Home » Boston Cream Pie Cookies (Two Ways)

Boston Cream Pie Cookies (Two Ways)

These fabulous gluten free Boston cream pie cookies capture all the deliciousness of a traditional Boston cream pie – in buttery, melt-in-the-mouth cookie form. From the perfect gluten free vanilla shortbread cookies to the silky-smooth vanilla pastry cream and the luscious chocolate ganache, this dessert is guaranteed to impress. The recipe includes two serving options: as open-faced cookies or in the form of sandwich cookies – it’s really a “choose your own adventure” kind of recipe!

Open-faced Boston cream pie cookies on a sheet of brown parchment paper.

I’m in love with these cookies. I’ve already made them three times just in the last two weeks – and the moment the last cookie of the third batch disappears, I just know I’ll be making more straight away. Yes, they’re THAT good.

They might even be competing for the #1 spot on my favourite cookies list… and considering that the first place is currently a tie between these FABULOUS gluten free caramel “Twix” cookies and the chocolatey overload that are the Black Forest flourless brownie cookies – well, that should tell you everything you need to know about just how outrageously delicious these Boston cream pie cookies truly are.

Everything about them is just *perfect*. From the buttery gluten free vanilla shortbread cookies to the luscious, silky-smooth vanilla pastry cream and the generous glaze of glossy chocolate ganache on top.

They truly capture all the best elements of a Boston cream pie, and condense it into melt-in-the-mouth cookie form.

They’re also incredibly easy to make and you’d honestly never guess that they’re gluten free. And what’s even better: I’ve included two variations for how to assemble and serve them (either as an open-faced cookie or as a sandwich cookie), so you can pick whichever one you fancy more. 

Comparison of the two Boston cream pie cookie variations: open-faced cookies on the left and sandwich cookies on the right.

Before we get to the bits and bobs of making these amazing cookies – if you like what you’re seeing, subscribe to my newsletter to keep up to date on the latest recipes and tips!

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Note: the whole recipe, including the ingredient quantities, can be found at the bottom of this page – just scroll down to the bottom, or click the ‘Jump to Recipe’ button at the top of this post.

Gluten free Boston cream pie cookies: the components

There are three components to these cookies:

  • Buttery, melt-in-the-mouth gluten free vanilla shortbread. This recipe is based on the vanilla shortbread from my gluten free cookbook Baked to Perfection (get it here!) and it’s the same recipe that I’ve used before in my gluten free caramel “Twix” cookies and lemon curd sandwich cookies. It’s a super easy recipe that gives perfectly buttery, melt-in-the-mouth cookies.
  • Luscious, silky-smooth vanilla pastry cream. I’ve talked about how to make vanilla pastry cream before and these cookies use essentially the same recipe (just a slightly smaller batch made with four egg yolks instead of five). The only difference is a very slightly larger amount of cornstarch here. This achieves a firmer set, which works better for these cookies, as they aren’t as soft as the cake sponges in a typical Boston cream pie. After all, you don’t want the cream to squish out every time you take a bite! However, even with the final consistency being slightly firmer, the pastry cream still has the perfect silky-smooth, luscious texture.
  • Glossy, luxurious dark chocolate ganache. Of course, we can’t skip the element that’s the crowning glory on any Boston cream treat: the chocolate ganache. This is what ties the whole dessert together, so make sure to use a high quality dark chocolate. The one I used has a cocoa solids content of about 55%, but 60-70% will work as well – it just depends on how bitter-sweet you want the ganache to be.

All of these are super easy to whip up and I made sure to include all the details and my top tips in the recipe below so that the whole thing is basically fail-proof.

Now, when it comes to assembling these three components together, there are two ways of doing it.

Two ways of assembling & serving the cookies

There are two ways in which you can assemble and serve the cookies (this is really a “choose your own adventure” kind of recipe!):

  • As open-faced cookies. Here, all the cookies are cut out with a round cookie cutter. Once baked and cooled, you just need to pipe a generous dollop of pastry cream on top of each one and then drizzle them liberally with chocolate ganache. This version has just one cookie per serving, so if the pastry cream and chocolate ganache are your favourite part of this recipe: this is the version for you.
  • As sandwich cookies. In this case, you’ll need to double the amount of cookie dough (simply by doubling all the shortbread ingredient quantities). Then, you need to cut out a small hole from half of the cookies (before baking, of course) and these will form the tops of the sandwich cookies. The top cookies are then dipped into chocolate ganache, and sandwiched together with the bottom cookies with a layer of pastry cream in between. These are easier to store and there’ s definitely more emphasis on the cookie part (as there’s two cookies per each serving).

Comparison of the two Boston cream pie cookie variations: open-faced cookie on the left and sandwich cookie on the right.

Both versions are absolutely spectacular and I couldn’t possibly say which one I love more. I actually like to prepare a mix of both with each batch, simply by making a larger number of bottom cookies (without the hole) compared to the number of top cookies (with the hole). 

This way, I use any bottom cookies left over after I’ve assembled the sandwich cookies to make the open-faced version. It’s really the best option if you can’t decide which version you want to go with!

Now, let’s take a closer look at each of the two versions.

Open-faced Boston cream pie cookies

To make the open-faced version:

  1. Bake the cut-out cookies, and then cool them completely.
  2. Make the vanilla pastry cream and cool it completely to room temperature, but don’t chill it in the fridge.
  3. Make the ganache and chill it in the fridge for about 15 minutes until it’s thickened slightly. This chilling step ensures that the ganache drips down the sides of the pastry cream mound very slowly and in a controlled manner.
  4. Pipe a generous mound of pastry cream on top of each cookie and then spoon some of the chocolate ganache on top, allowing it to gently drip down the sides of the pastry cream.
  5. Chill in fridge until the ganache is set (about 15-30 minutes) and then serve. Note that the cookies are definitely better the next day.

Open-faced Boston cream pie cookies on small white dessert plates with a gold edge.

Overhead view of open-faced Boston cream pie cookies on small white dessert plates with a gold edge.

Boston cream pie sandwich cookies

For this version, you’ll need to double the amount of cookie dough, simply by doubling the quantities of all the shortbread ingredients.

To make the sandwich cookie version:

  1. Cut out a small hole in half of the cookies (before baking) – these will be the top cookies in the final cookie sandwich. Bake the cookies and cool them completely. Note that the top cookies (with the hole) need a slightly shorter time in the oven.
  2. Make the vanilla pastry cream and cool it completely to room temperature, but don’t chill it in the fridge.
  3. Make the ganache and dip the top cookies in it, making sure to shake off any excess. Here, you have two options. You can dip the cookies immediately after you’ve made the ganache – this will give you a smooth, thin coating on the cookies. Alternatively, you can chill the ganache in the fridge for about 15 minutes until it’s thickened slightly and then dip the cookies – this will give you a wavier and more generous, thicker coating. The second option is my favourite, but choose whichever one you like best. (In the photo below, you can see the smooth coating on the cookies in the first row on the baking sheet, and then the glaze gets progressively thicker & “wavier” in the bottom few rows.)
  4. Chill the dipped top cookies in the fridge for about 15-30 minutes until the ganache is no longer sticky/tacky to the touch, then freeze them for 15 minutes before the final assembly step. Once frozen, the ganache-coated cookies will be much easier to handle when you sandwich the whole thing together.
  5. Assemble the cookies by piping the vanilla pastry cream in an even layer onto the bottom cookies and then sandwich them together by placing a chocolate-covered top cookie on top.
  6. Chill in fridge for about 30 minutes before serving (this allows the pastry cream to set), but the cookies are definitely better the next day.

Chocolate-dipped cookies on a lined baking sheet.

Overhead view of Boston cream pie sandwich cookies.

Close-up view of a Boston cream pie sandwich cookie.

How do you store these Boston cream pie cookies?

It’s best to store these cookies in a closed air-tight container in the fridge, and they keep really well for about 3-4 days.

They actually get better as they stand – while they’re amazing on the day they’re made, they become truly MAGICAL after they’ve spent the night in the fridge. The cookies get more delicate, the flavours have had time to meld and mingle, and the whole thing just reaches the next level of deliciousness.

Boston cream pie sandwich cookies on small white dessert plates with a gold edge.

So, if (or rather when) you make these fabulous gluten free Boston cream pie cookies, make sure that you leave at least a few to stand in the fridge overnight. Listen, I know that they’re so ridiculously tempting it’s borderline dangerous – but it’s 100% worth waiting for a day or two to experience the full potential they can achieve.

I really really hope you’ll love these as much as I do – and make sure to test both versions of these cookies, you never know which one you’ll like best.

Happy baking!

Signature of the author, Kat.

Open-faced Boston cream pie cookies on a sheet of brown parchment paper.

More amazing gluten free cookie recipes

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Boston Cream Pie Cookies - Two Ways (Gluten Free)

These fabulous gluten free Boston cream pie cookies capture all the deliciousness of a traditional Boston cream pie – in buttery, melt-in-the-mouth cookie form. From the perfect gluten free vanilla shortbread cookies to the silky-smooth vanilla pastry cream and the luscious chocolate ganache, this dessert is guaranteed to impress. The recipe includes two serving options: as open-faced cookies or in the form of sandwich cookies. And they’re both AMAZING!!
Print Rate
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 1 hr 30 mins
Cook/Bake Time 22 mins
Chill Time 45 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 37 mins
Servings 14 open-faced cookies or 16 sandwich cookies (with doubled cookie dough)

Ingredients

Vanilla pastry cream:

  • 360 g (1½ cups) whole milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste (or 2 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 4 US large/UK medium egg yolks
  • 125 g (½ cup + 2 tbsp) caster/superfine or granulated sugar
  • 45 g (⅓ cup + 2 tsp) cornstarch (US)/cornflour (UK)
  • 40 g (⅓ stick) unsalted butter, cubed

Gluten free vanilla shortbread (if making the sandwich cookie version, double all shortbread ingredients):

  • 65 g (½ stick + ½ tbsp) unsalted butter, softened
  • 40 g (3 tbsp) caster/superfine sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla bean paste (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 130 g (1 cup + 1 tbsp) plain gluten free flour blend (I used Doves Farm Freee plain gluten free flour that doesn't have any xanthan gum added. You can also mix your own gluten free flour blend using this recipe. Note that for this homemade blend, 1 cup = 150g, so ideally use a kitchen scale for best results.)
  • 30 g (¼ cup) cornstarch (US)/cornflour (UK)
  • ¼ tsp xanthan gum (Omit if your gluten free flour blend already contains xanthan gum.)
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 20 g (4 tsp) whole milk, room temperature

Chocolate ganache:

  • 60 g (2 oz) dark chocolate (55-70% cocoa solids), chopped
  • 90 g (⅓ cup + 1 tbsp) double/heavy cream

Instructions

Vanilla pastry cream:

  • In a saucepan, cook the milk and vanilla over medium-high heat until the mixture only just comes to a boil.
  • While the milk is heating, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in a bowl until pale, slightly fluffy and smooth.
    Tip: This step is called ‘blanching’ – the sugar protects the egg proteins, preventing lump formation and curdling during cooking.
  • Add the cornstarch to the egg mixture and whisk well until combined and no clumps remain.
  • Pour the hot milk in a slow, thin stream into the egg-sugar mixture, whisking constantly.
    Tip: It’s important that you add the hot milk slowly – this is called ‘tempering’ and it prevents the egg yolks from scrambling. If you added the boiling hot milk to the egg mixture all at once, the eggs would cook and curdle. This way, you’re slowly increasing the temperature of the egg yolks while also diluting them. This helps to achieve a perfectly silky-smooth pastry cream.
  • Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over a high heat with constant whisking until thickened (about 1-2 minutes).
  • Remove from heat and stir in the butter, whisking well until the butter has melted and the cream is smooth and glossy.
  • Transfer the pastry cream into a bowl and cover it with a piece of cling film pressed directly on the surface of the cream to prevent a skin from forming on top. Set aside and allow to cool completely at room temperature. Don't chill the pastry cream in the fridge.

Gluten free vanilla shortbread:

  • Note: If making the open-faced cookie version, use the shortbread ingredient quantities listed in the ingredients list to make 14 cookies.
    If making the sandwich cookie version, double the shortbread ingredient quantities listed above to make 16 sandwich cookies (that is, 16 top cookies with holes + 16 bottom cookies without holes).
  • Adjust the oven rack to the middle position, pre-heat the oven to 320ºF (160ºC) and line one to two large baking sheets with parchment/baking paper.
    Tip 1: If making open-faced cookies, you should be able to fit all 14 cookies on one large baking sheet.
    Tip 2: If making sandwich cookies, you will bake the cookies in two batches, so you can line two baking sheets if you have them on hand. Otherwise, just re-use the same baking sheet, but make sure to cool it completely before you place the next batch of unbaked cookies onto it.
  • In a large bowl, mix the softened butter, sugar and vanilla together with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until combined.
    Tip: Don’t cream or aerate the mixture, as that can make the cookies spread out in the oven and lose their shape, which is something you want to avoid (note the absence of any raising agents for the same reason).
  • Sift in the gluten free flour blend, corn starch, xanthan gum and salt. Mix it all together until you get a fairly dry mixture – it will be very crumbly and it won’t stick together very well.
  • Add the milk and mix well until it starts coming together.
  • Give it a thorough knead (because it’s gluten free you don’t need to worry about over-working the dough!) until it comes together in a smooth ball. The cookie dough might be very slightly crumbly or crack in places, but it should hold together well.
  • Roll the dough to a thickness of about 5mm between two sheets of parchment/baking paper.
    Tip: Rolling between sheets of parchment/baking paper reduces cracking and also means that you don’t need to flour your surface, which in turn eliminates the possibility of incorporating extra flour into the cookie dough.
  • If making open-faced cookies: Use a 2½ inch (6.5cm) round cookie cutter to cut out the cookies. Re-roll any scraps to make more cookies until you've used up all the cookie dough. You should get about 14 cookies.
    Transfer them onto the lined baking sheet and bake them at 320ºF (160ºC) for about 22-24 minutes or until light golden.
    Tip: The slightly lower oven temperature (compared to the more usual 350ºF/180ºC) works better here, as it gives a more even bake.
  • If making sandwich cookies: Use a 2½ inch (6.5cm) round cookie cutter to cut out the cookies. Cut out the holes from HALF of the cookies with a small 1 inch (2.5cm) round cookie cutter, the wide/bottom part of a piping tip or even a bottle cap. Re-roll any scraps to make more cookies until you've used up all the cookie dough. You should get about 16 top cookies (with holes) and 16 bottom cookies (without holes).
    Transfer the top and bottom cookies onto separate lined baking sheets. Bake them at 320ºF (160ºC) until light golden, about 20 minutes for top cookies (with holes) and about 22-24 minutes for bottom cookies (without holes).
    Tip: The slightly lower oven temperature (compared to the more usual 350ºF/180ºC) works better here, as it gives a more even bake.
  • Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet(s) for about 10 minutes, then transfer them to a wire cooling rack to cool completely. Set aside until needed.

Chocolate ganache:

  • Place the chopped dark chocolate into a heat-proof bowl.
  • In a saucepan over medium-high heat, cook the double/heavy cream until it only just starts boiling.
  • Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and allow to sit for 2-3 minutes, then stir together until smooth and glossy.

Assembly option 1 – open-faced cookies:

  • Chill the ganache in the fridge for about 15 minutes, with occasional stirring, until slightly thickened but still runny.
    Tip: This chilling step ensures that the ganache will drip down the sides of the pastry cream mound very slowly and in a controlled manner.
  • Give the cooled pastry cream a good whisk to smooth it out, then transfer it into a piping bag fitted with a round piping tip (or use a piping bag with the end cut off, without a piping tip).
  • Pipe a small mound of pastry cream onto each of the 14 cookies.
  • Spoon some of the chocolate ganache on top, allowing it to gently drip down the sides of the pastry cream.
  • Chill in fridge until the ganache is set, about 15-30 minutes, before serving.

Assembly option 2 – sandwich cookies:

  • You can use the chocolate ganache straight away while it's still very loose and runny (this will give you a thin, smooth coating on the cookies) or chill it in the fridge for about 15 minutes, with occasional stirring, until slightly thickened (this will give you a slightly uneven/wavier and more generous, thicker coating). See blog post for photos.
  • Dip the 16 top cookies (with holes) into the ganache, allowing any excess to drip away.
  • Place the ganache-dipped cookies on a baking sheet and chill them in the fridge for about 15-30 minutes until the ganache is no longer sticky/tacky to the touch. Then, freeze them for 15 minutes before the final assembly step.
    Tip: Once frozen, the ganache-coated cookies will be much easier to handle when you sandwich the whole thing together.
  • Give the cooled pastry cream a good whisk to smooth it out, then transfer it into a piping bag fitted with a round piping tip (or use a piping bag with the end cut off, without a piping tip).
  • Pipe an even layer of pastry cream onto each bottom cookie (without holes).
  • Place the ganache-coated top cookies on top of the pastry cream layer and press down gently to adhere.
  • Chill in fridge for about 30 minutes before serving, to give the pastry cream some time to set.

Storage:

  • Both the open-faced and the sandwich versions of these gluten free Boston cream pie cookies keep well in a closed air-tight container in the fridge for about 3-4 days.
    Tip: The cookies actually get better as they stand – while they’re amazing on the day they’re made, they become truly MAGICAL after they’ve spent the night in the fridge.
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