This is the second part of the New Zealand-based Our Kitchen team. Last week we featured the Vegetable Torta by Sara and Emma in Auckland. This week we have Cookie Cream Sandwiches (with cinnamon-chocolate semi-freddo!) from Adam, Lauren, and Susie in the Dunedin kitchen.
Notwithstanding their different locations, the team keeps their food blog going with wonderful recipes and fantastic photography. Even though Adam says the recipe is a little labor-intensive, don’t believe him! Just make it and enjoy, no matter which hemisphere you’re in! -Kristina
CLICK HERE for the full Cookie Cream Sandwiches recipe after the jump!
About the recipe: Susie’s sister introduced her to this gorgeous cinnamon-chocolate semi-freddo recipe. Apparently after watching the film ‘Chocolat’ she cooked everything chocolate for a year. I say you can’t argue with that logic. The cinnamon makes this a great winter ice treat and its simplicity appeals to the lazy chef in all of us. Whip it up the day before and wait for the compliments to flow in. We thought it would make quite the handsome dessert sandwiched between two soft, crumbly cookies and topped with crunchy pistachio praline.
The cookies are based on a New Zealand classic, the Belgian biscuit — lightly spiced brown sugar cookies usually sandwiched together with raspberry jam and topped with lemon or raspberry icing.
They are a little labor-intensive, but it is so much fun rolling out the dough and cutting the cookies out.
Cookie-cream sandwiches (Makes around 40 delicious little sandwiches)
Ingredients for the semi-freddo
3 egg whites
Pinch of salt
1 cup sugar
2 cups cream
2 tsp ground cinnamon
325g (12oz) good-quality milk chocolate
Beat the egg whites with salt on a med-high speed in a mixer until frothy. Gradually add in the sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Beat the cream with the cinnamon until soft peaks form. Fold the cream, chocolate and meringue together. Pour into an appropriate container and cover with cling film — pushing it into the surface so it is completely air tight. Freeze for at least four hours before serving; ideally for 24 hours.
Ingredients for the cookies
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp dutch cocoa
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
150g (6 oz) butter
100g (4 oz) brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Sift dry ingredients into a bowl and set aside. Cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla extract. Add dry ingredients and combine to form a firm dough. Divide dough in half and shape into two flat discs. Wrap each tightly in cling film and chill in refrigerator for at least two hours. Once chilled, roll out dough onto a lightly floured surface to around 3-5mm (1/8-1/4 inch) thick depending on the size rounds you are intending to cook (thinner for smaller rounds).
Pre-heat oven to 180 C (350 F) on Bake.
Using a cookie cutter, cut rounds and place onto a lined baking tray. We used an egg cup (4cm/1.5 inch diameter) to make the mini cookies shown in the photographs. Repeat with remaining dough. Bake for between 8 and 12 minutes, depending on the size of cookies. They are ready when the top is firm but not hard, and they have a little color on the bottom. Cool on a wire rack and then assemble into little ice-cream sandwiches.
Ingredients for the pistachio praline
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
140g (6oz) shelled pistachios
Gently heat sugar and water in a saucepan until a rolling boil is reached — do not stir. Dab cold water around the edges if sugar crystals begin to form. Keep the sugar syrup boiling until the bubbles begin to slow and a gold colour develops around the edges. Swirl the saucepan to spread the color, being careful not to incorporate air. Once there is enough colour remove from heat and pour over pistachios evenly spread in a rectangular baking dish. Let the caramel set, then crush and sprinkle as desired.
About Adam: My interest and aspirations for cooking have hugely increased since I started working on this blog. Photographing the amazing recipes has inspired me to get into the kitchen more and try a few new challenging dishes expanding my repertoire. I am a self-taught photographer and really like taking photos of food that make people hungry, food is so emotive. I have recently been getting into growing my own vegetables and am working on building a glasshouse for spring. I really enjoy the whole process from growing seedlings through to eating the results. Of course there are other benefits to being the photographer – those test recipes are never wasted!
About Lauren: We tend to get a little obsessed over recipes in my household. Currently my partner is perfecting the pavlova (beaten 100% by hand!), and I have been more than happy to assist with taste testing. When I really enjoy a meal out, I am often in the kitchen the next day trying to recreate it. We are growing our own veggies, baking our own bread and loving every minute of it. Lauren is an industrial designer at Fisher & Paykel through which she gains a deeper understanding for the science behind cooking.
About Susie: After finishing school I didn’t follow my mother’s persuasions to go to university, I rebelled and trained as a chef instead. It opened my life up to this colorful wild experience of tastes and people. It was irresistibly tainting my mind, my mouth and most unfortunately my hands with more than just culinary fare. Being that no amount of moisturizer was redeeming my hands and my mother was still whinging about university I gave in and went only to find that I have another obsession, chemistry. Long story short here I am at Fisher & Paykel combining the two testing all of our cooking appliances. Hopefully I can use this arena to figure out how to cook delicious food with the absence of refined sugar, particularly since I love pastry work.