Sunday, January 9, 2011

A Lid for Every Pot: Ginger Lemon Sandwich Cookies

by EP

I realize it's the first week of the year, when everyone is cookied-out from the holidays, cutting the carbs and hitting the gym, and the last thing you want to read about is cookies.  Or perhaps because you are off carbs (as we are for the moment...we miss you, potatoes), you are interested in living vicariously through cookie-baking tales like this one.

I sort of created the recipe for my Ginger Lemon Sandwich Cookies, which was inspired by both a ginger-lime sandwich cookie served at a cooking class I attended earlier in December, and some really wonderful ginger molasses spice cookies that were the favor at my friends Peter and Natatia's wedding in October (you might remember, I ate Korean Fried Chicken shortly before they walked down the aisle. Romantic!).  Amazingly, Natatia made approximately 1,200 cookies for all of her guests - thanks, Tash!

Natatia's brother was kind enough to share the recipe for her cookies on his blog, which I used to the T for my sandwich cookies.  For the lemon cream filling, I used this Food & Wine recipe, but made a few adjustments (more on that later).

For the ginger molasses spice cookies, I began by combining the dry ingredients: flour, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, baking soda.  Then I creamed together the butter and sugar with my hand mixer (since I don't have a Kitchenaid stand mixer) that is from approximately 1973, then added the eggs, then the molasses.  Adding the dry ingredients into the wet proved difficult for my little hand mixer -- we lost a beater in battle, but I finished the dough by hand (and the one beater was fine for the lemon cream filling).

Secret ingredient: elbow grease

Then I rolled the dough into 3/4" balls and rolled each one in sugar.  I rolled and rolled, and baked and baked, and ended up with about 150 soft, sugar-coated cookies (I doubled the recipe, not sure why, but very glad I did since they were so good!).  

A few notes: 3/4" balls yielded the perfect size for these cookies -- they couldn't be too big, people were supposed to eat 2 at a time once they were sandwich cookies!  Also, the 8-10 minute baking time resulted in the soft, chewy cookies I remember from the wedding.  You're supposed to let the cookies cool on the sheet pan for a few minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack to complete cooling.  I didn't have a wire rack, so I used the cool top of my washing machine, conveniently located in my kitchen.  Ah, city livin'.

SO many cookies!  On my washing machine.

Once the cookies were baked and cooled, I started on the lemon cream filling.  The F&W recipe simply requires beating together softened butter, confectioners' sugar, and a couple tablespoons of fresh lemon juice.  I found that there wasn't enough butter/lemon juice for the amount of sugar (it looked like wet sand instead of a smooth paste), so I added 2 more tablespoons of softened butter and some more lemon juice, and the ratio worked better.  I also added lemon zest to punch up the lemony goodness.  I wanted the filling to be more tart than sweet, to contrast the already sweet and sugary cookies.

Wounded in battle

Then I matched up similarly sized cookies in preparation for the filling stage.  This is where the title of this post comes in: I once heard someone say, regarding relationships, "a lid for every pot."  That struck me, not only because of its hopeful nature, but of course, because it has to do with food.  So as I was pairing up the cookies, I just kept thinking of that saying, and I certainly thought of Peter and Natatia: a perfectly matched lid and pot.

I filled the cookies by spooning the filling on one side, then rejoining it with its partner.

I ended up with about 75 cookies, and packaged them up into containers.  In retrospect, I should have let the filled cookies firm up on a sheet pan in the fridge before packaging them, since the cream was kind of messy, but I had a dance party to get to!  Note, however, that the cookies should be served at room temperature so the cookie and filling are soft.

The cookies were sweet and spicy from the sugar and cinnamon, cloves, and ginger, and had a nice tart balance from the filling.  The softness of the cookie is key here - I don't really like crunchy gingersnaps (which the Food & Wine article makes), and I don't think they would work as well with the cream filling.  They were, in a word, addictive.

I brought the cookies to a dance holiday party, to Xani and Dave prior to their departure for Boston for the Christmas holiday (a good airplane snack!), to my parents as we were waiting to leave for Las Vegas for our Christmas vacation, and to a birthday party a few days later -- there were a lot of cookies to get through!

I'm glad I experimented with this recipe and got such a successful result.  Happy new year, and may all you lidless pots find your lids this year!



  1. Lovely post! I think I must have missed you at Natatia and Peter's wedding, but thank you for the link love. The cookies look fantastic and I'm sure they tasted just as good as they look.

  2. what a lovely post! It is encouraging to know even the redoubtable EP has kitchen equipment improvisations to deal with.

  3. Yay what a great post! The cookies look awesome, I'll have to make them like that sometime!! And yes, they would be tough on a hand mixer, they definitely gave my stand mixer a workout...glad they were worth it! :)

  4. My granddaughter (11) loves to make cookies, and this looks like a great recipe! I think I will just sit there with a cup of coffee made with my Breville bkc700xl gourmet single-serve coffeemaker and then enjoy some of these ginger lemon cookies!

  5. I'm sorry when I read a "Lid" for every pot my mind just went back to brownie cooking in the seventies. My bad.

  6. Hi there Xani and Erin!

    My name is Steve Walters and I recently started blogging at, which is currently being updated with recipes, but in the next few months will be my vehicle for covering the food and restaurant scene in Bangkok Thailand.

    I am now in the process of meeting as many food bloggers as I can and I found your site recently and was pretty impressed. I've added your site to my Foodie Blogs list here: and would also like to add you to my blogroll.

    If you could add my site to your blogroll and write back to let me know it has been added (foodie [at] I will add you to mine as well and the exchange would be greatly appreciated!

    As you might imagine I am very excited to get moved to Bangkok and get started on covering the food scene there as I feel it is an area that isn't well covered by English speaking bloggers. I plan on adding loads of great reviews, pictures and even video and will be holding contests as well. It should be fun, entertaining and informative for everyone that visits.

    Thank you so much in advance for adding me to your blogroll and I look forward to reading your posts (I've subscribed!) and maybe even featuring some of your own posts as I do plan on a weekly roundup of Thai themed recipes and posts from other food bloggers.

    Warm regards,

    P.S. If you are on Twitter I would love to have you as a follower and I follow back:


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