Pastel Cream Wafers
Welcome to Day 1 of my Five Days of Cookies posts.
Yes, I suppose more talented bloggers/bakers would offer twelve days of cookies, but honestly, that just seems to be too on the nose for me. So I decided to throw out tradition and reasoned five is a good number, so let's go with that. If you stick around for the next five days and still want more holiday cookies, you can always turn to my good friend Google and I'm sure you will be able to find at least 7 more cookie recipes somewhere!
In my mother’s house around the holidays there are always cookies… boxes and boxes of them. My mother bakes for days on end and then when my sister-in-law arrives she brings boxes of cookies too. There are traditional Italian cookies, standard chocolate chip cookies, nut rolls, and Italian wedding cookies (aka Russian Teacakes or Mexican wedding cakes). There are iced sugar cutout cookies, pumpkin cookies, peanut butter cookies, pineapple cookies, and more. When my grandmother was alive there were rum balls too. Don't even get me started talking about the cookies neighbors bring or those purchased from bake sale fundraisers. We also won’t go into the cookies that I bake at home to take to the house or to work or to give to friends. Suffice it to say that around the holidays there are a lot of cookies. That whole “enjoy in moderation” thing gets lost during the holidays if you know what I mean.
I'm kicking things off with a cookie that was made on a whim one Christmas Eve by my sister and myself many, many, many years ago. I think we only made them because they had a colored filling (we made a batch of red and a batch of green) and we thought that looked nice. These were the last cookies that were made that year (I think we baked them on Christmas Eve) but they were also the first to be eaten. These little cookies are flakey and buttery, like a perfect piecrust. Light and airy, tender and flakey, all at the same time. The original recipe called for a 1½-inch cookie cutter. When we first made them we only had a 1 inch cutter which I think made them so much better, since you could eat the whole cookie in just one bite. Today, I recommend using a 1¼-inch cutter as that will still keep them bite size and easier to handle. These cookies are so simple to make too, so grab some bowls and a rolling pin and let's get baking. BTW, this recipe was found in a Better Homes & Gardens Christmas Cookies cookbook way back before many of you young readers were born and although the recipe has been slightly changed from the original printing, it can be found here. This recipe yields about 2 dozen cookies.
Here’s how I put them together;
For the Cookies:
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
1 cup all purpose flour
3 to 4 tablespoons whipping cream*
½ cup sugar - for dipping
For the filling:
1 cup sifted powdered sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 drop food coloring
About 1 tablespoon whipping cream*
*Use regular whipping cream in this recipe not heavy whipping cream.
Preheat the oven to 375°F with the oven rack in the center position.
Put the butter and the flour into a medium bowl and using a pastry blender, or your fingertips, cut the butter into the flour until the butter pieces are no larger than the size of a small pea.
Now, sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the cream over a small area of the flour mixture then gently toss with a fork. Push that portion to the side and repeat with remaining cream until the dough is completely moistened.
Next, form the dough into a ball. If the dough is too dry to form a ball add just enough cream to bring it together.
Put the dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll it out until it is a little less that 1/8 inch thick.
Using a 1¼ inch round cookie (or biscuit cutter) cut the dough into rounds.
Put the sugar onto a small plate or shallow bowl and dip one side of the cookie rounds into the sugar to coat.
Place the cookie, sugar side up, on an un-greased cookie sheet. You only need to leave a small gap (¼ inch) between the cookies as they won’t spread much while baking.
Take a fork and prick each cookie four times in parallel rows.
Re-roll scraps and cut additional cookies as needed.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until the edges just start to brown then cool completely on a wire rack.
Now to make the filling,
In a small bowl, stir the powdered sugar, butter, vanilla, food coloring and just enough of the cream to make a thick spreadable filling.
Spread about 1/2 teaspoon of the filling onto half of the cookies flat (non-sugared) side.
Top each with the remaining cookies, again placing the flat (non-sugared) side against the filling.
Store the cookies in an airtight container, after eating a few of course.