These small, sugary sandwiches are refreshing and perfect for hot Southern summer days. The bourbon-smoked sugar cookies are a sweet treat on their own, full of hearty flavor and toasty notes. Factor in the silky textures and sharp flavors of the mint gelato, and these separate parts create something tart, sweet, smoky, and buttery.
1 pint gelato, about 2 dozen cookies
1 quart water
½ bunch fresh mint, leaves removed from stems
6 large egg yolks
1 cup sugar
½ vanilla bean, scraped
2 cups whole milk
2 cups half and half
2¾ cups flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
½ cup solid vegetable shortening
1½ cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons bourbon
1 cup Bourbon Barrel smoked sugar for rolling (from Bourbon Barrel Foods) or can substitute Demerara sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Bourbon-Smoked Sugar Cookies
- In a small saucepot, bring water to boil over medium-high heat. Add mint leaves and blanch for 20 seconds. Quickly remove, draining into a colander, and place leaves in a bowl of ice water to chill. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and pat dry.
- In a stainless steel bowl, combine yolks, sugar, and vanilla. Heat this mixture slowly, setting the bowl atop a large pot filled with simmering water. (Note: Make sure that the bottom of the bowl is suspended above the simmering water.) Whisk the mixture steadily until it thickens.
- In a small saucepan, scald the milk and half and half. Pour the hot milk mixture over the egg mixture. Mix well. Continue to slowly stir the combined mixture for about 10 minutes, then place bowl in an ice bath and chill.
- Place 1 cup of egg/milk mixture in a high-speed blender and add chilled mint leaves. Purée on high until mint is well incorporated. Add this cup back to the rest of the egg/milk mixture.
- Freeze (churn) mixture in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s directions.
Bourbon-Smoked Sugar Cookies
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees with one rack in top third and one rack in bottom third. Line 2 baking sheets with Silpats or parchment and set aside.
- Sift together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine butter, shortening, and sugar. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl.
- Add eggs, vanilla, and bourbon. Beat to combine. Add dry ingredients and beat to combine.
- In a small bowl, combine bourbon-smoked sugar and cinnamon. Use a small (1¼-ounce) ice cream scoop to form balls of dough. Roll balls in cinnamon sugar. Place about 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets.
- Bake until the cookies are set in center and begin to crack (they will not brown), about 10 minutes, rotating the baking sheets after 5 minutes.
- Transfer the sheets to a wire rack to cool about 5 minutes before transferring the cookies to the rack. Store in an airtight container up to 1 week.
To assemble cookie sandwiches, scoop 2 ounces of gelato between two cookies and place in the freezer for 30 minutes prior to serving.
Recipe ByLevon Wallace, Executive Chef of Proof on Main in Louisville, Kentucky