Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Delightfully Chocolate

Dear fellow foodies,

I’m sorry for the delay, this past week I found myself a little uninspired in the kitchen. I know I promised to write about corn bread, and I will. I racked my brain trying to figure out something to that corn bread would complement. Alas, as I said, I was uninspired and couldn’t figure it out. My mom made corn bread with every meal, it didn’t matter what it was, there was always corn bread in a basket on the table. Honestly, it shouldn’t be that difficult, she served it every night.

I’m not sure why I was so uninspired this week; I cooked dinner most nights, but nothing to write home, or to you, about. Maybe it’s this time of year, when all the TV commercials are blasting “Mother’s Day” in our faces. It’s a hard time for me, I miss my mom so very much, and all the Mother’s day regalia just makes it more depressing.

The week wasn’t a total loss; 
I did make one of my favorite desserts my mom used to make for us. It’s called Chocolate Delight and it is... delightful! It brought back so many memories of my mom in the kitchen. It was nice to have such delicious happy thoughts of her, instead of feeling sad.

This dessert has it all – creamy, sweet, crunchy – pure gratification. Chocolate Delight is an explosion of sensory happiness with its lovely mixture of flavors and textures. There are four beautiful layers, each adding their own element for a dessert-a-licious experience. The base has sort of a savory, pecan sandie flavor. The combination of flour, butter and pecans is a great foil for the sweet layers above. The next layer is a silky, smooth creamy mixture of cream cheese, cool whip (yes, cool whip - this recipe is from the 70’s) and powdered sugar. The sugar and cool whip add a little bit of sweetness, but doesn’t overpower the tart and tangy depth of the cream cheese. On top of the fluffy white layer is chocolate pudding. Who doesn’t love chocolate pudding? The deep and luscious pudding adds a decadent dark and creamy layer. More cool whip on the top adds a heavenly light crown with chopped pecans as it’s jewels.

Normally, this is made in a 13 x 9 Pyrex dish, but I split it between two disposable 8 x 8-foil pans. One for us, and one for our neighbors. With one bite of this luscious, creamy delight, everything was all right in the world.  We couldn’t stop eating this... a spoonful here, a forkful there. It’s just so good. It had been so long since I’ve had this dessert, and for the life of me, I can’t understand why I waited until now to make it. 

Mama’s Chocolate Delight

Base layer:
1 C.         Flour
1 Stick   Butter
½ C.        Pecan pieces

Blend ingredients in food process until thoroughly mixed. Press down in a 13 x 9 Pyrex plate and bake at 375° for 15 minutes. Cool completely. While the crust is cooling, begin next layer.

Cream Cheese Layer:
8 oz.       Cream Cheese (recipe calls for Philadelphia brand, but I bought Publix brand. For the price of the Philly Cream Cheese, I can buy three Publix brand packages.)
1 C.         Cool Whip (8 oz container brought to room temperature)
1 C.         Powdered Sugar

Mix together and spread on top the base. Chill completely before adding next layer.

Pudding Layer:
2 Sm. Pkgs.         Jell-O Chocolate Pudding
3 C.                     Cold Milk

Thoroughly mix together and spread on top cream cheese layer. Chill completely.

Remaining Cool Whip
½ C. Chopped Pecans

Top with rest of cool whip. Sprinkle broken pecan pieces on top of cool whip and chill one hour before serving.  The longer it sets in the refrigerator, the better the layers develop together for a dynamic grand finale.

The recipe says you can make it with either chocolate or lemon pudding. I haven’t had the lemon version, only the chocolate because that’s how my mom made it, and I’m not sure I want to deviate from perfection. I know that the lemon would be as satisfying, maybe cheesecake-ish. For me, the chocolate version is a tasty memory of my childhood.

It’s really kind of funny, as I was going through my mom’s recipe card box; a rush of memories ran through my mind. Sitting at the butcher-block table with my parents having dinner every night. I could tell which ones were her favorites. Little hand-written recipe cards stained with ingredients of days long gone. Faded, corners of the cards torn and crinkled from all the times she made these wonderful recipes for us. I’m smiling as I write this blog, remembering how wonderful my mom was and how she showed her love with flavorful meals.

This wasn’t supposed to be a Mother’s Day blog.  Nevertheless, realizing that Mom’s Day is this coming Sunday, I made another Chocolate Delight in honor of the woman who loved, nurtured and supported me. Mama, I love and miss you every day.  I hope that this recipe inspires you to make one of  your mom’s specialties this coming weekend, and that no matter if your mom is here or gone to the great beyond, you raise a glass of Champagne to her, and maybe make a Chocolate Delight.

Until next time... 
SRQ Foodie

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