Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

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For the bittersweet chocolate in this recipe, I splurge on Valrhona cocoa. These are the kind of cookies where chocolate is the star, and you really will taste the difference when you use a good one. This dough can warm up quickly when you roll it out, so I always roll it in between two sheets of plastic wrap — this will make your life much easier. Yield: 18–20 cookies

INGREDIENTS FOR THE COOKIES

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla
  • ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
  • ½ cup bittersweet (60%–70%) chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda

INGREDIENTS FOR THE FILLING

  • 5 ounces vegetable shortening
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed and at room temperature
  • 2½ cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

TO PREPARE

In a medium bowl, whisk together the butter and sugar until well combined. Add the chocolate and vanilla and whisk together. Then add the egg and whisk until incorporated.

In a separate medium bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking soda. Add the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture, stirring slowly with a wooden spoon or your hands (I find that using my hands is easier at this point). Let the dough firm up at room temperature for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, dump the dough out onto the clean countertop and gather into a single flat disk (just like you would with pie dough). Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350°F.

After 1 hour, remove the disk from the refrigerator and place on the counter, which has been covered with plastic wrap. If the dough doesn’t seem soft enough to roll out, knead it in your hands to warm it up until soft. Place another sheet of plastic wrap on top of the dough (it should be sandwiched at this point) and roll to about 1⁄8-inch thickness. If the dough becomes too sticky or difficult to work with, put back in the refrigerator for 10–15 minutes.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and, using a 2- to 3-inch round cutter, cut out the cookie circles and place them on the sheet. They don’t spread much, so they can be fairly close together. Bake for 10 minutes or until the edges are very slightly darkened — this is tough to tell, given their already dark color, but you’ll want your cookie to be set but still slightly soft in the center. They firm up when cooled. Cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

TO PREPARE THE FILLING AND ASSEMBLE

Using a hand blender, beat the butter, vegetable shortening, salt and vanilla extract until smooth. Add the confectioner’s sugar slowly in .-cup increments, continuing to beat until creamy and until the filling reaches the consistency you like, about 1 minute. Using a piping bag (or just a good old-fashioned spoon), pipe a generous portion of filling onto 1 completely cooled cookie and cover with another cookie to make a sandwich.

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