entertainingfoodFood & Drinkin the kitchen withkristina gillrecipes

in the kitchen with: adam, lauren, and susie

by Grace Bonney

Semifreddo cookies 4
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!

Mise en place
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 egg
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.

cookie dough 1
Pistachio praline

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.

Semifreddo cookies 3

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.

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  • Thank you! This looks so beautiful and delicious!

    Would the semifreddo be good on its own with some espresso poured over? This is a darling recipe, but I can’t see myself making all three elements except for once in a blue moon since it’s kind of labor intensive. Also, I’ve been looking for a nice frozen dessert that doesn’t require an ice cream maker for some time, so this is perfect….

  • Hi Everyone – thanks for your lovely comments!
    cshteynberg – funny you should ask about serving the semi freddo with espresso poured over top – this is exactly what we did with a left-over extra batch we had made. Totally delicious!

  • MMMMMMM they look sooo
    YUMMY, I’ll have to make sure Shiloh gets the recipie and makes me some.

  • they look delicious, but I want to know about the tile in the first pic. Maybe it’s not tile? I LOVE that and would love to source it for my kitchen remodel….

  • Hey Guys, thanks for all of your lovely comments we had a lot of fun making and of course eating these.
    Emily – thanks for your question, I finely chopped mine but you can grate it, just whatever suits your taste and whichever is easiest for you, it’ll still taste just as yummy :).
    Stephanie – double cream or heavy cream is probably the best to use, it needs to whip, hold its shape and double it’s volume.
    Thanks again for all your feedback and question hope you have fun making it.

  • Hey guys thanks for all of your lovely feedback!
    Emily – I chopped mine but you can also grate it, it will still be just as yummy just whatever is your preference.
    Stephanie – I think double cream or heavy cream would suit.
    Happy baking guys, let us know how it goes :).

  • Hey guys thanks for all of your lovely comments, we had just as much fun making it as we did eating it….mmmm yum!
    Emily – chopped or grated is fine, I finely chopped mine but I think it’ll work either way.
    Stephanie – double or heavy cream should match our cream here in NZ.
    Happy baking :).

  • Hi Amy, the pattern in the photos is a tray – you might be able to find a similar tile though. We borrowed the tray just for the photoshoot but Lauren loved it so much so she bought it !

  • These miniature desserts were fabulous! Labour intensive yes – but totally worth it! The chocolate with a hint of cinnamon reminded me of how the Mayans used to spice their chocolate. As we did not have any pistachios I used hazelnuts instead. This with the chocolate was a nice pairing. The brittle also turned out nicely, again with the hazelnutshazelnuts instead. This with the chocolate was a nice pairing. The brittle also turned out nicely, again with the hazelnuts…cont’d

  • …I’m still waiting for the filling to freeze a little more, but as a tester I used icecream. The key to this I found was leaving enough time – starting early and slowly taking it step by step. Now I’m no pastry chef but this was easy to make, well instructed, and even easier to eat. You all receive my thumbs up. Thank you for this recipe, it was a pleasure to make.

  • I made these for a large group dinner yesterday and they were a HUGE hit. Just a tip: Be sure to chop, slice or grate your chocolate evenly into tiny pieces, otherwise when you’re punching out your circles with a ring mold, you’re going to have to cut through larger chunks of frozen chocolate. I ran into this problem a bit and it’s easily avoided in the future. Thanks to the Our Kitchen team for a lovely recipe.

  • Hi there. I really gave myself into this recipe, but it didn’t turn the way I wanted it to be :-(. But the cream in between the cookie makes a GREAT dessert; yummy:-)! Thanks anyway, maybe I need to bake a bit more or brush my English up, so I can get all of the recipe right ;) or simply try a easier one :-). Greetings from Switzerland, the country with the best chocolate ever :-)!!!

  • I just made these cookies for our housewarming party on Saturday and it’s like crack people. The recipe calls for an immense amount of cream filling (you will have extra) which I’ve been devouring for the past 2 days… I even went to the store to buy butter biscuits which are the new substitute for the chocolate cookie (almost as good) so that no cream is left behind. amazing.

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