Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Cara's Cookies... or Vanilla Cream Cookies

Recently, on the wannafoodie facebook page, I shared the photos for some absolutely beautiful Vanilla Cream Cookies... or Cara's Cookies. The Cara of Cara's Cookies is one Cara Cotter... and she is graciously sharing the recipe and a few of her tips here with us!

I met Cara several years ago through our mutual girlfriend, Sarah (another talented woman and the brains behind STUFF). Sarah has a real knack for bringing together smart and talented women. I remember one girls night in particular... mattress on the living room floor to extend our lounge space, sweets and treats including Cara's cupcakes and Sarah's poutine with actual Quebec gravy, and Working Girl on the television... uhhh, maybe you had to be there.

Back to Cara... she is one of those women that make it all seem quite effortless. I don't doubt that a great deal of effort goes into everything that she does but, like I said, she manages to accomplish so much without -seemingly- breaking a sweat. This is one smart cookie. Raising a family of two handsome boys with her husband while growing two incredible businesses while still finding time to bake beautiful little cookies like these (with puff pastry FROM SCRATCH!)... I'm one impressed woman.

So, while these cookies bake away and fill your kitchen with that sweet satisfying aroma, please check out her other two babies... So Pretty Jewelry ("Part of the magic for me is finding gemstones that I haven't seen anywhere else... a certain cut, amazing quality, or a color that catches my eye for the current season's trends. Just like a chef that searches their local market for the best produce in season I'm constantly searching for the finest stones and materials out there.") and glass.ful (hand blown glass tumblers that "can be used as a candleholder, a vase, a drinking glass or give a splash of color to any room"). I think you'll find yourself equally impressed.

1 cup salted butter
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 cups sifted flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
White sugar and egg white (1 should be enough) for dipping

1/4 cup salted butter
3/4 cup sifted icing sugar
1 egg yolk (omit the egg yolk if you are serving pregnant women and substitute with 2 tablespoons whipping cream)
2 teaspoons vanilla

Start with the pastry... which should be made a few hours ahead of baking (or the night before). Mix the butter, whipping cream, flour and salt thoroughly. Put this dough into the fridge to rest.

When you're ready to start the baking process, preheat your oven to 350 F. Roll out your dough, folding it over a few times as you go. This helps create the fluffy layers and is similar to the process of making a puff pastry. Cut out into 1.5" rounds.

Dip each round into egg whites then into the white sugar on both sides. Place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.

Bake until fluffy and lightly browned, which will take approximately 7-9 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool while you get on with your cream filling.

Blend sugar, butter, egg yolk (or whipping cream) and vanilla until fully incorporated. Spread the cream on the bottom of one cookie, then top with a second, creating little puffed sandwiches.

Cara's Thoughts: "I've been making these for years. For special occasions... baby showers... I've added a touch of food coloring to the vanilla cream filling to make light blue or pink. I've also made a savoury version with whipped goat cheese and herbs."

Thanks for sharing, Cara! We can't wait to see what you come up with next...

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