Kahlua White Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

1/4 cup Kahlua
1-1/2 tsp. instant coffee powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
6 tbsp. light brown sugar, packed
1/4 tsp. salt
1-1/2 cup sifted all purpose flour
Kahlua white chocolate buttercream (recipe follows)
Powdered sugar (optional)

In small saucepan, combine Kahlua and instant coffee powder. Swirl over low heat to dissolve coffee. Set aside to cool. In large bowl, cream butter with sugar until light and fluffy. Beat Kahlua mixture until blended. Chill dough, if necessary, to firm. Pinch off heaping teaspoons of dough between palms to form 1 inch balls. Arrange on ungreased baking sheets 2 to 3 inches apart. One at a time, cover each dough ball with square plastic wrap. Using flat-bottomed glass or cup, press down to form 2-1/2 inch circle, 1/8 inch thick. Bake at 350F 10 to 11 minutes or until just beginning to brown around edges. Remove from oven and cool on baking sheets on wire rack. Spread half of cookies with about 2 teaspoons each Kahlua white chocolate buttercream. Top with remaining cookies. If desired, pipe decorations on top of cookie with any remaining buttercream or sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Makes about 16 double cookies.

Kahlua White Chocolate Buttercream
3 oz. white chocolate
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup Kahlua
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

Place chocolate in top of double broiler over hot water and heat until melted. Set aside to cool. In medium mixer bowl, beat egg yolks until light. In small saucepan, combine sugar and Kahlua. Stir over low heat until sugar dissolves and syrup comes to a boil Wash down any sugar crystals that form on sides of pan with pastry brush dipped into cold water. Boil gently, without stirring, until mixture reaches 238F on candy thermometer (soft ball stage). Remove from heat and with mixer at high speed, blend by pouring syrup into yolks in slow steady stream. Continue to beat until light, fluffy and cool to touch. Beat in butter, about 1 tablespoon at a time, then beat in cooled chocolate. Chill, if necessary, until thick enough to spread.

Makes about 1 cup.

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Cajun Country -- New Iberia, Louisiana