Guess where I get to go today? Jury duty! You’re all jealous, right?
Here’s the thing – I’ve actually been hoping to get jury duty for the longest time. Call me crazy, but I think it could be really interesting! It must be the lawyer in me. I’ve been summoned once or twice before but I was in law school out of state and couldn’t do it. As much as I wanted to be excited when the summons arrived this time, December is already so crazy busy that the last thing I wanted to do was add jury duty to the calendar. But that’s life, and now that I’ve accepted it’s happening, I am sort of looking forward to it again.
So, anyway, that’s what’s going on here this week. Also? Cookie baking – so, so many cookies. I always feel like it’s a race against the calendar to see how many of the recipes on my to-do list I can cram in before December 25th. And once they’re baked, the dilemma becomes finding enough people to take the cookies off our hands so they don’t become breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Clearly there are worse problems to have…
I hate to play favorites, but if I had to award a blue ribbon to best cookies I’ve tried this month, these ginger-spice sandwich cookies would take the prize. Slightly crisp at the edges, chewy in the center, and warmly spiced with ginger and cinnamon. And the filling, oh the filling – tangy lemon cream cheese frosting, it’s the perfect complement to the spicy ginger in the cookies. Holiday worthy? You bet, but also a mighty fine snack for a long day of jury duty!
PS – The third day of holiday giveaways is live! If you enjoy reading you won’t want to miss this one – enter here.
2 cups (9 oz) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
3/4 cup (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar (plus extra for rolling)
1/4 cup molasses
1 large egg, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Lemon Cream Cheese Filling
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 oz cream cheese, softened
2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/4 plus 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
3/4 teaspoon lemon extract
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Whisk the flour, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and both sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Mix in the molasses, egg, and vanilla, beating until well combined. With the mixer on low, gradually add the dry ingredients, beating just until incorporated. Turn the dough out onto your work surface and shape into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 1 hour, or until firm.
Add about 1/3 cup granulated sugar to a wide, shallow bowl. Shape the dough into 1-inch balls and roll them in the sugar. Place on the prepared baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches between them. With the bottom of a glass, gently flatten the cookies slightly. Bake (one sheet at a time) for about 10-11 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies are set (they may be soft in the center, that’s fine). Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack and let the cookies cool for a few minutes then remove them to the rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough.
To make the filling: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and cream cheese on medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the confectioners’ sugar 1/2 cup at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl in between additions. Beat in the vanilla extract, lemon zest and lemon extract. With mixer on medium, beat for another minute or so, until the frosting is smooth and fluffy.
Match the cookies in pairs by size. Transfer the filling to a piping bag and pipe a few teaspoons (or however much you want!) onto the flat side of one cookie of each pair. Sandwich the cookies together, and press the filling to the edges.
Makes about 22-25 sandwiches