Without going full gingerbread, these vanilla spiced cookies have the perfect mix of wintry spices like vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. With a layer of delicious melted milk chocolate between two layers of soft, perfectly tender cookies, these cookie sandwiches will be a hit!
It’s no secret that one of my favorite sandwich cookies is an alfajor. I’ve been playing around with the dough and adding wintry spices and molasses. After testing many variations, I landed on this divine combination of spices with a milk chocolate center. This vanilla spiced cookie recipe is easy to make, but does require a stand mixer! The dough works well for making stamped cookies or using a rolling pin and cookie cutters. I’ll explain both methods, so you can choose whichever you prefer!
Vanilla Spiced Cookie Sandwich Ingredients
In this recipe, two ingredients to point out are cornstarch and egg yolks:
- Cornstarch: Adds a soft, melt-in-your mouth texture to the cookies.
- Egg yolks: Help create an amazingly tender cookie.
Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, orange zest or dried peel, and a good dose of vanilla gives these cookies the perfect flavor. Adding sweetness from molasses gives the cookies a subtle gingerbread flavor, too.
My favorite milk chocolate chips for baking are Ghirardelli milk chocolate chips. Simply melt the chocolate chips in the microwave in 30 second increments, stir until smooth. Milk chocolate tasted the best when we tested different chocolate fillings.
Method: Cut out cookies or stamped cookies
Cut-out cookies: On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to a ⅛ or ¼-inch (3-5mm) thickness. Cut out into rounds using a 2-inch (5cm) fluted or round cookie cutter, and place the cookies on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. If at any point the dough becomes too warm, place it back into the fridge for a few minutes. Re-roll the remaining scraps and repeat.
Stamped cookies: Roll cookie dough into 1-inch sized round balls. It’s helpful to use a melon baller or teaspoon to portion out the dough. Place the dough balls on a parchment lined pan. Using your favorite cookie stamp or an ornate bottomed glass (whiskey glass, water glass, etc.), stamp a design onto the cookie. I used the Starry night cookie stamps by Nordic Ware because I love their quality. To ensure the cookie doesn’t stick to the stamp, dip the stamp in a bowl of flour before pressing the cookies. The flour will make it easier, but peel carefully if the dough still sticks. Note: stamped cookies are larger and will yield less cookie sandwiches.
More spiced cookies to try
- Old-fashioned Snickerdoodles: Soft, chewy, and coated with a delicious mixture of cinnamon and sugar.
- Chocolate Ginger Cookies: These eggless double chocolate cookies are chewy, gooey, and spiced with fresh ginger for an absolutely amazing flavor.
- Spiced Snickerdoodles: Soft and chewy cookies rolled in a sugar-spice mixture. These spiced snickerdoodles taste just like vanilla chai latte!
Vanilla Spiced Cookie Sandwiches with Milk Chocolate Filling
With a layer of delicious melted milk chocolate between two layers of soft, perfectly tender vanilla spiced cookies, these cookie sandwiches will be a hit!
- 1 ½ cups (200g) all-purpose flour
- 2 ⅛ cups (300g) cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon allspice
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon orange zest or dehydrated orange peel *optional
- 1 ¾ sticks (200g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ¾ cup (150g) granulated sugar or 1 ¼ cups (150g) powdered sugar
- 1 Tablespoon molasses
- 1 large egg
- 2 large egg yolks
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Up to 2 Tablespoons cold water or milk
- 326 g (11.5 oz) meltable milk chocolate chips, for filling
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices: cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, orange zest. Set aside.
In a mixer bowl fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in egg & yolks, molasses, and vanilla extract just until combined. Reduce speed to low. Add the flour mixture and beat just until combined. Do not overmix or the cookies will turn out tough. When making the dough, if it feels dry, you can add a little bit of cold water or milk a little at a time, just until the dough comes together.
Form the dough into a ball, then flatten slightly to form a disc. Chill the dough for about 15 minutes to roll it out right away and start cutting cookies (easiest). If you don’t want to use the dough right away, you can refrigerate it for up to 3 days or freeze it for up to a month, then thaw it overnight in the fridge. Take the dough out of the fridge and let it sit on the counter for a few minutes to soften slightly for easy rolling.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to a ⅛ or ¼-inch (3-5mm) thickness. Cut out into rounds using a 2-inch (5cm) fluted or round cookie cutter, and place the cookies on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. If at any point the dough becomes too warm, place it back into the fridge for a few minutes. Re-roll the remaining scraps and repeat.
Alternatively, roll into 1-inch sized round balls, place them on a parchment lined pan, and use a floured cookie stamp to press the cookies flat into a design.
Place sheets with cookies in the fridge for about 30 minutes, until firm, so that they will be less prone to spreading.
Preheat oven to 350F/180C. Bake for 6-8 minutes for small cookies or up to 10 minutes for larger cookies, or until cookies appear golden brown at the edges. Allow cookies to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then gently transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Melt the milk chocolate chips in the microwave using the instructions on the bag. Chocolate should no longer have lumps and be easily spreadable. Spread the bottom half of the cookies with about a teaspoon of melted chocolate. Sandwich together with remaining cookies, pressing slightly so that the chocolate oozes out to the sides.
Store cookies at room temperature in an airtight container for up to a week or freeze for up to 2 months. To thaw, leave on the counter, still covered, or overnight in the fridge.
Tips for making the best cookie sandwiches:
- Do not skip the chilling process – the cookies will puff up and become too dry if they aren’t chilled first.
- Mix the dough just until the ingredients are combined. If mixing for a long time, the cookies can turn out tough from producing too much gluten. Overall, play with the dough as little as possible.