Now I love peppermint as much as the next girl, but once in a while you've got to shake things up. Christmas should not be limited to egg nog, pumpkin spice, and mint (no matter what Starbucks would have you believe). As I've gotten older, I've developed a fondness for gingersnaps, especially this excellent recipe from the Joy of Cooking. These cookies have a warmth that feels very homey in December, and of course they remind me of making gingerbread houses (and eating most of the gumdrops and licorice before they could be affixed to the roof). I really like lemon with gingersnaps, and instead of making a lemon icing, I made ice cream sandwiches (which have the added appeal of staying fresh in the freezer for several weeks). The ice cream couldn't be easier, and the recipe comes from The Perfect Scoop.
3 3/4 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
4 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp salt
12 tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 2/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup dark molasses
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp lemon zest
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 F. Line two cookie sheets with parchement paper.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until very fluffy. Add the eggs, molasses, lemon juice, and zest and combine until well blended.
- Stir in the flour mixture until well-blended and smooth. Pull off pieces of dough and form one-inch balls in your hands. Space about 1 1/2 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheets. Flatten each ball with the palm of your hand. You can also use a damp glass dipped in sugar, which will add some sweetness and sparkle to the final product.
- Bake no more than 9-10 minutes for soft cookies; as long as 13 minutes for very, very crisp cookies. Cool on a wire rack.
Simple Lemon Ice Cream
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (from 2 large or 3 small lemons)
2 cups half-n-half
Pinch of salt
- Zest the lemons directly into a food processor or good blender. Add the sugar and blend until the lemon zest is very fine. Add the lemon juice and blend until the sugar is completely dissolved. Blend in the half-in-half and salt until smooth.
- Chill 1 hour, then pour into your ice cream machine.
To make sandwiches, match up two cookies of the same size. Put about 1/4 cup ice cream (freshly churned or else softened) on one cookie and press the other on top. Ice cream will squeeze out the sides, and you can scrape it away with a rubber spatula. Wrap each sandwich individually in plastic wrap and freeze. They are much easier to eat once they've frozen solid.