So, January. Getting the new year off to a good start and all that.
Except I really didn’t.
Instead, I tried making an icebox cake. Okay, a couple of icebox cakes.
If you’ve never made one, an icebox cake usually consists of whipped cream and wafer cookies, although some recipes add in pudding and/or fruit. I attempted a few slightly different versions of the cookies and cream variety, and was surprised when I was completely underwhelmed. I had expected that I’d absolutely love it, mostly due to the copious amounts of whipped cream, but it was just okay. Nothing special. I mean, if I’m going to use approximately three cups of heavy cream (yes, I really said three cups!) in a dessert, it’s got to knock my socks off.
While the cake(s) were definitely not a hit, these Chocolate Espresso Wafer Cookies were. Most of the icebox cakes called for packages of store-bought chocolate wafers, but this gem, from smitten kitchen, is the the homemade version of the cookie, and so much better than the supermarket kind. They are delicious on their own, and great for making a crumb crust. I can easily imagine them in all sorts of other fabulous scenarios, like this beauty of a Classic Ice Cream Cake, via Kinfolk.
Making a double batch of cookies is highly recommended, especially if you plan to use a portion for another dessert.
Chocolate Espresso Wafer Cookies
Makes about 50-60 cookies. Adapted from Smitten Kitchen, here.
1 1/2 cup flour
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
14 tablespoons unsalted butter, slightly softened and cut into 12 pieces
2 tablespoons whole milk
2 tablespoons brewed espresso, cooled to room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste
Mix together the milk, vanilla paste and espresso in a bowl or cup with a pouring spout and set aside.
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt and baking soda and pulse several times to incorporate. Add butter and pulse until just mixed through. With the processor running, add in the reserved milk mixture and continue to process until it is fully incorporated, about one minute, or until the mixture begins to clump around the blade or sides of the bowl. Transfer the dough to a cutting board and knead through a few times to make sure it is evenly blended. Form the dough into a log about one and three-quarter inches in diameter. Wrap the log in waxed paper and refrigerate until firm, at least one hour.
Line baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350℉, with racks positioned in the upper and lower thirds. Cut the log of dough into scant 1/4-inch thick slices and place them one inch apart on the reserved baking sheets (they will spread a bit). Bake, rotating the baking sheet from top to bottom and back to front halfway through the baking time, for a total of twelve to fifteen minutes. The cookies will puff up and then deflate – they will be done about 90 seconds after they deflate.
Slide the parchment from the baking sheets onto racks to cool completely. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to two weeks or frozen for up to two months.