Faux-Oreos with Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Filling

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One thing I miss the most from when I used to live close to my sisters and my mom was the ability to always have a partner for a shopping outing or a lunch date. I knew I could ask them on the spot and I’d always have a partner in crime. I haven’t lived near my family for a while and I craved that familial contact.

Friendship has always been a hard thing for me. Growing up with depression and anxiety and the tendency to isolate, it was often difficult to keep and maintain friendships outside of my family. I moved to Santa Barbara almost three years ago not knowing anyone (except for Brian ;)) I made a few friends in my grad school program but it took me two years to establish a friendship that reminds me of how I feel with my family. I didn’t end up meaning to write a post about my friend Laura but this is what it has turned into. We live less than 400 meters away from each other. I feel comfortable texting her at the drop of a hat to come over for lunch or a baking expedition. She is one of the only people my dog Panza truly loves besides me and Brian (and my mom). I’m so thankful for you Laura.

Laura made these cookies (I helped a little). So one thing about Laura is that she loves, like is obsessed with Smitten Kitchen. She might be your biggest fan Deb Perelman. Laura had the idea to substitute cream cheese for the margarine or shortening in the original recipe and add vanilla bean. I have a surplus of vanilla beans sitting on my kitchen windowsill but at this moment, no actual vanilla extract. As Laura pointed out, the vanilla bean is reminiscent of the Oreo cookie crumbs that stick to the white filling after rusting around in the package on the way home from the grocery store.

Chocolate Sandwich Cookiesadapted from Smitten Kitchen

1/2 cup cocoa

1 1/4 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup sugar

1 stick butter

1 egg

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Beat sugar and butter in stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Add egg and keep beating.

Add all dry ingredients and mix till just combined.

Roll balls of dough and place on cookie sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes depending on size of cookie.

Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Filling – adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1 stick butter

4 ounces cream cheese

4 cups powdered sugar

seeds from 1 vanilla bean

Beat all ingredients together with hand mixer or stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment.

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