Whether dunking figures headfirst into hot coffee, laying waste to two-story family homes and rummaging for the fragments of icing and chocolate, or pressing half-imagined men and women together in indecent postures before licking them over and devouring them completely, everyone in some shape or form likes gingerbread around the wintertime. But the following recipes unite a thick and chewy gingerbread façade with a vanilla ice cream interior for a cool-warm mouthtaste that can be enjoyed all year round. I made these gingerbread sandwiches a few weeks ago over the Christmas holidays, hence the Santa sack with eyes idling off into the distance.
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Ingredients (enough for around 8 sandwiches):
- 2.5 dl light brown or muscovado sugar
- 0.75 dl light syrup
- 0.75 dl water
- 150g butter or margarine
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- 1 tbsp ginger
- 1 tsp cloves
- 8 dl plain flour
- 1.5 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- Put the brown sugar, light syrup, and water into a saucepan, and bring the mixture to a boil.
- Add the butter to the saucepan, and watch it melt. Now add the cinnamon, ginger, and cloves.
- Allow the mixture to cool, resisting any inclination to stir.
- Stir in the bicarbonate of soda, and 6-7 dl of flour. Save the rest of the flour for later.
- Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, and place in the fridge for anything from half an hour to overnight, depending on your hunger and your desired intensity of gingerbread.
- At the end of your chosen passage of time, set the oven to 175C.
- Place the chilled dough onto a floured table, and knead in the remaining flour.
- Roll the dough thinly but not too thinly – to a thickness of around 1 cm – and cut the gingerbread with a knife or cutter. Squares will do, or circles with crinkled edges, or whatever shape you like: get festive with cutters in the shape of snowmen or reindeer. Place the gingerbread on sheets of greased baking paper.
- Bake the gingerbread in the oven at 175C, for around 6-8 minutes.
- Allow the gingerbread to cool on the baking paper, before storing at room temperature.
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Vanilla Ice Cream
Ingredients (makes 1 litre):
- 5 dl double cream
- 5 dl milk
- 2 dl sugar
- 1 vanilla pod or 2 tsp vanilla essence
- Pinch of salt
- Whisk all of the ingredients together until the sugar dissolves.
- Pour the mixture into an ice cream machine, and allow the machine to function according to its will.
- Keep in an airtight container in the freezer until ready to serve.
- Garnish with crumbled gingerbread or flakes or drops of chocolate.