i'm sitting at the table with a pile of freshly baked bread because i've just spent yesterday catching up for my time without it last week.
did you miss me, pita? did you miss me, focaccia?
[the bread stares back in silence. molly feels uncomfortable, and then unaffected. she peels a potato off of the pony-shaped focaccia, eats it, and goes back to work.]
how was your passover, orthodox easter, and/or weekend??
my passover was mostly spent in louisiana, a few hours west of new orleans, at the home of tabasco sauce. the factory, headquarters, and research and development pepper fields are hidden by massive ginormous mossy trees and surrounded by swamps and bayous, and the bayous are filled with alligators. there's a tiny post office and an archives building, and i stayed in an old large mansion down the road from the factory with blogger friends and ghosts of old tabasco family members. or something like that. it might sound scary, with all of the alligators and ghosts, but it wasn't at all! the alive humans were so friendly that i just assumed the ghosts and alligators would be too if we ever came into direct contact. the trip was really beautiful. quite humid. fascinating. made me want to invent something as cool as universally loved hot sauce.
anyway, i'm back now for a few good weeks, spring planting is well under way (eggboy is officially coated in his thin semi-permanent layer of dirt), and i've got some fun pop-ups and parties coming up that i'm cooking and baking for. so i've been whipping up a few new experiments as menu possibilities! some of them have been good, some of them bad (like the donuts on this cake, they were so sadly mediocre), and some of them great. like these oreos. they're pretty effing good. they're butter and sugar and chocolate and tahini, transformed into dark crispy cookies and sandwiched with smooth nutty tahini buttercream. aside from the fact that the two components balance each other as well as meryl and charlie, i love them because they'll keep well for a week or two in your fridge and longer in the freezer. and what better mother's day present than a freezer full of homemade oreos?
makes about 18 sandwich cookies
2 c all-purpose flour
1 c unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for dusting*
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1 1/4 c unsalted butter, softened
3/4 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
*dusting your work surface with cocoa powder will yield a beautiful, dark, chocolatey aesthetic, but using a lot of it could make the cookies taste a little bit bitter on their own since the cocoa powder is unsweetened. when they're paired with the super sweet buttercream, i love it. but if you know you'll prefer a sweeter cookie, dust your work surface with powdered sugar or a mixture of powdered sugar and cocoa powder.
1/2 c unsalted butter, softened
1/4 c tahini
1 1/2 c powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
a pinch of ground cinnamon
a pinch of kosher salt
make the cookies:
preheat oven to 325ºf. line two baking sheets with parchment and set them aside.
in a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt.
in the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. mix in the vanilla. slowly add the dry ingredient mixture and beat until just combined. it will still be a bit crumbly.
pour the mixture out onto your work surface and give it a few kneads to bring it all together. dust your surface with cocoa powder and/or powdered sugar, and working swiftly and carefully, roll out your dough and cut out 2-inch circles. transfer them to your baking sheet, about an inch apart (using a small offset spatula really helps with this step). re-roll scraps and cut out remaining circles.
this is a super delicate dough, so try not to handle it more than you need to, and if it gets too soft, stick it in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes to firm up. this dough can also be made a day in advance, wrapped tightly, and kept in the fridge.
bake the cookies for about 20 minutes, or until the tops are no longer shiny. cool on the pans on a rack for 5 minutes and then remove to the rack to cool completely.
make the filling:
in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the butter and tahini until creamy. gradually add the powdered sugar. add the vanilla, cinnamon, and salt and beat to combine.
fill a piping bag with the filling and pipe a blob onto the center of half the cookies. top them with the rest of the cookies to make little sandwiches. place them in the fridge for a few minutes to allow the filling to firm up before serving. store in the fridge.