It snowed an inch in Portland yesterday. For those of you who live in areas where lots of snows is normal in the winter, one inch is probably a dusting to you; but out here, it shuts down the city. And that is what it did yesterday afternoon, today, and most likely, tomorrow. As a teacher, they ended school early yesterday, and cancelled school today and tomorrow. It was nice having a “day off” today, but I am actually quite bummed that I don’t have school tomorrow. December, as a teacher, is my second favorite month. (And in case you’re wondering, September is my favorite. I LOVE the beginning of the school year!) All the winter festivities, merriment, excitement, and joy that accompanies this month is contagious. And I just wanted one more day of it with the students before they go on their merry way to Christmas Break.
Anyway, because today was a snow day, I thought, what better way to spend the afternoon than baking? I was out of a few ingredients, so Eric and I trekked a mile to the grocery store with kids in tow. They had so much fun tromping around and kicking up the snow, not one of them complained that it was too far (like they usually do when we take walks). Grace even made up a song and sang it the whole way there–something about how she was snowboarding.
The cookies I was making was to take in to co-workers tomorrow, but since I have no school, I guess I’ll have to eat them all myself. Darn. The sugar cookie recipe comes from the book Cookie Craft and if you don’t have the book, I highly suggest you do buy it. It’s chalk-full of great advice on decorating sugar cookies, especially if you’re a newbie. I use this recipe every time I make decorated sugar cookies, and I used them in these sandwich cookies too.
What’s great about this recipe is you can make two different types of cookies with one dough–linzer cookies, where you sandwich your favorite jam, and chocolate sandwich cookies, where you sandwich a deep chocolate frosting. The cookies turn out so soft and pillowy, and you can have both your fruit and chocolate, if you’re one who can’t decide and need both, or if you’re one of those weird people who doesn’t like fruit and chocolate together (hello mom!).
In case you can’t see the two types of cookies, the Linzer Cookies are the three in the front and the Chocolate Sandwich Cookies are the two in the back. Sneaky, I know!
Dust both types of cookies with a bit of powdered sugar and you have a decadent cookie sandwich! They’ll be a hit at any gathering, even a gathering of one–which is me, since I can’t go to work tomorrow. Enjoy! xoxo
Linzer Cookies and Chocolate Sandwich Cookies
1 c unsalted butter, room temperature
1 c sugar
1 large egg
2 t pure vanilla extract
3 c flour
½ t salt
In a mixer with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down bowl. Add egg and vanilla and mix until combined. Slowly add the the flour, one cup at a time, and the salt. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure all ingredients are fully mixed in.
Divide the dough in half. Take one half and place between two sheets of parchment paper. Roll dough to ¼-inch thickness. (You can do this by placing the dough between two slats of wood of ¼-inch thickness, or use a rolling pin with adjustable thickness.) Place on a cookie sheet and put in the fridge for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Repeat with remaining dough.
When dough is fully chilled, (it should be stiff!) preheat oven to 350 degrees.
To make the Linzer Cookies: use a 2 ½-inch square cutter to cut out of dough. Cut a small heart out of the center of each square on half of the squares you cut out. (The square with the heart cut-out will be the top of the cookie.) Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 13-14 minutes. Place on a cooling rack to cool completely. Cut out as many squares as you like; just make sure you have pairs. With any remaining dough, scoop into a ball and reroll, then cut out again, until all dough is used.
Once the cookies are cool, using the underside of the full square cookie, add your favorite flavor of jam. Use a square cookie with the heart cut-out to place on top. Make sure that the undersides of the cookies are touching the jam. When all your sandwiches are completed, place on a cooling rack and dust with powdered sugar.
To make the Chocolate Sandwich Cookies: use a 2 ½-inch square cutter to cut out of dough. Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 13-14 minutes. Place on a cooling rack to cool completely. Cut out as many squares as you like; just make sure you have pairs. With any remaining dough, scoop into a ball and reroll, then cut out again, until all dough is used.
¼ c unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 c powdered sugar, sifted
3 T cocoa powder, sifted*
¼ t pure vanilla extract
In a bowl, combine all ingredients and mix until a paste forms. Spread between the undersides of two sugar cookies. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve. (You can double or triple this recipe, depending how many you’d like to make.)
*Try and find the best quality cocoa powder you can find. The deeper and richer the color, the deeper and richer the frosting. I love Scharffen Berger and Ghirardelli.
sugar cookie recipe from the book Cookie Craft