Monday, October 18, 2010
As you all know, October is a month of celebration for many reasons: Halloween, the beginning of Fall (at least in my eyes), the time for cooking comforting foods, the time for baking all things pumpkin/apple/cranberry-related, and it's Breast Cancer Awareness month.
Did you know that 1 in 8 women will get breast cancer within their lifetime? With statistics like that, most of us (if not all of us) know or have known at least someone who has experienced this dreadful disease. And if you don't know anyone who has, then chances are, you probably will. In fact, in 2010 alone, it is estimated that over 209,000 people will get diagnosed with breast cancer (men included). That's a scary statistic!
It is so crucial for us to all do our part in supporting and helping with the awareness of Breast Cancer. You never know how it could affect you...your Mom, Sister, Aunt, Grandmother, Cousin, Best Friend, Dad, Brother or even you. That's why when my friend, Jen, posted about her Power of Pink Challenge, I knew that I wanted to be a part of it. If we can be successful in touching even 1% of our readers' lives and encouraging them to be proactive about this deadly disease, then I feel like I've done something. While it may not be enough, it's still 1% more than what I had done yesterday.
Jen, the creative brains behind Beantown Baker, has challenged all of her fellow bloggers to create something PINK! By the way, if you haven't checked out her blog yet, please, please do so! She is one of the first bloggers I started to follow and she is one who inspired me to start blogging as well (she's also gone pink for the month, so definitely check it out when you get the opportunity)!
Jen is going on her 3rd year of doing this challenge (you can see some of the ideas others have posted the last couple of years here), so naturally, I wanted to do something different and something she didn't already have from years before. That was my biggest challenge. I could've made it easy and did a simple sugar cookie cutout with pink frosting or M&M cookies with pink M&M's. But those have been done and they're too predictable. And then it finally hit me as I was going through loads of recipes in my cookbooks and Google Reader....OREOS. I decided to to make homemade Oreos and dye the best part of them pink! I had been eyeing the recipe for quite some time but just never got around to making them and this weekend was finally the end to that.
Oh.My.Goodness. I cannot believe how much these taste like the real thing! They are practically the real deal and with a few tweaks, they could definitely give the store-bought packaged cookie a run for their money. They're definitely a close call; however, the cookie portion was a little soft for my liking. I mean, Oreos have the hard, crunchy outer layer of chocolate cookie with the soft, velvet-like cream center. The cream center in these bad boys was dead on. But the cookie itself was a little "off" and if you're going to make them, I would recommend going much smaller than what I did. I didn't have anything small enough and ended up using a round cookie cutter, but they're just waaayyy too big and overly sweet for our taste buds when they're like that. But all in all, a fabulous cookie and definitely something to make again!
Ingredients - Cookie
2 1/2 cups Flour
1/2 cup Dutch-Process Cocoa Powder
1/2 Tsp. Salt
1 cup Unsalted Butter
1 cup Sugar
1 Tsp. Vanilla Extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder and salt; set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the egg and vanilla; beat until well combined. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the cream mixture, beating on low until combined. Add in the remaining flour mixture (1/3 at a time), mixing in between until both mixtures are combined together.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough until it's 1/2-inch thick. Using a cookie cutter in the shape of your choice, begin cutting out the dough and placing on parchment-lined baking sheets. Place baking sheet in freezer for 5 minutes and then bake for 8 minutes. Let cool completely.
Ingredients - Cream Filling
1/4 cup Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup Vegetable Shortening
2 cups Powdered Sugar
2 Tsp. Vanilla Extract
Food Coloring (optional)
In a medium bowl, beat together the butter and shortening. Gradually add in the powdered sugar and vanilla. Continue mixing until light and fluffy. If dyeing the cream, add in the food coloring to achieve the desired color.
Place the cream filling in a pastry bag or resealable bag with the tip cut off and begin assembling the cookies by piping a large amount of cream into the center of one cookie. Top with another cookie of equal size and gently press down so the cream filling spreads out to the edges. Continue this process until all of the cookies have been assembled.
Yield: 18 Large Cookies
Source: Cookies adapted from Bake at 350, originally from Cookie Craft; Cream Filling adapted from Smitten Kitchen, originally from Retro Desserts