Peach season is almost over and, I have to say, I can’t get enough of it. There’s something that sings summertime when I bite into a fresh, ripe peach. Tart, sweet and juicy, the fruit is as delicious as it is elusive; it disappears into one’s belly as fast as its season seems to vanish into the autumn months. White peaches, yellow peaches, saturn peaches — they are all as beautiful and fragrant as they are scrumptious, if you ask me.
Aside from eating many peaches in their wondrous unaltered state this summer, I wanted to showcase them in a casual, fork-free dessert — one that could be eaten with bare hands and raised feet, summer style. So I made soft, cinnamony mini-cakes to envelop rich cream cheese filling and a burst of sliced peach in every bite. Dusted with powdered sugar and cinnamon, this whoopie pie-style treat is creamy, tangy and spicy: a symphony of deliciousness to celebrate the summer, albeit soon to end.
Cinnamon Peach Sandwich Cakes (makes about 14 cookie sandwiches, each 2.5 to 3 inches in diameter)
FOR THE BATTER
1 large ripe peach (about 1/2 pound)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup soft butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 medium/large eggs
1.5 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1.5 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1.5 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons milk or cream
Preheat oven to 350℉. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Rinse the peach and remove its pit, leaving skin on, and blend it with the lemon juice in the bowl of a food processor until thick, smooth and speckled with pieces of skin. Measure out 1/2 cup of the puree for the recipe and set aside; use the little remainder as you wish.
In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in the vanilla. Over the butter mixture, sift the flour, salt, cinnamon and baking powder. Begin to stir, gradually adding the milk and the 1/2 cup of peach puree. Mix until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl often.
Scoop batter by the rounded tablespoon onto lined cookie sheets with plenty of space in between each dollop. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. You should have about 28 cookies, each 2.5 to 3 inches in diameter, to make 14 sandwiches. Let cookies fully cool on baking sheets.
FOR THE FILLING
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup soft butter
1 and 1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 medium ripe peach
Extra powdered sugar and cinnamon for serving (optional)
Beat the butter and cream cheese until smooth and even. Sift powdered sugar, salt and cinnamon over the cream cheese mixture. Whip together until even and smooth, scraping sides of bowl as needed. (At this point, you may cover and store the filling in the fridge for up to 2 to 3 days.)
When ready to assemble the cookies, rinse and pit the peach, then slice it into at least 14 thin pieces that will fit inside the cookie sandwiches (you will have leftover peach to use as you please). Spread at least one heaping tablespoon of filling on the bottoms of half of the cookies, and top each one with a peach slice. Put a dab of frosting on each of the remaining cookies’ bottoms and place them atop the peach slices to make sandwiches. If desired, sprinkle tops with a mixture of cinnamon and powdered sugar, and serve in paper cupcake liners. For best results, store your sandwich cakes in the fridge and eat within a day. (Note: this recipe makes plenty of filling; it freezes well and makes a decadent spread on warm toast.)
Delicate and decadent at once, cinnamon peach sandwich cookies are soft, spicy and succulent: the best of a cake and a cookie at once. Full of lively flavor, these tender treats taste like a fancy dessert in a relaxed format: fruity little cakes to eat with your hands. Of course, you can still dress them up and serve them on a cake stand — I promise they’ll taste wonderful either way.
Moriah VanVleet is the voice behind butter, sugar, flowers where this post first appeared.