Moroccans cut these cookies into petite shapes or rounds, making them elegant enough for tea time or special occasion spreads. You can make them larger if your like. After baking, the cookies are sandwiched together with caramel cream made from sweetened condensed milk. Ground toasted almonds, peanuts or coconut can be added to the filling.
Because the filling is quite sweet, my sister-in-law prepares the cookies without any added sugar. I prefer the moderately sweetened dough below. Store the cookies in the freezer to maintain a crispy texture, or at room temperature for a softer cookie.
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 1 hour
Chilling time: 3 hours
Total Time: 5 hours
Yield: 5 dozen 2" sandwich cookies
- 9 oz. (250 g) butter, softened
- 1 cup (200 g) sugar
- 2 whole eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 3 cups flour (approx.)
- 1 cup corn starch
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg, beaten (optional, for egg wash)
- 1 can ( approx. 14 oz. or 400 g) sweetened condensed milk
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups peanuts or blanched almonds, toasted and ground (optional)
- OR 1 cup grated unsweetened coconut (optional)
Make the Cookie Dough
By hand or with an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar. Add the whole eggs, egg yolks and vanilla and beat until smooth.
Blend the remaining dry ingredients together in a separate bowl and gradually add them to the butter and sugar mixture. Mix until a dough forms, adding a little more flour only if you feel the dough is too soft.
Divide the dough into three or four potions, wrap in plastic, and chill in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.
Bake the Cookies
Preheat your oven to 350° F (180° C).
Take a portion of chilled dough and allow it to warm slightly. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough until quite thin, about the the thickness of a thin piece of cardboard. (Optional: If you'd like to decorate the dough, drag the bottom of fork tines across the surface of the dough to create parallel lines or a grid effect.)
Cut out small rounds or shapes and transfer the cookies to baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Gather up the scraps of dough to use again, chilling the dough again if necessary for easy handling. Repeat until all of the dough is used.
If desired, lightly brush the top of the cookies with an egg wash. Bake the cookies, one pan at a time, until pale golden in color, about 9 to 10 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool for a minute or two on the pan, and then transfer the parchment paper with cookies to a rack to cool.
Make the Caramel Cream Filling
The caramel cream can be made in a pressure cooker or in the microwave. Pressure Cooker Method: This requires little attention and can be done while baking the cookies. Place the unopened can of sweetened condensed milk in a pressure cooker. Add 1 1/2 to 2 liters of water, cover tightly and bring to pressure. Cook for 50 to 60 minutes. Remove the can to cool for 10 minutes before opening. Stir vigorously to cream and smooth the mixture, and stir in the optional nuts or coconut if using. Microwave Method: This should be done after the cookies have baked, as it will require more careful attention. Pour the sweetened condensed milk into a medium-sized microwave safe bowl and cook for 2 minutes on medium power. Stir and cook again for another 2 minutes on medium power. Stir, and cook on medium-low power for another 8 to 12 minutes, until the sweetened condensed milk thickens and turns a medium-light caramel color. Stir occasionally while the milk is cooking, and watch carefully to avoid burning or prevent the filling from rising over the sides of the bowl. Once it has thickened and colored, stir it vigorously to smooth the mixture. Mix in the optional nuts or coconut if using.
Fill the Cookies
Fill the cookies while the caramel cream is still warm, as it will thicken and become difficult to work with once cool. Put a dollop of caramel cream on the center of one cookie and top with another cookie, pressing slightly to spread the filling. Allow the caramel filling to cool and set before storing the cookies in an airtight container.