Sometimes you make something and, right away, you know it’s a winner. But often, it takes quite a bit of trial and error before kitchen experiment turns into a recipe worth keeping.
I started making molasses cookies last month, to send in holiday care packages.
I tried an online recipe so bad that, after foisting a cookie on my husband, I threw the rest of the batch out. I devised my own approach the next time around and was much happier, but then a subsequent batch turned out almost rubbery. I wondered what went wrong until much later that evening when we discovered an egg still resting on the kitchen counter.
Fortunately, I remembered the egg the next time and, after a few more adjustments, the end result was a soft, chewy molasses cookie coated with sugar for a little sweet crunch.
The cookies are great on their own, but even better sandwiched around a tangy Meyer lemon filling.
I decided to make them into sandwich cookies a few days after Christmas, when I was faced with the delicious problem of leftover lemon curd. I love gingerbread served with lemon curd on Christmas and these sandwich cookies have all the same flavors, in a handy cookie format.
The batter for the cookies comes together in no time and, since it uses melted butter instead of softened, there’s really no need to plan ahead.
I used homemade lemon curd (I’ll post the recipe later in the week), but store bought will do just fine, so don’t let that stop you. I promise not to tell.
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup bread flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
- 1 cup light brown sugar (packed)
- 1/3 cup unsulfured molasses
- turbinado or sanding sugar (for rolling)
- 1/3 cup lemon curd
- 1 cup cream cheese
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Melt the butter in either a small saucepan over low heat or in a large bowl in the microwave, using short bursts of about 20 seconds. If you used a saucepan, transfer the butter to a large bowl. Set aside to cool.
Sift (or whisk) the flours, baking soda, spices and salt into a small bowl.
Add the egg, sugar and molasses to bowl with the melted, cooled butter. Mix well.
Add the dry ingredients and mix just until combined.
(At this stage, you can press a piece of plastic wrap onto the dough and refrigerate it for a day or two to finish later or form into balls and freeze for up to two weeks.)
Using the palms of your hands, roll the dough into balls about the size of a large walnut. You should have 20 or so. If the dough is too sticky to work with, pop it into the refrigerator to firm up for a few minutes first.
Drop each ball into the sanding sugar and roll to coat, then place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Bake about 8 − 10 minutes until cookies are cracked on top and just starting to set around the edges. The middles of the cookies will appear a bit underdone.
Transfer to wire racks and allow to cool completely. Then, spread about 2 tablespoons of the filling on the undersides of half of your cookies. Top with the other cookies and serve.
Combine the lemon curd and cream cheese in a small bowl.
Using an electric mixer on medium high speed, mix until smooth.
Store filled sandwich cookies in an airtight container in the refrigerator. I think they should keep for a few days, but ours weren't around long enough for me to test that theory.