I had very good intentions to revive this project last fall, after I quit my full-time day job to spend more time with my kids and in my studio. But when my idea for a cookie inspired by Oakland's Dimond district flopped miserably I never really returned to the idea. Fast-forward almost a year and I'm finally making progress on the projects that carried over from my school-year to do list to my summer to-do list, both kids in tow 24/7. In other words, it's taken me well over a month to get around to getting much of anything done this summer. Taking care of kids really is a full-time gig!
Without further delay, I present to you The Dimond! This is a Heidesand-inspired sandwich sugar cookie, half dipped in sugar crystals, half dipped in chocolate sprinkles, with an apple cider buttercream filling. Heidesand is a traditional German browned butter shortbread cookie. The browned butter part in the original recipe I attempted was divine but the shortbread dough was so dry I struggled to form it into a log I could slice without crumbling. This time around the cookie is more like a soft sugar cookie - easier to make, tastier to eat (in my opinion).
I was inspired by the many historic buildings in the Dimond, named after Hugh Dimond, notably the Altenheim, originally a retirement home for German Americans. Furthermore, in the early 1900s the area was known as Little Germany and is also now home to the annual Oaktoberfest, hence the German recipe at the core of this cookie. The area used to boast several fruit orchards, mainly apricot and cherry, but I felt an apple flavored buttercream would best suit this cookie (and it was fall when I first attempted this recipe so that's probably why I went with apple then though now I'm wondering if cherry or apricot would be more fitting!).
The crystal sprinkles sparkle like diamonds and the chocolate sprinkles - well, everything's better with a little chocolate in it!
Here's the recipe, first for the cookies:
1 cup butter, softened
1⁄2 cup granulated sugar
1⁄2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
Cream butter and the sugars in a large bowl until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla to butter/sugar mixture and blend well.
In another bowl combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly blend flour mixture into butter/sugar mixture until incorporated.
Use a cookie scoop to form dough into 1-inch balls. Alternate rolling balls of dough in sugar and chocolate sprinkles, place on a cookie sheet lined with a Silpat or parchment paper, and flatten.
Bake at 350 degrees for 12-14 minutes, until very lightly brown. Cool completely before filling.
For the apple cider buttercream filling:
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons/1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 scant teaspoon fine sea salt
4-6 tablespoons boiled cider*
4 cups confectioners' sugar
1-2 tablespoon heavy whipping cream (milk or 1/2 and 1/2 will also do)
*using 4 tablespoons boiled cider yielded a subtle apple flavor; if you prefer a stronger apple flavor, use more!
Beat together the butter, salt, and boiled cider until fully combined. Gradually add the sugar, beating until the frosting is light and fluffy. Add the cream, if necessary, to make the frosting nicely spreadable.
I like to pipe out a swirl of frosting onto the bottom of the base cookie, leaving about a 1/2 inch border around for spread.
Top each frosted cookie bottom with another cookie and you have yourself a Dimond, Oakland inspired cookie sandwich! Enjoy.