This weekend felt like fall’s grand finale. The temperature dropped and dry leaves skittered through the air like colorful confetti. It was, in a word, magnificent.
There was this other event going on, too, called Halloween. But for me the real costume parade was happening overhead.
I walked in the arboretum today with two friends who fell into a deep discussion about the upcoming elections. I was too distracted to participate. They looked beautiful in a sea of color, no matter how challenging our political environment is right now.
I dropped back and focused on other things easily overlooked and passed by.
And yes, I did carve some pumpkins this year. I always do.
I spent a long time preparing my treat to bring to the pumpkin carving party: ice cream sandwiches made with ginger cookies and pumpkin ice cream. I made the pumpkin ice cream myself, my first batch in my new ice cream maker.
I pressed my friends to tell me if they like this creation. They said things like, “oh, yes! yes!” and “yummm.” I couldn’t tell if they were being honest, if they were just saying that because, well, they like me. It’s hard to tell sometimes if people like the food you offer them, or if they just like you.
I decided it didn’t matter. Because the main point is being together. Good friends will make any meal feel warm and special. This is important because the bare fingers of the trees now out number the flecks of gold and red and brown and soon it will be very cold and we need our friends to kindle warmth.
These ginger cookies are wonderful. They are from a cookbook called “Organic Marin,” a beautifully illustrated land-to-table collection of recipes. The ice cream sandwiches are festive in their flavors, but their darkness reminds me of the bark of trees that curl through the colors in the canopy like a heavy signature.
Signing off, the trees seems to say. See you in the spring.
Ginger cookie pumpkin ice cream sandwiches
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1 large egg
1/3 cup dark molasses
Combine the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, all-spice, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl and stir with a whisk to blend. Cream the sugars and butter in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, then the molasses. Add dry ingredients until well combined. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Spoon teaspoonfuls of batter on to the sheets 2 inches apart. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Do not allow them to brown. Remove and let cool on the baking sheets for an additional 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the ice cream sandwiches
I used a Williams-Sonoma recipe to make the pumpkin ice cream. You might just want to buy some pumpkin ice cream, it is much quicker and easier than making your own.
Add 1 tablespoon of ice cream to the underside of a ginger cookie, top with another ginger cookie. Eat immediately.