These Gluten-Free Gingersnaps with Lemon Cream Filling are full of bright flavor. Tart lemon cream frosting is sandwiched between two gingery, chewy (or crisp, if you prefer) cookies.
This is the first time I’ve actually been excited for January. Usually I’m like, “Ugh. Can we just fast forward through January, February, and March and get to the nice weather?” But then last year I fell hard for citrus of all kinds and citrus time is here once again! Nature’s gift to get us through the cold weather doldrums. In this month’s #EatSeasonal roundup, you’ll find quite a few citrusy recipes. Friends after my own citrus-loving heart. My contribution is a recipe for Gluten-Free Gingersnaps with Lemon Cream Filling. And holy moly are they tasty cookies!
But first, the gorgeous recipes made with January’s cold weather produce. So many good things to love! Follow along on social media using #EatSeasonal.
Oatmeal and Citrus Smoothie by Floating Kitchen
Butternut Squash, Carrot and Orange Detox Soup by Vintage Mixer
Winter Minestrone Soup with Pancetta by Flavor the Moments
Broiled Grapefruit by Bless This Mess
Gluten Free Gingersnaps with Lemon Cream Filling by Cafe Johnsonia
Meyer Lemon Tart by Kitchen Confidante
Potato and Leek Soup with Kale by Mountain Mama Cooks
Grapefruit and Avocado Green Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette by Food for My Family
Creamy Mushroom and Leek Chicken Breasts by Foodie Crush
Blood Orange Brûlée Upside Down Cake by Suitcase Foodist
Maple-Cayenne Sausage, Brussels Sprouts and Potato Sheet Dish by Project Domestication
Pink Grapefruit with Brunt Honey Custard by Letty’s Kitchen
Yogurt Brûlée with Winter Fruit by Completely Delicious
Grapefruit Pound Cake with Ginger Marshmallow Icing by Climbing Grier Mountain
And now about those cookies of mine. . .
Years ago I fell in love with Carr’s Ginger Lemon Cremes. They quickly became my very favorite store-bought cookie, a) but they are difficult to find and b) they are not gluten-free. I’ve actually never found a gluten-free equivalent, so it’s been quite a long while since I’ve enjoyed those cookies! This year I decided that I wanted to tackle finally making a homemade version. I’ve tried so many different recipes for ginger cookies over the years. I love a good ginger cookie whether they are light and crisp, dense, or chewy. It’s all about the molasses and ginger for me. I found a recipe from Martha Stewart that promised thin, crisp ginger cookies. I modified the recipe a bit and came up with a simple lemon cream filling that is perfectly tart and lemony.
It can be really difficult to make chewy gluten-free cookies. Almost impossible at times. It’s just the nature of gluten-free cookies. BUT these can be chewy or crisp. I discovered that under-baking just a bit left the cookies nice and chewy. And baking them a little longer gave me crisp cookies like the Carr’s Ginger Lemon Cremes. Woohoo!
I combined my favorite gluten-free all purpose flour mix and almond meal for the dry ingredients. I like using a really deep, dark blackstrap molasses. I feel like the deeper flavor is just a wee bit better, or more pronounced. And I like that. The other awesome thing these cookies have going for them is three kinds of ginger. Are you a fan of ginger? Because I don’t think it’s possible for these to have too much ginger, so I used ground, freshly grated, and chopped crystallized ginger. Also, I should mention that this recipe make A TON of cookies. Like 6 dozen which makes 3 dozen sandwiches. That’s a lot of cookies. But that’s a good thing if you need to make cookies for a crowd, or just want to keep your cupboard stocked up for a long time. (Unless you have three children who are equally addicted to ginger cookies like their mother.) ANYWAY.
The filling needs to be loved on a little bit too. Guys and gals, three ingredients are all you need. For reals. Just powdered sugar, good butter, and fresh lemon juice. I say “good butter” because not all butters are created equally. The flavor of the butter comes through. That goes for butter that’s been hanging around in the freezer too long.You know when you forget about a pack of butter and it’s been hanging out next to the salmon for a few months? Yeah, don’t use that. Get some fresh butter.
If I could only have one cookie for the rest of my life, I’d probably choose these.
The cookies were a little tricky to get just right. The dough is quite sticky. The recipe has a high ratio of sugar and butter to dry ingredients. That’s how they end up so thin and crispy. I think that works best for this particular sandwich cookie because they mimic the same flavors and textures that Carr’s Ginger Lemon Cremes have.
One thing I always notice about gluten-free cookies is that they hardly every spread enough when I want them to, but when I don’t want them to…they they spread all over the place! Luckily I tested out a few cookies on my first try to see how much they would spread out. The answer was: A LOT. One small ice cream scoop’s worth of dough yielded thin, deliciously crispy cookies that were as big as my face. Ha! After experimenting a little more and doing some tweaking to the recipe, I found that if I halved the amount of dough per cookie, lowered the temperature of the oven by 25°F, and chilled the dough, they ended up perfect.
Here’s to a tasty January filled with loads of citrus in anything and everything! Bring it on 2016!
- For gingersnaps:
- 1¼ cups almond meal or flour
- 1 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 1½ cups granulated sugar
- 1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk
- ⅓ cup molasses
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 tablespoons crystallized ginger, finely chopped
- 1 cup raw or coarse sugar, for rolling
- For lemon cream filling: 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
- Juice of 2 lemons, about ¼ cup
- 3½ to 4 cups powdered sugar
- Whisk or sift dry ingredients together in a medium bowl.
- Beat butter and granulated sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Add the whole egg and egg yolk. Beat until combined. Add the molasses, vanilla, fresh ginger, and ground ginger, and beat again.
- Add half of the dry ingredients and mix on low speed just until combined. Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix again. The dough will be fairly sticky. Cover bowl and chill in refrigerator for several hours or overnight.
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Form the chilled dough into 1-inch balls and roll in sugar. Place 12 balls on each of the baking sheets leaving plenty of room for the cookies to spread. Place the dough back in the fridge so it stays cold between batches.
- Bake for 12-14 minutes, or until cookies are set on the edges. The centers will still be a little soft. Allow the cookies to cool completely on the baking sheets before transferring them to cooling racks for assembly. Repeat with remaining dough.
- While cookies are cooling, prepare the filling. Beat the butter until creamy. Add 2 cups of the powdered sugar and beat well. Next add the lemon juice and beat again. Keep adding powdered sugar a little at a time until the filling reaches the desired consistency.
- Spread about ½ tablespoon of the frosting on the underside of half of the cookies. Place the other cookies on top to form sandwiches. Store in airtight containers.