First things first.
The cake, obviously. It was fantastic. Here is SO much more than you wanted to know about it.
I used, at Natalie's suggestion, Ghiradelli's Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. And I used mini chocolate chips, because when the cake is cold, a full-size chocolate chip is a one-way ticket to the dentist's chair.
The most stressful part of making cookies for me is not overbaking them, so it was very refreshing to have cookies that need to be overbaked and crispy (if they aren't, your cake will be mega mushy). I cooked mine for 11 minutes.
The first batch I made, I used my medium-size cookie scoops and they were too big (I used those cookies for the center of my cake). After that, I did about 3/4 of a tablespoon and those were just about perfect.
It made exactly 48 cookies and, since I was halving the original cake recipe, that was ideal. I did seven cookies on each layer (one of the too-big ones in the middle and six smaller cookies around that) and I ended up with seven layers (on the top layer, I did five of the too-big cookies and called it good).
I didn't buy mascapone cheese because I am cheap, instead I just used this substitute. When you make the whipped cream, it's not very sweet. I was a little worried, but I shouldn't have been.
This is an extremely rich dessert - I cut pretty small slices (the original recipe says it serves 10; I served my half-sized cake to SIXTEEN adults) and we still had a few slices left afterward. Some people couldn't even quite finish their slices, it was that rich.
Bart said it was about what he was expecting and that he'd prefer either cake or cookies, rather than a combo of the two. But the next day, when it had sat an extra night in the fridge and was very cold? He kept going back for another bite. We polished it off after lunch with no problem.
I will totally make this again. I'm tempted to try other combinations (like chocolate cookies with mint whipped cream or gingersnaps with pumpkin whipped cream). Seriously, I loved this dessert.
And, in case you don't care about dessert and cookies and whipped cream (who are you?), here's the dress Merrick made me for my birthday.
A dress I will probably never fit into again after eating that cake (worth it!)