Wow, these were some good cookies. I made them to celebrate my friend Sarah’s 10,000th day. The fact that I almost made them again less than a week later is proof that you need to try them. There are very few recipes that I repeat—why bother when there is so much left to try? This is a recipe I will make again and again. These delicate sandwich cookies melt in your mouth and the combination of the toasted, nutty, buttery cookie with the tangy, sweet cream cheese filling is really all I could ask for in a sweet. I might go make some right now.
This recipe is from a recent cookbook purchase, The Sweet Life by the very talented Kate Zuckerman. The book features desserts from Chanterelle in New York City. It is a beautifully photographed book and so far I have been really happy with everything I have made from it. At first I was turned off by the tone of the writing, something about it felt too bossy. Zuckerman can be very didactic and controlling. I found myself wanting to rebel against her, refusing to scrape down the bowl when she told me to. Eventually I gave up control and decided to follow her directions precisely. It worked, and I now enjoy that she is in control and I have confidence that she will not lead me astray.
Walnut Cream Cheese Sandwich Cookies
- 1 cup walnuts
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 16 tablespoons (two sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 egg, at room temperature
Cream Cheese Filling
- 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- pinch of salt
Combine the walnuts and 1 tablespoon of the flour in a food processor and grind to a fine powder. In a dry bowl, whisk together the walnut powder, remaining flour and salt and set aside.
Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed for 1 minute. Add the sugar and beat on medium high speed until the mixture becomes fluffy and lighter in color, 6 to 8 minutes, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the egg and continue to beat until it is fully incorporated and the batter looks smooth and glossy, 1 to 2 minutes.
Add the dry mixture, all at once, to the butter mixture. using a rubber spatula, fold together for a few turns. With the mixer on low speed, mix the dough until thoroughly combined, 1 to 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of teh bowl with a rubber spatula and mix for another 30 seconds.
Divide dough in half and using a rubber spatula, scrape the dough onto two pieces of plastic wrap. Form dough into two logs, about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and refrigherate for 2 hours or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350° F and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Using a sharp knife, cut as many 1/8-1/4 inch slices from each log of dough as possible and place the cookies on prepared cookie sheets. (alternately, you could roll out the chilled sough and cut into shapes- this seems like two much work for me, but I am sure it would look lovely.) Bake the cookies until golden brown and you smell the toasted walnuts and butter, 12-15 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool before proceeding with filling.
To make the cream cheese filling, combine all ingredients in the bowl of a mixer fit with the whisk attachment and beat until the filling has increased in volume, lightened in color and formed stiff peaks, 4 to 5 minutes.
Using a piping bag or teaspoon, dot half of cookies with the cream cheese filling and top with remaining cookies to form sandwiches. Serve within 5 hours of filling. (The cookies will loose their delicious crunch if you do it any earlier)You can bake the cookies and store them in an airtight container for up to 4 days ahead, then fill them the day you plan to serve them.