I have a soft spot for soft foods. I like pudding, especially homemade chocolate pudding (and I'm sorry to say that I especially like the thin skin that forms on top as it cools. I realize that you might not feel the same way.) I like warm applesauce that you cook on the stove, particularly when you leave it a little chunky. I like how it tastes when you pour thick cold cream over it. I like silky hummus and the custard-y filling of eclairs and all manner of stews and soups.
But I think the best of all are softened foods, meaning ones that have changed texture rather than starting off soft in the first place.
When I was little, I used to make this concoction for dessert. I'd whip cream to stiff peaks in the stand mixer, and then take 5 or so of my mom's homemade chocolate biscotti (super crunchy / no butter or oil / the best ever) and crush them up. I'd fold the crushed cookies into the whipped cream and stick the bowl in the freezer while we ate dinner. My sisters would happily eat biscotti the normal way (plain or dipped in milk) for dessert while I spooned up my faux-semifreddo.
So it shouldn't come as a big surprise that I love, love, love icebox cakes. It's the same concept: whipped cream combined with crisp cookies. But a classic icebox cake is made up of layers of thin chocolate wafer cookies and sweetened whipped cream. You let it all sit overnight in the refrigerator so the cookies soften, and you can slice into the entire masterpiece like a piece of layer cake.
Any crisp, thin cookie will do. Simple whipped cream is delicious, but you can also sweeten it with a bit of powdered sugar, or add in flavors that complement your cookies: lemon zest for gingersnaps, cocoa powder for chocolate wafers, and so on.
If you want to get really wild about it, you can layer on some texture and crunch (like chocolate chips or flaked coconut) or fruit (like sliced bananas) or other ingredients (like a layer of chocolate pudding or miniature marshmallows), go here and read more of my ideas as I recently waxed poetic about it all on the King Arthur Flour website (and yes, I most certainly did get extremely carried away coming up with icebox cake variations. Such is life!).
Now that we've sorted out dessert, here are some more important things to note:
This song is gorgeous and this one is...I want to say haunting. But I mean that in a serious way, and yet the word haunting always brings me to this gem of a video, and then I can't stop laughing, and that's not the second Aperol spritz of the night talking. Or is it?
I just finished two excellent books (Standard Deviation by Katherine Heiny and Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan), so I'm now just starting Katherine Heiny's book of short stories. Normally, I am very anti-short stories, as they generally give me that walking-through-a-museum feeling of "am I getting this? Oh, everyone else appreciates it so I will nod appreciatively but will feel like I am missing some sort of meaningful point. Please pass the beach read" but this book so far is fantastic and I love every paragraph and I feel like the characters are so vividly written that they must not only be real, but they must be inside my head thinking what I think.
Lemon Gingersnap Icebox Cake
2 sleeves crisp ginger cookies (I like the Anna's brand, or make your own)
1 cup heavy cream
zest of 1 lemon
Whip the cream to stiff peaks and fold in the lemon zest. Line a standard-sized metal loaf pan with parchment or plastic wrap, then place a layer of cookies on the bottom. Spread a layer of lemon whipped cream on top, then alternate layers of cookies and whipped cream until you run out. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours. Invert the cake into a platter, slice, and serve.