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Joanne Chang’s Recipe for Homemade Oreo Cookies

Joanne Chang’s Recipe for Homemade Oreo Cookies
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Number one Oreo Fan
Stephanie and Mason 
        We couldn’t let this momentous occasion pass without throwing a party.  This week, the Oreo cookie, invented in New York’s Chelsea, is having its 100th birthday.  With over 491 billion Oreos having been consumed since 1912, it is by far and away the most popular cookie of the 2oth century.  And following its introduction in China in 2006, it is now the number one cookie there as well. I spent time last Spring with someone whose passion for Oreo cookies can readily be seen in the picture above.  My grandson Mason’s days are punctuated with pleas for these great American treats.  Since they are inevitably accompanied by a glass of milk and since his phenomenal nanny, Stephanie, keeps the cookies down to a minimum, there’s something wholesome about  his love of Oreos.  Too bad he’s yet to taste Andrew’s Homemade version of Joanne Chang’s deeply chocolate crisps and luscious vanilla cream. 
The incomparable Joanne Chang
        I don’t think anyone ever came back from China raving about the desserts they’ve eaten there.  But I do know that one Chinese-American baker is hugely admired—not just in her hometown where she’s opened three bakeries in ten years—but all over the country since she published her first cookbook  “Flour. Spectacular Recipes from Boston’s Flour Bakery and Cafe” (Chronicle Books 2010).  She’s Joanne Chang and the story of how she came to baking is one of those “only in America” stories that make us love the melting pot –even when it isn’t full of chocolate
      Joanne grew up without desserts.  Except for an occasional plate of orange sections, the Chang household didn’t satisfy any sweet teeth.  Instead, Joanne was introduced to America’s obsession through visits to friends’ houses where she met up with Chips Ahoy, Twinkies, Ding Dongs, Jello Pudding and Duncan Hines cake mixes.  And of course, Oreo Cookies.
        Before Joanne started baking, she went to Harvard and graduated with honors in Applied Mathematics and Economics.  I can’t imagine what her parents thought when she quit her job as a Management Consultant to go off and cook professionally.  But she did. And the result is her burgeoning baking empire in Boston where you will now find three Flour Bakeries and Cafes.*  And then of course,  there’s the Chinese restaurant she opened with her husband, Christopher Myers, in 2007.  Called Myers+Chang, it’s in Boston’s South End (1145 Washington Street Boston, MA 02118 Tel: (617) 542-5200).
        Now it did occur to me to ask why on earth Joanne (and Andrew for that matter) decided to bake Homemade Oreos.  Andrew answered that he was sure they’d be better than the originals –richer, more chocolately, more vanilla in the filling, and way better than Nabisco. The only thing Andrew might change about Ms. Chang’s recipe is to double the filling.  This recipe isn’t doubled but it’s easy enough to do.  But with or without more filling, I am only sorry that my little Oreo eater hasn’t yet had the pleasure.  But I am sure he will. Here’s the recipe:

*Flour Cafe and Bakery locations are as follows:

Fort Point Channel 12 Farnsworth St., Boston MA 02210
617.338.4333 Mon-Fri 7a-7p; Sat 8a-6p; Sun 9a-4p

South End 1595 Washington St., Boston MA 02118
617.267.4300 Mon-Fri 7a-9p; Sat 8a-6p; Sun 8a-5p

Central Square 190 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge MA 02139
617.225.2525 Mon-Fri 7a-8p; Sat 8a-6p; Sun 9a-5p


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