Kraft's Striped Delight (Sorry, I didn't snap my own picture...we ate it too fast!)

I love Striped Delight.  Ever since Mom discovered the recipe on the side of a Cool Whip container decades ago, it has pretty much been my favorite dessert.  I’ve been wanting to try taking it to the next level by making the various components from scratch, and finally did it Sunday for our Mother’s Day dessert.  It was awesome.  The chocolate pudding had a deep, rich chocolate flavor that Jell-O instant pudding can’t come close to, and the real whipped cream was heavenly.

The idea of doing Striped Delight from scratch came when I was making a filling for Amie and Aubrey’s birthday cakes, and realized that it was essentially the same as the bottom layer of Striped Delight, except that I used real whipped cream instead of Cool Whip.  We had started using real whipped cream recently, when Amie had made a fresh strawberry pie, and we had no Cool Whip on hand but did have some leftover cream from something else Amie had made.  Real whipped cream is sooooo much better than Cool Whip.  The superior taste and texture of real whipped cream was compounded by a question that had been nagging me: we know what Cool Whip isn’t (non-dairy), but what exactly is it?  The answer I found was somewhat disturbing, and since the article pointed out that you can whip real cream yourself for about half the price of Cool Whip, there’s no looking back for us.  Maybe it’s a bit disloyal to cut out Cool Whip when they were the source of the original recipe, and I am certainly grateful for the concept, but the benefits of making it with real ingredients are more than worth it.  Sorry, Kraft.

So here’s my from-scratch Striped Delight recipe, which I made for an 8×8 square pan.  For a 9×13, I would do 1.5 times the pudding and double everything else:

Graham Cracker Crust:

Okay, so I didn’t make homemade graham crackers for the sake of time, but promise I will next time.  As a side note, you’ll notice in the picture above that Kraft’s current version of the Striped Delight recipe calls for an Oreo crust.  I appreciate the aesthetic appeal of the black and white layers, but think I prefer the graham cracker crust that we grew up with.

  • About 1 to 1 1/4 cup of crushed graham crackers (I didn’t measure these out, I just used a sleeve of graham crackers that was missing one or two crackers, and it seemed about right)
  • 2-3 T sugar (I also did not measure this out)
  • 4 T melted butter

Mix it together right in the pan and press it down evenly.

Cream cheese layer:

  • 4 oz cream cheese (softened)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Beat the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla together until fluffy.  In a separate bowl, beat the whip cream until stiff peaks form.  Genly fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture until thoroughly combined.  Spread it evenly across the graham cracker crust and chill.

Chocolate Pudding Layer:

  • 4 T. corn starch
  • 2/3 cups sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 3 cups milk
  • 4 oz dark or semi-sweet chocolate (I used a 4 oz baking bar of Ghirardelli’s 60% Bittersweet Chocolate), finely chopped or shaved
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Stir the corn starch, sugar and salt toegther in a medium-sized pot (or double-boiler if you have one).  Add the milk and chocolate and put the pot over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until it becomes thick and smooth.  Once the chocolate melted it just looked like chocolate milk for a while until it suddenly thickened up.  Continue cooking over low heat for another 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Stir in the vanilla at the end.  Allow it to cool for a while, then pour it over the cream cheese layer and spread it evenly.  This makes a little more than your really need for an 8×8 pan, so you can either reserve some in a little bowl to eat straight, or just have an extra thick layer of pudding.  Chill for at least an hour or so.

Before serving, whip 1/2 cup cream until it stiff peaks form.  You can do this with handheld electric beaters, a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, or even by hand with a whisk, which I’ve done and it isn’t that bad.  About halfway through (when it’s foamy but not stiff yet), stir in about a teaspoon of sugar, or to taste.  Spread evenly across the top of the pudding layer.  Aubrey (with a washed finger) then wrote “MOM” in the surface of the whipped cream, for Mother’s Day.