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 is that heavenly chocolate thing you make? The dessert 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 chocolate ganache! All layers 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 350ºF. Line bottom of a 10-inch springform pan with parchment paper and spray with non-stick spray. Set aside. Toast chopped pecans in oven 3-5 minutes. Pour pecans in a small bowl to stop the cooking process. Mix brownies according to package directions. Pour batter into prepared springform pan. Bake according to package directions. Remove brownies from oven and top with marshmallows. Return oven for 1-2 minutes (this makes the marshmallows stick to the brownies so they won’t float when you pour on the hot chocolate pudding). Remove from oven and sprinkle mini chocolate chips and pecans on top of marshmallows. Set aside.
Layer Two- Chocolate Pudding:
6 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup granulated sugar
4 cups whipping cream
1 (6 ounce) semi-sweet chocolate baking bar (I use Ghirardelli), chopped into pea size pieces
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
While brownies are baking, make chocolate pudding. In a large saucepan, add measured cornstarch (level each tablespoon with a knife) and sugar. Stir until combined. Pour in whipping cream and stir with a wire whisk until combined. Over medium heat cook, stirring constantly to prevent lumps, until pudding thickens. Occasionally scrape bottom, sides and corners of pan with a silicone 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 chopped chocolate. Turn heat to low. Continue stirring until all chocolate melts, everything is combined and smooth. Scrape again with the spatula to get the stuff that hides in the corners of the pan! Cook on low 8 more minutes, stirring often. Add vanilla. Stir until combined. Pour chocolate pudding over brownie base. Refrigerate uncovered overnight. (This is important- if you cover the pan, moisture will condense and drip on the pudding. Also, it takes at least 10 to 12 hours to set up properly.) Tip: Make sure your refrigerator doesn’t have any “stinky” food in it or the chocolate will absorb the “Stink!”
Layer Three- Chocolate Ganache:
2 cups whipping cream
1 (8 ounce) semi-sweet chocolate bar (I use Ghirardelli)
1 (8 ounce) bittersweet chocolate bar (I use Ghirardelli)
The next day after the pudding has set up, make chocolate ganache. Chop chocolate bars into pea size pieces. In a medium saucepan heat whipping cream over medium high heat until it steams and just begins to simmer. Remove pan from heat and add chopped chocolate. Stir with a wire whisk until chocolate melts and everything is smooth. Pour ganache over cold pudding layer. Return to refrigerator for several hours to set. To serve, cut into 1-inch slices, cleaning knife with a wet paper towel before each slice. Makes 30, 1-inch slices. Heavenly!
Published in The News and Neighbor on December 28, 2022.