Gingerbread Whoopie Pies with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

By now, you know that gingerbread is my absolute favorite flavor. So when my father needed something sweet to bring to a holiday party that just happened to fall post-holiday, I jumped at the chance to try out a flavor combo that I’ve been dreaming of for awhile now: rich gingerbread and bright lemon. These soft, chewy gingerbread cookies have a rich molasses flavor, while the fresh lemon zest provides the perfect counterpoint.

I am holding on to the holidays for as long as possible. My tree is still up and I’m desperately trying to keep my poinsettias alive! As much as I love to prolong the holiday season, winter is the perfect opportunity to hole up inside and experiment with new recipes. Santa brought me some new cookie cutters and pastry goodies so the possibilities are endless! I hope you enjoy these little lovelies as much as I do. xo.

Gingerbread Whoopie Pies with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
Makes 28-30 assembled cookies

Ingredients:

Gingerbread Whoopie Pies

  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

Lemon Cream Cheese Filling

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 6 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 plus 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 3/4 teaspoon lemon extract

Instructions:

  1. For the whoopie pies: Mix the flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg and salt in a large bowl, then set aside. Using a stand mixer, beat butter and brown sugar on medium speed until light in color and fluffy. Add molasses, egg and vanilla; beat well. Add in the flour mixture on low speed, half a cup at a time, until well mixed. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for at least 4 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Fill a shallow bowl with granulated sugar. Roll dough into 1-inch balls and coat completely with sugar. {Tip: I use a small spoon from my silverware drawer as a helpful guide.} Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.
  3. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until cookies are just beginning to brown. Transfer to wire racks; let cool completely.
  4. For the lemon cream cheese filling: Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and cream cheese on medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the confectioners’ sugar half a cup at a time. Beat in the lemon zest, vanilla extract and lemon extract until the frosting is smooth and fluffy.
  5. Set the gingerbread cookies up in pairs by size. Transfer the frosting to a piping bag fitted with either a round or open star decorating tip (depending on what type of effect you prefer) and pipe a small amount onto the flat side of one cookie of each pair. Press the two cookies together, allowing the filling to come to the edge of the cookies.
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