Yes, I know this is a bit complicated. Three actual recipes that combine into one divine delight. First make the brandied cherries. (You can skip the brandy and use water to make it family friendly.) Then, the ice cream. And then, the cookies. Put them all together, wrap individually, and store in a zip bag in the freezer, and you have some very tasty frosty treats. In fact....mine are behind the frozen turkey--just so no one actually finds them...except me!!
Step 1: Brandied Cherries
1/2 cup brandy (or water)
1/4 cup sugar
Pit and halve the cherries. Place in a small saucepan and add the brandy (or water) and sugar. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 3 minutes. Cool, transfer to a jar, and store in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours, and up to one week before proceeding.
Step 2: Make the Ice Cream
4 egg yolks
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 vanilla bean (or one teaspoon vanilla extract)
brandied cherries, drained
1/2 cup chocolate (I used El Ray Bucare)
In a bowl whisk together the sugar and egg yolks. Split the vanilla bean in half and scrape out the seeds. Add the seeds and the pod to the egg/sugar mixture along with the milk. Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water to create a double boiler. Whisk slowly but often until the mixture coats the back of a spatula, or better yet, take it's temperature with an instant read thermometer. It should be 160 degrees F. Remove the bowl from the double boiler and stir in the cream. Cool, and transfer to a large measuring cup or pitcher, which will make it easier to pour into the ice cream freezer. Cover with plastic wrap and chill over night. Set up the ice cream maker, remove the vanilla pod from the mixture, and pour into the machine. Process until thickened. (about 20-30 minutes) Drain the cherries in a fine mesh strainer, and chop the chocolate into 1/4-inch pieces. Add the cherries and the chopped chocolate to the ice cream and process just until mixed in. Scrape into a freezer container and freeze for at least 2 hours to thicken up.
Step 3: Make the Cookies
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa (I used Valhrona)
1/4 teaspoon salt
In the bowl of a large standard mixer cream the butter and sugar. Add the egg and beat well. Slowly add the flour, cocoa, and salt until no flour remains visible. Shape into a log, wrap in parchment paper, and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Cut into 4 portions to make it easier to roll out. Roll the dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut with your favorite cookie cutter. I used a 4-inch heart shape. Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet. and bake for 10 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a rack to cool.
Step 4: Final Assembly
Melt the chocolate in a small bowl in the microwave for 1 minute. If the chocolate is about 3/4 melted, you are good to go. Simply stir until it is smooth and completely melted. It is better not to over heat the chocolate. Place the rack of cookies over a sheet pan to catch the drips of chocolate. Using a fork, drizzle the chocolate over the cookies with a quick back and forth motion. Let cool until set. You can place them on a plate in the freezer to speed the process. At this point I'm sure you are ready to be finished with this project and ready to bite into one of these lovelies.
Place 2 1/2 scoops of ice-cream on a cookies and top with another one. Place back in the freezer for about an hour to set up before wrapping individually with plastic wrap. Store them in a large zip bag in the freezer. Eat within 2 weeks. Now that's the easy part!