I think it's appropriate that these cookies are an enticing blend of tart and spice. Why? Because they seem to fit so well with this giveaway. I'm going to tell you all about the Shabby Apple giveaway first, and after that we'll get into the details of this delectable cookie recipe.
So, are you familiar at all with Shabby Apple? It's a retail clothing company, owned and operated by women, that produces clothing--primarily dresses--for women and girls (even extremely little girls). And the clothes are not just pretty, they're also unique. In fact, spicy and tart are perfect words to describe them. Everything from adorable dresses that are reminiscent of the 1940s, to retro swimwear, to really cute aprons (the apron line is aptly called Boysenberry Pie). Their stuff is blatantly feminine without going overboard. And, speaking of the "F" word, here's an excerpt from the "About us" section of their site:
"At Shabby Apple, we believe in both femininity and feminism. As feminine women, we create clothing that is artful in design and crafted with a vintage-style flare. Each piece is carefully constructed to both flatter a woman's figure and maintain her mystery. As feminists, we created a company that is women-owned and operated and that donates to help other women start their own businesses. With our old-fashioned style and modern ideals, we believe the best is yet to come!"
I find that business philosophy extremely appealing. You too?
How to enter this giveaway? Here's what you need to do:
1) Leave a non-anonymous comment on this post telling me which Shabby Apple item you like best (this will first necessitate a quick visit to their site, which I promise you will enjoy), and . . .
2) Entrants also are asked to "like" the Shabby Apple site on Facebook via this link.
Yes, I know, a couple of hoops to jump through, but so worth it for the lucky winner. Check back on the morning of Friday, October 26th. That's when I will announce the winner. (Please note that the winner has to have a delivery address in the U.S.A., per Shabby Apple.)
*Oh, and in the interest of complete disclosure, the answer is no, I'm not getting anything from this giveaway other than the pleasure of doing it. And, believe me, I don't agree to do giveaways unless I think the company's products offer quality and value, and that they're somehow germane to my blog's readership. We home-bakers all need a new dress or a new apron now and then, don't we? Rhetorical question!
About this recipe . . .
Adapted from At Home With the Culinary Institute of America: Cookies by Todd Knaster, these cookies are called gingersnaps in the book, but they're soft and chewy--not typical gingersnap traits--because they include more molasses than one would expect. I altered the formula a bit by substituting whole wheat flour for 25 percent of the white flour, and by adding in some chopped crystallized ginger along with the ground ginger. Also, and most importantly, I decided to sandwich them with an ethereal mixture comprised of cream cheese, butter, confectioners' sugar, lemon zest, and lemon extract. Oh, man.
Who would ever have thought that ginger and lemon could be so happy together? It's a cookie marriage made in heaven.
Chewy Ginger Sandwich Cookies with Lemon Cream-Cheese Filling
(For a printable version of this recipe, click here!)
1 cup (2 sticks or 1/2 lb.) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt (I used fine sea salt)
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 tablespoon crystallized (aka candied) ginger, very well chopped
1 cup molasses (not "robust" molasses)
1/4 cup water
Line cookie sheets with parchment paper and preheat your oven to 325 degrees.
In the large bowl of your mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and granulated sugar until it's fluffy and light in color (about 4 minutes).
In another bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda, salt, ground ginger, and crystallized ginger.
In a small saucepan on very low heat and stirring periodically, warm the molasses and water just until the mixture thins out a bit (only up to about 75 degrees; this is just slightly warm).
On your mixer's lowest speed, slowly add the dry ingredients and the molasses into the creamed mixture, alternating between the two (dry/wet/dry/wet/dry). Stop and scrape every now and then.
Portion the dough onto your prepared baking sheets (I used a scoop that holds about a tablespoon of dough), spacing the cookies about 2 inches apart. Wet the palm of your hand with cold water and flatten each cookie slightly. Sprinkle the tops with a pinch of white sanding sugar or coarse turbinado sugar (I tried both; the white sugar shows up more after the cookies are baked, but they taste good with either sugar).
Bake them for about 12 minutes. Let them cool for a couple of minutes on the cookie sheets before moving them to a cooling rack. (If you'd like your cookies to be more crisp around the edges, do the following: Preheat your oven to 350; when you put the cookies in the oven, immediately turn the temperature down to 325. Turn off the oven after 12 minutes, but leave the cookies in the oven for 5 more minutes. Then let them cool as usual.)
Ingredients for the filling:
One 8 ounce package of cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 stick of unsalted butter, softened (1/4 cup or 4 ounces)
1 and 1/4 cups up to 2 cups of confectioners' sugar (whisked or sifted after measuring to break up lumps)
1 teaspoon lemon extract
1 teaspoon lemon zest
Beat all ingredients, starting with the smaller portion of confectioners' sugar, in a medium size bowl until soft and fluffy. If you'd like your filling thicker and sweeter, add in more sugar. Sandwich about 2 teaspoons of filling between the bottoms of two cooled cookies. Store the cookies covered. Refrigerate any remaining filling.
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