Just when you thought ice cream couldn’t get any better, pop it between delicious ginger and maple syrup cookies and you’ll have yourself the ultimate sunshine treat.
Heat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/350°F/Gas 4.
Make the cookies. Beat the dairy-free butter and both sugars in a stand mixer fitted with the beater, on medium speed for 3–5 minutes, until pale and creamy.
Meanwhile, mix the egg, vanilla and maple syrup in a jug. With the mixer still running, slowly pour the egg mixture into the creamed butter and sugar, beating well until fully incorporated.
Sift the plain flour, cornflour, spices and bicarbonate of soda together into a bowl. Tip the combined dry ingredients into the egg mixture, add the salt and beat on the lowest speed until fully incorporated.
Take a dessertspoon of the dough (about 40g), toss it lightly in some caster sugar, shape it into a ball, then place it on a lined baking sheet. Repeat this process until you have 16 balls arranged over the three baking sheets, leaving roughly 3cm between each ball to allow the cookies to spread as they bake.
Bake the cookies for 16–18 minutes, until lightly golden at the edges. Remove from the oven and leave to harden on the baking sheets for 2 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Meanwhile, prepare the ice cream. First, candy the orange peel. Peel the orange, using a peeler or paring knife, making sure to remove just the peel, not the pith. Finely slice the peel lengthways into strips (about 5–6cm long).
Place the peel strips, caster sugar and 100ml of water in a small saucepan set over a medium heat and bring the liquid to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 12–15 minutes, until the peel is soft. Strain the peel through a sieve and remove 8 strips. Toss these in caster sugar to coat and set them aside to air-dry. Finely chop the remaining strips and set aside.
Place all of the remaining ice-cream ingredients in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whisk to combine. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and, using a hand-held stick blender, blitz the mixture until completely smooth. Stir through the finely chopped rind.
Tip the mixture into your ice-cream machine and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions until set.
Turn 8 of the cookies flat side upwards. When the ice cream is ready, use an ice-cream scoop to spoon one scoop of ice cream on to each upturned cookie. Top each one with another cookie (flat side downwards this time), gently pressing down to spread the ice cream to the edges. Smooth the edges with the back of a knife. Transfer the ice-cream sandwiches to the remaining baking sheet and place in the freezer to firm up for about 15 minutes.
While the ice-cream sandwiches are firming up, melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water and spoon the melted chocolate into the small piping bag fitted with the writing nozzle.
Remove the ice-cream sandwiches from the freezer and pipe fine lines across the biscuits in an off-centre cross pattern. Decorate the top of each ice-cream biscuit with a piece of crystallised ginger and a strip of candied orange peel. Serve immediately (or place them in a freezer-proof container, return them to the freezer and save them for later).