Monday, February 6, 2012

Brown Sugar Sandwich Cookies

In case you haven’t been following me for long, I’m a registered dietitian. I graduated about two years ago and went through a somewhat tough time doubting if what I chose as a profession was suitable to me. I knew from my internship that I love seeing patients, I love food, and I love that immense sense of reward knowing that I was helping people in need, but sometimes it's hard to control where you can release those feel-good vibes.

I’ve already vented about my unhappiness before, but I recently landed a new job and I’m happy to say I love waking up to it. You know how there are jobs out there that eternally drain you as if someone pulled the plug from a swimming pool? The job slowly and painfully tugs at your insides, exhausting you from head to toe till you don’t have the energy to do anything else when you get home. That’s the kind of job I used to have. It’s kind of a haunting, sickening feeling at the pit of your stomach.

When I graduated, I was chosen by my classmates to speak at our ceremony. At my low point a few months ago, I retrieved the speech I reminded myself: Have passion in what you do. When you love what you do, time flies by, but it also gives you a great sense of satisfaction that makes your life easier and so much better (by the way, though I’m a dietitian, the recipes and food I blog here don’t necessarily reflect my diet nor what I recommend to clients. Buttered Up is a place for me to share, explore and showcase my passion for food and all things sweet).

Anyway, enough of my preachyness. I was browsing through Heidi’s blog for interesting cookies and stumbled upon these lovelies: brown sugar sandwich cookies. The initial game plan was to ditch the chocolate filling (ridiculous, I know) but when I nibbled on a cookie and realized they were better smeared with chocolate, I hopped on the chance to chop up some dark chocolate. 

These cookies, made with spelt flour and all-purpose flour aren’t sweet at all, they carry a hint of sweet butter and graininess and the poppy seeds give it an itty bitty crunch that despite sticking between your teeth, is actually quite fun and make them very special. I imagine these would make perfect gifts for your friends, seeing as how my colleagues swooned when I brought them into work. You can make them in any shape, but it's hard to say no to heart-shaped cookies, especially when Valentine's day coming up...hint hint! 

Brown Sugar Sandwich Cookies 
Adapted from Heidi of 101 Cookbooks 

I used a heart-shaped cookie cutter because it was either that, or a clover-shaped cookies. Since I was making these for a friend’s birthday, I vetoed the clover cutters. Feel free to use what ever cookie cutter you have, just make sure it’s about 1½ inches in size, or if you want small cookies, use smaller cutters which will yield (lucky you) more sandwich cookies. I also added a sprinkling of espresso powder to the filling to give the chocolate extra oomph.

Makes 2 dozen 1½ inch sandwich cookies

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup spelt flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon poppy seeds
6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup dememera sugar or dark brown sugar, packed
2 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2-3 tablespoons milk

1 tablespoon cane sugar (optional)
6 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon espresso powder 


1. Preheat oven to 350 -racks in the top 1/3 of the oven.In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and poppy seeds. Set aside. In a separate bowl, either by hand or with an electric mixer, beat the butter until it is fluffy and creamy. Add the sugar and mix some more, scraping the sides of the bowl once along the way. Mix in the egg yolks and vanilla extract, scraping the sides again if needed. Being careful not to over-mix, stir in the flour mixture by hand. If the dough is on the dry side stir in the milk as well.

2. Turn the dough out onto the counter-top, kneed it once or twice (just so it comes together) and form one large ball. Cut the dough into four quarters, then shape each piece into a ball. Flatten each of the four balls into 1/2-inch thick pancakes, and wrap each piece individually in plastic before chilling in the refrigerator for at least a half an hour.

3. Roll out the dough thin as can be on a lightly floured surface - wafer thin, about 1/8-inch, and stamp out using the cookie cutter. Arrange cookies 1-inch apart on prepared baking sheets before sprinkling with a small pinch of sugar. Bake for about eight minutes on a parchment-lined baking sheet or until the cookie edges are golden brown. Remove from oven and cool completely on a rack.

4. When you are ready to assemble the cookies, place the chocolate in a double boiler (or a bowl placed over a bit of simmering water) to melt. Mix in the espresso powder. Spread about 1/2 teaspoon of melted chocolate onto the center of the flat side of one cookie. Top with another cookie - matching flat side to flat side. Repeat with the remaining cookies, setting them aside to let the chocolate set.

Recipe here!

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