Praline Pecan Meringue Ice Cream Sandwiches

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Makes

    Forty

    2½ inch cookies (20 sandwiches)

Appears in

The Baking Bible

By Rose Levy Beranbaum

Published 2014

  • About
Oven Temperature 350°F/175°C
Baking Time 10 to 15 minutes for each of two batches

This is a greatly treasured recipe. It was given to me many years ago by chef Vinnie Scotto, who was one of the most gifted and generous people I have ever known. I first met him when he was chef at Fresco by Scotto in New York City. I followed him to Scopa, and then to Gonzo, which was his first restaurant. Gonzo was a family affair, with Vinnie’s sister Donna serving as maître d’ and his father as accountant. Tragically, Vinnie died in his early thirties. Two decades later, Donna reconnected with me through LinkedIn and sent me this recipe. I cannot express the joy of rediscovery I felt—it was like having a little of Vinnie returned to me. When I tried the recipe, to my great delight, it was exactly as I remembered. This meringue cookie is light, slightly chewy, and exceptionally flavorful due to the use of brown sugar and the addition of pecans. I have never tasted anything like it before or since. My favorite ice creams for this cookie sandwich are coffee or vanilla. The mellow chocolate piping sauce that I created specially for this cookie elevates it to an elegant dinner dessert.

Ingredients

Praline Pecan Meringue Cookies

VOLUME WEIGHT
pecan halves 3 cups, divided 10.6 ounces 300 grams
4 large egg whites, at room temperature ½ cup (118 ml) 4.2 ounces 120 grams
light brown Muscovado sugar, or dark brown sugar cups plus 2 tablespoons, firmly packed 10.6 ounces 300 grams

Ice Cream Filling

VOLUME WEIGHT
ice cream of your choice, softened about quarts . .

Special Equipment

Four 15 by 12 inch cookie sheets, lined with parchment | A 2 inch ice cream scoop or ¼ cup measure

Method

Preheat the Oven

Twenty minutes or longer before baking, set oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C.

Toast and Prepare the Pecans

Spread the pecans evenly on a baking sheet, set the pan on the upper rack, and bake for about 5 minutes, or just until light brown, to enhance their flavor. Stir once or twice to ensure even toasting and avoid overbrowning. Cool completely.

Divide the pecans into two equal parts. Leave one part whole and chop the other part into medium-fine pieces.

Make the Meringue

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk beater, beat the egg whites and brown sugar on medium speed until well mixed, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Raise the speed to medium-high and beat for about 5 minutes, or until very thick and light in color. Add the whole and chopped pecans and, using a silicone spatula, fold them into the meringue.

Shape the Cookies

Use a tablespoon to drop 10 dollops of the pecan meringue (0.6 ounces/17 grams each) onto each of two prepared cookie sheets, at least inches apart. Using a small offset spatula, shape the dollops into ½ inch high by inch wide discs. They will spread to about inches but will not widen on baking. Stir the mixture from time to time to ensure that each spoonful includes some of the pecans. If necessary, use a metal spatula to coax the meringue into a more even disc.

Bake the Cookies

Bake for 10 to 15 minutes. The meringues will crack slightly in an attractive manner. Check for doneness. A metal cake tester inserted into one of the cracks will come out sticky and the cookies will give slightly to pressure. (An instant-read thermometer should read about 190°F/88°C.) If more baking is required, rotate the cookie sheets halfway around, reverse their positions from top to bottom, and continue baking for a few more minutes.

While the first batch of meringues is baking, shape the second batch of meringues.

Cool the Cookies

Set the cookie sheets on wire racks and let the meringues cool completely on the sheets. They will firm on sitting and become easy to lift off the parchment using a small pancake turner. Sandwich them with ice cream or store the unfilled meringues airtight for up to 2 months.

Sandwich the Cookies with Ice Cream

Assemble only half of the ice cream sandwiches at a time to keep the ice cream from melting. Refrigerate the ice cream for 20 minutes before sandwiching the cookies to soften it slightly. Set sheet pans or cookie sheets in the freezer to chill.

Set 10 of the cookies, bottom sides up, on one of the chilled sheet pans. Set scoops of ice cream, about ¼ cup in size, on top of each cookie. Place a second cookie, bottom side down, on top. When the ice cream is soft enough to press down easily, evenly press the top of each cookie until the ice cream comes almost to the edge. The ice cream should be about ½ inch thick.

Cover the sandwiches with a sheet of plastic wrap and set them in the freezer until firm. Then wrap each sandwich separately in plastic wrap and store in an airtight container in the freezer. Repeat with the remaining cookies.

Store

Airtight: frozen, 2 months.

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