Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Oreos, Child's Play and Sesame Street

Oreos.  A classic American cookie, inspired by Cookie Monster, made for my 4 year old when she invited her best friend over for lunch.

Television show: Sesame Street, Children's television, USA, 1969 - current

What does it mean to me?
I grew up watching Sesame Street.  As the second oldest of seven children, it was on the telly at home long after I had outgrown it. 

Perhaps this explains why I still have such sharp memories of moments: Feeling Groovy (59th Street Bridge Song), Snuffalafagus disappearing every time an adult appeared, Big Bird's inability to say Mr Hooper's name, Ernie counting sheep, a little kid remembering to buy her mum a loaf of bread, pint of milk and a stick of butter.  And of course Cooking Monster spraying crumbs everywhere as he enthusiastically devoured cookies.

There was so much I didn't understand as a child in an Australian country town - about it being halfway around the world from me, about what it was like to live in a busy city, about the different racial backgrounds of the characters, about butter coming in sticks, that we understood what cookies where in America but that when we said biscuits instead of cookies, Americans would think they were scones.

Sesame Street continues to appear in my life at times.  When I was a teenager I did a latch hook cushion with Grover's face.  On my first trip to New York in 1998 I remember seeing pictures of Cookie Monster on the 'Got Milk?' advertising on the side of buses.  I never liked milk much so that idea of milk and cookies just seemed odd.  I did buy a Sesame Street t-shirt that I wore on many of my subsequent travels.  Strangely enough my 4 year old, Sylvia, doesn't watch Sesame Street much but she knows some of the characters.

Even now I can hear Cookie Monster singing C is for Cookie, and hear Ernie warning us not to get crumbs in the bed or you will be itchy!

Food featured:
Cookie Monster would not forgive me if I had made anything but cookies.  (And I was not about to make birdseed for Big Bird or trash for Oscar the Grouch, though the Count's peanut butter sandwiches were tempting.)  In pictures he often seems to be eating choc chip cookies but I have made many of these on my blog.  I wanted a new challenge.  Oreos are not only an iconic American cookie but are also one of the most delicious accidentally vegan products.

Recipe notes:
The biscuits or cookies were not very sweet at all, due to all the cocoa in the recipe.  They were fairly straight forward, and I found the dough surprisingly easy to handle despite being so soft.  I used a ziplock bag to pipe the buttercream filling.  Making sure there was the right amount of filling and it was piped evenly was the biggest challenge.  If I got that right the biscuits looked perfect.  It was not always so!  I had so much filling leftover that I suspect I was a bit miserly with it.

The end result was delicious.  Dark and rich chocolate flavour with the sweet filling.  They were far softer than oreos out of a packet but more satisfying.  They lasted well for the three days we had them in the house.

Random notes:
I made these biscuits for lunch on the weekend when Sylvia's best friend Amelia and her mum came over for lunch.  Sylvia was so excited she was up early and dressed before I got out of bed.  First up I made no knead focaccia.  I had planned an easy lunch of focaccia, vegie sticks and hummus.

I had promised Sylvia we would make tulips out of carrots and cucumbers.  It seemed a fun recipe that was healthy and easy too.  (Thanks Pinterest)  I decided to halve an orange to display them.  Sylvia helped me set her little table and amused me by putting a banana beside both plates.  So they ended up eating orange and banana with their lunch.  The oreos went down well after lunch, along with some cute little bikkies that her friend brought along.  We then went into the city to see Amelia's dad play at a pub.  A happy day.

Last night, my dad came for dinner.  I was pleased to have some biscuits left to have after dinner.  He was most impressed to find I had made them.  I was relieved he enjoyed them after my mum had told me he was off chocolate.  My love of chocolate comes from my father and his father so it is unthinkable that he could go off it.


Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
One year ago: A baby, a carrot cake and green biscuits
Two years ago: WHB Apricot Delight and Dusty Magazine Clippings
Three years ago: Smoky Parsnip Muffins
Four years ago: Spring garden and WIP pasta
Five years ago: Choc chip and cherry cookies 

Oreos
Lightly adapted from Nicole Bremner
Makes 18-20 cookies

200g butter or margarine (I used Nuttalex)
150g icing sugar
100g cocoa
200g plain white flour
1 tsp vanilla essence

Cream filling:
100g butter or margarine (I used Nuttalex)
300g icing sugar

Beat butter and icing sugar with electric beaters until pale and creamy.  Add cocoa, flour and vanilla.  Continue to beat together until it forms a soft dough that clings to the beaters.  Although the dough will be very soft, you should be able to clump it together into a squidgy ball.

Roll dough in two batches between two sheets of baking paper until it is about 0.5cm thick.  Freeze for at least 30 minutes.  I did this in two batches because my freezer isn't that big and I put the dough on baking trays in the freezer so it stayed flat.  My dough was in the freezer for a couple of hours.  This is fine as it is thin enough to defrost quickly once out of freezer.

When ready to make biscuits, preheat oven to 170 C.  Remove dough from freezer and cut into smallish circles (I used a 4.5cm scone cutter).  Place circles on sheet of baking paper on a baking tray with about 1cm between them.  Bake for 8 minutes.  They should look dry rather than shiny when out of the oven.  Cool on a wire rack.

When cookies are cooled, make icing.  Use electric beaters to beat together icing sugar and butter to make a fairly stiff buttercream icing.  Add a little water if too stiff but I didn't.  Use a ziplock bag or icing pipe to pipe blobs of icing onto a cookie.  Place another cookie on top and push down until the icing is about the the edge of the cookies.  I didn't use enough icing and had a bit leftover.  I think 1-2 tsp of icing is probably desirable.  Let icing set before eating.  Keeps at least 3 days in an airtight container.

On the Stereo:
The Forsyte Saga: Music from the tv series composed by Geoffrey Burgon

This post is part of Vegan Month of Food September 2013.  This year for Vegan MoFo I am cooking recipes inspired by some favourite tv shows - and veering off topic occasionally.  Go to my Vegan MoFo list for more of my Vegan MoFo posts. 

33 comments:

  1. Yuuuum! There's a recipe in the Vegan Cookie book but it looks waaaay more complicated than yours. Have to try.

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    1. Thanks Amy - I liked this recipe because it seemed quite straightforward - Nicole used chocolate essence but I have never heard of it so I left it out and never missed it

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  2. I never really thought of Sesame Street permeating other countries and cultures...but I bet most of the messages are pretty universal (at least to English-speaking countries). Cookie Monster would definitely be proud of these cookies!

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    1. Thanks Joanne - Sesame Street does have universal themes - even if we don't quite speak the same language

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  3. These look fantastic, and easy too! I bet get gobbled up real quick

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    1. Thanks Tara - wish they had lasted longer

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  4. I love Grover! I didn't watch Sesame Street all that much as a kid but I had a book from those volume sets and I remember banana cream pie. I found the almost-complete set in Savers and bought it. My children watched SS though and I admit to having SS on even if they're not in the room sometimes, because the celebrity bits are funny. Like the LL Cool J mathematics rap, I had to tell the kids to be quiet so I could listen to the tv. And when they do the parodies of tv shoes, like Desperate Houseplants, it's BWAHAHA. Grover's incredulous looks to camera with the uneven slightly open jaw are hilarious :)

    Your biscuits look fab!

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    1. Thanks Veganopoulous - it is one of those shows that is interesting to adults as well as kids (if only that could be said of more kids shows) but I miss some of the familiar characters and stories of my childhood when I watch it now. Desperate houseplants sounds hilarious and yeah grover is so sweet

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  5. These are the most elegant oreos I have ever seen! I also loved Sesame Street as a kid. I had some similar experiences to you when watching the US segments. But we also had some German actors and German puppets. I think they still show Sesame Street but it's not the same since all the actors and puppets are different.

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    1. thanks Mihi - I find that there are lots of changes when I watch sesame street now - the biggest disappointment is that all the adults believe in Snuffalafagus now - I was horrified when I saw that.

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    1. Thanks Janet - they make a fun table decoration as well as being healthy

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    1. Thanks Lisa - these are the best looking - getting the icing right in the middle was tricky

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  8. Your oreos looks amazing Johanna! The top photo is gorgeous. It's no wonder that Sylvia was so excited about them. I loved hearing about your Sesame Street memories too! Fantastic kick off to your TV dinners theme...

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    1. Thanks Mel - I was pleased with the top photo given that I just took it after I put them together with the baking paper still in the background. Sylvia loved them but they were quite rich and she was happy to share one with me

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  9. They look so cute! Nice photo too...I'm in love with your veggie flowers though, I'm definitely going to try and make some too :) x

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    1. Thanks Clare - the vegie flowers were really easy - just what I needed to do with a 4 year old when we didn't have too much time

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  10. What a gorgeous lunch! I'm sure I'm showing my age here, but my favourite Sesame Street memory is the cook at the counting song, who said, "Five chocolate cream pies!" and fell over and squashed them all. I rjought it was hilarious (as a 4 year old). :-)

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    1. Thanks Linda - I don't remember the chocolate cream pies but I wish I did - sounds like fun

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  11. Actually that post was from Linda at the Lentil Institution...oops!

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  12. These look far better than commercial oreos! Very impressive, and I like the veggie blowers too. My main 'memory' of Sesame Street is that I only ever watched half of it - my Mum decided I could have an hour of TV a day when I was little so I didn't realise until later in my life that Sesame Street had a beginning and went for an hour! I think I watched the second half and then went on to Play School, which I liked more.

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    1. Thanks Kari - everything tastes better when fresh baked! Sylvia watches Playschool regularly and loves it but I used to watch both. Sesame Street and Playschool always seemed the main shows with so many other coming and going

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  13. Every now and then I start humming 1,2,3,4,5 6,7,8,9,10 11,12. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HUL4T8WcFdA and the Ernie and Bert 'Ante Up' remix is one of my favourite YouTube videos ever!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=21OH0wlkfbc
    Your oreos look delish!

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    1. Thanks Jas - I love that number song - I find myself singing "C is for Cookie, that's good enough for me". The ernie and bert rap is great. Oh doesn't Sesame Street add so much to our culture :-)

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  14. These look fab - would love to make them. Big bird was my fave Sesame St character.

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    1. Thanks Cakelaw - I loved big bird and his bumbling ways too

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  15. Sesame Street was big over here too, although I admit I used to be terrified of Big Bird!
    UK Oreos have only become vegan in the past few months in fact but I haven't actually bought any yet! Homemade appeals much more and dark and rich rather than sweet for your biscuits sounds perfect for me.

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    1. Thanks Emma - I can understand why a small child would be terrified of such a big bird. I didn't know that UK oreos weren't vegan til recently - I don't buy sweet biscuits that often but I have always liked that such a great biscuit was vegan

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  16. I love that you have such clear memories of Sesame Street, I used to watch it a lot, too :) Your oreos look perfect!

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    1. Thanks Mandee - I suspect it is due to being 2nd of seven kids and having it on when I was older - and because I loved it

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