When I was a little girl I loved going to the grocery store with my mother. I would sit on the bottom of the cart, underneath the basket, and from my little chauffeured cove I could see all the interesting items lined up on the shelves of our neighborhood Safeway.
Every time we went to the grocery store together, my mother would make a stop at the bakery counter and let me choose a cookie to enjoy while we shopped. I always selected the same one. White, swirled, and covered in sprinkles...the butter cookie was always my first choice. The flavor was simple, but they were my favorite. I can still feel the wisp of waxed paper that surrounded that childhood treat, and the crumbly cookie with the crunchy bursts of sprinkles became the highlight of my trip to the grocery store.
The saga of the Sparkle Sandwich Cookie began with a photo. An online photo of a cookie so pretty, I audibly gasped. They were beautiful...two swirly butter cookies with a swoop of perfect white filling sandwiched between them. I could instantly picture making them in a rainbow of different shades, lined up in rows, boxed up for sharing, piled high on platters. There wasn't a situation in my mind where this cookie wouldn't steal the show. I was hooked. I had to create what I saw.
Sparkle Sandwich Cookie success was not easy. The original recipe from the photo was wildly disappointing. The dough was impossible to work with. The flavor was wimpy. The filling was not to my liking. The end result was all wrong. Even the name was boring. And there were no sprinkles.
So I dove in, whole-heartedly committed to mastering this unwieldy confection in pursuit of the perfect Hurley House signature item. I started by changing her name and adding sprinkles to the original inspiration cookie. Even with a touch of glitz and a snazzy new name, we had a lot of work to do.
It took the better part of a year to get it right.
At times I would nail the flavor I was looking for, but then the consistency wouldn't hold up. Or I would get the consistency right, but then the texture was wrong. There were times I wanted to abandon this miserable combination of butter and sugar and flour for something easier to manage. But then it would haunt me, the simplicity of my favorite childhood butter cookie elevated to decadence with fluffy buttercream filling and stunning swirls studded with glistening sprinkles. I could not walk away.
The magic of memory is a powerful motivator.
As it turns out, the story has a happy ending. The Sparkle Sandwich Cookie and I finally became friends. I figured out her secrets, and she rewarded me with pretty presentation and flavor that has created a following. The Sparkle Sandwich Cookie fan club doesn't mess around.
First-time samplers involuntarily groan with delight. Adult women hide them from their children, rationing them in secret. Addicts store a stash in the freezer so as not to consume an entire box in one sitting. Husbands order them to surprise their wives. And I have yet to find an event that wasn't improved by this stunning and satisfying cookie.
Sparkle Sandwich Cookies are grown up and glamorous. Fancy and impressive even. But they have a quality that instantly takes me back to my childhood, riding on the bottom of a grocery cart with a cookie in my hand and a smile on my lips.