Pudding parfait is sure to delight

Pudding parfait is something my family has been obsessed with since the early- to mid-1990s.

It all started with weekly trips to the Golden Corral buffet (this was back when they served entrees alongside the buffet). One thing they featured at the dessert bar was this amazing combination of yummyness topped off with whipped cream and chocolate morsels.

Black-and-white heaven.

The burst of flavor that results when you combine a few simple delights – vanilla wafers, vanilla pudding, chocolate pudding, whipped cream and chocolate chips – will amaze you.

One taste was all it took – my mom and I were hooked. So hooked, in fact, that our trips to Golden Corral became more about dessert than the main course.

And we weren’t the only ones addicted to the Pudding Parfait sensation: It was so popular that when we first arrived, we had to go straight to the dessert bar and fill up a small bowl to set aside, or there wouldn’t be any left by the time we finished eating our dinner.

I’ve often wondered if the popularity of the Pudding Parfait was too expensive for the nationwide restaurant chain, because Golden Corral hasn’t served the dessert (in any of the locations I or my family frequent) in more than a decade. The restaurant now features a banana cream pudding dessert that is similiar to the original Pudding Parfait, minus the chocolate pudding and chocolate chips, and plus bananas, of course.

Once we could no longer get our parfait fix at Golden Corral, I was forced to take matters into my own hands. I figured it couldn’t be too hard, since we knew all the ingredients that went into the dessert.

I started with a box of vanilla wafers. Then, I added some instant vanilla and chocolate pudding. Sometimes I use two small boxes of each, and sometimes I use one large box of each. It depends on how much pudding you want in the mix. Then I top it off with Cool Whip and a generous sprinkling of semi-sweet chocolate chips, and the dessert lives on.

One thing that is great about this parfait is the ease with which you can convert it to a low-fat dessert. Simply use reduced fat vanilla wafers, sugar-free, fat-free pudding and Cool Whip lite and you’ve cut the calories significantly. The chocolate chips also can be cut back in number, although I would never go without them completely.

You could try using different cookies for the bottom layer, or even mixing a few. The chocolate chips can be switched out for peanut butter or white chocolate chips, as well.

This recipe opens up a whole world of experimentation, although I must confess, I never will. The original combination is supreme.

Why mess with perfection?