As I’m writing this, I’m also checking up on the most recent updates about the fire at Notre Dame in Paris. I was completely heartbroken earlier today to see the news that the cathedral was on fire – it is such a beautiful building and it’s important historically, culturally, architecturally, religiously… the building itself is a work of art. To think that it has lasted over 800 years and survived a revolution and two world wars just to accidentally burn is so upsetting.
I love to travel and have been fortunate enough to visit Notre Dame in person twice. The first time I was only 15 but I still remember being in awe of the massive cathedral, its huge open ceilings, the flying buttresses, the iconic gargoyles. My favorite part has always been the rose windows, though. I’ve always loved stained glass and those rose windows are just stunning. It is truly heartbreaking to know that a part of history has been lost forever.
Somewhat fittingly, I was originally trying to make chocolate sables, a buttery French shortbread, when I came up with these cookie sandwiches. I planned to sandwich the crumbly chocolate cookies with an espresso Swiss meringue buttercream. However, I didn’t have any cocoa powder, so I used 2 oz of melted semisweet chocolate instead. I also hate to waste anything, so, knowing that I needed two egg whites for the buttercream, I used two egg yolks in the cookie instead of just one.
I think the extra yolk and the melted chocolate instead of cocoa are the reason why the texture came out soft and chewy instead of crumbly, but I actually really like the soft texture of the cookies with the silky smooth buttercream. I also included a little bit of espresso powder in the cookie itself, not just the filling, to really drive home the chocolate-and-coffee flavor.
- 2 oz semisweet chocolate
- 1 cup AP flour
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2 egg yolks, room temp
- 1/2 tsp espresso powder
- 1 tsp vanilla
Espresso Swiss Meringue Buttercream
- 2 egg whites
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup butter, softened
- 1 tsp espresso powder dissolved in 2 Tbsp water
- 1 tsp vanilla
Make the cookies. Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.
Using the microwave or a double boiler, melt the chocolate. Let it cool slightly. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add in the chocolate and mix until just incorporated.
Add the egg yolks, espresso powder, and vanilla. Slowly add in the dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated. The dough will be very malleable; turn out onto parchment or wax paper and chill for 30 minutes or until firm enough to roll out.
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Once chilled, roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface. Cut out cookies with a cookie cutter; I used a 2-inch scalloped cutter and got 50 cookies out of it, but feel free to use whatever size/shape you want.
Bake the cookies on parchment lined sheets for 8-10 minutes. Let cool completely before moving off the sheet as they will be delicate; the cookies will look puffy when they come out of the oven but will flatten as they cool.
Once the cookies are completely cool, make the buttercream. Whisk together the egg whites and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Place the stand mixer bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water.
Continue to whisk the egg whites and sugar until the sugar is fully dissolved and the mixture is beginning to look fluffy, about 10 minutes. Move the bowl back to the stand mixer and whip with the whisk attachment until the bowl is cool to the touch and the meringue is big and fluffy.
Switch to the paddle attachment on the mixer and slowly added in the butter a couple tablespoons at a time. Once the butter is all incorporated, add the dissolved espresso powder and the vanilla. Beat until fluffy and then pipe the frosting onto half of the cookies. Top with the remaining cookies to make cookie sandwiches and enjoy!