Biscuits versus cookies, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that these soft vanilla sandwich cookies are delicious!
Do any of you have those recipes that are passed down generations? You know, the ones you’ve been making since you were a kid, and you continue to make and will probably teach your own kids? Well this is one of them.
My Grandma Fleur used to make these vanilla sandwich cookies all the time, and then my Mum did and now I do.
The original recipe was from one of my Grandma’s friends Joan, and have been simply known as ‘Joan’s Kiss Biscuits’. I have no idea why they are called Kiss Biscuits, but I do know that they are one of Australia’s many baked delicacies!
There was nothing more exciting as a child then going to the bakery to get one, knowing that you’ll end up with jam everywhere and sprinkles in the back seat of the car.
Essentially what they are, is a soft vanilla cookie, sandwiched together with raspberry jam and iced with vanilla icing. And no, do not substitute the raspberry jam for any other kind. Has to be raspberry, no questions asked!
The first secret to making these cookies is how much of the cookie dough you roll out. As a general rule, I use about a teaspoon of mixture then roll it into balls. Don’t be too fussy, but just try and be consistent. Original kiss biscuits are kind of flat, but I prefer them risen and soft.
The secret to making these perfectly soft and fluffy, is the cooking time. Over the years, I’ve tried and tested these babies to find out that the ultimate cooking time is around 8-10 minutes. This is where things start to get a little technical. I’ve made these in my Mums oven, and they take exactly 8 minutes. I made them in my oven the other day, and they took closer to 12-14 minutes.
I also noticed that my oven gets really hot on the bottom rack and burns the bottom. So I used my top rack to get an evenly cooked cookie. I am trusting that you guys know your oven and know how it cooks! Every oven is different, so just make sure you keep an eye on them!
See image below for confirmation on what does happen when you over do it! Obviously you want your cookies to be like the left – just golden brown and delicious!
These biscuits/cookies are soft, fluffy and deliciously buttery. You won’t go back once you’ve tried them! Every time I make them I’m reminded of home, and hours spent with Mumma bear sitting on the bench top as a young lass watching her cook and bake.
A bonus note – these vanilla sandwich cookies freeze beautifully. After you’ve cooked them and cooled them, match them together according to size, and place them in a freezer bag or zip lock. Once you are ready to use them, whip them out and once you’ve got around to making the icing, they are already defrosted and ready to go.
I often use these to give to people as gifts as well. They wrap up nicely in cellophane with a big ribbon, and because you can freeze them, you never have to worry about not having anything to bring to a friend’s again!
So, all hail Joan and here wonderful vanilla sandwich cookies! Let me know if you try them, tag us on Instagram #thehomecookskitchen – Georgie x x
Vanilla Sandwich Cookies aka Joan's Kiss Biscuits
- 1/2 lbs butter at room temperature, note 1
- 1 cup granulated sugar note 2
- 2 eggs
- 2.5 cups self raising flour
- raspberry jam
Vanilla Icing (ices 12 cookie sandwiches)
- 1/3 cup powdered sugar note 3
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tbsp butter melted
- 1/4 tsp hot water
Preheat oven to 180C/355F
Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
In a bowl, beat together butter and sugar until creamy and butter is smooth.
Add eggs, one at a time beating after each addition.
Gradually add the self raising flour, beating after each addition.
Take about one teaspoon of the mixture, and roll into a small bowl. Lay out dough onto parchment paper, leaving adequate room for cookies to spread (note 4)
Bake in oven for 8-10 minutes, until cookies are just very lightly browned (note 5)
Cool on a wire rack.
Once cooled, pair cookies according to roughly size. (note 5)
Spread a small amount of raspberry jam and sandwich cookies together.
Place powdered sugar/icing sugar in a bowl.
Melt butter in microwave 20 seconds and add to icing sugar along with hot water and vanilla.
Stir until smooth and relatively thick. (note 6)
Ice cookies and leave so icing can set.
note 1 - most baking websites will say use unsalted butter. I prefer to use salted butter because I'm a rebel.
note 2 - if you're in Australia, always use caster sugar for baking. It's been killing me that I haven't been able to find it in America. In America, use granulated sugar and it works fine. I always prefer to use caster sugar in baking because it is less grainy.
note 3 - I used about a third of a cup and it wasn't quite enough. Add powdered sugar gradually until you have reached adequate consistency.
note 4 - cookies will spread a lot, so I usually bake around 6 per time on one tray (depending on tray size). Just make sure you leave enough space for spreading.
note 5 - the first batch might take closer to 12-15 minutes while your oven heats up, but usually they take around 8-10 minutes. Don't worry if they don't look fully cooked, you want them really soft on the inside and crispy on the outside. They will also continue to cook once you take them out of the oven. Be aware however of your oven - mine cooks really fast on the bottom, therefore they burnt a lot quicker than the cookies I placed on the top rack. I just used my top rack and in my oven it took around 12 minutes. Just keep an eye on them to make sure they are not over done!
note 6 - after this step, you could freeze them. Place paired cookies into a snap lock/freezer bag and place in freezer.
note 7 - if icing is looking too runny, add more powdered sugar. If it is too thick, add just a touch more hot water. I used 1/3 cup plus 2 extra tablespoons until I reached desired consistency.
Over to you!
Favourite cookie combination? Do you have a special recipe passed down in your family?