pink champagne oreos

June 21, 2017


When I was in my early twenties, trends came into my life easily. I was all about the latest music, and pretty much attended every worthwhile indie concert that rolled through the Crystal Ballroom between 2007 and 2008. Looking through my college photos and the first few years after graduating, I see myself cycling through some funny clothing trends: hairbands inspired by Gossip Girl; cardigan and Anthropologie dress combos stolen from that 500 Days of Summer movie; unironic American Apparel spandex skater dresses (yikes).

These days, most of the clothes I buy are so timeless and trend-free that they stay in my closet for years and years. And the other day, as I flipped through all my saved/offline Spotify songs during my subway ride, I came to a scary realization — most of them were songs from years ago. And when I say years, I mean years. Think: Garden State soundtrack (cringe).


At that moment, I made a "birthday resolution" to myself: it was time to put my ear to the ground and start finding new music. The last few weeks have been filled with me exploring a variety of the latest, hottest music. My subway commutes have been filled with the sounds of Kendrick Lamar, The xx, Father John Misty, and of course, Drake.

Now I'm not THAT lame — this isn't the first time I've heard of Drake. There's #drakeoncake, sure, but I mostly know Drake through his Top 40 singles and radio airtime: "Take Care" with Rihanna from 2012 (wow, has it been that long?), "Hold On, We're Going Home", "Jumpman" (as featured in this Taylor Swift/Apple ad, sigh), and of course, "Hotline Bling". But in Apartment Hummingbird High, however, the song that's been on replay since my Great Drake Exploration of 2017 is "Pop Style" — I love it so much so that I dedicated a recipe to it:


The recipe is part of my birthday month series; to celebrate my 30th birthday, I'm spending the month baking recipes with flavors that I associate with birthdays and parties. This particular dessert is all about living my best Drake self: strawberry and pink champagne frosting sandwiched between two deep, dark chocolate cookies from my trusty homemade Oreo recipe. It's not quite a 24 Hour Champagne Diet, but it'll do.


featured:

Some baker's notes:
  • The frosting recipe requires you to make a quick jam/compote by cooking down strawberries and pink champagne together. Make the jam ahead of time, so you have it ready before you make the frosting. The recipe will likely make more than what you need; freeze the leftovers indefinitely for future baking projects, or as a quick drink mixer!

  • The Oreo cookie recipe is adapted from the TKO cookie recipe in the Bouchon Bakery cookbook (also seen in this recipe for dinosaur fossil cookies!). Because it's Thomas Keller and he's meticulous to a fault (he allegedly hired ballerinas to train staff on how to move around gracefully at The French Laundry and Per Se), the ingredient quantities are super weird and precise. Just go with it. It's worth it, I promise. Be sure to use Dutch-processed cocoa (as opposed to natural — I like Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa) so that the cookies turn out midnight black!

  • I used the 1 1/2-inch round cookie cutter from this set and these mini alphabet cookie cutters to stamp out the cookies. I'm not going to lie — stamping out the mini letters were a pain in the butt! Unless you're trying to impress somebody, I wouldn't do it. It was really difficult to dig out the letter cutouts. When the dough got too soft and difficult to work with, I ended up stamping out rounds, moving those rounds to my baking trays, and then using a toothpick to dig out the letter cutouts because I'm ridiculous. Larger shapes are the way to go! But if you insist on the mini letters, the dough is easiest to stamp when it's a little on the cold side, but be careful! If the dough is too cold, it will crumble/snap easily.


Pink Champagne Oreos
(cookies adapted from The Bouchon Bakery; frosting by yours truly)

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Ingredients

Special Equipment:
  • wax paper
  • round cookie cutters (see baker's notes)
  • a piping bag with the tip of your choice (I used #847, which is gigantic and awesome)

For the Strawberry Champagne Jam:
(makes about 1/2 cup)
  • 4 ounces fresh and very ripe strawberries, hulled and roughly chopped
  • 3/4 cup (6 fluid ounces) pink champagne
  • fresh juice from half a medium lemon
  • a pinch of kosher salt

For the Oreo Cookies:
(makes around 100 1 1/2-inch cookies, enough for 50 sandwich cookies)
  • 1 3/4 cups plus 1 1/2 tablespoons (9 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons (3 ounces) Dutch-processed cocoa powder 
  • 3/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup (2 sticks // 8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon (5.65 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt

For the Pink Champagne Frosting:
(makes around 2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick // 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • a pinch of kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon strawberry champagne jam, plus 1 teaspoon for troubleshooting
  • 1 1/4 cups (5 ounces) confectioner's sugar

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Recipe

For the Strawberry Champagne Jam:
  1. In a small saucepan with a heavy bottom, combine 4 ounces strawberries, 3/4 cup pink champagne, fresh juice from half a medium lemon, and a pinch of kosher salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring the mixture occasionally to prevent the fruit from sicking to the bottom of the pan. Once the mixture boils, lower the heat to medium-low and reduce the mixture to about half of what you originally started with. The goal is to cook off as much of the liquid as you can to distill the champagne flavor. The strawberries should soften and turn completely into mush by the end of the cooking process. Transfer to a small glass jar, let cool to room temperature. When sealed, the mixture will keep in the refrigerator for about 3 days.

For the Oreo Cookies:
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 3/4 cups plus 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, 1 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder, and 3/8 teaspoon baking soda. Set aside.

  2. In the bowl of a freestanding electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat 1 cup unsalted butter on medium-low speed until smooth. Add 1 teaspoon kosher salt and continue to mix for another 15 to 30 seconds. Add 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar and mix for about 2 minutes, until fluffy.

  3. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl before adding the dry ingredients (from the first step) in 2 additions, mixing on low speed for 15 to 30 seconds after each, or until just combined. Be careful not to overmix, and just mix until the dough has come together!

  4. Mound the dough on a work surface lined with wax paper and push it together until it forms a 6-inch square block. Place the dough between two pieces of wax paper. With a rolling pin, working from left to right, and begin to flatten it. Turn the dough 90 degrees and repeat — this will help prevent the dough from cracking as it is rolled. Roll out to a 1/8-inch to a 1/4-inch thick sheet (see baker's notes). If the dough gets too melty and soft, simply refrigerate it until it gets firm again. This dough tends to harden pretty quickly, so 10 to 15 minutes should do the trick!

  5. Use round cookie cutters to cut and stamp cookies from the rolled dough. If necessary, push the trimmings together and re-roll. Arrange the cookies on sheet pans lined with parchment paper, leaving about a 1/2-inch between them (they won't spread out too much when baking). Transfer the cut cookies to the refrigerator and let chill for an hour before baking.

  6. When the dough is chilled and you're ready to bake, position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 325 (F).

  7. Bake in the preheated oven for around 15 minutes, or until the cookies are fragrant with small cracks on the surface. Because the dough is so dark, it might be kind of hard to tell – look for small cracks on the surface! Set the pans on a wire rack and allow them to cool completely before frosting.

For the Pink Champagne Frosting:
  1. In the bowl of a freestanding electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat 1/2 cup unsalted butter, 1/4 cup cream cheese, and a pinch of kosher salt on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add 1 tablespoon strawberry champagne jam until just blended. Add 1 1/4 cups confectioner's sugar a few tablespoons at a time, using a rubber spatula to scrape the bowl as necessary. When all the sugar has been added, increase the mixer speed to high and beat until the buttercream is fluffy, about 1 minute. Use immediately — it may seem that the frosting is a little dry, but that's the texture you need for Oreos! If you think you'll have trouble piping it, add 1 teaspoon strawberry champagne jam and beat until  just blended.

Assembly:
  1. Transfer pink champagne frosting to a piping bag with a tip. Pipe a small dollop of frosting onto the rough side of one cookie. Note that you don't need a whole lot of frosting and that the dollop shouldn't reach the edges of the cookie — doing so will cause your sandwich to overflow since you'll be pressing another cookie on top of the frosting, causing it to spread to the edges. Take another cookie and press the rough side to the top of the frosting. Repeat for all remaining cookies.
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