“Once again, I’m wishing we were neighbors! I seriously could have eaten every last one. Completely addictive!” ~Mary
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 little icebox tiramisu. They’re fabulous, and keep perfectly in the fridge for few days, too.
*UPDATE! Nabisco has discontinued its chocolate wafer cookies, so you’ll have to use a substitute thin chocolate cookie.
how to make icebox tiramisu
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 individual icebox tiramisu jars for a crowd, just allow 5 cookies per serving. Since Nabisco has discontinued their iconic cookies, you can use any thin chocolate cookie you can find. Most stores will carry some sort of chocolate wafer.
You can do this with other types of cookies, too. My store has a lemon variety and I make a great Limoncello version of this same dessert.
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.
more icebox desserts to try
- Banana Pudding Icebox Cake
- Strawberry Icebox Cake
- Lemon Icebox Pie
- Brown Sugar Bourbon Icebox Pie
- Easy Cold Brew Icebox Pie
- Icebox Cakes for the Dog Days of Summer
- Whip the cream until it starts to thicken. Add the sugar and vanilla extract and continue whipping until it's firm and holds it's shape.
- Mix together the espresso and kahlua and set aside.
- Take four glasses or small dessert bowls and layer one cookie at the bottom of each. Spoon 2 tsp of the espresso mixture on top, spreading it around so the entire cookie gets soaked.
- Grate a layer of chocolate over the top of the cookie, using a microplane or small grater.
- Put a dessert spoon full of cream on top of the cookie and chocolate. Take another cookie and lay it on top of the cream, pressing down slightly to spread the cream out. Continue layering until you have 5 layers, ending with whipped cream and a final sprinkling of chocolate.
- Cover loosely and put in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, to get really cold.
- Note: If you are making these in mason jars, don't put on the last topping of whipped cream, just screw on the caps and refrigerate until ready to serve, then top with the last layer of whipped cream and shaved chocolate.