Oh man, we’re really getting down to brass tacks now, aren’t we?
[Side note: what does ‘brass tacks’ mean? Am I even using that right? I feel like I’m too young to use an expression like that. Sigh.]
Anyway, what I mean is — Christmas is almost here! As you can tell by the quality of these photographs, things are happening fast, man! There’s barely any time left to make cookies, let alone stage them in a pleasing arrangement and manipulate your light source in order to get a higher quality photograph. No way.
Basically what I am saying is that I don’t have any funny little story to share with you today. Just some delicious cookies that I made for a holiday party at work, which you still have time to make for Christmas! (although just barely)
GINGER SPICE SANDWICH COOKIES WITH LEMON CREAM FILLING (barely adapted from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures)
Ingredients for the cookies:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp ground ginger
1 and 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
3/4 cup (1 and 1/2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 large egg, at room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Ingredients for the filling:
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
6 oz cream cheese, softened
2 and 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
juice and zest of 1 lemon
1. Preheat oven to 350. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
1. To make the cookies: whisk flour, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and both sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Add molasses, egg, and vanilla, and beat until well combined. With mixer on low, gradually add dry ingredients, beating just until incorporated. Turn dough out on (clean!) counter and shape into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 1 hour, or until firm (I did overnight, but you’ll want to do at least an hour, because the dough will be very soft and sticky otherwise).
2. When you’re ready to bake your cookies, preheat oven to 350 and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place on prepared baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches between each cookie. Gently flatten cookies slightly with your fingers, making a disk shape. Bake cookies, one sheet at a time, for about 9-10 minutes, or until edges of cookies are set. Transfer baking sheet to a wire rack and let cookies cool for a few minutes, then remove them to the rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough.
3. To make the filling: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and cream cheese on medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. With mixer on low, add powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time, scraping sides of bowl in between additions. Beat in vanilla extract, lemon zest, and lemon juice. With mixer on medium, beat for another minute or so, until the frosting is smooth and fluffy.
4. To assemble cookies: Match cookies in pairs by size. Transfer filling to a piping bag and pipe a few teaspoons onto the flat side of one cookie of each pair (I didn’t mess with this, I just used a butter knife and spread it on). Sandwich cookies together, pressing filling to the edges.
You should wind up with about 24 cookies here, and man oh man are they good. I tend to prefer sweets that aren’t too sweet, and these have great flavor. One note about the lemon — using a full lemon’s worth of juice and zest will make the filling very lemony, so you may want to start with half the lemon, taste it, and go from there.