Apple Spice Cookies

The apple butter I was making? This is where some of it went. These are sort of my variation of a recipe that I found in my Martha Stewart Baking Handbook, while looking for a way to use up my extra apples (and actually inspired me to make the apple butter, really). I would describe the result as a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich, but with ginger snaps instead of bread, cream cheese instead of peanut butter, and apple butter instead of jelly.

Some things that I think are good to note: before putting the apple butter on, I froze the cream cheese frosted parts to firm it up so that the cream cheese did not get messed up. I also froze the cookies until about 20 minutes before serving them to prevent the apple butter from making the cookies soggy.

apple spice cookies

Apple Spice Cookies
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp Chinese five spice seasoning
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp clove
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 c) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 c light brown sugar, packed
1/2 c granulated sugar, plus more for rolling
1/3 c molasses
1 large egg
1/4 c apple butter
Apple Cream Cheese Filling

1. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, whisk together the spices with the flour and baking soda and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, beat the butter and both sugars on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add molasses and egg and beat to combine, about 1 minute. Slowly add the flour mixture, beating on low, until it is just combined.
3. Shape 1/2 tbs of dough at a time into balls and roll to coat in granulated sugar. Place about 1 in apart on the baking sheets, and press down to flatten slightly. Refrigerate until firm, at least 30 mins.
4. Preheat the oven to 350oF. Let the cookies come to room temperature. Bake until golden brown, about 15 to 18 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
5. Spread 2 tsp of filling onto the flat sides of half of the cookies. Spread 1 tsp apple butter over the filling. Sandwich with the remaining cookies, keeping flat sides down.

Apple Cream-Cheese Filling
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 c apple butter

In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese and apple butter on medium speed until well-combined, about 3 minutes.

Makes about 25 cookies

Chocolate Malt Sandwich Cookies

In Bloomfield, NJ, not far from where I grew up, there is an old-fashioned ice cream parlour called Holsten’s. They have such lovely things on the menu as the “cherry smash”, and grilled cheese with tomato in addition to a wide range of homemade ice creams and candy. I always loved the “Duster Sundae”, which is ice cream, chocolate syrup, malt powder, whipped cream and a cherry. This was probably the first place that I ever tasted malt powder (aside from Malteasers) – and then one day, I discovered that it was possible to purchase malt powder in a regular grocery store. Imagine that!

So, now that you know all about my love affair with malt powder…a word on the filling of these cookies. It is amazing. Seriously. It has the consistency of chocolate frosting from a can but it tastes just SO MUCH BETTER.

chocolate malt sandwich

Chocolate Malt Sandwich Cookies
2 c plus 2 tbs all-purpose flour
1/2 c unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 c plain malted milk powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 c (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 3/4 c granulated sugar
1 egg
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup creme fraiche (I just diluted some sour cream with buttermilk)
3 tbs hot water

For the filling
10 oz semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
4 tbs (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 c plain malted milk powder
3 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 c plus 2 tbs heavy cream
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, malted milk powder, baking soda, and salt. Beat butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Mix in egg, creme fraiche, and hot water. Reduce speed to low and beat in flour mixture.
2. Place tablespoon-size balls of dough 3 1/2 inches apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Bake until flat and just firm, about 12 minutes. Let cool on parchment on wire racks.
3. Meanwhile melt chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simming water, stirring. Remove and let cool slightly. Beat malted milk powder and cream cheese on medium speed until smooth. Gradually beat in heavy cream, chocolate mixture, and vanilla until well mixed.
4. To assemble the cookies, spread a heaping tablespoon filling on the bottom of one cookie. Sandwich with another cookie. Repeat. Cookies are best stored in a refrigerator.

Makes about 1 1/2 dozen cookies