Award-Winning German Chocolate “Cake” Sandwich Cookies


Award Winning German Chocolate Cake Sandwich Cookies

I think I need a new career. Anybody want to hire a recipe developer (with multimedia degree and can do food photography)? So far in my life, I entered three contests and won all three. Two of them I didn’t even test. That’s what they do on The Next Iron Chef, right? Anyway, these German Chocolate “Cake” Sandwich Cookies took first place out of 17 entries last week in a local cookie contest. The chewy chocolate coconut pecan cookies are a home run alone but pair them with coconut pecan filling? Grand slam.

My coworker texted me about the cookie contest posted in the newspaper, the same paper as the cupcake contest. Already I had ideas forming in my head, the first thing being a sandwich cookie. My first reaction was a brownie cookie with either caramel or marshmallow filling. Then I went to a smores sandwich cookie. I was all set on the smores one but then was worried about the toasted marshmallow staying fresh. I’m not sure when it happened, but I decided on these German Chocolate “Cake” Sandwich Cookies (the cake is in quotes because the cookies are actually chewy). All I had to do was drop off a dozen the morning of the deadline.

Award Winning German Chocolate Cake Sandwich Cookies

Although I had the opportunity to enter two recipes and increase my chances of winning, my heart wasn’t set on two. You know how you have that nagging feeling in your gut? I couldn’t bring myself to concentrate on two. Was I being crazy for turning down another entry? My friend quoted to me “Do one thing and do it well.” I knew I was stretched for time because I cram everything into the weekend, which this particular weekend consisted of 5 photo shoots and shopping at Walmart 40 minutes away for essentials. I didn’t even have time to test the recipe, which was ok since I made them over the summer (minus the ice cream part) baked the cookies and made the filling Sunday night. Except I had to run to the store since I bought the wrong kind of canned milk. Then I stopped. Now what? Will my cookies get soggy if I assemble them now? Should I put them together in the morning? Do I need to assemble them now so the filling hardens and “glues” the cookies together? I assembled them Monday morning and packed them into freezer bags. The container I was originally going to use was too small, so the lady at the desk was probably thinking I’m crazy when I showed up with two freezer bags inside a shallow cardboard box.

Award Winning German Chocolate Cake Sandwich Cookies

Tuesday rolled around, and no phone call. They printed in the article that they would contact the winner Tuesday. I accepted that I lost and was anxious to see who won. Thursday afternoon I’m getting ready to go to lunch when I saw “Unknown” calling my phone. When the newspaper called me back in April, it came up “Unknown”. Hmm maybe they were calling to tell me I was in the top 5 (who would also be published)? Turns out they were swamped the past two days and didn’t get a chance to call me. I guess newspapers miss their deadlines too. I’m terrible at reacting by the way. The guy was probably wondering why I wasn’t more excited.

Award Winning German Chocolate Cake Sandwich Cookies

So here we are with these Award Winning German Chocolate “Cake” Sandwich Cookies. I have such a terrible time baking cookies because they spread so much. I think with my prize money, I’m going to buy high-quality cookie sheets and butter (I already bought my stand mixer). Oh and in case you’re wondering, I used German chocolate, which is 48% chocolate. I wanted the cookies to be as authentic as possible. However, you can substitute semisweet chocolate.

Yields 3

Award-Winning German Chocolate "Cake" Sandwich Cookies
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2 cups flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs
4 ounces German chocolate, chopped into small chunks
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1 cup pecans, chopped
14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1 cup pecans, chopped


  1. For the cookies: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In another large bowl, cream together the butter and both sugars until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Beat in the vanilla and eggs. Gradually beat in the flour mixture until combined. Stir in the chocolate, coconut, and pecans. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Once the dough is chilled, line 4 cookie sheets with parchment paper.* Roll the dough into 1 1/2-inch balls (I used #40 scoop) and place onto cookie sheets. Chill for at least 15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375F. Bake the cookies 10-12 minutes or until firm on the edges. Let cool on the sheets for a few minutes before removing to cooling racks to cool completely.
  5. While the cookies are cooling, make the filling: In a medium saucepan, heat the milk, yolks, and butter until the butter melts. Whisk often because the mixture burns easily. Once the butter melts, heat the mixture until it bubbles, whisking constantly. Cook a few more minutes until thickened. Remove from the heat and whisk in vanilla, coconut, and pecans. Let cool completely.
  6. Once everything is cool, assemble the cookies: Place a spoonful or two of filling onto one cookie and top with another cookie. Repeat with the remaining cookies. Store in an airtight container.


*If you don't have enough cookie sheets, let them cool between each use.

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    1. Congratulations Carla! Way to go! With your prize money I highly recommend GoldTouch baking sheets plus a couple of silpats. You’ll save hundreds in parchment paper over the years.

      • Oh thanks for the recommendation! I have no clue what I was going to get haha I have Walmart silicone mats, but I notice I get better cookies with parchment paper. Will Silpat result in great cookies (I’m assuming yes since you suggested them)?

    2. Thanks for bringing the cookies :) These are fabulous- congrats on WINNING!!! Hooray! Now will someone please pass the milk…

    3. Congrats, Carla! I am glad to see you feeling good about yourself and enjoying a success you deserve! Now… on to the cookies — they look amazing. It doesn’t hurt that German chocolate is my all time favorite. Fabulous photos, fabulous cookie – you should be proud!

    4. Wonderful cookies and WOW at the photos. I aspire to be able to take photos like that one day.

      My brother’s favorite cake is German chocolate. I really should make these cookies for him. I bet he would love them and they would be gone in a flash.

    5. I’m so excited for you and was waiting for you to post these – They’re gorgeous – Congrats :-)

    6. Congratulations, Carla! These look so delicious. You could send me a dozen in a cardboard box, too, couldn’t you?! ;)

    7. Congratulations Carla! I’m so happy for you! Always go with your gut and keep on entering these contests! I can’t wait to see what you get with your money, but I agree with what Jessica suggests.

    8. You’re amazing. You are queen of entering and winning food contests!

    9. Congratulations Carla! These cookies look fabulous!

    10. Congratulations on the win!

    11. Congrats again, Carla! I love your creation – this is one fun cookie recipe to try and you deserve the winning titlle!

    12. Wahoo, congratulations, Carla! I’m thrilled for you and not surprised at all because you are a phenomenal baker and these are phenomenal cookies. Every time I come here I’m drooling! I loved getting a glimpse inside your thought pattern and your process of baking/dropping off the cookies. That sounded like a frenzied glimpse inside my own tortured skull ;)

    13. Stop the presses! My search for the best, most over-the-top life-changing cookie can now come to close. These are a sight to behold!

      We’re celebrating holiday recipes on the Shine Supper Club this month and this would be a lovely contribution. I hope you’ll join us!

    14. Susan Taylor says:

      Oh…..yum! What is better than chocolate and coconut? This was my dad’s favorite cake–his birthday cake–and now I can make these and share (if I want to!) with friends. Maybe not……!

    15. Congratulations on your win! German chocolate cake is my absolute favorite so you know I am going to try these cookies. I cannot wait!

    16. Way to go!!! And what fun to actually get prize money to spend. I’m assuming it’s not enough to retire with, though… ;) The cookies look absolutely amazing so it’s pretty easy to imagine why they’d win. Onto the next contest!

    17. Congratulations! These cookies do look award-worthy. I’m filing these puppies away for the big bro’s birthday.

      I’d totally hire you. But I could only pay you in beads and sprinkles. And I wouldn’t have any work for you to do.

    18. These cookies are definitely the best! Congrats, Carla! You’re a rockstar!

    19. Congratulations on winning. These cookies look wonderful.

    20. Congrats, they sure are beautiful!! Maybe you should buy a lotto ticket too.

    21. Carla, these look amazing! I’m not surprised they won! Congratulations, my friend!!!

    22. They look great! I won a state fair contest for apple butter with over 100+ entries, so I know how you feel. Pretty fantastic! One question…is the German chocolate unsweetened or sweet?

    23. Grand slam indeed. I look at the photos and feel like fainting, in ecstasy. Looks absolutely gorgeous and delicious. What more do i say except i cant wait to try making these at home :) thanks for sharing.

    24. I can absolutely see, why that cookies won. Congratulations! Already by looking at them, they are great.

    25. Do you use regular or all purpose flour for this? Thanks!!

      • Hi Dani, what are you referring to when you say regular flour? To me, regular flour is all purpose flour. I use all purpose flour in the recipe.

    26. Jessica says:

      These were amazing! I actually dipped half of each sandwhich in some leftover melted german chocolate and it was the perfect extra bit of richness. Not to mention the extra texture from the chcolate once it hardened!

      Out of curiosity, I wonder if you could substitute some of the butter for coconut oil? The flavor of coconut oil would not be out of place in these, and it would be a good way to make at least the cookie bit somewhat healthier…(I just don’t have enough baking experience, and I’d be afraid to experiment too much myself.)

      • Hi Jessica,

        Glad to hear the cookies were a hit! Love the idea of dipping into leftover chocolate. To be honest, I don’t have any experience working with coconut oil. After doing some quick research, it looks like it can be substituted one-to-one ratio (in other words, 1 cup butter = 1 cup solid coconut oil). Again, I cannot vouch if this substitute will work. Let me know if you decide to try it!

    27. Carolyn McCartney says:

      Butter is what makes cookies spread so much. I have the same problem with Chocolate Chip Cookies made with butter. Try substituting Butter Flavored Crisco for the butter, all or half, and you should have better results.

      • Yes this is true, and I have been experimenting with shortening. Thanks for the tip!

        • Heya! I made these over the weekend and they were awesome! I found that softening the butter more than melting (so it’s semisolid) really helps with spreading — mine were pretty poofy!

          I’ve also noticed that your frosting recipe is basically true to the one on the German’s box – except you use condensed milk rather than the evaporated milk they call for — I went with evaporated, since I have it on hand more often than not…what is the taste difference between frostings made with the two different types of milk?

          • Sweetened condensed milk has more sugar than evaporated milk and is a bit thicker. You probably noticed on the recipe you used, there was sugar in addition to evaporated milk.

            • Ah, completely forgot the sugar bit — i’ve gotta try the frosting with condensed milk and no sugar and see how it works…thanks!

    28. Thank you SO much for sharing the recipe for these cookies!!!

    29. I made these last night. Delicious! But I have some questions. I rolled the dough into 1″ balls but when they baked up they still stayed pretty high, not flatter like in your pictures. Also, the recipe made something like 78 individual cookies, way more than you indicate. Any advice about these 2 issues? Thanks.

      • Wow that’s a lot of extra cookies! Wish I knew why, but because I wasn’t in the kitchen with you, I don’t know. Sorry I can’t help more.

      • BakerMom is right. The recipe makes about 70 individual cookies (if the dough is rolled into 1″ balls and not larger) which yields 35 cookie sandwiches. Perhaps Carla rolls hers larger than ours. And that many is okay with me; lots to enjoy and share. Also, regarding the spreading of the cookies, mine actually varied on the same cookie sheet – some spread out more than others on the same pan during the same baking period. Figure that one out. I did chill them before shaping, and before baking. Whatever! They are terrific!!

    30. Thank you so much for a great recipe. I made these into ice cream cookie sandwiches and they were AMAZING. This recipe may get me out of ever having to make another layer cake again in my life. For that, I am eternally grateful. I loathe making them, and my husband requests a German Chocolate Cake each year for his birthday. It always tastes delicious, but is a lopsided disaster- and is usually kind of embarrassing to bring to my in-laws for dinner. I hope its these cookies from here on out!!

    31. I made these cookies this afternoon, except I did not do the filling because I felt it would be too sweet. Still, these cookies are delish!

      • Yes the filling is sweet, so good call. Happy to hear you still loved the cookie part without it (they really are great cookies on their own) :)

    32. Hi Carla,

      I just wanted to say a million thanks for this recipe — it was a HUGE HIT at a friend’s Oktoberfest party last month. They disappeared so quickly, I didn’t even get to enjoy one myself! Luckily, I had stashed a couple at home for my husband and I to enjoy the next day.

      This recipe created a cookie that rivals anything I’ve ever tasted from a high-end bakery. I plan to use it again and again. So glad I found your website!

      Do you think these cookies would ship well? I live in Hawaii and want to send some to my mom and mom-in-law (German Chocolate Cake is the favorite of both of them) on the mainland.

      • Yay! Glad to hear about the huge success :) I know the cookies on their own mail well (as I mailed them to a friend), but I’m not sure about the filling. If you mail it overnight or even in two days, you can probably do it.

        • Thanks for replying. The cookies without the filling definitely hold their own, so maybe it’ll be enough until I can blow them away with the full-on version in person. :)

    33. OMG these cookies are SICK! And I mean that in the best possible way. I just baked them up for our cookie swap tomorrow and they are even better than I hoped for. Thank you so much for an amazing cookie!

    34. Made these tonight at the insistence of my husband wanting german chocolate cookies. So far everyone has loved them. Thanks for the recipe!


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