What do you think about sandwich cookies? Hi, it’s Jillian here with this month’s Delicious Bites column. You know, even though I like to eat chocolate and I bake with chocolate all the time for others, I rarely eat chocolate desserts. However caramel is a completely different story. I just love it! So today I’m bringing you a recipe for walnut cookies sandwiched with caramel.
These cookies were supposed to be pecan dulce de leche sandwich cookies. When I checked my cupboard, the bag of pecans I thought were there were in fact walnuts left over from last month’s Plum Crumble Cake. The weather in Sydney last weekend was just awful and I couldn’t face walking back to the shops in the wind and rain just to get pecans, so I used what I had. I think toasted almonds or macadamias would also work really well in this recipe if that’s what you have lurking in your pantry.
The cookie dough is quick to make but it’s really soft so don’t be tempted to skip the fridge time as it will make slicing the cookie dough impossible. If you don’t feel like making sandwich cookies, you can roll the still warm cookies in icing sugar (confectioner’s sugar) soon after they come out of the oven to make Mexican wedding cakes.
Dulce de leche is hard to find in Sydney so I made some myself at home using a tin of sweetened condensed milk. Dulce de leche is really easy to make so I’ve included the instructions for you. I’m warning you it’s really delicious and a bit addictive. I think I ate more licking the spoon than made its way into the jar.
Here are the recipes for you.
Walnut Dulce de Leche Sandwich Cookies
Makes about 40 filled cookies
250 g (8 oz) unsalted butter
1/3 cup caster sugar
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
300 g (2 cups) plain flour, sifted
125 g (4 oz) finely chopped toasted walnuts
Additional ¼ cup finely chopped toasted walnuts
1/2 cup dulce de leche
In large bowl, beat together the butter, caster sugar, brown sugar and vanilla until fluffy. In separate bowl, stir together flour, the 125 gm of finely chopped walnuts and stir into butter mixture to make a smooth dough. Divide the dough in half; form each into 1½ inch (4 cm) wide log. Roll each log in the additional finely chopped walnuts, pressing so they stick to the cookie dough. Wrap each log in kitchen paper and refrigerate for 1 hour or you can freeze the logs at this stage to use later.
Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F). Line 2 trays with baking paper. Cut the logs into ¼ inch (5 mm) thick slices and arrange 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart on the prepared baking trays. Bake until golden, about 15 minutes.
Transfer the cookies to a wire rack; let cool completely before storing in an airtight container. Just before serving, spread the bases of half the cookies with about 1/2 tsp of dulce de leche for each cookie. I used a piping bag but a knife or teaspoon will do fine. Top with remaining cookies to make sandwiches.
Homemade Dulce de Leche
1 x 395 gm tin condensed milk
Preheat the oven to 220° C (425° F).
Pour the tin of sweetened condensed milk into a shallow baking dish. Set the baking dish into a larger pan, and add hot water until it reaches halfway up the side of the baking dish. Tightly cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake for 1 1/2 hours. Add more water to the roasting pan as necessary. Once the condensed milk is nicely browned, remove the dish from the oven and let cool. Once cool, whisk the caramel until smooth before spooning into a sterilized jar. Store the dulce de leche in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
I hope you like the cookies. I’ll be back again next month with another recipe for you, so see you all then – Jillian
(text/images: jillian leiboff)