In a move that surprised no one more than me, over the weekend I went to a Superbowl party. Me, the lady who, while dedicated to the sport of baseball as though it were the holiest of religions, does not care for football at all—not even a little. I have friends who love football, Midwestern friends, for whom football exists on a plane similar to that of baseball in my life. This particular party, in fact, was teeming with Midwesterners, people I have known for going on two decades, and who have tried, with no success whatsoever, to get me interested in football.
I’ll tell you what I am interested in, however: food. And chatting. And friends. And to my absolute delight, did you know that Superbowl parties, rather than being an afternoon once a year when people get together and solemnly watch a sporting event on television while mentally screaming obscenities, verbally bemoaning the state of one’s life as a sports fan, and trying really hard not to throw stuff across the room (which, yes, is the way I watch baseball games, and this should come as no surprise to anyone: see here for further explanation), are actually an opportunity for friends to get together, eat a lot of food, and chat about stuff? As noted before, those are my interests. Thus, I can only deduce that, while not interested in the Superbowl, I am apparently very interested in Superbowl parties. I have decided that I am very okay with this development and will henceforth duly note the date of all future Superbowls and start planning my food contribution immediately.
This year, not quite knowing what to expect from a football-centric get together, I opted to make cookies for the party. There was a moment of extreme over analysis on my part that almost resulted in the making of something more “footbally,” e.g. chili, or perhaps…beef? Like I said, I am new at this, and thus prone to bouts of extreme ignorance.
So, cookies. And not just any cookies, but sandwich cookies. Caramel-tinged and buttery, with a slip of brown butter-flecked cream encased in the middle, these might be my new favorite cookie for any time at all, sports or no sports. A little drop of red food coloring in the cream filling would make these a quaint Valentine’s Day cookie, and I suspect that upping the pinch of sea salt in the filling to a full ¼ teaspoon would result in a fantastic salted brown butter cream that would send these cookies straight into the cookie hall of fame. That said, as they stand now they are certainly close to legendary, so making them as-is will still earn rave reviews from friends, family, and sports fans alike
Caramel Cream Sandwich Cookies
Adapted from Pillsbury Best Cookies Cookbook
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 egg yolk
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 ¼ to 1 1/3 cups powdered sugar
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk
pinch of sea salt
Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a large bowl, combine brown sugar and 1 cup butter. Beat until light and fluffy, then add egg yolk and blend well. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the flour and salt, and mix well.
Shape roughly 1 heaping teaspoon of dough into 1-inch balls, rolling the dough in between your hands. Place dough 1 ½ to 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. With a fork dipped in flour, flatten each dough ball into a 1 ½-inch round.
Bake on center rack of oven for 10 to 14 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies just begin to turn golden brown. Cool cookies for 1 minute on baking sheet, then remove cookies to a wire rack to continue cooling completely, about 15 or 20 minutes. I baked the cookies in two batches, with 24 cookies per sheet.
To make cream filling, in a small saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat until the butter begins to brown (first the butter will foam, then bubble, then you will see the milk solids in the butter begin to turn into little brown flecks on the bottom of the pan). When the butter is dark golden, remove it from the heat and pour it into a medium bowl. Stir in remaining filling ingredients, adding 1¼ cups of powdered sugar at first, then adding more if you desire a firmer cream filling. Blend until smooth.
When cookies have cooled, spread a generous ½ teaspoon of filling between 2 cookies. I allowed my filling to sit for about 10 minutes, which allowed me more control over patting the filling evenly between the cookies. You may not be so fastidious.
Makes 24 sandwich cookies.