Thursday, January 3, 2013

Cubicle kitchen: Black Velvet Sandwich Cookies

I felt that I had two directions I could take with this, the first baked treat of the new year.  I could embrace the well-intentioned resolutions of my co-workers and offer up something relatively healthy, maybe using oatmeal and some dried fruit.  Or I could viciously present them with temptation straight out of the gate and go for something deliciously bad for them.

I can only hope they will forgive me.

I got this mix a month or so ago:

I figured that black velvet was sort of like black-eyed peas, and thus was doubly appropriate for this time of year.  Along with the cake mix, it comes with a packet of 'European-style buttercream' frosting mix.  I didn't feel like messing with the actual frosting of cupcakes or dealing with transporting them without messing up said frosting, so I decided to make cookies, which could then be sandwiched with frosting.  I found this recipe from Duncan Hines for making cookies with cake mix, and because my mix called for the same add-ins to create regular cake as DH, I deduced that this would work for cookies as well.

Not content with that, however, I then also decided that this would be a good opportunity to use up some ice cream by employing the melted ice cream cake technique I've used before.  It really does result in beautifully moist cake.  And when it ends up finishing off a half-eaten pint, it also results in a little more room in the freezer, which is even better.

Hey, at least I used strawberry ice cream.  That's a fruit.  Healthy!

Black Velvet Sandwich Cookies
(makes about 60 sandwiches)


Frosting (I only used about 2/3 of the resulting frosting in the sandwiches):
  • Frosting packet from Mam Papaul's Black Velvet Cake mix
  • 1 cup milk or melted ice cream (I used a mixture of both)
  • 1 1/2 sticks of butter (I used 8 Tbsp of butter and 6 Tbsp of Brummel and Brown)
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  1. Starting the frosting: In a pot, mix the milk/melted ice cream with the frosting packet.  Stirring constantly, cook over a medium heat until it starts to bubble, then reduce the heat and continue cooking for about two more minutes, until it looks nice and thick.  Again, stirring constantly.  Then transfer the mixture to a bowl to put into the fridge.  To help smooth the mixture, I went ahead and used a hand mixer to blend it a little more before putting it in the fridge.  The directions on the box say to put the mixture onto a flat plate to speed up the cooling process, but I preferred to use the bowl I would use for later mixing, just to save on dirty dishes.
  2. Now for the cookies: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Mix cake mix with melted ice cream and eggs.  Drop by teaspoonfuls onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake for 10-12 minutes.
  4. Allow the cookies to cool on the pan for a few minutes before transferring to a cookie sheet.
  5. Back to the frosting: Take the chilled mixture (it doesn't need to be absolutely cold, just not warm) and add the butter and shortening.  Beat together until you have a smooth, fluffy frosting.  With my hand mixer this took just a few minutes.
  6. Assemble the sandwiches by putting a small dollop of frosting onto the center of one cookie and carefully squishing another on top.
A note on the ice cream: You can choose whatever flavor you like, but generally I like to try and make it compatible with the cake flavor.  I used Strawberry this time around because I had a premium pint of it and decided that I was more in the mood for berries than the mix of Bananas Foster and Spiced Pumpkin that I also had available.  The flavor was subtle, but there.  You can also use a 'light' ice cream, in which case it's even more important to measure after melting, because there's more air whipped into slow-churned varieties.

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