Food Files: I Dream of Cookies ‘n Cream

One of the most celebrated no-bake desserts in Australia is the Choc Ripple Cake. Made from layers of Choc Ripple (a plain chocolate cookie from one of Australia’s biggest cookie companies) and sweetened whipped cream, it’s extremely simple yet surprisingly indulgent. It can be eaten immediately, while the cookie layers are still crunchy– but most people prefer to leave in the refrigerator for 6 to 8 hours, causing the cookies to soften. This gives the effect of a wonderfully creamy layer cake, without going through the effort of baking a cake!

I decided to raise the Choc Ripple Cake’s indulgence level by turning the whipped cream layer into something richer and heavier, somewhat like the center of a chocolate truffle. Here’s what you’ll need:

Cookies ‘n Cream Dream Dessert

Ingredients

-300 ml thickened cream or heavy whipping cream
-300g chocolate of your choice (I used white chocolate here, for a contrasting striped effect with the Choc Ripple cookies)
-125g unsalted butter, softened
-1 pack Choc Ripple cookies (or other cookie of your choice– feel free to create your own combinations of chocolate and cookies)
Optional: Cocoa powder for dusting

Directions

Use the Choc Ripple cookies to cover the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking pan or tray. Break some of the cookies into little pieces to fill in any large gaps. The result doesn’t have to be perfect, as long as you have a somewhat even layer of cookies for the cream to sit on.

step_1

Put the cream in a mixing bowl and use an electric mixer to beat the cream on medium speed, until it’s quite thick and comes away from the sides of the bowl. (You could do this by hand-whisking as well, if you want to work out those arm muscles.)

step_2

Break the chocolate into small pieces, and slice the butter into small cubes. Put them in a microwave-safe bowl, and zap them for 30 seconds. Stir the mixture well, then zap it for 15 seconds, and stir again. Continue this process until the chocolate is melted and completely incorporated into the butter.

step_3
Not yet totally melted, as you can see. Keep stirring and reheating until the mixture is all smooth!

Once the chocolate and butter are blended smoothly, gradually add this mixture to the whipped cream, blending with the electric mixer on low speed. Don’t dump it in all at once; tip it into the cream in batches, gently blending as you go.

step_4

When the mixture is all silky, glossy and uniform, spread half of it over your cookie layer:

step_5

Form another layer of Choc Ripples on top of the cream layer, and top it off with the rest of the cream. If you want to be a bit dramatic, finish it off with a flourish of cocoa powder. Just because you can:

step_6

And that’s it! If you’re reeeeeaaaally hankering for a creamy, chocolatey cookie hit ASAP, you can slice and serve it now, while the cookies are crunchy and the cream layers are gooey and flowing. You can also leave it in the refrigerator for a couple of hours; the cookies will still be crunchy, and the cream layers will be semi-firm like a chocolate truffle. Or you can leave it at room temperature for 1-2 hours (or 30 minutes to 1 hour if the weather is warm), upon which the cookie layers will become spongy and yielding. Your cake, your choice! Here’s a cutaway view of the multi-layered cookie and cream deliciousness (click for larger image):

The finished Cookies 'n Cream Dream!
The finished Cookies ‘n Cream Dream! (Click for larger image)

Here’s another photo of the finished product, sliced into squares and stacked pleasingly for an office bake sale (click for larger image). This batch contained three layers of cookies and white chocolate cream, to make the squares come out extra-thick:

For a bake sale, pile 'em high to draw the crowds!
For a bake sale, pile ’em high to draw the crowds! (Click for larger image)

You can swing it any which way you want, as far as chocolate and cookie combos are concerned. You could try using dark chocolate in the cream layer, and replacing the Choc Ripples with gingerbread or ginger snap biscuits. Or use milk chocolate and Marie biscuits, dark chocolate and digestive or shredded wheatmeal biscuits, white chocolate and Oreos… Explore all the possibilities and post your favorite combination in the comments section!

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