Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Baking new life into the original Oreo

Confession: I didn’t grow up on Oreo cookies. Oatmeal and raisin cookies, yes. Key lime pie, definitely, and chocolate chip cookies. But Oreos? Those skinny little chocolate sandwiches with a sort-of crème filling? Those I discovered as an adult.

Oreos reached the age of 101 in March. Kraft, which owns Nabisco, claims it sells 25-billion Oreos a year, just about all over the world. If you buy them in Japan you’ll get green tea filling; in Indonesia, you’ll get blueberry; and in Argentina, you’ll have a combination of banana and dulce de leche.

In South Africa, it’s chocolate, or plain old sort-of crème — unless you drop by Heidi Dodd’s stand on ­Sundays at the market at Arts on Main in the Maboneng district.

Dodd bakes the real thing — a sandwich of two slightly chewy chocolate biscuits made with cocoa and sugar and a real buttercream filling. They’re three times as tall as the original, and rather better. There’s a big difference between buttercream (Dodd) and hydrogenated vegetable fat (Nabisco) — although hydrogenated vegetable fat is an improvement over the lard the iconic cookies used to be made with.

But it’s not Oreos that Dodd is best known for. It’s macaroons, in a variety of flavours ranging from passion fruit to Campari and orange, from lavender and lemon-lime to coffee. The pistachio is brilliant, and the rose tastes like, well, roses.

Dodd is a “dessert person” who loves to bake. An American from Northfield, Minnesota, she honed her skills at an intensive five-month pastry course at the Prue Leith Chefs Academy in Centurion and then had to work out what to do with them. The answer was macaroons and ­markets.

Since then Dodd has expanded her repertoire. Red velvet cookies with white chocolate chips, for example; pink, blue or yellow smiley-face cookies; a cookie that tastes like milk tart … and Oreos.

She’s just made batches for a ­wedding, and macaroons in the shape of Mickey Mouse’s head for a children’s party.

“People are really nostalgic for things from their childhood, like I am,” she says. But “there’s always demand for macaroons”.

Find her at the Arts on Main market in Fox Street, City and Suburban, on Sundays, on her website at, or email her at [email protected]

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Barbara Ludman
Guest Author

Related stories


If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here


Subscribers only

R350 social relief grant not enough to live on

Nearly half of the population in South Africa — one of the most unequal countries in the world — is considered chronically poor.

More top stories

R350 social relief grant not enough to live on

Nearly half of the population in South Africa — one of the most unequal countries in the world — is considered chronically poor.

US fashion contaminates Africa’s water

Untreated effluent from textile factories in in Lesotho, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mauritius and Madagascar pours into rivers, contaminating the water

Deep seabed mining a threat to Africa’s coral reefs

The deep oceans are a fragile final frontier, largely unknown and untouched but mining companies and governments — other than those in Africa — are eying its mineral riches

Komodo dragon faces extinction

The world’s largest monitor lizard has moved up the red list for threatened species, with fewer than 4 000 of the species left

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…