What Is an Oreo Cookie's "Creme" Filling Made Of?

iStock.com/Tracey Patterson
iStock.com/Tracey Patterson

We know how much creme goes into Double-Stuf Oreos (1.86 times the normal amount), and how long to dunk an Oreo to reach the optimal milk-to-cookie ratio (about 3 seconds), but the cookie's recipe remains a mystery. Nabisco keeps the formula a secret, but there is one thing we know for certain: The "creme" in Oreo filling isn't made of cream at all.

According to Extra Crispy, the white stuff sandwiched at the center of Oreo cookies achieves its creamy goodness without any dairy. Though the exact recipe has never been revealed, you can deduce from the ingredients list on a package of Oreos that the creme is made from some combination of sugar, high fructose corn syrup, soy lecithin, artificial flavor, and palm and/or canola oil. Many commercial white frostings are made from basically the same ingredients. Because the filling doesn't contain any actual cream, the FDA requires that Oreos be labeled "creme"-filled instead of cream-filled.

So does the lack of cream or butter make the world's best-selling cookie accidentally vegan? It's complicated. While they've always been dairy-free, Oreos originally contained pig lard. The manufacturers got rid of the ingredient in 1997, making the cookies both kosher and vegetarian.

As for whether or not they're vegan, Nabisco's official statement on the matter is "Oreos have milk as cross-contact and therefore are not suitable for vegans." Oreos are made in factories that also process dairy, so even if there's no milk in the recipe, trace amounts may contaminate the cookies. That means anyone who can't—or doesn't want to—ingest dairy under any circumstances should avoid them, but if you're less strict with your veganism, there's a whole world of Oreos out there for you to try.

[h/t Extra Crispy]

Fuel Your Cold Brew Obsession With This Elegant, Efficient Coffee Maker

Brrrewer
Brrrewer

The sun is scorching, the days are endless, and the gentle clinking of ice cubes in a glass of cold brew coffee sounds like chimes at the gates of heaven itself.

A beverage so divine deserves to be created by a machine to match, right? Meet Brrrewer, a coffee maker that will provide you with the smoothest, sweetest, richest cold brew coffee you’ve ever had—and it’ll do it in just four hours.

Brrrewer uses the cold drip method to brew coffee in which coffee grounds are suspended between two microfilter membranes. Water is poured over the top membrane, then slowly filters through the coffee grounds and drips out from the bottom membrane. The top membrane ensures that the water is evenly distributed among the coffee grounds, and the bottom membrane allows only the water-turned-coffee to fall into the carafe below, without any of the gritty residue. (That gritty residue is often a result of the full immersion method, which is popular among those with French presses; basically, you just steep your coffee grounds in cold water for 12 to 24 hours, strain out the grounds, and drink.)

The carafe is encased in a second layer of glass, providing thermal insulation and keeping your coffee cold for longer than a regular glass bottle or pitcher. And you can cross “coffee filters” off your shopping list—the microfilter membranes do that job already.

The Italy-based team at Essense designed Brrrewer with elegance and minimalism in mind, so it won’t throw off the aesthetic groove of your kitchen. In fact, it might enhance it. Also, it’s manufactured from a combination of borosilicate glass and BPA-free Tritan plastic; in other words, it’s extra-sturdy and environmentally friendly.

Mixologist Francesco Corona, five-time Italian “Coffee in Good Spirits” champion and world championship finalist, worked with Essense to develop special cocktail recipes for Brrrewer, which you can find in the paperback book, available on its own for $17 or with Brrrewer (the book and coffee maker combo is $78). Order Brrrewer by itself for $67 here, or see other purchase options from Kickstarter.

If four hours is more than you’re willing to wait for cold brew, check out Ninja’s Hot & Cold Brewed System, which can make it in about 15 minutes.

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‘Budget Meal Planner’ Website Shows You How to Eat Well on $5 Per Day

DragonImages/iStock via Getty Images
DragonImages/iStock via Getty Images

Eating on a budget is often associated with instant ramen, fast food, and other meal options that offer a lot of convenience and not so much nutrition. But finding cheap, healthy ingredients at the grocery store is far from impossible: Many healthy staples—like brown rice, canned black beans, eggs, bananas, and sweet potatoes—can be purchased for less than $1 per serving. The one downside to buying fresh ingredients is that some planning is required to get them on the plate. You may still have to do the shopping and cooking yourself, but by using the website Budget Meal Planner, you won't have to worry about brainstorming new meal ideas each week.

According to Lifehacker, every meal plan on Budget Meal Planner can be made for less than $5 a day—which is roughly equivalent to the average food stamp allotment in the United States. Every meal plan includes grocery lists and recipes for seven days worth of breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. The plans on the site are broken down into different themes, including mushroom, Thai, Tex-Mex, potato, and Mediterranean. The recipes listed may be cheap and healthy, but they don't skimp on flavor. With Tex-Mex, you'll get chicken tacos, stuffed bell peppers, and chili. Choose Thai and enjoy Thai chicken cabbage wraps with peanut sauce and Thai yellow chicken curry.

The site includes meat-free options as well. Just select "vegetarian" beneath the "meal plans" tab for vegetarian versions of Budget Meal Planner's recipes lists. The vegetarian take on the Thai meal plan, for example, uses tofu instead of chicken and mushrooms instead of beef.

All of the meal plans on the website are free, but you can support the project by donating to the creator's Patreon. Patrons also have the opportunity to suggest new meal plan themes they'd like to see each week.

Budget Meal Planner publishes a new themed meal plan every Friday, and you can subscribe to the website's newsletter to stay updated. Here are some more helpful tips for planning your meals.

[h/t Lifehacker]

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