These have been at family parties as long as I can remember. They are up there on the top of my “Favorite Christmas Cookie” list and they also top the list for “Most Labor-Intensive Christmas Cookie” so I make lots in one day to be most efficient. Thankfully, they freeze well.
Time: 3-5 hours, depending on cookie size and batch size
Yield: about 50 tiny cookies
- 1 cup soft butter
- 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 cups flour
- 1/4 cup soft butter
- 1 egg yolk
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- granulated sugar
To make the cookies, beat the soft butter with a spoon until fluffy. Add the flour and cream and mix well. It will take a lot of effort to get the flour in, but keep at it. If necessary, finish the mixing with your hands.
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Set out some cooling racks for later.
Clump the dough into a ball and roll it out on a floured surface. The dough should be very thin, but not too thin. About the thickness of a tortilla. That isn’t a very universal measurement, but you get the idea. You will want them thin enough that they create a small bowl shape underneath as they bake, and thick enough that they hold together when you move and frost them. If necessary roll, cut, and bake a couple of mini batches to test the thickness.
When you are satisfied with the thickness of the dough, cut the cookies out with a small circle cutter. I use a doughnut hole cutter, which makes them very small indeed. You can use any size you want, but they are a very rich cookie so a little will make you feel full. Also, the bite-sized ones are very easy to eat.
Prick each cookie with a fork or toothpick, and bake them on a cookie sheet until they are lightly browned around the edges. I baked mine for 13-15 minutes on a metal cookie sheet, but if you use a cold stoneware sheet, it could take longer. When they start to look like they are almost ready, keep a close watch to ensure they don’t over brown.
Remove them from the pan and let them cool completely on the racks you set out earlier.
Meanwhile, make more cookies, re-wadding all the dough bits and reusing. The dough does not degrade with handling.
When they are all baked, prepare the frosting. Mix together the soft butter, egg yolk, and vanilla. Add the powdered sugar.
I like to do this in my stand mixer to get everything well incorporated, but it usually needs a bit of a hand-stir at the end to get the edges mixed in well. Put the frosting in a pastry bag, if you have one, with a medium-sized star tip. If you don’t have the cake decorating accouterments, you can make an awesome homemade pastry bag by cutting the corner off of a gallon-sized plastic zipper bag. Smush the frosting into the snipped corner, and voila! Instant pastry bag!
Next you will want to prep a plate with sugar. Each cookie will be dipped in sugar, frosted, and sandwiched with another cookie for the ultimate rich, sweet, crispy, melty cookie.
Now, make a nice work area for yourself so that you have within reach: wafers, the plate of sugar, a plate or tray for the completed cookies, and the frosting.
Cover the surface of the sugar with wafers- top side down.
Pipe the frosting onto half of the sugared wafers and top with the other sugared wafers. I personally like generous frosting, and usually need about another half batch of it to frost all the cookies. Bottoms and tops of each cookie will be sugared to maximize the melt-in-your-mouth-ness. When cookies are filled and topped, remove them from the sugar and set them aside. Repeat until all the cookies are frosted and sandwiched. I tried to take a picture of me frosting them, but it was a two-handed job, and, most unusually, there was no one at the house with me.
They may be eaten immediately, or refrigerated or frozen for later. I personally like them cold from the fridge or freezer the best, but they are excellent either way.