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…
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.
And bake it. Alternatively titled, “My Oven Burns Everything: Exhibit 47.”
Then we whisk together some pudding and pour it over the cooled shortbread.
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.
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
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.
10 Reasons to Make these Brownies Now
1. Pomegranates won’t be around forever. Soon it’ll be 10 months until their next appearance.
2. Chocolate + Pomegranate sounds a little weird, but is totally awesome.
3. They’re easy, but look and taste impressive enough to share.
4. With pomegranates in them, they’re practically a healthy serving of fruit. (Just don’t take that too literally and be like this lady.)
5. To do a practice run before you make the batch you’re going to share.
6. Probably one of the less messy ways to use a pomegranate.
7. You need to use the last of your past-their-prime eggs that might be a little questionable on their own.
9. Pomegranates are a great way to fancify just about anything. It’s bedazzling…for brownies!
10. They’re a great dinner. Or breakfast.
Like a lot of good things, these brownies start with chocolate and butter.
Which gets poured into the eggs and sugar, vanilla, and salt.
Then we mix in the flour.
Pour in the pan, sprinkle the pomegranate seeds on top. I didn’t do a great job of distributing mine evenly.
And now you’ve got fancy brownies.
These brownies are decadent, fudgy, and a really delicious twist on a classic.
6 oz dark chocolate (mine was 60%, the only option at the store, but I think 70 or 75% would be great too)
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, cubed
3 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 pomegranate, seeded (Here’s a good video tutorial.)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper.
Melt the butter and chocolate together in a double boiler, a heat-proof bowl resting on a pot of boiling water, or in the microwave. Set aside to cool slightly.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, vanilla extract, and salt.
Add the cooled chocolate mixture to the egg mixture, whisking to combine.
Stir in the flour with a spatula, mixing until just combined and scraping down the bowl as needed. Mix in the pomegranate seeds, reserving 1/3 cup for the top.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the remaining 1/3 cup pomegranate seeds on top. Press them lightly into the batter, but make sure you can still see them.
Bake for 30 minutes, until outer edges are dry and the center is still glossy.
Cool for 15 minutes, then refrigerate before serving.
Love it or hate it (or have an unsettlingly complicated love-hate relationship with it), it’s pumpkin season! I’ve driven by three different pumpkin patches in the last week. There’s a pumpkin-themed 5k/10k run in my town this weekend. Even the trees are orange. Though I guess that’s a whole different thing.
I don’t have any strong feelings either way about pumpkin. But one thing I do love about it – you can turn it into just about anything. Pancakes. Cookies. Pie, Soup. Bread. Jack-o-lantern. 5k run, even. And, you can mix it with just about anything. Chocolate. Coffee. Beans (in the soup). Bacon. It’s a vegetable with a lot of potential.
This is a recipe that showcases pumpkin in all its glory but has enough other flavors in it that if you don’t like pumpkin, you’ll still love this. It’s ginger-y, cinnamon-y, and there’s chocolate.
First we melt the chocolate. Chocolate is fragile, and melting is best done in a double boiler. If you’re like me and don’t have one, set a heat-proof bowl on top of a small pot of boiling water. Just a little bit of water in the pan, don’t let it touch the bottom of the bowl. The steam will melt the chocolate.
Then we’ll mix our dry ingredients together.
And in a separate bowl, our wet ingredients.
And then everything gets mixed together.
We layer batter and chocolate in a baking dish, and run a knife through to make it look nice.
And bake! I blame the monochromatic-ness of this on my oven, which I’m pretty sure has a completely uncontrolled heating mechanism and gradually gets hotter and hotter no matter where I set the temperature. It has a near 100% success rate burning the bottoms of my cookies.
Monochromatic it may be, but this gingerbread is delicious. A little sweet, and it’s got enough spice to warm you on a cool fall day while you watch the orange leaves fall past your window.
Chocolate-Swirl Pumpkin Gingerbread
Yields one 9×13-pan, however servings that is for you and yours
4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, roughly chopped
2 c all-purpose flower
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c butter, softened
1 c granulated sugar
1/2 c molasses
1/2 c pumpkin puree
1/2 c boiling water
Set oven to 350 degrees F.
Spray a 9×13-inch pan with non-stick spray and set aside. In a double boiler, add the chocolate. Melt, stirring occasionally and then remove pan from heat, leaving the bowl on the double boiler to keep the chocolate melted.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and salt. Whisk to combine and set aside. In a mixing bowl fitted with a paddle attachment (or in a bowl with a wooden spoon, you can totally do this by hand), combine sugar and butter and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in molasses and pumpkin. Stir in the boiling water. With a rubber scraper, fold in flour mixture.
Pour half the batter into the prepared pan. Pour in half the melted chocolate in an “S” pattern. Pour on the remaining batter, then top with the remaining chocolate. Run a butter knife through the batter to better swirl the chocolate, but do not fully incorporate.
Bake for 35-40 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.