Vanilla flecked shortbread cookies sandwiched around a rich chocolate cream filling
If cookies were characters in a royal court (because why not), these vanilla bean cookies with their chocolate ganache fillings would be your ladies in waiting. The standard cast of royalty is pretty well recognized: you have your kings, your princes, and even your jesters, but your ladies in waiting are often overlooked in favor of something richer.
But, as pretty and reserved, as they may be, these ladies simply aren’t going to sit quietly in the shadow of the queen any longer. Today we’re bringing these sweet, small cookies to the throne for some well-deserved recognition.
They’re unassuming, for sure. Delicate, with crisp shortbread shells that snap beneath your teeth, giving way to a silky chocolate center. Shortbread has never been my go-to cookie of choice, but things change when you add real vanilla bean into the dough and cut them into pretty shapes.
Sandwich them around some chocolate, and suddenly they’re starting to seem a little more regal.
Though I’m not typically crazy about shortbread, this is actually my favorite, go-to shortbread recipe (and honestly I’m not sure if it truly counts as a shortbread because I use an egg yolk in the dough for added richness). I’ve used it before here and here, and love how incredibly easy the dough is to make. It has a wonderful buttery flavor, and without the chocolate filling I could pop these cookies one after the other like potato chips.
Trust me, though, it’s worth it to make the chocolate cream.
Vanilla Bean Chocolate Sandwich Cookies
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened
- 3/4 cups sugar
- 1 vanilla bean scraped
- 2 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 large egg yolk
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 4 oz dark chocolate melted and cooled
- 1 stick butter softened to room temperature
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 tsp heavy cream
In KitchenAid mixer or with electric hand-mixer beat your butter until well-creamed.
Add sugar and cream together.
Stir in vanilla bean insides and vanilla bean paste.
Sprinkle in salt, stirring until well-combined, and scrape down the sides of the bowl using a rubber spatula to ensure ingredients are well-incorporated.
Add egg yolk and beat until combined (pausing again to scrape down sides of bowl).
With mixer on medium-low speed, gradually add flour until well-incorporated (you will need to scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl several times for this, as the mixture is fairly dry and crumbs tend to settle at the bottom of the bowl).
Transfer dough to clean surface and use your hands to form it into a cohesive ball.
Flatten into a disk (about 1" thick), cover with clear wrap, and chill for 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350F
Once dough has chilled, transfer it to a clean, lightly floured surface and use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll out to about ¼" thickness.
Lightly flour your cookie cutters and cut out your shapes, transferring them to ungreased cookie sheet, placing at least 1" apart.
Once you have cut out all of the shapes that you can, be sure to re-combine the scraps and roll out and cut out again to get the maximum number of cookies from your dough.
Bake on 350F for 9-10 minutes and allow cookies to cool completely before filling with chocolate cream.
Melt your chocolate and allow it to cool
In medium-sized bowl with an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar until well combined.
Gradually add melted chocolate and stir until combined.
Stir in vanilla extract and salt.
Very slowly stir in heavy cream.
Gradually increase speed of mixer to medium, and then high. Beat on high speed for one minute. Scrape down sides of bowl and then beat on high for 30 seconds longer.
Use a knife or icing spatula to spread a dollop of frosting on the bottom of one cookie.
Sandwich with another cookie, and serve.
The cookie shells will soften the longer the cookies sit.
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