Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Good, Better, Best Cookies

Good, Better, Best Cookies - made May 29, 2017 from Dorie's Cookies by Dorie Greenspan
This was the name of the cookies in Dorie Greenspan’s cookie book but it doesn’t really tell you what this cookie is. In the original recipe, the “good” was represented by making just the cookies, “better” was to make the filling and serve these as sandwich cookies and “best” was to dip half the sandwich cookies in chocolate.
As you can see, I didn’t bother with the part about dipping into chocolate but I did get to the “better” stage (sort of) by making as sandwich cookies. Although I cheated and used straight cookie butter instead of making the filling in the recipe. C’mon, if you’re going to make a cookie butter sandwich cookie, I firmly believe the sandwich filling should be cookie butter in its unadulterated glory.
The cookies themselves were based on ground almonds. I didn’t have whole or slivered almonds to grind but I did have some almond meal I had bought for another recipe (which I haven’t made yet) so I figured it would do. In hindsight, it might’ve been better if I had ground up almonds as I was a little unsure of how much almond meal to use and it seemed my almond meal was finer than any almonds I would’ve ground in my food processor. But I made do and this seemed to turn out okay.
The dough was good to work with, which was just as well since this calls for rolling out to an even thickness so you can use a round cookie shaper to cut out uniformly-sized and shaped cookies. I did chill it briefly to make the dough easier to work with but I don’t think I rolled it out thinly enough as they still made for slightly thick cookies. I wasn’t sure whether these were supposed to be crisp like a shortbread or chewy. I suspect if I had rolled them more thinly and baked them longer, they might’ve gone into crisp territory but mine were a little thick and I never bake them “longer” so they were more chewy.
In general, I thought these were good, especially sandwiched with cookie butter. But I think I would’ve liked them better if I had ground the almonds myself instead of using almond meal. The almond meal was too uniformly fine whereas ground almonds would’ve had bits of almonds in the dough and that would’ve provided a nice texture contrast to the smooth cookie butter filling. Taste-wise, the cookies themselves didn’t seem to have much flavor and I’m not sure whether to blame the almond meal or not. Again, it would’ve been better to make the recipe as is and ground toasted almonds for both better texture and flavor.
My final caveat is my usual reminder about my picky taste buds which influence my assessment of a recipe. While I thought these were "okay", I did get at least one rave review of them at work so someone thought they were more than okay.
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sliced or slivered almonds, lightly toasted (or 4 ounces almond meal)
6 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces
1 tablespoon cold water
1 cold large egg yolk

1/2 cup Biscoff spread
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon milk or more as needed
  1. Cookies: Put the flour, almonds, sugar, cinnamon and salt in a food processor and pulse until the almonds are ground. Scatter the pieces of cold butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is worked in and the mixture looks like moist crumbs.
  2. Lightly beat the cold water into the egg yolk and, pulsing the machine, add the yolk in 3 additions. Using long pulses, process until the dough forms clumps and curds.
  3. Turn the dough onto the counter, divide in half, gather each piece into a ball and shape into a disk.
  4. Working with one piece of the dough at a time, roll the dough between pieces of parchment paper to a thickness of 1/8 inch. Slide the parchment-sandwiched dough onto a baking sheet and freeze for at least 1 hour or refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  5. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  6. Cut 2-inch circles into the chilled dough and evenly space on baking sheets. Bake the cookies for 11-13 minutes or until lightly browned on the bottom and top. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
  7. Filling: In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the Biscoff, butter and salt until smooth, about 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the confectioners' sugar. Add milk and continue beating until smooth and desired consistency is reached. 
  8. Turn half of the cookies bottom-side up and spread with filling. Sandwich with the other half of the cookies, bottom-side in and top side up. 

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