I am going on an expedition; will you join me? Where, you ask? There and Back Again of course, a baker's tale (you'll get that if you're a nerd like me). We will encounter Buttermilk Doughnuts, Malted Crisp Tarts, and possibly the elusive Black and White Cookie. We will visit the land of Burnt Sugar Cake, which I hear overflows with a bounty of Carmel Bourbon Frosting, and we will do it all within one book... Baked Explorations.
Following on the heels of Baked's first successful cookbook Baked: New Frontiers In Baking, Baked Explorations offers a new array of classic and inventive treats. I got the book for my birthday and I am so stoked to try every recipe!
My exploration begins with the Salt and Pepper people who populate a valley through which a river of cream runs. On either side of the river stands tall mountains of chocolate cookie. The people are so happy there, and so are all who come to visit and feast off their land, which they offer generously to all who traverse the difficult road into their valley. Will you feast with me?
Salt-N-Pepper Sandwich Cookies
*adapted from Baked: Explorations
Makes about 36 cookie sandwiches
- 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp fleur de sel, plus more for garnishing
- 2 tsp white pepper ( I knew the white pepper we bought would come in handy)
- 1/4 cup cocoa power
- 3 sticks unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes, cool but not cold
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 3 ounces of dark chocolate, melted
Vanilla Filling Ingredients
- 5 ounces shortening, at room temp
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter, cut in 1-inch chunks, at room temp
- 3 1/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp light rum (optional)
1. Sift together the flour, salt, fleur de sel, white pepper and cocoa powder into a large bowl. Set aside.
2. With the paddle attachment of a standing mixer, beat the butter and sugars together on med. speed until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the egg yolks one at a time, making sure to incorporate after each addition. Add the vanilla and melted chocolate and beat until just incorporated. Add half of the dry ingredients and beat, then add the rest of the dry ingredients and beat until just incorporated.
3. Shape the dough into 2 large balls and plastic wrap them separately and tightly. Refrigerate the balls at least 3 hours.
4. Preheat the oven to 350 and line 2 baking sheets with silicon mats or parchment paper.
5. Unwrap one of the balls and split it in half. Place one half on a lightly floured surface and the other back in the fridge. Using you hands to warm and loosen up the dough, form the ball into a disc and roll the disc out into a 1/4 inch thick circle.
6. Using a 2-inch (or close to it) cookie cutter, cut out your cookies. Place the cookies on the baking sheet about an inch apart from each other and sprinkle the tops semi-generously with fleur de sel. Bake for 10-12 minutes, rotating the baking sheet half-way through the baking time. The tops of the cookies will look dry when they are finished, possibly a little cracked. Cool the cookies and repeat the process with the other dough balls.
PS: Excuse my photos, my camera broke so I have been using my phone. Hoping for a new camera soon!
Vanilla Filling Directions
1. In the bowl of a standing mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat the shortening and butter until smooth. Add the powdered sugar in 3 parts, mixing each addition until combined. Add the salt, vanilla and rum and beat until combined.
Cookie Assembly Directions
1. Using a small icing spatula, spread about a 1 1/2 tbsp on the bottom of each cookie sandwich, then top with another cookie. You can store the cookies at room temp in an airtight container for up to 3 days. This recipe will yield a lot of cookies so make sure you share!