gluten-free chocolate sandwich cookies

As you probably know, we’re hosting a pie bake-along on twitter this Sunday. You can bake this month’s pie, chocolate cream, right along with us using the hashtag #piealong. The crust of a chocolate cream pie is made with oreos, so it’s not gluten free. I’m on a mission to figure out how to make a gluten free chocolate pie crust so, today I’m going to talk a little bit about the pie crust for a chocolate cream pie and homemade oreos.

The last time I made a successful chocolate cream pie was probably pretty close to exactly a year ago. I stopped eating gluten in February of last year and the chocolate pie I had made was the last exception I made to eating gluten. (It’s oreo crust makes it glutenous.) I attempted (some time between that pie and now) to make a gluten-free one using Glutino gluten-free oreos. But the crust became a kind of hardened candy or toffee like thing. We think it was because the recipe requires single stuff oreos and the Glutino oreos seem to fall somewhere between the single and double stuffed icing level.

So my thought for attempt #2 at a gluten free chocolate cookie crust is, why can’t it be like a graham cracker crust that uses crackers (or cookies) and butter. Forget the icing, which I think is what causing so many problems with our last crust. Strangely, my America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book has a recipe for “Chocolate Sandwich Cookies,” meant to replicate Oreos. The cookies are a chocolate icebox cookie; the kind you shape into a roll, refrigerate, and cut off to bake. We made a batch and I want to share it with you in case you want to give this method a try too.

oreo

We won’t be making these cookies as a part of the #piealong, so if you want to use them for your crust you’ll want to make them ahead of time. They take a few hours because the dough has to chill, so you’ll want to make them Sunday morning at the latest. Keep in mind, we haven’t tested them as a crust yet, so you’ll be experimenting right along with us on that portion.

I’m also going to share the icing filling part of these in case you’re making them for just plain eating. We made a half-batch of the filling and put half of the chocolate cookies aside for our crust. We’ve since eaten most of the other half that have icing in them.

Ok, enough of the longest preface ever, totally one of my recipe blog post pet peeves, but I just had a lot to say today! Sorry! On to the recipe:

oreo

Ingredients:Cookies:
2  1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup black cocoa powder (if you can’t find this you can use regular cocoa powder, as we did)
1/4 cup dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 teaspoon instant espresso or instant coffee (we just ground some regular coffee up really fine)
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2  1/4 cups flour (we used our gluten free flour blend, any all-purpose flour will do whether gluten free or not)
Filling:
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
pinch salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2  1/2 tablespoons water

For the Cookies:    Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter, then combine with the cocoa and espresso powders in a small bowl to form a smooth paste. Set aside to cool, about 15 minutes. Look, I took pictures of this step:

oreo

oreoIn a large bowl, beat the cooled cocoa mixture, remaining 16 tablespoons butter, granulated sugar, and salt together using an electric mixer on medium-high speed until well combined and fluffy, about 1 minute (or much longer with a fork if you don’t have an electric mixer like us). Beat in the egg yolks and vanilla until coombined, about 30 seconds. Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add the flour in 3 batches, beating well after each addition. Continue to beat until the dough forms a cohesive ball, about 10 seconds.

Transfer the dough to a clean counter and divide into 2 equal pieces. Following the photos, roll each piece of dough into a 6-inch log, about 2 inches thick. Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.

Adjust the oven racks to the upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.

Slice the dough into 1/8-inch-thick cookies. Lay the cookies on the prepared baking sheets, spaced about 3/4 inch apart. Bake the cookies until the edges begin to brown and firm, 10 to 12 minutes, switching and rotating the baking sheets halfway trhough baking.Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 3 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining dough using freshly lined baking sheets.

oreo

For the Filling:    Again, we halved the filling just to try it out on half of the cookies. But this is the full recipe, so you’ll have to do some math if you want to do the same, but I promise it’s easy.
In a large bowl, beat the confectioners’ sugar and salt together with an electric mixer on low speed, slowly adding the vanilla and 2 tablespoons of the water until the filling is uniform and malleable, about 1 minute. If the filling is dry and crumbly, like ours was, beat in the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of water. Transfer the filling to a clean counter and roll into a log slightly smaller than the cookie dough (about 1  2/3 inches wide). Wrap the filling in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes.
Slice the filling about 1/8 inch thick. Pinch each slice of filling between your fingertips to soften it, then sandwich it firmly between 2 cookies and serve.

If you’d like to join us in our pie baking adventure this Sunday, just take a glance at the recipe so you can be sure to have all of the ingredients you’ll need.