These are the show-stopping cookies you will want to whip up to impress even the most jaded cookie swapper. Light and buttery, they taste as good as they look. And by dipping the dough in a rainbow of sanding sugars you can make them as bright and festive as you'd like!
These cookies were part of Gourmet magazine's last December issue, published in 2008. The recipe is included in Gourmet's cookie book that's in bookstores now, however, it will always remind me of the sadly departed magazine.
Apart from the time it takes to pipe filling and sandwich the cookies together, these are fairly simple to make.
A few recipe tips:
• I found that using a teaspoon to form the dough into balls worked better than pinching off bits of dough with my fingers because the dough is rather sticky.
• Resist the temptation to make the dough balls any larger than a scant teaspoon; Ideally when sandwiched together you want to be able to easily pop them into your mouth.
• Chill the finished sandwiched cookies until you plan on serving them so they will better hold their shape.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat.
Combine flour, cornstarch, and salt. Whisk until well distributed.
Beat together butter and confectioners' sugar with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add zest and vanilla, then gradually add flour mixture. Mix at low speed just until dough forms.
Put sanding sugars in different bowls. Roll a teaspoon of dough into a ball and roll through sugar, turning to coat. Transfer to baking sheet, spacing the balls 3/4 inch apart. Chill dough balls on baking sheets about 30 minutes to help them retain shape during baking.
Bake until tops are slightly cracked and bottoms are pale golden, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer cookies to a rack to cool completely.
To make filling, beat together all filling ingredients in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed. Transfer to a large sealable plastic bag or pastry bag. Snip off one corner if using a plastic bag.
Once cookies are cooled, turn over half so the flat sides are facing up. Pipe about 1/2 teaspoon filling on to each overturned cookie. Sandwich with remaining cookies.