One of the best thing about having something like a recipe review blog is somewhat forcing myself to try things I’d normally avoid thanks to old food prejudices. I know, you’re thinking, dudette, you’re only baking cookies, how bad could it be? True, but these are ginger cookies, and I’ve never really met a ginger cookie I liked. But but! These come with a pumpkin creeaaaam in them, therefore I was tempted. And blog, if you do anything at all for me, it’s to lead me into yummy temptation, to which I say – yes, please!
The thing about trying new recipes is, most of the time they are a risk. You risk not liking how it ends up tasting. There’s a risk in trying an expensive ingredient for once and not liking it or how it’s incorporated. Sometimes the results are good, sometimes they’re bad. No matter how much you’ve baked, too, there’s just about always a risk with ovens varying so much in how they heat and bake….loads of things! You just gotta keep keeping on, though, if you ever want to have something new and different.
The other main ingredient in the cookie portion of this recipe is molasses. Or, rather, light molasses. I had a standard jar of molasses, neither delineated as light or dark. I dunno, I assume it’s dark, and I wasn’t inclined to buy yet more molasses when this current jar was barely used. In it went!
This is a very sticky dough, and it quickly became apparent that it wouldn’t be so easy to merely drop them onto the parchment paper as the directions stated. Let’s see if I can explain how best to do this:
1. Scoop up a tablespoon of dough with your tablespoon measure. Scrape off excess dough so you get as close to one tablespoon as possible. (Put that excess back in your cookie dough bowl for later cookies.)
2. Using a clean cereal-size spoon, scoop the dough from the tablespoon measure in a rounding motion, then scrape it back onto the tip of your tablespoon measure and once more out of your tablespoon measure with the cereal spoon. By this point you should have a relatively rounded tablespoon of cookie dough. You may or may not need to do this rounded motion to and from your measure and spoon another time or two.
Or, if you’re unlike me and think ahead, you could use one of those nifty levered cookie scoop things that are a tablespoon or so in size. I have one, it’s just too big for this job. The lesson is: buy several sizes. They’ll be one of your best obscure kitchen tool purchases, just you see.
OK, so you’ve totally put the Labors of Luuuuv into getting rounded cookie dough balls onto your baking sheet. You’re sooo excited to see them baked! You expect fluffy-ish cookies like in the original recipe picture!
And instead you get these guys. Sheet after flat cookie sheet! Oh nooooooes!
But wait, let’s see how they taste and hold up, m’kay? Look, we tried to make some Martha Stewart Florentine Spiderweb Cookies last weekend and those were a total scrap job. Had to throw them all out; the recipe just didn’t work at all. But see if there’s something salvageable when the unexpected happens. As it turns out, these ginger molasses cookies may not have fluffed up like we were expecting, but they were still fabulous!
The filling for this is such a breeze to put together, and you don’t need to refrigerate it or anything else – just let your cookies cool and spread this totally evil, delicious stuff on. And, sad as it is to say, there might be some left over after you’ve made all your sandwich cookies, so, like, keep that spatula handy for tastings. A baker’s gotta do what a baker’s gotta do!
I don’t think we could’ve been any more pleased with how this recipe turned out, and that’s with slightly flatter cookies than expected. The cookies themselves were crisp around the edges, but still nice and soft and a little chewy otherwise. Thankfully we left out about a quarter cup of the sugar in the filling – it was still plenty sweet. Next time I might knock it back even more, but together, the cookies and filling are to die for good. This is such a yummy, creative and festive cookie for the Fall baking season. A definite make-again-favorite!
Pumpkin Cream Cookie Sandwiches
Prep Time: 15 Cook Time: about 10 minutes per sheet pan Level: Easy Makes: about 20 cookie sandwiches
from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Baking, by Lou Seibert Pappas via Williams-Sonoma.com
For the ginger-molasses cookies:
- 12 Tbs. (1 1/2 sticks) (6 oz./185 g) unsalted butter, at room
- 1 cup (7 oz./220 g) firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/3 cup (4 1/2 oz./145 g) light molasses
- 2 cups (10 oz./315 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. ground ginger
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. ground allspice
For the pumpkin cream filling:
- 6 oz. (185 g) cream cheese, at room temperature
- 12 Tbs. (1 1/2 sticks) (6 oz./185 g) unsalted butter, at room
- 1/3 cup (2 1/2 oz./75 g) pumpkin butter
- 2 cups (8 oz./250 g) confectioners’ sugar
To make the cookies, preheat an oven to 350°F (180°C). Line 2 rimless baking sheets with parchment paper.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the butter and brown sugar on medium speed until creamy. Add the egg and molasses and beat until smooth. In another bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon and allspice. Reduce the speed to low, add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat until blended.
Drop level tablespoonfuls of the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 2 inches (5 cm) apart. Bake until the cookies are browned and firm to the touch, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer the baking sheets to wire racks and let the cookies cool on the sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies to the racks and let cool completely.
To make the pumpkin cream filling, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until smooth and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the butter and beat for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the pecan pumpkin butter and confectioners’ sugar and beat until the mixture is smooth and no lumps of sugar are visible, 30 seconds to 1 minute.
To assemble, place half of the cookies, bottom side up, on a work surface. Using an icing spatula, spread the frosting on the cookies, dividing it evenly. Top with the remaining cookies, bottom side down. Let stand at room temperature until set, about 1 hour, before serving. Makes about 20 sandwich cookies.
On the cookies, we’re just not sure why ours turned out flatter than expected (Could it possibly have been the molasses not being light enough – not sure!). My box of baking soda was practically brand new and it calls for a teaspoon and a half for gosh sakes. Good thing the cookies were still yummy! How much you enjoy them just depends on how you like your cookie sandwiches – more cookie or more filling. This time, I was happy with the balance we got. I thought it was just enough cookie and just enough filling.
Since the filling does have cream cheese and butter, I refrigerated my portion of the leftover cookies. A day later this did not hurt their consistency, but if you’re wanting to make them ahead, I say make the cookies, then the filling. Refrigerate the filling, but let it come closer to room temp before spreading on the cookies the next day.
Use whatever brand pumpkin butter you prefer.