MAPLE CREAM SANDWICH COOKIES

Alyssa and I took our relationship to the next level and decided to share a winter CSA. I know, I know - things are getting serious. Lest you think a winter CSA would be filled with nothing but potatoes, some sad apples and more potatoes, it should be known that it is AWESOME. So far we've received varieties of squash, cooking and eating greens, maple syrup, popcorn, happy apples and yes, potatoes. It weighs like, 20 pounds, and getting it home is a fun game to play to test your muscular strength, but it's so worth it.

Our last box contained a surprise - maple cream. "The fuck?" we asked, to no one in particular. Maybe we directed it at the maple cream, but while it was a surprising addition, it wasn't sentient, so it didn't answer back.

ANYWAY, we tasted it and then we died because it was DELICIOUS. "What are we going to do with this?" we asked, again to no one in particular. Still inanimate, the maple cream refused to divulge its secrets to us, so we were left to fend for ourselves.

Wanting to use it for the blog, we thought about putting it on ice cream, on toast, on an attractive man's face and so on. Those ideas, while great and things you should totally do (ask permission from the man first, though), they aren't really recipes. As a sucker for anything cute and filled with frosting, we decided to make maple sandwich cookies, and praise the maple gods that we did.

These cookies are stupid easy to make. I promise! The dough takes five minutes to put together, and then while it chills in the fridge for a while you can start on the filling, or you can go online and start looking for that man whose face you're going to lick maple cream off of. We got the cookie dough recipe from Deb at smitten kitchen, subbing cinnamon for the original nutmeg, and we got the frosting recipe by throwing things into my stand mixer and hoping for the best. The cookies are crisp, the filling is fluffy and together they taste like biting into a maple tree, but way more enjoyable.

With a mug of hot tea or coffee, or perhaps something stronger, these little sandwiches are perfect for those cold days when it's sleeting outside and that slush puddle on 111th and Broadway is filling up again (if anyone lives in Morningside Heights PLEASE tell me you know what I'm talking about). Make them for your friends, your family and most importantly yourself.

Oh, and if you're wondering what the hell Bruce Springsteen is doing in a recipe for maple cream sandwich cookies on a food and cat blog, you can thank Alyssa - the love for him runs deep there. Maybe he'll want some cookies backstage?

Love and meows, Rina


MAPLE CREAM SANDWICH COOKIES

Yield: 20-25 sandwiches

Active Cook Time: 2h 35m (includes 2 hours in the fridge and cookie cooling)

Category: Cookies, Sweet

Source: cookie dough very slightly tweaked from smitten kitchen

Special Equipment: stand/hand mixer, cookie cutter(s), piping bag + tip (optional, see note below)

dough:

1 cup/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

½ cup maple syrup (grade B is ideal)

1 large egg yolk

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt (or 1 ¼ teaspoon flaky salt)

filling:

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

¾  cup powdered sugar

¼ cup maple cream or maple syrup

½ teaspoon vanilla

Pinch of salt

Pinch of cinnamon

Make the cookie dough: in the bowl of an electric stand/hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. With the mixer running on low, slowly add the egg yolk and vanilla. While incorporating, in a separate bowl sift and mix together the flour, cinnamon and salt. Add this to the butter mixture and mix until just combined - this will be a VERY crumbly dough. On a lightly floured work surface mush the clumps together to form a somewhat cohesive ball, flatten into a thick disc and cover with plastic wrap. Place in the fridge to chill for about 2 hours. You can keep it in there for up to 4 days!

Form the cookies: preheat the oven to 350 F and line some baking sheets with parchment paper. Take the dough out of the fridge, and on a lightly floured surface roll the dough out ⅛-inch thickness. We found that the dough was way too hard to roll straight out of the fridge, so the best way to do this is to take some of the dough, warm it a bit in your hands by forming it into a cohesive ball, and then roll it out. Use your favorite cookie cutter and cut out the cookies. Place the cookies on your baking sheets and bake for 8-11 minutes, until the cookies are lightly golden around the edges. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

A note about baking cookies: cookies will continue to cook a bit once they're out of the oven because of their internal temperature, so if they're a bit soft in the middle fear not! They'll harden up while they cool.

Make the filling: while the cookies are baking and cooling, prepare the filling. In the bowl of your mixer cream the butter for a few minutes, until really pale and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar in and mix to incorporate. Add the maple cream/syrup, vanilla, salt and cinnamon and beat on high for a few minutes. You want your filling to be on the stiffer side, so feel free to add a bit more powdered sugar if the mixture is too soft.

Fill the cookies: transfer filling to a piping bag or zippered bag - the best way to do this is to place the tip in the bottom of the bag so that it's poking out, and then to put the bag in a tall glass and fold the bag over the glass' edge. Fill up, then twist off the bag so that filling can't escape while you're piping. Pipe filling onto every other cookie, making sure there's enough filling to cover the cookie when pressed, but not so much that it spills out the side. Partner up the filling cookies and filling-free cookies and press lightly.

To keep: the dough can be made up to 4 days in advance, so this is a great dessert to make ahead of time. Completed cookies will keep in a zippered bag or air-tight container for up to 1 week.