coconut butter is basically unsweetened shredded coconut blended with a little bit of coconut oil until the shredded coconut is so broken down and warmed up from the blending process that the coconut oil within the shredded coconut sort of melts and the whole thing turns into a thick spreadable mixture. It might even get on the liquidy side if the blades get extra hot. This mixture is then refrigerated until it firms up and voila! You have coconut butter. When making it, you want to use a really strong and high-quality blender, like the Blendtec. I used my Blendtec to make it with the twister jar attachment and it gave me coconut butter in a little under a minute. The great thing about the twister jar is that as it's blending, you twist the top of the container and it wipes the inside of the blender, pushing the shredded coconut back down towards the blades.
With a weak blender in a normal container, this process can take up to 30 minutes of blending, pausing to push the coconut back towards the blade with a spatula, and blending again. For the amount of coconut butter it makes, doing it yourself at home it costs less than half of the ready-made version. You can also make homemade nut butters really easily with the twister jar, which I've gone a bit crazy with lately (seriously, homemade roasted hazelnut-peanut butter combo is SO GOOD), but I've also experimented with adding flavored extracts to the coconut butter while blending, and so far my favorites are vanilla, lemon, and rosewater (separately, not together), but I have many more extracts in my cabinet to try....
The end product tasted like a lightly coconut-flavored oreo, with the cookie texture being just a little bit sturdier and slightly less crumbly than an oreo cookie. You could probably get it a bit more crumbly if you took out a tablespoon or two of the coconut milk, but you'll have a significantly harder time rolling the dough out and cutting out the shapes the drier the dough is. And honestly I liked the slightly firmer texture because I could hold the cookie in the dipping milk longer without having to worry about it falling in half and sinking to the bottom of the cup. Everybody wins! So, if you're looking to satisfy the cravings of your youth with a more adult-friendly cookie, I think I've got you covered.
Note: Blendtec provided me with a designer blender and twister jar attachment for review, but all comments and opinions are my own, per usual!
Homemade Coconut Butter
4 cups unsweetened shredded coconut flakes (do not use reduced fat shredded coconut or powdered coconut)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons coconut oil
Vegan Oreo Cookies
1 and 1/3 cup dutch process cocoa
1 and 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
3 teaspoons egg replacer
1 cup full fat canned coconut milk, warm
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Vegan Coconut Buttercream Filling
1 cup coconut butter, softened
2 and 3/4 cups powdered sugar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Begin by preparing the coconut butter. Add the shredded coconut, vanilla extract, and coconut oil to the Blendtec and blend on the 'batter' cycle, twisting the top of the twister jar attachment in the direction opposite the blades. If after the cycle runs the mixture isn't clumping together in a butter quite yet, run the 'batter' cycle one more time and it should become a clumpy, thick white butter. Empty the coconut butter into a bowl, cover, and keep refrigerated.
To make the cookies, sift together the cocoa and flour in a large bowl. Add the salt, stir, and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, blend together the water and egg replacer until smooth, then add the coconut milk and vanilla extract and mix until combined. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until just combined and crumbs begin to form. When you hold the crumbs tightly together in your hand and then release, they should stay stuck together.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Empty the crumbly dough onto a sheet of parchment paper and pat it down into one cohesive mound. Place another sheet of parchment paper on top of the mound and roll out the dough between the two sheets of parchment paper until it is 1/4 inch thick.
Remove the top sheet of parchment paper and use a circular cookie cutter (about 2-3 inches wide) to cut out the cookie shapes and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, leaving at least 2 inches of space between the cookies. Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator and chill it for 30 minutes before placing the sheet in the oven. Bake for about 17-22 minutes, then remove from the oven and allow too cool for 15 minutes before removing from the cookies from the pan to cool completely on a wire rack.
While the cookies are cooling, you can prepare the buttercream frosting. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the coconut butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract at medium low speed until smooth. Set aside.
Once all of the cookies have been baked and cooled, you can begin assembling the cookies. Take about 1 tablespoon of the buttercream and spread it on top of one of the cookies, then place another cookie on top to create a little oreo cookie sandwich. Repeat until all of the oreos have been assembled. Serve immediately.