How To Fill Your Icebox Cake Void Now That Nabisco Chocolate Wafers Are No More

Icebox cake is a summer staple that pulls together common ingredients to create a chilly treat. During long hot days, it can seem downright antithetical to labor hours in the kitchen with the oven belching heat only for your reward to be thick, rich cake as the sun beats down. But the no-bake icebox solution scratches the cake itch while remaining relatively-refreshing and leaving the oven out of the equation.

Typically, whipped cream, cookies, and other flavoring agents are layered and allowed to set in the freezer until ready to serve, whereby the chilled result is simply sliced like a regular cake. As you can imagine, there are countless variations that make use of different cookies or other pre-baked items, ice cream, and so forth, but one common element seen across most traditional recipes is Nabisco's Chocolate Wafers. The cookies' structural integrity yet yielding, cakey texture is a huge part of why they're so often used, but there's bad news: Nabisco is no longer making the product, leaving icebox cake fans dismayed. Bakers can still get the job done, though, by reaching for similar products, heading out to restaurants that offer the dessert, or really starting from scratch and making their own cookies at home.

How to make an icebox cake

If you're looking to make your own icebox cake, we've got some simple instructions to follow. Bear in mind that these are not hard-and-fast rules, but guidelines for making a standard version. Ingredients can be sourced from almost any grocery store. You'll need 2 cups of heavy cream, ¼ cup of powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract, one package of chocolate wafer cookies, and chocolate shavings or cocoa powder, which are optional for garnishing.

In a large mixing bowl, pour in the heavy cream and beat with an electric mixer on medium-high until it starts to thicken. Gradually add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract while continuing to whip. Beat until stiff peaks form, ensuring not to over-whip. On a flat serving plate, spread a thin layer of the whipped cream and place a single layer of chocolate wafer cookies on top. Spread another layer of whipped cream on top of the cookies, followed by another layer of cookies. Continue this process, until you have used all the cookies, making sure to finish with a layer of whipped cream on top.

Cover the cake with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator for at least 4 to 6 hours or overnight. This time allows the cookies to soften into the cream, creating a cake-like texture. Before serving, dust the top of the cake with cocoa powder or scatter the chocolate shavings.

Make your own icebox cake cookies

Admittedly, this was all predicated on not turning on your oven and getting the whole house hot. But, if you really want to step up your icebox cake — and you can stand a little heat — why not make your own cookies? Our recipe for chocolate sandwich cookies is a great replacement for Nabisco Chocolate Wafers. You'll need all-purpose flour, butter, sugar, cocoa powder, egg white, sea salt, and vanilla extract. After the dough is made, all you have to do is freeze it, cut it into rounds (or really whatever shape you desire) and quickly bake them at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 12 to 14 minutes.

Take a tip from the Barefoot Contessa

So what other cookies can hold a candle to Nabisco's chocolate wafers? If you're a fan of Ina Garten, then take a tip from the Barefoot Contessa and turn to Tate's. The famed TV chef is a proponent of the gourmet cookie brand for her own easy icebox cake. The crispy qualities of Tate's cookies allow them to meld with the whipped cream and become cakey without turning to an unpleasant mush. And, of course, when it's an Ina Garten recipe, it isn't just going to be something basic. The whipped cream she uses is enriched with mascarpone cheese and flavored with Kahlua and cocoa powder for a mocha spin.

Turn to Oreos — unstuffed

Here's something you might not have known, and you definitely won't see in conventional grocery stores. You can buy Oreo cookies without the cream. That's right, just the wafer cookies, and guess what they're perfect for? Icebox cake and Oreos are a match made in heaven if the cookies 'n' cream vibe is what you're after, but regular Oreos won't soak up enough moisture due to their cream filling. That's why you need the unstuffed solo cookies, which you can find online in bulk boxes. It might be a big commitment, but once you get rolling on the icebox cake train, you won't want to stop.

Dewey's brownie crisps work well, too

Gourmet baker Dewey's Bakery — known for their Moravian cookie thins cookies and sugar cake — has a perfect little cookie for your icebox cake. Their brownie crisp cookie is made with real cocoa and evokes the coveted, crunchy edges of a brownie. The company ships nationwide, and one box contains 62 cookies. Though that's likely enough for one cake, depending on the size, you might as well order more to be safe — and to snack on while you wait for the icebox to work its magic.

Goya's got you covered

It seems like there is very little that Goya Foods doesn't make. Latin American and Hispanic cuisine products range from coconut milk to adobo seasoning, yet they don't miss a beat when it comes to desserts. Goya's Chocolate Maria Cookies are crunchy little rounds that go perfectly with a cup of coffee, or better yet, an icebox cake. What's more, they come in packages that are smaller than most other cookie bags and boxes, so it's easier to buy the exact amount needed without having too many extra. That said, these simple, but delicious cookies are so good, maybe you'll want a few more to nibble on.

Billy's Bakery offers the sweet treat

Let's say that you're not inclined to make an icebox cake, but you have a hankering nonetheless. There are restaurants and bakeries that are happy to serve you up a slice — or whole cake — straight from the icebox. If you're in New York City, pop into one of Billy's Bakery's four locations, where an icebox cake is layered with homemade chocolate wafers and your choice of vanilla or chocolate whipped cream. And, if you're not down to pop in to Billy's Bakery, the company will deliver this fragile cake (remember that it is frozen) within the local area.

Pick up a whole cake from Magnolia Bakery

A little easier to access given their locations in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, Magnolia Bakery serves up a classic icebox cake with chocolate wafers along with a bevy of other desserts that get the icebox treatment, if you want to get a variety of items to keep things cool. While the icebox cake is for pickup only, stopping by the bakery should give you time to peruse the full selection, including key lime icebox bars and peanut butter icebox pie.