- 8 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3/ 4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 3/ 4 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg, at room temperature
- 1 cup almond meal
- 3 cups flour
- 1/ 2 cup powdered sugar
- 12 ounces Valrhona MANJARI 64% Chocolate
- 8 ounces Valrhona Praliné Spread
Preheat oven to 350°F with rack at center of oven. Line baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter, sugar, almond extract and salt.
Stop mixer and scrape down paddle and sides of bowl. Blend in egg. Mix in almond meal. With mixer set at lowest speed, add flour in ½ cup increments.
Roll out dough, sandwiched between two sheets of wax paper. Smooth out the wax paper as it wrinkles: Remove top piece of paper, and then smooth and replace. Flip over the ‘dough sandwich’ and continue to roll dough to 1/4” thickness. Optional: if your kitchen is warm, you could chill rolled out dough in the fridge for 20-30 minutes.
Remove top piece of wax paper one last time, replace, and flip. Remove top piece of paper and set aside. Cut out cookies, making a second, smaller cutout ‘window’ on half of the cookies. These will serve as the top part of the sandwich. Be sure to cut out an even number of tops and bottoms. If using an asymmetrical cutter, flip cutter for half of cookies. Place 1/2” apart on baking sheet.
Have a small bowl handy to collect the scraps as you cut out the cookies. Re-roll the scraps until all dough is used up. Bake for 8-10 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking, until cookie edges are a light golden brown. Take care not to over bake. Let cool on pan for 5 minutes. Transfer to cooling rack. Let cool completely.
To assemble: The cookies with cutout ‘windows’ will serve as the sandwich tops. The non-cutout cookies will be the sandwich bottoms.
Melt the Valrhona Manjari Dark Chocolate, either in a double boiler over simmering water, or microwave for 30 second intervals, until almost melted. Do not overheat. Stir until smooth.
Dip all the cookies in the melted chocolate, coating the side of the cookie that was in contact with the pan during baking. Let excess chocolate drip off. Place cookies, chocolate side down, on wax paper-lined pans. Separate tops and bottoms on different pans. Allow chocolate to completely firm up.
After chocolate sets, carefully peel the ‘window’ cookies away from the wax paper, and set them back down on the pan. Dust them with powdered sugar using a strainer or, if you have one, a shaker with a mesh or perforated top.
Next, gently peel the chocolate-coated ‘bottom’ cookies away from the wax paper. Spread a thin layer of Valrhona Praliné on the chocolate surface of each cookie.
Holding the sugar-dusted ‘window’ cookie by the edges so you don’t smudge the sugar, gently place it on top of the filling-covered ‘bottom’ cookie. Still grasping the edges, press very lightly so the two cookies stick together.