Food & Drink

Icebox cake, cookie butter recipes make the world a sweeter place

No-Bake Strawberry Icebox Cake
No-Bake Strawberry Icebox Cake

Bet you think the strawberry dessert shown here is a little too fancy for you to make. Don’t be put off. It takes only a few ingredients, and baking isn’t involved. Basically, it’s strawberries, whipped cream and graham crackers.

It’s called an icebox cake because after it sits in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight, the graham crackers mellow and soften, creating a moist, creamy cakelike texture wedged in between luscious whipped cream and fruit.

If you have to take it somewhere, make it n a 9-by-13 pan; otherwise construct it on a pretty platter. The recipe is from thekitchn.com.

It’s new to me!

I was looking at a dessert recipe the other day that called for “cookie butter.” OK, I thought, what the heck is that? I should tell you now that while I’m including the recipe here, you can’t blame me when you find yourself with a spoon eating this stuff out of a jar.

Basically, it’s cookie crumbs, butter, evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk. It has the consistency of peanut butter and can taste like cinnamon sugar cookies, lemon drop cookies, Oreos (naturally), etc. I never said it was good for you.

I’ve included the recipe, which makes about 1 1/2 cups, from A Beautiful Mess.

Contact me at sboyle@bnd.com, 618-239-2664 and follow me on Twitter @BoyleSuzanne. Write to 120 S. Illinois St., P.O. Box 427, Belleville, IL 62222-0427.

No-Bake Strawberry Icebox Cake

2 pounds fresh strawberries, washed and patted dry

3 3/4 cups heavy cream, divided

1/3 cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon rosewater, optional

4 sleeves (about 19 ounces, or 24 to 28 whole crackers) graham crackers

2 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped

Take out a few of the best-looking strawberries and set them aside for the garnish. Hull the remainder of the strawberries and cut each berry into thin slices.

With a hand mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer, whip 3 1/2 cups of cream until it just holds stiff peaks. Add the confectioners sugar, vanilla, and rosewater (if using) and whip to combine.

Spread a small spoonful of whipped cream on the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan, or a similarly sized platter.* (This will hold your first layer of graham crackers in place.)

Lay down 6 graham crackers, breaking some extras in half if necessary to form a layer that completely covers the bottom of the pan.

Lightly cover the top of the graham crackers with more whipped cream, and then a single layer of strawberries. Repeat 3 times, until you have 4 layers of graham crackers. Spread the last of the whipped cream over the top and swirl it lightly with a spoon. Add a few more strawberries.

To make the ganache, heat the remaining 1/4 cup cream until bubbles form around the edges, then pour over the chopped chocolate. Let it stand for a few minutes, then whisk until the mixture is thick and glossy. Drizzle this over the layered dessert with a spoon, or transfer to a squeeze bottle and use that to drizzle.

Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or until the crackers have softened completely. The cake is ready when a knife inserted in the center goes in easily and comes out with soft crumbs. Garnish with additional berries. Refrigerate any leftovers. Serves 8 to 12.

*Note: If you’re building your cake on a platter, smear a bit of cream on the bottom of each cracker as it’s added to the stack to keep it steady and in place.

thekitchn.com

Cookie Butter

2 cups cookie crumbs

1/2 stick butter

1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk

1/4 cup evaporated milk

Water as needed

1. Make the crumbs: If you have a cookie with no creamy middle filling, then you can put them straight into the food processor.

If you do have a filling (like an Oreo or Nutter Butter), open the cookie and scrape out the filling with a butter knife first. You want a dry crumb to work with, so the filling has to be removed.

Place your cookies into the food processor and blend until it forms a very fine powder. You'll need 2 cups, so just keep blending cookies until you get there. Put them in a big bowl when you get enough.

2. In a small saucepan, heat the butter over low heat until melted, and then stir in your sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk until it's all melted together.

3. Starting with 1/2 cup of the liquid, pour it into your cookie crumbs and mix together with a spoon. Keep adding small amounts of the liquid until the cookie butter is just wet enough to stay together. Depending on how dry the cookie is to begin with, you'll need more or less liquid. Really buttery cookies (like sugar cookies) didn't need nearly as much as the drier Oreo cookies, so just keep checking and stirring as you add the liquid.

4. Once your cookie butter is blended, allow it to cool in the fridge for an hour or two. If you want to, you can stop at this point, and it will taste delicious. But if you want to make the cookie butter smoother and easier to dip things in, remove the cookie butter from the fridge and stir very small amounts of water (start with 1/8 teaspoon) into the dough. At first it will look like the water is separating from the dough, but just keep stirring and mashing. You should start to notice that the cookie butter loosens up a bit as you stir in more water. Keep adding and stirring until you get to a consistency you like and refrigerate the mixture again.

5. Store your cookie butter in the fridge and it should be good for at least a week or two. It may be good for even longer but it usually doesn't last long enough to find out.

How to use: Dip pretzels in it, put it on apple slices, spread it on graham crackers, or try this: Spoon a small amount of brownie batter into the bottom of 18 mini cupcake cups. Spoon about 2 teaspoons of cookie butter on top and cover with remaining brownie batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 17-20 minutes, or until the center of each brownie has set. Cool before removing from pan.

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