I believe I can fry: deep fried Oreos
I'm always amazed when I see a pearl of molecular gastronomy wisdom unintentionally applied to everyday cooking, doubly so when the dish just happens to be something most food snobs would shun, like industrially manufactured cookies.
Last month, I made Heston Blumenthal's fried fish. In his efforts to build a better batter, Blumenthal uses two secret weapons: alcohol and carbonation. The bubbles in carbonated liquids such as beer create batters that are lighter and crispier than batters made with water alone. Blumenthal takes this idea to its logical extreme by not only adding beer to his batter, but by carbonating it all in an iSi siphon. The use of beer in fish batter is hardly new, but it's exciting to see the underlying principle -- that carbonation enhances the texture of the final product -- applied elsewhere. Enter Oreos.
On a vacation two years ago, Rachel and I visited R.U.B., a barbecue restaurant in that mecca of "low and slow," Manhattan. The 'cue itself compares favourably to much of what we enjoyed during our barbecue pilgrimage to Memphis (for details of that gluttonous weekend, click here for part one, and here for part two), and the beans -- sweet, porky, and smoky -- are the finest we've ever tasted. After eating our way through a pile of ribs, pulled pork, and brisket, it was time for the dessert I'd craved from the minute I spied it on the menu: deep fried Oreos.
As the basket piled high with golden puffs arrived at our table, a little boy one table over spied the goodies. His expression when he realized what they were -- Oreos taken to a whole new plane of decadence -- was unforgettable. His jaw dropped and his mouth made an 'O' of amazement as his eyes widened in excitement. He immediately started bouncing in his seat and pleading with his mother for some deep fried Oreos of his own. She quickly acquiesced.
We were not disappointed. Spanked with icing sugar and hot from the fryer, these cookies were outrageously good. The batter was light, and the cookie within warm and yielding, slightly gooey even. The taste is exactly what you'd expect: a mouthwatering combination of creamy Oreo sweetness blended with the richness imparted by hot oil.
After devouring our Oreos, I asked our server if he could share the recipe. He dutifully marched off to the kitchen to find out. "It's pretty simple," he explained when he returned, "just add enough 7 Up to Bisquick to create a thick pancake batter."
It took a while for us to finally get around to making the dish at home, then a little longer for us to find a recipe we really like. The one great benefit of our experimentation, however, is that we got to eat a lot of deep fried Oreos in the process. In the end, my favourite combination is a deep fried Oreo topped not with powdered sugar, but with cinnamon sugar drizzled with lemon juice. Acid is a tremendous flavour component in almost any dish, and it's wonderful here because it brightens the flavour and, in my opinion, makes the dish lighter still on the palate.
We hope that little boy or his mother come across this recipe one day. It would be great to see his expression when he bites into one of these.
Deep fried Oreos
We experimented with a couple of oil temperatures and with frozen cookies, but found that a slightly lower frying temperature and room temperature cookies created a fully cooked, light, crispy exterior and a warm, yielding cookie interior. This recipe yields enough batter for upwards of twenty cookies.
300g lemon lime soda
Oreos, room temperature
Set a baking rack on top of a cookie sheet lined with newspaper.
Add vegetable oil to a deep, heavy pot or dutch oven to a depth of 6cm (2.5 in.). Heat to 175C (350F) over medium high heat.
In a bowl, add soda to Bisquick and whisk until just combined. The batter should be thick.
When the oil reaches 175C, coat the Oreos in the batter and add slowly to the hot oil. When the first side is golden brown, approximately 45-60 seconds, gently flip using a slotted spoon or tongs. Cook for another 45-60 seconds, or until other side is also golden brown. Remove to the baking rack.
Serve immediately, sprinkled with powdered sugar, or cinnamon sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice.