Using the same sugar cookie dough I used for the pinwheel cookies, today I made mandarin and ginger flavored sandwich cookies. The flavor is repeated in the cream as well, and to give the treats a holiday vibe I topped them with green, red and white Christmas sprinkle toppings.
I know it's the holiday season when the citrus trees in our garden start producing copious amounts of fruit. I took some Chinese mandarins from the garden to make these cookies. They were so incredibly fragrant and sweet that after eating all the segments, I couldn't throw away the zest. I think they were put to good (and delicious) use!
Servings: about 50 sandwich cookies
1 whole egg
1 egg yolk
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1-1/2 teaspoons orange extract
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup unsalted butter, (16 tablespoons)
4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
1-3/4 cups heavy cream
1-1/2 cups white chocolate (8 ounces), finely chopped
1 tablespoon mandarin zest, freshly zested
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons candied ginger, finely chopped
1 cup Christmas sprinkle toppings
For the cookie dough:
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
In a mixing bowl, beat the egg and egg yolk with 1/2 cup of sugar for about 5-6 minutes. You'll get a pale, yellow foam and the texture of the eggs will be thicker. Add the mandarin zest, vanilla and 2 teaspoons of orange extract.
In a bowl, combine the flours, ground ginger, salt and baking soda. Sift all the dry ingredients.
Cream the butter with 1/2 cup of sugar (whisk using a stand-mixer to get as much air as possible in the butter). Add the egg mixture, the dry ingredients and 3 tablespoons of heavy cream. Finish with shortening. Mix well. Divide the dough and roll into 3 (1-¼-inch diameter) logs. Chill them in the freezer until firm. It'll take at least 30 minutes to harden (see storing tips).
For the mandarin and ginger ganache:
Heat the rest of the heavy cream in a saucepan. Bring it to a near boil. Turn off the heat immediately and quickly add the finely chopped white chocolate. Stir until everything is melted. Add the mandarin zest and candied ginger. Let the mixture cool completely. Once cooled, whip the cream (at a low speed) until creamy and smooth for 2-3 minutes. Transfer the ganache to a pastry bag fitted with a round tip and chill in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
Slice the logs into ¼-inch thick disks. Place the cookies on a baking sheet previously lined with parchment paper. Make sure they are spaced out so they don't touch each other when they expand while baking.
Bake for about 5 minutes at 375°F, then lower the heat to 350°F for another 6-8 minutes. Sprinkle the Christmas toppings over half of the cookies and gently press them to make them adhere to the cookies. Transfer the cookies to cooling racks. Allow to cool completely.
Pipe about 2 teaspoons of ganache onto the flat side of the cookies without sprinkles. Place the other cookie decorated with the sugar sprinkle topping on top and gently press to make the filling visible. Repeat until all the cookies are used.
FYI: 1 cup of butter = 16 tablespoons = 2 sticks of butter.
I used Chinese mandarin zest for this recipe but you can use any other citrus you like.
I used Valrhona ivoire white baking chocolate. I got it directly from my local market but you can order through Amazon if you can't find it.
While pressing the ganache to create the sandwich cookie, it's important to be very gentle. Squeeze enough to push the ganache to the edges of the cookie but not so much that it spills out.
You can store the cookies in the refrigerator to keep them fresh. Just stack the sandwich cookies, placing little squares of parchment paper between them to prevent the cream from spreading everywhere.
You can also store the cookie logs up to 4 weeks in your freezer for last-minute surprise guests or for Christmas Eve. Just spread the cream at the last minute.
Sifting dry ingredients helps get rid of nasty lumps of flour and aerates the mixture when liquid is added. It's very important for all your baking so you get a moist result.