Peppermint Sandwich Cookies with Candy Cane Bits

Peppermint Sandwich Cookies with Candy Cane Bits

From the Thermador and Tastespotting Ultimate Recipe Contest

Submitted by: Cathy Chaplin
http://gastronomyblog.com/


Makes 18 to 20 cookies

For filling:
1/2 cup heavy cream
8 ounces white chocolate chips, finely chopped
1 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
15 individually wrapped peppermint candies
2 drops red food coloring (optional)

For cookies: 
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
15 tablespoons (7 1/2 ounces) unsalted butter, but into 3/4-inch cubes, at room temperature            

Make filling:
In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a boil over medium heat. Remove the cream from the heat and pour over the finely chopped white chocolate in a large bowl along with the peppermint extract. Make sure all the chocolate is covered by the cream. Let stand for 1 minute, then whisk the white chocolate until completely melted. Let stand at room temperature.

While the filling cools down, chop the peppermint candies in a food processor until no large chunks remain. Add the candy to the filling along with the food coloring once it is completely cool.

The filling needs to be thicker to assemble the cookies. Either let it sit overnight at room temperature or place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to an hour. If the filling hardens too much, it can be rewarmed in the microwave for a few seconds.

Make cookies.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt and mix on low speed. With the mixer running, add the butter a few pieces at a time. The mixture will have a sandy texture at first and then will begin to form pebble-size pieces. As soon as the dough starts to come together, stop the mixer. Make sure all the butter is well incorporated. If there are large butter pockets, mix for a few seconds more.
Form the dough into a large ball and slice in half.

One at a time, roll each piece of dough between two pieces of lightly floured parchment paper until 1/8-inch thick.
Cut into rounds using a cookie cutter. [about 2 3/4 inches in diameter.] Place the rounds 1/2 to 1 inch apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Collect the scraps and repeat the procedure.
Bake for 10-13 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on the sheets for 2 to 5 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack and let cool completely. Assemble cookies.

Place the cookies upside down on a work surface. Whip the filling lightly with a whisk to loosen it. Make sure not to over-whip or the filling may begin to separate.
Transfer the filling to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4-inch plain tip or to a makeshift pastry bag (i.e. Ziploc bag).
Pipe two teaspoons of filling in the center of each upside down cookie.

Gently, using your fingers, press the cookies together until the filling comes just to the edges. The cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.