Malted Brown Sugar Cookie Sandwiches
With the holidays upon us, I'm sure we're all looking for a ways to be a little more generous with our time, while figuring out how to be more efficient. I don't think it gets much more generous or efficient than these Malted Brown Sugar Cookie Sandwiches. And by that I mean I'm giving you a totally legit way to eat two cookies at once. Hooray!
But these little beauties aren't just about the cookie part. Although that part is quite spectacular, all chewy with crisp edges, salty-sweet, and a hit of malt...ooh, sweet babies of brown sugar, they are a delight all on their own. What really takes it all over the edge is a filling that I might say contained pure magic, if I hadn't made it up myself and knew full well that I was plumb out of magic on that particular day. It's a kind of creamy, dreamy, malty vanilla buttercream, the sort of thing with which you might be very, very prone to steal away, like, say, purposefully into a dark closet, spoon clutched in hand.
Just the other day, I shared with you a fun little Kitchen MacGyvering technique for making your own brown sugar, so one might assume that I'd made the brown sugar to whip up these gems, but actually, it's because of these cookies that I ran out of brown sugar in the first place. So I guess what I'm saying is that these cookies require a healthy amount of brown sugar, and the warm, toasty flavor of it really comes through here. In fact, next time, I might even make my own dark brown sugar, extra dark, specifically for these cookies, even if I already have some of the ready-made stuff in the cabinet. You know, just to celebrate the brown sugar flavor in these addictive little things even more. I mean, that goes against the whole efficiency thing I mentioned before, but, hey--cookies with buttercream filling, here, guys. Go big or go home, right?
And let's not understate the importance of the malted milk powder in this recipe. It gives an incredible depth of flavor and contributes to the cookie's dreamy chew. It has a remarkable way of tempering the sweetness in both the frosting and the cookie, and really bringing the craveworthy sweet-and-salty thing into the foreground. In short, it brings the magic. I dare you to try and eat just one of these cookies. Actually, in the spirit of that aforementioned generosity, I'll totally share this bit of information: it is absolutely impossible to eat just one of these cookies. Truth.
Malted Brown Sugar Cookie Sandwiches
Makes 2 dozen filled cookies
Malted milk powder can be found under the brand names Carnation and/or Horlicks. In most supermarkets, you can usually find it near the teas and hot cocoas, or sometimes near the ice cream fixings. If you've had your can of malt powder for a while, you might want to sift it, just to remove any lumps.
I think these cookies are best when stored at room temperature, in an airtight container. Then again, these don't last more than 2 days, tops, in my house. I'd think that if you were going to store these any longer than 2 days, the fridge would be the way to go. They get even better as they sit, actually.
For the malted brown sugar cookies:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup malted milk powder
1 large egg, at room temperature
For the vanilla malt filling:
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/3 cup malted milk powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Position the oven racks to the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.
Into a medium bowl, sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter, brown sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the malted milk powder, then the egg, until smooth. Reduce the mixer speed to low and stir in the dry ingredients. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake until the cookies are golden brown on the edges, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking, 12 to 14 minutes. Let cool on the sheets for a couple minutes before transferring them to wire racks to cool completely.
To make the filling, beat together all ingredients on medium speed until fluffy and smooth, about 2 minutes. Load the filling into a piping bag and pipe about 2 teaspoons of filling on half the cooled cookies. Sandwich with the remaining halves. Allow the filled cookies to rest for about an hour before serving, to allow the filling to firm up a bit.