homemade chocolate wafers + icebox cupcakes

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Chocolate Wafers
Adapted from Alice Medrich’s Pure Dessert

I don’t usually make a big fuss about buying this brand or that of a product. I don’t believe you need zillion dollar, hard-to-find ingredients to cook well. But there are some recipes, recipes that get their primary flavor from a single ingredient where that quality of that ingredient largely informs the quality of the end product. (I’m thinking of the butter in shortbread, the stock in risotto or soup, etc.) In this case, that cocoa you splurged on that one time for a special occasion might just be ready for its closeup. I went for what I consider “la creme”, Valrhona — I’m throwing this out there not to pressure you to buy something you might feel is out of your budget, but so so you know why my cookies are so dark; Valrhona is a very intense cocoa — but if you have another decadent favorite on hand, go for it.

These cookies are crisp and not overly sweet. They’d be good with anything from coffee to ice cream to fancier things, like ice cream sandwiches, crumb crusts and icebox cakes (scroll down for an Icebox Cupcake recipe).

Last note: As an icebox cookie, these will take longer to soften than the store-bought wafers, so set aside more time than you normally would. I think 24 hours in the fridge would be ideal.

Makes 50 to 60 1 3/4-inch wafers. However, I cut my thinner than suggested and yielded more.

1 1/2 cups (6.75 ounces) all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (2.4 ounces) unsweetened cocoa powder (see Note)
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

Combine the flour, cocoa, sugar, salt, and baking soda in the bowl of food processor and pulse several times to mix thoroughly. Cut the butter into about 12 chunks and add them to the bowl. Pulse several times. Combine the milk and vanilla in a small cup. With the processor running, add the milk mixture and continue to process until the mixture clumps around the blade or the sides of the bowl. Transfer the dough to a large bowl or a cutting board and knead a few times to make sure it is evenly blended.

Form the dough into a log about 14 inches long and 1 3/4 inches in diameter. Wrap the log in wax paper or foil and refrigerate until firm, at least one hour, or until needed.

Position the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line the baking sheets with parchment paper. Cut the log of dough into slices a scant 1/4-inch thick (I went thinner, closer to 1/8 of inch. If you’re trying to emulate the store-bought wafers, slice as thin as you can, and watch the baking time carefully, as it might be less.) and place them one inch apart on the lined sheets (cookies will spread). Bake, rotating the baking sheet from top to bottom and back to front about halfway through baking, for a total of 12 to 15 minutes. The cookies will puff up and deflate; they are done about 1 1/2 minutes after they deflate.

Cool the cookies on the baking sheets on racks, or slide the parchment onto racks to cool completely. These cookies may be stored in an airtight container for up to two weeks or be frozen for up to two months.

Note: These cookies should crisp as they cool. If they don’t, you’re not baking them long enough, says Medrich — in which case, return them to the oven to reheat and bake a little longer, then cool again.

Icebox Cupcakes

I came up with these a while ago as a way to make the icebox cake a little more single serving size. How many you’ll get depends on how many you want to stack — I use five, but the height comes up a tad short of your standard frosting-dolloped bakery cupcake. They’re decadent enough, in my opinion. Keep in mind that your cupcake will be too big for a standard sized paper liner, I just pressed the sides down a bit to make mine work. But if I knew I was making an entire batch of these, I’d make the cookie log smaller, more like 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter.

Makes about a dozen cupcakes, but this will vary depending on the size and thickness of your cookies, and the height of your stacks. I use five apiece.

1 batch of Chocolate Wafers (recipe above)
1 cup whipping cream
1 to 2 spoons of powdered sugar (adjusted to your preferred sweetness; I like my whipped cream barely sweetened)
A dash of your favorite flavoring or extract (I use about 1/2 teaspoon vanilla)

Whip cream with a spoonful or two of powdered sugar and a dash of a flavoring of your choice, until the whipped cream holds firm peaks. Spread about two teaspoons whipped cream between each cookie, to the edges, and stack them until you reach the height you’d like. If you spread whipped cream on top of the final cookie, you will end up with a softer lid — a good thing — but I prefer the look of the brown cookie top.

Set them in the fridge at least overnight or up to a day. The cookies will soften as they set, and become cake-like.


homemade chocolate wafers + icebox cupcakes was originally published on smittenkitchen.com

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