I don’t bake or make desserts on a regular basis, but I do like to make treats for dinner parties and family birthdays. I’m always trying to lighten them a bit, trimming sugar and fat where I think it won’t compromise a recipe. Or leaving the frosting off a cake and serving it with berries instead. Or forgoing the cake altogether and serving berries with a small dollop of real whipped cream. But in this case, I didn’t mess around with perfection. Luscious, honestly nutritious, and kid-friendly to boot, you can’t beat good old-fashioned chocolate pudding. This version is creamy and uber-chocolatey, yet deceivingly light (spooned into 6-oz. ramekins, around 150 calories per serving, about 4 grams each of protein and fat). We’re splurging on it tonight to celebrate John’s (last Saturday) birthday – tonight’s the first night we’ll finally have everyone together plus Stacey and Cooper.
Another bonus – it comes together in about 20 minutes (with an additional 4 hours to chill, the perfect do-ahead dessert). The combination of cocoa and bittersweet chocolate gives the flavor a seriously chocolatey oomph, a must-have combination for a John Birthday. Cornstarch (no eggs) and evaporated skim milk cleverly make it creamy and smooooooth without sending the richness completely over-the-top. (Press plastic wrap over the tops while they cool.)
I predict spoon licking.
Creamiest Chocolate Pudding
Cooking Light, December 2007
This recipe earned our Test Kitchens’ highest rating. A combination of cocoa powder and dark chocolate offers acidity and flowery notes. Store tightly covered in the refrigerator up to five days. For a pretty presentation, dip mint sprigs in water and gently dredge in sugar; let dry on a wire rack.
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups 1% low-fat milk
1/2 cup evaporated fat-free milk
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate (60 to 70 percent cocoa), finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Fresh mint sprigs (optional)
Combine first 4 ingredients in a medium, heavy saucepan; stir with a whisk. Gradually add low-fat milk and evaporated milk, stirring with a whisk. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly with a whisk. Reduce heat, and simmer 1 minute or until thick. Remove from heat; add chocolate, stirring until melted and mixture is smooth. Stir in vanilla. Pour about 2/3 cup pudding into each of 6 (8-ounce) ramekins; cover surface of each serving with plastic wrap. Chill at least 4 hours. Remove plastic wrap; serve. Garnish with fresh mint sprigs, if desired.
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