Thursday, August 2, 2012

Coconut Death By Chocolate

    The name "Death by Chocolate" can mean a lot of different things, depending on where you live. Where I come from, it's a potluck staple: a trifle composed of box-mix cake or brownies, chocolate pudding, Cool Whip and crumbled Heath bars. Sometimes the cake or brownies are soaked in coffee or Kahlua, and sometimes the Heath bars are augmented with crushed Oreos, but the basic concept is the same: chocolate, chocolate, chocolate, and the easier, the better. I mentioned to someone that I was thinking about a vegan Death by Chocolate, and her response was less than encouraging ("Boy, no whipped cream, no chocolate..."). Challenge accepted.
    Originally, I'd intended to make this for August 1st, which was my eighth vegan-versary. I know, that's kind of silly, but I've always kind of wanted to do something to celebrate the anniversary of the first time I turned down an ice cream sundae, and making a nostalgic dessert seemed to fit the bill. When I ran out of sugar after two trips to the supermarket, though, I took a deep breath and decided that instead of scrapping the whole plan, I'd just make it the next night.

    My version is from scratch, unlike its inspiration, because that's how I roll. It's also got a bit of a coconutty flair; since I was using coconut whipped cream, I figured following through and using toasted coconut in the toffee rather than almonds couldn't be a bad thing. This was my first experience making candy, and it was a lot of fun, and much easier than I expected.

This is a less-than-stellar picture, but it shows the layers well enough.There were two layers of everything in a very large glass measuring cup (since it turns out I don't own a trifle bowl.) Let's start from the top:

1. Toasted Coconut Toffee, based on this recipe with the obvious substitution of Earth Balance for butter, and toasted coconut for almonds.
2. Coconut Whipped Cream. I've had trouble getting this to set up during the summer months, but I figured for this, it didn't matter. It got to a softer, Cool-Whip type texture, which was perfect.
3. Chocolate Pudding. This is your basic soymilk/cornstarch/cocoa/sweetener pudding, nothing fancy.
4. Wacky Cake. If you've never heard of it, there are plenty of recipes available online. I think it's perfect for trifles because it's simple, uses all pantry ingredients and the batter comes together in like thirty seconds.

    Oof. This did not disappoint. I'd definitely recommend making this for a potluck, vegan or omni; there's absolutely nothing "fake" or "almost" tasting about it. Then you can wow all your friends by telling them you made everything from the cake to the toffee on top yourself. And if anyone calls it "fake" Death by Chocolate after that, you just point them out to me.

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