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Chocolate Sandwich Cookies with Salted Caramel Russian Buttercream

Patricia Reitz

 Chocolate Sandwich Cookies Filled w/Salted Caramel Russian Buttercream - ButterYum —

Chocolate Sandwich Cookies Filled w/Salted Caramel Russian Buttercream - ButterYum —

During my last post I taught you how to make Russian Buttercream with a Mexican Twist (in the form of dulce de leche), and now I’m going to add a little French je ne sais quoi to the buttercream by giving it a salted caramel flavor profile, which pairs perfectly with Chocolate, or should I say Chocolat. Ooh-la-la!

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Start by making delicious chewy chocolate cookies, which are perfectly divine on their own, and sandwich two together with a layer of salted caramel Russian Buttercream in the middle. It’s a heavenly combination.

Seriously, try not to eat all the chocolate cookies before you turn them into sandwich cookies!

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You can serve these cookies at room temperature, but I think they’re even better slightly chilled (10-15 minutes in the fridge). Enjoy!


Chocolate Sandwich Cookies w/Salted Caramel Russian Buttercream

makes 12 sandwich cookies

Printable Recipe

Ingredients

Cookies:

  • 1 cup all purpose flour

  • 6 tablespoons dutch processed cocoa, sifted (use really good quality)

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt

  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 large egg

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • extra granulated sugar to coat roll cookies in before baking (or use vanilla sugar)

Filling:

  • 1/4 pound (113g) unsalted butter at room temperature (70F)

  • 1/4 pound (113g) canned dulce de leche, chilled

  • fine table salt to taste

Directions

To make the cookies:

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt; set aside until needed.

  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater or BeaterBlade attachment, cream butter and sugar on medium speed for about 2 minutes until it lightens in color.

  3. Add egg and vanilla; continue to mix until no traces of egg remain.

  4. Turn mixer speed down to low; add cocoa mixture and combine until no traces of dry flour or cocoa remain, scraping bowl if needed.

  5. Wrap dough in plastic and chill for at least 1 hour.

  6. Preheat oven to 350F, place rack in center of oven, and line 2 half sheet pans with silpat liners.

  7. Using a #50 scoop (about 1 tablespoon), roll level scoops of chilled cookie dough in the palm of your hand to form a ball; coat with granulated sugar and space evenly on sheet pan, 12 per pan.

  8. Bake for 9-10 minutes; remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.

To make the filling:

  1. In a medium mixing bowl, beat room temperature butter using a hand mixer for 2-3 mites, until light in color and very fluffy.

  2. Add chilled dulce de leche and continue beating with a hand mixer for 1 minute.

  3. Taste the buttercream carefully and add just enough salt to achieve the level of salted caramel flavor you desire, beating well so the salt is evenly distributed.

Russian Buttercream

Patricia Reitz

 Russian Buttercream - ButterYum —

Russian Buttercream - ButterYum —

There are a number of popular buttercreams in the world. Swiss, Italian, French, and American are all fairly well known, but Russian buttercream is just starting to become known in the baking world. How does is differ from the others?

Each kind of buttercream can be flavored in various ways, but basically Italian, Swiss, and French buttercreams are made with a variety of cooked sugar syrups. They also require the use of a thermometer to ensure their respective sugar syrups reach the proper temperature (with the exception of French Buttercream, which doesn’t always require a thermometer - although it’s highly recommended for those under 5, over 80, or immune-impaired).

American Buttercream is by far my least favorite - truth be known, I don’t even think it should be called buttercream, but it’s popular with many because it’s so fast and easy to prepare, and does not require the use of a thermometer - you just dump confectioner’s sugar and butter in a bowl and mix them together.

And finally, Russian Buttercream. Russian Buttercream is as easy to make as American (actually easier), but it has the same silky smooth texture and depth of flavor as Italian, Swiss, and French. Great, great stuff. I hope you’ll give it a try.

To recap, here are the various buttercreams and how they differ:

  • Italian: made by combining a hot sugar syrup with beaten egg whites and softened butter (my personal favorite). It has a silky smooth texture, delicate flavor, and is very stable at room temperature for extended periods of time. You must use a thermometer when making Italian Meringue Buttercream.

  • Swiss: made by heating sugar and egg whites together before whipping, cooling, and adding softened butter. It has a silky smooth texture, delicate flavor, and is fairly stable at room temperature, but not quite as stable as Italian Meringue Buttercream. You must use a thermometer when making Swiss Meringue Buttercream.

  • French: made by combining a hot sugar syrup with beaten egg yolks and softened butter. It has a silky smooth texture and delicate flavor, but it’s is a little softer than Italian or Swiss Buttercream and is not very stable at room temperature. Not all recipes for French buttercream call for the use of a thermometer, but it’s recommended when feeding those under 5, over 80, or the immune-impaired.

  • American: made with softened butter and confectioner’s sugar. It’s texture is extremely gritty and the flavor is extremely sweet. It’s gross and disgusting and I cannot recommend you make it… ever.

  • Russian: made with just two ingredients… chilled sweetened condensed milk and butter. That’s it. There’s no need for a thermometer because sweetened condensed milk contains all the sugar you need and it’s already been cooked. The texture of Russian Buttercream is silky smooth. It’s pretty stable at room temperature too.

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So today my Russian Buttercream is actually going to be a Russian-Mexican fusion because I’ll be using dulce de leche in place of traditional sweetened condensed milk.

For decades home cooks would make dulce de leche by simmering unopened cans of sweetened condensed milk for hours until the milk inside would caramelize. Most people did this successfully, but there were always stories of those who were not so successful. I don’t know about you, but the thought of a can of sticky, molten caramel exploding all over my kitchen kept me from ever trying. Thankfully, at some point, sweetened condensed milk manufacturers decided to assume the risk for us, and home cooks the world over rejoiced.

Ok, that might be a stretch, but yay!

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Start with room temperature butter, about 70F.

A hand mixer works well when making a small batch of this buttercream, but you’ll want to use a stand mixer for larger batches.

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Whip the butter for 2-3 minutes until it’s light and fluffy (the photo above is after about 1 minute).

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Here we are after 3 full minutes - see how light the color of the butter is?

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Time to add the chilled dulce de leche - be sure it’s well chilled to keep the butter from getting too warm.

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Whip them together until light and fluffy, scraping the bowl as needed. You’ll want to taste it carefully and add some fine table salt to taste - just enough to highlight the butter and caramel flavors.

If you’re a fan of salted caramel, sprinkle the finished buttercream with flaked or coarse salt just before serving. Yum!

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Well, that’s all there is to it. Super, super simple, don’t you think? Next up, I’ll be sharing a fun way to use this buttercream. Until then, have a great day.

Items used to make this recipe:


Russian Buttercream w/Dulce de Leche

makes enough to frost 12 cupcakes

Printable Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound (226g) unsalted butter at room temperature (70F)

  • 1/2 pound (226g) canned dulce de leche, chilled

  • fine table salt to taste

Directions

  1. In a medium mixing bowl, beat room temperature butter using a hand mixer for 2-3 minutes, until light in color and very fluffy.

  2. Add chilled dulce de leche and continue beating with a hand mixer for 1 minute.

  3. Taste the mixture carefully and add just enough salt to highlight the butter and caramel flavors; continue whipping for another minute or two, scraping the bowl if needed.

Note: to make salted caramel variation, sprinkle flaked or coarse salt on top of buttercream when serving.

Restaurant Style Salsa

Patricia Reitz

 Restaurant Style Salsa - ButterYum —

Restaurant Style Salsa - ButterYum —

I’m not kidding when I say I could eat chips and salsa every day of my life, without complaint. No exaggeration - it’s one of my favorite things ever. I have a number of oven roasted salsa recipes on this blog, but when I need a salsa fix fast, I can throw a few simple canned ingredients together to to make this restaurant-style version. It goes without saying, use the best canned tomatoes you can - DO NOT use bitter tasting canned tomatoes. No amount of salt or sugar will fix the bitterness. Some canned tomato brands I’m fond of - Cento, SMT, Tuttorosso, Muir Glen, and Sclafani.

Restaurant Style Salsa

makes about 1 quart

Printable Recipe

Ingredients

  • 28-ounce can tomatoes (whole, diced, crushed… doesn’t matter)

  • 10-ounce can Ro-tel tomatoes (tomatoes with chilis)

  • 1 small onion, peeled and roughly chopped

  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled

  • 1 jalapeno pepper, stem and seeds removed

  • juice of 1 lime

  • 1 teaspoon Jane’s crazy mixed up salt (or table salt)

  • optional: 1 cup fresh cilantro (leaves and tender stems)

Directions

  1. In a blender or food processor, pulse all ingredients together until they reach your desired consistency.

  2. Taste and adjust salt and pepper if needed.