The Ultimate Christmas Cookie Box


 
THE ultimate holiday cookie box - with something for everyone. Coconut ice, Honey Caramel Corn, sugar cookie marshmallow sandwiches, marshmallow and sugar cookie rocky road, piped roll out sugar cookies, and a DIY S'mores kit. What more could you wish for - this would be the perfect gift this holiday season.
THE ultimate holiday cookie box - with something for everyone. Coconut ice, Honey Caramel Corn, sugar cookie marshmallow sandwiches, marshmallow and sugar cookie rocky road, piped roll out sugar cookies, and a DIY S'mores kit. What more could you wish for - this would be the perfect gift this holiday season.
THE ultimate holiday cookie box - with something for everyone. Coconut ice, Honey Caramel Corn, sugar cookie marshmallow sandwiches, marshmallow and sugar cookie rocky road, piped roll out sugar cookies, and a DIY S'mores kit. What more could you wish for - this would be the perfect gift this holiday season.
THE ultimate holiday cookie box - with something for everyone. Coconut ice, Honey Caramel Corn, sugar cookie marshmallow sandwiches, marshmallow and sugar cookie rocky road, piped roll out sugar cookies, and a DIY S'mores kit. What more could you wish for - this would be the perfect gift this holiday season.
THE ultimate holiday cookie box - with something for everyone. Coconut ice, Honey Caramel Corn, sugar cookie marshmallow sandwiches, marshmallow and sugar cookie rocky road, piped roll out sugar cookies, and a DIY S'mores kit. What more could you wish for - this would be the perfect gift this holiday season.
THE ultimate holiday cookie box - with something for everyone. Coconut ice, Honey Caramel Corn, sugar cookie marshmallow sandwiches, marshmallow and sugar cookie rocky road, piped roll out sugar cookies, and a DIY S'mores kit. What more could you wish for - this would be the perfect gift this holiday season.
THE ultimate holiday cookie box - with something for everyone. Coconut ice, Honey Caramel Corn, sugar cookie marshmallow sandwiches, marshmallow and sugar cookie rocky road, piped roll out sugar cookies, and a DIY S'mores kit. What more could you wish for - this would be the perfect gift this holiday season.
THE ultimate holiday cookie box - with something for everyone. Coconut ice, Honey Caramel Corn, sugar cookie marshmallow sandwiches, marshmallow and sugar cookie rocky road, piped roll out sugar cookies, and a DIY S'mores kit. What more could you wish for - this would be the perfect gift this holiday season.
THE ultimate holiday cookie box - with something for everyone. Coconut ice, Honey Caramel Corn, sugar cookie marshmallow sandwiches, marshmallow and sugar cookie rocky road, piped roll out sugar cookies, and a DIY S'mores kit. What more could you wish for - this would be the perfect gift this holiday season.
THE ultimate holiday cookie box - with something for everyone. Coconut ice, Honey Caramel Corn, sugar cookie marshmallow sandwiches, marshmallow and sugar cookie rocky road, piped roll out sugar cookies, and a DIY S'mores kit. What more could you wish for - this would be the perfect gift this holiday season.

Today I did something I've been looking forward to for LITERALLY an entire year - I made a Christmas Cookie Box! Ever since Amy made hers last year and blew my little mind, I've been wanting to make one of my very own! I have had on my to-do list for a few weeks now, with a little post-it note in my diary with ideas of what I wanted to put inside, but I suddenly realised that Christmas is just around the corner and I was going to have to get a serious wiggle on if I wanted to pull this off in time! 

So the entirety of yesterday was spent baking my little heart out in order to make all the little things I wanted to include in the box! (Plus a bonus batch of chocolate sugar cookies because Rich tried one and couldn't stop eating them). It all went fairly smoothly, I stayed up WAY too late tempering a giant bowl of chocolate, and then today I did a little happy dance in the kitchen when it all came together far better than I ever could have imagined! I bought this box from a craft store, and then drew up a little pattern of how I wanted the dividers to look, and rich cut them all for me on the laser cutter, then etched a little pretty pattern on the top! I kind of wish that I had done this a little earlier, as I would have made loads of them to give as gifts! I made full batches of everything I made, so our coffee table is currently drowning in sweet food, but I am planning to take it all to Jill's where it will hopefully get eaten by the Christmas crowd!

I wanted to do a mixture of cookies and other little treats that I associate with Christmas in New Zealand, so I went with a couple of cookie recipes that I already had, and then added in a couple of my faves - honey caramel corn (aka one of the most addictive things I have ever made), coconut ice, which is a coconut fudge made with condensed milk, and Rocky Road, which is marshmallows and other goodies (I used sugar cookies and cranberries) folded through tempered dark chocolate and set into a bar. I haven't made coconut Ice or Rocky Road since I was a kid, so it was so fun to re-live all those excited for christmas memories that making them brings! The Caramel Corn and the Rocky Road recipes were based on recipes from The Cook and Baker, which is one of my fave books to bake from! The treats were the perfect balance of things to go alongside my cookies - I did a DIY S'mores kit, Roll-out sugar cookies, and then sugar cookies with vanilla bean marshmallow. In the end the box contained:

  • Coconut Ice
  • Marshmallow and sugar cookie Rocky Road with Cranberries
  • Honey Caramel Corn
  • Chocolate and vanilla sugar cookies, sandwiched with vanilla bean marshmallow
  • Roll-out sugar cookies, some piped, some sandwiched with jam
  • Components to make S'mores - graham crackers, vanilla bean marshmallows and dark chocolate
  • Two sprinkles compartments!

To make it a little easier on myself, I wanted to make some of the recipes usable in a number of the components. The Marshmallow for the S'mores kit was also piped between some of the sugar cookies, and also used in the Rocky Road. The sugar cookies were used in the marshmallow cookie sandwiches, but I also used them in the Rocky Road too because of how delicious and chewy they were. Little steps like this meant that less components overall were needed. The box came out amazingly, and I can't wait to make more! Any aspect of this would make great gifts for the holiday season. Merry Merry!

Some of the recipes are new, which I will share below, and some are already from this blog. Overall, I made:

  • One Batch of these Sugar cookies
  • One batch of the same sugar cookies, but subbing 50g of flour for 25g black cocoa and 25g regular cocoa to make chocolate sugar cookies
  • One large batch of vanilla bean marshmallow (this, but without the peppermint) for S'mores Kits, and the Rocky Road. I also piped a little between some of the sugar cookies to make sandwiches. Once I had piped out some to make sandwich cookies, I set the rest in a 9" x 13" tin
  • One Smaller batch (these quantities) of vanilla bean marshmallow, which I tinted with pink gel food colouring and set in a 9" x 9" tin 
  • A batch of these Graham Crackers for the S'mores Kit
  • One batch of these roll-out sugar cookies. I sandwiched some with jam, and piped some of them with royal icing and a wilton #1 tip
  • Rocky Road (recipe to follow) 
  • Coconut Ice (recipe to follow)
  • Honey Caramel Corn (Recipe to follow)

I hope that you give some of these a try! You can mix and match, or make just one component, or a couple, or add in your own things - it's so much fun to put together! Please let me know if there are any Recipe Questions! 

A few wee tips:

  • For the Rocky Road, I tempered the chocolate, which made it stable at room temp, and beautiful and shiny. If you don't want to do this regular chocolate will work just as well, but ensure that you store in the fridge. 
  • Rocky Road is often made with turkish delight, but I subbed that this time with 500g of chopped sugar cookie (I used a mix of chocolate and vanilla). They added a nice chewy texture. 
  • You can add whatever you like to this - dried fruit, nuts, the options are endless.
  • The Honey Caramel Corn Recipe makes loads - but just watch it disappear quickly. 
 

 

Rocky Road

- Makes one 9" x 13" tin  -

Recipe Adapted from The Cook and Baker

500g white and pink marshmallows (I used home made, cut into 1/2" pieces)
500g chopped sugar cookies (I used home made, from this recipe)
200g dried cranberries
1.5kg (3 lbs 5 oz) good quality dark chocolate, chopped
35g Freeze Dried Raspberries (optional)
Flaky Sea Salt, to finish

- PROCESS -

Grease a 9" x 13" pan, and line with parchment paper, leaving some extending over the edges to form a "sling".

In a very large bowl, combine the marshmallows, sugar cookies and cranberries, and toss to combine. 

Place a large heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water, making sure that the bowl does not touch the water. Place 1kg (2lb 4 oz) of the chocolate in the bowl, and stir constantly until melted. Using a sugar thermometer, continue stirring the chocolate until it reaches 50˚c / 122˚f. Add the remaining chocolate, remove from the saucepan, and continue to stir until the remaining chocolate is melted and the chocolate temperature reduces to 29˚c / 84˚f. (this may take 15-20 min). Place back on the pot of water, and bring up to 32˚c / 90˚f. Once it has reached 32˚, pour over the marshmallow and cookie mixture, and stir well with a spatula to combine. 

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin, and smooth down with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon. Sprinkle with crushed freeze dried raspberries and flaky sea salt. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and leave to set overnight. Cut into chunks using a warmed sharp knife. Store in an airtight container

 

 

 

Coconut Ice

- Makes one 8" x 8" tin (approx 50 squares)

Slightly Adapted from Nestle

One can (400g) condensed milk
500g sifted powdered sugar
390g (5 cups) unsweetened desiccated coconut
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
1/2 tsp salt
a few drops of red or pink gel food colouring

- PROCESS -

Grease an 8" x 8" square tin and line with a parchment paper sling. In a medium bowl, combine all of the ingredients except for the food colouring. Mix using a stiff spatula or your hands. Add milk a teaspoon at a time if needed to form a slightly sticky cohesive dough. Divide the mixture in half, and press half into the tin, smoothing with your fingers or an offset spatula. 

Add a couple of drops of food colouring to the remaining half, and knead to evenly distribute. Spread over the white mixture, pressing down and smoothing. Leave for a few hours to set in the fridge before cutting into squares with a warm knife. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

 

 

 

Honey Caramel Corn 

- Makes approx 12 cups - 

Adapted from The Cook and Baker 

12 cups freshly popped popcorn
470g dark brown sugar
300g honey
450g butter, chopped into chunks
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
1 teaspoon baking soda, sifted
1 teaspoon salt
Flaky sea salt, to finish

- PROCESS -

Preheat the oven to 350˚f / 180˚c. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Divide the popcorn between them. 

Place the brown sugar, honey and butter in a medium pot over medium heat. Stir to combine, and continue to cook until the mixture registers  248˚f / 180˚c on a candy thermometer. Remove from the heat and carefully add the vanilla and salt. Stir well to combine then carefully add the baking soda, and mix in well (be careful as it will foam). Pour the caramel evenly over the two trays of popcorn, and mix well to combine. 

Bake the trays of popcorn for 10 minutes, switching the trays once half way through the process. Remove from the oven and stir to redistribute the caramel and ensure that the popcorn is evenly coated. Sprinkle generously with flaky sea salt to taste. 

Leave to cool completely before breaking into chunks. Store in an airtight container. 

 

THE ultimate holiday cookie box - with something for everyone. Coconut ice, Honey Caramel Corn, sugar cookie marshmallow sandwiches, marshmallow and sugar cookie rocky road, piped roll out sugar cookies, and a DIY S'mores kit. What more could you wish for - this would be the perfect gift this holiday season.

Vanilla Sandwich Cookie with Vanilla bean Marshmallow and Dark Chocolate Ganache


 
Vanilla Sandwich Cookie with Vanilla bean Marshmallow and Dark Chocolate Ganache. The perfect Holiday cookie.
Vanilla Sandwich Cookie with Vanilla bean Marshmallow and Dark Chocolate Ganache. The perfect Holiday cookie.
Vanilla Sandwich Cookie with Vanilla bean Marshmallow and Dark Chocolate Ganache. The perfect Holiday cookie.
Vanilla Sandwich Cookie with Vanilla bean Marshmallow and Dark Chocolate Ganache. The perfect Holiday cookie.
Vanilla Sandwich Cookie with Vanilla bean Marshmallow and Dark Chocolate Ganache. The perfect Holiday cookie.
Vanilla Sandwich Cookie with Vanilla bean Marshmallow and Dark Chocolate Ganache. The perfect Holiday cookie.
Vanilla Sandwich Cookie with Vanilla bean Marshmallow and Dark Chocolate Ganache. The perfect Holiday cookie.
Vanilla Sandwich Cookie with Vanilla bean Marshmallow and Dark Chocolate Ganache. The perfect Holiday cookie.
Vanilla Sandwich Cookie with Vanilla bean Marshmallow and Dark Chocolate Ganache. The perfect Holiday cookie.

I have an obsession with marshmallow. And I'm not sure why. Somehow it makes its way into lots of things that I make - on top of tarts, inside s'mores, and of course into hot chocolates. I only made it for the first time a year or so ago, and have been hooked ever since. There's something about adding hot syrup to the mixer, and coming back in five minutes to a pillowy cloud of magic. Just as amazing cured and torched as it is straight off the mixer. Anything I make with Jill also has a high possibility of having marshmallow added to it - not only is it fun to make, but it adds another dimension and texture that you can't get from a buttercream filling. 

So when Feedfeed and Bob's Red Mill asked us to come up with a holiday cookie, I instantly knew it was going to include a marshmallow component. We started with a chewy sugar cookie - not too sweet, and rolled in sugar to give the outside the perfect crunch. Once they were baked off, we piped a fluffy ring of vanilla bean marshmallow onto the cookies, then added a blob of silky dark chocolate ganache in the centre. We then sandwiched them with a second cookie, drizzled them in white chocolate, and finished off with a heavy dose of snowy sprinkles. The result was the perfect take on a s'more - each component delicious enough to stand alone, but incredible once they were all married together. Quite possibly some of our best work ever - this one is going to be a favourite for a very, very long time Happy Holiday baking! 

A few wee tips:

  • The recipe here is in grams. The amount of flour used will change the amount that the cookies spread dramatically, and depending on the way you scoop flour your cup measurement can vary but up to 20g, so to ensure accuracy, use a scale to weigh if possible.
  • If you don't want to make the marshmallow or the ganache, the cookies are perfect just on their own. Feel free to make them a little larger, but make sure you leave room for spreading and adjust the cooking time accordingly. 
  • I bake the cookies one tray at a time - with 11 on each tray, I get about five trays worth. The cookies will come out of the oven very puffy, but will start to sink down and crackle as they cool.
  • Prepare everything you need for making the marshmallow before you start the process. Pair up the cookies and lay them out, fit a piping bag with a tip, and grease a small pan to have to put the extra marshmallow in (you will likely have a little). Once the marshmallow is done, it's all go to get it into the bag and piped before it sets too much
  • Make the ganache just before you start the marshmallow, and leave to cool a little in the piping bag before you use. It should be thick enough that you can use it soon after making. I like to use a kitchen clip just above the nozzle to help keep everything sealed off until I am ready to go.
  • Get yourself a couple of french star tips - they are my secret weapon!
 

 

Vanilla Sandwich Cookie with Vanilla Bean Marshmallow and Dark Chocolate Ganache

- Makes about 25 Sandwich cookies -

Vanilla Sugar Cookie
226g (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
300g (1 ½ cups) granulated sugar, plus more for rolling
1 egg, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
300g (2 cups) Bob's Red Mill All-purpose Flour
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

Vanilla Bean Marshmallow
14g (2 packets) powdered gelatine
76g cold water
103g liquid honey
76g water
265g sugar
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt

Dark Chocolate Ganache
250g dark chocolate (approx 70% cocoa solids)
15g (1 tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature
125g heavy cream

To Decorate
Melted White Chocolate
Sprinkles of your choice

- PROCESS -

VANILLA BEAN SUGAR COOKIE

Preheat the oven to 350˚f /180˚c. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until it is light and fluffy, approximately 5 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla paste, and beat until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.

In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Add the dry ingredients, and mix until well combined. Scrape bowl again to ensure that the ingredients are evenly incorporated.

Place approximately a cup of sugar in a bowl. Scoop tablespoons of the mixture using a #70 scoop, and roll into balls. Roll each ball in the sugar to coat completely. Place evenly spaced apart on the baking sheet, leaving room for spreading (11 per half baking sheet works well). You will need to bake your cookies in several batches.

Bake the cookies for 8-9 minutes, until puffy and barely golden around the edges. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes on the pan - during this time they will deflate and crackle slightly. Transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely. Repeat sugar rolling and baking process with remaining dough.

Pair up the cookies with another of a similar size. Prepare the marshmallow and ganache

VANILLA BEAN MARSHMALLOW

Fit a large piping bag with a round tip. Fit the stand mixer with the whisk attachment. In the mixing bowl, combine the cold water and gelatin and mix well with a fork, and leave to bloom while you prepare the sugar syrup.

In a medium pot, combine the water, honey, vanilla, and sugar. Heat over medium to high heat, stirring occasionally. Heat until the syrup reaches 240˚f /120˚c, then remove from the heat and leave to cool to 210˚f /100˚c.

Turn the mixer on to medium, and mix for a few seconds to help break up the bloomed gelatin. With the mixer running, VERY carefully pour the hot sugar syrup into the mixer. Turn the speed up to high, and whip for 5-7 minutes, until the marshmallow has doubled in volume, has turned white, and holds somewhat of a peak when you stop the mixer and lift out the whisk. Transfer to the piping bag.

DARK CHOCOLATE GANACHE

Place the chocolate and butter in a small heatproof bowl. Heat the cream in a small pot over medium heat, until boiling. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and butter, and immediately cover with a plate. Leave to sit for 5-6 minutes. Whisk well until smooth, microwaving for 10 second increments, if needed, to melt any additional pieces of chocolate, stirring well. Transfer the ganache to a small piping bag fitted with a star attachment.

ASSEMBLY

Match the cookies with another of similar size. Pipe a ring of marshmallow on one half of each pair. Pipe a blob of ganache in the middle of each cookie. Sandwich with the second cookie. Rest cookies for 20 minutes to allow the marshmallow to set.

Drizzle the cookies with melted white chocolate, and sprinkle with your favourite sprinkles.

Vanilla Sandwich Cookie with Vanilla bean Marshmallow and Dark Chocolate Ganache. The perfect Holiday cookie.

Thank you so much to Feedfeed and Bob's Red Mill for sponsoring this post! All opinions are my own.

Chocolate earl grey ice cream sandwiches


 
Chocolate earl grey ice cream sandwiches - creamy earl grey ice cream sandwiched between perfectly chewy chocolate sugar cookies. The dessert you never knew you needed. Until now.
Chocolate earl grey ice cream sandwiches - creamy earl grey ice cream sandwiched between perfectly chewy chocolate sugar cookies. The dessert you never knew you needed. Until now.
Chocolate earl grey ice cream sandwiches - creamy earl grey ice cream sandwiched between perfectly chewy chocolate sugar cookies. The dessert you never knew you needed. Until now.
Chocolate earl grey ice cream sandwiches - creamy earl grey ice cream sandwiched between perfectly chewy chocolate sugar cookies. The dessert you never knew you needed. Until now.
Chocolate earl grey ice cream sandwiches - creamy earl grey ice cream sandwiched between perfectly chewy chocolate sugar cookies. The dessert you never knew you needed. Until now.
Chocolate earl grey ice cream sandwiches - creamy earl grey ice cream sandwiched between perfectly chewy chocolate sugar cookies. The dessert you never knew you needed. Until now.
Chocolate earl grey ice cream sandwiches - creamy earl grey ice cream sandwiched between perfectly chewy chocolate sugar cookies. The dessert you never knew you needed. Until now.
Chocolate earl grey ice cream sandwiches - creamy earl grey ice cream sandwiched between perfectly chewy chocolate sugar cookies. The dessert you never knew you needed. Until now.
Chocolate earl grey ice cream sandwiches - creamy earl grey ice cream sandwiched between perfectly chewy chocolate sugar cookies. The dessert you never knew you needed. Until now.
Chocolate earl grey ice cream sandwiches - creamy earl grey ice cream sandwiched between perfectly chewy chocolate sugar cookies. The dessert you never knew you needed. Until now.

Every now and then, my little mind is blown by something food related over here. Things that we just don't have in New Zealand. Strawberry shortcake, s'mores (we sometimes make something similar ish, but it's just not the same), and most recently, ice-cream sandwiches. I had never eaten an ice cream sandwich until I moved to America. The closest we have is two pink wafers, surrounding a slab of pre-wrapped ice cream. Totally pales in comparison to what an ice-cream sandwich over here is. The weird thing is, it's not like they are tricky to make, or require ingredients you can't get hold of in New Zealand, they just aren't a thing. That goes both ways though - there are so many New Zealand foods that haven't caught on here, things like our version of shortcake, tan square, louise cake, and savoury pies. More on the pies later - I have spent the last few days fine-tuning an epic steak and mushroom filling for pies which I will share very soon. In a classic me move, I have decided to do this right in the middle of summer, which of course involves the oven on for hours at a time. Not the most ideal, but it's going to be SO worth it, because meat pies are the best, and everyone needs them in their lives. I promise. Your hangovers will never be as bad again, because meat pies are the magic cure. 

More on ice cream sandwiches - specifically, these chocolate and earl grey ice cream sandwiches. These are something special. My theory is, that if you take two things that are amazing on their own and combine them, you've hit a winner. Here we take a chocolate sugar cookie. The sugar cookies are everything you ever want in a cookie - crispy on the edges, chewy on the inside, and perfectly flat. We pair them with perfect circles of earl grey ice cream - ice cream that isn't too sweet, and has a lovely subtle hit of the bergamot flavour of earl grey, and the slightly bitter tannins of tea. I have been obsessively buying the Van Leeuwen Earl Grey ice cream for a few months now (it's a great choice because Rich doesn't like it, so it's all mine!), and I can safely say, that as an earl grey enthusiast, this tastes just like it. Sandwiched between two chewy chocolate cookies, the earl grey flavour bounces off the cookies in the most amazing way. This is the dessert you didn't know you needed. 

A few wee notes:

  • The Chocolate sugar cookie recipe I used here is from the amazing Sarah Kieffer's book, the Vanilla bean baking book. I have made these maybe 10 times already - they never last longer than a day because they are so amazing, so when it came to finding a cookie to pair with earl grey, I knew these would be perfect. If you want a book filled with solid, reliable no fail baking recipes, pick a copy up. It's THE BEST.
  • If you don't like earl grey / don't want to make your own ice cream / can't be bothered with any of that carry on, you can absolutely use store bought ice cream. Simply allow it to soften (you will need 1 to 1 1/2 quarts, or about a litre), spread it into a 9x13 pan lined with wax paper, and freeze until hard before you cut out using a cookie cutter. Alternatively, scoops of ice cream between cookies would also work perfectly. Don't like ice cream? Make the cookies anyway. They are epic.
  • I used a mixture of black cocoa and regular cocoa to amp up the chocolate flavour in the cookies. Using only plain cocoa is perfect too.
  • The cookie recipe makes about 24 cookies, if you use a 2 Tbsp scoop. The ice cream makes about enough for 9 circles, so you will have a few cookies left over. There will be some left over - store in a freezer safe container for scooping later.
  • The Ice cream base needs at least 2 hours to chill completely before churning, and then an additional 3-4 hours to solidify in the pan, so allow time for this! Don't forget to freeze your ice cream bowl!
 

 

Chocolate earl grey ice cream sandwiches
- Makes 9-10 sandwiches -

Cookie recipe slightly adapted from The Vanilla Bean Baking Book

Earl Grey Ice Cream
1 cup sugar
6 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla bean paste (optional)
Pinch of salt
2 1/4 cups (540ml) whole milk, plus a little more to top up after tea has steeped
6 Tbsp loose leaf earl grey tea
2 1/4 cup (540ml) heavy cream

Chocolate Sugar Cookies
1 3/4 cups (250g) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (25g) cocoa powder
1/4 cup (25g) black cocoa powder (optional - alternatively use 1/4 cup regular cocoa powder)
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup (226g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 3/4 cup (350g) sugar, plus 1 cup (200g) for rolling
1 large egg
1 tsp Vanilla extract
 

- PROCESS -

EARL GREY ICE CREAM

In a medium bowl, combine the egg yolks, sugar, salt, and vanilla bean paste. Whisk well until pale. Set aside. 

In a large pot over medium heat, heat the milk Warm until bubbles begin to form around the outer edge of the pot. Add the tea, stir well to combine, and steep for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Strain through a fine mesh sieve, pressing down hard on the tea to get as much liquid out as possible. Measure the infused milk. Top up to 2 1/4 cups if needed. Return to the pot, and heat until bubbles form around the edges. Remove from the heat.

Pour half of the milk into the bowl with the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Whisk briskly until combined. This will temper the egg yolks and stop them from scrambling. 

Pour the milk and yolk mixture back into the pot, and return to a low heat. Whisk constantly, until the mixture begins to thicken enough to coat the back of a spoon, and registers at 170˚f / 75˚c on a thermometer. 

Strain though a fine mesh strainer. Stir in the cream. Transfer to an airtight container and chill for at least two hours, or overnight.

Churn in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. Transfer to a quarter sheet pan or 9 x 13 baking dish lined with wax paper. Place a second piece of wax paper on the surface of the ice cream and smooth down. Place in the freezer in a flat place for 3-4 hours, or until frozen solid.

CHOCOLATE SUGAR COOKIES

Preheat the oven to 350˚f / 180˚c. Line three baking trays with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside. 

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using an electric mixer, beat the butter until pale. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla, and beat until combined. Add the flour mixture, and beat on low until just incorporated. 

Using a cookie scoop, scoop 2 tbsp worth of mixture at a time. Roll into a ball using your hands, then roll generously sugar. Place on the baking tray, leaving plenty of room to spread (I had 8 cookies per baking tray).

Bake one tray at a time for 11-12 minutes, until the cookies have puffed up and are beginning to crack on the tops, and the edges are set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Place in a ziploc bag and store in the freezer until you are ready to assemble the sandwiches (this helps reduce melting).

ASSEMBLY

Match up the cookies in pairs of similar size. Line a quarter sheet pan or large freezer safe plate with parchment paper. Using a round cookie cutter slightly smaller than the cookie, cut out circles of ice cream. It may help to mark where you are going to cut first, so you can get as many cut-outs as possible. Place the circle of ice cream on one cookie, and top with a second. Place on the prepared sheet pan, and place into the freezer. Repeat until you have run out of ice cream. 

Serve immediately, Rest the cookie sandwiches in the freezer for an hour, or until the ice cream has re-frozen completely. Store the remaining cookie sandwiches in an airtight container or ziploc bag.

Chocolate earl grey ice cream sandwiches - creamy earl grey ice cream sandwiched between perfectly chewy chocolate sugar cookies. The dessert you never knew you needed. Until now.