It’s been a double-down week for classes as my daughter and I taught a kids’ cooking class last weekend, then Monday eve I helped same daughter’s Girl Scout troop earn their Simple Meals badge. Originally intending to repeat my Saturday menu (DIY instant oats, noodle bowl, chicken tenders) for the troop, I realized that badge requirements called for a dessert. This realization hit the morning of the Scout meeting, leaving me little time to come up with a quick-and-easy sweet that would teach basic cooking skills and appeal to 10- and 11-year-old taste buds.
Little time was needed, though, as the obvious dessert choice was homemade chocolate pudding. A favorite dessert with my family (especially the husband), pudding needs only a few ingredients, cooks up quickly, and is undeniably swoon-worthy. I also imagined that at least a few of the girls may have only experienced the snack-pack variety of pudding. And I was excited to see these girls learn that homemade is so much better.
The recipe I turned to is from Make the Bread, Buy the Butter, a highly readabale book by Jennifer Reese of Tipsy Baker fame. Though I cut down on the milk just a smidge, I otherwise honored the recipe and its prose, quoting the recipe’s cleverly-written doneness test to the budding cooks: “It will start out looking like scummy hot chocolate, after which it will look like thin hot chocolate, until suddenly it becomes hot, bubbling glossy pudding. This is how you know it’s done.” While wordy, it’s also wonderfully descriptive and perfect for anyone who hasn’t cooked up pudding before.
As suspected, the pudding was a huge hit–sweet, but not overly so and also at a “chocolatey” level ideal for young kids who may not yet appreciate the darker side of chocolate. (Though using dark cocoa powder instead of the traditional would fix that.)
When I posted a photo collage of the foods the girls made that night (quinoa, roasted carrots and asparagus, breaded chicken tenders, and the pudding) on deLizious’ facebook page, all comments were for the pudding. And that’s when I knew I had a blog post.
From-Scratch Chocolate Pudding
tweaked only slightly from Jennifer Reese’s awesome Make the Bread, Buy the Butter
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups milk (2 1/4 cups in the original recipe and Reese recommends whole, though I use what we have which is usually 1%)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In medium saucepan, stir together brown sugar, cocoa, cornstarch and salt. Whisk in milk. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until hot, bubbly, and glossy. (The better doneness descriptor is given above.) Remove from heat; whisk in vanilla.
Divide pudding among 4 serving dishes. Cover with plastic wrap. (Or not–I do not as I like the thin layer of skin that forms on a pudding’s surface as it chills. Texture!) Refrigerate. (Or not–who can wait for chocolate pudding to chill? It tastes great warm and slightly thinner, too 🙂 ) Makes 4 servings.