Monday, May 12, 2014

Chocolate Cherry Sandwich Cookies

These Chocolate Cherry Sandwich Cookies, made by filling tender chocolate butter cookies with a lightly sweet Swiss meringue cherry buttercream, are oh so good and satisfying.

Just one cookie slowly savored with a cup of tea is for me, the perfect small-sized treat.

To make them I used my favorite chocolate cookie recipe from Julie Richardson of Baker & Spice and made one slight change. I eliminated the espresso powder from the original recipe since I wanted the flavor of the cherry buttercream to be the star and and not compete with other flavors.

To cherry-up the buttercream I used almond extract and high quality cherry preserves. Whenever I make a cherry flavored dessert I add a touch of almond extract since the flavors are so similar and work very well together.

Here's the recipe:

Chocolate Cherry Sandwich Cookies
(makes about 4 dozen 2-inch sandwich cookies)

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 eggs
1 1/3 cups Dutch process Cocoa, sifted
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

Cream together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed for 5 minutes or until light, scraping down the bowl occasionally as needed.

Add the vanilla and the eggs, one at a time, blending lightly between additions.

Add the cocoa on low speed until combined.

Blend the flour and salt and add it to the butter mixture until just combined.Wrap the dough and let it chill for at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

After chilling, the dough might need to warm at room temperature for a bit so that it can be easily rolled.

Roll the dough on a lightly floured work area to about 1/4 inch thick. Cut the dough into desired shapes and place on parchment lined cookie sheets.
The cookies before baking.

Bake for about 6 minutes or until the cookies are no longer shiny but still soft in the middle.

The cookies after baking.

Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack and allow them to cool completely before filling them with the cherry buttercream.

Cherry Buttercream
6 large egg whites
3/4  cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
2 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon almond extract
2/3 cup cherry preserves
1/8 teaspoon of fine sea salt

Place the whites in a clean mixing bowl. Whisk in sugar and cream of tartar.

Place bowl over a double boiler on medium heat, stir frequently until the mixture is very hot (120 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit).

Move to mixer and whip whites on high for 2 to 3 minutes; turn down to medium low until cool (use the bowl as your guide).

In a separate bowl with a wooden spoon, stir butter to soften.

With mixer on medium/high speed, add the butter one tablespoon at a time, adding the next tablespoon just as the previous one is blended in. Once all the butter incorporated, add in vanilla, almond extract, salt and preserves and whip on high speed until fluffy. 

The brand of Cherry Preserves that I used.
The finished buttercream.

Note: Don't get impatient with the last step of whipping the buttercream. It may take a while for the buttercream to come together but be patient and it will. At first the mixture might look curdled but don't let this scare you. Just keep whipping.

To Assemble:
Transfer the buttercream to a piping bag fitted with a large open tip. Or, use a disposable piping bag and just cut the opening.

Pair up the cookies and flip one of the cookies upside down.

On the upside down cookie, pipe on a dollop of cherry buttercream and top with the other cookie. Store the cookies in the refrigerator in a sealed containter.
Filling the cookies.

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