Molasses and spice make for great autumnal flavors. In this cookie sandwich we’ve taken a chewy gingerbread pumpkin cut-out cookie and added fun jack-o’-lantern faces and a lightly sweetened cream cheese filling.
For another fall theme, the cookies also could be made with leaf-shaped cutters.
If your dough gets too warm, put it in the freezer for 5 minutes for easier cutting. A thin metal spatula works well for transferring the unbaked cookies to the prepared baking sheet.
For the cookies:
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) butter, room temperature
2 cups packed brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1/4 cup milk
For the filling:
Two 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
To make the cookies, in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, allspice, salt and baking soda.
In another bowl, use an electric mixer beat together the butter and brown sugar. Mix in the molasses and milk, then the dry ingredients. Refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.
When ready to bake, heat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat two baking sheets with cooking spray or line with parchment paper.
On a lightly floured surface, and working with half the dough at a time, roll out the dough to 1/8 inch thick. Use a 4-inch pumpkin-shaped cookie cutter and (rerolling scraps as needed) cut out a total of 40 cookies.
Use a paring knife or very small cutters to cut out a jack-o’-lantern face on 20 of the cookies. Transfer the cookies to the prepared baking sheets, leaving 1 inch between each cookie. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden around the edges. Transfer the cookies to a rack and allow to cool.
To make the filling, in a medium bowl use an electric mixer to beat together the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth and creamy.
Add a tablespoon of filling to the bottom cookies (without faces) and spread to within a 1/4 inch of the edges. Place a top cookie on each to create a sandwich. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator between layers of waxed paper or parchment.
Yield: 20 cookie sandwiches
Approximate nutrition per serving : 344 calories, 15 grams fat (9 grams saturated, 39 percent fat calories), 4 grams protein, 50 grams carbohydrate, 43 milligrams cholesterol, 1 gram dietary fiber, 121 milligrams sodium.