Dessert in Five Minutes

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There are always going to be days when you NEED dessert. And those times are invariably when you have nothing in the house to bake with. Or you don’t have the time or the energy to make even cookie bars and deal with washing those dishes. Microwave Chocolate Pudding to the rescue!

There is, of course, a story. Rich and I were looking at chocolate pudding mix once in Wild Oats (that dates us, they have long since been swallowed up by Whole Foods), and wondering what made the pudding “health food.” The ingredients were cocoa, evaporated cane juice (otherwise known as sugar?) and cornstarch. That started us thinking about what Jell-O pudding was. Sure enough, the ingredients on the side of a box of cook and serve chocolate pudding were sugar, cocoa and cornstarch, along with dextrose and a few thickeners. We wondered why we were bothering to buy pudding mix (especially with the extra ingredients), when we had cocoa, sugar and cornstarch at home.

Lo and behold, we found this recipe in a book we already had and even better, it was a microwave recipe. So it’s quick, it only dirties one bowl, which is also the serving bowl, and it is the deepest, darkest chocolate pudding you have ever eaten. We haven’t bought pudding mix since.

The original recipe came from a Cooking Light cookbook. The only change I made to the ingredients was to double the vanilla. I did revise the directions a bit to make them a little more precise. Without further ado…

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Microwave Chocolate Pudding
Adapted by The Cook’s Life
from “The Complete Cooking Light Cookbook”

 6 tablespoons sugar
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1½ cups 2% milk*
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine sugar, cocoa and cornstarch in a 1-quart glass bowl and stir well with a whisk to break up all the lumps. Gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk until well blended. Microwave mixture, uncovered, at 100% power for 90 seconds. Stir well. Microwave at 100% power for another 90 seconds. Stir well. Microwave at 70% power for 60-90 seconds, or until thick. Watch closely so it doesn’t boil over. Add vanilla and mix well. Pudding will thicken more as it cools. Let cool a bit before serving warm, or cover and chill. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the hot pudding if you don’t like the skin that forms as it cools.

Makes 3-4 servings.

* Works really well with skim milk, with no other changes to the recipe, but 2% tastes better, of course. Go all out and use whole milk if you have it.

 Download recipe here.