Ok, ok, this chocolate pudding might not actually change your life, but trust me when I tell you that it will make it a hell of a lot sweeter. I’m talking silky, luscious, from-scratch pudding that takes mere minutes to make and is proven to make even the worst of days better. I’ve been making this recipe for years but never thought to post it here since sharing it is kind of like showing you my favorite pajamas—it’s my crappy day cure-all and my chocolate-craving fixer-upper (and yes, my favorite p.j.’s involve a big fluffy robe). In other words, it’s my ultimate comfort food. It’s also my fallback for those nights when I realize that I’ve promised Ella dessert but have forgotten to plan ahead. I always have all of the ingredients on hand, and I can quickly whisk the pudding together before dinner, meaning that it’ll be ready to eat by the time we’ve cleaned up.
I have a long history with pudding. It was probably the first dessert that I ever “cooked,” which involved whisking a package of instant pudding mix into cold milk. Thankfully my taste for the overly sweet, chemically enhanced Jello mixes of my childhood disappeared along with my high school fondness for Bud Light. This from-scratch version is practically as easy as the boxed stuff, but decades better in terms of flavor (just like me!). It uses a minimal amount of sugar as compared to other versions, relying on good quality cocoa powder (or raw cacao powder) and chopped dark chocolate for flavor. To take it over the top (and possibly to remind me of the chocolate and vanilla pudding “parfaits” I made as a kid), I serve the pudding with a dollop of fresh whipped cream. If I’m not serving children, I’ll even add a tablespoon of bourbon or coffee liqueur to the pudding and to the whipped cream. Ahhhhhhh, it’s the perfect thing to slip into after a long day. Just like my big fuzzy robe.
Chocolate Pudding from Scratch
- 2 tablespoons good quality cocoa powder or raw cacao powder
- 3-4 tablespoons organic cane sugar (depending on how sweet you like it)
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1.5 ounces chopped dark chocolate (about 1/3 cup chopped)
- Lightly sweetened whipped cream , for serving
- In a medium pot (off-heat) whisk together the cocoa powder, sugar, cornstarch and salt. Add the milk and whisk until everything is dissolved (make sure to get into all the corners where the dry mixture likes to stick). Measure out the vanilla and chocolate to add later on.
- Put the pot over medium-high heat and cook, whisking often, until it reaches a rolling boil (about 6-8 minutes). Cook 1 minute longer while whisking. Remove the pot from the heat and add the vanilla extract and chocolate. Whisk until the chocolate is completely melted and the pudding looks satiny smooth.
- Pour the pudding into individual ramekins or cups. Cover the cups with plastic wrap, placing the wrap directly on the surface of the pudding (this will prevent a skin from forming). Refrigerate for 45 minutes - 1 hour, to let the pudding set. Do Ahead: The pudding can be covered and refrigerated for up to 4 days.
- Serve the pudding with a dollop of whipped cream. If you’re really feeling fancy, you could even shave some chocolate over top.