Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Easiest Chocolate Pudding (not quite from scratch)

imageI love pudding. I don’t care much for pastries, I’ve never gone for cupcakes (or any cakes for that matter) but I cannot resist pudding. I don’t care what kind of pudding it is: tapioca, rice, custard, flan, creme brulee, butterscotch or bread pudding, it’s all good to me. You can put it in a crust and call it pie, but it’s all pudding to me.  (Yes, custard has eggs in it, true pudding is just starch thickened milk & sugar. Instant pudding is like mockolate and does not deserve the pudding name.)

I usually make Jell-O Cook & Serve pudding. I’ve tried some organic stuff from Whole Foods but found it had far more sugar in it and less flavor, so I went back to Jell-O (I actually preferred Royal, but I can’t find that any longer).  I usually make mine with Lactaid milk, as I’m not that good at digesting larger quantities of milk products and this is a good alternative to ice cream.

Here’s what you get from Jell-O for $1.50:

Sugar, Dextrose, Cornstarch, Cocoa Processed with Alkali, Modified Cornstarch, Contains Less than 2% of Natural and Artificial Flavor, Salt, Calcium Carrageenan (Thickener), Polysorbate 60 (Prevents Scorching), Fumaric Acid (for Thickening).

It occurred to me the other day that I could just make my own. “Oh,” I thought, “That’s a lot of work, measuring different things.” But really, is it? The thing is, I have a lot of hot chocolate mixes sitting around. I get samples but because this is a candy blog, not a drink blog, I don’t review them. And I don’t really drink that much hot chocolate. But I do eat pudding ... so why not make all that hot chocolate, that really, really good hot chocolate into really good pudding?

It turns out that it’s so freakishly easy, I’m kicking myself for not doing it for years.

(For the record, I did a search on the internet to see if I could find a recipe for just this and I had absolutely no luck ... so I worked it out on my own.)

Easy Organic Chocolate Pudding

What started this was that I got two cans from Equal Exchange last week ... when it was 90 degrees out. Not really hot chocolate season any longer, but pudding is always in season. One can is of their Organic & Fairly Traded Spiced Cocoa (shown) and one is of their Organic & Fairly Traded Drinking Chocolate. The difference between the two: hot cocoa is just that, cocoa and sugar (this one with spices as well) to be mixed with milk. Hot Chocolate or Drinking Chocolate has cocoa liquor in it and therefor a bit of cocoa butter.

Here are the ingredients of the Drinking Chocolate:

Organic Evaporated Sugar Cane Juice, Organic Cocoa Powder - Processed with Alkali, Organic Chocolate Liquor, Organic Cocoa Powder

(The ingredients list would look shorter if they didn’t have to throw the word organic in front of everything because it’s two things: sugar and some sort of chocolate or cocoa.)

It took me two tries, the first one I did only 2/3 of a cup of cocoa mix and 2% milk. The second was best and is what I’ve listed below.

Deluxe & Politically Correct Lactose-Free Chocolate Pudding That’s Super Easy to Make from Near-Scratch

Have your destination cups ready. I usually use the little cups that came with my china pattern, they hold 8 ounces, so that’s what I put in them. But you can use ramekins or other dessert cups that hold the recommended dosage of a half a cup if you have self control (or if you have no self control and just like to do a lot of dishes).

- 3 cups of milk (don’t use anything less than 2% or you’ll end up with a disappointing slurry - I use Lactaid Whole Milk)
- 1/4 cup of corn starch
- 3/4 cup of hot cocoa mix or hot chocolate mix
- optional: vanilla extract, orange extract or a little dash of spice of your choice

imagePut 3 cups of milk into a large, heavy saucepan. Sift the 1/4 cup of corn starch into the milk while stirring (I use a mesh tea strainer to do this, a fine screen colander works, too). This should avoid any of the dreaded lumps. When done, turn on burner to medium.

Put in 3/4 cup of cocoa mix, stirring constantly, scraping bottom and sides. This process takes about five minutes. Just be patient, work out any lumps or clumps in the cocoa while stirring, they get easier to integrate as the milk warms. The drinking chocolate didn’t look like it was completely melted until the very end, so have confidence.

Continue heating until mixture thickens. Do not allow to come to a full boil, but if you get a few blurples as it comes up to that temperature, it’s not the end of the world.

Pour into cups. Allow to cool. If you don’t like skin on your pudding, cover immediately with wax paper or plastic wrap touching the surface of the pudding.

I don’t mind skin, so I don’t cover mine at all, even when I stick it in the fridge (partly because I’m lazy and partly because it seems like such a waste of plastic).

I also like hot pudding. Yes, I’ll rinse out the pan and clean up my mess and then dig in with a spoon to my chocolate soup while it’s still steamy and a little runny.

In order to customize this, in both instances I followed the ratio of milk to hot cocoa mix on the package, so give it a try with whatever you may have around, but I’d err on the upper side of 1/4 cup per cup of milk.

The Equal Exchange Spiced Cocoa was a bit too spicy for me, but a really good, rich flavor (I might try it with half unspiced at some point). Not quite as fatty smooth as I would have preferred but this allowed me to sense the difference between that and the Drinking Chocolate (57%) was amazing. So deeply chocolatey, but silky smooth. It was like a freshly waxed floor and stocking feet ... my tongue was sliding around with that pudding going, “Whee!”

Yes, truly from scratch is probably best of all, but this is so elegantly easy and means that I can have hot cocoa on hand for guests and just need to have corn starch around for a scalable chocolate pudding mix at the drop of hat.

Pudding is a great year round dessert, easy to make larger batches for bigger crowds or use as a pie or tart filling.

I also tried Guittard Grand Cacao Drinking Chocolate late last year, which is absolutely divine as a hot chocolate ... next time I’ll try it as pudding, too. It’s the perfect ratio of chocolate to sugar (milk adds its own sweetness).

I haven’t (and won’t) tried this with an actual instant cocoa mix that you’d use water with ... that has powdered milk or “coffee creamer” type products in it. I don’t think it would work with soy, rice or almond milk products, part of the reaction that thickens pudding is the starch with the calcium in milk, if I’m not mistaken. But if it does work, it’d make this vegan.

(Jell-O Pudding box image swiped from Von’s website, Equal Exchange Drinking Chocolate image from EqualExchange.org & Guittard Grand Cacao from Guittard webstore.)

Related Candies

  1. Guittard Akoma Fair Trade Chocolate Chips
  2. Mary Jane’s Bread Pudding
  3. Chocolate Hellfire Chip Cookies
  4. Equal Exchange Miniatures
  5. Malted Crisped Rice Squares

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:00 am Tracker Pixel for Entry     CandyRecipesEqual ExchangeChocolateFeatured News

  1. I can TOTALLY mail you all the Royal pudding you want. It’s all over the place here!

    Comment by Kim on 4/15/08 at 3:02 pm #
  2. Oh, yum!

    Comment by Alicia on 4/15/08 at 3:45 pm #
  3. You can make it with whatever liquid you want. Starch gelatinization is not dependent on the liquid you use. Cornstarch will thicken water if heated.

    Comment by Andy on 4/15/08 at 5:44 pm #
  4. whoa, this is genius! I’m so doing this, but with cocoa and agave nectar (I’ve given up sugar. Yeah, reading your blog is exquisite torture). thanks!

    Comment by melissa on 4/16/08 at 4:07 am #
  5. After seeing this, I decided to go home last night and make it.  A while back, I bought Dagoba’s Xocolatl Hot Chocolate, which is very tasty but too spicy for my daily morning mocha, so I figured I’d use it up.  I also used 1% milk and potato starch, given that those were the things I had on hand.  It was really very good!  A little lumpy, but this was my first pudding foray.  smile  Also, this particular hot chocolate has some very hard, compacted powder nibbles in it—I sifted out as many of those as I could, but the ones that got through became like bits of chocolate candy in the pudding, which was awesome.  Thanks for the recipe!

    Comment by Brandy on 4/25/08 at 5:50 am #
  6. I’m gonna have to try this - reading pudding box or tub ingredients is a scary proposition, AND we have assorted cocoa mixes sitting around. Hopefully my kids will like this better than the alternatives!

    Comment by Tricia on 4/27/08 at 4:39 pm #
  7. I want an all-natural, vegan chocolate pudding of the jell-o instant pudding variety… That was the best stuff ever and i’m incredibly impatient so it was heaven in not too long… I tried the cook and serve but i never really liked it… I’ve been experimenting with using half almond milk half MimicCreme and differing measures of arrowroot… I hate that cornstarch flavor… anyways this sounds delicious so you should definitely try to come up with a version that tastes like instant… Thanks for the recipe i’m so going to try it!

    Comment by Asmith on 5/01/08 at 7:13 pm #
  8. My all time favorite chocolate is Guittard. They are a family-run business and that is fun to support, their drinking chocolate is fantastic!

    Comment by Chocolate Candy Recipe on 1/09/09 at 3:30 pm #
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