It's been a frazzling couple of days, dear reader. Apparently, the combination of weekend camping and worrying if a certain chocolate icebox cake is going to be decent enough to feed the masses is more than enough to wear a girl out. So, to soothe this anxiety, it's best to make a batch of oatmeal raisin cookies as a back-up even though the icebox cake turned out better than expected and everybody loved it. Sigh. I do it to myself, I tell you, it's exhausting.
I've eyeballed the icebox cakes on Billy's website for months now, although New York City is quite a ways from Maryland so I've never actually seen one in person, but the photos alone are enough to get your salivary glands going. So finally, I threw in the towel on taunting myself and decided to try and make one of my own. I generally shy away from slice and bake type cookies, because when I want cookies I want them now and no amount of refrigeration is going to stand between me and a batch of chocolate chip, but these were easy-peasy. You just blitz a handful of here and there's in a food processor and then chill it for an hour or so. The best part is there are no eggs in it, so you can throw caution to the wind and eat the slices that were oops, that one looks a little crooked and well, nobody will miss the end piece anyway. I would advise against licking the blade, not that I know what horrible things can happen if you do, just don't. Mmmkay?
I pride myself on the eight and a half minute mark for most cookies, an edge crispy enough to hold the nearly underdone middles together so you technically won't get salmonella, right? So baking these cookies for nearly fourteen minutes put ants in my pants, dancing around on my tip-toes, peeking into the oven every 30 seconds in a sheer panic they would burn. And when the recipe said they will "crisp as they cool"...we're not kidding here, folks. They're not just crispy, they're rock hard. You could probably slather them with macaroon batter and stack them together to build an impregnable fort. I was already starting to chew my bottom lip, thinking there's no way boiling water would soften these things, let alone whipped cream. Let the layering begin.
I stacked and layered, spread and topped until I was left with cookie crumbs and a spatula coated in vanilla cream. Now we wait. Oh, I hate waiting. After 24 hours and much impatience, I wrapped the cake with plastic wrap, grabbed my emergency stash of oatmeal raisin and headed to the Pennington's where the masses waited for pizza and dessert. Post-pizza, I turned my head and closed my eyes pressing the giant spoon into the cake, waiting to hit brick. Nothing. Smooth gliding clear to the bottom of the bowl. Whew.
Chocolate Icebox Cake
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
14 tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly softened
3 tablespoons whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Blitz the dry ingredients in the bowl of a food processor until just combined, add in the butter and whirl away for a moment or two, then add the milk and vanilla and let it spin until it clumps together. Turn it out onto a piece of parchment and shape it into a log about 14 inches long and a bit less than 2 inches in diameter. Chill at least one hour or until you're ready to use it.
Position two oven racks in top and bottom thirds of the oven, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Slice the cookies a scant 1/4 inch thick or a bit slimmer if you want a couple more. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lay the slices about two inches apart. Bake for 6 minutes, then swap the pans to the opposite rack, turning them, then bake another 6-7 minutes. They should (become brick-like) crisp as they cool, so if they're still too soft, pop them back in the oven for a few.
Once cool, whip up some heavy cream with a few tablespoons of sugar (1 cup of cream gets 1 tablespoon of sugar, you'll need three cups of cream all together). I added a vanilla pod just to be fancy-shmancy, but you don't have to, just put in a teaspoon or two of vanilla extract.
Layer the cookies and cream until you've only got crumbs left, about 7 cookies in a layer. Let it chill in the fridge for at least twenty-four hours before slicing. It will slice like a regular cake, but I made mine in a bowl just to be safe. But hey, live dangerously.