Chicago pastry chef Karen Urie Shields' sandwich cookies are a labor of love (and a bit pricey) but really unusual and delicious for a treat.

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Ingredients

Toasted Corn Grit Sandies

Maple Cream Filling

Directions

Toasted Corn Grit Sandies

  • For cookies: In a medium bowl, combine flour, ground dried corn, ground grits and 1 teaspoon salt; set aside.

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  • In a large bowl, beat 2 1/2 cups of the softened butter with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds. Add powdered sugar. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in as much of the flour mixture as you can with the mixer. Stir or knead in any remaining flour mixture. Refrigerate dough, wrapped in plastic wrap, for 30 minutes or until easy to handle.

  • Preheat oven to 325°. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll balls in granulated sugar to coat. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Flatten balls to 1/4-inch thickness. Bake until centers are set, 12 to 14 minutes. Cool on sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Maple Cream Filling

  • Meanwhile, prepare filling: Fill a large bowl with ice water. Place an empty large saucepan in the large bowl; set aside. In a second large saucepan, combine maple syrup, oil and the remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the saucepan. Without stirring, heat syrup mixture over medium heat to 235°, about 20 minutes. Pour syrup mixture into the first saucepan in the ice bath; cool to 100°, about 30 minutes.

  • Remove from ice bath. Stir mixture with a wooden spoon until light-colored and the texture of cake batter, 20 to 30 minutes. (This crystallized, thickened syrup is called maple cream. Making it is a slow-and-steady process; invite a friend to take turns stirring.) Remove 1 cup of the maple cream and stir it together with the remaining 1 cup softened butter. (Save the leftover maple cream, tightly covered, in the refrigerator, for spreading on toast or waffles.)

  • Assemble sandwiches using filling and two cookies. Store cookies in refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Tips

Layer cookies between waxed paper in an air-tight container. Refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze up to 3 months.

*

A Pennsylvania Dutch brand, Cope's corn is slow-dried whole-kernel corn with a sweet, toasty flavor. It's available online, or you can use 1 1/2 cups cornmeal. (To substitute cornmeal for both the Cope's corn and the grits, use 2 3/4 cups total. The cookies' flavor and texture isn't quite as interesting with all cornmeal, but it works.)

Nutrition Facts

280 calories; 14 g total fat; 36 mg cholesterol; 164 mg sodium. 37 g carbohydrates; 2 g protein;

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