This month’s We Should Cocoa Challenge is being hosted by Hannah at Honey and Dough and the theme is Halloween. The We Should Cocoa Challenge, managed by Choclette of Chocolate Log Blog, is a great excuse to make a chocolate treat and to use our creativity. The idea is to make something with chocolate each month. We can use any sort of chocolate or cocoa substance and use any ingredient that we like, but we must include the special ingredient or theme selected by the host.
For my entry, I decided to make a Halloween Peanut Butter Pudding complete with a chocolate drizzle web and a truffle spider. What started as an easy way to use up some milk that was about to go off turned into a fun dessert that tastes like the pudding equivalent of one of my favorite candies, the peanut butter cup. I started with a simple cornstarch pudding. Cornstarch puddings are a quick and easy way to make pudding as they don’t require eggs or a lot of cooking. All that is required is a little milk, sugar and cornstarch and then whatever flavoring is desired. In this case, I whisked in some peanut butter after cooking to make a peanut butter pudding.
While waiting for the pudding ingredients to come to a boil and thicken on the stove, I made a small bowl of chocolate ganache. After pouring the completed pudding into my serving dish, I piped the ganache into circles on top of the pudding and drew a toothpick through the rings to create the spiderweb.
I then covered the bowl loosely and let this chill in the refrigerator until set. I piped the spider legs onto a piece of wax paper and put this into the freezer to harden. When the remaining ganache had set up enough to roll into a ball, I made a spider body with it, rolling the body in chocolate sprinkles and pushing in a couple of red hot eyes. I guess I should have put 8 eyes, but I went with the more cartoon-ish two.
When my pudding was set up, I peeled the legs off of the wax paper and placed them on top of the pudding and then placed the spider body on top of the legs. It was almost too cute to eat, but we managed!
- 2½ C milk, divided (at least 2%, but whole milk is best)
- 4 T. cornstarch
- pinch salt (optional, if peanut butter is salty then no extra salt is needed)
- 1 tsp. vanilla or seeds from 1 vanilla bean
- ⅓ C. light brown sugar
- ¼ C. creamy peanut butter
- 1.5 oz chopped dark chocolate
- 1 Tbsp. cream or milk
- 2 red hots
- ¼ cup chocolate sprinkles
- In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and ½ cup of milk. Set aside.
- Put the chocolate and the 1 Tbsp. of milk or cream in a small bowl and microwave for 10-15 seconds to heat the milk. Stir the milk and chocolate until smooth. Set aside.
- In a medium saucepan (2-3qt), mix together the sugar, salt and remaining milk. If using a vanilla bean, scrape the seeds into the milk and let the pods cook with the milk. Heat over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved and the milk is just starting to steam.
- Whisk in the cornstarch mixture and continue to cook the milk mixture until it reaches a rolling boil, stirring constantly to prevent the milk from burning on the bottom of the pan.
- Lower the heat slightly and cook, stirring constantly, until the pudding has thickened enough to thickly coat the back of a spoon.
- Remove the pan from the heat. If using a vanilla bean, remove the pod now. Otherwise, stir in the vanilla extract and peanut butter, stirring until the peanut butter is dissolved.
- Pour the pudding into a small serving dish and set aside.
- Using a small piping bag or a small ziploc with a tiny hole cut in the corner, pipe circles of chocolate on top of the pudding. Draw a toothpick through the rings from the center to the edges to create the spider web.
- Pipe spider legs onto some wax paper and freeze until needed.
- Pipe the remaining ganache into a small mound on another piece of wax paper.
- Loosely cover the pudding and refrigerate until firm.
- When the mound of ganache has cooled enough to roll, form it into a round or oblong shape and roll it in chocolate sprinkles and press candy eyes into it. Let refrigerate until needed.
- Just before serving, remove the pudding from the refrigerator, peel the wax paper off of the spider legs and place them in the middle of the pudding web. Place the spider body on top of the legs and serve.