Sammy the Seal

Cookie sandwiches, strawberry cream fillings

In delicious on Thursday, 9 June, 2011 at 9:55
cookie mountain

Too close! Didn't mean for an ECU, just a MCU, oops! I apologize to your eyes.

I didn’t feel like doing this after having had so much trouble (read: lots of time and effort) making these yesterday, but what the hell. I’ll try to keep it short, though, I don’t want to spend so much more time. Compared to stuff I’ve made before, this was rather arduous. It occupied 2-3 hours of my night. But I figure, if I’m going to put this much into it, I’ll be damned if I’m not going to make a note of it. That way, it’ll seem somehow worth it.

So, there were two kinds of cookies and two kinds of filling (frosting, essentially). Shortbread and lady fingers, and strawberry buttercream and strawberry cream cheese. I can’t remember how I came up with this, it may well have been because I noticed had some leftover frozen strawberries from a while back, and a block of cream cheese as well, and wanted to make something of them. The cookies were likely an add-on. I already had the idea for these, but thanks to Evil Shenanigans for helping me out nonetheless. Coincidentally and fortuitously, that was posted this about a month ago. (Note: I’m not much of a cooky person when baking. It’s sort of like chocolate– I don’t mind it, but I don’t go out of my way for it either.) Recipes follow in chronological order of preparation.

FILLING
Icing: I find frozen strawberries useful for icing, as when they are thawed, they are mushy, which allows for good blending. Using either fresh or frozen, it’s still best to mince, so you don’t have chunks of berry in the cream, and also because you release more of the juices by chopping more finely. I wouldn’t completely drain the juice, as it will help thin the frostings, especially the cream cheese. Besides, if it gets too thin, you can always stiffen it with cornstarch or powdered sugar. Also, I would suggest making the filling at 24-48 before the cookies, so the flavor has time to steep/infuse. Note: the following recipes make a LOT of filling, so unless you’re going to heap filling into your cookies, you should halve them if you don’t intend to make a second batch, (I made two batches of the shortbread, one of the lady fingers, I still had some cream cheese left over), or else save the excess for cake, cupcakes, etc.

Buttercream filling:
5 T butter, room temperature (thanks goodness for warm, late spring air)
2 heaping T frozen strawberry, thawed, slightly drained, and minced
1 – 1.25 c powdered sugar (it’s always better to start with less, as you can stiffen the consistency if need be)
1/2 t vanilla

Cream butter and strawberry until berries are well-blended. Add sugar and vanilla, mix until smooth. This is essentially a recipe for buttercream frosting, so it should look and feel so when it’s done. If too thin, add a little more powdered sugar (or corn starch, if you’re trying to limit sweetness) at a time until the consistency is right. Store covered in fridge.

Cream cheese filling:
8 oz. cream cheese, thawed (I wouldn’t necessarily say room temperature though)
4 T butter, room temperature
1.5 c powdered sugar
1 t vanilla
2 heaping T frozen strawberry, thawed, slightly drained, and minced

Whip the cream cheese until it’s fluffy, then whip in the butter and cream the two. Then add the sugar, vanilla, and strawberry. Because the butter and cream cheese are room temperature, it might not seem thick enough, but resist the temptation to add too much thickening agent, as you’ll be storing both kinds of frosting in the fridge, which will firm them up. Store covered in fridge.

COOKIES

Shortbread cookies:
1 1/3 c flour
1/3 c cornstarch
1/2 t baking powder
10 T butter, room temperature
2/3 c powdered sugar
1 t vanilla

(Fun. This was almost like making pie dough.) Line two baking sheets (you’ll need two, it won’t all fit on one) with parchment paper, set aside. Heat oven to 350°. Combine all ingredients at once. The recipe I referenced once again suggested a stand mixer, with a flat beater. Since I have neither, I used my hands (like with pie dough), though next time I’d probably use my hand mixer to get it started (and cover it to keep powder from flying about) then finish up kneading by hand. Make sure the dough is completely smooth and clumps together. Spread the dough out on a floured surface, using the palms of your hands to spread and knead the dough out before breaking out the rolling pin. Roll the dough about 1/8 – 1/4 thick. Hopefully you have a cookie cutter, or else you’ll have to improvise like I did, (I won’t say what I used but I thought it was ingenious and it worked rather well.) and ideally you have a pastry/dough scraper (awfully handy) for removing the cut-outs from the counter and placing on the baking sheets. The rest is just repetition: cutting out cookies, collecting the scraps, kneading those together, re-rolling, until you’re out of dough. Don’t worry about the spacing on the baking sheet, as they won’t expand much, so you can squeeze more onto a sheet if you need to. Bake until the edges start to turn slightly golden brown, about 8-10 minutes. Cool cookies on pan, let cool completely before adding filling. I actually made one of the batches a day early, which helped because the next day I had one more batch, plus lady fingers.

Lady fingers (thanks for the help, allrecipes):
4 eggs, separated
2/3 c sugar
7/8 c flour
1/2 t baking powder

For this you’ll need two bowls and a pastry bag with round tip. Sift together flour and baking powder onto a sheet of wax paper, then set aside. In one bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form (sort of like whipped cream, if you’ve ever made it). Be careful not to overdo it, as this takes only 1-2 minutes. Add 2 T of the sugar and continue beating until mixture is stiff and glossy/shiny, another 1-2 minutes. Again, be careful not to over-beat. Then, in the other bowl, beat the egg yolks and remaining sugar until the mixture is a thick, pale yellow. (You might want to refrigerate the whites while beating the yolks, as mine got a litter watery waiting for the yolks to be done, or you could beat them more, though I didn’t try either, I only thought of these options later.) Fold half of the egg white mixture into the egg yolk mixture, then fold in the flour, and finally the rest of the egg white mixture, folding until flour is incorporated completely. At this point I would suggest covering and refrigerating the batter, as the batter, as it stands now, will be too warm, making it thinner and harder to pipe, and the batter will spread out a lot (fine if you prefer wide cookies). Cooling it down keeps all the ingredients together, keeps the batter relatively thick, which makes piping a lot easier. Lay down some parchment paper on a couple of baking sheets. After cooling, transfer batter to a pastry bag (that was a fun experience) for piping. These cookies will expand more than the shortbread, but not too much, about an inch in between each should be sufficient. Bake for 8 minutes at 400°. Keep a close eye on these, as they will cook quickly. One of my batches I didn’t take out immediately, and was a healthy golden brown around the edges. Not ugly, but it contrasted with the light, pale color of the rest of the cookie. Woulda looked better uniformly colored. When cooling, I removed the paper (with cookie) onto the counter, and let it cool a few minutes before using the scraper to un-stick the fingers from the paper. I don’t know if I did it right or not, but the surface of the lady fingers was slightly sticky.

Finally, adding the filling is fairly straightforward, just make sure all the cookies are completely cooled first. (A warm cookie will melt the fillings and they’ll become runny.) Just drop some cream on the bottom of a cookie, mate it with the bottom of another cookie. With the buttercream, let it sit out for a little while to soften up to a spreadable consistency, as it will be rather firm from being in the fridge. For the cream cheese, leave in the fridge until the moment you use it, as it will melt quicker, due to the cream cheese. I didn’t have any, but if you have an extra pastry or decorating bag through which to pipe the filling onto the cookies, I’d suggest that. Probably would’ve been easier and less time-consuming, not to mention prettier. That way you can put it dead center of each cookie, then press two together to evenly spread out the filling. When done, place all the sandwiches on a baking sheet, then wrap in plastic or foil, then cool in the fridge before transferring to another container. When serving, get them out 5-10 minutes in advance, so the filling has a little time to warm up.

I felt the appearance was rather, um, “homemade”, but people seemed to appreciate the slapdash appearance, even mistaking it for “pretty”. I mean, it certainly wasn’t neat and tidy. I would have tried for better photos, but after having been at this for about three hours total, I was a bit frazzled and lacking in patience for properly aesthetic photography.

buttercream cookie sandwiches
Strawberry buttercream filled
Cream cheese sandwich cookiesStrawberry cream cheese filling. I must have fooled with the settings on my camera, the cookie should be the color or the previous photo.
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  1. [...] wanted to do something interesting. However, rather than think up something new, I thought of something simple I’ve already made, then I added some of the one-pound bag of pecans I bought in [...]

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