Friday, February 15, 2013

Poppy Seed Sandwich Cookies

It's time to have some fun with sandwich cookies.  I love making cookies of all kinds - crispy, crunchy, soft, chewy, sandy, nutty, spicy; piped, cut, rolled or dropped.  What makes pastry so much fun is the delicious variety of all these shapes, sizes, tastes and textures.  Sandwich cookies are a bit more fancy just by virtue of their filling but they aren't really a whole lot more work, especially when you keep the ingredients simple.

Poppy seeds are an ancient ingredient widely used in Eastern European pastries.  I've used them here to make poppy seed cookies with a hint of lemon.  The filling is a nice gooey cream cheese frosting that also has a spritz of lemon to keep it bright and not overly sweet.  If you prefer a simple shortbread, these cookies are also perfectly good plain.  And since they're made in a food processor, they take very little effort.

Bench notes:
- For an inexpensive alternative, I buy poppy seeds at World Market.
- Gently gather and re-roll scraps for additional cookies.
- These would also taste great filled with some raspberry or blueberry jam.
- Cookies soften a bit when filled so if you'd like to keep them crisp, fill them just before you're ready to serve.  Cookies will keep in an airtight container; the filling will keep in the refrigerator.
- If you love poppy seeds, try this tender Poppy Seed Cake with Mascarpone Cream.

Poppy Seed Sandwich Cookies
Makes about 32 cookies or 16 sandwich cookies

2 C flour
1/2 C confectioner's sugar
1/4 C poppy seeds
1/4 t salt
zest of 1 lemon
8 oz (16 T) cold butter
1 egg
1 t vanilla

4 oz cream cheese @ room temperature
1 1/2 oz (3 T) butter @ room temperature
1/2 C confectioner's sugar, sifted
2 t lemon juice
1/4 t vanilla

Place the flour, confectioner's sugar, poppy seeds, salt and lemon zest into the bowl of a food processor and process to combine.  Cut the cold butter into 1/2" cubes and add to the flour mixture.  Process 10 - 15 seconds.  Combine the egg and vanilla and pour over the mixture.  Process about 15 seconds until the dough starts to clump around the center of the machine.

Gather the dough and divide in half.  Place half of the dough on a piece of plastic wrap.  Cover with another piece of plastic wrap and roll out to a circle 9 1/4" in diameter.  Slide onto a sheet pan and refrigerate until completely chilled.  Repeat with the other half of the cookie dough.

When the cookie dough has been thoroughly chilled, preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment or silpats.

Remove one sheet of cookie dough from the refrigerator and lift off the plastic wrap on both sides.  Using a 2" round or square cookie cutter or other similar sized shape, cut out cookies and place on prepared cookie sheet.  Refrigerate.  Repeat with second sheet of cookie dough.

When oven is ready, bake the cookies until the edges just start to take on some color, about 12 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through.  Cool on a wire rack.

For the filling, whisk together all of the ingredients until smooth.  Spread onto half of the cookies and top with remaining cookies.


VelezDelights said...

Thanks for saying they also go well with jam. I was actually thinking to ask you that as I was looking at the pictures.

pastry studio said...

Well, you know me - always thinking of fruit!

Sue/the view from great island said...

I'm a sucker for poppy seeds, and I can just imagine how crunchy these cookies are. The lemon cream cheese filling is the perfect touch!

Luv'n Spoonfuls said...

Love, love, love poppy seeds, so am very excited to try this recipe out (although I suspect, as with everything else on your blog, they are highly addictive ;-)

Heather said...

Lemon poppy seed, always a killer combination.

pastry studio said...

Luv'n Spoonfuls, hope we can manage our addiction properly!!

Ginger Bread Lad said...

Never heard of anything like this before, they sound delicious!

Keir said...

Hi, This recipe looks wonderful, but I'm wondering if it could be done like a traditional butter cookie. For example, roll up the dough in plastic wrap and then cut into rounds, rather than the method of rolling out into a sheet of dough?

pastry studio said...

Greetings, Keir! Yes, you can certainly roll the dough into logs and slice into 1/4" thick rounds. Just be sure to chill the logs thoroughly before slicing. Hope you enjoy them!