Day 217 – National Oreo Cookie Day

“Oh, oh, oh, Ice cold milk and an Oreo cookie. They forever go together; what a classic combination…”

I pulled those lyrics from the vast cavern of strange and somewhat useless knowledge floating through my head. They popped right out as if I had just been singing the tune even though I probably haven’t thought of the song since the last century. Sometimes that’s how your brain works. That’s a testament to the jingle writers on Madison Avenue, but it’s also insight into the curse of a youth spent watching too much television. It works in this case but other times, not so much. Like for instance when you are on an interview and someone asks you what your five year plan is, and the only thought running through your head is the Honeycomb jingle (“Honeycomb’s big, yeah, yeah, yeah! It’s not small, no, no no!”). In any case, when I found out today was Oreo Cookie Day, that song decided to make an appearance.

I had recently written about Oreo cookies and how I am alarmed at what’s happening to them. Nothing bad, only that they keep experimenting with all kinds of new flavors. I guess I am a traditionalist and don’t like when companies futz with something good. As a consequence (or a blessing) of writing that piece, I needed up enjoying a package of Peep flavored Oreos throughout last week and in truth, they weren’t bad at all. But it was fun having a package of Oreos in the house. Our house is not without it’s supply of sweet snacks, but there’s something about having Oreos around. A comfort. A throw back to my youth.

The National Biscuit Company, which would come to be known as Nabisco, was formed in 1898 after a group of bakeries merged into one conglomerate. Their first marquis item became the Barnum’s Animal cookies which had their famous circus cage boxes with a string handle and cookies shaped like animals. That put them on the map and in the cookie history books. In 1912, they introduced the Oreo Biscuit whose name was later changed to the Oreo Creme Sandwich until it eventually became the Oreo Chocolate Sandwich Cookie. However, most people just call them Oreos. I was surprised to learn that the Oreo was inspired by the Hydrox sandwich cookie from the Sunshine Biscuit Company which debuted in 1908. I always thought the Hydrox was a cheap knock off of the Oreo, but apparently it was the other way around. It was the Oreo however that would go on to dominate the cookie aisle. There is debate on where the name Oreo comes from. Some say it was taken from the French word for gold (Or) which was the color of the original packaging. Others say the name comes from the Greek word for mountain as a tribute to the cookie’s original shape. Still others say Oreo is a combination of taking the “re” from “cream” and placing it between the two “o”s in “chocolate”. Even Nabisco doesn’t know the answer, but they do know Oreos are a cash cow, so pronounce it however you like.  (Info from ThoughtCo.com

To celebrate today, I decided to make a recipe using Oreos. There are no shortages of recipes using Oreos. You can make pies, milkshakes, cocktails, cakes, puddings – pretty much anything sweet can be made with an Oreo version. I decided to go with brownies, because, well why not? It was as good of a treat as any. After getting a package of Oreos at the store on Sunday, I was ready to get baking. I was going to wait until later in the day, but as I was walking past Lola around noon, she said she was craving brownies. That was unsolicited and she did not know my plans, so I took that as a sign and told her I could make that happen. I had the brownies in the oven in fifteen minutes.

I was using a recipe I found online called Slutty Brownies from SpoonUniversity.com. I’m not a fan of when people sexualize their recipe names, so I was a bit hesitant about jumping into slutty brownies. Do we really have to call a brownie slutty? Can brownie’s really be slutty? Let’s put a little thought into our recipe names people – words matter. In any case, the recipe had me use a regular brownie mix but then mix in some Oreos along with some marshmallows and some Fluff. That sounded pretty great, so it’s what sold me. It uses a brownie mix too, so it could not have been easier to make. I got right to it. I also added in some chocolate chips to the batter too because that’s how I usually make brownies and I figured chocolate couldn’t hurt this thing. It came out of the oven in about 50 minutes.

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The marshmallows crisped up on top so it was like a sweet meringue as the top layer. However, I think I pulled it out of the oven too early. It never really firmed up. The recipe said they would be gooey, so I expected them not to be perfectly in tact, but these kind of pooled in gooeyness.  Maybe it was the excess chocolate chips that I used (and I had used milk chocolate chips were are probably extra melty), but you could not cut these out of the pan in brownie form. You had to spoon it out. I put them back in the oven for a little while longer, but the damage was done. So they weren’t pretty. However, and a big however here, they tasted off the wall good. It was like eating a big bowl of warm brownie batter with Oreos, chocolate and marshmallow all mixed together. It was fantastic. It jumped your sugar levels up a few hundred degrees, but it was sweet and delicious. It’s not something you could serve as in bar form – these would have to be served in a bowl. We gave it an A-plus, plus for taste, but a c-minus for looks. Lola liked them and they quenched her brownie craving in the process.  That’s always a win.

The pan of the slutty brownies were on our kitchen table all day which is what happens when you bake something at noon. Every time I walked through the kitchen, I would see the pan and I was starting to feel regret, like I blew my Oreo celebration. Even though it was delicious, it just didn’t truly highlight the greatness of an Oreo. As we settled into the family room for the evening after dinner, I remembered that we were out of milk. That could be an issue if we woke up with no milk in the house. Nobody wants to have to wake up and then run to the store. So I made a quick trip up the road to get some. When I came back, as the ice cold jug of milk was in my hand, I realized how I could really celebrate the Oreo cookie. The answer had been there all along; there was only one true way.

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I poured the glass of milk and took out three cookies from the package. I will say the Oreo packaging has come a long way. The resealable opening across the front is genius and the seal actually works extremely well. I then sat down and had my milk and cookies. The key to dunking an Oreo is a glass of milk is to find that balance. You have to know when the cookie has soaked up enough milk so that it’s soggy in texture, but you have to pull it out before it crumbles into the milk. It’s a skill that is learned after years and years of practice. Many a cookie have fallen into the milk at trying to master this. The end result however is the perfect mixture of chocolate cookie, milk and creme that melts in your mouth. It’s the perfect bite. It’s heaven. And it’s why Oreo cookies are still a favorite.

The weird thing about today was that the stupid little jingle that was dancing around my head all day held the answer all along. Ice cold milk and an Oreo cookie. It really is the classic combination. I’ll still eat all your Oreo recipes – your pies and shakes and puddings, but when it comes down to it, the best way to enjoy an Oreo is by submerging them in some milk. In the end, that’s how I celebrated this day, and it made me happy. That’s what celebrating is all about.

Next Up: National Cereal Day 

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