Saturday, April 11, 2015

Classic Sugar Cookies sandwiched with cookie butter

Sugar Cookies - made dough April 4, 2015, recipe adapted from The Art and Soul of Baking by Cindy Mushet
By now, you know of my love for cookie butter. Trader Joe’s is fully aware of my slavish devotion as well. First they got me with their Speculoos cookies that are just like the Biscoff cookies that hooked me onto cookie butter in the first place. I had to put myself on a buy-only-once-every-6-months deal with the cookies. They were less successful hooking me in with their cookie butter ice cream. Which is just vanilla ice cream with cookie butter bits in them rather than honest-to-goodness cookie butter ice cream. No temptation there. But their smarty-pants product people, not satisfied with my enslavement to just that little jar of crack and a bi-annual purchase of Speculoos cookies, decided to do another product expansion. “Want a cookie, little girl?”
Or, to be more precise, want some cookie butter sandwiched between two crisp, buttery shortbread cookies so you’re never going to be little again? I happened upon these like a moth to a flame when I was wandering Trader Joe’s picking up snacks for a road trip to my sister’s. Like a homing pigeon coming to roost, my hand closed on the box almost involuntarily. Ah. Home. Fortunately I had the presence of mind (and waist) not to actually open the box until we were in the car on the road trip itself. I was driving so by necessity, I couldn’t huddle up with the box and polish off the entire contents by myself. My car mates tried it first, liked it, allotted me one and kept eating. When we got to our destination, said box was also shared with my sister and her fiancĂ©. I think I only had two out of the box, one during the drive and the other that I managed to snag before they were all gone.
Not caring that they saved me from myself, I decided to make my own version because I wanted more. I’d already made cookie butter sandwich cookies before so it wasn’t a new concept. I had several tried and true butter and sugar cookies to choose from but I decided to try out this new recipe for “classic sugar cookies”. I’m not good with cutout sugar cookies because I don’t have the patience or inclination to roll out sugar cookie dough, cut out cookie shapes and, depending on the dough, watch the shapes bake out because the cookies spread. But I had something more simple in mind so I decided this would be a safe recipe to try. I scooped the dough into small dough balls, patted them into small, thick discs, rolled half of them in vanilla sugar and froze them all overnight.

I baked them off the next day; the cookies spread slightly but still retained a good thickness. For sandwich cookies, you don’t want each half to be too thick anyway or the cookie gets unwieldy to eat. This was just right. Let them cool then spread a generous amount of cookie butter on the bottom of one half before sandwiching with another half. I loved these cookies. Love. The sugar cookies were soft and chewy but not fragile and they made a perfect sandwich cookie. The vanilla flavor was perfect with the cookie butter, showcasing it rather than competing with it. I’m not going to lie – while the Trader Joe’s shortbread cookies were good, I liked mine better.
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces) granulated sugar
2 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste, optional
2 1/4 cups (11 1/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
  1. Cream butter until smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. Add sugar and beat until blended, 1 to 2 minutes.
  2. Add egg yolks, vanilla and vanilla bean paste and beat just until blended. 
  3. Add flour and salt and beat just until combined
  4. Scoop into small dough balls and flatten slightly into thick, small discs. Roll half of the discs in granulated sugar.
  5. Chill discs in the refrigerator or freezer for several hours or overnight until firm.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and space discs evenly.
  7. Bake 10-12 minutes or until edges are light golden brown and are no longer wet or shiny in the middle.
  8. Cool completely on wire racks. Sandwich with cookie butter or nutella as desired, optional.

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