My ham gravy didn’t turn out for Christmas this year, but at least the chocolate pudding and cream cheese layered dessert was delicious. I’ve had this recipe for two tone dessert since about 2003. I was a non-traditional college student at University of Sioux Falls and another non-traditional student brought the dessert to share with a class. Like any good Midwesterner does when they like something at a potluck, I asked for the recipe.
We all have recipes or kitchen methods that intimidate us. For me, it’s candy thermometers, active yeast, and making homemade gravy with meat juices. Cheesecake used to intimidate me. And although I wouldn’t apply to make cheesecake on a Food Network baking show contest, I am confident in my skill. It took practice—hundreds and hundreds of cheesecakes.
OK, so back to the gravy. What happened? I’ve only made it a few times, so I don’t have exact measurements or a “feel” for how much cornstarch to use. I measured out my equal parts water and milk but hadn’t measured out my ham juice yet. I added cornstarch to a bit of ice water (that’s how I keep lumps out) and added it to the milk/water mixture. The problem is, I sort of spaced off and did this a few times, adding more than 1/2 cup of cornstarch at least! My gravy was more like ham glue or pudding. Good thing I always have gravy packets on hand for back-up. I was successful at making ham gravy for Easter this year, so I’ll keep trying. I’ll see Country Grandma next week and I’ll ask her how much cornstarch she starts out with.
What intimidates you in the kitchen?
In the mean time, make Country Grandma’s cinnamon sugar doughnut holes. It would be pretty hard to mess those up.
Two tone dessert is a classic potluck recipe around here. Do a Google search and you’ll find all sorts of versions—including peanut butter.
Sweet holiday wishes,
Two Tone Pudding Dessert
- 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons confectioners powdered sugar
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes, softened
- ½ cup chopped pecans
- 1 cup confectioners powdered sugar
- 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
- 13 oz Cool Whip, divided into halves
- 3.4 oz instant vanilla pudding mix
- 3.5 oz instant chocolate pudding mix
- 2½ cups milk
- toffee bits or milk chocolate shavings for top, optional
- Heat oven to 350°F. Using a pastry blender or fork, mix together flour, 2 tablespoons powdered sugar, and cubed butter until mixture is like the texture of sand. Stir in pecans.
- Press mixture into 9×13 pan, placing a sheet of wax paper over top and press crust into pan evenly. Remove wax paper. Bake 20 minutes. Cool completely.
- With an electric mixer, beat powdered sugar and cream cheese until smooth. Gently fold in 1/2 the Cool Whip (approximately 6.5 ounces). Spread over cooled crust.
- Combine the two pudding mixes. Stir in milk. Whisk until all blended and dissolved. Spread over cream cheese layer.
- Spread remaining Cool Whip over top and sprinkle with toffee bits or shave milk chocolate on top. Cover and refrigerate until set, approximately 2 hours or overnight, before slicing and serving. Store covered in refrigerator 2-3 days.
All text and images © Staci Mergenthal • Random Sweets