Chocolate wafer cookies are very thin, crispy chocolate cookies that are commonly called for when making chocolate crumb crusts and icebox cakes. They have a bittersweet cocoa flavor to them and a very dark , nearly black, color. They’re an unusual cookie these days, although they have been around since the 1930s, because these are their two primary uses and you rarely see them in other applications. As a result, they can be difficult to find and not every grocery store will carry them.
The drawback to using these cookies in a recipe is that they tend to be fairly expensive for a small box of cookies, mostly because they’re not used for all that much. You will need them in some recipes – such as some icebox cakes that rely on their particular size and shape – but when it comes to chocolate crumb crusts, you will often be better off opting for different chocolate cookies to make a crust that ends up being less expensive to produce and just as tasty. Chocolate graham crackers are one option for chocolate crumb crusts, and Oreo wafer cookies (with the cream filling removed) can also be crushed into excellent chocolate crumbs.
While there is nothing like a full-sized cake or pie, there is something very appealing about little desserts. They’re cute – a shrunken down version of their full-sized cousins – and can pack in a lot of flavor. Best of all, you can usually eat more than one without feeling guilty. So I’m easily tempted by miniature versions of desserts, and when I saw a picture of some miniature chocolate cream pies in a recent issue of Sunset magazine, I wanted to give them a try. A few tweaks to the original recipe and I had a whole batch of tasty, mini cream pies to enjoy!
These little pies have a great chocolate flavor to them, and a consistency that is very similar to chocolate pudding. They’re easy to handle because the filling is quite firm. In fact, it may start to firm up as you spoon it out into the mini crusts after preparing it. Don’t worry if the tops of the mini pies look a little irregular as they set. The whipped cream used to top the pies not only lightens up the chocolate, but it disguises any little imperfections in the filling. I used dark chocolate and the filling had a nice chocolate flavor that wasn’t too sweet. Use sweetened whipped cream to finish these if you like them a little sweeter, or simply substitute a semisweet or milk chocolate instead.
The crusts for these little pies are very easy to make. You’ll notice right away that, unlike many other graham cracker-type crusts, there is no butter in the recipe. Instead, the crumbs are held together with egg white. This makes for a crisper, firmer crust that is easy to take out of the mini muffin cups after baking, as well as for a crust that will hold up well to the chocolate cream filling without becoming soggy. Don’t worry if the crusts seem a bit hard after baking; just fill them up and chill them and they’ll be just right when you’re ready to eat! I added a little instant coffee powder (Starbucks Via, actually, since I really like that for baking) to my crusts to give them a hint of mocha flavor.
These mini pies can easily be made a day in advance and stored in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Add the whipped cream just before serving and give them a dusting of cocoa powder to finish them off. These are great for a crowd, and perhaps even better as a bite-sized treat to share with a loved one on a special occasion – with leftovers, of course!
When I started out on my self-appointed task to make homemade versions of some popular Girl Scout cookies, I didn’t have any problem picking out Do-Si-Dos, Samoas and Tagalongs as my top choices. But I thought it might be fun to throw in a recipe that used Girl Scout cookies, too, and this is that recipe. I opted to use the ever-popular Thin Mints – crispy, chocolate dipped mint chocolate wafers – as a crumb crust to compliment a vanilla cheesecake.
Because the cookies are chocolate-covered, the idea of an unbaked crust appealed to me as it guaranteed that I wouldn’t end up with chocolate running all over the floor of my oven. No-bake cheesecakes, however, have never been a favorite of mine because there seem to be so many ways to screw them up. They should be easy to make because you don’t need to worry about over cooking or fussing with a water bath, as you do with some baked cheesecakes, but I’ve had too many that are extremely fluffy (Cool Whip/marshmallow-type consistency) or far too dense (straight cream cheese, perhaps cut with a little lemon zest). This in mind, I decided to see if I could find a nice middle ground that would taste like a nice, creamy cheesecake while still showcasing my mint chocolate crust.
I used a mixture of cream cheese and whipping cream as the base for the cheesecake – the cheese for flavor and texture and the cream for lightness. Held together with a bit of gelatine (or gelatin, if you prefer), the cake turned out beautifully: easy to make and satisfying to eat. It is light and creamy, yet not “airy” at all. It’s quite a bit lighter than most baked cheesecakes, though in this case it really seems to let the mint chocolate flavor of the crust stand out. In fact, the whole dessert reminds me a little bit of mint chocolate chip ice cream, flavor-wise.
Now, if you don’t have a box of Girl Scout Thin Mints or you don’t want to make them yourself, Keebler makes a cookie called Grasshoppers that are identical to Thin Mints. Same texture, same shape, same nutritional stats, same taste – and they’re usually really inexpensive when they’re on sale.