My mother was a great cook. When she baked, she baked well, but she definitely preferred cooking. One dessert she did make frequently was ice box cake. It was quick and easy and inexpensive. While I enjoyed her chocolate and vanilla pudding layered with graham crackers, this icebox cake takes the concept to another level. Remember that icebox cakes taste better after the cookies have had a full day to soften.
Serves 8 - 10
1 3/4 cups cold heavy cream
1 1/2 cups mascarpone cheese
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup chocolate-hazelnut spread (I prefer Nutella)
20 whole chocolate graham crackers
Beat 1 cup heavy cream, 3/4 cup mascarpone, the confectioners' sugar, and vanilla until combined, then increase speed and beat until stiff peaks form (1-2 minutes) --I used my stand mixer, but you can use a hand mixer as well.
In another bowl, combine 3/4 cup heavy cream, 3/4 cup mascarpone, and the Nutella until combined, then increase speed and beat until stiff peaks form (1-2 minutes).
Line the bottom of an 8 inch springform pan with about 4 graham crackers in a single layer, breaking them into pieces to fit any fill any gaps (seriously, this is the hardest part). Spread half the vanilla whipped cream over the graham crackers, then top with another layer of graham crackers. Spread half the chocolate-hazelnut whipped cream over those grahams then repeat with another layer of grahams, another layer of vanilla, another layer of grahams, and finish up with the other half of the chocolate-hazelnut whipped cream.
Cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight.
Uncover the cake and run a thin knife around the edge to loosen. Remove the springform ring and smooth the sides of the cake using an offset spatula (the second hardest part). Put the remaining grahams in a large resealable bag and crush them into fine crumbs. Press the crumbs around the sides of the cake and sprinkle the remains over the top.
Oh, my, how can I get across just how incredibly delicious this simple dessert tastes? I don't often "lick the bowl" or the beaters, but I could not resist after tasting the creams. I've already decided that the next time I make this--and there WILL be a next time--I'm going to replace the vanilla layer with an espresso one for a tiramisu and hazelnut icebox cake. I'm sure the cake would be equally delicious made with the Famous chocolate cookies.