Windmill [Speculoos] Cookie Ice Cream + Windmill Pie Crust Crumbs.

windmill [speculoos] cookie ice cream + windmill cookie pie crumb.

Part two of the pumpkin almond cake-tacular: the toppings. More specifically, windmill cookie ice cream and windmill cookie pie crumb. I hope you chilled your ice cream makers like I told you, because here. we. go.

I like to think of these three components as three (well, four; one is a duo) of my favorite bakers and ice cream masters coming over for dessert at the same time, only without the unfortunate head-expolsion and subsequent loss of consciousness which would happen if they actually showed up at my door. These recipes give you all of their immense talent with none of the fainting: You have the guys from Baked bringing the pumpkin almond cake (which we discussed), Jeni Britton-Bauer of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams showing up with this ice  cream, and Christina Tosi from Momofuku Milk Bar bringing it home with the pie crumbs.

The pumpkin almond cake was very lightly adapted and was almost identical to the Baked original version: not much alteration there. The ice cream and pie crumb are more loosely based on the Jeni’s Graham Cracker Ice Cream and the Momofuku Milk Bar Pie Crust Crumb, respectively. Both perfect in their original format, obviously, but I wanted to make them more seasonal and complementary to the cake they are intended for.

Not that these can’t be eaten on their own: I’ve stolen a few pie crumbs from their freezer bag nearly every day since I made them. As for the ice cream? Well…there’s none left. Judge not lest ye yourself be judged, mmkay?

windmill [speculoos] cookie ice cream + windmill cookie pie crumb.

I know we went over this in the pumpkin cake post, but both the ice cream and the pie crust crumbs are made from windmill cookies, which you may know as, you guessed it, windmill cookies, or speculoos, or speculaas. All the same thing: it’s a spiced shortcrust cookie, not as hot and molasses-y as a gingerbread, but generously employing spices like cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. some of them have little almonds in them, still others are made with almond meal. Usually you see them in stamped shapes, and that’s where the name “windmill cookie” comes in: the ones we see around here are shaped like windmills.

windmill [speculoos] cookie ice cream + windmill cookie pie crumb.

In the ice cream, you rough-chop some of the cookies and steep them in the hot milk base; then you push them through a fine mesh strainer, which effectively removes the large pieces of almond but gives you maximum cookie goodness and a really great texture to the finished product. In the crumbs, some of the flour is replaces with pulverized cookie, which lets them keep their pie-crust appeal, but adds a little spice into the mix. OF all the crumbs in the Momofuku Milk Bar book, it seemed the most fitting as a play on a classic pumpkin pie idea.

Put them all together, aaaaaand…seriously, be seated while eating this. Let the ice cream soften just a bit to where it’s still cold but just starting to melt into the cake a little bit, dive your spoon down deep, hitting all three components as you go, and commence fall euphoria. And it works equally well at a harvest dinner party as it does on a Thursday night at home by yourself: It’s not fancy, but it IS impressive when you stack it all up together like that, and the flavors and textures are superb together. Best of all, you can make every bit of this ahead: crumbs can be made and frozen, ice cream is ice cream, so that’s good for a few weeks in the freezer, and even the cake is totally fine to make a day or so ahead of things.

I’m going to leave you to it: we all have busy schedules right now, it seems. Myself included: this week is a big one in terms of work and getting some things checked off The Master List of Things I Must Do Before The Holidays Arrive (we all have that list, don’t we?) So have fun with this: I daresay this could be an early contender for your Thanksgiving meal, if you’re looking to do a little something different.

I said it above, but it bears repeating: ice cream adapted from the Graham Cracker Ice Cream recipe in Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream Desserts (her newest book, which is lovely), and the crumb is adapted from my perennial favorite Momofuku Milk Bar Cookbook by Christina Tosi. The cake pictured is the Pumpkin Almond Cake from the post immediately preceding this one, found here; it makes an excellent – if not essential – home for this ice cream and crumb.

Windmill [Speculoos] Cookie Ice Cream + Windmill Pie Crust Crumbs

for the crumbs:

  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup pulverized windmill cookies (process them in a food processor until they make sand-like crumbs)
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons water

for the ice cream:

  • 2 2/3 cups whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 cup windmill (speculoos) cookies, rough chopped

Make the pie crumbs:

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, pulverized windmill cookies, sugar, and salt and whisk together until blended. Add the melted butter and water and stir together with a rubber spatula until mixture comes is homogenous and forms crumbs when pressed together.

Pour mixture onto prepared baking sheet and break up any larger crumbs if you see them and making space between the clusters. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, stirring once halfway through baking, until golden brown and just a bit moist; crumbs will harden once cool. Transfer baking sheet to wire rack to cool completely.

Make the ice cream:

Take two tablespoons of the milk and place them in a small bowl with the cornstarch; whisk with a fork until smooth. Set aside.

Whisk cream cheese and salt together in a medium bowl until smooth and set aside.

In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, add the milk, cream, sugar, and corn syrup and bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring frequently. Boil for 4 minutes, remove from heat. Stir you cornstarch slurry once more to combine and stream slowly into your milk mixture, whisking the mixture as you stream. Place back over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, stirring with a rubber spatula constantly until thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

Add about 1 cup of the hot milk mixture to the cream cheese mixture and whisk until completely smooth. Add the remaining hot milk mixture and whisk until everything is homogenous. Add chopped cookies and allow to steep for 10 minutes. Press mixture through a fine mesh sieve to strain out any larger bits of nuts from the cookies, and whisk to combine into the mixture: most of the cookie will remain with the milk mixture and thicken it slightly.

Fill a large bowl (big enough for you to float your medium bowl in) with ice water, accounting for water displacement (don’t fill it so high that it all spills out when you place your ice cream mixture in, silly.) Float the bowl containing your ice cream base inside it, stirring frequently until cooled. Transfer just the bowl containing the ice cream base to the refrigerator to chill, covered, for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Remove from the refrigerator and spin ice cream in ice cream machine according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to airtight storage containers and place in the freezer for at least 5 hours, until firm.

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  • Reply movita beaucoup October 12, 2014 at 6:47 am

    I’m reading all of this as I lounge in bed (Thanksgiving weekend here), thinking about how much I love speculoos (we made 4.7 million of them at school), and imagining how awesome this masterpiece would taste (even though I’m too lazy to make anything at the moment). Wouldn’t it be nice if we could get the guys from Baked, Jeni and Christina to cater some sort of in-bed event for us? We could watch Netflix and they’d bring us course after course of dessert? Can we email someone about this?

    • Reply shannon October 14, 2014 at 5:31 am

      I realized too late that this was Canadian Thanksgiving weekend – Happy Thanksgiving to the Beaucoups! I’ve never made a speculoos cookie, but i’d like to: i need to look into getting some beautiful cutters for them, it seems.
      You just described my dream event. Do you think they would be up for that? probably…i feel like if we had Netflix going then they could come and go as they pleased, so long as they brought the desserts from time to time. Let’s make this happen.

  • Reply Jen October 12, 2014 at 6:52 am

    Dessert at your house is the thing that dreams are made of. I feel like this is the perfect fall/summer span dessert…linking perfectly that time in between the chill of fall and the death heat of summer. Basically, I want to move in.

    • Reply shannon October 14, 2014 at 5:28 am

      Jennnnnnn! I think my family may disagree to a certain extent: some days desserts at my house are what nightmares are made of, at least in terms of kitchen destruction/cleaning things up once i’m done. But then once things are out of the oven, peace ensues. 🙂 You’re welcome anytime: i have a guest room and i’ll feed you pumpkin cake slathered in ice cream for breakfast, if you’d like.

  • Reply Deb|EastofEdenCooking October 12, 2014 at 10:57 am

    Oh my! Your scrumptious cake topping has left the original almond frosting behind to linger on the sidelines! An outstanding autumn dessert!

    • Reply shannon October 14, 2014 at 5:26 am

      I felt like i could one-up the almond butter frosting, Deb: i hope i did that here. Maybe overdid, but you know. 🙂

  • Reply John@Kitchen Riffs October 12, 2014 at 4:56 pm

    Wow, this looks wonderful! Great fall flavors, and really creative stuff here. Just an awfully nice recipe — thanks.

  • Reply natalie @ wee eats October 12, 2014 at 5:28 pm

    my mouth is watering reading this post I LOVE IT SO MUCH. Seriously. You have, once again, outdone yourself. Time to start begging Aaron (again) to move to STL so we can be neighbors and I can reap the benefits of your kitchen. 🙂

    • Reply shannon October 14, 2014 at 5:25 am

      I feel like at this point it’s a very simple matter of economics and just being SO MUCH MORE AFFORDABLE to live next door to one another versus making each others recipes all the time, right? It’s just practical. And think of all the kitchen shopping we could do….BUY ALL THE THINGS!

  • Reply Jennie @themessybakerblog October 13, 2014 at 6:13 am

    I. Can’t. Even. Seriously, this right here is why I love you. Cookies steeped in milk, pressed through a strainer, then churned into ice cream–I just died!

    • Reply shannon October 14, 2014 at 5:23 am

      Because Team Cookies, right? YEEESSS.

  • Reply elizabeth October 13, 2014 at 5:22 pm

    You are easily one of the most creative bakers I follow (along with Movita) and I love how everything you do is so well-thought-out and composed and considered, and that you take some great inspiration and really just go for it to make something work for what you have in mind. I honestly don’t have any plans on making ice cream any time soon (I am SO not a New Englander for that and many other reasons), if I feel inclined to do so I’m definitely picking up Jeni’s cookbook. And you keep convincing this non-baker to get the Milk cookbook with every post you write extolling the excellence of one Christina Tosi.

    • Reply shannon October 14, 2014 at 5:23 am

      aw, thank you so much, Elizabeth! i can’t do anything without a paralyzing need to make tons of notes and then thinking about things forever (i love a well-thought-out plan), but if the result is “composed and considered,” then i’m thrilled. 🙂 Someday, if ever you’re in an ice cream sort of mood, the Jeni’s book is – to me – sort of the “momofuku” of ice cream cookbooks; really interesting flavors and a pretty innovative way of going about it that’s refreshing. I’m happy to persuade you to get the Milk Bar book: it’s one of those books that’s kinda great just to have and derive inspiration from, or even read through. Her take on things, very much like Jeni Britton Bauer, is really refreshing to see. I’d say it’s almost a non-bakers baking book in the way that she’s not making you sift flour or painstakingly frost a cake.

  • Reply Ashley October 14, 2014 at 12:06 pm

    Seriously. So much awesomeness.
    You’ve combined three/four of my favorite cookbook authors with recipes I’m obsessed with (I’ve been longing to make the pumpkin almond cake and any Momofuku recipe beyond the confetti cookies and cake. And, yes, I totally eat spoonfuls of leftover crumb. It’s what it’s there for! Alas, the remaining amount is too small for a batch of cookies….so I guess I’ll have to eat it on its own. ha!). And you did it so perfectly, with such an easy elegance and sense of cohesive taste. I’m just dying here. I don’t want to wait until Thanksgiving to make it!

    • Reply shannon October 15, 2014 at 11:49 am

      YAY! all the awesome! That’s what fall is about, right? This was fun to make – all three parts of it were pretty easy to put together, and you can do them in stages over a week if you want to. That crumb…too easily snackible: i almost always make a double batch of any crumb i’m doing simply so i have enough for the actual recipe. 🙂
      pssst: you can make it NOW. Call it a trial run.

  • Reply Monica October 14, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    I didn’t know speculoos were also called windmill but then again, I never even ate speculoos til about a year ago in SF when we were on vacation and saw them around! I need to get out more. : )
    But I can totally visualize the taste of this ice cream. It would make a wonderful dessert centerpiece all by itself right about now. Surprise them with ice cream for dessert in the cold weather but stack it with warm spicy flavors of the season. Lovely.

    • Reply shannon October 15, 2014 at 11:51 am

      Thanks, Monica! I should say that windmill cookies are probably ONE of the things they’re called: I think that’s one of the most common shapes they come in, at least here in the Midwest. I’ve also seen them in animal shapes (like fancy animals, not like animal crackers) or like ship shapes. ha. 🙂 I’m currently searching for a cookie cutter which makes the ship shapes so i can make my own.

  • Reply Willow @ Will Cook For Friends October 27, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    I feel like I’m in pumpkin / speculoos / ice cream / crumb heaven just reading your description of this masterpiece of a dessert. I’m still trying to wrap my head around how something so awesome can exist without tearing a hole in the fabric of the universe. I think I need to add windmill cookies to my shopping list. STAT.

  • Reply shannon October 31, 2014 at 5:43 am

    seriously: it’s all about the windmills, ’bout the windmills.

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