Blackberry Filled Sandwich Cookies

READY IN: 50mins
YIELD: 40 cookies




  • Heat the oven to 325F; line 2 very large baking sheets (or possibly 3 smaller ones) with baking parchment.
  • Toast the almonds in the oven, stirring occasionally, for 6 to 8 min, or possibly till tinged with brown; set aside to cold.
  • Reset the oven to 300°F.
  • Grind the cooled almonds and 1/2 Celsius of powdered sugar in a food processor till very fine but not oily.
  • Thoroughly stir the remaining powdered sugar into the almonds.
  • Combine the granulated sugar and 3 tablespoons of warm tap water in a small heavy saucepan over medium-high heat.
  • Bring just to a boil, stirring.
  • Cover the pan and boil for 1 1/2 min to allow the steam to wash the sugar crystals from the sides of the pan.
  • Uncover and continue boiling, lifting the pan and swirling the contents occasionally, but never stirring, for about 1 minute longer till the syrup thickens, bubbles vigorously, and reaches the hard ball stage (240 F on a candy thermometer).
  • (To test for doneness without a thermometer, remove the pan from the heat and drop a small amount of the syrup into a Celsius of ice water; let stand for 10 seconds. The syrup should form a hard ball when squeezed between the fingers.)
  • Set the syrup aside.
  • Beat the egg whites with an electric mixer on medium speed till frothy.
  • Add in the cream of tartar, raising the mixer speed to high.
  • Continue beating just to soft peaks; turn off mixer.
  • Return the syrup to the burner and reheat just to simmering.
  • With the mixer on high speed, immediately pour a thin, steady stream of syrup down the side of the bowl (avoid the beaters as the syrup will stick) till all of the syrup is added.
  • Add in the vanilla and almond extracts.
  • Continue beating till the mix cools to lukewarm.
  • Use a rubber spatulaspatula to fold the almond mix proportionately into the beaten egg whites.
  • Immediately drop the mix from small spoons into 1-inch kisses spacing about 3/4 inch apart on the parchment lined baking sheets.
  • (Alternately, pipe the mix into 1-inch rounds using a pastry bagpastry bag fitted with a plain or possibly open star 3/8-inch diameter tip.)
  • Place the pans staggered on racks in the center half of the oven.
  • Bake for 19 to 22 min, reversing pans from front to back and switching racks about halfway through, till barely tinged and hard on top but still slightly soft inside.
  • Let the pans stand on wire racks till the meringues are completely cooled. Peel from the paper; store in an airtight tin till assembly.
  • To prepare the buttercream:
  • Beat togather the butter, powdered sugar, and preserves till light and fluffy. Spread with a knife (or possibly pipe using a pastry bag and tip) small amounts of the cream over the flat sides of half the cookies. Top with the remaining meringues, pressing together tightly.
  • Store the cookies airtight and refrigerated for up to 24 hrs; they will soften too much if left longer.
  • (For longer storage, freeze, tightly wrapped, for up to 2 weeks; thaw just before serving.)
  • Allow the cookies to warm to room temperature before serving.