Holiday Favorites from BlueStar All Stars: Chef Zoë François’ Ice Box Cake

Just in time for holiday gatherings, here is a favorite recipe of Chef Zoë François, a master baker whose motto is “Eat Dessert First” (we at BlueStar approve of this life philosophy!).  Zoë plays with sugar on her blog at www.zoebakes.com (check it out to see the most amazing step-by-step recipes such as the one below).  She is also the co-author of the best selling bread books: The NEW Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day and Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day and is a frequent contributor to Cooking Channel, Fine Cooking, Disney, Easy Eats, Mother Earth News and Cooking Club magazines.

We are going to be giving away Zoë’s new cookbook on our Facebook page – so be sure to Like the post to enter and win.

Name:  Zoë François

Favorite Holiday Recipe: Chocolate Caramel Ice Box Cake

Why this is a favorite holiday recipe: The cake is absolutely delicious and equally as stunning to present at a holiday party.

How your BlueStar range / oven helps make it perfect: You can cook the caramel quickly with a very hot flame.  Allowing the flame to heat the pan, even on the sides will help prevent it from crystallizing.

Recipe: Chocolate Caramel Icebox Cake (Makes: 12 servings)

Homemade Chocolate Wafer Cookies:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, well packed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder (Dutch processed)
  • 1/2 teapsoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup milk

Caramel Whip Cream:

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon corn syrup
  • 3 cups heavy whipping cream

To make the caramel whip cream:

  • In a large saucepan put the sugar in a mound in the center of the pan, be sure it doesn’t hit the sides.  Gently add the water and corn syrup, making sure the sugar doesn’t splash up on the sides of the pan.
  • If any sugar is not dissolved, very gently stir, but make sure none of the sugar hits the sides of the pan.  (All of this care to keep the sugar off the side of the pan will prevent your sugar from crystallizing while it cooks.)  Cook over high heat, without stirring.
  • When the sugar starts to color on the edges, gently stir the sugar.
  • Until it is quite dark, it will smoke a bit.  I like my caramel very dark, with an almost bitter edge.
  • Once the caramel is dark in color, reduce the heat and add half the cream.  The caramel will sputter and seize up, which is normal.  Gently whisk the caramel until the caramelized sugar dissolves.  Add the remaining cream and stir.
  • Strain the caramel cream into a shallow container.  Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least an hour.  Can be made the day ahead.

To make the chocolate wafer cookies:

  • Cream together the butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla until light, about 2 minutes.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.  Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix just to combine.  Add the milk and mix just to combined.
  • Form the dough into two 1 1/2-inch-thick logs.  Wrap well in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.
  • To bake: Preheat oven to 350° F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment.  Slice the log of cookie dough into 1/8-inch-thick coins.
  • Arrange on the cookie sheets with about 1 1/2 inches between the cookies.  Bake for 8 minutes and then rotate the trays back to front and switch from top to bottom racks.  Bake for another 2 minutes or until they are dry looking and firm.  Because the cookies are dark, you can’t go by color on these.  Allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
  • Line an 8 x 4-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap, set aside.
  • Using a whisk or stand mixer whip 2/3 of the chilled caramel cream until soft peaks.  Be sure not to whip the cream in a plastic bowl or it may not whip properly.  Reserve the remaining 1/3 of the cream for topping the cake.  The best way to whip cream is to do it on a lower speed for a longer time.  If you whip the cream on medium-high, instead of high, you will have a smaller air bubble and the cream will have more stability.  This will also prevent some over whipping.
  • Coat the bottom of the prepared pan with about a 1/4-inch-thick layer of the cream.  Line the outside of the pan with the cookies.
  • Spread a layer of the cream on each cookie and layer them together in the pan.

 

You should end up with about 3 rows of cookies and cream.  This may vary slightly depending on how large your cookies are.

Cover the top with more of the cream, so the cookies are completely covered.  Refrigerate the cake for at least 3 hours or overnight.

 

 

 

Invert the cake onto a serving platter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whip the remaining 1/3 of the cream and decorate the cake as you wish.

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