Young and Hungry

Upscale Oreos: Can You Improve on a Good Thing?

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After reading my take-down of Wagshal's homemade Twinkies, Patricia Jinich, a cooking instructor and chef at the Mexican Cultural Institute, told me about these fancy Oreos available at Dean & DeLuca. She thought I might want to check them out, too.

The cookies are not produced in-house at D&D, but by Amy Berg, the freelance baker behind Amy's Cookies in Brooklyn. Berg's version of the Oreo — which some have dubbed the groanworthy Amy-eo — includes cookies made with Valrhona cocoa powder and a buttercream filling spiked with Kahlua.

So how are the Amy-eos?

First of all, the cookies are soft, which almost ruins them from the start. Half the joy of a real Oreo is its hardened texture and its ability to withstand a long and drunken dip in milk. The soaked Oreo then practically melts in your mouth, saturating its creamy, chocolate-y pleasures across your tongue.

Second, the Kahlua in the Amy-eo adds a small-but-detectable amount of alcohol into the mix, which instantly places these sweets in the sophisticated category. They are no longer an innocent treat for private, late-night dunking (or breaking apart, if that's your thing), but an adult cookie to be enjoyed among the cocktail set, perhaps with a single-origin, shade-grown coffee in the other hand.

Third, the richness of the chocolate. See my second point.

Finally, Amy's Cookies sell for $26 a pound at the Georgetown Dean & DeLuca. The standard 18-oz. bag of Oreos at the Safeway in Adams Morgan costs $3.99. It was recently on sale for $1.99.

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  • Lara

    Newman's Own's Organic Newman-O's are the best substitute for the real thing, in fact I like the ginger-o's better than chocolate.

  • Michael Birchenall

    it reminds me of a friend in the 70s who made fun of people who customized the original VW Beetle with Lincoln grilles or racing gear ... whatever ... leave the Oreo alone ... create your own food treasure to live on rather than bastardize a classic ...

  • sarah

    ok you might groan at this, but even better than all this crap is making your own oreos. this recipe is AMAZING and so easy. i made a huge batch for my labor day party and they were gone in about 10 seconds. i had leftover frosting so i made another batch to take to work, also disappeared before my eyes. SO. GOOD. none of that processed stuff. it's an oreo, but approximately 50x better. that's a scientific calculation.

  • Jenna

    I think they look really good. I mean, comparing artisan sandwich cookies to mass-produced Oreos is comparing apples to oranges - so in some ways comparing the two isn't a useful exercise. Food scientists have engineered Oreos to be addictive, have the perfect "mouthfeel," ect. - a homemade version will never satisfy your senses the way the real thing will.

    I know that she invites comparison by calling these "Oreos," but still -

    On a side note, I made my own mint chocolate sandwich cookies for Christmas, and they were amazing. I liked them as much as a regular mint Oreo, just in a different way. The Smitten Kitchen recipe looks pretty good too.

  • Dean Gold

    You toss off the proper eating of an Oreo (or Newman's-O etc) as "breaking apart." This is not a simple hook up followed by tossing out the remains. It is a gentle seduction.

    First, you caress the chocolate orbs, admiring their feel (which should be slightly greasy). Then, gently, oh so gently at first, you twist them in opposite directions, feeling the friction of your pressure melting the white creme to a point where it gives up its resistance and becomes liquid in its response to your pressure. Next up: a gentle licking. With the exciting building, a final bite for the peak of excitement.

    Breaking apart? Nay Tim. One makes love to ones O's! Even us farm to table crunchy granola types have our hidden secrets!

  • Carrie the Red

    It is only over the past few years that my dad has ceased to treat Oreos as the central item in his daily breakfast. When we were growing up, it was a standard handful of three he'd grab on his way out the door to work.

    The only downside to this, I think, is the potential to arrive at morning meetings and smile at everyone with hideously blackened teeth.

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  • thank you gift baskets

    oh how i love oreos. do we still twist lick and dunk these oreos? 😀