Chocolate Delight is an old fashioned chocolate pudding dessert that will impress your guests! It’s easy to make, and everyone will love the shortbread crust and smooth, creamy layers.
If you love chocolate, this is the dessert for you! Chocolate Delight is a four layer pudding dessert with these delicious layers:
- Shortbread crust with pecans
- Sweetened cream cheese
- Chocolate pudding
- Whipped topping + chocolate shavings on top
It’s made in a 13×9 inch pan and it’s great for gatherings (just like this Ding Dong Cake—another layered chocolate dessert that I love!).
You can make Chocolate Delight to one day in advance, and guests of all ages will adore how sweet, creamy, and tasty it is.
The recipe is from an old church cookbook from the 1990s, and I can just imagine how many potlucks that it has appeared at since.
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- The crust is made with flour, butter, and chopped pecans.
- The second layer is a creamy combination of cream cheese, powdered sugar, and whipped topping.
- The third layer is super simple: instant Jell-O chocolate pudding and milk.
- The fourth and final layer is the rest of the whipped topping and chocolate shavings, which I made from a semi-sweet chocolate bar using a peeler (more on that below).
How to make Chocolate Delight
Chocolate Delight has four layers. The first layer is baked in the oven, but the other layers do not require baking, and they can be layered right on top of each other, without any refrigeration in between.
Leave time for the first layer (the crust) to cool before adding the other layers.
Also, leave several hours for the cream cheese to sit at room temperature to soften. If you forget, use these instructions (the cube method or the microwave method) to soften the cream cheese.
Start by preheating the oven to 350°F. Get out a 13×9 inch pan. A slightly smaller pan will work, too (mine was 12×9 inches).
Place the flour in a large bowl, and stir in the salt, if using. If your butter is salted already, omit the salt.
Use a knife to slice the butter into small cubes, and add it to the flour.
Using your hands, two forks, or a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour. The butter should be almost entirely worked into the flour in pea-sized pieces.
The dough should mostly hold together when you squeeze it between your fingers.
Stir in the pecans, and then press the mixture into a 13×9 inch pan. Use your hands to press the mixture down—this will help it hold together when it’s baked.
Bake the crust for 20–25 minutes, or until it is starting to turn brown around the edges. The first layer of Chocolate Delight is done!
For the second layer, start with softened cream cheese. You can either leave it at room temperature for 2–3 hours, or speed the process along using either the cube method or microwave method found here.
Combine the softened cream cheese and 1 cup powdered sugar in a large bowl. Mix with a hand mixer until light and fluffy. Use a spatula to stir in 1 cup of the whipped topping.
Spread the cream cheese mixture onto the cooked and cooled crust. I like using an offset spatula to get an even layer.
The third layer is the simplest of all—it’s just two packages of instant Jell-O chocolate pudding mix and three cups of milk. Make sure that the Jell-O is instant and NOT cook & serve.
In a large bowl, mix the Jell-O chocolate pudding mix and milk with a hand mixer for two minutes. The mixture will thicken considerably as you mix it.
Evenly spread the pudding onto the cream cheese layer.
The very last layer of Chocolate Delight is the remaining whipped topping. Dollop it on top of the pudding layer and spread it carefully to cover.
I like using an offset spatula for this—it helps me to spread the whipped topping evenly. You can also use a butter knife or a spatula for this. Just take care that the chocolate pudding layer doesn’t pop through!
How to shave chocolate
This is an optional step, but I think the chocolate shavings make the top of the Chocolate Delight dessert look especially beautiful.
To create chocolate shavings, take a vegetable peeler, and run it alongside a chocolate bar. I used semi-sweet chocolate, but you can use any variety that you like.
The size of the shavings depends on the sharpness of your peeler, the temperature of the chocolate, and how you run the peeler down the side of it. Experiment to find the size of chocolate shavings that you like!
A cold chocolate bar will produce short shavings, while a warmer chocolate bar will produce longer curls. Take care that the chocolate bar isn’t too warm, though, or you won’t be able to shave it at all!
Sprinkle the chocolate shavings on top of the Chocolate Delight.
Tips for serving
You will need to refrigerate this chocolate pudding dessert for at least 2 hours before serving. You can either cut slices with a knife, or serve the dessert with a serving spoon, and guests can scoop their own.
In order to get “clean” knife cuts and have the four layers showing in the dessert, place the pan in the freezer for 30–40 minutes before you plan to slice and serve it. This will help the layers stay together and look nice when cut.
To make it gluten free, substitute a cup-for-cup gluten-free flour in place of the all-purpose flour.
If you simply cut and scoop the dessert, the layers may run together slightly when you lift the pieces out of the pan. To prevent this, place the entire dessert in the freezer for 30–40 minutes before slicing and serving. Also, be sure to wipe the knife off in between cuts when slicing it.
You can substitute 3 cups of fresh whipped cream (made from 1.5 cups heavy cream + 1 tablespoon powdered sugar) for the whipped topping. Use 1 cup in the cream cheese layer and the other 2 cups for the final layer. Keep in mind that real whipped cream is not as “sturdy” as whipped topping, so the top layer may not create clean-cut slices.
Make it ahead
Chocolate Delight can be made up to 1 day ahead. Keep it refrigerated until ready to serve.
If the dessert sits in the refrigerator for longer than 1 day, the chocolate pudding layer will begin to bleed into the cream cheese and whipped topping layers. It still tastes delicious, but it won’t be as pretty when it’s served.
Have you tried this recipe? Please leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating and/or comment below!
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup finely chopped pecans
- ¾ cup (1½ sticks) butter, cubed
- ½ teaspoon salt (include salt if butter is unsalted; if using salted butter, omit the salt)
- 1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 cup whipped topping (like Cool Whip—use an 8 ounce container)
- 2 (3.9 oz) packages instant chocolate pudding
- 3 cups milk
- Remaining whipped topping from a 8 ounce container
- Small chocolate bar for grating
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- For the first layer, place the flour in a large mixing bowl, and cut in the butter with two forks or a pastry blender. Alternatively, you can also use your fingers to work in the butter until pea-size lumps form. Stir in the pecans.
- Press the mixture into a 13×9 inch pan. Bake for 15–20 minutes, or until the edges are lightly golden brown. Cool completely.
- For the second layer, place the cream cheese and the powdered sugar in a large bowl. Mix with a handheld mixer until light and fluffy. Fold in 1 cup of whipped topping with a spatula, and spread the mixture over the cooled crust.
- For the third layer, beat the instant pudding and the milk together with a handheld mixer for 2 minutes. The pudding will thicken. Pour on top of the second layer and spread it out evenly.
- Carefully dollop the remaining whipped topping on top of the pudding mixture, and spread it with an offset spatula or butter knife. Cover the dish with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, or overnight. When you’re ready to serve, grate the chocolate bar with a peeler, sprinkle the shavings on top, and place the dessert in the freezer for 30–40 minutes to firm up for cutting. (Freezing the dessert ensures that you’ll get nice looking layers when cutting it.)
- To serve, slice the dessert into squares with a sharp knife.