A few weeks ago I blogged about my desire to have mormor’s havrekjeks – oat crackers – that had thrilled me as a child. Now that there’s a tin filled with havrekjeks on my kitchen counter, I decided to make another childhood food memory, this time from the U.S.
My mother, though a graduate of husmorskole (1952), wasn’t the least bit domestically inclined or skilled. I have memories of an array of traditional cookies, crackers, cakes and breads mormor baked, but living in the U.S., with few exceptions (notably lemon meringue pie and cheesecake) my mother relied on store bought.
A special treat was a package of Oreos, the chocolate cookies sandwiched around a sweet “cream” filling. Developed and trademarked in 1912 in New York City, there are probably few children in the U.S. who are unfamiliar with Oreos.
Recently a man told me about his memory of Oreos. When he was about 6 years old, he found an unopened package of Oreos in a kitchen cupboard. After cutting open the package, he then carefully removed each cookie, separated the two halves and scraped out the filling. Once he had emptied every cookie of its filling, he carefully returned the pieces to the package and returned it to the cupboard. He then made a huge ball of the filling and carried it outside to eat in peace. Conveniently, he had no memory of what happened when his mother discovered what he did. 🙂
So I made Oreos using the recipe “Chocolate Sandwich Cookies with Vanilla-Cream Filling” in pastry chef Wayne Harley Brachman’s Retro Desserts: Totally Hip, Updated Classic Desserts from the ’40s, ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s.
Brachman’s re-creation was easy and his instructions clear. The only ingredient I didn’t have on my shelves was vegetable shortening, so if you bake with some regularity you probably have most ingredients at hand. The list of his ingredients included all purpose flour, unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt, sugar, butter, egg; the filling incredients included butter, vegetable shortening, powdered sugar and vanilla.
They tasted like the cookies I remembered. The problem was that to my adult palate the cookies and filling were so sweet it felt as though my teeth ached. I sampled one, gave two to Thor and, before he had time to grab more, boxed up the rest as gifts. The recipients were very happy.
If you like Oreo cookies, I would urge you to pick up a copy of Brachman’s book and try! Granted, buying a package of Oreos is quick and easy, but try making your own. It’s easy. (Besides, compare Bachman’s ingredient list with Nabisco’s on Wikipedia.)
If the current commercial Oreos don’t taste like what you remembered, it might not just be your aging taste. Nabisco used lard until the early 1990s when they switched to partially hydrogenized vegetable oil (trans-fat), and then in 2006 switched again to non-hydrogenated vegetable oil.
But I like butter 🙂 – though not enough to eat a big block of the vanilla-cream filling, even homemade.
Do you re-create any “retro” desserts?