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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Chocolate Pudding

I've really been trying to eat a little healthier lately. For me, that simply means trying to cut back on the high fat, high calorie treats. I always eat a well balanced diet; it's just the "extracurricular" foods that get me in trouble. Fortunately, there are a number of desserts that are good choices when you want to calm your sweet tooth without having to eat a stick of butter.

Pudding is about the most straight-forward chocolate treat there is. Milk, sugar, and some cornstarch for thickening. These are the only basic requirements for pudding. Add a few minor additions for flavoring, and you've got a perfect dessert. While you can use low fat milk, I strongly recommend using whole milk if you want a nice smooth, rich pudding. Pudding from scratch is the only way to go. It tastes so much better than that stuff that comes in a box. And it's really not that much more time consuming to make than instant!

The first step is to sift the dry ingredients together into a medium sauce pan.

Add just enough of the milk to make a paste. Once all of the dry ingredients are moistened, add the rest of the milk and mix thoroughly. Don't worry if it gets a little frothy; that will go away as the pudding cooks.

Cook the pudding over medium heat whisking occasionally. Be careful not to cook over heat that is too high - scorched milk is no fun. Continue cooking until the pudding is just about to reach a boil. It should be thick and smooth. Remove from the heat.

Let cool slightly before pouring into serving bowls. Like all puddings, this one will form a skim on the surface unless you place plastic wrap directly onto the surface. Serve warm or chill. It will thicken more upon chilling. I like serving with whipped cream! Or make a chocolate pie. Simply pour the pudding into a pre-baked pie crust. Yum!

Chocolate Pudding
Yield: 4 servings

1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 TBS cornstarch
2 1/2 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Sift the sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and cornstarch into a medium sauce pan. Mix the milk and vanilla. Pour just enough of the milk into the dry ingredients to make a loose paste. Once the dry ingredients are all moistened, pour in the rest of the milk and whisk until well mixed.

Cook over medium-high heat, whisking occasionally, until the pudding just about reaches a boil and is thick and smooth. Remove from heat and let cool slightly before pouring into serving bowls. Serve warm or cold. When storing, be sure to place plastic wrap directly on the pudding surface to prevent a film from forming.

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