Dulce de Leche Icebox Cake

This recipe is really just a sham, there's no new recipe in this post, it is simply a combination of graham crackers and classy cream layered in a yummy ice box cake.  

I work at a church and have the opportunity to meet many church members who attend activities throughout the week. One lady, Betty, recently turned 90 years old. I thought I would make her something to celebrate and figured this was simple and tasty. But then I went and had to bake my own cookies for it, taking away the simple factor... but it's still tasty which is all that matters for the reciever of the gift.

Isn't the bowl on the left cute? I found it at an antique store in the Orange circle.

Stack alternate layers of graham crackers and classy cream until its about cake height. Store-bought crackers should work just as well if you don't want to make them.
I used a #21 piping tip for mine to make it look fancy.
Place cake in the freezer for a half hour so the top will set a bit before covering it in plastic wrap and setting it in the fridge. Refrigerate this 8-24 hours before serving cold. The longer it sits the more cake-like it will be.
Before serving, drizzle more dulce de leche sauce over the top (optional).


Sugar Cookies

When I decorate sugar cookies, I love how they look right after the royal icing has been put on the cookie, while its still shiny and pretty before it has dried.

The cookies above became these below.

I made them for a baby shower. I used a brush embroidery technique but totally didn't come up with the design at all. These were inspired by these fabulous cookies from the Amber Spiegel blog. I first found her stuff through etsy and just love the stuff she makes. And I love how she paints with luster dust, so pretty!

My cookies aren't as perfect, but I'm still practicing.


Graham Crackers

When I saw this recipe for homemade graham crackers on the Smitten Kitchen blog, I thought, these crackers sound amazing, I should make these. 
This recipe does make a fabulous graham cracker, but I did not cook them as long as they needed and they came out soft. I don't have a real oven and the toaster oven I use tends to burn things when I use the noted oven time so my time guesstimate wasn't long enough.
I have to be honest, these cookies were a pain in the butt to make, but I am impatient and think I probably made it harder than it should have been. Even so, I could totally see myself making these once a month if I had kids, just to avoid store bought ones. Then I know exactly what is in it and besides, home made always tastes better doesn't it?
I have included notes at the end of the recipe, please learn from my mistakes. It is clear to me that I am not good at following directions since I missed steps along the way. My rolling process seemed more difficult from the Smitten Kitchen one, but here is my experience.

Graham Crackers
from Smitten Kitchen

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes and frozen
1/3 cup clover honey
5 tablespoons milk (full-fat is best)
2 tablespoons vanilla extract

3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

To make the dough:
Combine the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl with a pastry blender (a food processor can also be used but I don't have one). Next, add in the butter and continue to blend it together until it is well combined and looks similar to a coarse meal.

In another bowl, whisk together the honey, milk, and vanilla extract.

Add it to the flour mix and combine it with the pastry blender until it forms a dough. It will be sticky.

Lay out a layer of plastic wrap on a counter and dust flour over it. Plop the dough onto it and form it into a rectangle-ish shape about 1 inch thick. Wrap it completely, then chill overnight.

The next day:
Prepare the topping by mixing the sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl and set it aside.

Unwrap your dough and cut it in half  and return one half to the refrigerator. Spread out a piece of wax paper on your work space and liberally dust an even layer of flour onto it. Roll the dough into a long rectangle about 1/8 inch thick.
The dough will be really sticky and you will not be able to lift it off the wax paper.
This is where I cut shapes into the dough. It is a lot easier if you cut it into squares or rectangles, but if you use cookie cutters, press the shape in and don't touch it. Don't try to remove the excess dough, it will be a mess.
Place the wax paper onto a cookie sheet and chill until firm, somewhere around 30 to 45 minutes in the fridge or 15 to 20 minutes in the freezer.
After it is firm, then you can peel away the excess dough and carefully pull off your shapes. Dip both sides into the cinnamon mix and place on a baking sheet. Make a separate ball with the scraps, wrap in floured plastic wrap and refridgerate it. Repeat the cookie process with the second half of the dough.
After all the scraps are chilled you can repeat the process with that as well.

Heat oven to 350°F.

With the cookies on the cookie sheet, you can make the indentations with a toothpick for decoration if you want. I don't think it affects cooking, so you can leave that part out if you want.

Bake for 15 to 25 minutes, and rotate the sheets halfway through. It should look browned (it should also be firm to the touch)

* This dough is really sticky. Add more flour if the rolling gives you trouble.
* Make sure you THOROUGHLY chill the dough, especially if you use shapes. I have no patience and I rushed it, which (I am sure) was what made it difficult for me.
* Touch the cookie to make sure it is firm (another step I missed).


Classy Cream

For any of you who have felt a lack of creamy goodness in your life, this cream is the answer for you. It's richer than regular whipped cream due to the addition of mascarpone cheese and fancier than whipped cream due to a large amount of dulce de leche. These fancy additions are the reason I chose to call this "classy" cream. I mean really, the majority of its ingredients are in a foreign language. Classy. It can be served with a bowl of fresh strawberries for dessert. Classy. It looks good in a glass dish. Classy. And above all, my friend Eunice enjoys this cream and, if you know Eunice, she loves luxurious things and has some pretty high standards. Classy.      

Classy Cream (Dulce de Leche Mascarpone Cream)
yields: around 4 cups

2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup + 1 Tbs. dulce de leche sauce
8 oz. container of mascarpone cheese

Chill bowl and mixer beaters in the freezer for at least 15 minutes.
Using chilled items, beat together dulce de leche and cheese until well combined.
Add heavy cream and beat until it has a stiff consistency. The picture below is what mine looked like.

This recipe makes a whole lot! Layer it in a trifle, spread it on graham crackers, dip things in it, do what your heart desires. Or you can halve it and no one will be the wiser.  

This recipe can be made a day ahead of time, just make sure you beat it well in order to get a good consistency.
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