Chocolate lasagna

As much as I love cooking, baking and I are more distant friends. Measuring is a pain, I’m not super exact about ANYTHING and really, sometimes, I’m distracted. Also: baked goods are my kryptonite. I LOVE THEM. I mean candy, whatever, it’s ok. You give me a brownie and I’ll give you a kidney.

Whenever I bake something and post it on FB, I get at least one “How do you not weigh 1,000 pounds?” comment. While it seems like a silly question, my dirty secret is: I bake for other people. Like, office people, for example. Dani, one of my awesome friends and coworkers, requested an Oreo lasagna. The recipe called for instant pudding and whipped topping, but I made a few…tweaks…in honor of her awesomeness. And I’m not even kidding when I say this 9×13 pan was gone in 10 minutes.

Chocolate lasagna
Delicious layers of chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate.

Here’s the thing – this recipe has a lot of steps. I know. It looks scary. But 1. You don’t have to do them all at once, 2. You can sub in anything (just please, please make the bottom layer as written, you won’t be sorry) and 3. It’s even better when you have a good friend (in this case, my sweet Carly) keeping you company while you make it.

You’ll need:

Crust:

  • 1 package chocolate sandwich cookies
  • 1 8 oz. block cream cheese, softened

Pudding (recipe from/inspired by the one, the only, the great smitten kitchen):

  • 1/4 c cornstarch
  • 1/3 c sugar
  • Dash of salt
  • 3 c whole milk
  • 1 c chocolate chips/6 oz. bitter or semi-sweet chocolate
  • 2 t pure vanilla extract

Middle layer:

  • 1 8 oz. block cream cheese, softened
  • 1 c whipping cream
  • 3/4 c chocolate hazelnut spread

Topping:

  • 1 package chocolate sandwich cookies
  • 1 1/2 c whipping cream
  • 1/2 – 3/4 c powdered sugar
  • 2 t vanilla

Get cooking:

Crust:

  1. Crush cookies in a food processor, then add cream cheese and blend until paste-like (it was so thick it actually stopped my food processor. Don’t be afraid.)
  2. Spread in the bottom of a 9×13 pan. Normally I would line with parchment – don’t make this mistake, it gets too soggy – just spray with cooking spray.
  3. Cover and let chill 2 hours or overnight.

Pudding:

  1. Mix cornstarch, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan, then whisk in milk. Go slowly at first, whisking constantly – you can pick up speed as everything incorporates.
  2. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring/whisking every once in a while so the mixture doesn’t stick and no lumps form.
  3. Once the mixture coats the back of a spoon (about 15-20 minutes for me), whisk in the chocolate, stirring until melted and thickened.
  4. Turn off heat, and stir in vanilla. Pour into a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 3 hours and up to overnight.

Middle layer (make when layering dessert):

  1. Mix ingredients together with an electric beater until blended and fluffed, 5-6 minutes. Taste and add sugar if you like. (I like mine a little tart, especially since everything else is so sweet.)
  2. Alternately, mix cream cheese and chocolate hazelnut spread  together. Whip cream separately, and fold into cream cheese mixture. It’s up to you – this way will yield you a little more fluff, the other way a little more heft.

Whipped cream topping (Don’t make until assembling layers):

  1. Whip cream with powered sugar and vanilla until medium peaks form, 6-7 minutes.

Layer:

  1. Spread pudding over crust layer.
  2. Spread middle layer over pudding.
  3. Spread whipped cream over middle layer and top with hand-crushed cookies.

 

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