Here’s a great cookie recipe from Food & Wine. These cookies are rich, with the filling lending a subtle Indian flavor.
The recipe calls for adorning the cookies with gold leaf and dried flowers, but, alas, I didn’t feel like purchasing them just for this occasion.
These are well worth the effort, but note that the recipe makes 3 dozen cookies, which is a lot. We had to give a ton away to keep from eating them all. Halving the recipe would probably work if you don’t want too many of them.
What you’ll need:
- 4.75 cups (about 20.25 oz.) plus 2T all-purpose flour
- 2.25t baking powder
- 1t freshly ground cardamom
- 0.75t fine sea salt
- 1.5 cups unsalted butter (12 oz.), softened
- 1.5 cups granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1t vanilla extract
- 1 4-oz. white chocolate bar, roughly chopped (about 0.75 cups) or just use high-quality white chocolate chips
- 1.75 cups nonfat powdered milk (about 4.75 ounces)
- 1 (13.4-oz.) can dulce de leche
- 3T ghee
- 3T whole milk
- 0.75t fine sea salt
- 0.25t ground cinnamon
What to do for the cookies:
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, cardamom and salt in a medium bowl; then set aside.
Combine the butter and sugar in a *stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat it on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, as needed. Now add the egg and vanilla and beat for a couple of minutes until well combined. With the mixer running on low speed, gradually add the flour mixture and continue beating for a couple of minutes until all the dry ingredients are completely incorporated into the dough, which will be lumpy.
*Or just use a large bowl and a hand mixer.
Dump out the dough mixture onto a clean work surface and knead it until it just comes together. Don’t over-knead. Divide dough into two large equal-size disks, tightly wrapping each with plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge for at least an hour or up to 3 days.
When ready for baking, heat your oven to 350°F. If the dough is too cold for rolling, let it warm on the counter until pliable enough. Unwrap 1 disk and roll it between 2 sheets of parchment paper to about a 0.25-inch thickness. Remove the top parchment sheet, and using a 2-inch fluted round cookie cutter, cut 36 circles from the dough. Re-roll and cut the scraps, as needed. Add the dough circles to a parchment-paper-lined cookie sheet about .05-inches apart and freeze them for 10 minutes. You can use multiple cookie sheets for this step, if you have them. Bake in the 350°F oven for about 10-11 minutes until the tops are dry, but the cookies have not started to brown—keep an eye on them. Let the cookies cool on their cookie sheets for a couple of minutes before carefully moving them to a wire rack to cook completely. Repeat until all the dough is used and you have 72 or so cookies.
What to do for the dulce de leche peda filling:
Heat your oven to 300°F. Spread the powdered milk into a thin, even layer on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake the milk until light golden-brown, 12 to 16 minutes. Let it cool and sift the milk through a fine wire-mesh strainer. Throw out the big chunks that don’t make it through the mesh.
Combine the sifted powdered milk and dulce de leche in a large nonstick skillet, and cook for about 3.5 minutes over medium-low, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula until well combined and no dry milk-powder remains.
This next step will initially look like a mistake because of all the unincorporated ghee. After cooking, though, it all comes together. Add the ghee, milk, salt, and cinnamon, and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is shiny and mostly smooth—about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let it cool for about 5 minutes. While the filling is cooling, prep your work area to pipe the filling onto half the cookies.
Transfer the filling to a piping bag or ziplock plastic bag with a 1/2-inch hole cut off a bottom corner. The filling will be really hot, but it has to be for it to pipe properly. Use a kitchen towel or double-up some nitrile or vinyl gloves if it’s too hot for you. Arrange half of the cookies upside-down on a clean work surface. Pipe about 2t filling onto the center of each cookie. Sandwich with their cookie counterparts and gently press to spread filling to edges. Let cool 15 minutes.
What to do to finish the cookies:
*Place the white chocolate in a small microwavable bowl, and microwave on high until melted and smooth. Stop and stir every 30 seconds—it should take about 1.5 minutes. Transfer the chocolate to a piping bag or a ziplock plastic bag with an 1/8-inch hole snipped in the corner. Drizzle 36 cookies with chocolate. Or, you could dip a spoon or fork in the chocolate and drizzle it over the cookies, which is what I did, to fairly good effect.
If you so desire, decorate the chocolate drizzle with gold leaf and edible flowers—this would give them a fantastic look. Don’t handle the cookies until the white chocolate has cooled and set.
*The recipe calls for doing this step before making the filling, but it seems much more logical to do this as the last step.