Spicy Ginger Cookie Sandwiches with Pumpkin Buttercream / by Chelsea Zwieg

How many cookie sandwich recipes are too many cookie sandwich recipes for one blog? I hope the answer isn't three, because here I am with a third and I'm not even a little bit sorry. I mean, how else do you fit in two of the best flavors fall can offer into one cookie? Not to mention a day where I'm not adding pumpkin to something that I'm eating is basically a day wasted as far as I'm concerned. My pumpkin yogurt, pumpkin coffee and pumpkin oatmeal can all back me up on this. 

Now I know there are all sorts of pumpkin haters out there, ready to tell everyone who will listen what an abomination it is that every food in the grocery store has been assailed by that mysterious, angelic flavor of pumpkin spice. My advice to you would be to find a new hobby and grab a PSL because I don't think pumpkin flavor madness is going anywhere. Thank goodness! 

 

The idea for these cookies came about a few weeks ago when I had the spiciest ginger cookie I have ever encountered. I was gearing up to spit it out, make a face and go on a rant about how much I hate ginger. But the joke was on me, because I have not been able to stop thinking about this cookie. It was the kind of in your face spice that actually burns the back of your throat after you eat it. Throat burning is not usually high on my list of food priorities but when it comes to ginger cookies, I have decided that there is nothing better. The cookies in these sandwiches are based on my standard ginger molasses recipe but instead of the 1 tsp. of ginger those call for, I upped it to 2 1/2 tbsp. And I doubled the cinnamon and cloves. Spicy is no joke, these things have a major kick. But trust me on this, you will want your ginger cookies no other way from now on.

To balance out all of this spice, I made a pumpkin buttercream to go in between the cookies. It provides just the right amount of cooling and sweetness, plus the always necessary pumpkin flavor. I had to use all my willpower not to put pumpkin spice in the filling, because goodness knows that stuff is flowing out of my pantry into everything I cook like a disease, but I am actually glad I left it out. There is enough spice going on in the actual cookie that the subtlety in the filling fits perfectly. 

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go eat a pumpkin. 

Oh also, on a not cookie related note: I wrote an article all about beer bread. So if you're looking for something to completely change your soup game this fall, read it here! 

Spicy Ginger Sandwich Cookies with Pumpkin Buttercream 

Ginger cookies adapted from Food 52

Makes 10-12 sandiwches

Ingredients |

For the Cookies: 

  • 2 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 3 tsp. cinnamon 
  • 2 1/2 tbsp. ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar, for rolling

For the Pumpkin Buttercream:

  • 4 tbsp. butter, softened
  • 2 tbsp. half and half
  • 1 tsp. vanilla 
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 1/2 tbsp. pumpkin puree

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. 
  • In a medium bowl combing flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt. Whisk to combine.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add egg and beat to combine. With the mixer running, slowly stream in the molasses and mix until combined. 
  • Gradually add dry ingredients to the butter mixture, beat until just combined. Refrigerate dough for 1 hour or freeze for 20 minutes. 
  • Meanwhile, make the buttercream. In a stand mixer, beat butter until soft. Add half and half and vanilla and mix to combine. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the powdered sugar one cup at a time, scraping as you go. Mix until combined, with no clumps of powdered sugar remaining. Add pumpkin puree and mix well. If the buttercream seems runny, add more powdered sugar, one tbsp. at a time, until it becomes stiff enough to spread. Scrape into a bowl and refrigerate until ready to use. 
  • After dough has chilled, scoop into 2 in. balls. Roll each ball in granulated sugar and place on prepared baking sheets. Bake for 12 minutes. Allow to cool on pans for 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to finish cooling. This keep them nice and chewy.
  • When cookies have cooled completely, spread pumpkin buttercream onto half of the cookies. Top with remaining cookies, pressing gently to spread frosting to the edges. Store in the refrigerator.