homemade oreos

In honour of National Oreo Day I thought it fitting to re-run this post from 2011. I originally wrote this post for the Sweet Potato Chronicles and it has proven to be one of their most popular stories of all time. I guess there is no denying the love for the Oreo. And what could be better than making your very own.

Home­made Oreos (Adapted from Retro Desserts, Wayne Brach­man via Smit­ten Kitchen)
(My com­ments in brackets!)

Makes 25 to 30 sand­wich cook­ies
For the choco­late wafers:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweet­ened Dutch process cocoa (Fry’s Cocoa Pow­der will work in Canada)
1 tea­spoon bak­ing soda
1/4 tea­spoon bak­ing pow­der
1/4 tea­spoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 table­spoons room-temperature, unsalted but­ter
1 large egg
For the fill­ing:
1/4 cup room-temperature, unsalted but­ter
1/4 cup veg­etable short­en­ing
2 cups sifted icing sugar
2 tea­spoons vanilla extract

  1. Set two racks in the mid­dle of the oven. Pre­heat to 375°F.
  2. In a food proces­sor, or bowl of an elec­tric mixer, thor­oughly mix the flour, cocoa, bak­ing soda and pow­der, salt, and sugar. While puls­ing, or on low speed, add the but­ter, and then the egg. Con­tinue pro­cess­ing or mix­ing until dough comes together in a mass.
  3. Take rounded tea­spoons of bat­ter and place on a parch­ment paper-lined bak­ing sheet approx­i­mately two inches apart. (I started off with loonie sized chunks of dough which was too big. It’s more like the size of a quar­ter. Remem­ber, you’re aim­ing for 50 to 60 of these indi­vid­ual wafers!) With moist­ened hands, slightly flat­ten the dough. Bake for 9 min­utes, rotat­ing once for even bak­ing. Set bak­ing sheets on a rack to cool.
  4. To make the cream, place but­ter and short­en­ing in a mix­ing bowl, and at low speed, grad­u­ally beat in the sugar and vanilla. Turn the mixer on high and beat for 2 to 3 min­utes until fill­ing is light and fluffy.
  5. To assem­ble the cook­ies, in a pas­try bag with a 1/2 inch, round tip, pipe teaspoon-size blobs of cream into the cen­ter of one cookie. Place another cookie, equal in size to the first, on top of the cream. Lightly press, to work the fill­ing evenly to the out­sides of the cookie. (I don’t think it’s entirely nec­es­sary to use a pas­try bag. You could just spoon some icing on and squeeze between two wafers.) Con­tinue this process until all the cook­ies have been sand­wiched with cream.


winter wait

I'm thrilled to be welcoming Annie McDonald-Johnston as a regular contributor. She'll be here once a month with her own original take on what's happening out there in the fields of food, interiors and fashion. Annie has a way of seeing right to the heart of something and then being able to put those thoughts into words. I've always enjoyed her insights. I hope you will too. - Emma There is something about the beginning of a new year that makes even me want to strip things down to their essence.

placefarm_bigzoom8I know I'm not alone: I have been surrounded - bombarded even - by exhortations to consider a January detox (you can read my thoughts on that here and everyone I know is refining and reducing their belongings, purging their closets and refrigerators, working towards mindful serenity both in their things and in their lives.


This is the one time of year that I pine (however briefly) for spare, white, Scandinavian surroundings; that I daydream about a wardrobe in feathery pale hues, like these and seriously consider a nude lip.

Of course these feelings never last long.

It's been so fiercely cold here (everywhere) that the promise of a starchy meal and a robust glass of wine are occasionally the only things that get me through the day; and since I prefer to confine myself to the indoors in bad weather, my moody, rococo surroundings, my red lipsticks and my black sweaters, are infinitely more comforting than those of my Scandinavian daydream.


Still, I am happy to give January its due, at least in theory - to wipe the slate clean, strip the table bare, and start fresh. I love basking in the reflected glow of others' enthusiastic abstemiousness: resolution or no, it's not the worst thing to be mindful of excess.

It's nice to have a little extra room in my closet and on my plate.



But don't think for a moment that I'm not counting the days until Mardi Gras -Annie.

Images via - Light Locations

holiday mantel by annie

There were so many times this year when I had to rely on the generous support of my friends to help me make this blog a reality. My photographer Kristin Sjaarda effortlessly picked up the scouting and shooting of all the Hello! Neighbour posts while  Stephanie over at Baba Souk dropped in twice a month with her beautifully curated "Inspired By" and "Shopping" posts. Today my dear neighbour Annie is picking up the blogging torch and telling you a little bit about her Christmas traditions. Three cheers for comrades and each one of you. Take it away, Annie!

So friends, here we are, a scant few days away from the big day in December.

Are you excited? Relieved? Overcome with dread? Some combination of the three?

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I am, thanks in large part to my children's anticipation, pretty excited. For much of my adult life, I had an ambivalent relationship with Christmas: much like the way I used to feel about marriage, I think that I was so worried about my own high expectations being dashed that I avoided the holidays and their attendant celebrations altogether.

Then, I found myself in a brand-new relationship and with a brand-new baby in relatively quick succession, and suddenly, it was the moment for a brand-new start - on all fronts. On our first Christmas with our daughter, my then-new-boyfriend gave me a diamond ring.

Eight years, one wedding, and a second child in, I love our little family's holiday traditions, and I am fiercely protective of our time together, just the four of us, on the 24th and 25th of December. We are doing things our own way, and everything about that pleases me to no end.

mantel pink45

And by everything I mean all of it: the tree that's comically too big. The fact that I always forget something crucial (last year, it was picking up the goose I ordered for Christmas dinner).

The scurrying into view of a mouse, which is beginning to feel inevitable, and my deeply horrified reaction - also, it seems, inevitable.

The hot cider and cold champagne, the singing of carols with our children and our friends, the parties, the sparkly shoes, the pretty dresses.

mantel pink23

The near-constant vacuuming.

The shortbread and the fruitcake. The cote du boeuf and its spectacular leftovers. Recently, a trifle.

And these past couple of years, what I hope will be a new tradition: a day spent with Emma and Kristin, putting together a holiday mantel (or two or three) and photographing it for you people and your viewing pleasure. This year, I was lucky enough to have it all go down in my house, so what you see here is more or less what we will be living with for the duration of the holidays.

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Which, like every other aspect of my family's Christmas celebrations, pleases me to no end.


mercury glass ball and candle holder, crystal tea light holders: West Elm
gold and green glass vintage ornaments: Goodwill
pink vintage ornaments, small antlers: Mrs. Huizenga
cranberry glass vases, brass deer: Hawkeyes
pink silk and green satin ribbon: Mokuba
Mongolian lamb and silk pillows: West Elm
large white vase on the carpet: Sweet Pea florists