Buttery Sugar Wafer Sandwich Cookies
My mom and grandma used to make similar cookies every year before Christmas.
What took them hours and hours to make, I could inhale stacks of in just minutes.
Even though I only got the pleasure of inhaling those cookies once a year when I was growing up, I thought they’d make a nice spring-is-almost-here cookie. Perfect for Easter, Mother’s Day, and bridal shower season.
The uber-delicate little buttery cookies literally melt in your mouth. And sinking my teeth into the good old-fashioned thick buttercream is heavenly.
Interestingly, there’s no egg in the dough and it’s made by creaming one stick of butter with a small amount of sugar and vanilla before adding flour. After adding the flour, the dough will be very sandy, pebbly, and dry. Add half-and-half or cream one tablespoon at a time, and mix. The dough will will be on the soft and sticky side and in a small-batch recipe like this, one tablespoon makes a difference. If you need to add a third tablespoon, go for it.
Transfer the dough to an airtight container and park it in the fridge for at least two hours, or up to five days, before rolling it out.
Turn the dough out onto a floured Silpat Non-Stick Baking Mat or floured countertop and cover it with a piece of plasticwrap and roll it out to about one-eighth inch thick. The plasticwrap prevents dough from sticking to the rolling pin and makes for an easier, neater, and cleaner job.
Use a 2-inch cookie cutter or biscuit cutter to make rounds. You may make them smaller, in the one-inch range using a shot glass as your cutter if you don’t have a one-inch cutter, but I frankly don’t have the patience for anything less than two inches. God Bless my mom and grandma; they did.
Re-roll your scraps and use every last bit of dough until it’s gone because this is a small batch recipe, yielding only about 26 wafers, or 13 sandwiches. Place the rounds on a Silpat-lined baking tray and I refrigerated it for an hour before baking because after all that rolling, the dough was on the soft side and I didn’t want them to spread. I fit all 26 on one tray and they didn’t spread much at all.
Before baking, dredge each dough round through granulated sugar. It adds an extra dimension of texture and flavor to the smooth wafers and it’s a must.
After they’ve been sugared and are on the baking sheet, pierce each cookie with the tines of a fork three or four times, making tiny impressions that remind me of tiny button holes. This is not only decorative, but it gives the steam a place to escape so the cookies bake flat and don’t puff up like little air balloons.
Bake them at 350F for about 7 to 9 minutes. I baked for 8 and I urge you not to leave the kitchen and to watch them like a hawk, literally staring inside your oven starting at about 6 minutes. They are small, full of butter, sugar, white flour, and are highly prone to burning.
They’ll look glossy and shiny even when they’re done. You want them to stay light and golden and don’t let them turn brown because the melt-in-your-mouth quality just won’t be there. Pull them even if they look underdone because they firm up as they cool on the baking sheet.
While the cookies cool, make the buttercream. Beat one stick of butter, add confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and beat until you have soft and fluffy buttercream, about 5 minutes. I find 1 stick of butter and 2 cups sugar gives me a firmer frosting, nice for a job like this when I want it to hold it’s shape, but if you prefer looser frosting, 1 1/2 cups sugar will probably do the trick.
Add food coloring slowly, in the color of your choice. (Mint) extracts and food colorings are two things you can’t un-do once they’re in so go slowly. I used about 10 drops of red and it caught me off guard how fast it turned rosy-red-pink rather than pale-pastel-pink.
Dollop a heaping teaspoon of frosting into the center of one cookie, top with a second cookie, rotating the second cookie and smooshing it down slightly so the frosting disperses. I don’t bother with a pastry bag but if you like to make work for yourself, be my guest.
The cookies are what I remember from childhood. Soft, buttery, light, delicate, and airy. They’re not cakey and not dry, which are problems that can plague many sugar cookies. The cookies themselves are more buttery than sweet, and the overall sweetness comes from the buttercream.
The melt-in-your-mouth quality is additively wonderful. The wafers practically dissolve when you bite in, and then you hit the creamy, rich, and dense buttercream and it’s such a great contrast. The baked in sugar crystals also add a bit of texture and make you just want another one.
It’s really a good thing I didn’t make a larger batch because I could go to sandwich-cookie town on these. They remind me of being 10 years old and my mom and grandma leaving me alone with a container of them and in literally a half hour, the container was gone.
It’s just because pink food tastes better.
Buttery Sugar Wafer Sandwich Cookies
My mom and grandma used to make similar cookies before Christmas, but I think they’re too good to only eat once a year. They’re a great springtime cookie, perfect for Easter, Mother’s Day, or baby or bridal showers. The sugary wafter cookies are buttery, delicate, and literally melt-in-your-mouth. The buttercream is sweet, thick, dense and is the perfect compliment to the airy and light little cookies. This is a small batch recipe that’s easily doubled. I adore these cookies!
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened (1 stick)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons+ half-and-half or cream (I used half-and-half)
about 1/2 cup granulated sugar, for dredging
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened (1 stick)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 to 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
food coloring of your choice (I used 10 drops of red)
- Cookies – To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or mixing bowl and hand mixer), add the butter and beat to soften and fluff it, about 1 minute.
- Add 1/4 cup granulated sugar, vanilla, and beat to cream ingredients until fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
- Add the flour and mix to incorporate it. The dough will be very sandy, pebbly, and dry.
- Add two tablespoons of half-and-half or cream and mix. The dough will come together and it will be on the soft and sticky side. If your dough is sandy and dry and hasn’t come together, add 1 additional tablespoon of cream, or as needed, so it combines. I used 2 tablespoons and cannot foresee needing more than 3 tablespoons of cream, but add cream very, very slowly until it combines. Wrap dough in plasticwrap and transfer it to an airtight container and refrigerate it for at least two hours, or up to five days, before rolling it out.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured Silpat Non-Stick Baking Mat or floured countertop and cover it with a piece of plasticwrap to prevent it from sticking to the rolling pin. Roll dough out to about one-eighth inch thick.
- Using a 2-inch cookie cutter or biscuit cutter, cut out the dough into rounds (or if desired, cut them smaller in the one-inch range. Use a shotglass if you don’t have a one-inch cutter). Re-roll your scraps and use every last bit of dough until it’s gone. I made 26 rounds to yield 13 sandwiches.
- Place rounds on a Silpat-lined, parchment-lined, or cooking sprayed baking sheet. I fit them all on one sheet. If dough has gotten soft while rolling and cutting it out, cover and refrigerate the tray for about an hour, which will help prevent spreading.
- Preheat oven to 350F. Before baking, place about 1/2 cup granulated sugar in a shallow bowl and dredge each dough round through the sugar and return sugared rounds to baking sheet. Piece each round three or four times with the tines of a fork to give steam a place to escape so the cookies bake flat and don’t puff up while baking.
- Bake for 7 to 9 minutes or just until they’ve set, rotating trays halfway through baking. I baked for 8 minutes. They’ll look glossy and shiny even when they’re done. Don’t let them turn brown in the least, and pull them even if they look underdone because they firm up as they cool. Don’t leave the kitchen and watch them like a hawk because they’re small, full of butter, white flour, sugar, and are highly prone to burning. Allow cookies to cool for about 5 minutes on baking trays before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.
- Buttercream – While the cookies cool, make the buttercream. Beat one stick of butter to soften and fluff it, about 1 minute.
- Add 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar (I don’t bother sifting), vanilla, and beat until soft and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Play with the sugar ratio depending on how thick you like your buttercream. I find 2 cups sugar gives me a frosting that’s just right for a job like this when I want a firmer frosting, but if you like looser frosting, 1 1/2 cups will probably do the trick.
- Add food coloring very slowly, in the color of your choice, and mix to incorporate.
- Frost one cookie generously with 1 to 2 tablespoons frosting, top with another cookie, sandwich them together, and lightly squeeze. Repeat until all cookies have been sandwiched. I don’t bother with a pastry bag and use a knife and spoon. I used all but1/4 cup of the frosting and prefer to frost them liberally and thicker. Leftover frosting can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month. Depending on your comfort level because of the buttercream, cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for day(s), or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. My grandma and mom kept these cookies at room temperature for days and store them based on your comfort levels.
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