To say the least, I was excited. The third Willow Bird Baking challenge required participants baked a filled cookie. Any cookie. Any filling. Did I mention I was excited?
I love stuffed foods. My favorite donuts, long johns or filled sticks depending on where you live, are stuffed with pastry cream. When I was a kid, I lived for those powdery squares of gum filled with flavored syrup. (To be fair, I think the kid-version of myself just plain lived for gum.) My favorite pasta is ravioli because, naturally, those little pasta pillows can be stuffed with all sorts of deliciousness.
I did a series on stuffed foods last November, and I am planning to start round two in a couple of weeks. Although one of my stuffed recipes is now effectively down the tubes – pumpkin cheesecake stuffed snickerdoodles – that is okay! I made these cookies right around this time last fall, and they were delicious. I think I had them in the back of my mind when I recently made cream cheese stuffed chocolate cherry lambic cookies.
This time around, I considered an apple cookie stuffed with a caramel and a chocolate-stuffed banana cookie. Then I flipped through a mounting pile of recipes to try, and I found one for Dulce de Coco. Done.
Since I have no problems whatsoever with Snickerdoodles, I opted to keep it simple and bake those. I typically use a recipe from Mrs. Fields Best Cookie Book Ever! , but this time I used the recipe found on Willow Bird Baking. It calls for powdered sugar, which I had never before used in a dough and found very interesting. The cookies bake up soft and light, which I also like.
Now for a word on the filling portion of this recipe. I noted this in the recipe below, but the Dulce de Coco will not fully freeze. Therefore, it is imperative to take the time to fully chill the dough and filling. This will save you much grief as the chilled cookie dough will hold its shape much better and not end up in a puddly mess on the baking sheet. Regardless, you may end up with a few leaky cookies as I did, and that is okay. They are still delicious.
Because I was not sure how the plain Dulce de Coco filled cookies would turn out, I also mixed some of the filling with cream cheese. That mixture did freeze all the way.
I liked the cookies filled only with Dulce de Coco a bit better, simply because the taste of the filling was more prominent throughout the cookie. The cream cheese and Dulce de Coco mixture made it more obvious the cookie was filled, whereas the Dulce de Coco alone just sort of absorbed throughout the cookies. If stuffing cookies seems like a pain, a thumbprint cookie filled with Dulce de Coco is a delicious option. It did not occur to me to try this until I was literally down to my last ball of dough, so I have no photos to share of that lone cookie.
If you are not a coconut fan, you may want to try homemade dulce de leche instead. The King Arthur Flour blog has a nice post on caramel stuffed snickerdoodles, complete with photos on the stuffing process, that should help get you started. Enjoy!
- For the Dulce de Coco
- 1 13.5 ounce can coconut milk
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- For the Snickerdoodles
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 4¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- For Coating the Cookies
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- To make the Dulce de Coco filling, combine the coconut milk, brown sugar, and salt in a saucepan over medium-high heat.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium, cover the saucepan, and allow the mixture to continue to simmer for 20 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to low, uncover, and allow to continue to simmer for 35-40 additional minutes, stirring occasionally.
- When the mixture is thickened, stir in the vanilla (like when making caramels, this step causes the mixture to bubble up, so exercise caution to avoid burns).
- Pour into a glass jar and allow to come to room temperature before securing the lid.
- Place in the freezer for use in stuffing cookies.
- To make the Snickerdoodles, combine the butter, vegetable oil, powdered sugar, granulated sugar, and eggs in a large bowl.
- Start the mixer and allow the dough to come together as you prepare the dry ingredients.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt.
- Add the flour mixture into the butter mixture in 3 to 4 additions, mixing until just combined between each.
- Place the finished dough in the refrigerator to chill (overnight if possible).
- After the cookie dough and the filling is fully chilled, whisk together the ½ cup granulated sugar and one tablespoon cinnamon in a small bowl.
- Gather a portion of chilled cookie dough for one cookie (I used an ice cream scoop here), and use your thumb, a teaspoon, or a small melon baller (I used all three here with no preference) to make a hollow in the dough.
- Fill the hollow with the Dulce do Coco, then cover with a bit of dough.
- Work the dough around the whole ball, being sure to pinch together any cracks.
- Roll the dough ball in the cinnamon-sugar mixture and place in the freezer while you prepare the remaining cookies.
- Repeat the forming and filling steps until all dough is formed and in the freezer.
- Place the frozen dough balls on parchment-lined baking sheets, leaving about 4 inches between each.
- Bake at 375 degrees F for 12-15 minutes or until the cookies are slightly browned.
- Allow to cool on the pan for a few minutes then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
The Dulce de Coco by itself will not fully freeze. It will be soft and caramel-like at best.
When baking stuffed cookies, I cannot stress enough the importance of working with fully chilled dough and fillings.