Old School Puddin Pops From Homemade Chocolate Pudding Mix

Michelle makes me a cook and serve chocolate pudding mix that I store in quart jars and make whenever the urge for rich, creamy chocolate hits. This is better than the box mix as it is 1) cheaper and 2) a deeper chocolate with the high quality cocoa in it.

But, when August is panting her fetid breath on the back of your neck and you want more than just pudding, you can use the mix to make puddin pops. I have very fond memories of that creamy frozen dessert that can beat Fudgsicles for depth of flavor.

Alas, puddin pops are no more in the store but they can be in your home. For richest results use whole milk. While 2% will work, any less fat makes for a thin pudding and not the best texture puddin pops.

These are so good, they taste like I should make more. Good thing she made me a whole recipe of pudding mix!

Chocolate Pudding Mix

4 cups nonfat dry milk powder
2 2/3 cups sugar
1 1/3 cup corn starch
1 1/3 cups Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix all together and store in airtight containers.

To make pudding: Whisk 1 cup chocolate pudding mix into 2 cups milk in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Pour into a glass dish or bowl and cover the top with plastic wrap to keep a skin from forming. Refrigerate until cool before serving.

Once you have your pudding mix, it is time to cook the pudding for puddin pops.

Puddin Pops

1 cup Chocolate Pudding Mix
2 cups milk
1 cup Cool Whip Whipped Topping

Place the pudding mix and milk in a saucepan and bring to boil, stirring constantly. Scrape pudding into a metal mixing bowl and place over a large bowl of ice and water and stir to bring the temperature down. Once the bottom of the bowl containing the pudding is cool to the touch, mix in the Cool Whip. Stir until completely incorporated.

Pour into molds and place in the freezer. It will take at least four hours to freeze.

 

 

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Chocolate Cherry Cream Cheese Bars

We had some cherries that we needed to do something with, so Michelle made a pie filling base with them by pitting and boiling them with some water, lemon juice, and sugar. She did this the night before so it would be chilled before adding to the top of the warm cheesecake.

We then used as a stepping off point the basic no-bake recipe from the Punta Clara Kitchen Cookbook on Cherry Cream Cheese Delights. If you’re ever in Point Clear, Alabama stop by for some of their delicious candy.

As Michelle doesn’t really care for sweetened condensed milk (I think she’s actually from another planet), we went with a more traditional baked cheesecake with Greek yogurt. We added two hits of chocolate with some semi-sweet morsels and some sweet ground chocolate.

While I’m not usually a fan of combining (adulterating) chocolate and fruit, these are a perfect match of deep chocolate flavor with creamy cheesecake and sweet-tart cherries!

Cherry Pie Filling

4 cups fresh pitted cherries, about 2 1/2 pounds
1/3 cup water
1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine cherries, water, lemon juice, sugar and cornstarch.

Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and cook, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes.

Cool slightly before using as a topping.

We used a little more than half the recipe of cherry filling in the bars. The rest we are putting in the Chocolate Pound Cake!

Chocolate Cherry Cream Cheese Bars

1  cups graham crackers
1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels
1 – 8 ounce package cream cheese
1/2 cup Ghirardelli Sweet Ground Chocolate and Cocoa
1/4 cup Greek yogurt, plain
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons all purpose flour

1/2 recipe (or can) of cherry pie filling

Melt the butter in an 8×8 dish as the oven warms to 350 degrees F. Sprinkle the graham cracker crumbs evenly over the melted butter and bake for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and scatter the chocolate morsels over the warm crust to begin melting.

Beat together the cream cheese and ground chocolate. Mix in the Greek yogurt, egg, vanilla and salt. Beat in flour. Pour over graham cracker crust and bake for 20-25 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before covering the top with the cherry pie filling. Cool in the fridge before cutting and serving.

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

I wanted some cookies but I couldn’t decided between oatmeal cookies and chocolate chip. So, I made the best of both worlds with these chocolate chip oatmeal cookies.

Chop the pecans pretty fine, so you get nuts in every bite.

Don’t be like me and grab the 1/3 cup measure when measuring the oatmeal – I thought I had put my hand on the 1/4 cup so I ended up with 2/3rds cups more oats than planned. The cookies were still delicious, they just were more oatie than planned (and Michelle seems to like them better that way). On second thought, maybe be like me.

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 sticks butter, softened
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 – 10 ounce package bittersweet chocolate morsels
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup finely chopped toasted pecans

Pre-heat oven to 350° degrees F

Place flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl. Whisk to combine.

In a large mixing bowl beat together the brown sugar, granulated sugar and butter until light and creamy. Beat in eggs, milk and vanilla extract.

Slowly beat in the flour. Then add oats, bittersweet morsels and nuts and mix well.

Drop by rounded tablespoons onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 13 minutes for chewy cookies and 15 minutes for crispy cookies.

Allow cookies to cool 1 minute on the baking sheet before transferring to wire racks to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

 

Black Forest Birthday Cake

Michelle requested a black forest cake for her birthday as she loves both cherries and chocolate. I’m not a kirschwasser fan, so instead of the liquor, I made my own simple syrup with some frozen cherries to make a paint for the cake layers. You can use any good chocolate cake recipe as the base. I used my favorite sour cream chocolate cake. The cake is moist and decadently rich and goes beautifully with the cherries. Be sure the coffee is hot when adding as it jump starts the cooking process.

If you want more layers, add another cup of whipping cream when making the frosting (for 3 cups total) and increase the simple syrup to 1 cup each of sugar and water when making the cherry syrup. Cut each cake in half and just repeat the assembly directions until cake is covered with cherry syrup and smothered in whipped cream.

If you like kirsch, use it to replace the vanilla in the cake and whipped cream.

Black Forest Birthday Cake

Chocolate Cake:
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup Dutch process cocoa powder
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and returned to room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup full fat sour cream, at room temperature
1/2 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup strong coffee, hot

For the Cherry Syrup:
1 lb frozen pitted cherries, divided
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water

For the Frosting:
2 cups heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

For Decorating:
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, grated
reserved cherries

For the Cake:

Preheat the oven to 350° degrees F. Butter two round 9 inch cake pans and, instead of flour, use cocoa to coat the pans to ease removal. Set aside.

Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, mix the oil, butter, eggs, sour cream, buttermilk, and vanilla together until combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix. Add the hot coffee and whisk or beat it all until the batter is completely combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl at least once during mixing.

Divide batter evenly between pans. Bake for 20-25 minutes, rotating the pans midway through cooking. Baking times may vary and the cakes are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the cakes from the oven and set on a wire rack. Allow to cool 45 minutes in the pan before removing and cooling completely on a wire rack.

For the syrup:

Set aside one cup frozen cherries. In a small saucepan, add sugar, water and the rest of the bag of cherries. Heat on medium-low, stirring constantly, for approximately 5 minutes until sugar is dissolved. Boil another 5 to 10 minutes to thicken syrup. Set aside to cool completely. For the frosting: Whip the heavy cream, slowly adding the sugar, and then the vanilla. Whip until stiff peaks form.

Assembly:

Generously brush cherry syrup over the top of the first layer of the chocolate cake. Add a whipped cream on top and spread out into an even layer. Scatter some of the simple sugar cherries over before putting dollops of whipped cream on top, to enfold the cherries in cream. Place the next chocolate cake layer on top. Paint the top and sides with the remaining syrup.

Once all layers are in place and coated, spread a generous layer of whipped cream all over the top and sides of the cake. Drizzle with some of the cherry simple syrup. Place the reserved cherries on top. Scatter the grated chocolate over the top and sides.

Happy birthday, Michelle!

Cocoa Pebbles Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars

I was in the grocery store the other day and saw a pallet of Cocoa Pebbles cereal boxes on sale. I remembered making a dessert years ago and, thanks to my smartphone, I was able to pull up a similar recipe there in the store so I knew how much to buy.

Coming home, I found my recipe and decided to use salted caramel chips instead of the original butterscotch chips. You could also use a microwave oven to melt everything before stirring together. Combining peanut butter, chocolate chips and salted caramel chips with the Cocoa Pebbles makes for a crunchy and delicious snack.

Store in the fridge until ready to eat.

Cocoa Pebbles Bars

1 – 10 oz package Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate chips
1 – 10 oz package Hershey’s sea salt caramel chips
1 cup peanut butter (I prefer Skippy Super Chunk)
1 – 11 oz package Cocoa Pebbles cereal

Butter a 9×13 baking dish. Set aside.

Combine the chocolate chips, caramel chips and peanut butter in a double boiler. Stir over low heat until the chips are fully melted and the mixture is smooth.

Place Cocoa Pebbles in a large bowl and pour over chocolate mixture. Stir until fully coated. Pour mixture into prepared baking dish. Press into corners and smooth the top.

Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.

 

Mississippi Mud Pie for Pi Day

I’ve had more than my share of Mississippi Mud Pies. Some are cake like (a la Dolly Parton’s version). Some are just a chocolate crust with chocolate pudding. Some are as layered as the river itself and that is where I started with my version.

Chocolate crust – check. Brownie layer – check. Pudding layer – check. Caramel whipped cream layer – check. Cookie and pecan topping – check. Remembering the feeling of Mississippi river mud squishing through my toes – check!

As this is a lot of pie (like the Mississippi River currently is), I used a springform pan instead of a pie plate. If you have a deep dish one, you could certainly use that.

So yummy!

Mississippi Mud Pie

For the crust:
25 chocolate wafer cookies (about 2/3rds of a 9-ounce package)
1/2 cup pecan chopped, plus more for garnish
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the brownie layer:
8 ounces unsalted butter
8 ounces Bittersweet or Semisweet Chocolate
4 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup pecans, chopped
1 cup all-purpose flour

For the pudding layer:
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups milk
4 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut into small pieces

For the caramel whipped cream topping:
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup pecans coarsely chopped
5-8 chocolate wafer cookies, crushed

 

For the crust: In a food processor, grind wafers and pecans until fine crumbs form. Add melted butter; process until moistened. Transfer mixture to a 9-inch springform pan and press evenly into bottom and up sides. Bake in 375 degree F oven until fragrant, 8 to 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.

For the brownie layer: In a double boiler, melt butter and chocolate together. In a separate bowl whisk together eggs, salt, sugars and vanilla. Stir egg mixture into chocolate mixture, and then add flour and chopped pecans. Stir just until combined.

Scrape brownie batter into the chocolate crust, forming an even layer. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out somewhat clean. Allow to cool at least 5 minutes before topping with pudding.

For the pudding: In a medium saucepan, whisk together sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch, and salt until well combined. In a slow, steady stream, whisk in milk. Once milk is incorporated, whisk in egg yolks. Turn on the burner to medium heat and, whisking constantly, cook mixture until the first large sputtering bubble forms. Reduce heat to low; continuing to whisk constantly, cook 1 minute. Remove from heat; immediately pour through a fine mesh sieve into a medium sized mixing bowl. Stir in vanilla and cold butter until combined.

Pour pudding over the brownie layer, spreading into an even layer but staying away from the outside edge so as to form a crust. Place plastic wrap directly on surface to prevent skin from forming and chill at least 2 hours and up to 1 day.

Remove from the springform pan.

Whipped topping: Prepare an ice bath; set aside. Heat sugar, water, and a pinch of salt in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Continue cooking, without stirring, until sugar turns golden amber. Remove pan from heat; slowly pour cream down sides of pan in a slow, steady stream (it will spatter and the sugar will solidify). Return pan to medium heat, and whisk until sugar is melted and the mixture is smooth and combined.

Transfer caramel cream to a mixing bowl set in ice bath; let sit until very cold, stirring occasionally. Mixture can be refrigerated overnight.
When ready to serve pie: Whip the caramel cream until stiff peaks form. Top the chocolate pudding layer with the whipped cream. Garnish with crushed chocolate cookies and chopped pecans.

Decadent Chocolate Cupcakes

I was heading to a board meeting yesterday and I wanted to take some cupcakes to help us act in accordance with the fiduciary duties of care, loyalty, and obedience. Because of where I am on my cycle, they had to be not just chocolate but chocolate on chocolate cupcakes.

The result was rich, dark and delicious. Because of the melted butter, water and buttermilk, these are super moist, too. Chop the pecans very finely, so they becomes little nutty bits within the frosting.

Decadent Chocolate Cupcakes

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda

2 sticks unsalted butter
5 tablespoons good quality cocoa
1 cup boiling water

1/2 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs,
1 teaspoon vanilla

Place cupcake liners in 2 pans. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a mixing bowl, place the flour, sugar, salt and soda and stir to combine.

In saucepan, melt the butter. Once melted, stir in the cocoa and then add the boiling water. Pour the butter/cocoa over the flour mixture. Stir gently to combine.

In a separate bowl, beat together the buttermilk, eggs and vanilla. Pour the mixture over the batter. Fill cupcake liners about 2/3rds of the way full. Bake for 20 minutes, rotating pans midway through baking. A toothpick pressed in the center should come out clean.

Cool on wire racks before frosting.

The frosting is sweet without being cloying and is also deeply chocolate.

Chocolate Pecan Frosting

1 3/4 sticks unsalted butter
5 tablespoons good quality cocoa
6 tablespoons buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 cup toasted pecans, finely chopped

Melt butter in a saucepan. Remove from heat. Add cocoa and stir to combine. Add the buttermilk, vanilla and powdered sugar. Stir together until well combined. Add the pecans and stir together. Once cooled, spread over the cupcakes.