sandwich generation

bdayoreoIn the past few weeks, I've been back in travel-to-see-someone-in-the-hospital mode. This is, to say the least, kind of disorienting.  My sense of reality was not helped one thin iota by getting out of the subway in New York City last week and seeing a group of about 14 man-sized rabbits walking up Broadway.  Some had rabbit-heads squarely on their heads, and some had them jauntily tipped back so their human heads were showing, and some had them tucked under their arms.  The ManRabbits were chatting amiably about what they saw on TV the night before and the price of coffee and all the regular things companionable pedestrians chat about. streetrabbit

This being New York City, where my mother once came home to report she had seen a sidewalk full of people avert their eyes from a man who was entirely naked except for a red string around one of his ankles, everyone pretending he was invisible even as he systematically set fire to each of the trash cans on the corners between 77th street and 74th, no one but me seemed to notice the rabbits.  Nothing to see here, folks.

I cowered behind a pillar and took a picture, which thanks to the miracle of modern telecommunication I was able to immediately text to a friend in Massachusetts.  "Please tell me what you see in this photo," I said, remaining carefully neutral and not leading the witness at all.

Fortunately for my plan not to be fitted for one of those jackets with the wraparound sleeves for a little while longer, she saw rabbits.


As it happened, I could have toughed it out and learned the answer without a data plan on my phone.  As I went about my visiting and errand-running in the neighborhood in question over the next several hours, I encountered more and more rabbits.  Picketing rabbits.  Rabbits filling the upper deck of a big red bus in tidy rows.  Rabbits handing out treats.  It turned out to be a promotion for a candy company.  When the number of rabbits increased and they got kind of organized, the rest of the people in New York besides me agreed to notice them.

Which is all to say, everything will probably turn out to have a simple explanation.

In the mean time, if someone asks you to make chocolate sandwich cookies with raspberry buttercream filling, thanks to me (really thanks to the daughter who requested them for her birthday), you will be ready to rock and roll.  When the request was filed with the Birthday Dessert Regulators (me), I looked for a gluten-free cookie recipe because I knew I too wanted to eat one of these things she was describing, and I found one here.  Though my pantry lacked the terribly weird flours he called for and I had to substitute flours of lesser weirdness, and the method was unusual, the cookies were quite fine and could comfortably pass as a regular cookie among the glutinous (though the original recipe generously offers measurements for using regular flour if your circumstances demand it).

If you want the tell-tale tooth blackening that my friend Alana rightly praises as the hallmark of the Oreo, then I highly recommend springing for a bag of black cocoa powder.  Since you only need a bit of it in with the regular cocoa in anything you want to make magically more blackly cocoa-ish, one bag will last you through many batches of baking.

To fill the cookies, I made a half-batch of my favorite swiss buttercream and mixed in about 2/3 of a cup of seedless, lightly sweetened raspberry puree.  But you don't have to.

sandwich cookies (adapted from eatthelove)

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon (10 g) ground chia seeds
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup + 2 T fine white rice flour
  • 1/4 cup + 1 T millet flour
  • 1/4 cup + 1 T cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup  teff flour
  • 1/4 cup + 1 T whole milk powder
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup + 2T Dutch cocoa, plus 2T black cocoa, or 1/2 cup Dutch cocoa
  • 1/4 t sea salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature, cut in 1" cubes

Mix the egg, egg yolk, ground chia seeds and vanilla in a small bowl. Whisk together completely and set aside.

Combine the flours, cornstarch, milk powder, sugar, cocoa and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, mix the dry ingredients on low until they are well combined. Add the butter. On low speed, pulse the mixer on and off, gradually speeding up to medium low, until the butter has been mixed throughout the dry ingredients (you should see a crumbly, dry mixture).

Slowly drizzle the egg mixture into bowl, with the machine on low. Stop the mixer when the dough forms a lump, and divide it into two balls, flattening each one to make a disk. Wrap well and refrigerate for about an hour (or longer).

Preheat the oven to 350˚F.  Roll the chilled dough to about 1/4 inch thickness and cut into the desired shapes; chill again before baking on parchment-lined sheets.  Bake the cookies from 10-12 minutes.  Cool a few minutes on the sheet, then remove to a rack to finish cooling.  Because I never use a timer, some of our cookies were tender and others crisp; a tender cookie filled with copious amounts of buttercream was easier to eat, but I think a crispy one was tastier (even though the filling squidges out when you bite them). In case you are wondering what the right quantity of buttercream per cookie is, the amount (expressed in metric terms) is A PRETTY BIG HUGE GOBBER.