These sandwich cookies will remind you of Pepperidge Farm's popular Milano cookies, but with some bite provided by fresh ginger.
Servings: 24 sandwich cookies
- 2 ounces (a piece about 1 1/2 by 2 1/2 inches) fresh ginger root, peeled with a spoon
- 2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal (preferably stone-ground)
- 2 large lemons (finely grated zest only; about 3 tablespoons)
- 8 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
The ginger can be prepared with a food processor or by hand. If using a food processor, slice the ginger across the grain about 1/8-inch thick and drop the slices through the feed tube while the motor is running. Process until pureed, stopping and scraping the sides of the bowl once or twice as necessary. If doing manually, grate a chunk of ginger on the round, rather than diamond-shaped, openings on a standing metal grater. Either way should yield about 1/3 cup of lightly packed pureed or grated ginger. Set aside.
Using a stand mixer on medium speed, mix the butter until soft and creamy. Add the vanilla extract, salt, pepper and sugar and beat until thoroughly mixed. Add the egg yolks and the pureed or grated ginger and beat to mix. On low speed, beat in the flour and then the cornmeal. Remove the bowl from the mixer and stir in the lemon zest. The dough will be soft. Turn it out onto a well-floured surface. Flour all sides of the dough and, with your hands, form it into a smooth and even shape about 10 inches long, 3 1/2 inches wide, and 1 to 1 1/4 inches high. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and freeze (placed on a baking sheet, if necessary, to keep it flat) for several hours or overnight.
Position oven racks in the upper and lower thirds and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
With a sharp knife, measure off and cut 48 slices of the frozen dough, each 3/16 of an inch wide, and place them at least 1 inch apart on the lined baking sheets. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes total, reversing the sheets, top to bottom and front to back, once or twice during baking to ensure even browning. The cookies are done when they are lightly colored all over. Remove from the oven and let stand for about 1 minute. Then, with a wide spatula, transfer the cookies to racks to cool completely.
In a small pan over low heat, preferably in the top of a double boiler, heat the chocolate until it is partially melted, then stir until it is completely melted. Let the chocolate cool for a few minutes. Then stir just to mix and, with a small spoon, spread the chocolate 1/8- to 1/4-inch thick, down the middle, on the flat side of a cookie, keeping the chocolate about 1/4 inch away from the edge. Place another cookie over it, flat sides together. Continue with other cookies, transferring them to a baking sheet. Refrigerate or freeze only until the chocolate becomes firm. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for several days. Also can be frozen.
Adapted from "Maida Heatter's Best Dessert Book Ever" (Random House, 1990).
Tested by Marcia Kramer.
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