Gourmet Shortbread Sandwich Cookies

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Gourmet Shortbread Sandwich Cookies

Cheryl Reinagel adapted this shortbread cookie recipe from a December issue of "Chocolatier Magazine." She said "it's an elegant, melt-in-your-mouth cookie, and a favorite during the holiday season!"

1 1/2 cups whole almonds, toasted at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes

1 cup powdered sugar

1/2 cup sour cream

2 cups flour

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/2 lb. butter, softened

1 teaspoon brandy

Pinch of salt

2 teaspoons brandy

1/4 lb. cold butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

4 oz. milk chocolate, finely chopped

Topping

4 oz. milk chocolate, chopped

1/2 cup sliced almonds

Combine 1 cup toasted almonds and 1/4 of the first powdered sugar in food processor and pulse until almonds are finely ground. Do not over process. In medium bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. In large mixing bowl, cream softened butter and remaining 3/4 cup of the first powdered sugar with electric mixer. Scrape sides if necessary. Beat in 2 teaspoons brandy. At low speed, gradually add flour mixture, scraping sides if necessary. Beat in ground almonds, scraping sides if necessary. Divide dough into quarters. Shape each piece into a 4 inch flattened circle. Wrap each piece in waxed paper and refrigerate 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place one piece of dough between two large sheets of waxed paper. With rolling pin, roll dough to 1/8 inch thickness. Remove top sheet of waxed paper and lay it loosely over top of dough. Turn dough over and peel off other piece of waxed paper. Using a 2 inch round cutter, cut out as many cookies as possible from the dough.

Carefully transfer cookies to ungreased baking sheets, spacing 1 1/2 inch apart. Gather scraps and flatten into a disc. Wrap dough in waxed paper and refrigerate until firm. Re-roll scraps only one more time to make more cookies. Repeat steps with remaining pieces of dough. Bake cookies about 13 minutes. Switch positions of baking sheets halfway through baking for even browning. Cool cookies on baking sheets on wire racks 2 minutes. With metal spatula, transfer cookies to wire racks and cool completely. For chocolate filling, melt first 4 oz. chocolate and whisk in sour cream. Set aside to cool slightly. For almond filling, combine remaining toasted almonds and 1/2 cup powdered sugar in food processor and process as with other almonds. Add butter cubes and 1 teaspoon brandy and process until smooth, scraping sides as needed. To assemble cookies, spread 1 teaspoon chocolate filling on bottom of one cookie. Spread 1 teaspoon almond filling on bottom of another cookie. Press cookies together so that fillings touch. Repeat with other cookies. Melt remaining chocolate. Drizzle cookies in zigzag pattern with some of the chocolate. Dip sliced almonds halfway in remaining chocolate and place on top of each cookie. Let cookies stand at room temperature 1 hour to set chocolate. Store cookies in airtight container up to 3 days. Makes 2 dozen cookies.

Macaroons

"This recipe looks too easy for a wonderful tasting cookie," Reinagel said. "No eggs whites to beat, and guaranteed to be a hit! These macaroons are easy and wonderful! I suggest you double the batch and try dipping one-half of a macaroon in chocolate, then set on a wire rack until chocolate dries."

2 (7 oz.) packages flaked coconut

1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk

1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract

2 teaspoons vanilla

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto aluminum foil-lined and generously greased cookie sheets. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned around edges. Immediately remove from cookie sheets. Cookies will stick if allowed to cool. Store, loosely covered, at room temperature. Makes about 4 dozen.

Chocolate Mexican Wedding Cakes

Reinagel said this chocolate version of a holiday season favorite sure to please.

3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar

3/4 cup butter, softened

3 (1 oz.) squares unsweetened baking chocolate, melted

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup chopped nuts

1/2 teaspoon salt

Powdered sugar

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine brown sugar and butter in large mixing bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping often, for 2 minutes. Add melted chocolate and vanilla. Continue beating until well-mixed, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low. Add flour, nuts and salt. Beat, scraping often, until well-mixed, about 2 minutes. Shape rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into 1 inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until set. Let stand 5 minutes. Carefully remove from cookie sheets. Cool 5 minutes. Roll in or sprinkle with powdered sugar while still warm and again when cool. Makes 5 dozen.

Mom's Date Pinwheel Cookies

Reinagel said fond memories of her mother come to mind when she makes these cookies. Her mom only made these during the Christmas season.

Cookie Dough:

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup white sugar

1 cup shortening

3 eggs, well-beaten

6 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

Filling:

2 cups chopped dates

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup nuts

1/2 cup water

Divide dough into thirds. Roll thin. Boil filling ingredients until thick. Spread filling on dough. Roll dough up lengthwise. Refrigerate overnight. Slice and bake at 350 degrees.

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