One of the favorite sweets at Bayou Bakery is chef David Guas’s “Dat-O,” an oversize, house-made take on an Oreo that has been on the menu since the Louisiana-style cafe opened. We asked Guas to create a Halloween riff on the sandwich cookie, perfect for parties of all ages or for doling out on the big night.
There’s really no trick to this Halloween treat, which can be made up to four days in advance and sealed at room temperature in an airtight container. To create a “Dat-O-Lantern,” Guas uses a pumpkin-shaped cookie cutter, which you can find in the seasonal section of many markets and gourmet shops. Pro tip: If assembling the cookies gets messy at the end, try creating a makeshift pastry bag with a Ziploc (just spoon in the orange filling and then snip off one corner), and pipe the sweet stuff along the borders and into the center before gently topping the frosting with a second cookie.
Yields 15 sandwich cookies, depending on the size of your cutter.
Make the cookie dough:
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1½ cups sugar
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1) Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
2) In a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar together using the paddle attachment on medium speed. Lower speed and add egg. Sift cocoa powder, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mix until just combined. Remove from mixer bowl and continue mixing by hand.
3) Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate, about 45 minutes to an hour.
4) On a floured work surface, roll out the dough until it’s about a quarter of an inch thick. Use a pumpkin-shaped or other Halloween-themed cookie cutter to punch out shapes.
5) Using a metal spatula, transfer the cookies to a parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving about two inches between cookies. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the cookies are slightly flattened and are thin and crispy. [Guas uses a convection oven; another type may require longer cooking time.]
Make the cream filling:
4 tablespoons butter, softened to room temperature
¼ cup Crisco vegetable shortening
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped and pod discarded
2 cups powdered sugar
8 to 10 drops orange food coloring
Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, cream butter and shortening. Add vanilla extract and scraped vanilla seeds. Sift the powdered sugar, then add to the bowl and combine. Add food coloring until the hue is pumpkin orange, and stir to combine.
To assemble, spread cream filling on the underside of one cookie so that it’s about half an inch thick (roughly three tablespoons of filling, depending on the size of the cookie). Sandwich it with another, pressing gently down until filling comes to the edges of the cookie.