These fabulous, crisp, cookie sandwiches are among my most requested cookies. The dough is simple to make and doesn't need a prolonged chill. Making sandwiches can be time consuming, so I've given some quicker alternatives at the end of the recipe.
MAKES ABOUT 30 TWO-INCH SANDWICHES
1 cup (3.5 ounces) pecan halves
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at cool room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1-3/4 + 2 tablespoons (243 grams) all-purpose flour, fluffed, scooped and leveled
1/2 pound semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon oil
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. with shelves in the lower and upper thirds of the oven. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Food Processor Method:Grind the nuts and sugar in the food processor until the nuts are finely ground, about five, 5-second bursts.
Add the butter and vanilla, and pulse until well mixed. Add the salt and flour, and pulse on and off, until the mixture starts to form a ball. Turn the dough out of the processor onto a piece of plastic wrap. Press the dough into a ball and wrap the dough tightly and chill for 20 minutes or more, until firm.
Grind the nuts and sugar in a food process or other grinder. If using a spice or coffee mill, you'll have to do this in several smaller batches. Place the butter, sugar and vanilla in a mixer bowl, and beat on medium speed for 10-15 seconds to blend the two together. Add the salt and flour, and beat on low speed just until the dough comes together. Turn the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap. Press the dough into a disc about 1/2-inch thick . Wrap the dough tightly and chill for 30 minutes or more, until firm.
For a foolproof rolling method, cut open a jumbo zip-top bag so that it is hinged on one long side. Flour the inside of the plastic and place one piece of dough inside. Roll the dough between the sheets of plastic to slightly more than 1/16-inch.
Cut out cookies using a 2-inch daisy or 1-1/4-inch round cookie cutter. Cut out the centers, using a 1/4-inch pastry tip or cutter, or a cutter of the size you find pleasing. Place on the cookie sheets.
Bake for a total of 8-12 minutes, moving the top cookie sheet to the lower shelf and the bottom sheet to the top after half of the baking time (no need to do this if using a convection oven). The cookies should be starting to brown. Slide the parchment paper onto cooling racks. Let the cookies cool for 15 minutes before filling or decorating.
Melt the chocolate and oil in a microwave-safe container, on medium power, until the chocolate melts, about 1-2 minutes. Stir until the chocolate and oil are well combined.
Spread a thin layer (about 3/4 teaspoon) on a cookie and immediately top with another cookie. Repeat until all cookies are sandwiched.
I make these cookies in all different shapes; oblongs without holes, cookies with only a hole in the top, rounds with smaller holes or the daisies, above. If time is an issue you can make single cookies (not sandwiched) and drizzle chocolate on them.
SERVING AND STORAGE
The cookies may be stored for a few days in a sealed container or plastic bag. They may also be frozen in a covered container, with waxed paper between layers. This way you'll be able to defrost each cookie individually. They’ll keep frozen for 3 months. Defrost at room temperature, unwrapped.