Sandwich cookies were a childhood staple. The favorites were Oreos and Nutter Butters. A lot of time spent pulling apart the Oreo cookies, licking the cream out of the center and then eating the cookies. These Chocolate Shortbread Sandwich Cookies are an homage to childhood favorite combining two of my favorite things: chocolate shortbread cookies and dark chocolate ganache.
Every year I make a Christmas cookie basket for family and friends. I really enjoy baking for family and my family appreciates the treats. I start right after Thanksgiving. I make the dough, freeze it and bake, bake, bake the few days before Christmas. This year I'm little behind because a persistent cold has really slowed me down.
Every year I add something new, but my family has let me know that no matter what I bake I cannot leave out the Pecan Caramel Chocolate Bars, their favorite. This year I'm adding some new cookies, which include this Chocolate Shortbread Sandwich Cookies.
Making the Shortbread Cookies
This recipe is based on my basic shortbread cookie dough. The basic recipe is a 3-2-1 shortbread, 3 parts flour to 2 parts butter to 1 part sugar; or 12 ounces of flour, 8 ounces of butter and 4 ounces of sugar. The best way to measure these ingredients is to weigh them. Weighing them will give you the accurate and consistent results. To these ingredients, I usually add a little salt and other ingredients like nuts or dried fruit. The recipe is very versatile and adaptable.
To ensure this chocolate shortbread cookie stay tender and buttery I replaced part of the flour with cocoa and I used dutch-processed cocoa instead of regular unsweetened cocoa. Dutch-processed cocoa is 22-24 percent fat versus unsweetened cocoa which is 10 percent fat. Plus the dutch-processed cocoa has a more pronounced chocolate flavor. You can use unsweetened cocoa, but the chocolate flavor is not as deep.
How to Make the Ganache Filling
Chocolate ganache is one of the easiest and tastiest treats to make in the world. I discovered it years ago from The Cake Bible. A book I highly recommend. It is just two ingredients: heavy cream and chocolate. Pastry chef Sherry Yard in her book, Secrets of Baking, explains how to make the perfect ganache depending on what you're making.
- Medium Ganache contains equal weights of bittersweet or semisweet chocolate and heavy cream - 8 ounces (227 grams) chocolate to 8 ounces (227 grams) heavy cream.
- Soft Ganache contains two parts by weight of heavy cream to one part by weight of chocolate - 16 ounces (454 grams) heavy cream to 8 ounces (227 grams) chocolate.
- Firm Ganache contains two parts by weight of chocolate to one part by weight of heavy cream - 16 ounces (454 grams) chocolate to 8 ounces (227 grams) heavy cream.
For a cookie filling, you want a medium ganache. After stirring together the hot cream and chopped chocolate the ganache is ready to use when the ganache is no longer runny and firm enough spread with a knife or pipe from a pastry bag. Spread the filling on the bottom half of the cookie and top it with the other cookie half.
Because ganache has the sugar from the chocolate it can sit at room temperature for 2 days. Something I learned from Shirley Corriher's Bakewise Cookbook. Another cookbook that I recommend you get if you want to understand the science of baking. As you can see I love cookbooks. I have learned a lot from these cookbook authors who have taken the time to explain how things work and I love it.
I'm baking these for Christmas, but they are great at any time of the year. I hope you try this recipe and if you do, let me know how they turned by leaving a comment here on Instagram @bakesbybrownsugar.
Chocolate Shortbread Sandwich Cookies
Chocolate Shortbread Cookie
- 2 1/2 cups (11 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup (0.75 ounces) Dutch-processed cocoa
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon (4 ounces) granulated sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 cup (6 ounces) heavy cream
- 1 cup (6 ounces) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
For the Cookies
- Place the flour in a medium-sized bowl and sift the cocoa powder into the flour. Add the cinnamon and whisk together until well combined.
- Place the butter, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment and mix on medium speed until the mixture is smooth, about 2 minutes. Stop the mixer, scrape down the bowl and add all the flour-cocoa mixture all at once. Turn the mixer to low speed and mix until all the flour is just combined. The dough will be crumbly at this point. Increase the mixer speed to medium and mix until the dough has completely come together.
- Divide the dough into two even pieces, 302 grams each. Place one half of the dough on a lightly floured surface and roll out to 1/4-inch thickness. You may need to sprinkle a little flour on top of the dough to keep it from sticking to the rolling pin. This dough is the bottom of your sandwich cookie.
- Use a 2-inch round cookie cutter to cut out the cookies. Place the cookies on parchment lined cookie sheet about 1-inch apart. Prick each cookie in the center with a fork. Pricking the cookies will ensure they bake in the center and don’t rise too much.
- Follow the same directions for the other half of dough. Use a 2-inch cookie cutter to cut out the cookies and use a smaller decorative cookie cutter to cut the center of the cookie. Place he cookies on parchment lined cookie sheet about 1-inch apart.
- Chill the dough in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Chilling the dough will help the cookies hold their shape when baking.
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
- Bake the cookies for 22-25 minutes. The cookies will still be a little soft but will firm up as the cool.
- Take the cookies out of the oven and allow them to cool for about 5 minutes on the cookie sheet before moving them to a cookie rack to completely cool.
For the Chocolate Ganache
- Place the chopped chocolate in a medium-sized heat proof bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan, until bubbles form around the edges and there is some visible steam.
- Pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate. Let it sit for 2 minutes without stirring and then gently stir with a whisk until the cream and chocolate are thoroughly combined. The ganache will be thick and smooth.
- Allow the ganache to cool until it is thickened. The ganache is ready with you can scoop it with a spoon and it remains on the spoon when it is turned upside down.
- Place the ganache in a piping bag and pipe about 1 tablespoon onto the bottom half of the cookie. Place the cookie half with the decorative cutout on top and press down until the ganache is at the edge of the cookie.
- The cookies can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for 2 days. Afterwards store in the refrigerator for up to a week. The longer the cookies sit the softer the cookies will become.
Jeff Smith says
These were wonderful cookies. I made a tray of a couple different kinds of Christmas cookies and these were my favorite. I used the Wilton Linzer cookie cutter to do the bottoms and the tops with the shapes and it made it pretty easy.
I used 75% semi-sweet and 25% milk chocolate in the ganache to bring up the sweetness a bit. The ganache thickens up a lot as it cools, eventually becoming completely set so there seems to be a sweet spot as for when to pipe it.
I used Hershey Special Dark cocoa powder which is dutched, but doesn't have any additional fat compared to non-dutched. I think you have to look for a higher fat cocoa powder specifically if you want that. Either way, they turned out delicious!