Most folks know kugel as a (usually sweet) baked noodle pudding. When I decided to give it a chocolate make over I started by making my own chocolate noodles. They were a lot of work (especially since I no longer own a pasta machine) and while they tasted okay the texture in the kugel can be best described as leaden. As I searched my pantry and local grocery shelves for other options I tried various chocolate wafers and cookies. Oreos (well actually Safeway's generic Tuxedo cookie variation) worked wonderfully and surprisingly were not too sweet and the crème-filled sandwich cookies held up well to the batter and baking.
The Chocolate Blintzes feature a cocoa-based crepe and a ricotta filling laced with milk chocolate chips. I wanted to try the blintzes with a layer of Nutella (or other hazelnut-chocolate spread) on the crepe before adding the ricotta filling but I never got around to trying it that way. They were just too delectable this way.
I did turn some of the leftover blintzes into a Chocolate Blintz Souffle. If you want to try something similar see the note after Chocolate Blintzes recipe.Chocolate Sandwich Cookie Kugel
3 Tbs. unsalted butter melted, divided
About 30 chocolate sandwich cookies
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
8 oz. sour cream
1 cup milk
4 eggs, beaten
1 tsp. almond extract
3 Tbs. sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips, divided
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly brush 1 tsp. of the melted butter inside a 9”x13” baking pan. Cover bottom with cookies, breaking some in half to fill in any large gaps.
Mash softened cream cheese with sour cream until smooth. Add remaining butter, milk, eggs, almond extract, sugar and salt. Beat until smooth.
Pour mixture over cookies. Scatter 1/2 cup of chocolate chips evenly over top. Place in oven. Bake for 30 minutes. Rotate pan. Sprinkle with cinnamon then scatter remaining chips over top. Bake for additional 15-25 minutes until custard top is firm and puffy and pulling away from sides of pan. Let sit for 20 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature topped with whipped cream if desired.
12 chocolate blintz crepes (see below)
1 recipe of blintz filling (see below)
1 Tbs. unsalted butter, divided
2-3 Tbs. powdered sugar
1/4 cup sour cream (or whipped cream)
12 strawberries, sliced
Lay crepe cooked side down on work surface. Place 2 Tbs. of filling in the middle, leaving about an inch margin at top and bottom of crepe. Fold top over filling then bottom. Fold one side over. Lightly moisten inside edge of last side to help seal. Fold side over crepe. Repeat. Heat large fry pan over medium high heat. Add 1 tsp. butter. When melted, place first batch of blintzes seam side down in hot pan. Fry for about 2 minutes until beginning to darken. Flip and fry other side. Remove from pan, add additional butter as needed and fry remaining blintzes in batches. Serve warm sprinkled with powdered sugar, a dollop of sour cream and sliced strawberries.
Blintz Crepes: Add to blender 1 1/4 cups milk, 1/2 cup cold water, 1 cup flour, 1/4 tsp. salt, 2 Tbs. baking cocoa, 2 Tbs. sugar, 1 tsp. vanilla extract, 2 Tbs. melted unsalted butter and 2 eggs. Blend until smooth. Melt 1 Tbs. butter. Heat 8” crepe, omelet or fry pan over medium heat. Brush lightly with melted butter. With pan off the heat, pour 1/4 cup batter in center of pan. Swirl pan to distribute batter evenly. Fry on one side until top is set and bottom has darkened. Remove with spatula. Place cooked side down on dishtowel. Repeat, adding butter as needed. (Recipe makes a few extra.)
Blintz Filling: Mix 2 cups ricotta cheese with 1 beaten egg and 1/2 tsp. almond extract until smooth. Stir in 1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest, 1 Tbs. sugar and 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips.
Keep reading for turning the blintzes into a soufflé.
To make a Chocolate Blintz Soufflé start with 8-10 leftover blintzes, or make, fill and fry the blintzes and reserve 8-10. Melt 2 Tbs. unsalted butter. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat 4 eggs well with l/2 tsp. vanilla, 1/8 tsp. salt and 3 Tbs. sugar until foamy. In a separate bowl cream together until smooth (you'll need an electric hand or stand mixer of a lot of elbow grease) 8 oz. cream cheese, softened, 8 oz. sour cream, melted butter and 1 cup milk. Fold 2 Tbs. of the creamed mixture into the egg mixture until incorporated, then fold egg mixture into creamed mixture in three batches. Grease 8"x 12" baking pan. Put blintzes on bottom in single layer. Scatter 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips over top then pout in batter. Bake for about 30 minutes then scatter a second 1/2 cup of chips over top. Return to oven and bake for and additional 15-25 minutes until the custard is golden and set and pulling away from the edges of the pan. Cool slightly and cut into squares. Serve warm or at room temperature.
A version of this post first appeared in the j weekly.