Recipe: Almond butter sandwich cookies
- 1/3 cup unsalted cultured butter store-bought unsalted butter, softened
- 2/3 cup raw almond butter
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
- 1/2 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon unsulfured molasses
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
Spiced Pear Filling (makes about 1 cup)
- 3 d'Anjou or Bartlett pears, peeled, quartered, cored, and sliced thinly
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- One 2-inch cinnamon stick
- 4 whole cloves
- 4 whole green cardamom pods
- 1 star anise pod
- 1/2 vanilla bean, split down the side
1 In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer, beat together the cultured butter and almond butter until well combined and creamy. Add the 1/2 cup granulated sugar and the brown sugar and continue to mix until fluffy.
2 Add the egg, molasses, and vanilla and beat just until combined. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and baking powder.
3 Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir to blend. If the dough seems crumbly, add 2 to 3 tablespoons of water a little at a time to bring it together. Form the dough into two equal-sized disks; wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or overnight.
4 In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan over low heat, combine the pears, sugar, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, star anise, vanilla bean, and 2 tablespoons water. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture begins to brown and turns syrupy, about 1 hour. Remove from the heat, remove the spices, and mash the pears with a potato masher until they resemble chunky applesauce.
5 Return the pan to the stove and continue to cook over medium-low heat until the mixture is soft and fairly smooth, with a thick texture, another 20 to 30 minutes. Set aside to cool.
6 Preheat the oven to 350°F.
7 If you've refrigerated the dough for several hours or overnight, remove from the refrigerator 15 minutes prior to rolling. Leaving one portion of the dough refrigerated, roll out the other portion on a lightly floured board to 1/4 inch thick. You may need to stop and gently push the edges of the dough toward the center with your fingertips. You will find the dough somewhat crumbly, rather than sticky.
8 Using a 2-inch round biscuit or cookie cutter, cut out the cookies. Using a spatula, transfer them to an ungreased baking sheet as you work. Gather up the scraps and reroll. The third round of scraps will probably need to be refrigerated before rerolling. Repeat with the other portion of dough, baking the cookies in batches. Sprinkle half the cookies with a bit of granulated sugar just before baking. The sugared cookies will be the tops of the sandwiches. Bake the cookies until brown and fragrant, rotating the pans halfway through, 6 to 7 minutes. Let cool completely on the sheet, then transfer to a platter.
9 When all the cookies are baked and cooled, assemble the sandwiches by placing 2 teaspoons of pear filling atop the unsugared cookies. Top each with a sugared cookie and serve. You can also make the cookies and pear filling up to 1 day in advance and assemble just before serving. Unfilled cookies can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for 3 to 4 days. Filled cookies should be kept covered and eaten the day they are made, or frozen for up to 2 weeks.
Makes 24 sandwich cookies.
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Excerpted from D.I.Y. Delicious by Vanessa Barrington Copyright © 2010 by Vanessa Barrington. Photo Copyright © 2010 by Sara Remington. Excerpted by permission of Chronicle Books. All rights reserved.