I’m not sure if you follow me on Twitter or Facebook? (do follow the link in the sidebar if you’re interested). If you do, you might be aware of ‘cookie-gate’, with Tesco own brand Cookies and Cream Biscuits. If not, here’s a brief summery of the last nine months (it’s a very long and involved story so I won’t bore you with every detail)!
Oreos, the iconic American cream-filled cookies are vegan in the US, but for some bizarre reason they contain milk in the UK. However, Oreos seem to be everywhere, everyone eats them and my girls feel left out. Occasionally we’ll splash out on a ridiculously expensive imported US pack from somewhere like Urban Outfitters (oddly), but this is a very rare occurrence! So I was over the moon when I found the own brand Cookies and Cream biscuits in Tesco just before Christmas last year and couldn’t wait for us to taste test them.
Within seconds both girls had itchy mouths, tight throats and swelling lips. We administered antihistamine and everything was ok, but clearly there was something amiss with the ingredients in the cookies.
I contacted Tesco, returned the biscuits to store and an investigation took place. Well, they said an investigation took place. I was told that there were no nuts in the factory, and that milk didn’t produce that kind of allergic reaction (in their opinion milk allergy involves a stomach based reaction). That seemed the end of the matter for them, we hadn’t needed a doctor so I didn’t have any documents to provide which they wanted for any escalation. Here’s a copy of the letter they sent…
Then months later in early summer I came across allergy forums where others had had reactions to the same biscuits, and most bizarrely had different responses from Tesco, first claiming that there were nuts used in the factory, then that milk was used on the same line but they cleaned thoroughly between, and finally last week the biscuits (all batches) were recalled because they do in fact contain milk!
We were shocked after being so clearly fobbed off to start with, and that they now admit the biscuits do contain milk which was undeclared (in fact denied). We’ve gone back to them for at least an explanation. I just hope that nobody had a serious reaction in the past months whilst the biscuits remained on sale.
So, to make up for ‘cookie-gate’, I have revamped and improved my Oreo recipe. Who needs shop bought when these are so so much nicer!
(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, vegetarian, vegan)
Makes approx. 24 sandwich biscuits
3/4 cup hard vegetable fat
1 cup of caster sugar
2 tsps vanilla extract
1/2 cup dairy-free milk
1and 1/2 cups plain flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 tsps cornflour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/4 cup vegetable fat
1/4 cup dairy-free spread
2 and 3/4 cups icing sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade
- Cream together the vegetable fat and sugar. When fluffy, add the dairy-free milk and vanilla. Mix well. If it looks like it’s split add a couple of tbsp of flour to the mix
- Sift in the remaining ingredients and bring together to a firm-ish dough.
- Place half on a sheet of baking paper, place more paper on top and roll out to 1/4-1/2cm thickness. Cut out rounds with a cookie cutter and remove the ‘in between bits’. Transfer to a lined baking sheet.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes. Cool on the tray for five minutes before moving to a wire rack.
- Repeat with remaining mixture until it’s all be used up.
- Meanwhile, make the filling. Whisk together the vegetable fat and dairy-free spread. Add the vanilla.
- Add the icing sugar in 1/2 cup measurements, until fully incorporated. It may look this breadcrumbs, so squeeze together to form a stiff paste.
- Roll out large grape size balls of filling and squish between two biscuits.