Molasses and ginger are frequent companions in many desserts, but rarely are they paired with anything else. Sure, they provide a distinct, strong flavor combination, but they actually work beautifully with ingredients such as chocolate and cream cheese. However, our favorite combination—and one of the most intriguing, we think—is molasses and lemon. The contrast between a tart lemon filling and a warmly spiced molasses cookie makes for a supremely satisfying treat. While many sandwich cookies feature crunchy cookies, we loved the idea of a chewy cookie here for a soft-baked treat. Overbaking turned our cookies from chewy to crisp, so we made sure to pull the cookies from the oven when they’d puffed and were just starting to crack on the top; they sank to a perfectly flat sandwich-cookie shape as they cooled. For the best flavor, we used robust or full molasses; we found it best to avoid blackstrap varieties, which made the cookies bitter. The lemon filling for our cookies is essentially a tangy frosting. We whisked butter, lemon juice, and confectioners’ sugar into a smooth spread and then generously filled the cookies for a flavor-packed treat.
- Yield: 42 sandwich cookies
- 2 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 2 cups (14 ounces) granulated sugar
- ¼ cup robust or full molasses
- 1 large egg
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups (8 ounces) confectioners’ sugar
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
For the Cookies
- Whisk flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and cloves together in bowl. Whisk melted butter, 1½ cups granulated sugar, molasses, and egg in second bowl until combined. Stir flour mixture into molasses mixture until incorporated. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and chill until firm, about 1 hour.
- Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Spread remaining ½ cup granulated sugar in shallow dish.
- Roll dough into ¾-inch balls, then roll in granulated sugar to coat; space dough balls 2 inches apart on prepared sheets. Bake until tops are just beginning to crack, 8 to 10 minutes, switching and rotating sheets halfway through baking. Let cookies cool on sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack. Repeat with remaining dough. Let cookies cool completely. For the Filling
- Whisk butter, confectioners’ sugar, and lemon juice in bowl until smooth. Spread heaping 1-teaspoon filling over bottom of half of cookies, then top with remaining cookies, pressing lightly to adhere. Let filling set, about 1 hour, before serving.