OK, I'll be the first to admit that these cookies look kind of scary.
But they are goooooood - soft and chewy and sweet (but not too sweet) with just the right amount of tart. I got lots of compliments on them; perhaps the most convincing of which was that one of my neighbors was literally eating them two at a time - double-decker, double-decker cookies.
I stumbled upon the original idea for these cookies here (literally stumbled upon them, via StumbleUpon), but wanted to use a homemade sugar cookie base rather than pre-made refrigerated dough. When I was invited to a baby shower in the heat of the summer, it seemed like the perfect excuse to whip up a batch.
I started with this recipe for the sugar cookie base, but adapted it slightly.
I know it can be a little tricky combining various recipes (as evidenced by the fact that I forgot to buy Jello the first time I went to the store to get the ingredients), so I've compiled them here as I prepared them:
Raspberry Sandwich Cookies with Lemon Cream Filling
* 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1-1/4 cups softened butter
* 2 cups white sugar
* 2 eggs
* 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
* 1/2 package raspberry Jello
Lemon Cream Filling:
* 5 cups powdered sugar + extra for sprinkling over the tops of the cookies afterward
* 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, well softened
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* Zest of 1 small to medium lemon
* Juice of 1 small to medium lemon
* 2 Tablespoons milk, plus more if needed
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, Jello, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and 2 cups sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla. Gradually stir in the dry ingredients until just blended.
3. Roll the dough into 1" sized balls (they will spread quite a bit) and place cookies 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. The batter is pretty sticky; if it's too difficult to handle, chilling the batter in the refrigerator for a while helps immensely.
4. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Be careful not to overcook them, as any browning will show in the color of the cookies. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
5. Mix all of the lemon cream filling ingredients together until fluffy. Add more milk if needed.
6. Pipe or spread the frosting mixture onto the underside of a cookie. Top with another cookie and repeat with the rest of the batch. Next, with a fine mesh strainer, sprinkle some of the reserved powdered sugar over the top of the cookies. Store in a covered container.
I think these are best at room temperature. If you refrigerate them, both the cookies and the cream filling get kind of hard, similar to the texture of an Oreo. They will soften up just fine if re-warmed to room temperature, though.