The BEST Gingerbread Sandwich Cookies you're going to come by! These easy cookies are the perfect treat around the holidays, a fun gift or an idea for a cookie swap. My no spread gingerbread dough is paired with a quick rum buttercream for an adult treat, or swap out the rum for vanilla to have the perfect family friendly spiced cookie sandwich.
My best gingerbread sandwich cookies with rum buttercream are a holiday staple in my house. These were developed due to a lack of vanilla extract during my university days. They fast became a hit amongst my friends and I still make them every year as part of Christmas baking. They're really very easy, but require a bit of prep time as the dough needs to be chilled. The recipe can also be made without the booze, using only vanilla extract as a flavouring, but I'd recommend a bit of rum or bourbon for the full effect!
This recipe is divided into two parts: the gingerbread cookies and the rum buttercream filling.
No Spread Gingerbread Cookie Dough
To make my easy no spread gingerbread dough for these sandwich cookies, you'll need:
- Butter - unsalted butter, softened at room temperature. Depending on the temperature in your kitchen, I tend to find it is best to leave this out overnight to ensure its a good consistency for blending with your sugar.
- Light brown sugar - I usually use light brown, but dark would also work for giving an extra molasses-y intensity. The measurements for this are firmly packed.
- Egg yolk - from a large egg, ideally at room temperature. You can save the white for other baking, such as macarons or meringues. Egg whites freeze well for later use.
- Molasses - or dark treacle, whichever is easier to find!
- Flour - either all purpose or plain flour will work here.
- Baking soda
- Ground cinnamon
- Ground ginger
- Ground allspice
- Rum (or bourbon) - you can also use vanilla if you do not want to use liquor.
While this recipe is for sandwich cookies, you can also use this gingerbread dough for any of your other gingerbread needs. I've made basic cookies and gingerbread houses using essentially the same dough, see for example my guide to making a Gingerbread House.
Rum and Pecan Buttercream
For the boozy buttercream sandwich cookie filling, you'll need:
- Butter - unsalted butter, softened at room temperature. Salted butter will work here, but it will add saltiness to the overall cookie.
- Pecans - shelled and roughly chopped.
- Ground cinnamon
- Powdered sugar - sometimes called icing sugar. This is best sifted for this recipe to ensure the frosting doesn't have any sugar lumps.
- Rum - this recipe is a bit boozy for an adult gingerbread sandwich cookie. But you can make it more family friendly by using vanilla extract in place of the liquor.
How to Make No-Spread Gingerbread Dough
This is a super simple gingerbread cookie dough! I've been known to make it in one bowl, but for the sake of ease, I do suggest using two. You'll be chilling the dough, so keep that in mind when planning your baking.
The steps to follow are:
- First, cream together butter and brown sugar until lightened and well combined.
- Add your egg yolk, molasses and rum and beat together (image 1 below).
- In a separate bowl, mix together your flour, baking soda and spices.
- Slowly add this dry mixture to the butter mixture in a few additions (images 2 and 3 below).
- Knead the dough together with your hands until it has just come together (images 4 and 5 below).
- Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, flatten slightly to a large disk, and chill (image 6 below).
Rolling and Baking
I recommend chilling your dough for about an hour. Then it's time for rolling out and baking!
- Begin by pre-heating your oven to 350F (175C/165C Fan) and lining a couple of baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator and break into more manageable pieces. I usually do three or four chunks. Keep the dough pieces covered while you're not working with them to prevent them drying out.
- On a well floured work surface, roll one of these chunks of dough out until it is about a quarter inch or half a centimetre thick.
- Then, begin cutting out with cookies cutters or a knife. I recommend using a tree shaped cookie cutter, about 4 inches tall. Dependent on the cutter size, you will be able to make around 40 or 50 individual cookies (for around 20-25 sandwiches).
- Place the cookies on your prepared sheets, leaving about an inch between the cookies so that they bake more evenly.
- Bake in batches for about 12 minutes each (until lightly browning at the edges).
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes on the sheet, before placing on a wire rack to cool completely.
- Continue repeating the rolling, cutting and baking process until you've run out of dough!
How to Make Rum Pecan Buttercream
So the key item that makes these the boozy gingerbread sandwich cookies that they are is the boozy rum and pecan buttercream. It is quick and easy to mix up and could be used to sandwich or as just a flavourful decoration to gingerbread cookies.
- Start by beating your powdered sugar and butter together until smooth and light.
- Add the rum (or vanilla) and ground cinnamon, beating together.
- Once you have a smooth buttercream, add in the chopped pecans and mix through with a spatula.
This frosting also pairs well with a basic sugar cookie, like my Small Batch No Spread Sugar Cookies.
Assembling Gingerbread Sandwich Cookies
Now that you've got your cookies and your buttercream, the final step in this process is to assemble the cookies!
- Start out by pairing up your cookies, so that you can be sure how many you are needing to sandwich.
- Spread about half a tablespoon of buttercream over the flat surface (the bottom) or one of the cookies.
- Then sandwich this with the bottom the cookie's pair, so that you have a sandwich filled with buttercream.
- Repeat until you've paired all of your cookies or run out of buttercream.
I'm not very precise in my measurements when I fill my cookies. If you're like me or if you've used different size/shape cookie cutters, you may find the amounts vary here. This is another reason why setting out all of your cookies in pairs will help you judge the best amount of filling per sandwich.
The amounts in this recipe are usually enough to form about 20 or 25 sandwich cookies. Any leftovers (cookie or buttercream) can be saved and/or used separately.
- The dough is pretty dry and crumbly once you add the flour. You will quickly find it easier to work with your hands at this stage to mix and knead it together.
- Chilling the dough is key to settling the butter and will make the dough more easy to work with and shape. This also helps to ensure that this is a no spread gingerbread cookie dough - which is extremely helpful to successful gingerbread sandwich cookies!
- If you don't have time to chill down in the refrigerator for an hour, you can freeze the wrapped dough for about 20 minutes.
- If you've chilled the dough for a few hours or overnight, it may start out very stiff and difficult to roll. I would recommend breaking the dough into smaller more manageable blocks. These pieces will be easier to work and roll.
- You will want to flip the dough and re-flour your surface frequently to best avoid sticking as you roll.
- You may find the dough cracks a bit at the start, due to being a fairly dry dough and also still being a bit stiff from the refrigerator. This isn't a problem and you can knead this back together and re-roll as many times as needed, both to avoid cracks and to use up the dough for cookies.
- For sandwich cookies, bulky shapes, like Christmas trees, work a lot better than more fragile shapes like snowflakes. It is also helpful to have a shape that is symmetrical so that you don't have to worry as much about matching it up as you sandwich.
Making Ahead and Chilling
This recipe is great for making ahead! The dough will need to be chilled in the refrigerator for at least an hour, but can be left in the fridge for up to 2 days.
You can also freeze the dough for up to three months. If freezing, allow to defrost in the refrigerator overnight before attempting to roll and cut.
The buttercream is also able to be made in advance. My top tip for this would be to make the buttercream as directed except don't add the nuts! It can then be stored in the refrigerator for a day or two before use. When ready, beat it to return it to a spreadable consistency (this is easier to do without the nuts). Then stir through the pecans.
These sandwiched gingerbread cookies offer so many opportunities for you to make them your own! Here are a few easy variations:
- Cookie shape - while trees are a great festive option, you can use other shape cutters for these cookies. My top tip here is to use a shape with a wide solid surface area. Anything too intricate will be difficult to frost. Symmetrical shapes are also easiest to sandwich.
- With or without booze - this recipe calls for rum, making these a boozy adult cookie, but they're easily made more family friendly with vanilla.
- Nuts or nut free - the pecans here are fundamentally optional. You can leave them out and sandwich with just the cinnamon rum buttercream. Or, you could use a different nut, such as walnuts or almonds. These will need to be roughly chopped in the same way as the pecans.
- Different frostings - you can change up the frosting recipe here with different spicing or use an entirely different icing. My marshmallow buttercream or dulce de leche buttercream both pair nicely with gingerbread.
- Sprinkles - you can add some fun colour here with sprinkles. Either mix them into the frosting or roll the frosted edges of the cookie sandwiches in sprinkles to brighten these cookies up.
The gingerbread cookies will last for about 3-4 days if stored in an airtight container. The buttercream frosting should normally be stored in the refrigerator. If making in advance it is advisable not to sandwich the cookies with the buttercream until nearer the time of serving. This is because the cookies will stale more quickly in the refrigerator.
You can make the sandwich cookies and keep leftovers in an airtight container in a cool place in the kitchen cupboard for a day or two.
Yes! You can freeze these sandwich cookies after they're assembled. They will keep frozen for about 2 months. Allow to defrost for a couple of hours before serving.
Alternatively, you can freeze the dough and the buttercream separately for up to three months. These can then be defrosted, the cookies baked fresh and then assembled.
These are soft gingerbread cookies with a layer of spiced rum pecan buttercream. The pecans offer a bit of texture to the cookie sandwich and the rum gives a slightly boozy hit to the treat.
As there is alcohol in the frosting, this is not cooked off during the baking process and will be a bit boozy. You can substitute the rum with bourbon for another boozy alternative or with vanilla extract to avoid the alcohol if you prefer.
If you like this recipe, try out some other cookie classics:
- Chocolate Chip Sugar Cookies
- Oatmeal Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Date Filled Oatmeal Cookies
- Tahini No Bake Oatmeal Cookies
- Easy Anise Biscotti
Gingerbread Sandwich Cookies with Rum Buttercream
Ingredients for Cookies
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened at room temperature
- ½ cup light brown sugar (muscovado) firmly packed
- 1 egg yolk
- ¼ cup molasses or dark treacle
- 3 cups all purpose flour or plain flour
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 teaspoon rum or vanilla extract
Ingredients for Boozy Buttercream
- ½ cup unsalted butter softened at room temperature
- ½ cup chopped pecans
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1½ cup powdered icing sugar
- 2 teaspoon rum or vanilla extract (see note)
- In a large bowl blend together butter and brown sugar until well combined and creamy. Add the egg yolk, molasses and vanilla/rum, beat to combine.
- In medium bowl, combine dry ingredients (flour, baking soda and spices). Slowly add these to the butter mixture, beating and kneading until combined. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for an hour.
- Meanwhile, mix the buttercream by adding the butter and icing sugar to medium bowl and beating together. Add in the cinnamon and then stir in the chopped pecans and flavouring. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350°F (175C/165C Fan), line baking sheets with parchment or Silpat. On a lightly floured work surface roll out the dough to about ½cm and cut with cookie cutter (tree shape works best for filling). Place on prepared sheets and bake for about 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the sheet for a couple of minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Spread with buttercream and sandwich together.