Greetings from the West Coast.
I made it to California on Sunday and have spent the last few days getting settled and doing some exploring of the area. I gotta say, Michigan this place is NOT. It’s sooooo different in so many ways.
The first most obvious difference is the climate. It’s the beginning of September which for Michigan would mean that very soon (if not already)the temperature would begin to drop and give way to autumn. We also see our fair share of rain in the Mitten.
Well, I may have only been here three and a half days but I’ve checked the forecast for the next 10 and so far The Weather Channel says that there’s nothing but sunny skies ahead with the temperature in the upper 70’s and 80’s. The ‘heat’ here is even different. You feel it, but unlike in Michigan, Calif heat as I’ve experienced it isn’t oppressive/humid/muggy. There’s usually a breeze that comes up to temper the heat from the sun. It’s nice.
The city I’m living in was literally built in the middle of a desert valley, so at any moment, in just about any place you’re at, you can look off in the distance and see the tall, rolling mountains surrounding you. This may seem commonplace and un-extraordinary if you’re used to it, but I’m not, so I think it’s pretty awesome and beautiful.
Perhaps most importantly…OMG, there are SO many different restaurants/food options out here! Back where I’m from in Michigan we really only had a handful of independently owned restaurants/joints besides the major chains. Not the case out here. I’ve had to add the Yelp app back onto my phone just to be able to pinpoint the highest rated places around where we are (and there are plenty). I’m excited to be able to try them out on the days when I don’t cook and/or have leftovers in the fridge.
As for today’s post, this is actually a recipe that I made a couple weeks before I made the big move. I figured that I would be busy both right before I left and that I would also need some time to get settled in the new spot before I made my first meal in the new apartment and tried to put together new photoshoots and posts. My instincts were correct and although I plan to start cooking in the new spot tomorrow, I do have several back-up posts ready to share just in case I don’t get to take pics and write up recipes.
An icebox ‘cake’ is probably the easiest type of cake to make there is (even easier than a box cake mix), since in most cases there is no baking involved at all. Really all it involves is the layering of cookies, ladyfingers, biscuits or pre-made cake in between whipped cream/custard or some other kind of filling. The mixture is allowed to rest overnight in the fridge and the filling softens the base carbs so that they become soft and chewy; like a ‘cake’.
It’s a stupid easy technique that can result in stupid delicious results. Like this one I’ve made for you guys today.
If you’re new to icebox cakes, then let me make a staunch recommendation to you: start with a chocolate chip cookie one. Why?
Well #1, everyone loves chocolate chip cookies. Ev-ery-one. And if they don’t, well…maybe you shouldn’t know them. Number #2, this chocolate chip cookie recipe that I use is extremely simple to follow and tastes delicious; however, it’s also perfectly fine to use store-bought ones if you’re not in the mood for baking them beforehand. And CCCs are something that can be found in just about any grocery store. The flavors here are no-frills and pretty up front; chocolate chip cookies are sandwiched between layers of vanilla flavored whipped cream,then topped with more whipped cream, melted chocolate, sprinkles and crumbled chocolate chip cookies.
Guys. I mean…need I say more? Just *look* at it, will you? And yes, I guarantee it tastes every bit as delicious as it looks.
Chocolate Chip Cookie Icebox Cake
For the Cookies*:
- 4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups Butter, softened
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 1 1/4 cups firmly packed brown sugar
- 2 Eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 (12-ounce) package (2 cups)real semi-sweet chocolate chunks or chocolate chips
(Note: You can completely bypass this step and buy storebought chocolate chip cookies if you prefer. I’d just make sure I had about 20-30 total to fill the entire pan.)
- 4 cups cold heavy cream
- 8 oz. cream cheese
- 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
- 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips
- funfetti sprinkles, optional
Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in bowl; set aside.
Combine butter, sugar and brown sugar in another bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy.
Add eggs and vanilla. Continue beating, scraping bowl often, until well mixed.
Gradually add flour mixture, beating at low speed until well mixed. Stir in chocolate chunks.
Refrigerate dough for at least four hours, but preferably overnight.
Heat oven to 375°F.
Drop dough by rounded tablespoons, 2 inches apart, onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 8-11 minutes or until light golden brown. (Do not overbake.) Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to cooling rack.
Whisk the heavy cream and cream cheese together in a standing mixer using the wire attachment until soft peaks form. Add the confectioner’s sugar and vanilla bean paste/vanilla extract and continue to whisk until medium-stiff peaks form. Refrigerate until ready to use. (Note: make sure the cookies are COMPLETELY cool before beginning to assemble cake.)
Spray the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray. (You can use a regular 9 inch pan, you just won’t be able to remove the whole cake and will have to cut it out piece by piece when ready to eat)
Place one layer of chocolate chip cookies down in the bottom of the pan, breaking apart into pieces to fill in the gaps if need be. Spread a thick layer of the whipped cream (about 1 cup) over the cookies using a spatula to spread smoothly and evenly. Repeat to form about 3-4 more layers, ending with a layer of whipped cream on top. (You’re probably going to have leftover cookies; that’s totally fine.)
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Take 1-2 of the leftover cookies and crumble between your fingers. Spread the chunks of cookie over the top center of the cake in a small pile.
Microwave the semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips in a glass measuring cup or microwave-safe bowl. Drizzle the melted chocolate over the cookie crumbs, then add the funfetti sprinkles if desired.
Refrigerate one more time, 30-minutes to an hour, just until chocolate/whipped cream has set and hardened. Unclasp the spring from the pan and gently lift out. Cut into slices and serve.