Tips: Two crisp, buttery cookies, gently flavored with
orange, surround a chocolate filling. Yum! These aren’t particularly
difficult to make, but they take time, and the cookies are shaped
in an unusual way. Once they’re completed, you can store them
airtight at cool room temperature for up to 5 days (place a sheet
of wax paper between layers of the cookies in the storage container);
the cookies also freeze well.
Nice on a cold afternoon with a cup of steaming tea, these would
be equally appropriate for a bakesale or springtime picnic.
Yield: About 30 sandwich cookies
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2-1/2 tsp. vanilla
- Grated zest 1/2 large orange
- 1 egg, graded “large”
- 2-1/4 cups sifted unbleached all-purpose flour
- Few grains of salt
- 9 ounces excellent-quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 2 tsp. solid vegetable shortening (such as Crisco)
To make the cookies, in large bowl, combine softened butter, sugar,
vanilla, and orange zest. With large spoon, cream together well
for a couple of minutes; mixture should be light and fluffy. Add
egg and beat in thoroughly. Add flour and salt and mix in until
well-combined. Chill dough for 30 to 60 minutes, or until it can
be handled. While dough chills, line baking sheets with aluminum
foil, shiny side up. Tear off a sheet of wax paper that’s
about the length of your cookie sheet, and have ready a plain custard
cup. Adjust rack to center position in oven; at least 15 minutes
before baking, preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Form small scoops of the dough into 1 inch balls (I have a 1 inch
diameter cookie scoop that works beautifully here, but it’s
not a necessity). Place 12 balls on each lined cookie sheet, allowing
space between each. When one sheet is full, place the sheet of wax
paper over the top. Press straight down through the wax paper on
each individual ball of cookie dough with the flat bottom of the
custard cup so that you have a flattish round of dough a generous
2 inches in diameter (you don’t have to be exact here). When
you’ve flattened all of the balls of dough on one cookie sheet,
slowly and gently try to peel off the wax paper. If it sticks, chill
the whole set-up for 5 to 10 minutes, until the wax paper can be
peeled from the cookie dough rounds easily. You can re-use the wax
paper on the next baking sheet, but if it becomes very crinkled
it’s a good idea to replace it with a fresh sheet (I have
to replace my wax paper after flattening every second sheet of the
cookie dough balls). You’ll want to chill the remaining dough
while you’re working to flatten or bake every couple of baking
sheets. If the edges of the dough crack a lot when you flatten the
balls, the dough is too cold; allow it to stand at room temperature
for 5 to 10 minutes, then try to flatten again.
Once you have a sheet with 12 flattened rounds of dough (make sure
the wax paper has been peeled off!), bake in preheated oven 10 to
11 minutes, turning back-to-front once about halfway through baking
time. Cookies won’t spread much, but the edges will take on
some color. You’re looking for a medium golden-brown color
around the cookie edges; when you see that, they’re done.
Remove from oven; allow cookies to stand for only 30 seconds or
so before removing to cooling racks with a broad-bladed metal spatula.
Cool cookies completely before sandwiching. If you haven’t
enough racks for all of the baked cookies or want to store them
briefly before sandwiching them, wait until the baked cookies have
cooled completely before storing in an airtight container with wax
paper between cookie layers. You’ll have 60 to 65 cookies.
For filling: In medium heatproof bowl, combine finely chopped chocolate
and vegetable shortening. Place over simmering water on low heat
(water should not touch bottom of bowl). Sir often until almost
melted. Remove from heat and hot water. Dry bottom and sides of
bowl and stir until chocolate is completely melted and smooth. (Alternatively,
combine chocolate and shortening in medium microwaveable bowl. Microwave
at 50% (medium) power for one minute; stir well. Continue to microwave
at 50% (medium) power for short intervals, stirring thoroughly after
each, just until melted and smooth.) While chocolate melts, lay
cookies out in pairs, upside down (for each pair, try to select
cookies that are very close in size); have ready two baking sheets
(at room temperature), each lined with aluminum foil.
Scrape chocolate mixture into a small bowl for easier handling.
Use a rounded teaspoon (not a measuring teaspoon) of the melted
chocolate mixture for each pair. Drop the melted chocolate onto
the flat bottom of one cookie, trying to keep it as round as you
can, and keeping it slightly away from the edges of the cookie.
Top with a second cookie so that both flat sides face inward. Press
down gently on top of the second cookie until the chocolate filling
is almost to the cookie edges. Place each completed sandwich on
a foil-lined baking sheet (they can be placed quite close together).
Repeat process for each pair of cookies, using all of themelted
chocolate filling. When one baking sheet fills up, chill briefly,
just until chocolate filling of cookies is set. If chocolate filling
cools and thickens too much, reheat at 50% (medium) power in microwave
for very brief interval to warm slightly.
When filling has set in all cookie sandwiches, store the sandwich
cookies in an airtight container at room temperature, placing wax
paper between the layers. Store at cool room temperature for up
to 5 days or freeze for longer storage.
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