While I believe in a well-stocked pantry (see my Pantry Staples page for details), one thing I try NOT to keep on hand is packaged cookies. It’s just too easy to get carried away with them during a moment of weakness. (Which is typically every day around 4 p.m.) Sure, I usually have all the ingredients to make homemade cookies, but that process allows more time for introspection and self-intervention. In the time it takes to get 2 sticks of butter soft enough for cookie-making, one could easily rip through an entire sleeve of Oreos. So I avoid the cookie aisle, and generally keep afternoon cravings under control with some fruit or a few chocolate chips. And caffeine.
For the past week, however, there’s been a new foe in town: The Girl Scout Cookie. How could I resist the deftly-crafted sales pleas of sweet angelic Girl Scouts (who happen to be my daughters)? Even though we donated boxes to the troops’ chosen charities, I still ended up with a pantry full of Trefoils, Thin Mints, Samoas and Tagalongs.
Fortunately, abundance is the mother of invention when it comes to my cooking. I love the challenge of using up leftovers or overstocked ingredients in a creative way. My sparse-pantried mother would say, “Just buy less food!” But then I might never have come up with Trefoil Chocolate Pudding Pie – and that would be a shame.
This is more of an ice box cake than a pie, but you get the idea. Shortbread cookies layered with chocolate pudding and refrigerated, so that the cookies turn soft and cake-like. Then topped with whipped cream before serving. (The Nilla wafer banana pudding and chocolate wafer whipped cream cake classics were the inspiration.) Retro-chic comfort food at its best! If it’s not Girl Scout cookie season, any kind of shortbread-style cookie could be used – Lorna Doone’s, Pepperidge Farms Chessmen, Nilla Wafers, etc. And while I’m all for shortcuts, the “semi-homemade”angle should end here. You really owe it to yourself (I mean, your family) to make homemade chocolate pudding.
This streamlined recipe for chocolate pudding maximizes “chocolatiness” while minimizing steps and other ingredients. No eggs, no double boilers, no straining; just delicious, seriously chocolately pudding in about 5 minutes. I make it with organic 1% milk, so it’s practically health food! Once you see how easy it is to make – and how much better it tastes, you may never buy boxed pudding again.
Trefoil Chocolate Pudding Pie
- 1 box Girl Scout Trefoil cookies or other shortbread cookies (Lorna Doone, Chessmen, Nilla Wafers)
- 1 recipe Real Chocolate Pudding (below)
- Whipped cream for topping (1 cup heavy cream, 1-2 Tablespoons powdered sugar, ½ teaspoon vanilla extract)
- Chocolate bar/shavings for garnish (optional)
In a 9×9 pan or small casserole dish, arrange cookies in a single layer.
Make pudding recipe (below); pour warm pudding over cookies. Add a few additional cookies on top.
Allow to cool; then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve. (If you cover it right away, you’ll get a lot of condensation on the plastic wrap.)
For serving, top with fresh whipped cream. (In a cold bowl, beat heavy cream with powdered sugar and vanilla until stiff peaks form.)
(Sorry for the blurry photo; I think the anticipation was getting to me.)
For chocolate shavings garnish, use a vegetable peeler and shave a chocolate bar directly over the whipped cream.
Real Chocolate Pudding
- ¾ cup sugar
- 3 Tablespoons cornstarch
- ¼ teaspoon salt [I use table salt (vs kosher) here and when baking]
- 2 cups milk (any kind: nonfat, 1%, 2%, whole)
- 1 generous cup bittersweet chocolate chips or chopped bittersweet chocolate (approx 6-7 oz) [You could use semisweet chips, but cut the sugar down to 1/2 cup]
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, add sugar, cornstarch, salt and milk. Whisk to combine.
Whisk/stir gently until mixture comes to a boil. Pudding will start to thicken just before boiling. (It will look like Elmer’s glue.)
Let bubble/boil for a minute or so, and then remove from heat. Stir in vanilla (which will bubble up) and chocolate chips. Whisk until smooth.
Pour into a serving dish or individual bowls, or proceed with Trefoil Pudding Pie assembly.