January 18th, 2000

Doree’s Death By Chocolate

by Doree Levine • in Food & Drink

skor

I could begin this review with a lie, saying that it pertains to something that I bought at a bakery or some café. But I don’t have the heart to start off dishonestly.

I ate this most delectable dessert last weekend at my boyfriend’s sister and brother-in-law’s dinner party. And I am not ashamed, or too modest for that matter, to say that it was I who made it. I hope this isn’t too self-flattering a review.

I call it Doree’s Death by Chocolate (DDBC). My mom says it is really a trifle. Either way, it is just terrific. And calorific, too. Again, I cannot tell a lie.

Served in a large glass bowl, DDBC is a layered wonder of Grand Marnier-soaked chocolate cake chunks, chocolate mousse, whipped cream, crumbled Skor bars, and a few maraschino cherries here and there. You scoop it out and slop it on a plate or little dessert dishes. Makes a great holiday treat.

I’ll admit I didn’t come up with the idea on my own. In my first year at McGill University, my Spanish class had an end-of-year fiesta where we all brought in Spanish treats. One guy brought in a dessert and, so that it would fit in to the Spanish theme of the fiesta, called it “La Muerte por Chocolate.” It was a hit, the memories of which must have buried themselves away into my primal brain, somewhere along with my fear of salmon patties and my love of poutine.

Like old memories sometimes do, this one just popped into mind early one morning. Next thing I knew I was trying to balance this big bowl of yummy goop while driving to the party.

What’s the appeal of DDBC? For some, the chocolate content is reason enough to devour it whole. It’s in the cake, the mousse, the Skor — a sure fix for any chocoholic.

But the variety of ingredients is the true kicker. The cake gives it some substance, but the mousse keeps things light and moist. Then there’s the whipped cream, jumping in to give you a break from the chocolate. Too much chocolate can be dangerous, especially around small children, and provoking a situation where people are bouncing off walls that you don’t own might not exactly make you popular at a party.

The Skor bar adds crunch that most people appreciate. While I suspect few people would ever name Skor as their candy bar of choice, most seem to love finding it in cakes and pies. For this reason I suggest putting both a middle layer and a top layer of Skor when making the dessert. This might help to reduce the incidence of the popular “Scraping off the Top Layer While You Think No One Is Looking” habit. Inform your guests that there is plenty of Skor in the middle, and then you can lie about how many bars you actually crumbled into it. Maraschino cherries are optional, but the same rules apply as with the Skor: Be generous, or at least give the appearance of being so. People get nervous when they think there isn’t enough to go around.

This dessert earned its high rating based on several criteria: taste and texture; ease of preparation; clean-up time; popularity at the party; and fridge-life of leftovers.

In terms of taste and texture, DDBC hits home big time. Chocolatey, creamy, moist and fluffy, crunchy and sweet — a real party for your taste buds. Making it was pretty easy, too. Martha Stewart types can make the cake from scratch. I opted for an instant cake mix: still tastes great and the price is right. Instant mousse (just add milk) and Cool Whipwill save time for those in a hurry.

Layering it all is the fun part. But cleaning up sucks. DDBC lost most of its points in this category, though this is most likely due to my laziness when it comes to cleaning. In terms of popularity, I think everyone at the party tried it. I only heard of one complaint, coming from a guest with a severe alcohol aversion. (I guess the Grand Marnier part is not for everyone. Know your guests well before adding the booze.) Leftovers kept well in the fridge, so that’s a bonus. What’s the point of keeping good-tasting leftovers if they go bad right away?

My sweet tooth, and the fact that I made it myself, make me a bit of a biased reviewer. But try it yourself to see if you agree that DDBC is nothing but just really good stuff. Your waistline might hate you for it, but your tummy will never love you more.

What you need:

1 chocolate cake
1 container of Cool Whip (or about 4 cups whipped cream)
3 boxes of instant chocolate mousse, prepared (or about 5 cups)
5 Skor bars, crumbled
12 maraschino cherries (at least)
2/3 cup Grand Marnier, or rum

1 big glass or plastic (clear) bowl

What you do:

1. Bake cake as directed. Let it cool.
2. Break cake into chunks (about the size of a ping pong ball) and pour booze evenly over them.
3. Prepare mousse as directed.
4. Spoon about 1/4 of mousse, then a layer of cake chunks into the bowl (Pat it down so there isn’t too much empty space).
5. Use more mousse to fill in the empty spaces.
6. Add a layer of Cool Whip.
7. Add a layer of crumbled Skor.
8. Repeat Steps 4, 5, and 6 using what’s left, and throw in the cherries whenever you want to.
9. Make the top layer smooth with a spatula, and cover with more Skor (remember, people like this part).
10. Decorate with more cherries or little swirly mousse designs.
11. Get a big, big, spoon and dig in.

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