Tiramisù, an Italian classic, is an internationally-loved dessert for countless reasons. I’ll cite a few: it’s easy to make, best prepped in advance, and I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t immediately melt over its luscious, creamy layers. What’s more, tiramisù is decidedly grown-up. Of course, with espresso being a core ingredient, I wouldn’t consider it a kid-friendly sweet. (Although, truth be told, with tiramisù being my mom’s favorite dessert, my sisters and I indulged annually on her birthday from elementary age onwards.)
And as is the case for many of our favorite desserts, tiramisù is easy to interpret. With all respect to the traditional ladyfingers, mascarpone, and aforementioned espresso, sometimes, it can be good to change things up. (Case in point, Camille’s raspberry tiramisù that’s made many an appearance on my summertime table.) But if true indulgence is the assignment, Elisa Marshall’s cookie tiramisù delivers.
Maman’s Cookie Tiramisù
A favorite at her NYC-based restaurant and café, Maman, this cookie tiramisù delights diners every time. Recently, Elisa served this cozy, homey dessert at her whimsical, flower-fueled gathering. In lieu of ladyfingers, Elisa soaks large chunks of Maman’s signature nutty chocolate chip cookies in the espresso. To elevate the treat further, Elisa layers the mascarpone cream and soaked cookies in stemmed glasses—emphasizing that yes, you’re about to dip your spoon into something truly special.
“You can use any homemade or store-bought chocolate chip cookies, but if they are particularly sweet, you may need to pull back on the sugar. This tiramisù is ideal for entertaining because it’s super simple to prepare and is best made in advance—it actually tastes even better the next day!”
8 Maman’s Nutty Chocolate Chip Cookies or store-bought chocolate chip cookies (about 30 ounces / 840 grams total)
2 tablespoons unsweetened natural cocoa powder
In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream on high until stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl.
In the clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the mascarpone, sugar, and vanilla and whip on high, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Add the whipped cream and gently fold with a rubber spatula to combine without deflating the mixture.
Pour the espresso into a wide, shallow bowl. Set aside half of 1 cookie for garnish. Break 4 of the cookies into large chunks, add them to the espresso, and let soak, flipping once, until saturated but not falling apart, 45 to 60 seconds per side. Reserve the espresso. Arrange the soaked cookies on the bottom of an 8-inch square baking pan, pressing down to create an even layer. Spread half of the mascarpone whipped cream evenly on top of the cookies. Using a small fine-mesh sieve, dust 1 tablespoon of the cocoa powder over the mascarpone whipped cream.
Soak the remaining cookies in the reserved espresso. Use the soaked cookies, the remaining mascarpone whipped cream, and the remaining cocoa powder to create a second layer. Crumble the reserved half cookie and sprinkle on top of the tiramisù. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 5 days. Serve chilled.
If you don’t have an espresso machine at home, brew a dark-roast coffee or use instant espresso powder. What’s important is that you don’t forgo the espresso or coffee—its flavor is essential to tiramisù. If you prefer a bolder coffee flavor, sprinkle a little instant espresso powder between the layers.