Updated: Nov 30
The magic that takes place when mixing an almond shortbread cookie with a perky jam and some icing is nothing short of spectacular. I say a lot of the things I bake are my favorite and that's because I love variety and flavor and these sandwich cookies do not leave me disappointed. They are a tradition now that I look forward to every year. These cookies are soft, buttery and filled with almond flavor which just seems to be an essential Christmas flavor.
I don't have much of a story about these cookies other than I decided one year to mix one of my butter cookie recipes with one of my favorite shortbread recipes and before the herald angels could sing, we had Snowflake Berry Almond Sandwich Cookies. Like many recipes in my kitchen, I was being careless and after many hours on my feet and lack of sleep, I combined these two recipes unknowingly until halfway through mixing my ingredients. I have baked these multiple times to achieve the perfect flavor and the right texture. The cookie itself is soft with every so slightly crisp outer edges, filled with bits of crushed almond and just sweet enough so these are phenomenal on their own but keep reading to make them into an irresistible treat!
Some things to know about these cookies before you begin baking:
These cookies can be made gluten-free by replacing your white, all-purpose flour with a 1-to-1 or measure for measure all-purpose, gluten-free flour. I personally like Bob's Red Mill 1-10-1 Gluten Free Baking Flour for it's texture, reliability, and consistency in all my bakes. If you're planning on making these gluten-free, no worries-the dough will roll out just the same is if making this recipe with typical all-purpose flour.
The dough for this cookie is delicate and tender. I recommend wrapping it and leaving in the refrigerator for up to 2 hours however, the longer the better. When you're ready to roll out the dough, make sure it's soft enough to manipulate and roll but not too soft where it becomes squishy. This will cause spreading in your cookies while they break and the dough will be too soft to hold a shape with a cutter.
You can use any cookie cutter or shape that your heart desires! I love making these into snowflakes not just to celebrate Christmas but I make them again and again to enjoy throughout the winter season. I use a 4-inch snowflake cutter from Wilton's (linked below) that I love.
Mix your jam fillings! I love using Bonne Maman's Mixed Berry or Four Fruits for these but a cherry or raspberry jam would be perfect as well.
Make sure cookies are completely cooled down before spreading jam onto them. They are very delicate, especially fresh out of the oven. Once you've assembled the sandwich cookies, it's a good idea to allow them to rest for a few hours, again, if not overnight.
These cookies are an act of love that takes some time so it's best to make them when you're not feeling rushed.
3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup light brown sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 ½ cups almonds, finely ground
Preferred jam, for filling
For almond glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 tablespoon heavy cream
Preheat oven to 325°. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and nutmeg, set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter, and sugars together until light and fluffy. Add in both extracts and mix on medium speed. Slowly add flour mixture and mix until fully combined. Stir in ground almonds. Cover bowl and let rest in refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours minimum or overnight for best results.
Remove from refrigerator and allow to rest for 30 minutes to an hour (the dough should be soft enough to roll but still cool in temperature). Roll dough on a heavily floured surface. The dough should be about ½ an inch in thickness. Using your cookie cutter(s), cut dough into shapes and place 1 inch apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, just until the edges become slightly golden brown.
Once cookies are cooled, spread 2 teaspoons of jam on the bottoms of half of the cookies and top each cookie with another, creating a sandwich.
Whisk together glaze ingredients and drizzle over cookies by spoon or use a piping bag for more precise lines.
Allow cookies to rest until glaze is fully dry for best results before serving.