TWICE AS NICE

Cook­ies to the power of 2! Our recipes do dou­ble-duty pro­vid­ing sin­gu­lar cook­ies in them­selves worth cel­e­brat­ing but which also serve as com­po­nents in our more elab­o­rate dessert recipes: multi-task­ing at its finest!

Food & Drink - - TABLE OF CONTENTS - By Joanne Yolles

Cook­ies do dou­ble-duty—as treats that are in them­selves worth cel­e­brat­ing and also as com­po­nents in more elab­o­rate dessert recipes.

THE HOL­I­DAY SEA­SON is the time of year when many of us pull out the most tat­tered and well-used pages in our recipe col­lec­tion. When it comes to that all-im­por­tant cat­e­gory of hol­i­day cookie bak­ing, we are usu­ally drawn to the cook­ies we make only once a year—but

ev­ery year—be­cause they are a tra­di­tion, be­cause the recipes have been in the fam­ily for­ever and, most im­por­tantly, be­cause they are ir­re­sistibly de­li­cious. Whether they’re for a cookie ex­change or just for wel­com­ing guests into our homes, they are the sweet treats that evoke a sense of nostal­gia.

The fol­low­ing col­lec­tion of desserts takes fa­mil­iar cook­ies as a jump­ing-off point to cre­ate some­thing a lit­tle bit dif­fer­ent. As a gar­nish or as an in­te­gral com­po­nent of a plated dessert, the cook­ies within each recipe add taste, tex­ture and a touch of whimsy. So why not step up your cookie game and, in the process, add some new pages to that recipe book?

RUM AND NUT­MEG ICE CREAM SAND­WICHES

Rum? Nut­meg? Sounds like eggnog to me. Well yes, these are the flavours that go into a sim­ple semifreddo that acts as the ice cream be­tween these de­li­cious spice cook­ies. You can make the cook­ies any shape you like (they’re de­li­cious on their own by the way); I also like to use a tex­tured rolling pin that I found on­line. The semifreddo can be scooped, but will look a lit­tle more so­phis­ti­cated if you use a cookie cut­ter. The ac­com­pa­ny­ing sauce will make more than you need but will keep for sev­eral days in the fridge. It’s rather de­li­cious and can be driz­zled over cakes, tarts, pies, ice cream…

RUM AND NUT­MEG SEMIFREDDO

7 egg yolks

¼ cup plus 2 tbsp (90 mL) sugar

5 tsp (25 mL) rum

Gen­er­ous ¼ tsp (1 mL) ground nut­meg 1 cup plus 2 tbsp (280 mL) whip­ping cream

SPECU­LOOS COOK­IES

1½ cups (375 mL) cake & pas­try flour ¾ tsp (4 mL) cin­na­mon

¼ tsp (1 mL) car­damom

⅛ tsp (0.5 mL) cloves

½ cup (125 mL) un­salted but­ter, room tem­per­a­ture

⅔ cup (150 mL) packed dark brown sugar 1 egg yolk, room tem­per­a­ture

SPICED COF­FEE-CARAMEL SAUCE

½ cup (125 mL) whip­ping cream 2 tsp (10 mL) in­stant cof­fee grounds ½ tsp (2 mL) cin­na­mon

¾ cup (175 mL) sugar

¼ cup (60 mL) wa­ter

2 tbsp (30 mL) un­salted but­ter 1 For the semifreddo, line a 9-inch (23-cm) square bak­ing pan with a cross of parch­ment pa­per so all 4 sides are lined, and the pa­per ex­tends an inch (2.5 cm) above the edges of the pan. Set the pan aside.

2 In the bowl of an elec­tric mixer and us­ing a hand whisk, com­bine the egg yolks, sugar, rum and nut­meg. Place the bowl over a pot of sim­mer­ing wa­ter, mak­ing sure the bot­tom of the bowl does not touch the wa­ter. Whisk con­stantly un­til the eggs are hot to the touch, be­ing care­ful not to scram­ble the yolks.

3 Trans­fer the bowl to the mixer fit­ted with the whisk at­tach­ment and whip the mix­ture un­til it is room tem­per­a­ture and about dou­bled in vol­ume.

4 In a sep­a­rate bowl, whip the cream to stiff peaks and fold into the yolk mix­ture in 3 ad­di­tions, just un­til com­bined. Trans­fer the mix­ture to the pre­pared pan, smooth the top and freeze overnight.

5 For the specu­loos cook­ies, sift to­gether the flour, cin­na­mon, car­damom and cloves and set aside.

6 In the bowl of an elec­tric mixer fit­ted with the pad­dle at­tach­ment, cream to­gether the but­ter and brown sugar un­til smooth. Add the egg yolk and mix to com­bine. On low speed, add the flour mix­ture and mix just un­til com­bined. Shape the dough into a flat disc, wrap in plas­tic wrap and chill un­til firm, about 1 hour or up to 2 days. Un­baked dough can be made ahead, wrapped well and frozen for up to 2 weeks; de­frost overnight in the re­frig­er­a­tor.

7 Pre­heat the oven to 325°F (160°C). Line 2 bak­ing sheets with parch­ment pa­per.

8 On a lightly floured sur­face, roll the dough to a ⅛- to ¼-inch (3- to 5-mm) thick­ness. (If us­ing a tex­tured rolling pin, roll the dough to a ¼-inch/5-mm thick­ness and roll over it again with the tex­tured pin.) Cut out de­sired shapes and place about 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart on the bak­ing sheets. (Dough scraps can be gath­ered to­gether, chilled and re-rolled). Place the sheets of cut-out cook­ies in the re­frig­er­a­tor for 10 to 15 min­utes, then bake on the mid­dle rack for 14 to 15 min­utes. It is best to bake 1 sheet at a time. The cook­ies can be baked 5 days ahead and stored at room tem­per­a­ture in a sealed con­tainer or frozen for up to 2 weeks.

9 For the spiced cof­fee-caramel sauce, pour the whip­ping cream into a small saucepan and whisk in the in­stant cof­fee and cin­na­mon. Place the pot over medium heat and bring just to the boil. Re­move from heat.

10 Mean­while, place the sugar in an­other small saucepan. Add ¼ cup (60 mL) of wa­ter, without stir­ring. Cover the pot and place over medium-high heat. Once the mix­ture boils and the sugar is dis­solved, re­move the lid and con­tinue cook­ing the syrup, without stir­ring, un­til it reaches a light golden colour. Be­gin swirling the pot to even out the carameliza­tion and con­tinue cook­ing to a deep am­ber colour. Turn off the heat and slowly add the warm cream mix­ture—it will bub­ble up—and whisk un­til smooth. Add the but­ter, trans­fer to a heat­proof con­tainer and cool to room tem­per­a­ture. The sauce can be made 5 days ahead and re­frig­er­ated. Re­warm just to room tem­per­a­ture, over low heat, stir­ring con­stantly.

11 To as­sem­ble the sand­wiches, set out half of the cook­ies on a tray or con­tainer that will fit into your freezer. Re­serve the re­main­ing half for the tops of the sand­wiches. Re­move the semifreddo from the pan and peel back the pa­per from the sides. Us­ing a cookie cut­ter smaller than the one you used for the specu­loos cook­ies, cut out the semifreddo plac­ing 1 por­tion in the mid­dle of each cookie. (The semifreddo may be­come soft, so you may have to place it back into the freezer as you are cut­ting.) Once the cook­ies are topped with semifreddo, freeze again un­til firm.

12 Trans­fer the caramel sauce to a pa­per pip­ing cone or a pip­ing bag with a small metal tip. Pipe the sauce over­top the semifred­dos, al­low­ing it to drip down the sides. Top each with an­other cookie and re­turn to the freezer for at least 1 hour. (The sauce can also be sim­ply driz­zled us­ing a fork or spoon.) Re­move the sand­wiches from the freezer 5 to 10 min­utes be­fore serv­ing. The sand­wiches can be as­sem­bled up to 5 days ahead and kept frozen in an air­tight con­tainer.

Makes 15 or 16 de­pend­ing on the size

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