A quick chocolate lover’s dessert Wednesday, Apr 9 2014 

Well, it’s already April! Can you believe it — the snow here in PA has finally (mostly!) melted and Easter is not that far away. I will be perusing the farmers’ markets and planning my Easter menu — once I decide on whether to make a brunch or a more formal supper. And with the advent of some nice weather, not to mention both a flat of strawberries and a case of lemons from a good friend, I have been canning (yes!) and will be posting about that in the future. Meanwhile, come play in the kitchen!

I made up a quick and easy recipe years ago that turned out quite nicely. It became a family favorite, and I was getting request for it all of the time. Everyone thought it was completely complicated, but it is simple. I call it a Hershey Pie – so named because I used Hershey bars in the recipe, though I have successfully experimented with other chocolate. I am sure there are tons of similar ones, but this one was not pilfered – at least to my knowledge. I mean, back at its creation there was no internet! (My children now find that unbelievable…)

I was influenced by lots of recipes for chocolate silk pie that relied on chocolate mousse made with gelatin (and you know how I feel about that — see my post about chocolate mousse here: http://wp.me/p32HQ0-2x). So I tried to figure out how I could create something somewhat similar. I have to admit that this recipe was developed out of my commitment to bring a dessert to a family function, back when my tastes (and therefore skills and ingredients on hand) were not quite so…”sophisticated”? Not sure what word I want to use, but you get the idea…I was a young lady just entering the work force and felt the need to be as generous as possible with my commitments – usually so much so that I ended up awake for long hours every night finishing up this, that or the other and still trying to get enough sleep so that I didn’t need to caffeinate myself to death in the early a.m. This recipe was developed out of sheer desperation on a night when I needed more sleep than there were hours to devote to cooking…And I am still using it as a quick treat. I must warn you, though I attempted initially to duplicate a chocolate silk pie, t is not at all “silky”. Freezing the pie makes the chocolate and Cool Whip firm up, so you might want to set it out to soften about 10-15 minutes prior to serving.

Hershey Pie

* Melt 2 of the large (4.4 oz) Hershey bars (I prefer the Hershey with Almond) in a double boiler. Be extremely careful not to get any water from the steam in the chocolate or it will seize up.

* Fold the chocolate into 1/2 of a large tub (16 oz) of Cool Whip.

* Pour mixture into a 9″ graham cracker pie crust and spread evenly.

* Top the chocolate mixture with the remaining Cool Whip.

* Sprinkle with shaved chocolate or slivered almonds.

* Freeze til set.

That’s it. Easy peasy. Very quick and simple. I appreciate the deep, rich chocolate flavor. As I said, I have experimented very successfully with other candy bars, and even using chocolate chips — but the Hershey bars are still my favorite. Is it because I’m blessed to live within 20 minutes of Hershey? Well, that doesn’t hurt! Try it and let me know what you think!

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The secret to chocolate mousse Wednesday, Jan 30 2013 

Well, I mentioned recently that I was interested in the cookbook challenge posted at http://growandresist.com/2012/12/21/cook-the-books-a-cookbook-challenge/. I had borrowed the January and February selections from my local library, devoured them page by glorious page recently when I was ill and stuck in bed, and then finally got into the kitchen today after finishing up chores, homeschooling and the like. I am so happy I did, with sweet results!

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I think Dorie Greenspan is my new hero…Her recipes sound so amazing, fresh and inspired. I cannot wait to purchase my own copy of her book Around My French Table so I don’t have to worry about ruining the library’s copy while I’m playing (messily at times) in my kitchen. Her stories are interesting and entertaining, as well as educational. But I will now forever love her for the inclusion of the top-secret chocolate mousse recipe. It is probably the best I’ve ever tasted — not to mention the absolute easiest! And hey, with such a large family and crazy life…Well, I’m all for easy! You will have to buy this book and try this recipe!

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I’ve been searching for a recipe for chocolate mousse for as long as I have been cooking. And I am so happy to have stumbled upon one that will live in my recipe files forever. So for the curious: What I liked about it…

Obviously “everything” is too general, so here’s my short list:

036First, all natural ingredients. By that I mean there are no boxes of pudding or canned anything or otherwise heavily processed, chemical-laden ingredients…It’s just chocolate, eggs, salt, sugar. That’s it. Simple. While I’ve seen other recipes that add cream, coffee or liqu0r of some kind — which I’m sure are delicious add-ins — this recipe would be great when you want to serve something elegant but fast. I always have those four ingredients handy…I mean, who doesn’t have a stash of chocolate, right??! (If you don’t, you need to start building a stash ASAP! Seriously!!!)

And guess what else catapulted this to my top fav chocolate mousse? Absolutely no gelatin of any kind — thank goodness! I despise working with gelatin…I don’t think it likes me. And I can only stomach it when doing jello shots (go figure!). It never sets up right for me. Ever. Which is sad because even my 8 year old son can get it to work. Plus, I’m trying to purge many animal products from our diet. I make an exception for the eggs because we own our own free-range chickens, thus I know where the eggs come from and how the chickens are treated, so no one needs to call PETA or anything. It’s totally legit and the chickens actually seem happy. I digress —

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This is definitely a keeper!!! My official recipe testers loved it and some were disappointed there were no seconds. I served it with whipped cream and a dash of cinnamon, though a dash of cocoa would have worked nicely too. It was very light but yet dense with chocolate, if that even makes sense. My palate was in heaven.

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