Chocolate Chip Cookie Icebox Cake
Happy my birthday to you, friends!
I have to say, it’s been a pretty glorious birthday week. I got a pre-bday microcurrent facial on Saturday (I look weeks younger!), followed by a long nap, and a champagne-filled dinner with some of my favorite peeps. And Sunday? Sunday was a glorious no-calorie blur of besties, pizza, and Momofuku birthday cake—I loved every second.
If you’re thinking that today is going to be mildly anticlimactic in the wake of those weekend festivities, you clearly underestimate my bday princess dedication…
I’m about to take a midday salt bath! I’m making grilled cheese for lunch! My mom is coming over later (Prosecco and presentssss!), and then my roommate is taking me to a surprise dinner! And right now? WE’RE GONNA TALK ABOUT CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE ICEBOX CAKE!! Exciting things are happening!!!
(I’m going to stop using exclamation points, but I needed to fluff you for this cake. Please get on my level.)
I realize it’s become a little bit of a Domesticate ME! tradition to do a batshit birthday French toast, but I’ve made a lot of French toast recently, and I’m momentarily maxed out. This year, we do cake.
I won’t bore you with a dissertation on how much I love cake (because I already have), but it’s a lot, and I will capitalize on any excuse to make/eat a shameless amount of it. To toot my own horn, I’ve done a truly excellent job of it this week, since I made…count it…three icebox cakes before declaring this Nutella-cream cheese-chocolate chip cookie situation the winner.
Wait. Do you know what an icebox cake is? (Pretend you don’t, and let this birthday princess have her fun explaining it.) Basically, it’s cookies—often Nabisco wafers or graham crackers—layered with some sort of whipped cream-based frosting, and then refrigerated overnight. The cream softens the cookies, giving them a fabulous cake-like texture, and each bite practically melts in your mouth.
The best part? There’s no actual baking involved. HALLELUJAH.
Anyhoo, icebox cake #1 was made in a baking dish with waffle cookies (you know what I mean—those French waffle wafer things in the white box with a blue border?), vanilla whipped cream and fresh berries. It was good, but the cookies to cream ratio was off. Cake #2 had more cookies and a Nutella whipped cream. That was better, but it wasn’t very pretty, and the frosting lacked a certain depth.
Not caring that I was acting like the Goldilocks of icebox cakes, I researched “pretty icebox cakes,” eventually stumbling upon this gem from the queen herself. Ina’s creation was made with Tate’s chocolate chip cookies (the best) in a springform pan, which was genius. Just release the sides and you’ve got a sexy, round, layered masterpiece ready for slicing! Hot damn.
Following Ina’s lead, I built my final icebox cake in a springform, alternating layers of Tate’s cookies (thankfully, you can now find them in a lot of grocery stores and on Amazon) and whipped Nutella cream cheese frosting. I popped it in the fridge overnight. The next morning, I held my breath and verrrrry carefully removed the sides of the pan. It worked flawlessly! Then I decided to drizzle the top with homemade Nutella magic shell and add a fancy crumbled cookie rim. Just to sex things up to birthday princess standards.
I cut a slice.
I let my roommate lick the knife.
I snapped some glamour shots, praying that ze cake would taste as good as it looked.
Finally, I took a bite. To put it politely…
HOLY FUCKING SHIT.
This cake is nothing short of magical. The cookies become almost fluffy in the mousse-like frosting, and the combo of cookie, whipped cream, Nutella, and cream cheese is almost too good to be true. It’s rich without being overly heavy, and I could write paragraphs and paragraphs on this confection’s dreamy decadence, but I have baths to take and grilled cheeses to fry, so you’re just going to have to trust me. Chocolate Chip Cookie Icebox Cake is unreal, and you should make it in honor of any and all special occasions. Forever and ever, amen.
Before I leave you, I want to quickly answer some potential recipe-related questions. First, do you have to use a springform pan? Yes and no. If you want a pretty, sliceable icebox cake, springform is the only way to go. (If you don’t have one, I urge you to pick one up, stat. It’ll run you less than ten bucks, and you can use it to make all sorts of fun baked goods.) With that said, you can easily make this cake in a baking dish if you want. It won’t be quite as aesthetically pleasing, but it will be equally delicious. I’d go with a deep 9”x9” dish, or use a 9”x13” and make three layers instead of five.
Second, do you really need a stand mixer? Not necessarily, but it will make your life a LOT easier. Don’t have one? (No judgment.) I recommend whipping the cream and Nutella mixture with a hand mixer in two or three batches.
What can you use instead of Tate’s cookies? Any cookie you like! But they need to be on the thin side. You can make your own chocolate chip cookies if you’re feeling ambitious, or bake off some store-bought cookie dough. Those waffle cookies I mentioned before will also work, as will Nabisco chocolate wafers. You do you.
Finally, it’s crucial that you whip the softened cream cheese and Nutella until silky smooth before adding the cream. Do not skip this step, people. If you do, you will have tiny chunks of cream cheese in your frosting—which isn’t the end of the world, but it’s certainly not ideal. Please just do it.
And because birthdays make me feel a little touchy-feely and reflective, I just want to say an enormous, heartfelt THANK YOU for all of your support in my 28th year. I love this space so much, and I can’t begin to express how grateful I am that you come here to cook and hang out, and that you occasionally drop compliments/ideas/wisdom in the comment section and my inbox. You really are the best.
Birthday princess, out.
Chocolate Chip Cookie Icebox Cake: (Serves 12)
8 ounces cream cheese, very well softened
½ cup Nutella
3 cups cold heavy cream
3 8-ounce packages chocolate chip cookies (I strongly recommend using Tate’s Bake Shop cookies if you can get your paws on them.)
For garnish (optional):
1 tablespoon Nutella
1 tablespoon coconut oil
2-3 chocolate chip cookies, crumbled
Preparing your Chocolate Chip Cookie Icebox Cake:
-Let’s start with the frosting. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese and Nutella until SILKY smooth. A hand mixer works best for this, but a spatula and good old muscle will work in a pinch. (Your stand mixer will do a poor job of incorporating the two, since it’s such a small quantity.)
-Transfer the Nutella cream cheese to the bowl of a stand mixer and add the heavy cream. Mix on low speed to combine, then slowly increase the speed to medium. Mix until firm peaks form. (This can take 4-5 minutes.)
-Time to assemble the cake! Arrange chocolate chip cookies flat in an 8 or 9-inch springform pan (either will work), covering as much of the bottom as possible. Break up a cookie or two to fill in any gaps. (Don’t stress about filling in everything, peeps. Perfection is overrated.)
-Spread a fifth of the whipped cream mixture (about 1 heaping cup) over the cookies in an even layer.
-Top with another layer of cookies and add another layer of cream.
-Repeat these layers until there are 5 of each, finishing with a layer of cream. Smooth the top. Cover the cake tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
-Time to decorate! Place 1 tablespoon each Nutella and coconut oil in a small bowl and microwave for 15-20 seconds until melted. Stir until well combined. (Voila! DIY Nutella magic shell.)
-Run a sharp knife around the outside of the cake (to loosen it) and remove the sides of the pan. Using a spoon, drizzle the top and sides of the cake with the Nutella mixture. The mixture should harden within a minute or two, but if it doesn’t, pop it in the freezer for a few minutes.
-I also like to make a fancy cookie rim. To do this simply cut a circle out of parchment that’s slightly smaller than your cake. (I traced a 7½ inch bowl.) Place the parchment on top of your cake.
-Sprinkle crumbled chocolate chip cookies around the border of the cake.
-Remove the parchment. (You could also do the cookie rim pre Nutella drizzle. Completely up to you.)
-Slice and serve immediately, or refrigerate until party time. (You can also pop it in the freezer if you like. Logan likes.)
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