Thomas Keller’s Oreos (Almost)

Thomas Keller’s Oreos (Almost)
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Chocolate cookies! Yum!

We say “almost” in the title because we didn’t make the filling for these cookies, as we thought it might be just a bit too much. And, in some respects, we’re glad we didn’t. These are some rich chocolatey cookies. Very rich. Very chocolatey. Besides omitting the filling (you can find the full recipe with a simple search or even a click), we also made these cookies smaller than called for in the original recipe. Again, we’re glad we did. Did we mention very rich and very chocolatey?

Now, if you’ve heard of Chef Keller, you’re bound to be thinking that there’s no possible way you could make these in your own home. You’d be wrong. It turns out that these cookies — which are much, much better than the cookie part of Oreos (the only part we like) — are easy to put together, and don’t require any skills that are beyond that of an average scratcher. Think of it as a kind of introduction to serious baking.

Makes about 120 1-inch cookies

Thomas Keller’s Oreos (Almost)

Thomas Keller’s Oreos (Almost)


  • 1 3/4 cups + 1 1/2 tablespoons (259 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup + 1 1/2 tablespoons (87 grams) unsweetened alkalized cocoa powder
  • 3/8 teaspoon (1.6 grams) baking soda
  • 8 ounces (227 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons (6 grams) kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon (161 grams) sugar

Abbreviated Instructions

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sifted cocoa, and baking soda.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter on medium-low until smooth and creamy.

Add salt and mix for 15 to 20 seconds.

With mixer running on medium-low speed, pour in sugar and beat until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl.

Add flour mixture in two additions, mixing on medium-low until incorporated, 15 to 30 seconds, before the second addition. Then mix until the dough forms.

On a work surface, use the palms of your hands and/or a dough scraper to form a 6x6-inch square of dough. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 325°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone baking mats.

Place half of the dough between two pieces of parchment and roll to 1/8-inch thick. If dough is soft, place in the refrigerator to firm.

Cut out cookies using a 1-inch cookie cutter and transfer to prepared baking sheets, placing the cookies about 1 inch apart.

Bake for 15 to 16 minutes, rotating the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through, until fine cracks have appeared on the surface of the cookies.

Cool on baking sheets for 5 to 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.

Ingredient discussion:

Six ingredients. Do not skimp. So, use real unsalted butter and the best cocoa you can find. We use Valrhona cocoa. Expensive, yes, but not so bad in the 3 kg box. This is also a recipe for which it helps to have, and use, a digital kitchen scale. Otherwise, measure carefully.

Procedure in detail:

weighing cocoa
We find it easiest to set the sifter right on top of the flour and pour the cocoa in while measuring.

Mise en Place. Take the butter out of the fridge to warm, and get all the other ingredients ready while you’re waiting. Measure and sift the cocoa and baking soda together — cocoa is lumpy, so sifting it does help, a lot. Measure and whisk in the flour. Measure out the sugar. Now, just wait until the butter is warm so you can cream it properly. Cold butter does not get fluffy when creamed with sugar. Congratulations, you’re on the downhill stretch. Really.

Beat butter. Place the two sticks of butter in the mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. If it’s not looking smooth and creamy, you might still have cold butter. Wait awhile and try again.

Add salt. Add kosher salt to the butter and beat it in on medium-low; about 15 to 20 seconds should do it. Just think: if you used salted butter, these cookies would be too salty.

adding sugar
The sugar crystals act like tiny whips, adding air to the butter.
creamed butter
See, butter and sugar does get nice and fluffy, but only if the butter is at room temperature.

Add sugar. With the mixer running on medium-low, pour in the sugar. Once the sugar is in, beat until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

adding flour and cocoa
Add the dry ingredients in two additions; this helps to keep it from spewing out when you turn on the mixer.

Add flour and cocoa. Since you’ve done mise en place, just grab the bowl and pour in about half of the flour and cocoa mixture. Turn the mixer on long enough to incorporate the dry ingredients, about 15 to 30 seconds. Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix on medium-low until the dough comes together.

tko dough
All ready for chilling for an hour or so.

Shape and chill. Scrape the dough out onto a work surface and shape it, using the palms of your hands and a dough scraper, into a block about 6×6 inches. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 325°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone baking mats.

Roll out dough. We found it easiest to work with half the dough at a time (we froze the other half so we could have cookies the following week, too), so we sliced the block in half with a chef’s knife, placed it between two pieces of parchment and rolled it out to a thickness of 1/8-inch. To get the dough started, beat on it from side to side with the rolling pin. It does help. If the dough becomes too soft, place it back in the refrigerator (still between the parchment, natch) for 15 minutes to firm.

cutting cookies
We were glad we did smaller cookies. It meant we could eat more of them!
cookie dough
While these don’t spread very much, leave space around them so the hot air can circulate and bake the cookies.

Cut cookies. We happen to have a small hexagonal cookie cutter, and, if you’re careful, you can make a honeycomb pattern that results in very few dough scraps. It’s about 1 inch across, which seems small, but we’d suggest that you go small for these (remember, very rich, very chocolatey) cookies. Transfer the cookies to the baking sheets with about a 1-inch space between cookies. You can re-roll the scraps.

baked cookies
If you look carefully, you might see the fine cracks on the surface of the cookies, an indication that they’re done.

Bake. Slide the sheets into the oven and bake for about 15 to 16 minutes, rotating from front to back and top to bottom halfway through. Watch near the end of baking, as it’s difficult to tell when these cookies are done; they should have fine cracks on the surface and just a slight give when pressed lightly.

Chocolate cookies! Yum!
Chocolate cookies! Yum!

Cool. Let the cookies cool on the pans for 5 to 10 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool the rest of the way.

Enjoy. And you will. Trust us.

As with every Chef Keller recipe we’ve tried, these cookies are just amazing — even without the filling. When we made these, we thought that the amount of salt would be too much and we’d have some salty cookies. No. The salt was just enough to let you taste it from time to time as you ate the cookies, but not enough that you said, whoa, salt. The amount of chocolate flavor is phenomenal, so it pays to go with really good cocoa; if you use a mediocre cocoa, you will taste it. The texture is not like Oreos, which have a real crunch; instead, these little morsels have a softer crunch, much like shortbread, which suits these cookies, perfectly. Again. Very rich. Very chocolatey. And, like every other Thomas Keller recipe we’ve tried, definitely worthy of five stars.

Worth the trouble?

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