Chocolate Birthday Desserts: Compost Cups

My friend and neighbor Erik had his birthday bash this weekend.  He is normally out of town on an annual ski trip, so he rarely has a bithday party with his New York friends and he wanted a big party this year.    It was an excellent party at a great bar, Local 61, in Brooklyn which could accomadate his massive guest list, friends from Ohio and Boston made a trip out for the extravaganza.  I made it my job to make a cake or dessert of some sort.  At first he claimed he didn’t want one, and it always seemed like he and his brother were not much for sweets, so I wasn’t going to do anything.  But I doubled check the night before to make sure he didn’t want anything and found out that he apparently LOVES chocolate.  How I did not know this after three years is beyond me. 

Chocolate made my search much narrower and since it needed to be gluten free, a Flourless Chocolate Cake was the first thing that came to mind.  At breakfast the next morning with a couple of our friends the idea came up to make the dirt cupcakes that you see at a kids birthday with the  gummy worms coming out.  Why?  Because Erik is a Master Composter.  In his spare time he helped set up a composting program at the Gowanus Canal Concervancy and currently oversees the Grow NYC Compost Program.  Needless to say, he is serious about his compost.  So I decided I would be making two desserts, there were going to be a lot of people anyway.

I flipped through my cookbooks and recipe binders until I found a flourless chocolate cake, which I will share next, and a Chocolate Ricotta Mousse recipe from Real Simple.  I added some crushed Gluten Free chocolate cookies to the top and placed a gummy worm and Swedish Fish in little terra cotta pots I bought for muffin making.  They turned out super cute and were very rich and yummy.  The blending of the ricotta and chocolate smoothed out texture of the ricotta and made is silky.  The cookie crumbled added a nice crunch to the texture.  I was not a fan of eating the gummies with the chocolate, but they certainly good on their own.  You should definately give this recipe a try. With or with worms.

Compost Cups
6 servings

  • 15 oz ricotta (one container)
  • 2 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 4 oz semisweet chocolate
  • 2 or 3 chocolate cookies (gluten free if desired), crushed
  • milk chocolate shavings
  • gummy worms
  • Swedish Fish
  1. Melt the semisweet chocolate chips in a microwave dish.  Make sure you do not burn it so start with one minute on high, stir and put it back in for increments of 15 to 20 seconds, stirring in between each time.  There should be a few unmelted chunks the final time you stir them, and the stirring will finish melting it all.  It shouldn’t take more than three minutes total in the microwave, depending on you machine.  
  2. In a blender (or food processor if you have one), blend the ricotta, sugar, and melted chocolate until smooth.  Make sure to stop the blender and scrap down the sides to get everything mixed well.
  3. Line six terra cotta pots with parchment paper and place a gummy worm in each one.   Fill the pots with the chocolate mousse mixture.  Sprinkle the crushed cookies on top.
  4. Put them in the fridge to set up for bit, then stick the Swedish Fish in, they should not sink down once the mousse is a bit thicker, and sprinking the chocolate shavings on top.
  5. Real Simple’s recipe says that you can store this in the fridge for up to two days and to bring it to room temperature for serving.