Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Southwest Chocolate Stack-Ups

If you're a bit tired of holiday cookies, this decadent dessert is a delicious alternative, and a fun afternoon project for kids. Make the components ahead of time, but assemble the stacks right before serving. You'll have a quadruple chocolate dose - two kinds of chocolate chips, cocoa powder, and chocolate syrup on top.  Look for Ah-laska or Santa Cruz chocolate syrup in a squeeze bottle; both are vegan.

  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips (such as Chocolate Dream)
  • 1/2 cup Tofutti cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup vegan sugar, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 (10-ounce) container Soyatoo whippable topping*
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 6 (6-inch) flour tortillas
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 cups sliced strawberries
  • 1/4 cup chocolate minichips (such as Enjoy Life)
  • 8 tablespoons chocolate sundae syrup
1. Place 1/2 cup chocolate chips in a small glass bowl and microwave for 2 minutes, stirring halfway through. The chips should be almost melted, although you'll have the occasional chocolate chunk leftover.  Set aside.

2. Place the cream cheese, 1/4 cup sugar, and vanilla extract in a bowl and beat with a hand mixer until blended.

3. Pour the whippable topping into a second bowl and beat for 3 to 4 minutes, until thick.  Add the whipped topping and melted chocolate chips to the cream cheese mixture, stirring gently to blend.  Cover and chill.

4. Meanwhile, combine the remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a bowl with the cocoa and cinnamon.  Cut each tortilla into 4 wedges, and arrange in a single layer on baking sheets coated with cooking spray.  Coat 1 side of the tortilla wedges with cooking spray, and sprinkle evenly with the cocoa mixture.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.  Remove from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack.

5. To assemble the stacks, spread 1 and 1/2 tablespoons cream cheese mixture on 1 tortilla wedge, cocoa side up.

6. Top with an additional tortilla wedge, cocoa side up, followed by 1/4 cup strawberries, 1 and 1/2 tablespoons cream cheese mixture, a final tortilla wedge, cocoa side up, and a final 1 and 1/2 tablespoons cream cheese mixture.  Sprinkle with 1 and 1/2 teaspoons minichips, and drizzle with 1 tablespoon chocolate syrup.

7. Repeat the procedure 7 times with the remaining ingredients.

Nutrition Info:
8 servings (1 stack), Calories 341

Tasting Notes:
First things first: the cream cheese mixture. It tastes a bit like chocolate mousse...only the lightest, fluffiest, airiest mousse you've ever eaten.  Kind of, well, like eating creamy chocolate air. I believe the "Halleluiah Chorus" may actually have struck up in my head after the first couple bites.  Wow.  The tortilla crisps tasted a bit like cinnamon toast crunch cereal, which is not at all a bad thing.  Meanwhile the chocolate - whether the chocolate chips on top or the chocolate syrup - were just gooey yummy bits of chocolate. Put it all together and you have one heck of a dessert.

The mere 1/4 cup of strawberries sort of got lost in the mix. Double the amount of strawberries if you want a fruitier dessert. That said, you could almost do away with them otherwise. I was not entirely wild about how crispy and crunchy the tortillas were; they didn't fit in with the rest of the dish, so I'd use something softer like thin cake layers next time, although then, you couldn't describe this dish as "Southwest."  A "5," therefore, for the separate components of the dessert, but a "4" once you put it all together.

Update: Despite the recommendation to serve immediately, I actually liked these better the next day. The tortilla wedges soften under the cream cheese mixture by that point, so the whole dessert goes together better. Ignore my earlier admonition to assemble just before serving. Either way, be prepared for a gooey mess of awesomeness, and enjoy. 


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