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A few projects ago, I adapted my graham cracker crust for a chocolate cheesecake using Oreos. Instead of graham crackers, I just crushed up whole Oreos, reducing the butter by what I calculated to be an equivalent volume to the creme they contained. It was extremely successful: the Oreo creme helped it stay in one piece and caramelized just enough to give it a little bite.

Since then I've been racking my brain trying to think of a way to bring that success into my regular graham cracker crust, which tastes good, but always crumbles more than I'd like. Is there any simple additive or procedure that might have the same effect as the processed sugar paste in Oreos?

Graham cracker crust ingredients:

  • 9 graham crackers, crushed
  • 7 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Oreo crust ingredients:

  • 19 original Oreos, crushed
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted

Procedure for both versions: Stir together, press into a 9" glass pie dish, bake at 350° for 7 minutes, pour filling into warm crust, bake again according to specific pie directions, chill.

Things I've tried:

  • More butter: Makes it greasy.
  • Less butter: Makes it crumbly.
  • Brown sugar: Makes it soft and adds an undesirable flavor.

Of course similar questions have been answered before, but I argue this isn't a duplicate because it's framed around adapting a particular successful technique.

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  • I wonder if the crispness is due to how the sugar in the Oreo filling cooks into caramel (hitting one of the ‘hard’ states of candy making). You might experiment with cooking time and temperature, or starting by cooking the butter and sugar into a syrup first.
    – Joe
    Apr 28, 2023 at 12:32
  • Have you tried simply increasing the amount of sugar?
    – FuzzyChef
    Apr 29, 2023 at 21:06
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    Have you tried substituting vegetable shortening for some of the butter? The shortening, unlike butter, has no water content. I imagine this is also why it's often preferred for pastry crusts.
    – The Photon
    Apr 29, 2023 at 22:04
  • Here's a video with a recipe and technique for "oreo" style cookies which looks promising: youtube.com/watch?v=-pAOuR8s03Q
    – beausmith
    May 3, 2023 at 19:40
  • @beausmith What specific technique from the video are you recommending as applied to the question? May 3, 2023 at 22:14

2 Answers 2

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I suggest you aim to maximize the extent to which the sugar is dissolved by using powdered icing sugar in a sugar syrup to soak the ground up biscuits. This should give a more cohesive base, and might be somewhat closer to what's going on in Oreos.

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To make your graham crackers less crumbly and have more snap, remove water moisture from your recipe and increase the sugar.

Replace the butter with a pure fat that is solid at room temperature (saturated fat):

  • In the Bon Appetit video, Claire browns the butter to "cook the water out of the butter" to render a result that "has that nice snap".
  • In the filling she used a mixture of coconut oil and ghee, which are also low hydration and solid at room temperature.

Additional things to try:

  • Use powdered sugar or granulated white sugar vs brown sugar as brown sugar had more hydration from the molasses that is added.
  • Add some baking powder for additional levaning.
  • Quickly mix the recipe, shape, and place crackers in the freezer before baking. Freezing can the crackers evaporate some moisture and helps the cracker not to spread as it cooks.
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