I remember once when I was younger, going into a convenience store on a bitter cold winter day on my walk home from work. I had a big craving for an ice cream sandwich. When I got up to the counter I said to the clerk, ‘must seem strange to sell ice cream sandwiches in the winter time.’ He replied, ‘surprisingly, the winter is when I sell the most!’.
So to share a recipe involving ice cream when it’s cold outside might seem strange to some, to those of us that like a cold treat on a cold day, it’s just right. The soft, flavourful gingerbread cookie is perfectly paired with classic vanilla ice cream, and sure to please.
First thing’s first. Let’s start with the gingerbread cookies!
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp freshly ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter, softened (no substitutes)
1 cup white sugar
1 large egg
1 Tbsp orange juice
1/4 cup fancy molasses
Additional 1 tsp white sugar
Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
Sift together the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, then stir in the orange juice and molasses.
Gradually stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.
Once the dough has come together, lay a piece of plastic wrap on the dough surface, covering it, and chill for an hour in the fridge before working with it.
If you choose, you could also freeze the dough at this point. Wrap it up well and remove as much air from the packaging as possible.
Shape dough into 1 inch sized balls. Place the cookies 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet. They will spread out quite a bit, so don’t overcrowd the pan.
Flatten down the dough balls quite a bit and sprinkle tops of cookies with a little bit of white sugar.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until the surface of the cookie no longer looks ‘wet’. Allow cookies to set on the cookie sheet for a few minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
Grab your favourite vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt and allow it to soften just a little bit. Spread some ice cream onto the bottom side of one of the cookies and place another cookie of an equal size on top. For an added level of flavour, roll the edges of them in crushed walnuts or pecans.
If the ice cream is quite soft, put the assembled ice cream sandwiches into the freezer to set up for a bit before serving.