Upon leafing through Baked Elements, this recipe for Cinnamon Spritz Sandwich Cookies in the Cinnamon chapter was not one that jumped out at me. I’ve never made “spritz” cookies before. I always think of a wine cooler-type beverage when I hear that word, but it does in fact also refer to cookies that are piped, rather than rolled or dropped onto a cookie sheet. They are the type of cookies that one makes with one of those cookie presses, which says “Wilton” all over it– not my cup of tea. What did appeal to me was the whole “sandwich” thing– I’ve rarely met a sandwich cookie that I didn’t want to shovel into my piehole. I’m very happy to say that these cookies were a sleeper hit– absolutely LOVED them! They have a touch of spicy warmth and remind me of autumn breezes. Truthfully, they are perfect for Fall, what with the cinnamon and cardamom; we’re making them in the summer because our baking schedule was accelerated ahead of the October 7th release of Baked Occasions, the fourth book from BAKED (for which I am ever-so-slightly excited). Given how tasty these are, I will gladly eat them at any time of year, but I have a feeling I’ll return to this recipe come November, especially when I inevitably grow weary of pumpkin….
The cookie dough is extremely quick and easy to make, using the standard method of creaming the butter and sugar, adding an egg, followed by the dry ingredients. The dough tastes like cinnamon sugar cookie dough, so things already looked promising at this point!
The “dough” is quite soft, and immediately gets transferred to a pastry bag for piping onto cookie sheets. Although it is much softer than most cookie doughs, it was much stiffer than a frosting that one would normally pipe, and thus very difficult to extrude– I had to squeeze so hard that my pastry bag burst! I tried to pipe little spirals (I like these better than the traditional rosettes), but the first ones were pretty raggedy-looking. It got a bit easier to work with the dough after a while because it warmed up a bit in my hands, but the bag still couldn’t stand up to the thickness of the dough. Next time I will probably use a bigger star tip, or at least one with wide-set “teeth”.
Before they go in the oven, the piped cookies need to be chilled so the dough firms up in order to keep their shape. The cookies baked up with crisp, golden edges at 14 minutes (one pan at a time), except for one batch that was a touch too brown for my liking, because, you know, my oven likes to change temperature spontaneously when I’m not looking. By the way, the most splendid cinnamon-y aroma wafted into my living room while the cookies were in the oven—reason enough to make them, if you ask me.
The recipe yielded 18 sandwiches (a lot more than the recipe estimated, unless I made them very small), and I would’ve had more if my pastry bag had stayed intact. I tried to make some zig-zag shaped cookies, but when I went to match them up, I realized that they didn’t match because they weren’t mirror images. OOPS, I hate when I have to eat the mistakes… 😉
The recipe calls for making a soft meringue filling, with a note that a number of other fillings work well too. I decided to use Graham Cracker Butter from Williams-Sonoma instead of the meringue because I had just made meringue for Banana Caramel Pudding. Yes, that’s right– I said graham cracker butter! I randomly saw a jar of this magical stuff on clearance, and in my hand it went, destined for some as-yet-to-be-determined confectionary application. As I rummaged through through my baking cabinet for filling ideas, my eyes landed upon the jar, and I instantly knew it would be the PERFECT filling for these cinnamon-y cookies.
A dollop of GC butter went onto the bottoms (easiest with a piping bag), and they made for darling little sandwiches. They tasted good, but at first I found them to be a little unremarkable; however, they became more delicious over the next couple of days! The filling set and the crispness of the cookies held up beautifully, flavors melding together. The assembled sandwiches have a nice bite, with just the right amount of softness, such that they don’t crumble or shatter, nor does the filling ooze out of the middle. Only one problem… I am now obsessed with Graham Cracker Butter, but it’s all gone and I want to cry! *throws tantrum and flops on bed*
But since that ship has sailed, I would use speculoos (cookie butter) next time. (I think I’m going to have to come up with a recipe for GC butter though…) Peanut butter and almond butter are also likely to be good choices. Any such “butter” sounds like a more interesting combination with the lightly spiced cookies than the meringue, though I’m sure the latter is tasty as well.
If I’ve managed to convince you that you need these in your life (in the Fall, or say, today), head over to Baked Sunday Mornings for the Cinnamon Spritz Sandwich Cookies recipe, where my fellow bakers’ cookies are posted too! 🙂
© Dafna Adler & Stellina Sweets, 2014.