Jan 7, 2009

gingerbread cookies with lemon filling

Over the holidays I made several batches of these yummy treats. The gingerbread is a nice cookie by itself, spicy but not too dark. However, once the smooth lemon icing is added in the middle a whole new animal is born. I took these to several holiday parties this year to rave reviews.

The recipe came from Food and Wine's December 2008 issue which highlighted unresistable holiday desserts. One of the featured bakers was Nick Malgieri, his recipe below, director of baking at New York City's Institute of Culinary Education.

Recipe for Ginger Sandwich Cookies
Adapted from Nick Malgieri, Food and Wine: December 2008

1 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1& 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1/4 cup unsulfured molasses

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 & 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1. Preheat the oven to 350 and position racks in the upper and lower thirds. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Make the cookies: In a bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the butter and sugar at medium-high speed until fluffy, 3 minutes. Beat in the egg and molasses until just mixed. Add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed until just incorporated, scraping down the bowl.

3. Drop small spoonfuls of the dough onto the baking sheets, 3 inches apart. Bake the cookies for about 20 minutes, until risen and fallen and slightly firm; shift the sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through for even baking. Let cool slightly, then transfer the parchment paper to racks and let the cookies cool completely.

4. Make the filling: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the butter with the confectioners' sugar at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the lemon juice until well mixed and a nice smooth frosting has formed.

5. Arrange the cookies in pairs on a large work surface. Spoon or pipe 1 rounded tablespoon of the lemon filling onto the flat side of half the cookies. Sandwich with the remaining cookies, pressing them together so the filling spreads to the edge.

(photography by: alison clayshulte)

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