Why It Works
- Blending butter with coconut oil creates a cookie that's rich, chewy, and mild—the perfect canvas for crunchy Oreo cookie bits.
- Frozen Oreos hold up better in the oven, retaining their texture and shape.
- Rolling the dough smooth and flattening each portion helps the cookies spread more evenly.
We've been featuring a lot of "iconic American desserts" since my cookbook came out, from old-fashioned chocolate chip cookies to homemade Fig Newtons.
Aside from these classics, the recipes in my book also include directions for customization with alternative ingredients and techniques to produce entirely new desserts that still feel American through and through. Take these cookies 'n' cream cookies, for example. They're a riff on my snickerdoodles that trades a dusting of cinnamon sugar for a handful of crumbled Oreos (store-bought or homemade). It's a simple swap that transforms an otherwise plain vanilla dough into a cookie that feels familiar, even if you've never had such a thing before.
Prepping the Oreos
It starts out with those aforementioned Oreos, chopped into bite-size pieces, then tossed into a bag and bashed a little with a rolling pin to kick up some extra crumbs. I opted for homemade Oreos because it's kind of my job to make everything from scratch, but there's no shame in picking up a package at the store.
Either way, toss those cookie bits in the freezer until the filling is frozen solid, about two hours. This helps the "creme" survive the baking process, so you'll have plenty of intact Oreo chunks to unearth within the cookies—the same sense of discovery that makes digging through a pint of cookies 'n' cream so fun.
Making the Cookie Dough
The dough itself is identical to what's used for the snickerdoodles in my book, with a portion of coconut oil standing in for butter to make the cookies extra chewy and rich. Coconut oil also limits browning, for a light and clean flavor that's reminiscent of vanilla ice cream. An all-butter cookie would develop more toasty brown-butter notes, which would be somewhat at odds with the mellow profile of cookies 'n' cream.
Virgin coconut oil is super nice with these cookies, as it gives them an aromatic boost without being overtly coconutty, but refined coconut oil is the way to go if you want a truly neutral profile. The process is straightforward: Cream the butter, coconut oil, and sugar until fluffy and light, then beat in a whole egg.
Shaping and Baking the Cookies
After you've incorporated the flour, add the frozen cookie bits and continue mixing until they're well combined. Divide the dough into two-tablespoon portions (I'm all about using volume for portioning), roll each piece smooth and round, then flatten them into half-inch disks. The jagged bits of Oreo encourage the cookies to spread irregularly, so rounding up the dough will offset that effect; meanwhile, coconut oil tends to minimize spread, so flattening prevents the cookies from getting too thick. If you'd rather have a thicker cookie, feel free to skip the smash.
If you like, the dough can be garnished with a few extra chunks of Oreo pieces, or just a sprinkling of crumbs to enhance the cookies 'n' cream look. Whatever you choose, bake on a parchment-lined half-sheet pan at 350°F (180°C) until the cookies are puffed and firm around the edges but rather pale overall, about 12 minutes.
Remember, coconut oil limits browning, so you can't judge doneness by color, as you would with other cookies. By the time these turn golden brown, they'll be hard and hopelessly dry, rather than soft, chewy, and rich enough to remind you of ice cream.
They're absolutely perfect with a glass of milk, but their soft and chewy texture makes them killer for ice cream sandwiches, too. A scoop of vanilla would be grand, but if you're game for a little Oreo Inception, might I suggest Oreo-infused ice cream instead?
Truth be told, while it's fun to gild the lily, these cookies are amazing all on their own, with crunchy Oreo bites studded throughout the soft dough—alternating bursts of chocolate and vanilla, just like a dish of cookies 'n' cream.
Adapted from BraveTart: Iconic American Desserts with permission from W. W. Norton.
4 ounces unsalted butter (8 tablespoons; 115g), pliable but cool (about 60°F; 16°C)
3 1/2 ounces refined or virgin coconut oil (about 1/2 cup; 100g), solid but creamy (about 70°F; 21°C); see note
10 1/2 ounces sugar (about 1 1/2 cups; 295g)
1 1/4 teaspoons (5g) Diamond Crystal kosher salt; for table salt, use about half as much by volume or the same weight
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 ounce vanilla extract (1 tablespoon; 15g)
1 large egg, straight from the fridge
10 1/2 ounces all-purpose flour, such as Gold Medal (about 2 1/3 cups, spooned; 295g)
8 ounces Oreos, store-bought or homemade (about 20 sandwich cookies; 225g), chopped and frozen until cold
Make the Dough: Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat to 350°F (180°C). Combine butter, coconut oil, sugar, salt, baking powder, and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on low to moisten, then increase to medium and beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes, pausing to scrape bowl with a flexible spatula halfway through. With mixer running, add egg and continue beating until smooth.
Reduce speed to low, add flour, and mix to form a stiff dough, then add frozen cookie pieces and continue mixing until well combined.
Portion the Dough: With a scoop, divide dough into 2-tablespoon portions. With your hands, roll each piece smooth and round. (If you like, portioned dough can be refrigerated in a heavy-duty zipper-lock bag up to 1 week, or frozen 6 months. Stand at room temperature until quite soft, about 70°F/21°C, and proceed as directed.)
Bake the Dough: Arrange portions on a parchment-lined half sheet pan, leaving 2 inches between cookies to account for spread. With the palm of your hand, flatten each into a 1/2-inch disk; if you like, garnish with extra Oreo crumbs.
Bake until puffed and firm around the edges, and pale overall but with a hint of browning around the very edges, about 12 minutes. Cool directly on baking sheet until crumb is set, about 5 minutes. Enjoy warm or store in an airtight container up to 3 days at room temperature.
Stand mixer, flexible spatula, 2-tablespoon cookie scoop, half-sheet pans
Surprisingly, virgin coconut oil works well in this recipe, giving the cookies a wonderful aroma that's not overtly coconutty at all, but refined coconut oil is clearly the most neutral option. Feel free to use whichever you have on hand.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 9g||12%|
|Saturated Fat 6g||30%|
|Total Carbohydrate 26g||10%|
|Dietary Fiber 1g||2%|
|Total Sugars 15g|
|Vitamin C 0mg||0%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|