My first inclination was to go basic: bake a loaf of ginger bread and make a ham and cheese sandwich. Maybe grilled or toasted a la Croque-monsieur. But then citrus season got in the way and it was forgotten.
The idea popped up again when my son, who has a penchant for spice cookies, requested gingersnaps. I happened to have on hand some petit billy, a soft, tangy goat cheese from the town of Billy in the Loire Valley*. I also had reserved a nub of Pop's magic ham, not enough to slice, but just enough to microplane into a soft heap of ham filings. Together, these flavors were a fantastic combination— sweet spice, milky tang, savory smoke— and inspired a different kind of sandwich that befit the season; an ice cream sandwich.
For the ice cream, I took my base recipe and swapped out the petit billy for some of the heavy cream and cut the sugar by half. I tweaked my gingerbread cookies to render them softer and toned down the spices. The whipped rhubarb (rhubarb syrup whipped with 2% versawhip) was added for color, texture, and fruity acidity.
1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup (200g) sugar
1/4 cup (72g) molasses
1/4 cup (72g) honey
1/2 cup (115g) heavy cream, whipped
3 cups (375g) flour
1 1/2 tsp (7g) baking soda
1 tsp (2g) cinnamon
1 tsp (2g) ground ginger
1 tsp (2g) ground cloves
1 Tblsp (7g) grated fresh gingerroot
In a mixer bowl, cream the butter with the sugar until pale and creamy. Add the egg and beat until incorporated. On low speed, beat in the molasses and the honey, followed by the whipped cream. In another bowl, combine the remaining ingredients until well blended. Add half to the butter mixture, beating well until incorporated. Repeat with remainder of dry ingredients.
Chill cookie dough until it stiffens, about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 375F/190C. Roll out dough 1/4" thick on floured surface. Cut into desired shapes. Transfer to parchment-lined baking sheets.
Bake cookies for 6-10 minutes, depending on size, or until edges darken and crisp, but centers remain soft.
*I love the word-play of a goat cheese made in a town named Billy, and sandy cookies in Sablé-sur-Sarthe, both in the Loire Valley. Oh, those ironic French.