With their good comforting buttery taste, melting moments are ideal treats for the festive Christmas atmosphere or throughout the year at tea time.
Originally from New Zealand, these little cream-filled cookies melt in the mouth and are really addictive.
What are melting moments?
Melting moments are New Zealand butter cookies, similar to shortbread cookies. They come in the form of two cookies assembled together, that are sandwiching a delicate buttercream. The latter is most often flavored with lemon or orange.
Light and very simple to make, this crumbly and melting cookie is made up of only a handful of ingredients: butter, flour, icing sugar and cornstarch. It is thanks to this secret ingredient and the absence of eggs in the composition that the melting moments get their unique texture, which gave the cookies their name.
If the classic recipe is made with lemon or orange cream, it is quite possible to let your creativity speak by replacing it with a vanilla, raspberry, passion fruit or even chocolate cream.
For a more festive touch, also think of using food coloring in the cream to make pink, green or blue cookies.
What is the origin of melting moments?
The origins of melting moments are somewhat obscure, and their exact creation is difficult to trace. If certain books and cooking magazines of the 1950s mention it, it is quite possible that they were already prepared in homes long before this period.
In any case, we can safely assume that the recipe for melting moments is a New Zealand adaptation of the famous Scottish shortbread, probably born under the Anglo-Saxon influence in New Zealand. Although shortbreads are served without buttercream, the ingredients and texture of the cookies are indeed very similar.
The name of these cookies is a contracted form of another popular appellation, “melt-in-the-mouth cookies” (or “melt-in-your-mouth cookies”).
In New Zealand, these cookies are typically eaten during the holiday season and are part of the traditional Christmas recipes in many families. For many New Zealanders, the melting moment nostalgically evokes moments from their childhood, spent baking these biscuits in the company of their parents or grandparents.
What are the variants of melting moments?
Depending on the country and family traditions, there are many versions for this delicious cookie sandwich.
For some, they are actually just the cookies as is, with no cream inside. Perfect with a good cup of tea or coffee, they are sometimes dipped in melted chocolate or topped with gourmet vanilla frosting.
In Australia, there is a similar cookie called the yoyo cookie. The only difference with melting moments is the use of custard powder in the recipe.
In the UK, a particularly popular version of melting moment is made with coconut shavings and a sugar-glazed cherry on top of the cookie. It is also eaten dry and without cream.
Also in England, the Viennese whirls are close cousins of the melting moments. These swirl-shaped butter cookies are topped with a generous layer of strawberry jam inside and a dab of buttercream.
- 14 tablespoons butter (soft)
- ½ cup icing sugar
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- 4 tablespoons butter (soft)
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest (or orange zest)
- 1 cup icing sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice (or orange juice)
Preheat a convection oven to 320F / 160 (or 350F / 170C traditional).
- Sift the flour, cornstarch, and ground ginger together.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and icing sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy.
- Add the sifted flour, cornstarch and ginger.
- Knead quickly until forming a homogeneous mixture.
- Divide the dough into 24 equal pieces and roll them.
- Place them, well spaced, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Gently press each ball with a fork to flatten them slightly.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.
- The top of the cookies should be pale, but the bottom should be lightly golden.
- Let stand on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before transferring them to a baking rack to cool them completely and stuff them.
- Beat together the butter, lemon (or orange) zest and icing sugar.
- Add the lemon (or orange) juice to give it a spreadable consistency.
- Spread this cream on half of the cooled cookies.
- Cover each cookie coated with cream with all of the remaining cookies.