Monday, December 8, 2008

Butter Sandwich Cookies

This last weekend was the perfect time to start the cookie baking! I spent Sunday afternoon with my mother-in-law - she is a pro at sugar cookies with detailed decorations. I made my favorite: Butter Jam Sandwich Cookies. The only sad part is that you are essentially using 2 cookies to make one. So, make sure you roll these really thin - and watch the baking time. If you are able to get them thin enough, your baking time can be as short as 6 minutes. It's not a bad idea to have a test run with only a few cookies on the sheet. Also, I didn't take the time to rechill the dough everytime - and it was OK. If these were the only cookies on a plate - I'd take the time. However, they are going to be on a plate with about 10 other varieties - and they will still hold their own!

Sarah’s Butter Sandwich Cookies
3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons whole milk
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Parchment Paper
Assorted decorations (such as powdered sugar, icing, colored sugar crystals, and edible glitter)2/3 cup preserves (such as apricot, seedless raspberry, or seedless blackberry)

Whisk flour and salt in medium bowl to blend well. Using electric mixer, beat butter and 2/3 cup sugar in large bowl until fluffy. Beat in milk, lemon peel, and vanilla extract. Add flour mixture and beat until blended. Gather dough into ball; divide in half. Flatten into disks. Wrap in plastic and chill at least 2 hours. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled. Let soften slightly before rolling out.)

Roll out each dough disk between sheets of parchment (or waxed) paper to 14x11-inch rectangle, occasionally lifting parchment paper to smooth out wrinkles. Refrigerate dough on baking sheets, still between sheets of parchment paper, until cold and firm, about 30 minutes. Place 1 dough piece on work surface. Peel off top sheet of parchment paper. Press same parchment paper gently back onto dough. Turn dough over (still between parchment paper sheets). Peel off top sheet of parchment paper and discard.

Using 2 1/4-inch scalloped round cutter and with dough still on parchment paper bottom, cut out cookies. Using 1- to 1 1/4-inch scalloped round cutter, cut out center from half of cookies. Gather dough centers and excess dough around cutouts; shape excess dough into disk and chill. Slide parchment paper with cutouts onto baking sheet and chill. Repeat with remaining dough disk, cutting out rounds, cutting centers from half of rounds to make top rings, and gathering and chilling excess dough. Roll out excess dough between sheets of parchment paper, making more cookie bottoms and top rings. Repeat rolling and cutting until all of dough is used.

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Using metal spatula to lift cutouts from waxed paper, transfer cookie bottoms to 1 prepared sheet and top rings to second sheet, spacing slightly apart (cookies spread very little). Sprinkle some top rings with colored sugar crystals (or leave plain to decorate later). Bake cookies, 1 sheet at a time, until pale golden, about 8 minutes. Cool cookies on baking sheets 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to racks; cool completely.

Arrange cookie bottoms on work surface. Spread each with 1 teaspoon preserves. Sift powdered sugar over plain cookie rings or decorate with icing and sugar crystals or edible glitter as desired. Press 1 top ring onto each prepared cookie bottom. (Cookies can be made 3 days ahead. Store airtight between sheets of parchment paper in refrigerator.)

No comments: