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Icebox Cupcakes Recipe & Video

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You only need a stack of chocolate wafer cookies and some lightly sweetened whipped cream to make these cute no-bake Icebox Cupcakes. They are a simpler version of an Icebox Cake (also known as a Refrigerator or Zebra Cake) that calls for stacking a full package of Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers with lots of whipped cream and then turning the stack on its side to form a log. The log is then placed in the refrigerator (also known as an Icebox), for several hours or overnight, so the cream has time to be absorbed into the chocolate wafers, giving them a dense, almost cake-like texture. If the cake is sliced on the diagonal, the stripes of dark brown (almost black) and white makes you think of a zebra, hence the name Zebra Cake.

This type of Icebox Cake has been around for more than half a century. It is an impressive looking cake, but it is also a large cake, so I decided to make individual Icebox Cupcakes. Each cupcake is made by simply taking three homemade chocolate wafer cookies (you may want to use more than three wafers if using the Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers) and layering them with whipped cream. You can scale the recipe up or down depending on how many servings you want to make. And don't feel you have to use vanilla flavored whipped cream, as you flavor the cream with instant coffee, jam, fruit purees, or even finely chopped nuts. I often like to decorate the tops of the Icebox Cupcakes with fresh berries, shaved chocolate, or chopped nuts.

Now, while you can use store bought Chocolate Wafers, I prefer homemade. I like how they are relatively low in fat, their texture is wonderfully crisp and crunchy, they have an appealing chocolate flavor, and they store very well. Homemade Chocolate Wafers use the most basic of ingredients, butter, sugar, eggs, flour, vanilla, and cocoa powder. What is so different about this recipe is the reduction in fat. This chocolate wafer recipe has just three tablespoons (45 grams) of butter along with three tablespoons (45 grams) of either margarine or a soft buttery spread, like Smart Balance, that contains oil but not hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils. But keep in mind that if you use a soft buttery spread the batter needs a longer chilling time to become firm. Also, instead of using the whole egg, only the egg white is used which also keeps the fat content down. Another way to keep the fat content to a minimum is to use cocoa powder instead of semi sweet chocolate. Cocoa powder has a lot less fat in it than semi sweet chocolate and this is because cocoa powder is made when chocolate liquor that is pressed to remove three quarters of its cocoa butter. You can use either regular unsweetened or Dutch-Processed cocoa powder in this recipe. Once the cookie batter is made it is formed into a log shape and refrigerated until firm and this will take several hours or you can even chill it overnight. Then slice the log into thin wafers and bake until they are puffed with cracks (ripples).

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Chocolate Wafers: In a bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.

In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter and margarine until well blended. Add the sugars and vanilla extract and beat on high speed for about one minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Beat in the egg white. Add the flour mixture and beat just until incorporated.

Place the dough on your counter and, using your hands, evenly form the dough into a log shape that is about 9 inches (23 cm) long. Carefully wrap the dough in aluminum foil, parchment paper or wax paper and fold or twist the ends. Try not to flatten the log. Refrigerate until firm. This will take several hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place the oven rack in the center of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Using a sharp knife, slice the log into about 1/4 inch (6 mm) thick wafers. Place the wafers on the baking sheet spacing, about 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart. Bake for approximately 10 - 12 minutes or until the the cookies puff and the tops of the cookies have cracks (ripples). Remove from oven and let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Can be stored in an airtight container, at room temperature, for about 10 days. They can also be frozen. Makes 36 chocolate wafers.

Icebox Cupcakes: In the bowl of your electric mixer, with the whisk attachment, (or with a wire whisk) beat the cream with the sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form. Take one chocolate wafer and spread a scant tablespoon of whipped cream over the top of the cookie. Cover with another cookie, then another layer of cream, another cookie, and a final layer of cream. Cover and place in the refrigerator for several hours, or overnight. Decorate with shaved chocolate or fresh berries.

Makes 12 Icebox Cupcakes.

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Chocolate Wafers:

1 cup (130 grams) all purpose flour

1/2 cup (50 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder (regular or Dutch-processed)

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons (45 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

3 tablespoons (45 grams) margarine (or Smart Balance)

2/3 cup (140 grams) packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup (100 grams) white granulated sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 large (30 grams) egg white

Cream Filling:

1 1/2 cup (360 ml) cold heavy cream (double cream) (35-40% butterfat content)

3 tablespoon (45 grams) granulated white sugar (or to taste)

1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

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