Everyone should have a great sugar cookie dough (or two) in their kitchen arsenal. The perfect sugar cookie bakes up crisp, sweet and able to handle a bit of icing without getting soggy. I’ve baked dozens over the years and Sarah Kieffer’s Olive Oil Sugar Cookie is one of my favorites, along with her Lemon Sugar Cookie recipe, both you can find in her best selling 100 Cookies book. It’s also where you’ll find her famous Pan-Banging Chocolate Chip Cookies and the amazing Peanut Butter Marshmallow Swirl Brownies (amazing!!!)! This is a must have book. You can watch my son, Henri and I make these Valentine’s Day Sugar Cookies with Blood Orange Glaze from Sarah’s book on his YouTube Channel “Baking with my Mother!”
This Blood Orange Creamsicle Semifreddo was inspired by one of my first pastry mentors, Claudia Flemming. Her book, The Last Course, was a collection of desserts she created for the venerable restaurant, Gramercy Tavern, in New York. It is an understatement to say her book was a steady guide to me when I was a pastry chef, fresh out of culinary school and trying to find my voice as a chef. She was combining flavors in ways that no one else was doing at the time. She used herbs in desserts and she had an exquisite balance of sweetness, sour, bitter, and salty. Her palate was informed by the savory side of the kitchen and it made all of her desserts profoundly more interesting and exciting to me. My copy of her book was written in, dog eared and splattered with cake batter, the truest sign of respect to a cookbook and its author. That seminal book went out of print for a while, but there was a cult following that just never let it be forgotten. So, when her publisher decided to celebrate it with another printing, I was thrilled. Other than the cover there are no changes to the book and it didn’t need any, that’s how good it was and is. The desserts still hold up nearly a decade later and I was just as excited by the Frozen Orange-Blossom Honey Mousse today as I was the first time I made it in 2001. I topped it with Blood Orange Sorbet to create my idea of the perfect creamsicle and then topped it with a Rosemary and Orange Meringue. I think Claudia would approve of the combination.