Yield: Approximately 20 completed sandwich cookies
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, sifted
¼ teaspoon baking powder
1 ¾ cup (3 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened, divided
1 ¾ cups granulated sugar, divided
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Cooking spray to coat pans
Red and green food coloring (optional)
Red and green sanding sugars or sprinkles (optional)
Notes: Sifting is important to the texture of these cookies. If you don’t have a sifter, you can use a colander or fine mesh strainer and a spoon. Place the strainer in a deep mixing bowl. Add dry ingredients, whisk them together, then use the spoon to tap the side of the strainer and sift the ingredients into a bowl.
• This recipe shouldn’t be doubled to make a larger batch. The cookies need a light hand, and larger batches would be worked too hard.
• These cookies spread when baked, so be sure to leave room between each.
• Gel food coloring works well for this creamy frosting.
• Leftover frosting may be stored in an airtight container and kept in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days. To use, remove from fridge and let stand 10 minutes. Stir and use.
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside
3. Using a hand or stand mixer, add ¾ cup softened butter (1 ½ sticks) to the mixing bowl and beat the butter at a low speed for 30 seconds to get it creamy.
4. Add 1 ½ cups granulated sugar to the butter and beat on high, scraping down the bowl once or twice, until the mixture is lighter in color and fluffy. Mix in the egg thoroughly.
5. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the bowl in three additions and mix on medium-low speed until they are just incorporated. Don’t overmix. This dough comes together quickly.
6. Lightly coat the baking sheet with cooking spray. Parchment paper also works for this dough.
7. Roll the dough into 1 ½-inch balls (approximately 1½ teaspoons of dough). A cookie scoop works well to keep the size consistent.
8. Place remaining ¼-cup granulated sugar in a shallow bowl. Roll balls of dough in the sugar. Place coated balls on prepared sheet 1½ inches apart. Carefully flatten each ball evenly, using a glass with the bottom dipped in granulated sugar to prevent sticking.
9. Bake at 350 degrees for 4 minutes. Turn the sheet and bake an additional 4 minutes.
Place baking sheet on a wire rack to cool. Let cookies stand on sheet for a few minutes. Using a spatula with a thin leading edge, remove cookies to another wire rack to cool.
10. To make the filling, place 1 cup (2 sticks) softened butter in a large mixing bowl. Using a hand or stand mixer, beat the butter and vanilla on high until it is light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar in three additions and beat on medium-high until creamy.
11. Add optional food coloring at this point if desired. Divide the filling in half and place in separate bowls. Add red to one, green to the other and mix each until blended.
12. To assemble the sandwich cookies, roll 1½ teaspoons of filling into a ball and place on the back of one cookie in the center. Top with another cookie and press gently so the cookies don’t break. More or less filling may be used according to personal preferences. Again, a cookie scoop works for this task.
13. If desired, roll or sprinkle the edges of the filling with nonpareils, sprinkles or with red or green colored sugars.
14. Store in an airtight container.
Per sandwich cookie: 274 calories; 14g fat; 9g saturated fat; 36mg cholesterol; 2g protein; 37g carbohydrate; 29g sugar; 1g fiber; 101mg sodium; 13mg calcium
UPDATE: A previous version of this recipe called for the incorrect amount of butter.