Make a Great Impression: Custard Crème Cookies

When the July/August 2021 issue of Bake From Scratch arrived, I noticed a feature titled "Baking with Custard Powder." I always have a canister of Bird's Custard Powder on hand and keep an eye out for recipes were I can put it to use. So I decided to try the recipe for "Custard Crème Cookies," shortbread sandwich cookies that have custard powder in both the cookies and the filling.
The cookies require just a few ingredients. You cream softened butter with sugar, vanilla, and salt until creamy; and add in flour and custard powder. You chill the dough before rolling it out, stamping it (if desired), and cutting out the cookies. The cookies in the magazine photos are imprinted with a Nordic Ware chevron stamp. I own several geometric pattern cookie stamps, but the chevron happens to be my favorite because it's appropriate for any occasion and I don't have to worry about centering the pattern on the cookie; my other geometric stamps have rotational symmetry, so they look wonky if they're off-center. You're supposed to freeze the cookies briefly before baking but I didn't have enough room in the freezer to fit large baking sheeets. Instead, I just chilled the cookies and it worked out fine.
The cookies maintained a nice round shape and a clear impression from the stamp after baking. I discovered that all of the cookies I had cut and baked from re-rolled scraps ended up with large air bubbles underneath; in the future, I would make sure to create as little waste as possible while cutting cookies and avoid reusing the scraps.

The filling for these cookies is a mixture of softened butter, salt, custard powder, vanilla bean paste, powdered sugar, and a little whipping cream. The recipe doesn't include any storage instructions for these cookies, but I kept them in the fridge just to be on the safe side. I usually expect cookies made with custard powder (which is mostly cornstarch) to have a tender, melt-in-your-mouth quality -- after all, cornstarch is what gives Australian "melting moments" cookies their texture and name. But these cookies were quite firm and had a satisfying snap that didn't soften over time. I loved them and their sweet vanilla flavor. 
I've never had a store-bought custard cream cookie, but both this version and Liam Charles' Custard Stamps are terrific. I would have to do a side-by-side comparison to decide which recipe I like better.

Recipe: "Custard Crème Cookies" from the July/August 2021 issue of Bake From Scratch

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