Despite the great number of quirks and traits that I share with my family members, there are still times when I can’t help but wonder if I might have been adopted. Some differences are glaring, but others are more subtle, such as the great range of temperaments we each have- And I’m not just talking about moodiness here. Almost always the first to run for the AC, it would seem as though my internal temperature runs a good 10 or 20 degrees hotter than most, making for some unusual sources of conflict. Just the other night, I woke up sweating through my sheets, and popped out of bed to turn on the air conditioning. Well, as you can imagine, that did the trick and I fell right back to sleep… Leaving the fan churning the air, until my mother was in turn awakened, claiming to be nearly frozen to death. There’s just no winning in this family!
Regardless, there are always compromises that can be made, and dessert is no different. Though I would be perfectly happy to eat nothing but ice cream for the next 3 or 4 months, I accept the fact that I can’t avoid the oven forever. The trick is to minimize its utility, baking off little treats quickly before the whole kitchen turns into a sticky, sugary sauna.
Cookies fit the bill quite nicely, but what fun is that? No, a mere biscuit isn’t enough to bring to a big dinner party, or say, 4th of July potluck, now is it?
However, try layering gently spiced, soft cookies with a bright and tangy lemon custard, chill the whole concoction into a a cool, refreshing cake-like assemblage, and now we’re talking! File this one under “looks ultra-impressive but is a breeze to make.” If you can bake cookies, you can throw this one together, and yes, keep it on hand in the freezer until it’s needed. Can you tell I’m into that sort of thing these days?
This is another recipe inspired by a request from Nasoya, but should you be unable to find the Vanilla Silken Creations, just use a regular block of silken tofu, plus an additional 1/4 cup of confectioner’s sugar and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.
Lemon Gingersnap Icebox Cake
3/4 Cup Margarine
1 Cup Granulated Sugar
1/4 Cup Molasses
1 Tablespoon Flax Seeds, Ground
2 1/4 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 1/2 Teaspoons Baking Soda
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
2 1/2 Teaspoons Ground Ginger
1 1/2 Teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cardamom
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Allspice
Pinch Freshly Ground Black Pepper
2 Tablespoons Plain Soymilk
To make the gingersnaps, preheat your oven to 375 degrees and line 4 baking sheets with silpats or parchment paper.
With your stand mixer, cream together the margarine and sugar thoroughly. Add in the molasses and flax seed, and mix well until completely homogeneous.
In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices together, to evenly distribute all of the dry ingredients throughout the mixture. Slowly incorporate the dry mixture into your stand mixer, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. The resulting dough will still look a bit dry, so go ahead and add in the soymilk.
Once a smooth dough has been achieved, scoop out about 2 – 3 teaspoons per cookie, roll them into balls, and flatten them slightly onto your prepared sheets. If they begin to stick to your hands, simply wash your hands and leave them slightly damp when you go back to work.
Bake for 8 – 10 minutes, until slightly cracked on top and lightly browned around the edges. The longer you bake them, the snappier they’ll be! Cool the cookies on the sheets, and make sure they are completely cool before using.
To make the custard, begin by removing the coconut milk from the fridge and DO NOT shake it. Skim off the top layer of thick, white cream, and place it in your stand mixer with the whisk attachment installed. Start on low speed for a minute, and then increase to high, beating the coconut cream for about 5 minutes, until light and fluffy light whipped cream. Add in the vanilla silken creations and lemon zest, and stir well.
Mix the confectioner’s sugar, instant clear gel, and salt together in a small dish before slowly adding the mixture in, making sure that the motor continues running the whole time. Stop periodically to scrape down the sides of the bowl. It’s very important to continue agitating the mixture while introducing the instant clear gel, as it will create clumps if it isn’t dispersed throughout the liquid quickly.
The custard will begin to thicken after another 3 – 4 minutes of whipping, and will continue to thicken once chilled.
Now you’re ready to assemble the dessert. On a large plate, start by placing 6 cookies in a tight circle, plus one more in the very center. Place a generous dollop of the custard on top, reaching out almost to the edge of the circle but leaving a good amount of the outermost cookies visible. Place another circle of cookies on top in a similar manner, followed by more custard. Repeat this process into you run out of both; You should end up with around 6 cookie layers and 5 custard layers. Chill thoroughly overnight before serving; it gets better when the cookies have time to soften and become part of the custard itself!
Serves 8 – 12