Makes about 2 dozen sandwich cookies.
Taste Tip: This dough must be prepared in advance. In the icing recipe, 1 tablespoon milk can be used to substitute for the egg yolk. A pasteurized egg is recommended for food safety reasons.
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
⅓ cup heavy cream
2 cups flour, plus extra for rolling dough
4 tablespoons (½ stick) butter, at room temperature
¾ cup powdered sugar
1 pasteurized egg yolk (see Taste Tip)
½ teaspoon almond extract
Food coloring, optional
To prepare cookies:
In a bowl of an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter until creamy, about 1 minute. Add cream and beat until thoroughly combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Reduce speed to low, add flour and mix until just incorporated. Form dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
On a lightly floured work surface, using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Using a 1- to 1½ -inch round cookie cutter, cut dough into rounds and place 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheets. Repeat with remaining dough, gathering up scraps, re-rolling and cutting until all dough is used. Bake until edges are lightly browned, 15 to 20 minutes; do not overbake. Remove from oven and cool 2 minutes before transferring cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
To prepare icing:
In a bowl of an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter for 30 seconds. Reduce speed to medium-low and add powdered sugar, egg yolk (or milk) and almond extract, and mix until light and fluffy (beat in food coloring, 1 drop at a time, if desired). Spoon 1 teaspoon icing into center of bottom of a cookie. Top with another cookie, bottom side up as if making a sandwich, and gently press cookies together. Repeat until all cookies form sandwiches.
2007 Finalist: Patricia Sanford of Edina, Minnesota