5 Chocolate Desserts We’re Making Right Now
When Valentine’s Day rolls around, our minds turn toward chocolate-forward desserts. But really, is there a time of year when a decadent chocolate dessert isn’t appropriate? We asked scouted experts in the food and drink space to share their go-to cocoa-flavored treats, and whether you’re whipping something up for your loved one, creating a showstopper for a dinner party, or simply taming a sweet tooth, these delicious creations are sure to delight.
Chocolate Chess Pie
”This pie is inspired by our classic chess square – always a bakery favorite,” says Mary Sanders Ferriss Cavicchi, co-owner of Campbell’s Bakery in Jackson, Mississippi. “The custardy interior is so decadent and addicting I find myself creating occasions to serve this treat!“
Yields 1 pie
- 3 large eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 cup, plus 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 2 3/4 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips
- 1 stick of butter, melted
- 1/4 cup cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 par-baked pie crust
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Whisk together eggs, yolks, sugar, light brown sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch, salt, buttermilk and vanilla extract until smooth. Pour melted butter over chocolate chips and whisk together to melt the chocolate chips slowly, heat mixture more if necessary. Whisk chocolate mixture into room temperature cream cheese slowly until smooth with little to no lumps. Whisk chocolate mixture into the egg and sugar mixture until fully incorporated. Fill pie crusts with filling and bake for 35-40 minutes. Let the pie cool completely to room temperature before serving.
Scandinavian-Inspired Hot Chocolate
”My first experience with what I consider ‘real’ hot chocolate was when I spent a semester abroad in Norway. They only used whole milk and real chocolate, and after that I could never go back,” shares Trish Stack, co-owner of The Chocolat Bar in Boise and Eagle, Idaho. “This drink is a nod to our Scandinavian heritage. We added a Danish cherry liqueur because we love the combination of chocolate and cherry. It’s an elegant way to elevate hot chocolate!“
Yields 1 serving
- 1 ounce cherry liquor (we recommend Kirsberry Danish Cherry Liqueur)
- 8 ounces whole milk (any milk will work, but the fat in whole milk really brings out the flavor in the chocolate)
- 2 tablespoons The Chocolat Bar Classic Hot Chocolate
- Cardamom, to taste
Heat milk in a small saucepan, whisk in chocolate and mix until fully incorporated. Add your cherry liquor to your mug and pour hot chocolate on top. Sprinkle with cardamom to taste.
Photography courtesy of Caramelized.
Thin Mint Ice Cream
“Our nostalgia for—and tendency to over-order—Girl Scout cookies is especially likely this time of year, and this recipe is my favorite way to enjoy them in a new format,” says Cara Greenstein, owner of Caramelized, in Memphis, Tennessee. “Indulge in a scoop, or sandwich it between two Thin Mints for a fun treat!”
Yields 1 pint
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 10 Thin Mints, chopped
- 10 Thin Mints, for garnish or sandwiching
In a bowl, whisk the milk, heavy cream, sugar, vanilla extract, and chopped thin mints together, ensuring sugar is completely incorporated. Place in an ice cream maker and churn for 15-20 minutes, or until firm. Use a mini scooper to make sandwiches, and transfer the remaining ice cream to a freezer-safe dish. Freeze sandwiches and ice cream until ready to eat.
Dark Chocolate Mousse
“Our mousse was given an amazing review by the consulate general of Belgium in Atlanta when he was visiting for the World Games last summer,” shares Courtney Pigford, owner of Honeycreeper Chocolate in Birmingham, Alabama. “He even posted to Facebook that ours was ‘the best mousse he has tasted west of La Panne’!”
- 16 ounces of dark chocolate (percentage of your choice over 70%)
- 1 cup water, split in two
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 6 large egg yolks
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 1/2 cup chilled heavy cream
Heat chocolate, 1/2 cup water, butter, and vanilla over a double boiler, stirring until melted and smooth. Set chocolate mixture aside. In a small heavy saucepan over low heat, whisk egg yolks, 1/2 cup water and sugar together. Cook, stirring slowly but constantly until the mixture reaches 150 degrees. Remove from heat. Stir egg mixture into chocolate mixture until smooth. Allow to cool slightly. In a chilled mixing bowl with chilled whisk attachment, whip the cream on high until soft peaks appear. Gently fold cream into chocolate mixture until smooth. Transfer to a serving bowl and refrigerate.
Photography by Katlyn Douek.
S’mores Mousse Cake
“This S’mores Mousse Cake is the definition of decadent,” explains Adam Waldrip, executive chef at HC Tavern + Kitchen in Fishers, Indiana. “The rich chocolate and toasted marshmallow flavors will bring a bit of nostalgia every time you take a bite.”
Yields 1 cake
For the filling
- 4 cups Hershey’s Chocolate Spread
- 2 pounds Philadelphia Cream Cheese
- 1 cup Hershey’s Cocoa, Special Dark
- 1 pound semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1/2 ounce Knox Gelatin
- 16 cups Rich’s Whipped Topping
For the graham cracker crust
- 2 pounds graham cracker crumbs
- 10 ounces clarified butter
- 1 can cooking spray, as needed
- 2 cups chocolate sauce, warmed (recommend King’s Cupboard brand)
- 2 ounces marshmallow topping, room temperature (recommend J. Hungerford Smith brand)
- Large marshmallows for garnish
- 1/2 teaspoon graham cracker crumbs, for garnish
For the filling
Measure out the whipped topping and reserve cold. Bring water to boil in a saucepan. Add the gelatin to the boiling water and whisk until gelatin is dissolved, remove from heat and hold warm for assembly. Place the chocolate in a stainless-steel mixing bowl and set on top of a saucepan filled ¼ with water and boiling; this creates a double boiler to melt the chocolate. Stir chocolate with whisk until melted, reserve warm for future use. Place cream cheese, Hershey’s spread and cocoa in the mixer. Mix on high speed with whip attachment until smooth and fully incorporated, about 5 minutes, stopping halfway to scrape the sides of the bowl. Once mixed, add the melted chocolate and gelatin, and continue mixing for 1 minute. Add the whipped topping to the mixture and whip on low speed for 3 minutes, or until all ingredients are fully incorporated. Stop halfway and scrape the sides.
For the graham cracker crust
In a mixing bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs with warm clarified butter until the butter is completely absorbed in the crumbs. Spray the inside of a springform pan with cooking spray. Place 2 cups of graham cracker crust mixture into the bottom of a 10” x 3” springform pan and pack it evenly over the bottom of the pan. Bake the crust in the oven at 350 degrees for 8 minutes to set. Remove the crust from the oven and cool on a rack to room temperature.
Measure out the filling and scoop into the crusted pan, making sure to level it evenly. Pour the warm chocolate sauce on top of the filled spring form pan and tilt the pan to distribute evenly over the surface. Place in the refrigerator overnight. With a 10-cut pie marker, mark the top of the pie and remove the spring form ring. Cut out a slice and place on a plate for serving. With a squirt bottle, squeeze the marshmallow topping over the pie so it covers the middle section of the pie and overflows on the sides. Place a large marshmallow on the back center of the pie. Using a torch, gently toast the marshmallow and marshmallow topping on all surfaces so it gets a medium brown crust. Sprinkle the graham cracker crust crumbs on top of the pie to complete the garnish.
Feature photo by Andrew Welch Photo.