Some people say that gingerbread is a seasonal flavor, meant to be enjoyed just around the winter holidays. Those people are missing out. I love gingersnap & gingerbread cookies year round. It’s still chilly here in my lovely hometown of Portland, Oregon, and these Gingerbread Lemon Smile Sandwich Cookies are the perfect afternoon treat to celebrate the slow return of the sun while the air is still a little crisp and cool. They would also make great Valentine’s Day gifts for friends, teachers, family.
The recipe I used as a base for this batch is, oddly enough, from Oprah magazine. My family loved them! The original recipe calls for 2 cups all purpose flour, but I’m trying to use more whole wheat flour, so I did 1 cup all purpose and 1 cup whole wheat flour. If you don’t like the texture of whole wheat flour, simply use 2 cups of all purpose flour. I also bumped up the sugar and added some butter (hey, these are special treats, right?) to make a thicker buttercream filling, and I used less lemon since I find it can be overpowering.
These cookies are fun to make and so very tasty that you can’t help but smile when eating them (hence, the name).
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt
12 Tbsp butter softened slightly at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar (for mix) + 1/4 cup granulated sugar to roll cookies in before baking
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup molasses
LEMON BUTTERCREAM FILLING:
8 Tbsp (1 stick) butter, softened at room temperature
2 cups + 2 Tbsp confectioner’s sugar, sifted
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
1. In a large bowl, whisk together all-purpose and whole wheat flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves, and salt.
2. In a second large bowl, beat 12 tablespoons softened butter and 3/4 cup granulated sugar with an electric mixer on low speed until pale and fluffy, about 1 to 2 minutes.
3. Adding one at a time, add the egg, vanilla, and molasses, beating well after each addition.
4. Add flour mixture and beat until smooth.
5. Divide the dough in half. Place each onto a large sheet of parchment paper and then roll up snugly into a log shape. Refrigerate until firm, 1 – 2 hours.
6. Preheat oven to 350°. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
7. After the dough has chilled, place remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar in a shallow dish. Cut dough logs into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Dip the top of each in sugar and transfer to prepared baking sheets, spacing about 1 inch apart.
8. Bake until just firm around the edges, about 8 – 10 minutes, then let cool completely on a rack.
LEMON BUTTERCREAM FILLING
1. In a large bowl, beat the 8 tablespoons butter, confectioners’ sugar, lemon juice and zest with an electric mixer until fluffy, about 2 – 3 minutes.
To assemble sandwiches, spread frosting onto half the cookies, then top with remaining cookies. Eat, smile, enjoy!