Why you should bake it: Because chocolate, and coffee, together? It’s a recipe for a long, happy marriage.
Degree of difficulty: Not too challenging. Rolling dough, using a cookie cutter, forming sandwiches; it all comes with practice.
What we didn’t tell you: In the original story from 2009, baker Jane Stern shared this tip, and it’s still true. She recommended buying the best cocoa available. Stern turns to Kitchen Window for Valrhona; the Calhoun Square store sells it in bulk.
Fun fact: Stern, a prolific and talented holiday baker, changed the cookie’s original name from “Amy-oes” (from cookbook author Tish Boyle and her “The Good Cookie”) to “Clare-oes,” in honor of her daughter Clare. She could have also dubbed them "Coffee-oes," because there's a delicious hint of coffee flavor in both the cookie, and the filling.
Makes about 15 sandwich cookies.
Note: This dough must be prepared in advance. This 2009 finalist is from Jane Stern of Minneapolis, who adapted it from “The Good Cookie” by Tish Boyle.
1 1/4 c. flour, plus extra for rolling dough
2 tsp. instant espresso powder
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 c. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 c. granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 c. Dutch process cocoa powder, sifted
For buttercream filling:
3 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 c. plus 2 tbsp. powdered sugar
1 tbsp. strongly brewed coffee, plus extra if filling is too thick
To prepare cookies: In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, espresso powder and salt, and reserve.
In a bowl of an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter until creamy, about 1 minute. Gradually add granulated sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg and beat until thoroughly combined, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary. Add vanilla extract and beat until thoroughly combined. Reduce speed to low and gradually add cocoa powder, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary and mixing until just incorporated. Add flour mixture in 3 additions, mixing until just incorporated. Divide dough into two equal pieces, shape into disks, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 325 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper. On a lightly floured work surface, using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Using a 2-inch round or scalloped cookie cutter, quickly cut as many circles as possible and place cookies 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheets. Repeat with remaining dough, gathering up scraps, re-rolling and cutting until all dough is used. Bake cookies, 1 sheet at a time, until they no longer look wet and are soft to the touch, 7 to 9 minutes; do not overbake. Remove from oven and cool 2 minutes before transferring cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
To prepare buttercream filling: In a bowl of an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter until creamy, about 1 minute. Reduce speed to low and gradually add powdered sugar, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary. Add coffee and mix until blended (adding more, 1 teaspoon at a time, if necessary to reach desired consistency). Increase speed to high and beat until buttercream is creamy, about 2 minutes.
To assemble cookies: Spoon 1 teaspoon buttercream filling into center of bottom of a cookie. Top with another cookie, bottom side up as if making a sandwich, and gently press cookies together until filling spreads evenly to about 1/16-inch from edge. Repeat until all cookies form sandwiches.