The chief problem with a cold snap is needing to leave the house in search of chocolate should the ration be dwindling. We were stuck with unsweetened baking chocolate and little else this weekend. I had nearly resigned myself to crawling under the covers to moan and whimper when I remembered pudding and the neglected jar of corn starch in the back of my cabinet that I could use to make it.
I’m a fan of recipes with ingredient quantities that come in a neat row of even numbers. Rote memorization of simple desserts is a necessary skill life, if you ask me, and when you’re not dealing with too many eighths or quarters or combinations of the two, all the easier the skill is to master.
No dessert in the house? How about an easy chocolate pudding? Two tablespoons of cocoa, two tablespoons of corn starch, 2 tablespoons of sugar, a pinch of salt, two cups of milk, four ounces of unsweetened chocolate, and two teaspoons of vanilla extract (or if you’re me: a very hearty glug, gone unmeasured). It’s easy enough to have memorized nearly as soon as you’ve made it once.
The only (mildly) time consuming part of making chocolate pudding is the stove-top mixing—something you have to do in the pudding from a box, too, mind you. So the bonus here is quality ingredients that you likely already have in the house, without any of the dyes, preservatives, or artificial flavors that hide out in the square little box.
Adapted from Edible Rhody.
Yields about 2 cups of pudding.
2 tablespoons granulated sugar (if you’re using bittersweet chocolate, I’d recommend slightly less, depending on your sweet tooth)
2 tablespoons corn starch
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 generous pinch salt
2 cups whole milk
4 ounces dark chocolate, chopped (or any kind you’d like, bearing in mind sweetness)
2 teaspoons (or one very hearty pour) vanilla extract (less if you don’t share my enthusiasm for vanilla extract)
treats enough for topping
Into a heavy bottomed sauce pan, mix together sugar, corn starch, cocoa powder and salt. Gradually stir in milk. Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking all the while. Whisk the mixture for two full minutes as the chocolate thickens. Ponder the strength of your forearms as you work. Remove from the heat and stir in chopped chocolate and vanilla extract (the chocolate should be chopped finely enough to melt easily into the mixture.) Pour the pudding into a large bowl (or several smaller ones) to set. (I used four of the smallest 3.1-ounce Duralex Picardie tumblers that we have and had just the right amount to leave room for toppings.) Chill in the refrigerator for two hours and top with a smattering of chopped nuts, granola, fruit, whipped cream, or any other decadent topping that suits your fancy. I used chopped roasted hazelnuts here
Note: We don’t buy plastic wrap in our house, but like most pudding recipes, the original suggests using plastic wrap to form a tight seal on the surface of the pudding to prevent a form from forming. I say, embrace the skin and cover any imperfections with your toppings.What about you? Easy desserts up your sleeves worth sharing?