RECIPE: Red, white and blue sandwich cookies

These cookies are like soft OREO's. They can be a bit futzy to make with piping the dough out onto the baking sheet. You could scoop the dough out, yet you won't get the coverage needed. This recipe calls for shortening as it is what makes the cookie soft and still hold up some shape – butter is not suggested. I suggest finding large piping bags and having 1M or similar tips to create the design here. The star tip is preferred as it spreads out the dough creating a thinner cookie. When you remove them from the oven, let them cool in the pan for five minutes before placing on cooling rack to finish. Spraying your baking mat is a good thing to do so the cookies stick less, and having a thin, metal spatula also will let with removal of the cookies from the pan as they are soft and they won't get damaged. I scrape the cookie bits off the end of the spatula after each pan to make sure there is no build up, as that will damage the soft cookies. When cooled, they are much more durable.

1 1/3 c. butter-flavor shortening

2 1/2 c. sugar

1 tbsp. vanilla

1 tsp. salt

4 eggs

1/2 c. buttermilk

1/2 c. Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa powder

4 c. AP flour

Red Food Paste

Blue Food paste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line half-sheet pans with Silpats and spray with release agent such as Bak-klene. Combine the shortening and sugar together in a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until crumbly, this will not cream. Add the vanilla, salt and eggs (one at a time), mixing until combined. Add the buttermilk and cocoa powder, mixing again until combined. Batter will be very dark, don't worry – we will saturate it with the food paste. Finally add the flour, one cup at a time until dough is thoroughly mixed. Scrape bottom of bowl with a spatula to make sure all the ingredients are mixed together. Divide dough in half, then place one half back into bowl with paddle attachment and add 2 tsp. of one of the food paste colors – mixing well to saturate the dough. Remove from mixer and repeat doing the other color.

Place half of one color into a large piping bag fitted with a 1M (or similar) star tip, pipe a 3? spiraled circle (roughly 3 turns around) onto the Silpat-lined baking pan. I would get eight on a pan, since they spread out a bit when baking. Bake for nine minutes (roughly), they will be puffy and dry looking all over, no shine. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for five minutes before removing and placing onto a cooling rack to fully cool. The cookies are fragile somewhat, so if you have a thin, metal spatula that is recommended. I also scraped the cookie bits off the end of the spatula after each pan to make sure there was not build up that would damage the cookies. When cooled, they are more durable – still soft, yet durable.

Bake all the cookies off and let them cool completely.

Filling

1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 c. (1 stick) regular shortening, room temperature

2 tbsp. vanilla bean paste

4 c. powdered sugar

1, 7 oz. container marshmallow cream.

In the bowl of your mixer fitted with the whip attachment, beat the butter and shortening together, followed by the vanilla bean paste and powdered sugar – beating on high until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Finally add the marshmallow cream and whip until combined.

Place half of the filling into a large piping bag fitted with a star tip, I use 1M and sparingly pipe a loose spiral on top of one of the colors of cookie, then top with a cookie of the opposite color and gently press together. I state to pipe the filling sparingly as the cookie can get sweet fast with too much filling.

Serve immediately or cover and serve later – enjoy!

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