“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.”
― Edith Sitwell
This post was sponsored by Twist Your Spirits, but all words, opinions, and love of Old Fashioneds are my own. Head to my Instagram for a fun giveaway!!!!
Winter is here! Well, just about, although as usual Southern California is looking the other way. However, the temperatures have been dropping. I wake some nights with a chill in my bones that brings a smile to my face, and mornings are greeted with tea, and warms socks, and knitted blankets. That is what this morning looks like in fact. I’m bundled on the couch—perhaps a bit more bundled than I need to be—tea nearby, still in my pajamas, snacking on leftover cookies.
It’s early December. Simon and I are planning how grand or minimal our holiday décor should be. I’d love to drown out the world with pine, and tinsel, and bows. Burn cinnamon scented candles, listen to holiday radio (that’s already happening), and watch any number of holiday movie classics round the clock.
I find myself happily nostalgic; thinking back to childhood holiday memories. Like the year I successfully guessed every present under the tree by examining the wrapped packages (much to my parent’s dismay). Or the time three generations of women gathered at my aunt’s in Ojai to make our family’s naca tamales (a Nicaraguan variety). Or the year Simon and I got stuck in a torrential Christmas down pour on the hunt for Thai food—we had to pull of the highway and wait it out with a line of cars headed north up the coast.
I love this time of year, I feel most myself in the winter months. Lately all I want to do is spend time with family and friends; cooking, eating, and drinking over stories and laughter. That’s part of the inspiration for this post. The perfect way to do all of those things in one fell swoop!
These ice cream sandwiches aren’t your average ice cream sandwiches. And they aren’t “old fashioned” in the way vanilla ice cream recipes get labeled as old fashioned from time to time. I mean the drink! I partnered with Twist Your Spirits to use one of their cocktail kits in a recipe! And are any of us surprised that I chose their Chile Spiced Old Fashioned kit for this endeavor?! If you are, you must be new here.
If you are not familiar with Twist Your Spirits, they are an amazing company based out of Los Angeles. They make fun and festive cocktail kits that come with everything you need to make 8 cocktails; you just supply the suggested spirit. I love all their kits but the old fashioned holds a special place in my heart. Chocolate bitters, dried orange slices, and a three chili spiced simple syrup make for a delicious take on a classic libation.
When brainstorming for this recipe, I thought those flavors would go wonderfully with a molasses or ginger based cookie. The heat from the simple syrup gives a nice kick and warming effect that pairs wonderfully with all the spices. The chocolate bitters give it some depth. I was initially toying with the idea of simply dusting the finished cookies with the orange slices but then decided to elevate the cocktail-in-cookie-form experience. So I made a bourbon cream cheese ice cream to round out the flavors, mainly because I wanted to indulge!
These cookies my friends, these cookies. They are soft and chewy (due to the combination of all-purpose and bread flours) wonderfully spiced, and honestly perfect on their own! However, the ice cream is a rich and fun addition. The bourbon means it doesn’t completely freeze solid, making for a creamy rich filling for these cookies. But if you don’t want to bother with that, just buy your favorite ice cream or gelato and use that instead.
One of my favorite elements of these cookies is the orange slices dusted on the ice cream. That bright burst of citrus oils is just what’s needed to bring all the elements of this recipe together. Because they still have a bit of moisture in them, I blended some slices into crumbs, then toasted them at a low temp in the oven for a few minutes resulting in a delicious orange topping.
And don’t think I put all this together without keeping your hydration in mind. I made sure to reserve enough from the kit for two cocktails so you can enjoy this perfectly flavored and balanced drink with a friend, while baking or assembling! These kits are perfect for cocktail or holiday parties and the make a great seasonal gift for anyone who loves to imbibe without the hassle or stress of whipping up complicated libations from scratch! See more Twist Your Spirits Cocktail Kits here!
Keep in mind:
Make the cookie dough and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight. And you’ll want to prepare the ice cream, allow it to cool in the fridge completely (ideally overnight as well).
The next morning, I put the ice cream in my ice cream maker, then the freezer, then I got started on the cookies. If you need to save yourself some time, just buy your favorite ice cream to use instead! These will still be delicious!
Old Fashioned Molasses Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches
For The Cookies
Makes about 24
- 1 stick of unsalted butter, softened
- ¾ cups dark brown sugar
- ¼ cup molasses
- 1.5 oz. Chili Simple Syrup from Twist Your Spirits Chile Spiced Old Fashioned Kit*
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 tsp. Chocolate Bitters from Twist Your Spirits Chile Spiced Old Fashioned Kit (optional)
- 1 cup plus 1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 1 cup bread flour
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- 1 ½ tsp. cinnamon
- 2 tsp. ground ginger
- ¼ tsp. ground cloves
- ¼ tsp. nutmeg
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ¼ cup granulated sugar mixed with ½ tsp. ground ginger, for rolling the cookies
*You can make your own simple syrup by combining equal parts water and granulated sugar in a saucepan over low heat, warming until sugar dissolves. You can even infuse it with ginger slices, or a cinnamon stick for more flavor!
For the Ice Cream
Makes about 3 cups
- 6 oz. cream cheese, softened
- 1 ½ cups whole milk
- 1 ½ cups heavy cream
- 3 egg yolks
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- ¼ cup bourbon, optional
- 6 Dried orange slices from Twist Your Spirits Chile Spiced Old Fashioned Kit, optional
Make the Cookies
- In a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment on a medium speed to cream butter, sugar, molasses, and simple syrup together until light and creamy.
- Add in egg and mix until combined.
- Mix in vanilla extract and chocolate bitters (if using).
- Sift the flours, baking soda, spices, and salt into a medium bowl and slowly add to wet ingredients mixing until just combined.
- Dough may be a bit wet and sticky. This is ok! You’re good! Place in a Zip Lock bag or airtight container and refrigerate 6 hours or overnight before baking.
- Preheat oven to 325°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Portion out heaping tablespoons of the dough and roll to form 1 ½ inch balls.
- Roll in sugar and ground ginger mixture and bake 2 inches apart for 10-12 minutes. The cookies will be just a bit underdone which makes for a nice, chewy ice cream sandwich cookie!
- Transfer cookies to a baking rack and allow to cool completely before assembling ice cream sandwiches.
Store in an airtight container for up to a week.
Make the Ice Cream
- Mix cream cheese in your stand mixer, or with a handheld mixer until light and fluffy, for 1-2 minutes.
- In a small heatproof bowl, whisk together egg yolks and sugars until combined. Place bowl on a damp kitchen towel (this will make the next step easier).
- In a saucepan heat milk and cream on low stirring frequently. DO NOT let it boil!
- Right before it starts to simmer, slowly pour 1 cup into the egg yolks, whisking vigorously to temper the eggs. Go slow and don’t stop whisking! This is important so you don’t get scrambled eggs!
- Pour the tempered egg yolks back into the saucepan while whisking. Add in bourbon and vanilla, and heat on low for about 5-7 minutes, until it thickens, stirring often.
- Immediately strain* into the cream cheese and slowly stir to combine. *This is important, if you did get any egg bits the strainer will catch them.
- Cover with plastic wrap and be sure to gently press the plastic into the surface of the ice cream mixture. Ideally chill in the refrigerator overnight.
- Transfer to your ice cream maker, mixing for about 20 minutes before transferring to an airtight container and freezing until it firms up a bit, usually 3-4 hours. You can skip the ice cream maker, but it will take your ice cream longer to freeze.
Assemble the Ice Cream Sandwiches
Makes about 12
- If using, blend the orange slices into a coarse consistency (about the size of dried breadcrumbs).
- You’ll notice the crumbs are s bit sticky due to the moisture. This is ok, but If you’d like, bake orange crumbs at 220°F for about 5-7 minutes, just enough to dry out a bit, but not toast or burn them.
- Scoop 1 to 1 ½ Tbsp. (or more!) of the ice cream onto a cookie, top with another cookie and gently press together. Sprinkle a little of the oranges onto the ice cream.
- Freeze for a couple of hours before enjoying.
You might end up with some leftover ice cream…just eat it!
For longer storage, wrap each ice cream sandwich individually with plastic wrap and store in a freezer zip lock bag for about 3-4 weeks.