These cookies make it into the Christmas cookie rotation every holiday season. Over the years, I’ve been playing with the recipe, making small adjustments here and there. I really like the way the cookies turn out with this version – tender, not too sweet and speckled with vanilla. They make the perfect housing for the rich and silky bittersweet chocolate ganache filling.
Makes 4-5 dozen 1 ½-inch sandwich cookies
Preparation time: 1 hour 30 minutes, plus resting time for dough and setting time for ganache
2 cups all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon table salt
7 ounces (1 ¾ sticks) butter
½ cup vanilla sugar (if you don’t have vanilla sugar, use ½ cup plain granulated sugar and add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract in with the eggs)
1 large egg, plus one yolk, lightly beaten
6 ounces bittersweet (60%) chocolate, chopped fine
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon butter, softened
- Prepare cookie dough: Combine the flour and salt together in a bowl. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until lightened in color and texture, about 3 minutes. Gradually beat in the eggs, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Gently stir in the flour mixture just until batter is well combined. Divide dough into two sections, wrap in wax paper, and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, up to 2 days
- Roll out and bake cookies: Preheat oven to 350°F. Take first section of dough out of fridge and let it sit on the counter for 5 minutes or so, just long enough to make it more workable. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough until it is 1/8-inch thick. With a 1 ½-inch round cookie cutter, cut out circles from the dough and transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone liner. Bake until edges of cookies just begin to take on a golden color, 10-12 minutes. You can gather up the scraps, re-chill the dough and roll it out again. Try to get as many rounds out of the dough each time though, because the cookies tend to bubble up when the dough is rolled out repeatedly. Repeat process with second section of dough. Allow cookies to cool on the sheet for 2 minutes and then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Prepare ganache: While cookies are baking, put chocolate in a small mixing bowl. In a small saucepan, bring the cream just to a boil and pour over the chocolate. Let stand for 5 minutes or so, until the chocolate is at least 90% melted. Add the butter and stir to combine ingredients into a smooth and pudding-like consistency. Let stand 30 minutes to 1 hour at room temperature, until ganache has set enough that it holds its own shape. Spoon the ganache into a pastry bag fitted with a ¼-inch plain tip.
- Assemble: Turn over half of the cooled cookies so that their bottom surfaces are face-up. Squeeze about a teaspoon of ganache onto these cookies. Use the remaining, unturned cookies to place on top of the ganache, completing the sandwich. (If you don’t have a pastry bag, you can use two small spoons to distribute a dollop of ganache onto the cookies.)
- Allow cookies to stand at room temperature until ganache has set, about 1 hour. (Or, if you are in a hurry, you can chill them in the refrigerator briefly.)