Friday, July 19, 2019

Chocolate Peanut Butter Icebox Cake

The recipe below is from Smitten Kitchen. I know I already have a recipe by that name, and this is a variation on the theme. Instead of buying a box of small chocolate wafer cookies, you make your own, much larger, wafers. Is it worth the extra hassle? Well, look at how much prettier the result is! Plus, you get to snack on scraps of chocolate dough along the way. It’s not as tedious as it looks, because given enough parchment paper, you’ll find yourself in a rhythm where you’ve got a piece of dough in the freezer while you are rolling out a second one, and meanwhile one is in the oven and one is cooling off – it’s actually pretty zen and not as much works at it sounds like. As for the texture of the peanut butter whipped cream, I found it to be perfect (the one in my previous recipe was a bit grainy from the peanut butter, but this one whipped up smooth as a baby’s bottom!).
The recipe below is for a 7” cake; I ended up making a 6” cake because it was easier. The original instructions say that to make a big 10” cake, you can double all the amounts below.

In case it wasn’t obvious, we all liked it (and here’s a picture of the Fox in the background, being very patient while I take pictures of a delicious dessert before serving it!).

For the wafers
1 ½ cups (195 g.) all-purpose flour
¼ cup (20 g.) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
¼ cup (20 g.) black cocoa powder (I just used more regular cocoa powder)
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. fine sea salt or table salt
1 cup (200 g.) granulated sugar
½ cup (115 g.) lactose-free butter, at room temperature
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract

For the peanut butter whipped cream
3 Tbsp. (50 g.) smooth peanut butter
¾ tsp. vanilla extract
2 pinches salt
1 ½ Tbsp. (20 g.) granulated sugar
1 ½ cups lactose-free cream, cold

To finish
Chocolate sprinkles, chocolate shavings, or other chocolate candy

For the wafers
Combine flour, cocoa powders, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.

Beat butter and sugar together until combined. Add egg and vanilla and beat until smooth. Add dry ingredients and mix just until they disappear.

(If, by chance, you forgot to take your butter out of the fridge early and it’s still cold, you can make the dough in the food processor. Start by mixing the dry ingredients and the sugar in a food processor, then add butter and pulse until the mixture is powdery. Add egg and vanilla and run the machine until the dough clumps together.)

Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces. Roll the first between 2 pieces of parchment paper until very, very thin and just over 7 inches across. Slide onto board (parchment paper and all) and place in freezer for 10 minutes, until firm. Once firm, peel back top piece of parchment paper (it should now come off cleanly, while gently pulling back) and use a stencil or bowl with a 7-inch rim to trim it into a neater circle. Slide cookie round and lower piece of parchment paper onto a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes and let cool completely on paper, which you can slide onto a cooling rack so that you can use the tray again. Repeat with remaining 5 pieces of dough.

For the peanut butter whipped cream
In a large bowl, beat peanut butter, vanilla, salt and sugar until smooth. Beating the whole time, slowly add lactose-free cream, a small splash at a time, until peanut butter-cream mixture is loose enough that you can add the rest of the cream without breaking it into clumps. Whip cream, watching it carefully as it’s very easy to overbeat with an electric mixer, until soft peaks form.

Place first cookie on a cake stand. If it’s sliding around, as cookies do, put a dab of whipped cream down first (I just did this preemptively). Thickly frost first cookie all the way to the edges with about ½ cup peanut butter cream. Repeat with remaining cookies, decoratively swirling the top cookie. Garnish with sprinkles or candy.

Place cake in the fridge overnight or ideally closer to 24 hours so that the cookies soften into cake layers. A knife dipped in warm water will make clean cuts (I probably should have bothered using it for the piece in the photo, but it’s just as good anyway).

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