12 Days of Cookies: Hazelnut Sandwich Cookies with Pumpkin Filling

It’s the final installment of this year’s 12 Days of Cookies series on Twin Cities Live and we’re going out with perfectly crispy hazelnut cookies held together with a creamy and spiced pumpkin filling. Elizabeth visits blogger and cookbook author Sarah Kieffer to make these tasty treats using Land O Lakes® Unsalted Butter.

12 Days of Cookies is presented by Land O’Lakes. For more recipes, be sure to visit www.landolakes.com. And this year, Land O’Lakes is highlighting some classics like Best Ever Oatmeal Cookies and Classic Peanut Butter – you can find those recipes here. You can also get more holiday baking inspiration here!

Hazelnut Sandwich Cookies with Pumpkin Filling
From The Vanilla Bean Baking Book by Sarah Kieffer


1/3 cup hazelnut flour
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons (57 grams) Land O Lakes® Unsalted Butter, room temperature
3/4 cup (149 grams) granulated sugar
1/4 cup (29 grams) confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup good-quality olive oil
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup (50g) light brown sugar
1 tablespoon Land O Lakes® Unsalted Butter
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup (227g) unsalted butter, room temperature
Pinch salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups (226g) powdered sugar

For the cookies

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda, and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the butter on medium until creamy. Add the sugars (both white and confectioners’) and beat on medium until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the olive oil and mix on low until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the egg and vanilla, mixing on low until combined. Add the flour and mix on low until combined.

Gather the dough, wrap with plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours and up to 1 day.

Heat the oven to 350° F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Lightly flour a work surface and roll the dough to 1/4-inch thick. Using a 2-inch biscuit or cookie cutter, cut out circles. (Any dough scraps can be rewrapped and chilled while the cookies are baking.) Gently slide a metal spatula underneath each round and transfer it to the prepared baking sheet. Place 12 cookies on each sheet. Put the first baking sheet in the freezer for 10 minutes. After the dough has chilled, put the first pan in the oven, then put the second pan in the freezer. Repeat with leftover dough.

Bake on sheet at a time, 10 to 12 minutes, until cookies are just beginning to brown on the edges.

Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack and let the cookies cool completely on the pan.

For the filling

Combine the pumpkin puree, sugar, butter, ginger, and cinnamon in a small saucepan and heat over low heat, stirring continuously until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved. Turn up the heat to medium and continue to heat the mixture, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil (the mixture is quite thick, so you need to look for slow bubbles). Once the puree is bubbling, turn the heat down to medium-low and cook the mixture for about 5 minutes, still stirring. Remove the puree from the heat. For a fine consistency, use a blender (or stick blender) to blitz. Cool to room temperature, then chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before using.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy, 2-3 minutes. Add the salt and vanilla, and beat again until combined. Turn the mixer to low, and slowly add the powdered sugar, mixing until combined. Add the chilled pumpkin puree to the buttercream one tablespoon at a time, mixing well after each addition. Keep adding until the desired pumpkin taste is reached, making sure not to add too much puree (which can make the buttercream runny). Scrape down the sides and increase the mixer speed to medium; beat until the buttercream is light and smooth, 4-6 minutes.

Note: If you end up adding too much pumpkin and your buttercream is runny, you can add either more butter or powdered sugar (1 tablespoon at a time) to help make it light and creamy again. Just remember that adding more powdered sugar will make it sweeter, and more butter will make it very buttery. I usually add alternating tablespoons of both.

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