Hubby and I just taste tested Salt-N-Pepper Sandwich Cookies and the verdict is: WE LOVE THEM! The filling in the center is creamy and even better than Oreo's, the pepper gave a little "kick" that is fun, and the fleur de sel sprinkled on the top was just right...it offset the sweetness of the filling to balance it out. These are a great cookie! And it is delightful to try a new cookie and come away knowing that I will make it again and again!!!
I really did not want to use shortening. Period. I just do not use shortening in any of our foods. Ever. But I am committed to trying the recipes as written as much as possible. I want to learn new things, so I am up for a try. But...shortening is gross. So, I went on a hunt and found this shortening which I had not previously known existed and I am encouraged to use shortening again as an ingredient in some recipes. I recommend this shortening. The filling had a great taste...not like shortening that I can often feel on the roof of my mouth, and the benefits of not using something like Crisco are a no brainer. The filling was perfect! I would not change anything, but I did run out, so next time I will make a larger quantity.
I've been learning about and trying different fun salts...this Fleur de Sel being one of them. It is pretty and a "soft" flavored salt...goes very well with pastries. Both Hubby and I enjoyed the salt...I had thought Hubby would like it as he is a "salt" person...loves French fries, chips, pretzels, etc. I am more of a sugar person, so I wondered if I would have preferred some pretty sugar crystals sprinkled on the top instead, but to my pleasure, I do like this salt on these cookies, and I would use the salt again.
The dough rolled and cut out nicely after refrigerating. However, I think I let the cookies sit out a bit too long on the cookies sheets waiting for the oven because they did not keep their pretty pre-baked shape while baking. Our temperatures in AZ have been 90+ this week and we're not yet air conditioning...we are truly enjoying the heat!!! But I think the cookies do not, so next time I will be more careful to keep them chilled while waiting for the oven.
Also, with all the filling, the salt, and the pepper, Hubby and I both commented that although the cookies are exceptionally good, we would like them to be more chocolaty. Their chocolate flavor was hidden even though I used good qualities for both the powder and the melted chocolates.
I decided to quickly pipe on the filling and I would also do this again...quick and easy and no mess...and I made the filling while the cookies were baking, put it into the piping bag, and it just waited for me...actually for several hours until I had time to finish sandwiching the baked cookies. No refrigeration, no transferring the filling to a covered container...it was just all good and ready to go when I was ready.
The only other change I would make is to cut the cookies much smaller...so that they would bake about Oreo size. My cookies were excellent, but quite large as they grew in the oven. I used a 2" cutter, but ended up with at least 3" cookies, and with a top and a bottom and goodness in the middle this is a much larger size than I had anticipated. Also, because they are large, I will add 2 minutes to the bake time for this size of cookie. A 1" cutter would be adequate, and would expand to about Oreo size or a little larger.
This is a very nice Sunday evening treat...My family is coming to visit soon and I have a tasty surprise waiting for them to try.
Note: Before baking I read several of your posts and I must admit that I came away wondering if I should add any pepper and I was warned that the size was large...but I decided to try the recipe as written. I am glad that I kept the pepper, but I should have heeded the size warning. Always fun to learn from you all out there in cyber space. Later tonight I will be excited to look again and see what you all have done.