Servings: 22 cookies, 11 sandwiches
- 3/4 cup (149g) granulated sugar
- 11 tablespoons (156g) salted butter, softened
- 1 large egg
- 3/4 teaspoon orange extract
- 1/4 cup (85g) unsulphured molasses
- 2 cups (212g) dark or medium rye flour
- 1/4 cup (31.25g) all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground Saigon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon ground clove
- 1/2 ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup turbinado sugar
- 1/4 cup coarse sparkling sugar or white sugar sprinkles for cake baking
- Optional: powdered sugar for final dusting of sandwich cookies
- 6 ounces mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
- 2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 2 ounces salted butter, at room temperature
- 3/4 teaspoon orange extract
- Grated zest from one medium orange, scant 1 tablespoon
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1 - 2 tablespoons heavy cream
For the Cookies:
Step 1In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine sugar and butter, and beat on medium for 1 minutes. Scrape bowl, and add egg, orange extract, and molasses, and beat 2 minutes, and lighter in color.
Step 2In a medium bowl, combine rye flour, all-purpose flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon cardamom, clove, black pepper, and salt, and whisk until well mixed. Add the dry ingredients to the molasses mixture and beat on low speed, scraping the bowl once until combined, about 90 seconds. Chill dough in refrigerator 1 hour.
Step 3Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 flat (thin) cookie sheets with parchment paper. Note: Heavy rimmed half sheet baking pans do not work as well.
Step 4Use a #40 (1 1/2-T) cookie scoop or tablespoon to form 22 balls. Form all of the balls before rolling in turbinado sugar. After balls are formed roll in turbinado sugar. Now go back and dip the tops in coarse sugar or more turbinado sugar.
Step 5Place dough balls on prepared cookie sheets 2-inches apart. Bake one pan of cookies at a time for 15-16 minutes, until the edges have set. While cookies bake make filling.
Step 6Remove cookies from oven and leave on the baking cookie sheet.
For the Citrus Mascarpone Buttercream:
Step 7In the bowl of and electric mixer, combine mascarpone, cream cheese, and butter, beat until smooth. Add orange extract, zest and 1 cup powdered sugar, beat until smooth. Add in another cup powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon heavy cream, beat until smooth. Add final cup powdered sugar and another tablespoon of cream if needed, beat until mixture is smooth and fluffy.
Step 8After cookies are completely cooled. Fill piping bag, fitted with a large round tip with the Citrus Mascarpone Buttercream. Lay out the cookies upside down in pairs. Fill one of the cookies with buttercream, top with other cookie in pair. Repeat until all cookies are filled and topped. If desired, a decorative tip can be used outer edge of filling to resemble ice cycles or Santa’s cuffs.
Step 9Store cookies, well wrapped, in the refrigerator.
Tip: If the hot cookies have spread out too much or uneven in circumference after removing from the oven, take a 3-inch circular cutter (helps if it has handles) and quickly place over the cookie pushing the soft edge of the cookie within the cutter. Quickly rotate the cutter in a circle and the cookie will become 3-inches! Cool cookies on cookie sheet for 15 minutes, and transfer to baker’s cooling rack.