Unfussy Fare

Chocolate Cookie Sandwiches with Vanilla Filling


Guilt is a powerful motivator. I’ll start with the confession.  My friend Sarah left some of these cookies on our porch, wrapped individually in red-and-white checked paper, and nestled on a tiny scalloped tray. She’s like that. She doesn’t just bring a thoughtful surprise. She wraps the thoughtful surprise in a charming package with a bow.

There was one cookie for each of us. In the course of a few hours, I ate all three. It was gluttonous and wrong on many levels. My conscience has been hounding me ever since that greedy greed fest.

And so I bring you cookie penance. If there’s anyone whose spirits you’d like to lift, or if you’re feeling contrite about that thing you did (you know who you are), I recommend you buy yourself some butter and get started.

For me, it was like this: The overflowing basket of clothes was STILL sitting there, not folding itself. Emails were backing up. The dishwasher needed emptying. But rather than bite the bullet and cross a few tasks off my list, I broke out the mixer and three sticks of butter.

A good cookie can put any pile of laundry into perspective. These beauties are just the ticket for existential grumpiness.  How grumpy can you be, really, with velvety chocolate and vanilla having a dance party in your mouth?  Oreos will never again cross your lips. They are feeble imposters.

By my standards (which are really low, or really high, depending on your perspective) these cookies are the teensiest bit fussy. Despite the short ingredient list, you still have to make cookies AND filling. I won’t lie to you. That means washing the mixer and bowl twice. I know, I know. The blog is called “Unfussy Fare.” But rules are made to be broken, and in this case it’s worth it. Life’s petty concerns will wait for an hour. They can hang out in the corner, with the dust bunnies.  You’ve got amends to make.


The chocolate shortbread cookie recipe came from Sarah, who tells me it was originally Martha Stewart’s. Sarah also helped me realize I could make up my own vanilla filling, which I did. If you like a more refined-looking cookie, you can take more care than I did to roll, cut, and fill them evenly. Mine are, shall we say, rustic-looking. That’s because I am lazy and I cut corners wherever I can.

makes 18 sandwiches

1 ½ cups flour
¾ cup cocoa
½ teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 egg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk together flour, cocoa, and salt.

In a mixer, beat sugar and butter together until fluffy.

Add egg and beat until mixed.

On low speed, add dry ingredients. Mix until the dry ingredients are incorporated.

Shape the dough into two round discs about one inch thick. Wrap each disc in plastic wrap and chill for one hour. If the dough is too sticky to roll out, chill it some more. If it’s too hard, let it warm up a little.

Roll the dough out on a well-floured cutting board until it is ¼ inch thick.

Cut cookies with a two inch cookie cutter (or an espresso cup, if you’re me and you don’t have a two-inch cookie cutter). Gather up the scraps, roll them out, and cut a few more cookies.

Bake on a parchment-lined cookie sheet for 12 minutes, or until they look dry to the touch.

Cool cookies completely.


¾ cup powdered sugar
6 tablespoons butter, room temperature
¾ teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon milk

Beat ingredients together with a mixer until smooth.

Spread one tablespoon of filling on the flat side of a cool cookie. Top with another cookie.


16 Responses to “Chocolate Cookie Sandwiches with Vanilla Filling”

  1. Chris says:

    Betrayal! Sarah brought those cookies for me. What’s worse? I learn this first over the internet. Outraged, I remain,

    Your Loving Husband.

  2. Pam Rokke says:

    Wonderful! I’ve had a lot of trouble with cookies at Monument’s 7,000+ ft. altitude. It seems to have been more of a problem than when we lived at USAFA. However I will try these and let you know how I do.

    I made the blue cheese dressing for tomatoes today for lunch. You’re right — you can just eat that dressing alone with a spoon. I did!

  3. Gillian says:

    These might be a good choice for high altitude baking, since they don’t really rise, and they use no leavening agent. Hope they work out for you up there at 7,000 feet!

  4. Derek Oslo says:

    My grandmother made a cookie like that, before she passed away. They remind me of her quirky, little cottage. Bring on the entrees!

  5. Gillian says:

    Yes. Thank you. Next stop, entrees.

  6. saveliberty says:

    A friend of mine had a similar recipe and she made one giant sandwich cookie. I suspect that this recipe would be superb.

  7. These are great!! Yum!!! Way better than any oreo!

  8. Grandy says:

    I am trying desperately to think of someone, sometime who has wronged me sufficiently–and still wants to remediate–to send this recipe! Failing that, I may have to recall some thoughtless thing I perpetrated upon myself… would that be wrong? Or should I do something purposefully upon a loved one and make up for it with these cookies? You have created a moral quandary that I think requires a philosophical-ethical consult. Respecting the tone set by Unfussy Food, however, I think I’ll just make the darn cookies.

  9. Gillian says:

    Andy: You could just make them as a blanket apology to the universe. Then eat them all yourself.

  10. [...] of dessert. Note the butter content, and the rough-hewn look. As we already established with the Chocolate Cookie Sandwiches, I

  11. hungry dog says:

    These cookies are beautiful! I could eat three by myself in about five minutes. No problem. I like your blog–you have a nice writing style. I’ll be back!

  12. christina says:

    I love the wooden board you use!

  13. Gillian says:

    Thanks, Christina. I love my cutting board, too. I’m old fashioned that way. And a lot of other ways, too, come to think of it.

  14. Gillian says:

    Thanks, Hungry Dog! I discovered when I made a batch of these that three cookies is not my limit. Nope. Not at all. Enjoy!

  15. Zoe says:

    Hi Gillian,
    How long do you think these would last unfilled in an airtight container? I want to make them with a peanut buttercream filling for a party on Saturday and I’m wondering if baking them Thursday night is too early?
    Thanks :)

  16. Gillian says:

    Hi Zoe: I think these are an excellent candidate for storing in an airtight container. Since they have that dense shortbread consistency, and they don’t really rise, I think there will be less of a tendency for them to dry out. It’s only two days. And peanutbutter cream filling is pure genius. Good luck!

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