If there's one dessert that reminds Salon resident pastry chef Meghan McGarry of the holidays, it's gingersnap cookies. They're exactly what you crave when it's cold outside and you need something to warm you up on the inside. Brown sugar, cinnamon and clove all combine with ginger to bring you a cozy hug of flavor.
The Buttercream Blondie owner, who is known for making over classic desserts with spirits, reimagined the gingersnap cookies she baked as a kid when creating her holiday baking workshop last year. The first recipe McGarry selected for the special day was her red wine cupcakes, which taste great at any time of the year. The pastry chef wanted to pair the chocolatey treats with a new cookie inspired by a seasonal cocktail, and that's when Gingersnap and Eggnog Cream Cookie Sandwiches were born.
They're the third and final cookie featured in McGarry's holiday series for Salon Food. First, she took traditional Raspberry Almond Thumbprints to new heights with an amaretto glaze. Next, she gave us the best option to gift to loved ones in tins: sprinkled and spiked confetti cookies.
Related: Cookies make the best holiday gifts: Here are a top pastry chef's tips for shipping your baked goods
McGarry's gingersnap recipe, which yields cookies that are soft and chewy on the inside and crispy around the edges, was developed over years of baking for her family and friends. McGarry elevates the timeless cookies by adding a splash of bourbon to her batter, which adds another layer of warmth and flavor. Two finished cookies are filled with a layer of eggnog buttercream to create a sandwich, which is rolled in festive sprinkles for a polished finish.
Aside from the whole whiskey thing, what McGarry loves the most about these cookies is that her recipe provides home chefs with plenty of options. You can choose your own adventure by swapping out the bourbon for the whiskey or dark spiced rum already sitting on your bar cart. If you're short on time in the kitchen, the pastry chef also has instructions for creating a beautiful finish without the buttercream filling that uses sparkling sugar. If you want to make your cookies extra merry and bright, you can also swap out the red and green sprinkles for rainbow sprinkles.
Related: How to make eggnog. Truly good, light, frothy eggnog.
Whatever adventure you choose, McGarry has one piece of advice to save you time: Make your cookies a day ahead, and put them in an air tight container to keep them fresh. If you're looking for some last-minute gift ideas, the pastry chef recently shared her pro-tips for shipping homemade baked goods to loved ones. She also recently launched her first cookie collection, which is now available for nationwide shipping.
Recipe: Gingersnap and Eggnog Cream Cookie Sandwiches
Yield: 22-24 sandwich cookies (or 44-48 1/2 ounce cookies)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tbsp. ginger
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- Pinch of cloves
- 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1 tbsp. bourbon
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, mix together flour, salt, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add egg and molasses, followed by bourbon, and continue to mix until combined.
Click here to access the remainder of Meghan McGarry's gingersnap and eggnog cream cookie sandwiches. And don't forget to follow @ButtercreamBlondie on Instagram for more ways to bake through the holidays.
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