locating light // viennese sablé sandwiches with cinnamon rum raisin buttercream

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Contrary to what the title might suggest, there is no deep philosophical meaning behind my attempt to locate a pleasant source of light for photography, although I could certainly contrive one, but perhaps on another day apart from this Friday night on which my frazzled brain is proving more unreliable by the second.

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I’ve been trying to photograph at different locations around the house and it seems that I have a couple of options. The spot where the top photo was taken would probably be my most used location from now on because of the window right beside and the off-white backdrop which is practical, but not quite exciting. I forgot to draw the day curtain when  I took it though so the light was too soft for my liking. I tried again on a different day when I had stopped by Pierre Hermé to pick up the famed ispahan croissant which I had been eyeing for the longest time (because I always choose the tarte infiniment vanille over it). Let’s just say that I might never be remotely inclined to go for another croissant apart from this again, even a pain au chocolat. Anyhoo, the result was much better sans day curtain.

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A note on the cookies: these are, but not limited to of course, the weekday kind of treat you have on standby in your glass cookie jar on the counter within plain sight. The cinnamon rum raisin buttercream elevates it from the status of a classic butter cookie (that is great fun to pipe, I might add) to something less mundane, but no less delicious without. I did notice, however, that on the second day the cookies were significantly less crisp than when they were freshly filled, a logical outcome that I think is better off embraced than circumvented by piping the dough a little thinner such that you get a softer cookie overall that merges more seamlessly with the buttercream.

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Viennese Sablé Sandwiches with Cinnamon Rum Raisin Buttercream

makes 12 cookie sandwiches

For the cookies:

128 grams unsalted butter, very soft

60 grams icing sugar

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

1 large egg white, at room temperature

3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

153 grams all-purpose flour

For the buttercream:

18 grams cream cheese, softened

38 grams unsalted butter, softened

90 grams icing sugar, sifted

generous pinch of salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 cup rum-soaked raisins

Make the cookies: Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

Place the butter in a bowl and sift the icing sugar over it, add the salt. Beat until smooth but not fluffy. Beat in the egg white, then the vanilla. Add the flour and mix until just incorporated.

Fit a pastry bag with an open star tip roughly 1/2 inch in diameter. Scrape the dough into the piping bag. Pipe the dough onto the lined baking sheets in tight W shapes that are about 2 inches wide and 1 1/2 inches high, leaving about 2 inches of space between them. (I did an S shape for some of them because the Ws were getting too big.)

Bake the cookies for about 17 to 20 minutes. The cookies should be golden brown at their edges and on their bottoms, and paler at the center. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets for a few minutes, then transfer them to racks to cool to room temperature.

Make the buttercream: Beat the cream cheese and butter together until combined and smooth. Gently mix in the icing sugar until incorporated with the butter then beat until light and fluffy. Beat in the salt and ground cinnamon, stir in the rum raisins until evenly distributed.

Dollop a generous teaspoonful of buttercream on the flat side of a completely cooled cookie and sandwich with another. Refrigerate the cookies for 30 minutes to an hour until the buttercream has firmed up. Return to room temperature before eating.

Note: cookie recipe taken from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking Chez Moi

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