In the moments when baking seems most impossible, I think of cookies and I smile.
That’s because I know that as soon as I can get back to baking, I will be baking cookies.
Is there anything more perfect in baking then a warm cookie, fresh out of the oven?
How about a heart-shaped warm cookie, fresh out of the oven, smothered in creamy goodness and then sandwiched with another heart-shaped cookie?
Come on! You can’t resist that. Not even the most hardened soul could be immune to that kind of baking firepower.
As I ease my way back into baking after a prolonged (for me) period away from the kitchen, I give myself over to the will of the baking fairies who clearly wanted me to bake these cookies.
They’re from Nigella Lawson’s Feast: Food to Celebrate Life. The baking fairies had their way with me on this one.
Not a day after I found myself pondering what to do with a mostly full canister of Bird’s Custard Powder (left over from this Daring Bakers’ challenge), I happened to be flipping through Nigella’s book and came across a recipe for Custard Cream Hearts which uses, you guessed it, Bird’s Custard Powder in both the cookie and the cream filling.
I bow to the wisdom of the baking fairies.
I went into the kitchen and engaged in the beautiful act of baking cookies.
I mixed and rolled and cut out and baked and mixed some more and filled and sandwiched and ate.
And I smiled.
Butter Cookies with Custard Cream Ã la Nigella
Based on a recipe from Nigella Lawson’s Feast: Food to Celebrate Life.
Note: I used a roughly 2-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter and was able to get about 20 sandwich cookies out of this recipe (that means I made about 40 heart-shaped cookies). I altered the original recipe by making it more of a butter cookie and adding some cinnamon for flavour. Store the cookies in an airtight container. They should keep for a few days.
For the cookies:
1-Â½ cups all-purpose flour (you will need extra flour to roll out the cookies)
3 tablespoons Birdâ€™s Custard Powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
Â½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 large egg
1 tablespoon whole milk (you may need a bit more)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Put all of the dry ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Cut the butter into small cubes and add to the flour mixture. Pulse 15 to 20 times, or until the butter has been cut into the flour mixture so that it looks crumbly.
Mix the egg and milk together in a small bowl.
With the processor running, slowly drizzle in the egg/milk mixture until a dough forms around the blade of the processor. You may not need to use all of the liquid. If you use all the liquid and the dough is still dry and won’t come together, drizzle in a tablespon or so of extra milk.
Once the ball of dough has formed, stop the processor and remove the dough. Shape it into a round disk and then wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least half an hour (you can refrigerate it for up to a day).
Once the dough has chilled, remove it from the refrigerator and roll it out on a floured surface. You can roll it out to whatever thickness you like. I prefer thicker cookies because they remain a bit more tender after baking.
After rolling our your dough, begin cutting out cookies and transferring them to the baking sheet.
Bake the cookies until golden (I rolled my cookies out to about a 1/4 inch thickness and baked them for about 18 minutes). Once baked, remove the cookies from the oven and let cool for about five minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
For the cream filling:
1 tablespoon Birdâ€™s Custard Powder
Â¾ cup icing sugar
Â¼ cup unsalted butter, at room temperaute
Hot water (youâ€™ll need a bit to help cream the mixture together)
Â¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
You can make the filling in a bowl using a wooden spoon or with an electric mixer.
Place the custard powder and icing sugar in a bowl and mix. Add the soft butter and using a wooden spoon mash it into the powder/sugar mixture a bit.
Add a few tablespoons of hot water to loosen the mixture. Continue beating with the wooden spoon.
If it’s too dry and not creamy, add a few more tablespoons of hot water and keep beating with the wooden spoon. Continue doing this until you have a creamy and light mixture.
Add the vanilla extract and cinnamon and mix well.
To assemble the cookie:
Take one heart cookie and spread about a teaspoon of cream filling on one side. Take another heart cookie place on top of the cream filling to form a sandwich.