Category Archives: Vanilla

Neapolitan Shortbread

Neapolitan ShortbreadI have never had many feelings about Neapolitan ice cream—that classic all-in-one combination of chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry—except that I’d probably prefer a scoop of vanilla with sprinkles instead.Neapolitan ShortbreadNeapolitan Shortbread, though, are a different story. I saw a few recipes for them while scrolling through Pinterest a few weeks ago and thought they were super cute with their different colored stripes. I just had to make them, if only to make the world’s most adorable ice cream sandwiches. Neapolitan ShortbreadI clicked on a link and saw, to my utter (and definitely over-the-top) horror, that the layers were all made with one dough, the chocolate portion being mixed with melted chocolate and the pink part being just vanilla with food coloring! I clicked through more links and found a lot more of the same. Some had mixed their pink portion with strawberry jam, but that was even more problematic—it meant that all three portions would have different textures and bake differently. Neapolitan ShortbreadAnd so, I set out to fix this problem. Yes, I know that this “problem” is one I created with my own pickiness, but I don’t care because I believe in cookies that bake evenly and deliver flavors as advertised, damn it! I will not apologize for being a cookie snob. #justiceforstrawberry

Okay, rant over. (Sorry.) Neapolitan ShortbreadI set to work, and it took me five test-batches, but y’all, these Neapolitan Shortbread are fantastic. They’ve got bold colors and big flavors and they bake evenly and they are shockingly easy to make.Neapolitan ShortbreadNeapolitan ShortbreadEach layer is made from its own quick, simple dough, all three of which can be made in the same bowl in under twenty minutes. Here’s the rundown:

  • the chocolate dough is made with cocoa powder and a hint of espresso.
  • the vanilla dough is made with vanilla (duh) and a touch of almond extract.
  • the strawberry is made with pulverized freeze-dried strawberries (a la these) and a few drops of food coloring to keep the pink portion vibrant while baking.

Neapolitan ShortbreadNeapolitan ShortbreadNeapolitan ShortbreadNeapolitan ShortbreadAll the doughs are all pressed together in a wax paper-lined loaf pan and chilled until hard. Then the edges are trimmed off, the dough is cut into two long pieces, and each one is sliced into cookies. I ❤ ❤ ❤ a slice & bake recipe! Neapolitan ShortbreadNeapolitan Shortbread bake at a low temperature for 17-18 minutes. The cookies will be a little soft coming out of the oven, but should set up quickly. They’ll be crisp at the edges, slightly chewy in the centers, and oh, so buttery. Neapolitan ShortbreadThese cookies are as delicious as they are beautiful, with plenty of chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry flavors in every bite! And that’s to say nothing of the bright, bold colors—I just love that berry pink!Neapolitan ShortbreadNeapolitan ShortbreadNeapolitan ShortbreadOh, and I was right. They do make adorable ice cream sandwiches 🙂 Neapolitan Shortbread

Neapolitan Shortbread
makes about 6.5 dozen cookies

Chocolate Dough:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup cocoa powder (natural or dutch process)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon espresso granules (optional)
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt

Vanilla Dough:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon pure almond extract (optional)
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt

Strawberry Dough:
1 cup freeze dried strawberries
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3-5 drops liquid red food coloring (or 1 drop red gel food coloring), optional
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt

Line a 9×5-inch loaf pan with wax paper, leaving a couple of inches of overhang on the sides. Set aside.

Make the chocolate dough. In a medium mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Mix in vanilla. Add cocoa powder, flour, espresso granules and salt, and mix until a dough forms. Dough will look crumbly, but should pinch together very easily. Press chocolate dough into a mostly-even layer in the bottom of the prepared pan. Refrigerate while you make the vanilla dough. Wipe down beaters and bowl.

In a medium mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Mix in vanilla and optional almond extract, followed by flour and salt. Press vanilla dough into a mostly-even layer over the top of the chocolate dough. Refrigerate while you make the strawberry dough. Wipe down beaters and bowl.

Combine freeze dried strawberries and sugar in a food processor* and blitz until they are a powder. Transfer to mixing bowl. Add butter and use an electric mixer to beat it together until fluffy. Mix in vanilla and red food coloring, followed by flour and salt. Dough may be crumbly, but should hold together very well when pinched. Press strawberry dough into a mostly-even layer on top of the vanilla dough. Fold wax paper overhang over the top of the dough. Refrigerate for 3 hours or up to 3 days.

Place oven racks in top and bottom positions. Preheat oven to 300F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

Remove dough from refrigerator. Unfold wax paper overhang and use it to lift dough brick onto a cutting board. Use a large, sharp chef’s knife to trim the edges (which can be cut into rectangles and baked into cookies). Slice rectangle down the middle lengthwise so that you have two long, skinny rectangles of dough. Refrigerate one rectangle.

Slice rectangle into 1/4-inch slices, placing them at least 1 1/2-inches apart on prepared pans. If dough gets too warm, refrigerate full pans for 5 minutes before baking.

Bake cookies for 9 minutes. Rotate pans top-to-bottom and front-to-back. Bake an additional 8-9 minutes, until no longer wet looking. Shortbread should not turn golden. Let cool on the pans for 7 minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely. Repeat slicing and baking processes with remaining dough, letting pans return to room temperature between batches.

Neapolitan Shortbread will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for at least a week. They will soften slightly over time.Neapolitan ShortbreadNeapolitan ShortbreadNeapolitan Shortbread

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Vanilla Malt Cookies

I got these Vanilla Malt Cookies right on the first try. That doesn’t happen very often, so it warrants a mention.

Vanilla Malt CookiesIt was a random Wednesday three years ago and I was making five-or-so dozen of whatever I wanted for a weekly cookie order I had at the time. I could have just made a batch of chocolate chip cookies every week and they would have been happy, but instead, I took this standing commitment as an opportunity to try new ratios, methods, and flavors. Every Wednesday night, I’d bring in a couple of new recipes and take feedback from the group. In case you are wondering, in addition to being a good way to do some experimental baking, being the “cookie lady” is also a great way to make friends.

Vanilla Malt CookiesRecipes that got the group’s approval include my Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cream Cheese Cookies, Banana Pudding Cookies, and Maple Creme Sandwich Cookies, among others in the archives. Luckily, I was smart enough to write almost all of the recipes down…you know, just in case I ever started a baking blog 😉

Vanilla Malt CookiesAll that is to say, these Vanilla Malt Cookies were a last-second experiment-turned-instant-hit, and I’m here on this snowy Wednesday three years after their debut to tell you all about them.

Vanilla Malt Cookies Trust me, the minute you sink your teeth into one of these Vanilla Malt Cookies, you’re going to lose your cookie-loving mind. While these are a bit thinner than most of the cookies you’ll find on this site, what they lack in puffiness, they more than make up for in chewy centers and crispy edges.

Vanilla Malt CookiesOh, and flavor. Between the big hit of vanilla extract and the richness of the malted milk powder (and the butter! and the white chocolate chips!), there’s plenty going on here.

Vanilla Malt CookiesI know there’s at least one person out there wondering why I chose to make these malted beauties with vanilla instead of chocolate. To that person, I say that vanilla malt may not be as popular as its chocolate counterpart, but it is just as delicious, if not more so. The vanilla and malted milk powder complement each other beautifully and make everything about these cookies just…divine.

Vanilla Malt CookiesBut if you really can’t wrap your mind around malt without chocolate, see here, here, here, and here, for everything chocolate-malty.

Vanilla Malt CookiesFor the rest of you, make a batch of this cookie dough, crank the oven to 350F, and prepare to fall in love.Vanilla Malt Cookies

Vanilla Malt Cookies
makes about 3 dozen cookies

3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup malted milk powder
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
4 teaspoons real vanilla extract
1 cup white chocolate chips

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, malted milk powder, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until light and fluffy. Mix in granulated and light brown sugars, followed by egg, egg yolk, and vanilla. Add dry ingredients in two installments, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Mix in white chocolate chips. Dough will be very thick.

Cover dough with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours, or up to 3 days.

Place oven racks in central positions and preheat the oven to 350F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment.

Scoop dough in 2 tablespoon increments, roll into balls, and place at least 3 inches apart on prepared pans. Bake 9-11 minutes, rotating pans top-to-bottom and front-to-back at the 5 minute mark. Cookies are done when edges are just barely starting to turn golden and centers still look a bit underdone. Let cookies cool on pans for 5 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely. Let baking sheets come back to room temperature before repeating process with any remaining dough.

Cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

Vanilla Malt Cookies

Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Mini-Scones

Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Mini-SconesOver the weekend, I posted a picture of my Meyer Lemon Cream Cheese Scones to my social media. I guess y’all had forgotten about them because I got all sorts of kind responses, the most enthusiastic of which was in-person, hilarious, and completely unprintable (unless I want to change the tone of this entire website).

Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Mini-SconesAnd so, I’m bringing you more scones today—my first since that meyer lemon version last year. I can’t believe I’ve gone that long without a new variation!

Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Mini-SconesThese are made with cream cheese too, but also vanilla bean. My dear friend, David, *gave* me a package of vanilla beans on New Year’s Day and I’ve been dreaming up uses for them ever since.

Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Mini-SconesVanilla Bean Cream Cheese Mini-SconesVanilla Bean Cream Cheese Mini-SconesVanilla Bean Cream Cheese Mini-SconesVanilla Bean Cream Cheese Mini-SconesIn case you are wondering, giving me a surprise package of vanilla beans is a very good way to become my favorite person 🙂

Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Mini-SconesVanilla Bean Cream Cheese Mini-SconesVanilla Bean Cream Cheese Mini-SconesVanilla Bean Cream Cheese Mini-SconesBut back to the scones. I made them miniature—small food just tastes better, amiright?!

Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Mini-SconesVanilla Bean Cream Cheese Mini-SconesVanilla Bean Cream Cheese Mini-SconesVanilla Bean Cream Cheese Mini-SconesVanilla Bean Cream Cheese Mini-SconesEach mini-scone is about half the size of a traditional scone. That means you can have two, right?

Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Mini-SconesVanilla Bean Cream Cheese Mini-SconesVanilla Bean Cream Cheese Mini-SconesI’d be lying if I said I have never eyed the Petit Vanilla Bean Scones at Starbucks. They are adorable, but they are sort of dry and spongy and absolutely not worth the calories.

Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Mini-SconesVanilla Bean Cream Cheese Mini-SconesThese Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Mini-Scones are nothing like that mass-produced version though—they’re worth all the calories. All of them.

Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Mini-SconesThey’re super tender from the combination of butter, cream cheese, and heavy cream, and the edges are crumbly and nubbly and totally delightful.

That’s to say nothing of their huge vanilla flavor, which comes from a combination of vanilla bean and vanilla extract. I love the little black flecks of vanilla bean all over the place ❤

Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Mini-SconesAnd the thick, luxurious glaze. Be still my vanilla-loving heart.

Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Mini-SconesYep. I’d say these were worth the wait.Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Mini-Scones

Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Mini-Scones
makes 16 mini-scones

3/4 cup heavy cream + more for brushing, very cold
1/2 scraped vanilla bean
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, very cold, cut into pieces
4 ounces (1/2 brick) full-fat brick-style cream cheese, very cold, cut into pieces

Glaze:
1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1/2 scraped vanilla bean
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
5-6 tablespoons heavy cream

Place oven rack at the center position. Preheat oven to 425F. Line a sheet pan with parchment. Set aside.

In a liquid measuring cup, use a fork to whisk together heavy cream, vanilla bean, and vanilla extract. Refrigerate while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add cold butter and cream cheese. Use a pastry blender or two forks to cut them into the dry ingredients until the largest pieces are the size of peas. Fold in heavy cream mixture. The dough should clump when pinched together.

Flour a surface and your fingertips. Turn dough onto the surface and divide it into two equal pieces. Pat each into a 1-inch thick circle. Use a large, sharp chef’s knife to slice each circle into 8 wedges. Place scones at least 1 1/2 inches apart on prepared pan. Brush tops with heavy cream. Bake for 7 minutes. Rotate pan back-to-front and bake an additional 3-4 minutes, until just turning golden at the edges. Let scones cool in the pan on a rack while you make the glaze.

Combine confectioner’s sugar, salt, vanilla bean, vanilla extract, and 5 tablespoons heavy cream. Use a fork to whisk ingredients together until smooth. For a thinner glaze, add 1 tablespoon more cream.

Move cooled scones to a rack set over wax paper. Dip scones in glaze and set back on the rack. Glaze will set after about 20 minutes.

Scones are best served the day they are made, but will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 48 hours.

Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Mini-Scones

Easter Egg Hunt Cake

Easter Egg Hunt CakeEaster is coming up this weekend! I grew up celebrating in style–a week full of church, family brunch at The Fort Worth Club, and a HUGE egg hunt on a friend’s grandparents’ property. As far as I can tell after nearly ten years (!) in New York, Easter is not a big holiday here. I see a few families in their Easter best, but other than that, it’s just like any other Sunday. That said, just because I’m not planning to wear any pastels or attend any holiday brunches, there’s no reason I can’t celebrate with this adorable, surprise-candy-filled Easter Egg Hunt Cake!Easter Egg Hunt CakeY’all. Y’ALL. This might be the most sickeningly cute thing I’ve ever made. I had the idea when I saw this Piñata Cake on Sally’s Baking Addiction, and I’ve been hellbent on making this Easter Egg Hunt Cake ever since. From the outside it looks springlike and holiday appropriate (hey there, sweetened flaked coconut!), but then you slice in to find a veritable treasure trove of Easter egg-shaped candy! Seriously, y’all. How cute is this Easter candy avalanche?!Easter Egg Hunt CakeNow, before you go clicking away, thinking that this cake is too much for you to handle, hear me out:

  1. If I can make this cake, anyone can. I can frost a cake, but my decorating skills leave something to be desired. If you can use an offset icing knife, you can decorate this cake!
  2. Hiding the candy in this cake is waaaaay easier than you’d imagine.
  3. Easter Egg Hunt Cake is made with my tried-and-true Vanilla Layer Cake* recipe. That cake and its corresponding buttercream frosting are my two most-requested recipes, and for good reason. They’re simple to put together and sooo good.

*Please forgive those horrendous photos–I’ll be updating them soon.Easter Egg Hunt CakeAre you still reading? I hope so.

Let’s talk cake construction. First and foremost, bake and cool four 9-inch round cake layers and whip together a double batch of (dyed-green) vanilla buttercream frosting. Yes, four layers (1.5 times my standard recipe) and a double the usual amount of frosting. This cake is huge–gotta have plenty of space for all that Easter candy!

First, place a layer of cake on a serving plate and frost the top of it, just like you would for any layer cake. Then (and this is where it gets weird), use a large round cutter to remove the centers of two of your layers. Save those centers for another task, like making a mini-layer cake or a trifle.

Place one of the cut-out layers on the frosted base layer. Top it with a layer of buttercream and the second cut-out layer. Frost that one too.Easter Egg Hunt CakeEaster Egg Hunt CakeSee that hole? Fill it with any egg-shaped Easter candy you like! I used Reeses Pieces Eggs, but you could use chocolate eggs or even jelly beans. I also added some little bunny & carrot-shaped sprinkles, because sprinkles are my love language.Easter Egg Hunt CakeAt this point, you should have one intact cake layer left. Use it to top the other layers, and then frost the tallest layer cake you’ve ever seen.Easter Egg Hunt CakeTo decorate, press dyed-green flaked coconut into the frosting, and then arrange some Easter candy on top. I found this easiest to do by piping little blobs of frosting over the coconut and sticking the candies to them.Easter Egg Hunt CakeAt this point, this cake will look like any old layer cake. Sure, it’s a huge one that’s clearly decorated for Easter, but nobody will suspect the surprise inside. And you, being cool as a freaking cucumber, will act like it’s any old vanilla cake.Easter Egg Hunt CakeBut then, you’ll start to slice the thing…
Easter Egg Hunt CakeEaster Egg Hunt CakeEaster Egg Hunt CakeWhat’s that?! A layer cake full of candy Easter eggs?! How clever of you, you beautiful, talented, homebaking human, you.Easter Egg Hunt CakeEaster Egg Hunt CakeLooking for more Easter-appropriate desserts? Check out these Carrot Cake Blondies, this Lemon Yogurt Cake, and my Coconut Cream Pie! Oh, and keep an eye out for another layer cake coming later this week 💕🐣🐰🍰🎂

Easter Egg Hunt Cake
inspired by Sally’s Baking Addiction
makes one four-layer 9-inch round cake

For greasing the pans:
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup neutral-flavored oil (I like canola)

Vanilla Cake:
4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
4 large eggs + 2 large egg yolks, room temperature
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
3 cups buttermilk, room temperature

Vanilla Buttercream:
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 pounds confectioner’s sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
15-20 drops liquid green food coloring
5-8 tablespoons heavy cream

For Decoration:
1 14-ounce bag sweetened flaked coconut
6-8 drops liquid green food coloring
egg-shaped Easter candies (I used Reeses Pieces Eggs)

For Assembly:
2-2 1/2 cups egg-shaped Easter candies (I used Reeses Pieces Eggs)
1/2 cup sprinkles, optional

Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare the pans. In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together greasing mixture ingredients. Use a pastry brush to paint mixture onto the entire insides of four 9-inch round cake pans. Set aside.

Make the cake batter. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, salt, granulated sugar, and light brown sugar. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about two minutes. Add eggs and egg yolks one at a time, beating completely after each addition. Beat in buttermilk. Add dry ingredients in three installments, beating just until combined. Scrape down the bowl as necessary.

Divide batter evenly into prepared pans. Tap each full pan on the counter five times to release any large air bubbles. Bake cakes 23-27 minutes, rotating top to bottom and back to front at the halfway point. Cakes are done when a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean. Let cakes cool in pans for fifteen minutes. Run a small thin knife around the edges of the pans and invert the cakes onto cooling racks to cool completely.

Make the frosting. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter until light and fluffy, about two minutes. Beat in confectioner’s sugar in three installments, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Beat in salt, followed by vanilla and food coloring. Add in heavy cream until desired consistency is reached.

Prepare the decoration. In a small mixing bowl, use a fork to combine coconut and food coloring until desired color has been reached. Set aside.

Assemble the cake. Place one round on a serving plate and top with a layer of frosting. Set aside.

Use a 4-6 inch cutter (or a wide-mouthed cup or jar) to cut the centers out of two layers. Set centers aside for another use. Place one cut-out layer on the bottom layer and top with a layer of frosting. Place the other cut-out layer on top and frost. Fill the hole in the cake layers with candies and optional sprinkles. Top with the last (fully-intact) layer of cake. Frost cake as desired. Cover with dyed green coconut. Decorate with additional Easter candies as desired.

Layer cake will keep covered at room temperature for up to three days, or in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Easter Egg Hunt Cake

M&Ms Sandwich Cookies

 If you haven’t noticed, I love sandwich cookies. This blog has existed for eight months, and I already have six sandwich cookie recipes in my recipe index. I mean, cookies and frosting together–does a more perfect dessert even exist?! 

Today’s sandwich cookies are my version of a favorite treat from my teenage years. Back then, I was on the high school dance team. Once classes were over for the day, I’d have thirty minutes to change and eat something before practice. Usually the whole team would go for some sort of fast food (ah, teenage metabolism), but occasionally, when everyone was attending tutorials or some other after-school program, I’d zip over to Ridgmar Mall, run to the cookie kiosk, and grab one or two (okay, okay, three!) miniature M&Ms sandwich cookies before driving back to school to dance off all the calories.

To this day, I get nostalgic for those soft cookies, M&Ms, and creamy vanilla filling. But I can’t remember the last time I was in a mall (one of the advantages of living in New York City). And as I always have fresh baked goods at home, I no longer stop for mass-produced treats. 

These days, if I want a few M&Ms Sandwich Cookies, I make them myself. They’re so much better than anything you could get at a mall. Soft, chewy cookies speckled with colorful milk chocolate M&Ms and sandwiched together with a smooth vanilla filling?! Yes. I’ll take three.

Most of my sandwich cookie recipes make five or six dozen very small cookies–far more than anyone really needs. This recipe makes a much more manageable two dozen sandwich cookies. If you’d like more, this recipe doubles very well.

Also, these cookies are slightly larger than my regular sandwich cookies. Where all of my other sandwich cookie recipes require you to scoop dough by the teaspoon, the cookies in this recipe are each made with 1/2 tablespoon (1 1/2 teaspoons) of dough. The larger scoops cut down on the time spent rolling dough and also allow for more M&Ms in every bite! 

I love working with M&Ms for holidays. There’s a perfect color combination for every occasion–red and green for Christmas, orange and black for Halloween, pastels for Easter. Since the Fourth of July is coming up next week, I went with the red, white, and blue variety for this batch! I think they’re pretty cute 😊 No matter which holiday you’re making these for (even if it’s just that it’s the end of a long week), I know these M&Ms Sandwich Cookies will be a hit!

 Want more M&Ms treats? Check out my M&Ms-Potato Chip Cookies!

M&Ms Sandwich Cookies
makes 2 dozen sandwich cookies

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar*
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup M&Ms milk chocolate candies

Filling:
1/2 cup shortening (or room temperature unsalted butter)
2 1/2-3 cups confectioner’s sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1-2 tablespoons heavy cream

In a medium-large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, cream of tartar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until light and fluffy, about two minutes. Beat in granulated and light brown sugars, followed by egg and vanilla. Mix in dry ingredients in two installments, combining completely after each addition. With the mixer on low, add in M&Ms and mix for 10-15 seconds until they are evenly dispersed. Cover and chill dough for 90 minutes, or up to three days.

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment.

Scoop chilled dough by the 1/2 tablespoon (1 1/2 teaspoons) and roll into balls. Set dough balls about two inches apart on prepared pans. Bake 7-8 minutes, until the tops are no longer shiny. Let cookies cool on pans for five minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely. Repeat with any remaining dough.

Make the filling. In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat shortening (or butter) until fluffy. Beat in 2 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar and salt. Mix in vanilla and 1 tablespoon heavy cream. If filling is too thin, add more confectioner’s sugar. If it’s too thin, add an extra tablespoon of heavy cream. If you would like to pipe the filling, spoon it into a piping bag and snip off a corner.

There are two options for filling:

1. To assemble a sandwich cookie by piping, apply filling by pipe a circle in the middle of the underside of one cookie, leaving about 1/4″ around the edge. Top with a second plain cookie, with the underside filling-side-in. Repeat until all cookies have been used.

2. To assemble a sandwich cookie by spreading, use an offset frosting knife to spread 1/2-1 teaspoon on the underside of one cookie. Top with a second plain cookie, with the underside filling-side-in. Repeat until all cookies have been used.

M&Ms Sandwich Cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

Note:

There is no substitute for cream of tartar in this recipe.