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These ginger sandwich cookies are soft, chewy, filled with a spiced buttercream and have a dollop of rich, creamy caramel in the centre. They are a must-make for the holiday season!
This recipe was made in collaboration with Angelina from Sugar, Butter, & Flour Bakery! Angie and I met on Instagram and when she asked me if I wanted to work together on a recipe it was an absolute no-brainer! She creates the most beautiful desserts, so I knew this recipe was going to be REAL good.
Now, the coolest thing (in my opinion) about the two of us developing a recipe together is that Sugar, Butter & Flour Bakery isn't a dairy free or vegan recipe blog. But, if you know a little bit about Cookie Dough Diaries, you'll know that although all my recipes are dairy free, most of them can be made with dairy ingredients!
So, Angie and I wanted to create a delicious recipe that could be made using either dairy ingredients, OR dairy free ingredients, without any ingredient modifications. And, well - we sure did it with these ginger cookie sandwiches!
The only difference between the two recipes is that the dairy free gingerbread recipe doesn't require the dough to chill before baking, so if you are making these dairy free, it's your lucky day! You can find Angies post about this recipe here.
How to make Ginger Sandwich Cookies
These cookies have 3 delicious elements. The first part of this recipe is these incredibly soft, slightly chewy, perfectly spiced ginger cookies. I can't take any credit for the cookie part of these ginger cookie sandwiches - these were all Angie's creation!
Let me tell you, these cookies are SO good. They have the perfect amount of spice and molasses in them and if you don't feel like going through the effort of making cookie sandwiches, you could really just make these and stop there (but you came here for cookie sandwiches, and that's what I'm gonna give you).
These ginger cookies are so easy, and it's a huge bonus that the dairy free version of the dough doesn't need any chill time. To make the ginger cookies, combine the butter and sugars in a bowl and beat together until light and fluffy. Then, mix in the molasses, followed by the egg.
Once combined, pour all the dry ingredients into the bowl with the wet ingredients in two additions. Fold the dry ingredients in until just combined. On the last addition, fold until there are still a few streaks of flour left in the dough.
Form the cookies into 2 tbsp-sized balls and place them on parchment-lined baking sheets, around 3 inches apart to give them room to spread a bit. Bake the cookies for 12-15 minutes, until the edges look set. Let them cool while you make the rest of the sandwich elements!
While the cookies are cooling, it's time to make the buttercream. This buttercream is so delicious and really kicks up the spice factor in this sandwich. I created this buttercream and wanted to make sure that it had the perfect blend of spices to elevate the flavours without being too spicy or over-powering.
To make the buttercream, combine the butter and shortening in a mixing bowl and beat together until smooth. If there are any little chunks from the shortening, you can smooth them out with a spatula if needed.
Then, add the spices and salt, followed by the powdered sugar and continue mixing. Add powdered sugar in ¼ cup at a time until desired consistency is reached!
Gooey Caramel Center
Now for the finishing touch - a gooey caramel middle! You can definitely use a store-bought caramel if you'd like to (or even leave it out if you aren't a caramel fan) but making your own is easier than you might think and it adds a gooey delicious surprise in these festive sandwich cookies!
Okay so this is important - wait until right before you're going to assemble the cookie sandwiches to make the caramel, because as it thickens it will be harder to work with, trust me!
Place the condensed milk, butter, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt in a small frying pan over low-medium heat. Stir the ingredients together and continue stirring until the mixture begins to bubble (this should take less than 5 minutes).
Once it's bubbling, remove it from the heat and let it cool for 2-5 minutes, then assemble the sandwiches right away!
Assembling the Ginger Sandwich Cookies
YAY! It's time for the fun part! Once your ginger cookies are cooled, buttercream is made, and caramel is cooling, begin by taking 8 of the cookies and placing them upside down on a baking sheet.
Pipe buttercream onto a cookie, then scoop a teaspoon of caramel into the centre of the spiced buttercream. Place another cookie (without buttercream on it) on top and gently press them together. Repeat with the remaining cookies and voila!
In terms of quantity, you can use a thin layer of buttercream, or you can make the cookies thicker by adding more buttercream in between them. You can also use more caramel if you want to, but be cautious because too much caramel could make a mess when you bite into the sandwich! I recommend starting with 1 tsp.
Can I make these into Vegan Sandwich Cookies?
Absolutely! You can easily make these into vegan sandwich cookies by swapping out the ginger cookies for my vegan gingersnaps! The spiced buttercream and gooey caramel can be made vegan with vegan condensed milk and vegan butter.
More Recipes You'll Love
If you make this recipe, let me know how it went in the comments, I’d love to hear from you! You can also tag me on Instagram @cookiedoughdiaries so I can check it out! If you want to save this recipe for later, you can pin it using the Pinterest button below.
Ginger Sandwich Cookies with Caramel Filling
- ½ cup butter (regular, or dairy free)
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup dark brown sugar
- 3 tablespoon molasses
- 1 egg
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon allspice
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ cup butter (regular or dairy free)
- ¼ cup vegetable shortening
- 1½-2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon allspice
- pinch of salt
- In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer with the paddle attachment or a handheld mixer, combine butter and sugars and beat until lightened and fluffy.
- Beat in the molasses, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Once the molasses is fully combined, mix in the egg.
- In two additions, pour the dry ingredients into the mixing bowl with the wet ingredients, folding gently to combine between each addition. With the final addition, fold until just combined. There should be a few streaks of flour still in the dough.
- Scoop the dough into 2 tbsp-sized balls and placed them on the prepared baking sheets. The cookies will spread, so leave about 3 inches between each cookie on the baking sheets. Chill the dough in the fridge for 1 hour (you can skip this step if using dairy free ingredients).
- After 1 hour, preheat oven to 350F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes, until the edged look set. Let them cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to continue cooling. Let the cookies cool completely before assembling the cookie sandwiches!
- While the cookies cool, make the buttercream. In the bowl of a standing or electric mixer, beat together the butter and shortening until smooth. If there are any pesky lumps, you can use a spatula to flatten them.
- Add the powdered sugar, ¼ cup at a time, until desired consistency is reached, making sure to scrape the edges of the bowl between each addition. Add in the spices and salt and mix.
- Wait until you are ready to assemble the cookies before beginning to make the caramel, as it will become harder to work with as it thickens. Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan over low-medium heat. Stir them together and continue to stir until the mixture begins to bubble. Let the caramel bubble for about 10 seconds, then remove from heat and let it cool for 2-3 minutes. Assemble the sandwich cookies immediately.
- Flip 8 of the cookies upside down and pipe (or scoop and spread) frosting onto each cookie (see pictures above for reference).
- Use a small spoon to scoop 1 tsp* of caramel onto the middle of each cookie, then place a cookie (unfrosted) over top to make a sandwich. Repeat with remaining cookies.