Gluten-Free Vanilla Wafer Sandwich Cookies filled with a light lemon cream. Perfect for gifting! more
Sandwich cookies fill up cookie-gift boxes with all the space they take up. Not to mention that they’re impressive since all you have to do is use an open star piping tip for the filling & people think you’re a wizard. They’re sandwiches, so I bet you could eat them for lunch (but not if you’re my children forget about it’s not going to happen okay maybe on your birthday).
These aren’t shortbread cookies, really, because they have an egg. The egg really helps them hold their shape, though, and you can forget about making neat little sandwiches otherwise. Trust me I tried a million different combinations and my kitchen trash was heavy and sad two days in a row. I promise you that it’s the simplest of recipes that are going to be the end of the me you have come to know and perhaps enjoy just a little bit (hopefully). And anyway, I never nag you so you must like me more than my husband must sometimes. Right?
I put lemon zest in these cookies because it perks them up. Pay attention cookies! But it’s completely optional since you have to add a lot of lemon to make these truly lemon cookies. But whatever you do, don’t just zest a couple lemons and figure you’re all done in the lemon department. You really need to zest, then chop chop chop chop chop, or the lemon zest lends a certain unpleasant texture to such simple cookies.
You have my express permission to decide whether you want these cookies to be a little more brown, and so a little more like shortbread since they’re more crumbly, or, well, or not. And they really do need no more than 10 minutes unless you roll them super thick or unless you don’t have a properly heated oven. You need an oven thermometer, not for nothing, since even a properly calibrated oven will eventually wander off into poor calibration. And you don’t know, if you don’t have an oven thermometer. By the way, if that sounds like a nag, well, at least now you know how my husband feels. I’d better go give him a cookie.
One big dollop of filling on the underside of half of the cookies is nothing short of gorgeous, even before you sandwich. At this point, I’m so into how pretty baking can look all along the way that, even if I quit this food blog cold turkey (don’t worry I have no plans to do that), I’d probably still take pictures along the way. Oh oh and the cookies themselves are not very sweet, since that big dollop of filling balances them right out. And I’m nothing if not balanced. Aren’t I?
Now go eat your sandwich. It’ll make you big and strong.
For the Cookies
1 1/2 cups gluten-free cake flour (172 g high-quality all purpose gluten free flour + 38 g cornstarch)*
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)
1/2 cup (58 g) confectioners' sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon finely chopped lemon zest (from about 2 lemons) (optional)
8 tablespoons (112 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 extra-large egg (60 g, without the shell) at room temperature, beaten
*In place of 1 1/2 cups gluten-free cake flour, you can use the same amount, by weight, high-quality all-purpose gluten-free flour. Your cookies will simply be a bit denser.
For the Filling
8 tablespoons (112 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon powdered lemon peel (optional)
2 cups (230 g) confectioners' sugar
2 to 4 teaspoons milk, at room temperature
Preheat your oven to 325°F. Line rimmed baking sheets with unbleached parchment paper, and set them aside.
Make the Cookie Dough. In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, confectioners' sugar and salt, and whisk to combine well. Add the optional lemon zest, and whisk again to combine. Add the butter and then the egg, and mixing to combine after each addition. The dough will come together and should be smooth and relatively thick. Place the dough between two sheets of unbleached parchment paper and roll into a rectangle a bit more than 1/8 inch thick. Place the dough on a flat surface and place in the freezer until firm (5 to 7 minutes).
Make the Filling. While the dough is chilling, make the filling. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, place the butter and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the salt, optional powdered lemon peel and confectioners' sugar, and mix on low speed until the sugar is absorbed. Turn the mixer to medium speed and mix until the filling comes together (3 to 4 minutes). It will be very thick. Add 2 teaspoons milk, and mix on medium speed until the filling becomes smoother and creamier, but still thick. Add more milk if necessary to reach the desired consistency. Transfer the filling to a pastry bag fitted with a large piping tip (I used a large open star tip, like this one), and set it aside.
Bake the Cookies. Once the cookie dough is chilled, cut out shapes using a 2 1/2 inch oval (or round) cookie cutter. Place the cutouts on the prepared baking sheets less than an inch apart from one another (they will not spread during baking). Place the baking sheets, one at a time, in the center of the preheated oven and bake, rotating once, until just beginning to brown around the edges (about 10 minutes). Remove from the oven and allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Assemble the Cookies. Turn over half of the cookies, and pipe a generous amount of filling on each overturned cookie. Top with the remaining cookies to create sandwiches, pressing down gently to force the filling to the very edge of the cookies. Allow to sit at room temperature (or in the refrigerator) until the filling is set. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
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