Simple Dessert: Shortbread Sandwich Cookie Recipe
If there is any holiday that centers exclusively around chocolate, Valentine's Day has to be it. Within a few short weeks of the holidays ending, I found the grocery store holiday section re-stocked with all things Valentine, especially chocolate.
As much as I love Valentine's Day, I can't say I truly love chocolate (sounds blasphemous, right?). I certainly do not dislike chocolate, but I wouldn't describe myself as a "chocoholic" either. However, there are two chocolates I will never refuse if you put them in front of me: Baci and Ferrero Rocher. When these two confections are in front of me, all my willpower flies out the window. So I guess I do love chocolate just a little.
When I bake though, chocolate-based desserts are not the first things I think about making. I enjoy chocolate desserts well enough, but what I really adore baking and eating are fruit-based desserts. So for this Valentine's Day, I decided to try my hand at making these Shortbread Sandwich Cookies with raspberry jam filling. Cookies are always a wonderfully versatile dessert to serve because they are portable and easy to eat. They are perfect for parties, picnics, school lunches, and outings.
These cookies look identical to the well-known Linzer cookie, except Linzer cookies have nuts and cinnamon in the dough. These cookies are made with a basic shortbread dough that is lightly scented with vanilla extract. The butter in the dough gives the shortbread a rich flavor and a crisp texture that pairs well with many flavors.
For these cookies, a thin layer of sweet-tart raspberry jam is sandwiched between two rounds of the buttery rich shortbread. The cutout top of each cookie is sprinkled with confectioner's sugar for a touch of extra elegance and festivity. If you or the special someone in your life are a chocolate lover, these cookies are equally scrumptious with Nutella used in place of the fruit jam.
Although there are a few extra steps to making these cookies (compared to making drop cookies, for example), these Shortbread Sandwich Cookies are not difficult to make and the ingredients needed are basic staples that most of us have in our pantry. These are also a fun cookie to make with kids with a little help from mom or dad. I've never met a kid who doesn't like to make cut out cookies!
If you do not like raspberry jam, you could also use strawberry, blackberry, or apricot jam with equally delicious results. Regardless of what jam you use, one thing will remain the same: these cookies will make a lovely impression and are a delicious alternative to a chocolate dessert for your Valentine's Day celebration.
Shortbread Sandwich Cookies Recipe
Recipe adapted from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook by Ina Garten. Special equipment: Fluted cutters (eg. round, square, star or heart).
- 3 sticks (3/4 pound) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the work surface & rolling pin
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cups raspberry preserves (or fruit jam of your choice)
- Confectioner's sugar for dusting the cutout cookies
- Line 2-3 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- Place the cream and sugar in a bowl. Using an electric mixer with the paddle attached, cream the butter and granulated sugar together until combined. Add the vanilla extract and mix to combine.
- Sift the flour and salt together into the butter-sugar mixture. Mix over low speed until the dough comes together, scraping down the sides of the work bowl with a spatula if necessary. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and shape it into a flat disk. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for 30-45 minutes.
- Unwrap it and roll the disk out on a lightly floured work surface to 1/4-inch thickness. Using a floured 2-inch or 2 3/4-inch fluted round cutter (or shape of your choice), cut as many rounds/shapes from the shortbread dough as you can. Flour the cutter periodically so that it does not stick to the cookie dough. You can re-roll the scraps of dough up to two times to get more cookies. Note: You may have to re-chill the dough for a few minutes if it gets too soft to roll out and cut.Be sure to keep the work surface and rolling pin lightly dusted with flour to prevent sticking. Keep all the cut cookie rounds on the floured work surface while you finish cutting out all the cookies.
- Count the rounds and divide them in half. Use a smaller (about 1-inch) fluted round cutter (or shape of your choice) to cut a circle/shape in the center of half of the cookie rounds. Place all of the cookie rounds on the parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing them about 1 inch apart. Chill them on the baking sheets in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Transfer chilled cookies to the oven and bake them for 20-25 minutes, until the edges are a light golden brown. Rotate the baking sheets halfway through the baking time to ensure even browning. Check the cookies often while they are baking to make sure they are not over-browning. When the cookies are finished baking, remove them from the oven and allow them to cool on the baking sheets for 5-10 minutes before transferring them to a baking rack to cool completely. You can bake the cookies a day in advance before assembling them. Store them in an airtight container. Keep the solid cookies separate from the cutout cookies since the cutout cookies are slightly more fragile.
- Assemble the cookies:Spread a thin layer (about 1 teaspoon) of the jam onto the flat side of all the solid cookies and set these aside. Lay out all the cutout cookies on a piece of parchment paper and dust them lightly with the confectioner's sugar. Place the cutout rounds on top of the cookies with the jam and press together very lightly. Store the cookies at room temperature in a single layer covered lightly with plastic wrap. Serve within 1-2 days of making.
What is your favorite Valentine's Day treat?
Flavia Scalzitti is a food blogger based in Houston, Texas. She is originally from Maryland and comes from an Italian family. Flavia grew up around people who used food and cooking as a way to keep their traditions alive, celebrate their Italian culture, express their love for their family, and nourish the people they cooked for with the freshest and best quality ingredients. She is entirely self-taught and is also passionate about baking. In addition to cooking and baking, Flavia enjoys learning about and practicing photography, reading, traveling, practicing yoga, and spending time with her husband, Peter. She blogs at Flavia's Flavors: http://www.flaviasflavors.com