Friday, March 1, 2013

Chocolate-Mint Icebox Cake

This icebox cake recipe is an example of how I am a sucker for sweet little girls on a mission.

 I am one of those women who have a hard time saying "no" to an adorable child especially when they are holding delicious cookies that only come around once a year. You all know who I am talking about--the Girl Scouts of America and their darn cookies. Sigh. Just the other day I struggled so hard to say, "No, thank you!" to a seven-year-old with curly pigtails and a squeaky little voice. I melted when she accepted my answer by immediately dropping her quirky smile, lowering her head, and slowly walking away. To refuse cookies is one thing, but this was like a test of my humanity! You're killing me Girl Scouts! Ha! Now I make Henry walk in front of me when leaving the market so he can refuse cookies. I'm just the nice lady. :)

One of my old students came to me a few months ago  and asked if I wanted to preorder some Girl Scout Cookies. When she did, two thoughts immediately came to mind: 1) Oh, I have one of these tempters in my own class-- how can I say no! and 2) Mmm...I am going to get SO fat. So what did I do? I took my pen and signed myself up for ONE box of Thin Mints and ONE box of Mango Cremes. See, I have some self-control along with my helping hand for my precious little scout. Too bad I didn't just end up with two boxes of cookies.

On my last day in the classroom, I realized I forgot to bring my checkbook so I paid my student with $20 and told her to just use the rest of the cash to purchase extra cookies. Last week, I had lovely smoothie date with my darling student and her mother and returned home with the treats. When my husband arrived home and saw three boxes of Thin Mints and one of Mango Cremes on the counter, I thought he would get the heebie-jeebies since we are both trying to shed some extra post-marital weight. Instead, his response was, "Hey! How come you didn't get any Caramel Delights?!".

So...what is a girl to do with an ample amount of Thin Mints? Make an easy no-bake dessert. However, you must be warned. This dessert is not, by any means, a healthy dessert. In fact, when my hubs tasted it, he asked, " this is just a whole lot of whipped cream and cookies?" Yes, dear. It sure is. That's why we took a bite and I shoved it back in the freezer (my waistline was grateful).

But, it's so good! It taste like a mint-chocolate chip ice cream cake with a hint of cheesecake. This icebox doesn't really achieve a soft texture from the cookies since the Thin Mints have a coating of chocolate to prevent the cream from doing all of their magic. Instead, it's creamy with a contrasting light crunch of chocolately and minty cookies. If you're not a big baker, this icebox cake may be your saving grace for an easy to impress dessert. Try experimenting with other cookies and flavors-- it's super adaptable!

Chocolate-Mint Icebox Cake
makes one 6" cake

1 cup cold heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup light whipped cream cheese (make sure you don't use the block of cream cheese)
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp hazelnut liquer
1 tsp instant espresso powder
green gel food coloring (optional)
2 1/2 boxes Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies (3 rolls of cookies that are packaged in the box)
6" springform pan

1. In a standing mixer, or with a hand mixer, use the whisk attachment to beat the whipping cream, cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla, hazelnut, and espresso. If you are adding color, add the desired amount after about a minute of mixing. Continue to beat on medium-high until the mixture forms firm peaks.

2. Use a small spatula to add a small dollop of the whipped cream mixture onto the bottom of the springform pan-- spread it evenly around. Make a single layer of Thin Mint cookies on top of the cream. You can try to fill in the gaps by breaking apart cookies as you go. Next, add about 1/4 cup of the cream mixture on top of the cookies, spread it evenly around, and add the second layer of Thin Mint cookies. Continue this cream and cookie layering process until you run out of cream ( I made 6 layers). Save a few cookies to crumble over the finished product when serving. Use the spatula to smooth over the whipped cream. Cover and wrap the entire cake and pan with plastic wrap-- make sure it's tight and secure. Place the icebox cake in the freezer for 24 hours before serving.

*Notes: When slicing, remember that the cookies will not be soft--use a serrated knife. The cream will start to melt, so be sure to keep any leftover cake in the freezer.

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