Jane’s Sweets & Baking Journal -- janessweets.blogspot.com -- October 2012

Chewy Ginger Sandwich Cookies with Lemon Cream-Cheese Filling

(This cookie recipe is adapted from Todd Knaster’s book, At Home with the Culinary Institute of America: Cookies. Published by John Wiley & Sons, 2011. Please see “Gingersnaps,” page 53. The lemon cream-cheese filling recipe is original and unadapted from any source.)

Ingredients for the cookies:

1 cup (2 sticks or 1/2 lb.) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon salt (I used fine sea salt)

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 tablespoon baking soda

1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 tablespoon crystallized (aka candied) ginger, very well chopped

1 cup molasses (not "robust" molasses)

1/4 cup water

Line cookie sheets with parchment paper and preheat your oven to 325 degrees.

In the large bowl of your mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and granulated sugar until it's fluffy and light in color (about 4 minutes).

In another bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda, salt, ground ginger, and crystallized ginger.

In a small saucepan, gently heat the molasses and water just until it thins out a bit (up to about 75 degrees; this is just slightly warm).

On your mixer's lowest speed, slowly add the dry ingredients and the molasses into the creamed mixture, alternating between the two (dry/wet/dry/wet/dry). Stop and scrape every now and then.

Portion the dough onto your prepared baking sheets (I used a scoop that holds two teaspoons of dough for smaller cookies), spacing the cookies about 2 inches apart. Wet the palm of your hand with cold water and flatten each cookie slightly. Sprinkle the tops with a pinch of white sanding sugar or coarse turbinado sugar (I tried both; the white sugar shows up more after the cookies are baked, but they taste good with either sugar).

Bake them for about 12 minutes. Let the cookies cool for a minute or two on the baking sheets before moving them to a cooling rack.  (If you'd like your cookies to be more crisp around the edges, do the following: Preheat your oven to 350; when you put the cookies in the oven, immediately turn the temperature down to 325. Turn off the oven after 12 minutes, but leave the cookies in the oven for 5 more minutes. Then let them cool as usual.) 

Ingredients for the filling:

One 8 ounce package of cream cheese, at room temperature

1/2 stick of unsalted butter, softened (1/4 cup or 4 ounces)

1 and 1/4 cups, up to 2 cups, confectioners' sugar (whisked or sifted after measuring to break up lumps)

1 teaspoon pure lemon extract

1 teaspoon lemon zest

Beat all ingredients together, starting with the smaller portion of confectioners' sugar, in a medium size bowl until soft, fluffy , and free of lumps (I just used my electric hand mixer). If you'd like your filling thicker or sweeter, add in more of the sugar. To assemble: Sandwich about 2 teaspoons between the bottoms of two cooled cookies. Store covered.