Icebox Tiramisu is a mash-up between classic tiramisu and a good old fashioned ice box cake. Did your mom ever make the Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafer cake?
The recipe dates all the way back to the 1920s, pretty much right after the cookies first came out. Somebody discovered that if you stacked the the thin chocolate wafers with layers of sweetened whipped cream, and then refrigerated the whole thing, the cream seeps into the cookies and results in an ice cold creamy cake. It’s been a summer staple ever since. I took the concept and ran with it. Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers take the place of ladyfingers for this no-bake faux tiramisu dessert. I used instant espresso, Kahlua, whipped cream and dark chocolate, along with the cookies, to make the chocolatey layers. I assemble them in individual mason jars or dessert glasses so everybody gets their own. They are fabulous, and keep perfectly in the fridge for a day or so.
Each wafer gets a good soaking with a mixture of strong coffee and Kahlua, and then a sprinkling of shaved chocolate. I stack them 5 high with pillowy layers of sweetened whipped cream between each one. My wide mouth 1/2 pint canning jars are the perfect size to make and serve them in. Mine are from Kerr, but all the canning companies make them. They work great because you can assemble the cakes ahead of time, and then screw on the caps and refrigerate until needed. I top them with an extra dollop of whipped cream and more chocolate just before serving.
Mom’s icebox cake didn’t have the added benefit of strong coffee and Kahlua. The flavors soak into the cookies and make this dessert extra special. If you don’t have kahlua there are lots of other alternatives, like rum, Marsala, Amaretto, just name your pleasure. For the coffee you can use instant espresso, or your own brew, just make sure it’s nice and strong.
You can make these for a crowd, just allow 5 cookies per serving (there are about 40 cookies in the box). The Nabisco cookies have a way of flying off the shelves, especially now, in peak ice box cake season, so keep your eyes peeled. Amazon sells them, and you can also check out store brand alternatives.
You can do this with other types of wafer cookies, too. My store has a lemon variety and I make a great Limoncello version of this same dessert.
Sometimes if I’m feeling in an elegant mood I’ll make these in vintage dessert glasses I find at thrift stores.
I highly recommend this recipe. It’s universally appealing, and very easy to throw together. I kept the serving size small, so they’re refreshing and not too heavy or caloric despite the whipped cream.
*This post has been updated and was originally published on June 11th, 2012