The recipe is from the award winning baking book, BraveTart: Iconic American Desserts by Stella Parks, which I received as a holiday gift. Yay! (much more to come from this book, of course) We have tried other homemade versions but agree that this is the best one yet.
The original recipe notes that these “cookies” are really pillowy, soft and tender cupcake tops coated with creamy frosting. In my opinion, calling them cookies adds to their appeal. I made half of the recipe (noted below)- perfect.
Yield: about 12 to 14 3-inch cookies (this recipe can be doubled easily)
For the Frosting:
- 5 oz (1 3/4 cups) confectioners’ sugar
- pinch of Morton’s coarse salt
- 2 1/2 T (1 1/4 oz) heavy cream
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
For the Cookies:
- 1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces; firm but pliable (about 60 degrees F)
- 1/2 cup (3.5 oz) granulated sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- scant 1/2 tsp Morton’s coarse salt
- 1 large egg white (about 2 T or 1 oz)
- 1 T (1/2 oz) heavy cream
- 1/2 T pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/3 cups (5.5 oz) bleached cake flour
- rainbow sprinkles, for decoration
To Make the Frosting:
- Combine the confectioners’ sugar, salt, cream, and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
- Mix on low to moisten, increase to medium, then beat until airy and smooth, about 3 minutes.
- Transfer to a zip-top bag, scraping the bowl as cleanly as you can. (I used a sandwich size bag.) Set aside.
- Wipe any excess frosting from the bowl and beater with a paper towel.
To Make the Cookies:
- Adjust the oven racks to the center of the oven. (I used the 3rd and 5th position.) Preheat to 350 degrees F, preferably on convection.
- Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Combine butter, sugar, baking powder, and salt in the prepared bowl.
- Mix on low with the paddle attachment, then increase to medium and beat until creamy, about 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, whisk egg white, cream, and vanilla together in a glass measuring cup.
- Add the egg white mixture to the butter in four or five additions and beat until smooth.
- Scrape bowl and beater with a flexible spatula, then resume on low.
- Sprinkle in the cake flour, mixing to form a soft dough.
- Fold once or twice from the bottom up to ensure it’s well mixed.
- Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain tip.
- Pipe 6 to 7 1-ounce to 1 1/4-ounce portions onto each baking sheet, leaving 2 1/2 inches between them. (I piped a test portion onto a kitchen scale to eyeball the amount. The swirl was about 2 1/2-inches in diameter.)
- Bake until puffed and pale gold around the edges, about 12 minutes on convection or up to 15 minutes in a standard oven, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time.
- Cool until no trace of warmth remains, at least 20 minutes.
- When the cookies are completely cool, snip off a corner of the frosting bag.
- Working with 2 or 3 cookies at a time, squeeze a scant tablespoon of frosting over each cookie.
- Spread icing into an even layer with an offset spatula or knife. Top with sprinkles, as desired.
- Repeat with remaining cookies.
Note: Cookies are best eaten right away but can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.