I became a regular coffee drinker late in life. I had my first cup of coffee when I was in university and I needed to stay up late to study. I put 50 cents into the vending machine in the library lobby and a stream of steaming hot black sludge was emptied into my styrofoam cup. (This was before the days of Starbucks.) I took a sip, spit it back into the cup and never drank a drop of coffee again for the next 15 years.
Then when my kids were little I started going away on “girl’s weekends” with all the other harried moms in our neighbourhood. We traded up from morning playdates with apple juice and cookies to weekend getaways with wine and cheese. In those days we all bought cute new pyjamas for the weekend and gathered in the living room of my cottage on Saturday and Sunday mornings for breakfast. My friend Brigitte was shocked when I said that I didn’t like coffee. She made it her mission to convert me from tea to coffee. She filled a large glass measuring cup with milk and heated it in the microwave for about 2 minutes. Then she put the immersion blender into the measuring cup, turned it on, and “whoosh”, the milk foamed up like magic. She got a huge cereal bowl and filled it with about 1/4 coffee and 3/4 hot milk. She tipped in about 2 teaspoons of sugar and handed it to me. I took a sip, and fell in love. It was like having hot coffee ice cream. None of the bitterness of my first coffee experience. Saaaay, I do like coffee!!
When I got home I was so excited to tell my husband that I was now a coffee drinker. The next morning he made me a cup of his coffee. It tasted nothing like Brigitte’s! As soon as I lifted the cup to my mouth, an overwhelmingly strong unpleasant aroma hit me. Hazelnut vanilla?? What the f**k?? I affectionately dubbed his coffee “smelly coffee” and promptly bought my own plain coffee. Gradually over the years I increased the amount of coffee and decreased the volume of sugar and milk. My husband is still a proud card carrying drinker of Van Houtte Vanilla Hazelnut Coffee.
Because I occasionally give him a hard time about his “smelly coffee”, I decided to make him a special treat to make up for it. I made hazelnut macarons and sandwiched them with vanilla and coffee ice creams. An edible love letter!
Ground hazelnuts replace ground almonds in the classic macaron recipe. Bob’s Red Mill sells hazelnuts already ground. Hazelnut meal and icing sugar get pulsed in the food processor and then get pushed through a sieve.Egg whites and sugar are whisked into stiff peaks.Everything gets mixed together and then piped into circles for the cookies. I made a template for piping so I would end up with even sized macarons.I briefly contemplated making my own ice cream but I don’t love my husband that much! I did splurge and buy Haagen Dazs vanilla and coffee ice creams. I let the coffee ice cream soften and spread it out on a baking sheet. I froze it for several hours and then spread softened vanilla ice cream over the coffee. I let the whole thing freeze for several more hours.Assembling the sandwiches was easy with a cookie cutter.These ice cream sandwiches are quite versatile. They make an excellent late night snack.They are also eminently suitable for breakfast with a cup of coffee (smelly or not, your choice!)
Click here to print recipe for Hazelnut Macaron Coffee ice cream Sandwiches.