Chocolate Pudding Shortbread Bars

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When I was a kid, I loved chocolate pudding. The kind that comes in the little plastic containers with perfectly separated layers of milk chocolate and vanilla, or milk chocolate and devil’s food. I couldn’t get enough of it. After school, after dinner, afternoon…

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To this day, whenever it catches my eye at the grocery store, I can’t resist buying chocolate pudding. It’s like an old favorite movie or book, that you’ll never get tired of, because it’s just that awesome. Even if deep down you know maybe it’s not that awesome. It’s just always been there and you’ve always had way too soft of a soft spot for it. And maybe now that you’re (almost) a grown up, there was that one time you let yourself have two pudding cups after dinner on a day where you worked out harder than you had in a month. No biggie. It’s our pudding party and we can do what we want.

For some reason, until I saw this recipe, it had never occurred to me to make pudding myself. Maybe the whole chocolate-and-cream-are-easy-to-burn thing scared me off. This one, with a shortbread bottom, seemed a little less threatening for some reason.

First we make the shortbread bottom and press it into a pan.

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And bake it. Alternatively titled, “My Oven Burns Everything: Exhibit 47.”

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Then we whisk together some pudding and pour it over the cooled shortbread.

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Then we stick it in the fridge for a bit, and then get to enjoy a slightly more adult rendition of our favorite childhood snack.

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These bars are the perfect combination of buttery from the shortbread and slightly sweet from the pudding. Just enough creaminess, just enough crunch — a perfect match.

Chocolate Pudding Shortbread Bars

Recipe from The Crepes of Wrath

Makes 25

For the Shortbread:

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, cubed

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon kosher salt

For the Chocolate Pudding:

1 cup heavy cream

1 1/4 cup chocolate

1 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 eggs, room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

sea salt for sprinkling (optional — I forgot and really wish I hadn’t)

Preheat oven to 375 F. Liberally butter a 9×13-inch baking pan, or line with parchment and butter the parchment. To make the shortbread, beat the butter until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add in the sugar and beat another 3 minutes or so, until light and fluffy. Add in the salt and the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until incorporated. The dough might be a little crumbly, that’s ok.

Press the dough into the prepared pan using your hands, spreading it as evenly as you can. Bake 20-25 minutes, until slightly golden and set. Remove from oven and allow to cool at least 10-15 minutes. The crust may collapse if it’s still hot when you pour the hot pudding over it.

While the shortbread cools, make the pudding. Place the cream in a medium saucepan over medium heat, and heat until simmering. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add in the chocolate. Whisk the chocolate into the cream until completely melted, stirring constantly so it doesn’t burn. Remove from heat. Add in the sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Whisk until fully incorporated. Return the pudding to medium heat for 2 minutes, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and set aside. If the shortbread isn’t cool yet, stir the pudding every few minutes so a skin doesn’t form on top.

Pour the pudding over the cooled shortbread. Place the pan in the refrigerator for about 2 hours, until the pudding is set. If sprinkling with sea salt, do so just before the pudding is set, so the salt stays on top. When the pudding is fully chilled and set, cut into squares with a clean knife. Wipe the knife with a damp paper towel between cuts, and serve. The bars will keep in the fridge for up to 2 days.

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2 Comments on “Chocolate Pudding Shortbread Bars”


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