Vanilla-Orange-Chocolate-Nut-Filling Sandwich Cookie

Sugary, light vanilla cookies pizzazzed up with orange zest sandwich creamy almond-chocolate filling.

Still have to come up with a better name for these . Maybe you could help. The idea for this creation started with the chocolate-almond spread I made a couple of days ago. I thought it would make a delicious filling in a sandwich cookie, and since the spread is chocolate, I wanted the cookie to be vanilla. I found a basic sugar cookie recipe, omitted the chocolate the recipe called for and added vanilla and orange zest. “Perfect!” I thought. A vanilla cookie with orange zest sandwiching chocolate almond spread. How about the name VOCNFS Cookie to borrow from the texting world? Uh… no. I’m open to suggestions!

Vanilla Orange Sandwich Cookie


  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp (1 1/4 sticks) room-temperature, unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • almond-chocolate spread


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Add zest. Mix. Add butter. Mix. Then add egg and vanilla. Continue mixing until dough comes together.
  3. Take rounded teaspoons of batter. Roll into a ball and flatten for uniform cookies. Place approximately two inches apart on a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet. Bake for 9 minutes, until cookies are slightly cracked on the top.
  4. Remove from oven and set baking sheets on a rack to cool.
  5. To assemble the sandwiches: take one cookie and smear chocolate-nut spread evenly on the bottom of the cookie (because the bottom side will be flat. You want the cracked tops of the cookie to be on the outside.) Take a matching cookie and gently press flat side into the chocolate spread. Voila! You have a sandwich cookie. Continue with remainder of cookies.

We took these cookies to our friends’ house. They gave these cookies high marks on the would-you-buy-these-in-a fancy-cookie-shoppe test!

Florentines – Chocolate or Plain?

These crispy yet chewy cookies can be made as a sandwich with a layer of chocolate to hold them together, chocolate dipped, or with a drizzle of chocolate. And they are wonderful without any chocolate at all.

When I was young my family sometimes went to a deli in San Francisco where, out of an assortment of scrumptious confections, I was allowed to pick out a cookie after our meal. Often, I chose a chocolate dipped florentine, a delicious almond cookie flavored with the essence of orange zest, one of my favorite combinations.

We are trying to keep our kitchen as simple as possible in order to ready ourselves for life on a boat with only a relatively small galley kitchen. So it was only after serious contemplation that we recently added a new gadget to our galley – a Miallegro stick blender. Our manual nut chopper has worked well for most duties, but would have been tough to chop almonds fine and consistent enough to meet the needs of this recipe. The stick blender is much smaller than our counter top blender and much more versatile. With 550 watts of power and a dedicated nut chopper attachment, I had finely ground, perfectly uniform coarse almond flour in less than one minute!

Even with the help of the chopper, this recipe was time consuming, but our cookie taste testers all agreed: the result was fabulous. The first step was blanching and skinning the almonds. After some trial and error, I figured out that the easiest way to skin the almonds was to boil them for two minutes and then pinch them out of their skins while they were soaking in cold water. After this step, the almonds had to dry. I let them sit out on a cookie sheet overnight. After the dough is made, it needs to sit for about a half an hour in order to cool enough to handle. I could only bake six cookies at a time, which also added to the time. Lastly, if you dip the cookies or drizzle them in chocolate, this has to be done after the cookies have cooled. Wait! You still can’t serve them until the chocolate sets up. This investment in time results in cookies that end up disappearing quickly! I don’t know which I like better… the chewy yet crunchy texture, or the combination of the orange, almond, and chocolate flavors.

Florentine Cookies

Yields 24 six-inch cookies

  • 1 3/4 cups blanched almonds, sliced (about 5 ounces)
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Finely grated zest of 1 orange (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Chocolate topping (optional):
  • 2 to 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
  2. Pulse the almonds in a food processor until finely chopped, but not pasty. Stir together the nuts, flour, zest and salt in a large bowl.
  3. Put the sugar, cream, corn syrup and butter in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture comes to a rolling boil and sugar is completely dissolved. Continue to boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla, then pour this mixture into almond mixture and stir just to combine. Set aside until cool enough to handle, about 30 minutes.
  4. Scoop rounded teaspoons (for 3-inch cookies) or rounded tablespoons (for 6-inch cookies) of batter and roll into balls. Place on prepared baking sheet, leaving about 3 to 4 inches between each cookie since they spread as they bake.
  5. Bake 1 pan at a time, until the cookies are thin and an evenly golden brown in color, rotating pans halfway through baking time, about 10 to 11 minutes. Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to cooling racks. Repeat with remaining batter.
Optional chocolate topping
  1. Put the chocolate in a medium sized, heatproof bowl. Bring a saucepan filled with 1 inch of water to a very low simmer; set the bowl over the water, but not touching the water. Stir the chocolate occasionally until melted and smooth.
  • For sandwiches, drop about 1/2 teaspoon chocolate onto the flat side of half of the cookies and press remaining halves onto the chocolate covered halves. Return to rack and let chocolate set.
  • For chocolate decor, drizzle melted chocolate over florentines as desired. Set aside at room temperature until chocolate has set.
Recipe courtesy of

Mailanderli (Swiss Butter Cookies)

Growing up, my favorite Christmas cookie was Mailanderli. This Swiss recipe yields buttery, crunchy golden cookies with a citrus essence. As a kid, I loved making the dough and cutting shapes with shiny metal cutters. After the cookies were baked, we kept them in a brightly colored Christmas tin. I remember eating them by the dozen. Christmas is here again and this year I was inspired to bring this tradition back into my own home.



  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 1 1/8 cups butter, melted and cooled to lukewarm
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange (or lemon) zest
  • 2 egg yolks, beaten


  1. Beat the two egg yolks and set aside. These will be used to brush to the tops of the cookies later.
  2. Whisk eggs in a large bowl. Blend in sugar and beat until mixture is thick and pale, about 10 minutes. Mix in the melted butter and salt. Gradually fold in the flour and orange zest. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour or, preferably, overnight.
  3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Lightly grease cookie sheet.
  4. On a floured surface, roll out dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes using cookie cutters. Place cookies on greased cookie sheet and brush with beaten egg yolks.
  5. Bake in preheated oven until golden at the edges, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool cookies on racks.
Yields about 50 cookies

This recipe was slightly modified from Cindy’s. See original recipe at: