I’ve got a fun little treat for you if you’re not in the “turn the oven on” mood….
Ice Box Raspberry Chocolate Chip Cheesecake! I love a good ice box dessert. The first time I was introduced to the idea of an ice box dessert was as a kid. I’m sure many of you have had those layered graham cracker with pudding “eclair” desserts where layers of graham crackers absorb the moisture from your pudding/filling of choice and soften into a kind of cake like treat? I always enjoyed them. (I also love the fact that we still call these desserts “icebox.”)
One day, my college roommate and I left school for a weekend to visit her hometown. I’ll skip the details about how carsick I got on the 10 million hills we had to drive up and down to get out of Dodge and to her house. We lived on a no car campus, so her mother came to pick us up. The three of us sat in the front seat together. Yep, three in the front seat. I know. They don’t make cars like that anymore; my husband and I always joke about how it was a group effort to move the seat forward :) I just remember that I burped at one point and I thought my roommate was going to leap through the front window. I could NOT stop laughing at her reaction. (I’m laughing about it now as I write this!) I felt better after that. Laughter can be the best medicine.
One of the nights at her house, her mother made the Famous Chocolate Wafer dessert. You know, the one where thin crispy chocolate wafers are layered with, then completely covered with sweetened whipped cream? Well, I didn’t know. I had never heard of it or tasted it before that night. I was really impressed as she sliced through the whipped cream covered log that had transformed into a creamy, cakey treat. Yep, I was wowed. Such a simple dessert was just so good!
I made it a few times after I graduated and was on my own. And then, I completely forgot about it. Until today, when I decided to try a new twist on that classic favorite. I switched it up and made a cheesecake version. I used Whipped Cream Cream Cheese Frosting and added chocolate chips. When the frosting sets up, it’s basically like a no bake cheesecake and therefore, perfect for this idea.
The creamy frosting mixture is simply layered in mini stacks along with fresh raspberries. I cut each berry in half so that it would sit nicely between the layers. I was worried the berries would get really juicy and run all over, but I had no issues there. My berries were completely dry when I used them, so that helped.
The cookies are not completely encased in the filling, so they definitely get soft, but not as soft as when you completely cover them with whipped cream. This dessert has a bit more texture than the classic rendition. The filling is thicker, the cookies get soft, but still hold their structure and the mini chips add even more texture. My family loved the chocolate chips. I thought they were good, but the next time I do this, I think I will go with shaved chocolate for my “chips.” I think I would like a gentler bite and I think the shavings will let the chocolate flavor come through more easily.
Once you mix up your filling, and cut your berries, you can whip up over a dozen of these pretty quickly. It’s a perfect make ahead dessert, since it actually has to be made ahead. It will need a few hours in the refrigerator for the cookies to soften. It’s fun to make for a weeknight treat and it works really well for a larger get together. Icebox Raspberry Chocolate Chip Cheesecake. Rows of pretty little cheesecake stacks topped with a raspberry and a sprig of fresh mint.
Color me impressed.
Ice Box Raspberry Chocolate Chip Cheesecake
- 1 1/2 to 2 cups heavy cream or heavy whipping cream see notes
- 1 8 ounce block of cream cheese, I use Philadelphia Cream Cheese
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips or shaved chocolate
- 1 box Famous Chocolate Wafers
- two pints fresh raspberries you'll need about 56 raspberries for filling and garnishing
- fresh mint for garnish
- In a large bowl, whip cream with a mixer until it forms stiff peaks.
- In another bowl, use a hand mixer to soften the cream cheese, about 30 seconds.
- Add sugar, salt and vanilla to the cream cheese and whip until fully combined and creamy. Check a small bit between your fingers to insure sugar crystals have "melted" into the mixture so there is no grittiness.
- Fold whipped cream into cream cheese mixture then use mixer until it's fully combined and fluffy.
- Fold in chocolate chips or shaved chocolate.
- Line a sheet pan with parchment or waxed paper. I portioned out stacks of three cookies and spaced them out on my sheet pan to await filling. This is particularly helpful if you have some broken cookies so that you can plan out which stacks you want to use them in. (See notes)
- Cut raspberries in half. You'll need six halves for each stack. Leave the rest uncut for garnishing or to serve extra on the side.
- For easy assembly, place filling in a sturdy zip top bag and cut off the corner or use a piping tip. I used a large open tip, an Ateco 7, which has about 1/2" opening. Or, simply spread it on with a spoon, spatula or butter knife.
- Pipe a dollop of filling onto a wafer. You want enough filling to cover as much of the cookie as possible. The cookie parts that don't have filling touching them will not get as soft as those that do.
- Press three raspberry halves gently into the filling cut side down. Pipe a small dollop of filling into the center of the three berries to act as "glue" for the next layer.
- Gently press a wafer on top of first layer and repeat the filling, berry, "glue" step.
- Top with a wafer and garnish with more filling, a berry and a mint leaf, if desired.
- Refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours before serving. Use a spatula to lift them easily off the sheet pan.
*Store stacks in the refrigerator up to 3 days, although they will be best on days 1 and 2.
*I used 1 1/2 cups of heavy cream for the photos you see. You can use up to 2 cups, which will give you more moisture for the cookies to soften, but will also set up softer. I'm going to try that option next time.
*You could also make an additional batch of whipped cream, lightly sweetened, completely cover each stack and have the surprise of cheesecake inside. Then, garnish with chocolate shavings and the berry and mint.
*If you want to go a little more sophisticated/adult, you could add some Framboise or Chambord to the filling mixture and/or drizzle a little on top or on the plate right before serving.
*Make sure your berries are thoroughly dry before starting the dessert. Excess water will promote weeping, especially since you are cutting the berries in half. Mine did not weep on day one, two or three.
*If your berries are more tart than you'd like, I would sprinkle each stack with powdered sugar just before serving. It will give you extra sweetness and it will make for a pretty presentation.
*Refrigerated chocolate chips, even minis, can be kind of hard. This didn't bother even one person that ate this dessert, except for me. I often use and love mini chips in this filling for cakes, but here, they seem to stay much firmer. I would use chocolate shavings next time, or pulse the chips in a processor to break them up further or leave them out of the filling and sprinkle each layer with chocolate shavings. Choose the option you like best.
*Don't let broken wafers get you down. I had quite a few broken wafers in my box. Keep the halves together so you have matched pairs. (I didn't do that and spent more than a few minutes finding all the matches.) Save the whole ones for the top. The rest you can use for bottoms and middles. The filling will help glue them together.
Filling adapted from Whipped Cream Cream Cheese Frosting
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