Someday, I will be on ‘Chopped.’ Here’s how it will play out:
It’s going to be down to me and Bobby Flay in the dessert round. We will open our baskets to reveal the four secret ingredients: apple butter, Gatorade, smoked almonds, and powdered donuts. With Bobby coming up with a brilliant game plan and me dry heaving in the corner under the pressure, time starts.
It’s Bobby Flay. I can’t hang with him.
But while he is reducing his Gatorade and pulverizing his powdered donuts, I get an idea. I head to the pantry and retrieve all things right with this world: whipping cream, mascarpone cheese, Tate’s Bake Shop Chocolate Chip Cookies, cocoa, Kahlua, sugar and vanilla.
Don’t think I left out my BFF, butter. It is present in mass quantities in the cookies. Ordinarily I would make them on site, but they are stocked in the pantry. This is ‘Chopped,’ after all. (The ‘Chopped’ where I compete against Bobby Flay. The ‘Chopped’ in my mind.)
The judges sit there, stunned. “Food Hound isn’t using any of the basket ingredients!,” they say.
And then, time is up. Bobby presents them his smoked-almond-and-powdered donut crepes stuffed with melted Brie and apple butter, drizzled with a lavendar-infused Gatorade syrup.
Wow, maybe I should be on ‘Chopped.’
The judges go wild. It’s beautiful, delicious, and he is sure to be crowned the victor.
Then they taste my dessert: Chocolate-Mocha Icebox Cake.
They are speechless. It’s the perfect dessert. Never mind I have violated every ‘Chopped’ rule. They have no choice but to award me the $10,000 grand prize and bragging rights over Bobby Flay till the end of time.
It’s. That. Good.
OK, so I’ll never be on ‘Chopped.’ But this cake. This cake is a game-changer. If icebox cakes leave a lackluster vision of nasty Cool-Whip-infused desserts served only in the comfort of family get-togethers at Aunt Maude’s, where shag carpet and pineapple-print wallpaper went to die, let me revise your impression.
Chocolate-Mocha Icebox Cake is basically layers of thin, crispy, buttery chocolate chip cookies and a chocolate-and-coffee infused whipped cream. The recommended cookies are Tate’s Bakeshop Chocolate Chip Cookies, which you can either buy online or make from this recipe. I posted about them last year- they are lovely. The mocha whipped cream is enhanced with mascarpone and Kahlua, neither of which I’d kick out of bed. Ever. The whipped cream makes it light; the mascarpone makes it dense.
The result is a light, dense, creamy, crispy, sweet, rich dessert. If that doesn’t make sense, make the cake. THEN it will make sense. Once you make or purchase the cookies, it takes so little time to prepare, it’s almost embarrassing. You can even do it while holding a baby. Trust me.
When we ate the last bite, we immediately experienced withdrawal. This is one I will make again and again. And I might even share it with Bobby. 🙂
Chocolate-Mocha Icebox Cake
From Ina Garten
Author: The Food Hound
Recipe type: Dessert
- 2 c cold heavy cream
- 12 oz Italian mascarpone cheese
- ½ c sugar
- ¼ c Kahlua liquor
- 2 T unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 t instant espresso powder
- 1 t pure vanilla extract
- 2-3 dozen homemade Tate's Bake Shop chocolate chip cookies (or approximately 3 (8-oz) packages if you buy them)
- Grated or shaved semi-sweet chocolate, for garnish
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, combine the heavy cream, mascarpone, sugar, Kahlua, cocoa powder, espresso powder, and vanilla. Mix on low speed to combine, then slowly raise the speed, until it forms firm peaks.
- To assemble the cake, arrange chocolate chip cookies flat in an 8-inch springform pan, covering the bottom as much as possible. Spread a fifth** of the mocha whipped cream evenly over the cookies. Place another layer of cookies on top, lying flat and touching, followed by another fifth of the cream. Continue layering cookies and cream until there are 5 layers of each (see my note), ending with a layer of cream. Smooth the top, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.
- Run a small, sharp knife around the outside of the cake and remove the sides of the pan. Sprinkle the top with grated or shaved chocolate, cut into wedges, and serve cold.
I used a 9-inch springform pan and used 2 dozen of my homemade Tate's cookies and only got three layers. But they were three layers of awesome.