Celebration can come in layers, taking time to linger and put thought and heart into every single layer.
Sometimes celebration starts with chocolate wafers.
Something I learned in this whole process? Chocolate wafers are SO easy to make. Like, dagum easy. Easier than trekking to the store for Oreos even! And they taste 99 tiems better than Oreos as well. Win! So, I’ll probably have to make them again. And I’ll probably have to give them to friends or freeze them, because I have a problem. Sorry not sorry?
So deeply dark, richly delicate chocolate wafers made from scratch are a must for this cake.
There are no pictures of me making the brownie base (whoops!), but I made a brownie base! Let it cool to room temperature, then filled the base with a quart of vanilla bean ice cream. I then popped it in the freezer to set up a bit.
Also, if you try to take pictures of your creation after the sun goes down, you will have poor luck, and probably maybe definitely say more inappropriate words. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
makes one nine-inch spring form pan
for the brownies:
8 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
12 Tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a nine-inch spring form pan with foil, then parchment paper (just to be safe-no sticking!).
Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.
Place butter and chopped chocolate in a medium sized heat proof bowl. Place the bowl over a pot of barely simmering water, being sure that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the boiling water. Stir until chocolate and butter are completely melted. Use pot holders to remove the bowl from over the boiling water. Lets mixture sit for a few minutes.
Meanwhile, in a medium sized bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs, vanilla extract and espresso powder. Whisk until pale and thick. Pour the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture. Whisk until completely incorporated. Add the flour mixture all at once and whisk to incorporate. Pour half of the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 22-28 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. As for the rest of the batter, you can make mini brownie bites, or pour into a lined loaf pan to eat later at your leisure (everyone needs extra brownies lying around the house to tempt them with, right? No? :) .
When the brownies are done, let them cool to room temperature. Meanwhile, proceed in making the hot fudge & the wafers . . .
for the wafers:
1 cup flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons butter, soft
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons milk
Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Set that aside while you cream the butter and sugars together until light, about 4 minutes on medium speed or a couple more minutes more if you are mixing the dough by hand. Add the vanilla extract and milk to the creamed butter and sugars.
Slowly mix in the dry ingredients until just combined. Gather the wet dough and place on a piece of parchment paper. Roll the parchment paper up and work the dough into a rough 2” log. If you are using these cookies for the ice cream cake the shape really doesn’t matter as they are destined for crumbs but if you’d like to create a uniform log for perfectly formed round cookies refrigerate the dough for 10 minutes then reform the log and squeeze the ends to compress the dough into a perfect round. Continue this process until the log is uniform. If the shape isn’t a concern just chill until firm. About 45 minutes in the fridge or 20 minutes in the freezer.
Slice the roll of cookie dough into 1/4” discs and bake at 350*F for 12-15 minutes. You want them to be quite dry so they’ll hold their crunch when surrounded by ice cream. I fit the entire batch on two baking sheets, bake for 12 minutes then turn off the oven and leave the trays in for an additional 5 minutes. Just watch and smell them closely as you don’t want them to burn.
Let the cookies cool on the tray for 5 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.
Gather half of the cookies into a large ziplock bag and break up into small pieces.
for the hot fudge:
1 cup heavy cream (or half & half)
1/3 cup golden syrup (or corn syrup)
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 cup (6 ounces) bittersweet chocolate, chopped or use chips
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a sauce pan combine the cream, syrup sugar and cocoa powder. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and then let simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the remaining ingredients. Once the chocolate and the butter have melted strain the entire mixture to ensure no pesky cocoa powder clumps remain.
Let cool to room temperature before assembling the cake. If you are making this in advance, refrigerate until ready to use then gently reheat on the stove or in a microwave until the hot fudge is pourable.
Will keep in the fridge for 2 weeks.
assembling the cake:
After the brownie has cooled to room temperature, add the first quart of softened ice cream* to the brownie bottom. Spread evenly with an off-set spatula.
***You can certainly make homemade ice cream for this if you want, but I used store-bought vanilla bean, and it turned out so well! It's up to you & how much time you have. :)
Top that layer with half of the hot fudge and cookie crumbs.
Place the pan into the freezer for at least 30 minutes to set up.
Remove the pan from the freezer and add the second quart of softened ice cream over the cookie crumbs.
Top the ice cream with the remaining hot fudge & extra wafer crumbs. If you have extra whole wafers, feel free to decorate the top (or the edges) however you like!
Put the cake back into the freezer until you are ready to serve.
Un-mold the cake, taking off the base of the springform pan and parchment if you used it.
Keeps in the freezer for 1 week (but it totally won't last that long).
Inspired by: Dairy Queen, Joy the Baker, Not Without Salt, & my husband