By food contributor Kelli
Homemade gifts are always my favorite. To me, they feel more personal, thoughtful and like they come with an extra bit of love. So this year I’m surprising my Valentine with a box of homemade heart-shaped sandwich cookies. This festive treat has a thick layer of rich, chocolate ganache sandwiched between two pink, heart-shaped almond sugar cookies.
To add variety to the gift I used two different size cookie cutters and dyed the dough two different shades of pink. I added, roughly, one drop of red food coloring for the light pink cookies and two drops for the darker ones.
Here’s the recipe…
Heart Shaped Sandwich Cookies with Chocolate Ganache Filling
Makes about 2 dozen sandwiches
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
red food coloring
3/4 cup cream
1 tablespoon butter
6 oz. dark chocolate, chopped
In a small bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg and almond extract, and beat until it’s fully incorporated. Stir in the flour mixture in 2 separate additions, and beat until it’s just combined.
Divide the dough into 2, or more pieces, depending on how many shades of pink you plan to use. Add food coloring one drop at a time, to the first piece of dough, and knead the dough until the color is evenly distributed. Repeat with the remainder of the dough. Wrap each piece of dough in plastic, and refrigerate at least 1 hour. Remove dough from the refrigerator a few minutes before you’re ready to roll it out.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Flour your work surface and roll out each piece of dough to about 1/4-inch thick. If it feels like the dough is sticking, add more flour. Use cookie cutters to cut the dough (and since we’re making sandwiches, remember to cut an even number).
Place cookies 1 inch apart on a parchment lined baking sheet. The baking time will vary depending on the size of your cookie cutter. For a 1-inch heart (measured across the top of the heart), bake for 7-8 minutes. For 1 1/2-inch cookies, bake 10-11 minutes. For 2-inch cookies, bake 12-13 minutes.
Remove cookies from the oven, and cool for 2 minutes on the baking sheets before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make ganache:
While the cookies are baking, make the ganache filling. Combine cream and butter in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove the pan from the heat, add chocolate and stir continuously until the chocolate is fully melted. Cool mixture completely, about 1 hour, before piping onto cookies.
Once the ganache has fully cooled, pour it into a pastry bag (or resealable plastic bag), and cut off the tip for a small opening. Turn cookies so the bottom-side is facing up. Squeeze a small-moderate amount of ganache onto the bottom of half of the cookies. Top with the remaining cookies and press together very lightly.