I've never attempted a sandwich cookie before but I just couldn't resist the look of these when I saw them on 101 Cookbooks. Of course, it could have been the gorgeous photos that Heidi Swanson takes but I was intrigued with the poppy seeds. The recipe also sounded fast and easy so I really didn't have a choice but to start to baking.
I was right about the poppy seeds, I loved them. They add a fantastic texture to the cookies. The brown sugar gives the cookies a great depth but the cookies are surprisingly delicate with the perfect amount of sweetness. Then there's the chocolate...do I have to say more? These cookies are pretty, simple to make and they are so, so delicious. They would be the perfect cookie at your next tea party. Wait, do people still have tea parties? You know, cucumber finger sandwiches and all? I'll have to look into that.
RECIPE courtesy of 101 Cookbooks:
2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (I used unbleached white flour)
1 teaspoon baking powder
scant 1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon poppy seeds
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup good-quality brown sugar / natural cane sugar (I used organic dark brown)
2 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2-3 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon big flaky sea salt (optional)
1 tablespoon turbinado sugar (optional)
6-7 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
special equipment: a 1 1/2-inch cookie cutter
Preheat oven to 350 - racks in the top 1/3 of the oven.
In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and poppy seeds. Set aside. In a separate bowl, either by hand or with an electric mixer, beat the butter until it is fluffy and creamy. Add the sugar and mix some more, scraping the sides of the bowl once along the way. Mix in the egg yolks and vanilla extract, scraping the sides again if needed. Being careful not to over-mix, stir in the flour mixture by hand. If the dough is on the dry side stir in the milk as well. Turn the dough out onto the counter-top, kneed it once or twice (just so it comes together) and form one large ball. Cut the dough into four quarters, then shape each piece into a ball. Flatten each of the four balls into 1/2-inch thick pancakes, and wrap each piece individually in plastic before chilling in the refrigerator for at least a half an hour.
Roll out the dough thin as can be on a lightly floured surface - wafer thin, about 1/8-inch, and stamp out using the cookie cutter. Arrange cookies 1-inch apart on prepared baking sheets before sprinkling with a small pinch of salt and sugar. Bake for about seven minutes on a parchment-lined baking sheet or until the cookie edges are golden brown. Remove from oven and cool completely on a rack.
When you are ready to assemble the cookies, place the chocolate in a double boiler (or a bowl placed over a bit of simmering water) to melt. Spread about 1/2 teaspoon of melted chocolate onto the center of the flat side of one cookie. Top with another cookie - matching flat side to flat side. Repeat with the remaining cookies, setting them aside to let the chocolate set.
Makes 2 dozen 1 1/2-inch sandwich cookies.