Whether a pan of humble shortbread, sugar cookie cutouts loaded with icing and sprinkles, or Deb Perlman’s Seven Layer Cookies, almost all of us will bake at least one batch of cookies this season, if only to satisfy the man in the red suit. I am starting with these delicious lemon ginger sandwich cookies.
Growing up, I was always a bit jealous of my friends who came from families that were really “in touch with their roots,” whipping up batches of Swedish gingerbread or Norwegian sugar cookies year after year. I met a new friend a few years ago whose family still uses a 150 year old secret toffee recipe! My family had a few traditions, but I’m pretty sure those peanut butter cookies with Reese’s in the middle weren’t brought over on the Mayflower…
Still, over the years I’ve developed quite the repertoire of Christmas cookies (this has way less to do with my baking skills than my love of cookies), and this week I am excited to share a few of my favorites that just might be worth some of that precious real estate on this year’s cookie tray!
A word about these lemon ginger sandwich cookies. First of all, they are delicious, so prepare yourself to eat more than one. Back in 2009, after trying a similar cookie made by Carrs I
came across spent hours searching the internet for a recipe for these lemon ginger sandwich cookies. I finally found one in Food and Wine, which I adapted ever so slightly. It was love at first bite! This cookie is chewy with the perfect amount of spice, and the filling is tart, tart, tart (well, as tart as it can be with 2 cups of powdered sugar). Speaking of sugar, don’t forget that sandwich cookie=2 cookies + frosting. So, make sure you bake manageably sized cookies. If you have a small cookie scoop this would be the perfect time to get it out, because equally sized cookies make for great sandwiches! Lastly, you might want to consider doubling the recipe–since the cookies are sandwiched together and at least five will go into your own mouth while you are baking them, your holiday cookie tray might be looking a little bare without the second batch.
Another quick note-I like my ginger cookies pretty spicy. If you prefer a more mild (but still yummy) flavor, try this recipe with only 2 teaspoons of ginger. Along those lines, I always use kosher salt, which is less salty than regular salt. If you are using regular salt, cut the amount called for in half.
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 3 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- scant 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 stick plus 2 tablespoons butter (softened)
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 6 tablespoons butter (softened)
- 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.
- In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the molasses, followed by the egg, beating for a few seconds after each until well combined. (If you are using an electric mixer, don’t forget to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Add salt, cinnamon, ginger, and baking soda and stir until completely incorporated.
- Slowly stir in flour until combined, but be careful not to over beat.
- Using a small cookie scoop or a small spoon drop dough onto a parchment lined cookie sheet, leaving about three inches between each cookie. Each cookie should have a little less than a tablespoon of dough (an actual tablespoon, not a large spoon from your kitchen–sandwich cookies should be on the small side.)
- Bake for about 10 minutes, rotating the pans half way through.
- Meanwhile, cream butter, lemon zest and lemon in a medium sized bowl. Add powdered sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Adjust lemon/sugar to taste, I prefer a very tart filling. If the frosting seems too soft, pop it in the fridge for a couple of minutes.
- Once the cookies come out of the oven, allow to cool completely before frosting.