Saturday, December 10, 2011

Nutty Sandwich Cookies

This cookie recipe is in the December issue of The Food Network Magazine. I picked it up yesterday while shopping at of all places- CVS- where I was buying lights for our Christmas tree. As soon as I saw the photo of these cookies I couldn't resist trying them!

After a busy afternoon yesterday going to the tree farm to get our tree (I took some great photos of Lily helping us- can't wait to share them with you!) and a trip to West Chester University this morning to pick up my son Chad, I didn't taste test one of these until a few minutes ago, mid afternoon. The filling is a homemade buttercream, some we had leftover from a cake my daughter Lisa decorated a few days ago. The next time I whip up a batch I will try Nutella ( a chocolate- hazelnut spread) in the middle, which I think would be equally delicious.

The cookie has a noticeable cinnamon flavor, and a light texture, reminding me of a wedding cake cookie- the kind we have all had in ball or crescent shape, rolled in powdered sugar. I used pecans- and if you don't have a food processor to grind up the ingredients it will be necessary to find something (maybe a coffee grinder, or beating them with a rolling pin in a plastic bag?) that can do the same. The food processor does a beautiful job- so if you can borrow one, I highly recommend it for these cookies.

These are not the typical cookie but I found them truly yummy, somewhat sweet, especially with the buttercream, and very satisfying. They would make a lovely and unique gift for someone special! I read a review that suggested making the cookies smaller- using less than a heaping teaspoon to create the balls, so that the cookies are bite-sized. I will try that next time, as mine were larger than the recipe called for. They are a tender cookie, so bite-size would probably work best.

Nutty Sandwich Cookies

* 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
* 1/4 cup granulated sugar
* 1 cup all-purpose flour
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
* Coarse, raw, sanding or brown sugar, for topping (optional) ( I used brown sugar)
* 3/4 cup pistachios, almonds, pecans, peanuts or hazelnuts, plus more for topping (optional)
* Jam, lemon curd, chocolate-hazelnut spread, melted chocolate or frosting, for filling

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Pulse the nuts, confectioners' sugar and granulated sugar in a food processor until finely ground. Add the flour, cinnamon and salt and pulse until combined. Add the butter and pulse to form a soft dough.

Roll heaping teaspoonfuls of dough into balls and arrange 1 1/2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Lightly flatten the balls with your fingers. Sprinkle with coarse, raw, sanding or brown sugar. Press a whole nut into the top of some of the cookies or sprinkle with chopped nuts.

Bake the cookies until lightly golden, about 15 minutes. Let cool 3 minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer to racks to cool completely. Spread your choice of filling on the flat side of a cookie; sandwich with another cookie. Repeat with the remaining cookies.

Buttercream Frosting

1/2 cup margarine or butter (I love to use Land O Lakes margarine)
1/2 cup shortening
1 tsp vanilla
4 cups (1 lb) confectioners sugar ( I always use name brand for this, typically Domino)
water or milk to get it to the desired consistency

Cream butter and shortening with mixer, add vanilla. Gradually mix in confectioners sugar, also adding water or milk to get it to a spreadable consistency.

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