Monday, October 1, 2007

Feeling Fallish

I have never really acknowledged September as being a fall month, despite the fact that the season technically starts in September. Seasons aren't so much of a technical thing anyway, or at least they shouldn't be. Yes, it starts getting darker earlier in September. But so what? Are there pumpkins outside of the grocery store in September? Didn't think so. After all, any month during which you expect to spend time on the beach in New York is clearly no autumn month. Fall is so much more of a feeling than a scientific event dictated by the earth's rotation. It's so much more romantic than that. The leaves change color, there is the faintest crisp in the air, and the slightly woodsish smell of Halloween descends upon even the city.

October, then, seems like the perfect time to embrace the coming of autumn. Early October is a lingering segue into fall. I want to embrace the smells and tastes of fall, but I find myself still clinging on to everything I love about summer - sundresses, flip-flops and ice cream. Especially ice cream. As I walked down the freezer aisle in the grocery store, I laid eyes on something that comported seamlessly with my mood: Edy's® Pumpkin ice cream. Then I became inspired. I did not want to confront fall with resentment for taking away the summer - so I decided to make ice cream sandwiches. The perfect fall ice cream sandwich, full of cloves and cinnamon and ginger - reminding me of the pleasures of autumn while acknolwedging the passing of summer, and paying its respects.

Ginger-Pumpkin Ice Cream Sandwiches

This ginger snap recipe was adapted from the recipe submitted by Amy Sacha, incorporating some of the suggestions found within the comments.

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup margarine, softened (trans fat be damned...well not really, it's really not good for you, but these cookies are so worth it)
1 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon orange juice
1/4 cup molasses
2 tablespoons white sugar, for covering the cookies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Sift together the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together the margarine and one cup of sugar. Beat in the egg, then stir in the orange juice and molasses. Stir the sifted ingredients gradually into the egg-sugar-molasses mixture.
The dough will likely be sticky, perhaps too sticky to roll. If this is the case, place the dough in the fridge for about 30-45 minutes to stiffen it up.

Roll dough into walnut sized balls, and roll them in the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar to cover. Space the cookies about 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet, and press to flatten slightly.
Bake cookies for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Take the ice cream out of the freezer while the cookies are baking so that it softens enough to spread onto the cookies without warping them beyond recognition. Sandwich about 1/4 cup of ice cream between two fully cooled ginger snaps. Press slightly to evenly distribute the ice cream between the cookies. I wrapped the cookies loosely in plastic wrap and threw them back in the freezer to allow the ice cream to stiffen back up a bit and make them easier to eat.

I rolled the edges of my ice cream cookies in chopped pecans to cover. I had wanted to roll them in a mixture of pecans and crushed maple candies, but I couldn't find any of the latter at the grocery store. My undergrad days are gone and I am no longer in the maple wonderland of Canada. And it's probably for the better, since those would have perhaps brought too much sweetness to the spicy combination. The cookies were just what I wanted, but I tore into the sandwiches with the zeal and impatience that is characteristic of my experiences with ice cream. Since I had not allowed them to sit in the freezer long enough, I made a mess. But was it ever worth it. The spiciness of the cookies overpowered the pumpkiny taste of the ice cream ever so slightly, but the creaminess really helped elevate the flavors of the cookies. Fall is here - and I couldn't be happier.


CJ said...

Those sound delicious, Shelbs! I think I might have to try it. I'll subscribe to the RSS feed of your blog and keep up-to-date on your culinary exploits. :)

SAF said...

Gotta say, that sounds pretty fantastic. And you make the best cookies I've ever had, so I'm sure it is just as good as it looks! :)