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!
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
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