Homemade Funfetti Sandwich Cookies

I have to say, I am glad summer is almost over. It has been so crazy hot here in Chicago, it was really hard to do anything outdoors.  With the end of summer, of course, comes the kids going back to school.  My daughter Sammie was excited to start kindergarten (okay, excited to ride the bus) and my son Jack, just started 2nd grade.  Jack is not a big fan of hot lunch, probably because he is so darn picky.  Since he won’t eat most of what I make, he sure isn’t going to eat cafeteria food.  So, Jack brings the same plain old turkey sandwich (no cheese, can this really be my son?) everyday, a bag of chips and a dessert. When I saw these cookies on Pink Parsley, I knew it would be a fun dessert that he would love and maybe for a second, know that I was thinking of him as he ate it.

The dough is like the usual sugar cookie recipe, but the addition of cake flour makes these cookies a bit softer.  The dough is pretty sticky, so you’ll have to allow at least one half hour of refrigeration before scooping and baking the cookies.  Once the cookies cool, you make a delicious butter cream that you can either spread on with a knife or pipe on.  Personally, I find piping to be much easier and it’s prettier too. When Jack got home from school, he couldn’t wait until tomorrow. He just had to try a cookie now. I think I counted a dozen Mmmms before I stopped counting.  And, I can’t forget my Sammie. She loved them too, especially the pink frosting.  Since she is in kindergarten, we get to have lunch together everyday, usually Rice-A-Roni at her request.  Well, besides her company, at least now I have dessert to look forward to.

Homemade Funfetti Sandwich Cookies

Yield: I got 48 cookies, 24 sandwiches

The cookie:

2 sticks (1 cup) butter, softened to room temperature

1 1/4 cup sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 Tbsp melted butter

1 egg + 1 egg yolk

2 cups cake flour

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup colored sprinkles

In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle, cream the butter and the sugar on medium until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes.  Add the vanilla, melted butter, whole egg and yolk. Mix until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl with a spatula as necessary.

Combine the cake flour, all-purpose flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.  Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, mixing on low until just combined.  Fold in the sprinkles with a spatula.

Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375F.  Using a small cookie scoop, drop the dough onto parchment-lined cookie sheets, spacing them 2 inches apart to allow for spreading. Bake 10-12 minutes (rotating the pans halfway through) until they are just starting to brown on the bottom and are barely firm on top.  Cool the cookies 5-10 minutes on the baking sheet, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Source: Slightly adapted from Pink Parsley, originally from Yammy’s Noshery

The frosting:

1 1/4 sticks (10 Tbsp) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted   I didn’t sift and it was fine

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 Tbsp heavy cream

1/3 cup colored sprinkles  I omitted and chose to color the frosting pink instead

Food coloring  optional   I used Americolor Deep Pink

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the butter until creamy, about 2 minutes.  Add the sugar and beat on low until just combined and then increase the speed to medium for about 2 minutes.  Add the vanilla and heavy cream.  Beat on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes.  Stir in the sprinkles if using and/or the food coloring.

To assemble the cookies, match pairs based on size and shape before frosting.  Pipe or spread icing onto one half, then gently but firmly close the cookie.  Press lightly to spread the icing to the edges so it lo0ks pretty.  Store in an airtight container.

Source: Pink Parsley, originally from Cooks Illustrated.  Frosting color and piping with a star tip inspired by Gingerbread Bagel

The Treats Truck Sugar Dots

I live in a Chicago suburb, but I don’t get to the city much.  So, unfortunately, I haven’t had a chance to sample some of the gourmet fare that food trucks are now offering.  Of course, I am most interested in the trucks that sell cupcakes, bars, cookies, really any baked goods.  I came across The Treats Truck Baking Book and I was instantly drawn to their slogan “Not too fancy, Always Delicious” because that’s how I like to think I bake.  They sell the treats that we all grew up with, but probably a little better.  (Sorry mom! :D)  Homemade chocolate chip cookies, cupcakes baked into ice cream cones, frosted sugar cookies, brownies…these are all comfort foods.  You see these treats and they instantly make you happy.  That is a big reason I love baking.  If I had a food truck, this would be it.

If you haven’t noticed yet, we love frosted cookies in my house.  Oh, and let’s not forget the sprinkles.  So, I knew that the Sugar Dots, one of the Treats Truck’s signature cookies, would be a perfect choice.  Usually I try to steer away from rolled cookies, just because they take a lot of time, which I don’t have.  But, looking at the picture of these sugar dots, I thought they would be worth the effort.  The dough was easy to put together and it rolled pretty easily with a bit of flour from time to time.  I used a shot glass (Classy, I knowOpen-mouth smile ) to cut them into circles because somehow with all the cookie cutters I have, I do not own a small round one.  So, my cookies were a bit smaller, about the size of a silver dollar.  But, that’s okay because I got more cookies with more frosting.  Never a bad thing!  The frosting is a basic buttercream, spread with an offset spatula, and decorated with sprinkles before the frosting sets.  I have to say, these cookies are crazy delicious. The sweet, creamy buttercream is a perfect complement to the buttery, tender, melt in your mouth cookie.  And, these two-biters are so cute!  Are they worth the time and effort?  The answer is easy as I take in Jack and Sammie’s Mmmms and their smiles through frosting covered lips.  Red heart

I had to make a rainbow for Sammie.

The Treats Truck Sugar Dots

Yield:  1.5 to 3 dozen cookies, depending on the size you make them. (I made mine small. and probably got more like 6 dozen)

Cookies

3 cups flour

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

1 cup sugar

1 egg, slightly beaten

3 tablespoons heavy cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix and set aside.

Use a mixer to cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy Add the egg and mix well.

In a measuring cup, combine the heavy cream and vanilla.

Mix the flour mixture into the butter-sugar mixture in three parts, alternating with the cream and vanilla mixture, starting and ending with the flour.

Remove the dough from the bowl, form it into a block, and wrap it in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

With a rolling pin, roll out the dough to ¼ inch thick.  I floured the table, the top of the dough and the rolling pin. Using a cookie cutter (or shot glass)  cut out the cookies and place them 1 inch apart on a greased or parchment paper–lined baking sheet.  They don’t spread much so I was able to get 25 small cookies/sheet.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until very lightly golden at the edges.

Allow the cookies to cool completely. Frost with buttercream using an offset spatula. If decorating with sprinkles, do so immediately after frosting each cookie or they won’t stick.  Let them sit out for at least 30 minutes to set.  I would pack them between wax paper to prevent from sticking and ruining the frosting.

Buttercream

Yield: 2 cups ( original recipe made 4 cups…way too much frosting)

1/2 stick of butter softened

3 cups sifted powdered sugar– to get out the lumps

1/4 cup whole milk

3/4 tsp vanilla

In your mixer bowl, cream the butter.  Add 1/2 of the powder sugar, mix well. Add the rest of the powdered sugar, mix well.  Add the milk and vanilla.  Mix until smooth and creamy.  Stick the frosting in the fridge for 20 to 30 minutes to firm up a bit before using.

Note: The buttercream recipe is already halved.

Source: The Treats Truck:Cookies, Brownies, and Goodies Galore!

Madeleine Cookies with Vanilla Bean Buttercream

A few years ago, I was at Williams Sonoma and I picked up a madeleine pan.  I’m really not sure why, as I’ve never had a madeleine and the pan has been sitting in my cabinet for at least 3 years, unused.  I have a terrible habit of doing that- buying all kinds of crazy baking pans and one use kitchen gadgets, I just had to have, but then don’t use.  I came across a recipe for madeleines with vanilla bean buttercream frosting and I decided it was about time I finally use that pan.  Now I am sad that it took so long, because I discovered that madeleines are delicious!  They look really time-consuming and impressive.  But, the batter is really easy to make and then you just spoon it into these molds.  What you get is a buttery cake, that has a slight crust to the outside and a tender inside, in the cutest shell shape.  If that isn’t delicious enough, you then spread it with vanilla bean buttercream.  I just love to see those black specks in contrast to the white frosting.  There is just something about it that makes me happy.  😀

Madeleine Cookies with Vanilla Bean Buttercream

Yield: 48 madeleines (I got 36)

4 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups powdered sugar

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup butter, melted and cooled

Optional: I added 1/2 of a vanilla bean scraped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease and flour a twelve well, 3-inch madeleine mold and set aside. (I used Pam Baking with flour)

In a large bowl combine eggs and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer on high speed for 4 minutes. Gradually beat in powdered sugar, scraping side of bowl occasionally. Beat about 5 minutes or until mixture is thick and satiny.  Remove the bowl from the mixer stand.

In a small bowl stir together flour and baking powder. Sift about one-fourth of the flour mixture over egg mixture; fold in gently. Repeat, folding in remaining flour mixture by fourths. Gently stir in melted butter. Spoon batter into prepared molds, filling each mold about three-fourths full.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are golden and tops spring back when lightly touched. Cool in molds on wire racks for 1 minute. Using a knife, loosen edges of cookies from molds. Invert cookies onto racks; cool. Frost with Vanilla Bean Buttercream.

Vanilla Bean Buttercream:

1/4 of a vanilla bean, scraped

1/2 cup butter, softened

3 cups powdered sugar

3 – 4 tablespoons milk

Scrape out seeds from vanilla bean with the tip of a small sharp knife. In a large bowl combine vanilla seeds and butter. Beat with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating well. Beat in milk to make of spreading consistency.

Source: Better Homes and Gardens

Helpful Hints:

  • Store the cookies at room temperature for up to 3 days- in an airtight container, with wax paper between layers
  • They can be frozen up to 3 months
  • The buttercream can be stored in the fridge up to 1 week, or in the freezer for 3 months.

Cream Wafers

Okay, so I know Christmas is over. But, I have one last Christmas cookie to share because it is my absolute favorite.  After fulfilling everyone else’s cookie requests, I just didn’t have a chance to make these cream wafers until the last minute on Christmas Eve.  These are cookies from my childhood, the cookies that I made with my mom in preparation for Christmas.  The recipe comes from the super fun 1963 Betty Crocker’s Cooky Book.  Yep, going old school. 😀 I brought some to my mother-in-law’s house for Christmas and they loved them.  But, I was kind of surprised that none of them had ever seen them before.  The wafer part of the cookie reminds me of sugared pie crust.   Kind of like my mom used to make with pie crust scraps, sprinkled with sugar and baked until crisp. Then, they are filled with a sweet, pastel colored buttercream frosting.  Okay, so maybe it is too late for Christmas cookies.  But you can change the shape and the color of the filling to suit any holiday.  I think hearts with pink frosting would be really cute for Valentine’s Day.  If you squish the frosting out a touch on the sides, you could even roll them in sprinkles.  Am I trying too hard to justify making these cookies after Christmas?  Maybe…but these are way too good to be designated Christmas only cookies! 😀

Cream Wafers

1 cup butter ( I used softened)

1/3 cup whipping cream (35% butterfat)

2 cups all purpose flour (Gold Medal recommended)

granulated sugar for coating

Measure flour by dipping method (dip cup into flour, pull it up with heaping flour, level off with a spatula).  Mix butter, cream and flour thoroughly in a mixer bowl. Chill 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375°F.  Roll dough to 1/8″ thick on a lightly floured surface.  Cut into 1 1/2″ rounds (or another shape you like).  Transfer to a wax paper heavily sprinkled with sugar, turning to coat both sides very well.  Place on an ungreased sheet- I used parchment paper.  Prick in 4 places with a fork. Bake 7 to 9 minutes, or until they start to puff and barely brown on the bottoms.  Sandwich two cookies together with the filling.

Frosting

1/4 cup soft butter

3/4 cup sifted powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla

food coloring if desired

Blend the soft butter, powdered sugar and vanilla in a mixer bowl until well combined. Add tint if desired.  I made my cookies on the small side, so I needed more frosting.  I suggest making 1 and 1/2 recipes of frosting.

Source:  Betty Crocker’s Cooky Book

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