Yesterday, we had 12 guests over for dinner. I prepared the entire meal but wasn't planning to make a dessert, except for a large platter of fresh fruit. When everyone had finished their plate, my father-in-law, Daddy, said: "now let's head to the other room and have the desserts Jackie made!" I tried to whisper to him that there were none, but it was too late.
So I ran into the kitchen and whipped up with these sandwich cookies. I only needed 12 minutes to bake them and used fresh strawberries I luckily had in the refrigerator for the filling. Everyone was still enjoying their coffee and tea when my dessert was ready to be served. I could have waited a bit more for the cookies to cool and get firm but I think they were still enjoyable. Mission accomplished!
Servings: 12 portions
1 whole egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon sugar
⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons apple sauce
4 tablespoons mascarpone cheese
1½ tablespoons strawberry purée (see tips)
¼ cup light brown sugar
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened to room temperature
½ cup powdered sugar, + extra for dusting
For the cookie dough:
Strain out the excess liquid of the apple sauce through a cheese cloth for at least 10 minutes. Squeeze as much liquid as possible.
In a bowl, combine the flour, salt, nutmeg, baking powder and baking soda. Sift all the dry ingredients.
In a mixing bowl, beat the egg with granulated sugar. Add the vanilla extract, mascarpone cheese and strained apple sauce. Then add the dry ingredients, light brown sugar and butter. Mix until well combined.
For the strawberry filling:
Whip the cream cheese until smooth. Sweeten with powdered sugar and add a little color with the strawberry purée. Stir until well distributed.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Note: Top with a "quenelle" of cookie dough: using 2 teaspoons, gather one portion of the cookie dough in one spoon. Scrape the loose mixture from the sides using the other spoon. Repeat between the 2 spoons until the mound is tightly packed. Slide the mound onto a baking sheet.
Place the cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat (I had to make 2 batches and use 2 ovens at the same time). Make sure they are spaced out so they don't touch each other when they expand while baking.
Bake for 12 minutes. Transfer the cookies to cooling racks. Sprinkle with powdered sugar using a fine mesh strainer. Allow to cool completely (preferably).
Pipe about 2 teaspoons of strawberry filling onto the flat side of half of the cookies. Place the other cookie on top and gently press to make the filling visible. Repeat until all the cookies are used.
Sifting dry ingredients helps aerate the mixture when liquid is added for a moist result.
Little reminder on how to make fruit purée: Gather fresh strawberries in a blender. Pulse until smooth. Strain the pulp through a large-mesh sieve, using a silicone spatula to press through as much as possible. Discard the solids. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to use.