Quick & Easy
By Beverly Barbour
Two cookies are better than one
Have you ever noticed when you glue two cookies together with icing or a filling of any kind, the cookies more than double in appeal (and not just to guys)? Maybe we secretly would all like to reach for two cookies, but confine ourselves to just one, so if that one happens to be wedded to a soul mate, we will double-dip every time.
Chocolate Macaroons with Chocolate or Caramel Filling
Light and slightly chewy, with a rich filling, these are amazingly easy to prepare. Use a pastry bag, if you have one, to help make perfectly formed rounds. Fillings must be made a day ahead. Do not use unsweetened chocolate.
3/4 cup whole milk
Bring milk and butter to simmer in heavy saucepan. Remove from heat. Add chocolate; whisk until melted and smooth. Cool, cover and refrigerate until thick and cold. Keep at least one day, and up to three days. Enough for one batch of cookies.
These fillings can be used with sugar cookies, shortbread, peanut butter cookies or almost any other cookie that can be made to bake flat.
2 large egg yolks
Place yolks in a bowl. Bring four tablespoons butter and cream to simmer in small sauce pan. Gradually whisk hot cream mixture into yolks. Stir sugar and 6 tablespoons of water in heavy saucepan over low heat until sugar is dissolved. Increase heat and boil without stirring until syrup is a deep amber color, occasionally brushing down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush and swirling pan so caramel will color evenly--about 10 minutes. Slowly whisk hot caramel into yolk mixture, then whisk until smooth. Transfer caramel mixture to small bowl; let stand until no longer warm to touch (caramel will become too thick if it cools too long), about one hour. Whisk in remaining butter. Cover and chill until thick and cold. Keeps at least one day and up to three days.
1 pound box confectioners sugar
Preheat oven to 400 F. Line large baking sheets with parchment paper. Blend sugar and almonds in food processor until nuts are ground to powder, scraping sides of bowl often, about 8 minutes. Add cocoa and blend one minute more. With electric mixer, beat egg whites in large bowl until stiff but not dry. Fold nut mixture into whites in four additions, making a thick batter. Spoon half of batter into a pastry bag fitted with 1/2-inch round tip. Pipe batter onto each prepared sheet in 12 walnut sized rounds, spacing mounds apart (cookies will spread a little). Bake one sheet at a time, until firm to touch in center, dry and cracked on top, about 11 minutes. Slide parchment with cookies onto work surface; cool cookies. Repeat, using clean parchment for each batch. Assembling and serving: Arrange 1 macaroon, flat side up, on work surface. Drop 1 scant tablespoon filling onto cookie. Top with second macaroon, flat side down. Press lightly to adhere, making sandwich. Chill at least two hours, up to one day. Serve cold.
Raspberry Cream Sandwich Cookies
This raspberry filling is delicious, but should you be in a hurry, add raspberry jelly or jam to the melted white chocolate and save the fresh berries to decorate the cookie platters.
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 350 F. Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside. Beat butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar with mixer until pale and fluffy. Add egg, extract and vanilla seeds; mix until smooth. Reduce speed to low. Gradually add in flour mixture. Scoop batter using a 1-inch ice cream scoop; space 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake cookies 4 minutes. Remove from oven; gently tap baking sheets on counter to flatten cookies. Return to oven, switching positions of sheets; bake until cookies are just set, 4 to 6 minutes more. Let cool on parchment on wire racks.
Raspberry cream filling:
6 ounces fresh raspberries (1 1/2 cups)
Puree raspberries and remaining two teaspoons of sugar in a food processor. Pour mixture through a fine sieve into a small bowl, pressing to extract juice; discard seeds. Set aside. Melt chocolate and whisk in cream in a slow stream. Whisk in reserved raspberry mixture. Refrigerate 30 minutes. Spread one heaping teaspoon raspberry cream on the undersides of half of the cookies. Sandwich with remaining cookies. Cookies can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container up to two days. Makes 3 dozen cookies.
Strawberry Shortbread Sandwiches
2 sticks (1 cup) butter
Preheat oven to 325 F. Butter baking sheets. Beat butter, granulated sugar and vanilla until smooth. Add flour and salt, and beat until dough comes together in a ball. Transfer to a lightly floured surface. Divide dough in half. With lightly floured rolling pin, roll each portion to about 1/8-inch thick. With floured round or star shaped cutter, cut out cookies. Place cookies 1-inch apart. Bake until edges are just beginning to brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Gather excess dough, reroll, cut and bake more cookies. Filling: Cover flat side of half of the cookies with jam. Cover with another cookie, top side up. Sprinkle with confectioners sugar if desired. Makes about 20 cookies.