Goodbye 20s Hello 30s + Chocolate Pumpkin Pie

On Tuesday night I got my first surprise party.  We had a work day the following day, hence the weeknight party.  It all started when one of my friends texted me and asked if I could pick her son up from wrestling practice that evening due to a conflict.  It was completely a believable excuse since her sister-in-law had a baby that day.  So, off we all went to pick up her son.  Once we are in the car, Greta proceeds to cry all the way to their house.  Her son says, “Oh, I finished painting my room, do you want to see it?”  “Sure!” says the art teacher who loves fantastic wall colors.  In we go, and SURPRISE!
This is my shocked face and Greta’s smiling face, after all, everyone was there for her, right?

I was still surprised in this photo.  I was not expecting this at all. 
Yes, it is my 30th birthday.  My friends’ 3-1/2 year old made the card and wrapped the gifts in aluminum foil – LOVE IT!  
Oh my, this photo showed up on a greeting card.  It was taken 8 years ago when I first met these two lovely ladies.  
So, we decided to recreate it.  As you can see, we haven’t changed a bit!  I love you ladies!  
Today, being Friday, and my actual birthday, I took the day off.  What better way to spend the morning of your birthday than by baking your own cake?  I mean it.  I love homemade cakes and cannot bear the thought of eating a store bought cake (unless it was the amazing chocolate Costco cake as seen in the first picture of this entry).  
I opted for a twist on the classic Key Lime Pie and created a pumpkin version – I used a combination of a couple recipes to create this concoction.  Behold the Chocolate Pumpkin Pie.  The chocolate graham cracker crust with chunks of chocolate and spicy pumpkin is a perfect pairing in this creamy dessert. 

Start by crushing graham crackers to make 1-1/4 cups graham crumbs.  This is about 18 crackers.  I put the crackers in a zip lock bag and crush them with a juice glass.  

Add the graham crumbs and 1/4 cup sugar to 1/3 cup melted butter or margarine.  Stir.  

Press graham mixture into sides and bottom of a 9-inch pie plate.  Bake in a 375 degree oven for 4 to 5 minutes.  

Meanwhile, for the filling, whisk together 1-1/2 cups pumpkin puree

1/4 teaspoon cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon, 

1/4 cup maple syrup,

1 egg, and 1/4 cup heavy cream in a mixing bowl.  Whisk until smooth. 
Place a sprinkling of semi-sweet chocolate chips over the cooked crust base.  

Pour the pumpkin filling over the crust. 

Smooth with a scraper.  Add a swirl of maple syrup and a sprinkling of brown sugar to the top.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes until set.  
Cool at 1 hour at room temperature, refrigerate at least one hour.  
Enjoy! 
Chocolate Pumpkin Pie
1. For the Chocolate Graham Crust, add 1-1/4 cups graham crumbs and 1/4 cup sugar to 1/3 cup melted butter or margarine.  Stir.  Press graham mixture into sides and bottom of a 9-inch pie plate.  Bake in a 375 degree oven for 4 to 5 minutes.  
2. For the filling, whisk together 1-1/2 cups pumpkin puree1/4 teaspoon cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon, 1/4 cup maple syrup, 1 egg, and 1/4 cup heavy cream in a mixing bowl.  Whisk until smooth. 
3. Place a sprinkling of semi-sweet chocolate chips over the cooked crust base.  Pour the pumpkin filling over the crust. Smooth with a scraper.  Add a swirl of maple syrup and a sprinkling of brown sugar to the top.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes until set.  Cool at 1 hour at room temperature, then refrigerate at least one hour before enjoying. 

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