All my soft-and-chewy cookie people, raise your hands.
Wow, there are SO MANY OF YOU!
Just kidding, I can’t see you from this side of the computer. Yet I feel confident that there really would be many hands waving if I asked this question of a large group in real life. And for all those folks, this cookie’s for you.
I actually love this cookie for many good reasons. In addition to the chewiness, there’s the deliciously spicy ginger and molasses flavor. There’s the fact that it’s a SANDWICH COOKIE, which is always fun, and which means you get to eat cookies in multiples of two without any judgment. And then there’s the filling. The original recipe pairs the ginger molasses cookies with a sweet cream cheese filling, which is delightful on its own. Cream cheese is an excellent friend to spiced baked goods. And heaven knows I’ll smear it on anything.
But then I got another idea. It’s just slightly crazy, I know….but it’s crazy enough to work.
What did I add to the cream cheese filling? Why, a swirl of lemon curd. Now, citrus isn’t something most people expect to find in a spiced fall/winter seasonal dessert. But you know what? Those people are in for a treat.
I really think the best desserts are those that combine a number of different tastes and flavors in one bite. Is there anyone who doesn’t like salted caramel, with that sweet-and-salty kick? Here, there’s no salt, but there’s spice in the cookie, tanginess in the cream cheese and lemon, and sweet in the whole little package. Plus, they’re the perfect size to pop in your mouth and get all those sensations in one balanced bite. When you roll out the balls of dough, they will seem small, but trust me, they end up being just right.
These cookies start out just slightly crisp after baking, but then after sitting in an airtight container, they become melt-in-your-mouth soft by day two.
They also freeze like a dream. I stored a big batch in our freezer over the Thanksgiving weekend for snacking (because obviously Thanksgiving doesn’t provide enough food on its own). Just take them out of the freezer to thaw for at least 30 minutes before serving. Perfect to keep on hand for holiday get-togethers, or to bake in advance for cookie parties! Not to mention you can be pretty sure other guests won’t be bringing a batch of their own. Can’t have that assurance with your delicious-but-frequently-baked sugar cookies.
These cookies have it all together. Soft-and-chewy AND spicy-tangy-sweet? Can’t beat it.
Recipe adapted from Fine Cooking.
- 9 oz. (2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. ground ginger
- 1-1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp. ground cardamom
- ½ tsp. baking soda
- ½ tsp. kosher salt
- 6 oz. (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
- ½ cup packed dark brown sugar
- ½ cup granulated sugar; more for rolling
- ¼ cup unsulphured molasses
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- ½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
- 6 oz. (1-1/2 cups) confectioners’ sugar
- Approximately 1 cup lemon curd (store bought or homemade)
- In a medium bowl, mix the first six ingredients (flour through salt).
- Beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, or beat in a large bowl with an electric hand mixer. Beat on medium-high speed until the mixture is fluffy. Add molasses, egg, and vanilla. Beat until well-combined.
- Add the flour mixture slowly and beat on low speed until just combined.
- Turn the dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap. If you'll be using it within a few hours, press it down to a couple inches thick to speed chilling. If refrigerating overnight, the shape of the dough won't matter much. Cover tightly with the plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least an hour, or overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 350.
- When the dough is well-chilled and firm, take it out of the fridge. Cover three baking trays with parchment paper or silpat. Roll teaspoons of dough into balls, and roll those balls in granulated sugar. Place on the baking sheets and flatten slightly with the bottom of a glass or similar object. The cookies will spread as they bake. Allow about 2 inches of space between the dough balls.
- Bake the cookies for 10-14 minutes. They are done when the edges and surface have set, but the center will still feel soft.
- Remove to wire racks and cool completely.
- Meanwhile, beat the cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar in a stand mixer or with an electric hand mixer, starting on low then increasing speed to high, until the mixture is smooth.
- Spread the bottom of two cookies with cream cheese filling, about half a teaspoon on each cookie. On the bottom of one of the cookies, add a small smear of lemon curd, about a quarter to a half teaspoon. Lightly press the cookies together. Repeat with the remaining cookies. Store in an airtight container.
Adapted from Fine Cooking