Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Candy Crunch Cream Pie

It was birthday time in our family, and we always do a birthday dinner for the special one.  On this particular day that family member was Sarah, Timothy's little sister.  I have a younger brother (who I love dearly) but I never had a sister.  Timothy has three! So that is definitely a bonus for me.  Sarah and Mikela are younger, so it is fun to do special things for them on their special days.  I was fortunate enough to have them stand with me on my special day.  I have to share a picture of course!

As you can see my veil would not cooperate that day.  It was so windy!  We can all laugh about it now, but at the time it was hard to smile

It was Sarah's 14th birthday and she loves anything chocolate, especially candy bars.  So I figured I would try my hand at some sort of chocolate cream pie.  Now I know that I can read the package and make Jell-O, but the rest of this pie took a little brainstorming.  I wanted layers, but I didn't want a layer of vanilla pudding underneath.  I immediately thought of cream cheese! Hello, why didn't I think of that sooner?!?! Cream cheese goes well with anything!  So I started mixing, chopping, layering, stealing a few bites of candy bar, more mixing, more stealing, and more layering.  With all that work behind me (and I use the term work loosely) I ended up with this delightful dessert that can be so easily adapted to your taste. 

The possibilities are endless.  Sugar free pudding, light cream cheese, skim milk...The dessert can be lightened up for sure.  And the candy options...Reese's (how awesome would it to replace the cocoa powder in the first layer with peanut butter?), Snickers, Butterfingers, Andes Mints???? I almost want to make more just to see what combination we can come up with next!  You will also notice that there are two different pie crusts in the pictures.  I wanted to try both to see which one we liked the best.  Since the recipe ended up making two pies (totally by accident, and I'm shocked I didn't eat half of the filling first) I did one Oreo crust and one regular pie crust.  In the end I had no preference.  If you want more of a mud pie, go with the cookie crust.  If you're going for more of a "chocolate silk pie" effect, stick with the regular pie crust.  Either way you can't go wrong, so I vote for what is on sale!  Any way, time for the play-by-play I suppose :)

Start with these ingredients.  But don't be like me and forget the cocoa powder or the pie crust.  They are there, just hiding.  I really tend to do this very often!

Start by chopping up your candy bars.  This time I used one Hershey's Bar and one Heath Bar, for the crunch.  Set those aside and try as hard as you can not to sneak a few pieces.

Beat the cream cheese with the powdered sugar and cocoa powder until creamy.

Add in the Cool Whip and it will look something like this.  Spread this out in a layer on the bottom of your pie crust.  Set aside.

Because I know not too many people have two mixers lying around, wash that sucker out and get ready to mix again!  Mix the pudding and milk together for about 2 minutes or until thickened.  Depending on how thick you want your pie, you may want to decrease the milk to 1-3/4 cups.  I think I used somewhere between that and 2 cups.  Throw in half of the candy bar pieces and fold in the Cool Whip.  It is important that you fold in the Cool Whip, don't mix it in.  With the cream cheese layer it didn't really matter.  With this layer it is important that the Cool Whip keeps its "whipped" consistency. 

Folding is designed to combine ingredients without knocking air out of the mixture. Rubber spatulas and large metal spoons are ideal for this step.  I like to use a spatula.  To fold in ingredients, you always add the lighter mixture to the heavier mixture.  In a single motion, run the spatula or spoon around the side, then along the base, of the bowl. Now fold the mixture over onto itself.  Do this several times until the two are combined, being careful not to get impatient and start stirring like crazy, which is what I want to do sometimes.  Trust me it will be worth it in the end.

Spread this mixture over the top of the cream cheese layer.  You'll notice what it looks like above and below with both the regular pie crust and the cookie crust. 

Once you are finished with that spread the remaining Cool Whip on top of the pie.  I like to leave some of the chocolate peeking out from underneath, sort of as to say "Hey there, don't pass me by, I'm chocolate!"

Drizzle the chocolate syrup over the top and sprinkle with the rest of the chopped candy.  Make sure to chill until you are ready to eat.  The best part about this is it can be eaten immediately if necessary.  And trust me, it's necessary!

Candy Crunch Cream Pie
makes 2 pies
Printable Recipe

2 pkg JELL-O Chocolate instant pudding
2 cups cold milk
3 cups cool whip (about 1-1/2 tubs)
2 candy bars, chopped, divided
2 Oreo pie crusts (you can use a regular baked pie crust as well)
1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp cocoa powder
chocolate syrup

1.  If using a regular pie crust, bake according to directions and let cool.  Chop candy bars and set aside.
2.  Using a mixer, beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, and cocoa powder until creamy.  Stir in 1 cup of cool whip.  Spread in the bottom of the prepared pie crust.
3.  Beat pudding mix and milk for 2 minutes on med-high until thickened.  Fold in 1 cup of cool whip and half of the chopped candy bars.  Carefully spread over the top of the cream cheese mixture. 
4.  Top with remaining cool whip, sprinkle with remaining candy bar pieces and drizzle with chocolate sauce.  Refrigerate until ready to serve. 
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