We're announcing the winner -- and four delicious finalists -- in our 11th-annual Taste Holiday Cookie Contest in Thursday's Taste (you can get a sneak-peek here on Wednesday afternoon).
In the meantime, another holiday cookie contest – this time in Cook’s Country magazine – has yielded a Minnesota winner.
She’s Karen Cope of Minneapolis, and her recipe, Dulce de Leche and Cinnamon Sandwich Cookies (pictured, above in a Cook's Country photo), presides over five other highly bake-able finalists, including Black Cherry-Chocolate Linzertorte Cookies, Pretzel-Potato Chip Cookies with Caramel Frosting and Hazelnut Espresso Truffle Cookies. Cope won $1,000 for her efforts, along with a brush with fame, although it sounds as if she's no stranger to the baking spotlight.
“Recently, Cope has gone from strength to strength in the kitchen,” wrote the magazine’s editors. “She told us that four other items that she baked won blue ribbons of the Minnesota State Fair this past summer.”
DULCE DE LECHE AND CINNAMON SANDWICH COOKIES
Makes about 2 dozen sandwich cookies.
Note: Dulce de lece (or cajeta, pictured, above) is a South American caramel made with sugar slowly cooked with cow’s milk or goat’s milk and can be found in the international or baking aisles of the supermarket.
2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. ground anise
1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 c. sugar, plus ½ c. for rolling cookies
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground anise
1 ½ c. dulce de leche
To prepare cookies: Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt and anise.
In a bowl of an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter and 1 cup sugar until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg and vanilla extract and beat until combined. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture in 3 additions until just combined, scraping down bowl as needed.
In a shallow dish, combine cinnamon and remaining ½ cup sugar and set aside. Working with 2 teaspoons dough at a time, roll into balls and space them 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake until edges are firm, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven and cool 2 minutes, place cookies in cinnamon sugar and turn to coat evenly. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and cool completely, about 30 minutes.
To prepare filling: In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Whisk in cinnamon and anise and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in dulce de lece. Spread 1 ½ teaspoons filling on bottoms (flat sides) of half of cookies. Top with flat sides of remaining cookies to form sandwiches. Cookies can be stored at room temperature for up to 3 days.