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mocha pudding parfaits

How did this happen? The calendar is trying to tell us that tomorrow is the last day of summer, but we are just getting started! The saddest part is that we have to wait an entire year to enjoy another burst tomato galette! (which we made on our instagram story last night) This just isn’t fair. So to soothe our sorrows and ease our minds, we’d like to close out the summer with a bang. Labor Day is this weekend, and boy do we gotcha covered. Have no fear, the Husbands are here, this time with a sweet treat that’s going to put a ribbon on your summer vacation and blast you off into pumpkin season, warm sweaters, and homemade apple pies. Say hello to mocha pudding parfaits, the star of this weekend’s festivities.

There are significant dates in history that are easily recognizable. July 20,1969 was the first time humans ever stepped foot on the moon. February 9, 1964 was The Beatles’ first American television performance on the Ed Sullivan Show. And today, Tuesday August 30, 2016, shall be remembered as the day that Husbands That Cook introduced the recipe for mocha pudding parfaits to the world. Historic indeed, this rich and creamy chocolate mocha pudding is a small treat for a man, and one giant leap for mankind. Made with four different kinds of chocolate, these dreamy coffee-flavored parfaits are dark and decadent. Each glass starts with an oreo cookie crumb crust which is filled with the silkiest mocha pudding, then topped with freshly whipped cream, dark chocolate curls, and extra cookie crumbs for good measure. This is a chocolate lover’s dream come true: an attractive and appetizing all-purpose analgesic for the apex of August.

What better way to celebrate Labor Day than with a sweet treat that requires almost no labor at all. The pudding is simply stirred together in a saucepan, then chilled in the fridge. The whipped cream takes less than 5 minutes, and just like the pudding, can be made up to a day in advance. And for the crispy bottom layer, you just chop up some of your favorite chocolate cookies, trying your best not to eat too many pieces off the cutting board. Once it is ready to serve, you can use any kind of dish: wine glasses, dessert bowls, or even shot glasses for a mini-parfait party! And have fun decorating them however you want, whether topped with delicate chocolate curls and cookie crumbs, or mint leaves and fresh fruit—or all the above like we did! No matter how you present them, they make a beautiful dessert and are a deliciously cool, creamy, and chocolatey way to welcome the fall and bid adieu to bathing suit season!

Mocha Pudding Parfaits
serves 4 to 6

For the pudding:
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons instant coffee crystals
3 cups (710ml) milk (non-dairy milk is fine)
4 ounces (113g) semi-sweet chocolate (about 55% cacao), chopped
1 ounce (28g) unsweetened chocolate (100% cacao), chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the whipped cream and assembly:
1 cup (237ml) heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 chocolate sandwich cookies per serving, chopped
chocolate curls (optional)

In a 2-quart saucepan, whisk together the corn starch, sugar, cocoa, salt, and coffee crystals until evenly blended. While whisking, slowly add about 1/2 cup of milk, then continue whisking until a smooth paste forms. Slowly add the remaining milk while whisking. Place the pan over medium heat, and bring to a boil, whisking constantly to prevent scorching. When boiling, turn heat down slightly to a simmer, and cook for 2 minutes, whisking constantly. Remove the pan from heat and stir in the chopped chocolate and vanilla extract, whisking until completely blended and smooth. Pour pudding into a heatproof bowl, and cover with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic onto the surface of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled and completely set, at least 2 hours and up to overnight.

To make the whipped cream, first put your mixing bowl and beaters in the freezer for a few minutes to chill them. When ready, pour the cream, sugar, and vanilla extract into the chilled bowl, and beat on high speed until it almost holds stiff peaks when the beaters are lifted.

To assemble, place about 3 chopped cookies in the bottom of a glass or serving dish. Add a generous layer of pudding, then top with whipped cream. Garnish with additional chopped cookies and chocolate curls if desired, and enjoy!

note:
— The parfaits can be assembled hours ahead of time and refrigerated until ready to serve.
— This recipe can be made vegan by using a non-dairy milk and vegan whipped topping (Oreo cookies are naturally vegan already). And this can be made gluten-free by using GF cookies.
— To make chocolate curls, use a vegetable peeler on a large chocolate bar. Press firmly, and if the curls aren’t coming out the way you like, try putting the chocolate bar in the microwave for just a few seconds to warm it slightly.