The Bookworm, coming from Scottish stock was rather offended at my use of the term when serving up the first course but he quickly settled down when he saw what was coming.
Salted Caramel Ice Cream Sandwiches!
This recipe comes from my absolute favourite cooking blog A splash of Vanilla , however in the interests of sticking to a budget I had to modify it slightly. Emma made these when she was road-testing a gourmet vanilla salt which sounds amazing but hard-to-find and expensive. I used a Himalayan pink salt, which is not cheap either but more versatile for the investment. I also added dark choc chips because salted caramel and chocolate is unbeatable. I did a couple of things a little differently (because I always do) which I will describe here but she is the Queen so you should probably just click on the link to her page:)
You will need:
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/4 tspn cinnamon
1/4 tspn ground rock salt (I used Himalayan pink salt because it is pretty)
1/2 tspn bicarbonate of soda
120g unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
1 cup brown sugar, packed (I used dark brown sugar to give almost a burnt caramel flavour, which I love)
1 large egg
1 tspn vanilla essence
A big handful of dark chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 180C. Place baking paper onto a couple of large baking sheets.
Sift the flour, cinnamon and bicarb of soda in a medium sized mixing bowl and add the salt. Add butter and sugar to another large mixing bowl and use electric mixer or hand mixer to beat on medium speed until lighter in colour and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla essence and beat on low speed until just combined. Carefully fold through flour and choc chips.
Spoon out heaped tablespoons of cookie mixture, roll into balls and place on trays, pressing gently with a fork to flatten. Leave 5cm between each one (they spread a lot). Bake for 12-15 minutes until cooked at the edges or a bit longer if you like 'em super crunchy (like me!)
As soon as you take them out of the oven sprinkle them with a little more salt. This means that when you bite in later you get a few little salt crystals on your tongue. YUM!
Cool on tray then transfer cookies to cooling rack and cool completely.
For the ice cream, either buy some vanilla bean ice cream or you can mock up your own budget-style. I used Blue Ribbon vanilla ice cream and I had a vanilla bean in the pantry. Scoop out ice cream into a bowl and allow to soften slightly, meanwhile slice your vanilla bean in half length-ways and use the back of a knife to slide along the inside and extract the seeds then mix them through your softened ice cream using a butter knife.
Rather than throw the rest of the bean away, pop it into a little jar with some sugar and leave for a few weeks to make vanilla sugar.
Then just pile your ice cream onto a cookie, top with another cookie and pop into the freezer until dessert time.
I like to make these in advance and freeze the ice cream hard again so that they don't smush everywhere when you are eating them.
If you love salted caramel, make sure you check out Emma's recipe for caramel crunchy peanut butter fudge sauce- it sounds like my idea of heaven.