Vanilla Bean & Hot Fudge Ice Cream Cake.

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Celebration time!Celebration can come in layers, taking time to linger and put thought and heart into every single layer.Sometimes celebration starts with chocolate wafers.

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You can buy chocolate wafers from the store if you like, but here was my problem with that: if I buy a whole package of, say, Oreos from the grocer, I will in fact, eat the rest of whatever I do not use in this recipe. I even went to the grocery store, looked Oreos straight in their delicious faces, and walked away. And an excuse to learn how to wafers-hooray!Something I learned in this whole process? Chocolate wafers are SO easy to make. Like, dagum easy. Easier than trekking to the store for Oreos even! And they taste 99 tiems better than Oreos as well. Win! So, I’ll probably have to make them again. And I’ll probably have to give them to friends or freeze them, because I have a problem. Sorry not sorry?So deeply dark, richly delicate chocolate wafers made from scratch are a must for this cake.

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What’s next . . . hot fudge? Yes. The answer to hot fudge is always yes.
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Did I mention that this particular celebration treat is an ice cream cake? I figured that you guys figured as much. The pictures were dead give-aways, you say? Ya I know. Also, my readership is a pretty clever bunch.There are no pictures of me making the brownie base (whoops!), but I made a brownie base! Let it cool to room temperature, then filled the base with a quart of vanilla bean ice cream. I then popped it in the freezer to set up a bit.
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Hot fudge spreading time. Let’s do it do it.
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Have you taken half of your chocolate wafers and pulverized them to dust & crumbles? Good. Then we can continue.
Oh! This is the part where we have spread the hot fudge, sprinkled the wafer crumbs, then proceeded to scoop and spread the rest of the ice cream. it’s delicious, and I’m excited for you.
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Also, remember that one time we put the second ice cream layer on? We knew that it was softened and pretty, but we didn’t really think too much about it cause we were taking pictures? And then, and then, and then it started melting all over the place and dripping down the edges and you freaked out a little bit and maybe said a few choice words that are inappropriate for children’s books?
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I’m sorry I said those words, & I’m glad we found the remaining wafers to serve as a fortress wall, keeping the ice cream where it should be. Also, extra hot fudge and extra wafer crumbs for decorating? Always an amazing choice.
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Freezer time.Also, if you try to take pictures of your creation after the sun goes down, you will have poor luck, and probably maybe definitely say more inappropriate words. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
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But the sun will rise on a new day, you will cut the cake, and you will celebrate. You will forget the mayhem of documenting the night before, and you will swim around in the moment you are living. You have the opportunity to celebrate someone near and dear to your heart (because let’s face it, no one goes through the trouble of making an ice cream cake for a stranger right? It’s a thing of love).
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So Matt, my love, you are hands down the best person I know. You are caring in ways that I can’t even fathom, and you are perceptive in ways that astonish me. Being your friend has taught me so much about selflessness, sacrifice, and what it means to be truly present with a person. You love me when I’m crazy, and I know you’ll love me when I get even crazier. I love how comfortable andreal I am when I am with you, and how I can trust that you are 100% real with me. Being with you is home. I am privileged to live this adventure with you. I love you an insane amount. Happy birthday!
Oh, were the rest of you wondering about the anatomy of a melting ice cream cake? Would you like me to show you? I can do that . . .
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Thanks for joining me on this journey of celebration.
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Vanilla Bean & Fudge Ice Cream Cake
makes one nine-inch spring form panfor the brownies:8 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
12 Tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a nine-inch spring form pan with foil, then parchment paper (just to be safe-no sticking!).

Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.

Place butter and chopped chocolate in a medium sized heat proof bowl.  Place the bowl over a pot of barely simmering water, being sure that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the boiling water.  Stir until chocolate and butter are completely melted.  Use pot holders to remove the bowl from over the boiling water. Lets mixture sit for a few minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium sized bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs, vanilla extract and espresso powder.  Whisk until pale and thick.  Pour the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture.  Whisk until completely incorporated.  Add the flour mixture all at once and whisk to incorporate.  Pour half of the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 22-28 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. As for the rest of the batter, you can make mini brownie bites, or pour into a lined loaf pan to eat later at your leisure (everyone needs extra brownies lying around the house to tempt them with, right? No? 🙂 .

When the brownies are done, let them cool to room temperature. Meanwhile, proceed in making the hot fudge & the wafers . . .

for the wafers: 

1 cup flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons butter, soft
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons milk

Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Set that aside while you cream the butter and sugars together until light, about 4 minutes on medium speed or a couple more minutes more if you are mixing the dough by hand. Add the vanilla extract and milk to the creamed butter and sugars.

Slowly mix in the dry ingredients until just combined. Gather the wet dough and place on a piece of parchment paper. Roll the parchment paper up and work the dough into a rough 2” log. If you are using these cookies for the ice cream cake the shape really doesn’t matter as they are destined for crumbs but if you’d like to create a uniform log for perfectly formed round cookies refrigerate the dough for 10 minutes then reform the log and squeeze the ends to compress the dough into a perfect round. Continue this process until the log is uniform. If the shape isn’t a concern just chill until firm. About 45 minutes in the fridge or 20 minutes in the freezer.

Slice the roll of cookie dough into 1/4” discs and bake at 350*F for 12-15 minutes. You want them to be quite dry so they’ll hold their crunch when surrounded by ice cream. I fit the entire batch on two baking sheets, bake for 12 minutes then turn off the oven and leave the trays in for an additional 5 minutes. Just watch and smell them closely as you don’t want them to burn.

Let the cookies cool on the tray for 5 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Gather half of the cookies into a large ziplock bag and break up into small pieces.

for the hot fudge:

1 cup heavy cream (or half & half)

1/3 cup golden syrup (or corn syrup)

1/3 cup dark brown sugar

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1 cup (6 ounces) bittersweet chocolate, chopped or use chips

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a sauce pan combine the cream, syrup sugar and cocoa powder. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and then let simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the remaining ingredients. Once the chocolate and the butter have melted strain the entire mixture to ensure no pesky cocoa powder clumps remain.

Let cool to room temperature before assembling the cake. If you are making this in advance, refrigerate until ready to use then gently reheat on the stove or in a microwave until the hot fudge is pourable.

Will keep in the fridge for 2 weeks.

assembling the cake:

After the brownie has cooled to room temperature, add the first quart of softened ice cream* to the brownie bottom. Spread evenly with an off-set spatula.

 ***You can certainly make homemade ice cream for this if you want, but I used store-bought vanilla bean, and it turned out so well! It’s up to you & how much time you have. 🙂 

Top that layer with half of the hot fudge and cookie crumbs.

Place the pan into the freezer for at least 30 minutes to set up.

Remove the pan from the freezer and add the second quart of softened ice cream over the cookie crumbs.

Top the ice cream with the remaining hot fudge & extra wafer crumbs. If you have extra whole wafers, feel free to decorate the top (or the edges) however you like!

Put the cake back into the freezer until you are ready to serve.

Un-mold the cake, taking off the base of the springform pan and parchment if you used it.

Serve immediately.

Keeps in the freezer for 1 week (but it totally won’t last that long).

Inspired by: Dairy Queen, Joy the BakerNot Without Salt, & my husband

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