Story and recipes by Debbi Snook l Wine Commentary by Gary Twining
Photo by Beth Segal
The classic ice cream sandwich goes holiday crazy when sparkling molasses cookies are stuffed with vanilla ice cream and crowned with a halo of candy bling. We added the stealthy fire power of white pepper to an already robustly seasoned cookie recipe (cookingclassy.com) and built from there. You’ll need a tablespoon-sized cookie scoop, a two-inch round cookie cutter, some parchment paper, and sanding sugar, which is found at well-stocked cake-making and craft stores. The larger sugar crystals sparkle like snowflakes on a quiet winter night.
Mini Spice Cream Sandwiches
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (scoop and level to measure)
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp ground white pepper
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup and 2 TBS blackstrap or robust molasses
- 1 large egg yolk
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup sanding sugar
- 1 pint vanilla ice cream
- Festive edible sprinkles, if desired
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two 18- by 13-inch baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
Sift together flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and white pepper and set aside.
Using an electric stand mixer with the paddle attachment, blend together butter and brown sugar until well combined and smooth. Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl and blend again.
Mix in molasses, egg yolk and vanilla extract. Remove bowl from mixer, add flour mixture and blend in by hand until just combined.
Pour sanding sugar into a small bowl. Scoop dough out and shape into balls nearly the size of a golf ball. Roll each dough ball through sanding sugar then transfer to baking sheets about 2 inches apart.
Bake one sheet at a time in preheated oven 9-11 minutes until cookies are puffed and appear just lightly under-baked in the center.
Let cool on baking sheet 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. A half hour before assembling sandwiches, freeze the cookies.
Place and flatten a scoop of ice cream on the parchment. Use round cookie cutter nearly the same diameter as cookies to cut a disc about as thick as the cookie. A butter knife helps cut the top of the disc evenly. Peel off ice cream disc and immediately freeze on another piece of parchment. Continue cutting for as many sandwiches as you’d like to make.
Assemble cookies, roll in sprinkles, if using. Freeze at least six hours. Serve immediately from the freezer. Makes at least 12, with extra cookies to spare.
Gary: The richness of the molasses enhanced by the spices is key to the flavors in this dessert, though they will be mellowed by the texture and creaminess of the ice cream. Consider oxidized dessert wines with their richness and unique flavors to set off the molasses and spice character in the sandwiches. Look for Rutherglen “stickies” made from Muscat, Sweet Sherry and Montilla for these styles of wines. The late harvest dessert wines will also set off the flavors with a lighter impact on the overall flavor. Any white, late harvest, botrytized wines – vendange tardive, vin doux naturel, ice wine, Moscato or Asti – would be a lovely combination.