Soft Gingerbread Sandwich Cookies with Lemon-Creme Filling

Did any of you catch us in this month’s Parenting magazine?  I keep forgetting to tell you about it, so here it is:

Pocket Protein, baby!  They wanted me to pick one item that I always, always keep stocked in my fridge and use for quick and easy meal prep.  I didn’t hesitate before answering: eggs.  One of the most versatile things in the kitchen-  you can see lots of our popular egg dishes by clicking here.

Alright, onto cookies.  It’s no secret that my go-to holiday flavor combination is chocolate-peppermint.  That’s where I’m comfortable.  But sometimes I like to get wild and crazy and live on the edge making something that’s not a cool, minty chocolate piece of heaven.  I happen to love ginger and molasses too, and I LOVE lemon and ginger.  I posted these cookies a while back on our Facebook page.  They are to die for:

and then these ones from Target, also with a lemon-spiked filling.

So when I was browsing McCormick recipes I knew this was the one right when I spotted it.  Last week Kate did a fun virtual Cookie Swap with our friend Barbara Bakes.  Kate made Barbara’s Chocolate-Peppermint Thumbprints and Barbara made my beloved Peppermint Candy Cane Brownies.  See what I mean about the chocolate peppermint thing? I didn’t want to be left out of the party, so I’m showing up a week late.  The good thing about being a week late to a party is that you get to eat all the cookies yourself.

Now, McCormick calls these Whoopie Pies.  I sometimes have issues with Whoopie Pies (partially because of the word Whoopie,  Kate can give you an extensive list of words that annoy me)  because I feel like they need to get over their identity crisis and decide if they want to be a cookie or a cake.  Like, just pick one and own it- ya know what I mean??  I’m calling these sandwich cookies because they really are a great, soft ginger cookie.  Not cakey like some whoopie pies are.  You could easily make just the cookie part and serve them on their own.  They have a slightly crisp edge and a chewy soft center so they’re for sure a cookie.  Way to own that one, cookie.

Start by mixing up some spices with your flour.

We’ve got ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Set those aside and cream some butter and brown sugar together.

Once those are light and fluffy, add in some vanilla, and egg, and some molasses.

Is it just me, or does every bottle of molasses have sticky drips down the bottle?  I’m pretty sure every jar I’ve ever owned has looked like that.

When you measure your molasses, use our trick and spray your measuring cup with nonstick spray first and it will slide right out.

Then add those dry ingredients until you have a nice soft dough.

The original recipe calls for chilling the dough, but I skipped that step and they baked up perfectly.  Just roll into balls and roll them in sugar.  I always suggest with sandwich cookies to go smaller than you think you want.  Remember you’ll eat 2 at a time, so smaller is sometimes better.  I use my standard sized cookie scoop and divide that dough ball in half.

Bake them until just puffed with little lines like you see in the photo.  It’s very important to not overcook sandwich cookies, if anything- underbake them a little, or a lot.  That way they’ll be soft enough to not completely squish the filling out when you bite into them.

Let them cool on a rack until they’re room temperature.

Another thing I changed from the original recipe is the filling.  You can see McCormick’s filling recipe here and try it if you want.  The flavor is great but the consistency posed problems for me.  I suspected by looking at it that it would come out much to soft for a sandwich cookie and my suspicions were correct, at least for me.  I made a simple cream cheese buttercream instead and it was quite a bit thicker, which worked well for the sandwiches. You have enough to put on a generous amount each cookie.  The filling is butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar, and lemon extract.  The lemon really is a perfect compliment to the ginger and spices in the cookie.

Now if you just looked at the recipe I linked in the last paragraph, you may have noticed something.  Those ginger sandwich cookies were rolled in…candycanes.  That flavor combo seemed a bit off to me, so I thought of something better:

I pulsed lemon drop candies in my Blendtec:

and then rolled the finished cookies in them.

You get a little shimmery sparkly burst of lemony goodness

and a soft cookie with warm spices that taste like they are soul-mates.

If you want the filling to firm up a bit, just store the cookies in the fridge.

And if this has you in the mood for more ginger, or for more sandwiches, you might like these:
Chewy Ginger Spice Cookies
Ginger Spice Cookies with Orange and White Chocolate
Peppermint Sandwich Cookies  (pictured below)

Soft Gingerbread Sandwich Cookies with Lemon Creme Filling
Yields 30
Soft and chewy gingerbread cookies sandwiched with a bright and fresh creme filling; great for the holidays!
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For the cookies
  1. 3 cups flour
  2. 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  3. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  4. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  5. 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  6. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  7. 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
  8. 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  9. 1/2 cup molasses
  10. 1 egg
  11. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  12. granulated sugar for rolling, about 1/4 cup
For the filling
  1. 1 stick butter (1/2 cup) softened to room temp
  2. 4 ounces cream cheese
  3. 2-3 cups powdered sugar (until you reach desired consistency. I use 3 cups)
  4. 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract, more to taste if desired)
  5. Crushed lemon drop candies
  1. 1. Mix flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg and salt in large bowl. Set aside. Beat butter and brown sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add molasses, egg and vanilla; beat well. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until well mixed. You may chill dough for at least an hour or bake immediately.
  2. 2. Preheat oven to 350Β°F. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar to coat. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.
  3. 3. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until centers are puffed and just slightly cracked and edges are set. Timing depends on the size of cookies you make. My tiny ones took only 4-5 minutes so keep an eye on them. Aim for underbaking just a bit. Remove to wire racks; cool completely.
  4. 4. Meanwhile, for the filling, combine all filling ingredients and beat until smooth. spread a generous dollop of frosting on one cookie and top with another. Dip cookies in crushed lemon candy and between layers of wax paper in airtight container in refrigerator up to 5 days.
Adapted from McCormick
Adapted from McCormick
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  1. Yum! I’ve never had a lot of experience with ginger bread, but it seems to be one of my favorite treats this year. The lemon sounds perfect to offset some of the more common flavors you see this time of year. Double yum!

  2. This looks seriously yummy! And that oven is pristine! Can you come to my house and, you know, spend some time here….. LOL

    1. Haha, that’s because my oven is brand stinkin’ new!! It’s seriously been used only a handful of times. It amazes me too, which is why I keep taking “in the oven” photos. I’m currently taking bets on how long that will last πŸ˜‰

  3. Funny I was just looking for a gingerbread recipe on Wednesday. I froze the dough in balls to cook on saturday. I think this looks like a yummy thing to do with them and my husband loves lemon.

  4. Those look awesome:) Can’t wait to try them – I love lemon and the crushed lemon drops were a stroke of genius!

  5. The recipe sounded perfect until I came to the Lemon with gingerbread.. That doesn’t seem to be something I can wrap my mind around lol. Never thought of those two flavors together. I would most likely just stick to the cream cheese filling and roll them in Christmas sprinkles. They look fantastic though. Thank you for the recipe and Merry Christmas to your family!

    1. Lemon and ginger actually go really well together. You’d totes be missing out if you don’t give it a try!

      If you want to give the flavor combination a test drive before committing to the work involved in baking all those cookies, go to the store and buy a box of gingersnap cookies and a thing of lemon icing. Sandwich some of the cookies and icing together, let them sit overnight before eating. Sure, you don’t HAVE to wait, but the cookies absorb moisture from the icing and get soft and delicious if you do wait. Enjoy. πŸ˜‰

    2. Ashley it’s actually a pretty common combination! Ginger has a very lemony flavor itself so the two go hand in hand. That’s why things like lemon-ginger tea are so popular!

  6. Carr’s makes a ginger lemon sandwich cookie I am in love with, but they are hard to find….so glad you shared this recipe!

  7. Lemon and ginger.. This sounds like an interesting combo I will definitely have to try and while I’m actually commenting I have to say I recently made your cookie crunch popcorn.. With the red hots? For my fiancΓ©’s birthday with his family and the entire batch was gone before dinner! πŸ™‚ and I have a totally random question too. You guys are always making the most adorable printables on this site. I have to make some that I can print out on sticker labels for the tops of mini jam jars (like a very very small mason jar) that are for my wedding favors. Does anyone know of a good program to use to do this? I’m totally lost when it comes to this cute and adorable crafty stuff… Like I found these adorable ones online in a picture that said spread the love and had a cute lavender floral design (totally my theme!) but no instructions on where or how to do this. And I immediately thought of this site and the cute printables so I thought I’d ask πŸ™‚

    1. Holly if you want sticky labels, I suggest looking at Avery products (or something similar) that you can find at office supply stores. They’ll have instructions and templates to print directly on those labels. If you want to design something from scratch, you’ll need to use a photo editing program, like Photoshop (which is what we use to design our printables.) Good luck with your wedding plans and congratulations!

  8. Sara – you are a genius once again. That combo sounds perfect. One of my favorite things is ginger snaps. I will try it with the lemon this time. Thank you for your creatity and always sharing your talent with us.

    1. Yes, those are one of my faves too! Those are definitely chewier. They get a little more crisp around the edges and definitely have a bit more chew. These ones are softer in the centers.

  9. They used to carry the Carr’s cookies at my Costco for a great price, but I haven’t been able to find them for several months. I wish they’d bring them back…they were my keep-on-hand quick gift to give when I needed to! Love the flavor combination. Can’t wait to try the homemade ones!

  10. Pinning this right now. Looks so yummy! I’m doing a Pinkalicious party for my daughter next month. Do you think these would be good rolled in a pink lemonade candy?

  11. Yum! These look fantastic! Another trick for getting out a sticky liquid like molasses or honey is to crack your egg into the measuring cup and swirl it around, then when it comes to the molasses step, it’ll slide out as well (just skips having to get another ingredient out)

  12. There is even an old fashioned gingerbread recipe- can’t remember the name of it… (talking the cake sort here) that is served with what amounts to lemon curd and softened cream cheese. The lemon and gingerbread are surprisingly really good together.

  13. Thank you for all your delicious recipes and your generosity with giveaways throughout the year. Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year to you and yours.

  14. I’m shocked that people don’t know about lemon and ginger! Gingerbread cake with lemon sauce is one of the greatest things ever. Yum, yum, yum.

  15. I made these yesterday, and have eaten far too many oif them myself! My kids weren’t as excited about them as I thought they’d be (they love ginger snaps, and they love chocolate sandwich cookies, so I thought this would be no-brainer). But I can’t say I’m too sad, as that meant more for the grown-ups at our party last night. πŸ˜‰ Thanks for a great recipe!

  16. Great flavor combo! And eggs really are such a great, versitile food. I love to bring hardboiled eggs as a snack at work–cool article in Parenting!

  17. I knew I would LOVE these when I saw the pairing of lemon and gingerbread. I have loved that combo ever since my sister made gingerbread pancakes with lemon sauce a few years back. Totally de-lish. We also lost the recipe if you want to create a new one for us. πŸ™‚ Anyways these turned out so yummy! My hubby even liked them and that never happens. I made them for our friends, and now I don’t want to share them.

  18. I made these Saturday night and rendered my brother in law speechless! He doesn’t even like dessert… so I’m feeling like a cookie making goddess right now. Also made your chocolate peppermint sandwich cookies last night and your broccoli salad and both were absolutely outstanding! Your site is now my go to for cooking inspiration. Have a blessed Christmas and New Year with your friends and family.

  19. those cookies from target are so, so good. my target is out of them and i’m so sad. i should have bought 10 boxes! plus they were so cheap! i’ll have to try these. thanks.

  20. Made these for our friends and neighbors as our holiday treats and everyone is raving. They are supreme!! Thanks for sharing. And Merry Christmas to you and your families.

  21. I made these yesterday. Is there a reason why they need to be in the fridge? Also, my cookies were very round and not at all flattish like yours. Is there a reason why? I have to say though, these are just about my favorite cookie now. Yum, yum, yum!

    1. About 30 sandwiches

  22. These ended up being way too sweet for myself and most of the people at my husband’s office. Made exactly as directed. I left off the lemon candies because they were too sweet already and I didn’t want to add more sugar(I tried a few with the crushed candy as well). They did get eaten but were mentioned to be “sugar bombs”. We tend to like things on the sweet side but these were over the top for us. Just a heads up for people who are more sensitive to super sugary sweet cookies.

    1. Oh, and I had a bit of filling leftover, maybe using about half the filling would be a bit more to our taste.

  23. I’ve made these twice in the last week. The first ones were too fluffy and I had to flatten them slightly with a fork before baking to get the right shape. The second ones looked like the picture above. The difference was how well I softened the butter. So if you want them to flatten for sandwiches be sure to soften well! Hope this helps πŸ™‚

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