Ice Cream Sandwiches with Rosewater Almond Shortbread

valentinesday_icecreamsandwich_3 Valentine's Day is tomorrow, and though we already shared our DIY floral heart earlier this week, we couldn't let the holiday pass without dreaming up a special recipe for the occasion. Since roses signify love and anything pink and heart shaped is a given, we decided to combine all of these elements into little ice cream sandwiches with rosewater almond shortbread. Shortbread is always a favourite with its delicate, melt-in-your-mouth flavour, and the ice cream is the perfect complement for these, offsetting the buttery richness and letting the rose flavour take centre stage.

Rosewater Almond Shortbread // 1/2 cup whole almonds 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature ½ cup + ½ tablespoon icing sugar, sifted 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 3 1/2 teaspoons rosewater 1 egg yolk 1 1/2 tablespoons Amaretto 1 1/2 all purpose flour 3½ teaspoons baking powder pinch of salt

Cookie Assembly // 2-3 tablespoons rosewater, or to taste 1½ cups icing sugar, for rolling the cookies

For the Cookies //

1 // Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread almonds on a cookie sheet evenly and roast, stirring occasionally, until golden (5-6 minutes). Cool completely, then coarsely chop and set aside.

2 // Beat butter, icing sugar, vanilla and rosewater with an electric mixer until creamy. Beat in the yolk, then Amaretto, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl. Sift in flour, baking powder and salt, followed by almonds and stirring to form a stiff dough.

3 // Turn onto a lightly floured surface and shape the dough into a disc, wrapping in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 2 hours.

4 // Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two large baking sheets with baking paper.

5 // Roll out dough between two pieces of lightly floured baking paper to approximately 1.5 cm thick.

6 // Using a heart shaped cookie cutter (or any shape of your choice), cut the dough and place onto the prepared sheets. Reroll scraps in order to use all of the dough.

7 // Bake until light golden on the edges (14-16 minutes), cool on sheets for 5 minutes, then sprinkle with rosewater. Carefully roll the warm cookies in the icing sugar, then cool over a wire rack.


For the Ice Cream Sandwiches // 

To construct the ice cream sandwiches themselves, all you need is an ice cream flavour of your choice (we opted for a vanilla coconut milk ice cream since that's what I usually have on hand) and sprinkles of your choice. Seeing as it's Valentine's Day, I used tiny pink and white heart confetti sprinkles that I had been saving for a special occasion such as this.

Simply place a few small spoonfuls of ice cream on top of one cookie pressing it down gently so it matches the shape of the bottom cookie, add some sprinkles around the sides of the ice cream, and layer a second cookie on top. And there you have it - a simple and delicious handheld (and festive!) treat.