Chocolate “Dirt” Pudding

It’s a cold dreary Monday in NC and I for one, am ready for daffodils, sunshine and flip-flops.  At least there is lots of basketball this week and chocolate, always chocolate!

This is a dessert that will be popular with both the big and little kids in your life.  I think the first time I experienced dirt pudding, complete with gummy worms, was in science class in lower school.  It rocked my world.  Today, I like serving this as dessert because it always makes people smile to see a worm coming out of their glass.
DSC_0197If you’re making this for kids you might want to go more milk chocolate route versus semisweet or you could just use a jello chocolate pudding mix.  Grown-up kids will be fans of the darker, more bitter chocolate taste from semisweet morsels and cocoa powder.  If you want to make these mint chocolate dirt puddings, add a teaspoon of mint extract when you add the vanilla and garnish with mint sprigs. DSC_0155 You could also alternate layers of pudding and cookie crumbles if you love Oreos or throw a few mini-Cadbury or malted eggs on top for a lovely nature scene! 

What to buy (makes 10 small servings):

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 5 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 and 1/2 cups half and half
  • 2 and 1/2 cups milk (I used 2%)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 15-20 Oreos
  • mint sprigs and gummy worms for garnish (optional)

What to do:

  • whisk together sugar, cornstarch, cocoa and salt in a saucepan over medium heat
  • combine cream, milk, and vanilla in a separate bowl
  • pour 1 cup cream mixture into sugar mixture, whisk until cornstarch is dissolved
  • add remaining cream mixture, whisk until smooth
  • bring to a boil, whisking constantly, cook until thick, about 5 minutes
  • reduce heat to low and add chocolate, whisk until chocolate melts, about 1 minute
  • remove from heat and add vanilla and butter, whisk until butter melts
  • divide pudding, pouring or spooning into 8-10 small glasses or glass flowerpot votive candle holders leaving about 1/2 inch of space at the top of each
  • refrigerate until set (which will take about 2 hours)
  • pulse Oreos in a food processor or blender until finely ground and top each pudding with ground cookie “dirt,” and garnish with worms and a mint sprig
  • serve chilled





Classic Banana Pudding

A snow day like the one we had this week calls for some classic banana pudding with whipped cream.  I prefer mine warmed up for about 30 seconds in the microwave (or hot out of the oven) but it is delicious cold as well.  It will be best after a day or two when the wafers have absorbed the custard.  This recipe makes a small casserole dish size, about six servings so I’d double the custard proportions if I was serving a crowd.  If you prefer your pudding with a little more kick you might like my Bourbon Banana Pudding from July.    Here are some directions for how to make whipped cream.

What to buy:

  • 1 box mini Nilla wafers
  • 3 bananas, sliced into 1/4 inch slices
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

What to do:

  • preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • layer wafers and banana slices on the bottom of a casserole dish (I think mine was 8″ by 4″)
  • combine sugar and flour in a saucepan, then stir in milk and butter
  • beat egg yolks and whisk into milk mixture
  • reduce heat to low and stir until thickened and smooth, about five minutes
  • remove from heat and add vanilla
  • cover wafers and banana with custard
  • follow with another layer of wafers and banana slices and then pour remaining custard over second layer, garnishing with extra wafers and whipped cream





Triple Chocolate Mocha Pudding

This recipe is number twenty-one in my Thirty for Thanksgiving project where I’m cooking thirty recipes inspired by the November issue of Food Network Magazine and hopefully sharing some that you’ll want to serve for Thanksgiving.  You can find the original recipe here.


So far this is my favorite recipe from the November issue because it tasted amazing and was a big hit with Joe. I made a few changes to the recipe; I added more chocolate and instead of three cups of milk, I used 1 and 1/2 cups of milk and 1 and 1/2 cups of coffee to give the pudding a slight mocha taste.  I also left out the dark rum and doubled up on the vanilla extract.  If you want to add in rum use 1 tablespoon dark rum and 1 teaspoon vanilla.  I skipped the step to strain the pudding through a sieve into a medium bowl and I found that the pudding was perfectly smooth.  DSC_0301

The pudding can be refrigerated for up to 3 days so this would be a great dessert to make ahead and wow your guests especially if you have some homemade whipped cream.  It was so good.

What to buy (generously serves 5-6):

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 and 1/2 cups milk (I used 2%)
  • 1 and 1/2 cups coffee
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • whipped cream for topping (optional)

What to do:

  • melt the butter in a saucepan
  • add the chocolate and stir until melted and smooth
  • add milk and 1/3 cup of the sugar over medium heat until it is steaming
  • whisk the remaining 2/3 cup sugar, eggs, egg yolk, cream, cocoa, coffee, cornstarch and salt in a medium bowl
  • gradually whisk egg mixture into hot milk and chocolate mixture
  • bring to a boil, whisking oftenand scraping the side of the saucepan, reduce the heat to low and let bubble for 30 seconds
  • remove the saucepan from the heat, I like to transfer the pudding into a pitcher while it is still warm so I can pour it cleanly into my dishes
  • add vanilla and spoon the pudding into 6 jars or bowls
  • let the pudding cool at room temperature until tepid, about 1 hour, then refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours
  • top with whipped cream








Lovely Lemon Pudding Cake

I’m not above using a boxed cake mix every now and then and this recipe is an example. Lovely Lemon Pudding Cake  is quick and easy and will make you feel like it is Spring is here even if it is snowing and grey outside (as it is outside my window.)  I think this would be delicious with a cream cheese frosting with some peeps as decoration.  Please send pictures if you are inspired!

To buy:

  • 1 box lemon cake mix, prepared as box directs with eggs, oil and water
  • 1 box instant lemon pudding
  • 2 cups cold milk
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • powdered sugar for dusting

Lovely Lemon Pudding Cake: (serves a crowd)

What to do:

  • preheat oven to 350
  • prepare cake mix according to box and pour batter into baking dish
  • in a separate bowl, combine pudding mix with milk and water
  • whisk for 2 minutes until it begins to thicken and spoon pudding mixture over cake batter
  • bake for about 55 minutes to one hour until the cake layer is set
  • allow to cool and sprinkle powdered sugar on top
  • microwave before serving if you like it warm/gooey!

pudding layer



cake layer


you can see the pudding poking through in the corner

IMG_4445 IMG_4443  IMG_4460

Oreo Mint Clouds

This is a decidedly low-brow delight that I will be serving for the Super Bowl.  I learned how to make this desert when I was running the kitchen on my aunt’s ranch and girls summer camp in Pinedale, Wyoming. This desert was favorite among both the ranch hands and the campers.

This is a cousin of the ever popular Dirt Desert which I promise to also make soon.  You can leave out the mint extract and use whatever kind of Oreos you like.  If you want to get fancy you can throw in some food coloring.   It gets better after it sits for a little while. Embrace the trashy!

What to buy (serves about 6-8):

  • 1 box (3 ounces) vanilla instant pudding
  • 1 box (15 ounces) mint oreos, broken into chunks with some kept whole to decorate top
  • 1 cup cold milk
  • 16 ounces cool whip – or store brand
  • 1 teaspoon mint extract (optional)

Oreo Mint Clouds:

  • mix together the milk and pudding mix until slightly thickened
  • fold in whipped topping and oreo pieces
  • add extract and whole cookies to the top in whatever design you like
  •  refrigerate for at least 4 hours