My daughter wanted to make cookies for all of her teachers. A daunting task, but I wanted to foster her giving spirit, so last night that’s just what we did, we made gingerbread and lemon sandwich cookies. I was going to share this recipe next week, during the week of Christmas, but I made the mistake of posting this photo on my personal Facebook page last night. All my friends made the same comment: “Share the recipe!”
I don’t blame them; I took that photo with my iPhone and the cookies still look incredible. And let me tell you, the cookies taste as incredible as they look. Crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside and full of flavor, dare I say this is one of the best cookies that I have EVER tasted.
I found this recipe in the December issue of O, The Oprah Magazine and wanted to make these cookies because they looked unusual and gift-worthy. The magazine recipe didn’t have large-batch instructions, so we just doubled the recipe. I was able to make 41 fairly large sandwiches and had just enough filling, spreading it not too thin or thick. I could have made a few more sandwiches if I had shaped the log better; there were cookie casualties that didn’t make it as sandwiches, but made it into our mouth. I was nervous about the shape of the cookies because my log of dough was a misshapen mess, but the shape evened out while baking and as you see in the photo above, the cookies look beautiful.
We made the dough, the hardest part of the recipe, the night before, so slicing, sugaring and baking the cookies was easy and fun. The frosting filling was easy to make; just be sure to beat the ingredients until it’s nice and thick. Read through the recipe first and see that the butter is divided; some of it is used for the dough and some of it is used for the frosting. Don’t soften it all at once if you are making the dough on another day (I made that mistake). I used about 3 drops of yellow food coloring, just enough to give the frosting a very soft lemon tint.
Gingerbread and Lemon Sandwich Cookies
Servings: Makes about 30
- 2 cups and 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 2 tsp. ground ginger
- 1 tsp. ground allspice
- 1 tsp. ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp. fine salt
- 18 Tbsp. (2 1/4 sticks) butter , divided, at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar , divided
- 1 egg
- 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup unsulphured molasses
- 2 cups confectioners’ sugar , sifted
- 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 2 tsp. zest from 1 lemon (use same lemon as for juice)
- 6 to 8 drops yellow food coloring (optional)
Active time: 1 hour
Total time: 3 hours
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves, and salt; set aside. In a second large bowl, beat 12 tablespoons butter and 3/4 cup granulated sugar with an electric mixer on low speed until pale and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add egg, vanilla, and molasses, beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture and beat until smooth. Divide dough between 2 large sheets of parchment paper and roll up snugly, twisting the ends like a candy wrapper, to make two 8-inch logs. Refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 350°. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. Place remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar in a shallow dish. Cut dough logs into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Dip the top of each in sugar and transfer to prepared baking sheets, spacing about 1 inch apart. Bake until just firm around the edges, about 10 minutes; let cool completely on a rack.
In a large bowl, beat remaining 6 tablespoons butter, confectioners’ sugar, lemon juice and zest, and food coloring (if using) with an electric mixer until fluffy, about 2 minutes. To assemble sandwiches, spread frosting onto half the cookies, then top with remaining cookies.
In O Magazine, the cookies were tied up with parchment paper and string. I wanted something a bit more sturdy since my daughter would be distributing the cookies herself. The Container Store was a treasure trove of cookie containers. I bought small blue boxes (non-holiday specific and also my daughter’s favorite color), some decorative waxed paper and snowball trim. My daughter made personalized cards for all the teachers. We were able to fit about 4 cookies in each box, which left us with a few for ourselves and a friend’s birthday present. Already the kids are asking if we are going to make more this holiday season.