I realize it's the first week of the year, when everyone is cookied-out from the holidays, cutting the carbs and hitting the gym, and the last thing you want to read about is cookies. Or perhaps because you are off carbs (as we are for the moment...we miss you, potatoes), you are interested in living vicariously through cookie-baking tales like this one.
I sort of created the recipe for my Ginger Lemon Sandwich Cookies, which was inspired by both a ginger-lime sandwich cookie served at a cooking class I attended earlier in December, and some really wonderful ginger molasses spice cookies that were the favor at my friends Peter and Natatia's wedding in October (you might remember, I ate Korean Fried Chicken shortly before they walked down the aisle. Romantic!). Amazingly, Natatia made approximately 1,200 cookies for all of her guests - thanks, Tash!
Natatia's brother was kind enough to share the recipe for her cookies on his blog, which I used to the T for my sandwich cookies. For the lemon cream filling, I used this Food & Wine recipe, but made a few adjustments (more on that later).
For the ginger molasses spice cookies, I began by combining the dry ingredients: flour, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, baking soda. Then I creamed together the butter and sugar with my hand mixer (since I don't have a Kitchenaid stand mixer) that is from approximately 1973, then added the eggs, then the molasses. Adding the dry ingredients into the wet proved difficult for my little hand mixer -- we lost a beater in battle, but I finished the dough by hand (and the one beater was fine for the lemon cream filling).
|Secret ingredient: elbow grease|
Then I rolled the dough into 3/4" balls and rolled each one in sugar. I rolled and rolled, and baked and baked, and ended up with about 150 soft, sugar-coated cookies (I doubled the recipe, not sure why, but very glad I did since they were so good!).
A few notes: 3/4" balls yielded the perfect size for these cookies -- they couldn't be too big, people were supposed to eat 2 at a time once they were sandwich cookies! Also, the 8-10 minute baking time resulted in the soft, chewy cookies I remember from the wedding. You're supposed to let the cookies cool on the sheet pan for a few minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack to complete cooling. I didn't have a wire rack, so I used the cool top of my washing machine, conveniently located in my kitchen. Ah, city livin'.
|SO many cookies! On my washing machine.|
Once the cookies were baked and cooled, I started on the lemon cream filling. The F&W recipe simply requires beating together softened butter, confectioners' sugar, and a couple tablespoons of fresh lemon juice. I found that there wasn't enough butter/lemon juice for the amount of sugar (it looked like wet sand instead of a smooth paste), so I added 2 more tablespoons of softened butter and some more lemon juice, and the ratio worked better. I also added lemon zest to punch up the lemony goodness. I wanted the filling to be more tart than sweet, to contrast the already sweet and sugary cookies.
|Wounded in battle|
Then I matched up similarly sized cookies in preparation for the filling stage. This is where the title of this post comes in: I once heard someone say, regarding relationships, "a lid for every pot." That struck me, not only because of its hopeful nature, but of course, because it has to do with food. So as I was pairing up the cookies, I just kept thinking of that saying, and I certainly thought of Peter and Natatia: a perfectly matched lid and pot.
I filled the cookies by spooning the filling on one side, then rejoining it with its partner.
I ended up with about 75 cookies, and packaged them up into containers. In retrospect, I should have let the filled cookies firm up on a sheet pan in the fridge before packaging them, since the cream was kind of messy, but I had a dance party to get to! Note, however, that the cookies should be served at room temperature so the cookie and filling are soft.
The cookies were sweet and spicy from the sugar and cinnamon, cloves, and ginger, and had a nice tart balance from the filling. The softness of the cookie is key here - I don't really like crunchy gingersnaps (which the Food & Wine article makes), and I don't think they would work as well with the cream filling. They were, in a word, addictive.
I brought the cookies to a dance holiday party, to Xani and Dave prior to their departure for Boston for the Christmas holiday (a good airplane snack!), to my parents as we were waiting to leave for Las Vegas for our Christmas vacation, and to a birthday party a few days later -- there were a lot of cookies to get through!
I'm glad I experimented with this recipe and got such a successful result. Happy new year, and may all you lidless pots find your lids this year!