Times-tested cookies perfect for holiday giving.

photoChocolate Chocolate-Chip Cookies with Mocha Cream Filling

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips (about 3 ounces)
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon instant coffee granules
3/4 cup powdered sugar
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (about 12 ounces)
1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped

For filling, stir chocolate chips, cream and coffee granules in heavy saucepan over medium heat until chocolate melts and coffee dissolves. Cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes. Using electric mixer, beat sugar, butter, and vanilla in bowl until blended. Beat in chocolate mixture. Refrigerate until beginning to firm, about 8 minutes. (Can be made two days ahead. Cover and keep refrigerated. To use, let stand at room temperature until just soft enough to spread, about two hours.)

For cookies, preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Sift flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt into bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter and both sugars in bowl until well blended. Add egg, 2 teaspoons water, vanilla and instant coffee; blend well. Beat in flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chips and pecans. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls onto prepared sheets, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake until tops are just firm to touch and no longer shiny, about 13 minutes. Cool cookies on sheets 10 minutes. Transfer to racks and cool.

Place half of cookies, flat side up, on work surface. Spread each with 1 tablespoon filling, leaving 1/4-inch border. Top each with second cookie, pressing to adhere. Arrange on platter; cover and chill at least 2 hours. (Can be made two days ahead. Keep chilled.) Serve cookies cold.

Makes 20 sandwich cookies.

Times testing notes: We call these meal-replacement cookies because they are HUGE! You’ll want to eat two but you probably won’t be able to. If you want a more reasonably sized cookie, forget the filling. The unadorned cookie is a keeper.

Source: “Bon Appetit” magazine, March 2002.

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