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Noche Buena Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

Noche Buena Chocolate Sandwich CookiesThese festive, holiday Mexican chocolate sandwich cookies, filled with dulce de leche, are traditionally served on the night before Christmas.

Recipe Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons coffee liqueur, such as Kahlúa® (or 2 tablespoons brewed coffee)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 ounces fine-quality bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped, melted, and cooled*
About 1/2 cup dulce de leche or very thick, spreadable caramel**

For Garnish:
Ground almonds
Additional cocoa, cinnamon and/or chili powder

Cooking Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF (175ºC) with oven racks in upper and lower thirds.
  2. Sift or whisk together flour, cocoa, chili powder, cinnamon and salt in a bowl until combined. Set aside.
  3. Combine butter and sugar in a bowl. Using an electric mixer or wooden spoon, beat until light and fluffy.
  4. Add egg yolks, coffee liqueur (or coffee) and vanilla, beating well, scraping down the sides after each addition. Mix in the cooled chocolate.
  5. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients 1/2 cup at a time, and mix until combined well.
  6. Drop batter by rounded teaspoons 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets. If desired, sprinkle with ground almonds. Bake, rotating the baking sheets halfway through, until cookies are puffed up and dry looking around the edges, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer with a metal spatula to racks to cool.
  7. Continue with the remaining dough, making sure to let the baking sheets cool between batches.
  8. To fill the cookies; spread 1/2 teaspoon of dulce de leche on the flat side of a cookie, top with a second cookie to form a sandwich. Fill remaining cookies in the same manner.
  9. Dust with additional cocoa powder and a sprinkle of cinnamon, ground almonds and/or chili powder.

Makes about 2 to 2 1/2 dozen.

*For the best chocolate flavor, look for bittersweet chocolate with a minimum of 60 percent cocoa solids.

**Dulce de leche is available near the canned milk at Latin markets and many supermarkets.

Recipe and photograph provided courtesy of Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, Inc.