I’m a huge fan of linzer cookies which are sandwich cookies featuring an almond pastry crust sandwiching a tart raspberry jam center. I’m also a huge fan of gingerbread paired with orange. The tart orange pairs well with the spicy, bright flavors of ginger. These Vegan Gingerbread Marmalade Sandwich Cookies were borne out of a desire to combine the best qualities of these cookie styles, featuring a cookie that also delivers a crispy exterior, giving way to a chewy, jam layered center.
Vegan gingerbread cookie dough requires a little extra love
Since this recipe features gingerbread, it relies on placing the dough in the refrigerator between steps to ensure the dough is stiff and easy to work with. It’s worth clearing space in your freezer for two baking sheets before you start. I recommend using small cookie cutters for these cookies because the dough will spread out considerably during baking, making the cookies larger. I ended up using a small flower cookie cutter and an apple corer to cut the center holes. Adding about 4 drops of orange extract to the marmalade will ensure it has enough strength to stand up against and optimally pair with the gingerbread.
Vegan Gingerbread Marmalade Sandwich Cookies Recipe
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
¾ cup (161 grams) Regular Vegan Butter or non-hydrogenated stick margarine, softened
2/3 cup sugar
½ cup molasses
¼ cup barley malt syrup
1 Tablespoon non-dairy milk
1 ½ teaspoons ginger powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ teaspoon cinnamon
¾ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt
4 ounces marmalade
4 drops orange extract (optional)
2 Tablespoons sanding sugar
1) Prepare your oven, baking sheets and whisk the flour
Preheat your oven to 350F (177C). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and place them in the freezer. In a medium size bowl whisk together the all-purpose flour, baking soda and set aside.
2) Whisk together the flavor building ingredients
In another medium size bowl mix together the Vegan Butter, sugar, molasses, barley malt, non-dairy milk, ginger powder, vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
3) Build the cookie dough
Pour half of the flour into the bowl containing the wet ingredients and mix with a spoon until well incorporated. Pour the other half of the flour and mix with with a spoon until well incorporated. It's normal for the dough to feel really thick at this point and you may have to mix with your hands.
4) Chill the dough
Form the dough into a ball, flatten it into a 1 inch disc and wrap it in plastic wrap. Chill the dough in the refrigerator from 4 hours to 3 days. Alternatively, the dough can be frozen for up to 3 months.
5) Roll out the dough
Unwrap the dough and save the plastic wrap. Lightly flour a clean surface and roll the dough out using a rolling pin, rolling radial strokes going from the center outward. Roll to 3/16 of an inch. Coat the rolling pin with a dusting of flour between rolls to keep the dough from sticking to the rolling pin.
6) Prepare the bottom gingerbread pieces
Cut the dough into your bottom shape using a cookie cutter and leave it in the dough. Dust a thin metal spatula dusted with flour and slide it under the cookie cutter and dough. A thin spatula makes life much easier in this recipe. If you don’t have a thin one you may need to place the cookies in the freezer longer to firm up the dough enough so it’s easily transferred. Transfer the dough to the baking sheet and use the cookie cutter to carefully slide the dough from the spatula to the baking sheet. Do this for about ⅔ of the dough you rolled out. Transfer the baking sheet to your freezer for 20 minutes so the dough firms up. Gather the excess dough into a ball, flatten it to a 1 inch disc, wrap it back in the plastic wrap and place it in the freezer.
7) Spread the marmalade
If your marmalade has been in the refrigerator, remove the lid and place it in the microwave for about 10 seconds so it can get to room temperature. Having the marmalade at room temperature is crucial so it can be spread thin. Whisk together the marmalade with the orange extract (if using) until well incorporated. Remove the dough you wrapped up and the baking sheet from the freezer. Spread a thin coat of marmalade on each bottom cookie. Place the cookies and their sheet aside.
8) Make the top gingerbread pieces
Preheat your oven to 400F (204C). Roll out the remaining dough again to 3/16 of an inch like you did on Step 2. Cut the pieces as you did on Step 3 then place the sheet in the freezer for 10 minutes. Remove the sheet and use a smaller cookie cutter to cut out the center piece. If you have trouble cutting the holes, just put the cookies in the freezer for a bit longer so they solidify more. I used an apple corer to cut the holes in this recipe.
9) Apply sanding sugar to the cookie tops
liberally sprinkle sanding sugar over the tops of the cookie tops. Use the flat bottom of a drinking glass to press the sugar crystals into the cookie tops so they stay in place during baking. Place both sheets of cookies back in the freezer for 20 minutes.
10) Assemble the vegan gingerbread cookies and bake to perfection
Remove both cookies sheets from the freezer. Carefully place the top cookie pieces onto the bottom pieces, creating a cookie sandwich with marmalade in the middle. Lightly press down to ensure the top cookie is secure. Reduce oven heat to 350F (177C) and bake for 22 minutes, rotating the cookie sheet halfway through the baking duration. Allow the cookies to cool on the sheets for about 15 minutes before transferring them to wire racks to cool. Store in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to one week or in the freezer for up to three months. Depending on the size of your cookie cutters, this recipe makes about 20 Vegan Gingerbread Marmalade Sandwich Cookies.
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