Ginger Cookies with Lemon Buttercream

Cookies are my favorite thing to bake… and to eat. There’s just something more gratifying and less guilt inducing about eating a handful of cookies versus just one slice of cake. These cookies are what I get asked to make the most often. I made these to take the Thanksgiving potluck at my office one year and I was never allowed to make anything else after that. They’re that good. They’re not difficult to make, just a little time consuming. It might take a couple of batches before they come out looking as good as they taste, but in the words of my husband, “At least practice tastes good.”

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Tips for “perfect” sandwich cookies

  1. Start with cold dough. Put it in the fridge for about 15 minutes if you need to and keep it cold. If you find that it’s starting to melt stick it back in the fridge.
  2. Spoon out the dough with a melon baller or measuring spoon to make sure all the cookies are all about the same size.
  3. Roll the dough into balls before placing it on the cookie sheet. This is what makes these a little time consuming and you might be tempted to skip this step, but don’t if you want perfectly round cookies.
  4. Only bake one cookie sheet at a time. I’ve never had success with using convection to circulate the heat in the oven. In my experience, the way to ensure even baking is to take your time and bake one pan at a time. While one is baking you can prep the next one, so it really doesn’t take that long.
  5. Take the cookies out of the oven before they begin to brown if you want a chewy texture.
  6. Let the cookies cool completely so your filling doesn’t melt.
  7. No matter how hard you try there will be a little variation in the size of the baked cookies and inevitably you’ll end up with the largest and smallest ones for the two halves of the last cookie. So, before you start filling, match up all the cookies into pairs.
  8. Pipe your filling instead of spooning it onto the cookies. You can even clip the corner off of a plastic sandwich bag if you don’t have any piping bags. This way you can put a ball of filling in the center of one cookie and push it to the edge when you put on the other half so that it spreads evenly.

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Ginger cookies with Lemon Buttercream

Ingredients:
3/4 cup butter
1 cup white sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup white sugar for decoration

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and 1 cup white sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg and molasses until well blended.
  3. Combine the flour, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, baking soda, and salt and stir into the molasses mixture to form a dough.
  4. Roll dough into 1/2 inch balls and roll the balls in the remaining sugar. Place cookies 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets.
  5. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. These will not look brown until they are overdone. Eight minutes results in a chewy cookie and at 10 minutes it’s crunchy. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. Fill cookies with Lemon Buttercream recipe below.

Lemon Buttercream

Ingredients:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Preparation:

Whip the butter and confectioners’ sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice.