During the holidays I love to serve a show stopping dessert that people will rave about long after the meal is over. You know that dessert. The one where you take one bite and are speechless. People ask me, “What’s that heavenly chocolate thing you make? That thing we all love?” That’s how it got its name, Heavenly Chocolate Thing. (I think I hear angels singing…)
Updated from an ancient southern living recipe, the base starts with a brownie mix topped with chocolate chips, miniature marshmallows and toasted pecans. The next layer is homemade chocolate pudding and the final heavenly layer is ganache. Both are simple to make. Don’t be tempted to use pudding mixes -it won’t taste the same! And before we get into calories… Just a small slice will do! In fact you can get at least thirty 1-inch slices from this recipe.
Warning: You will be tempted to eat more!
Heavenly Chocolate Thing
Suggestion: Begin at least 24 hours in advance
so the dessert will have time to set up.
Layer One- Brownie Base:
1 box of your favorite brownie mix.
1 cup miniature marshmallows
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate mini morsels
1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom of a 10-inch springform pan with parchment paper and spray with non-stick spray. Toast chopped pecans in 350-degree oven for 5 minutes. Pour into small bowl to cool. Mix brownies according to package directions and pour batter into prepared pan. Bake according to package directions. Remove from oven and top with marshmallows. Return oven for one to two minutes (this makes the marshmallows stick to the brownies so they won’t float when you add the hot pudding). Sprinkle mini chocolate chips and pecans on top. Set aside.
Layer Two- Chocolate Pudding:
6 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup granulated sugar
4 cups whipping cream
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate baking bar
(I used Ghirardelli), chopped into pea size pieces
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
While brownies are baking make the pudding. In a large saucepan, add measured cornstarch (level each tablespoon with a knife) and sugar. Stir until combined. Pour in whipping cream. Stir with a wire whisk to combine. Turn heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly to prevent lumps, until pudding thickens. Occasionally scrape bottom and sides of pan with a rubber spatula. Make sure to get into the corners- stuff hides down there and makes lumps or burns if you aren’t careful. As soon as the pudding thickens add the chopped chocolate. Then turn the heat to low. Continue stirring until all the chocolate melts and everything is combined and smooth. You will need to scrape again with the spatula to get the stuff that hides in the corners of the pan! Cook 8 more minutes, stirring often. Add vanilla. Stir to combine. Pour over brownie base. Refrigerate uncovered overnight. (This is important- if you cover it the moisture will condense and drip on the pudding. Also, it takes at least 10 to 12 hours to set up properly.)
Layer Three- Chocolate Ganache:
2 cups whipping cream
One 8 ounce bar semi-sweet baking chocolate (I used Ghirardelli)
One 8 ounce bar dark baking chocolate (I used Ghirardelli)
Chop Chocolate into pea size pieces. In a medium saucepan heat whipping cream over medium high heat and bring to a simmer. Remove pan from heat and add chopped chocolate. Stir with a wire whisk until chocolate melts and everything is smooth. Pour over cold pudding layer. Return to refrigerator for several hours to set. To serve cut into one inch slices, clean knife with a wet paper towel before each slice. Divine!
Published in The News and Neighbor on December 21, 2013