I love chocolate but I am not a chocoholic so I don't care for overly rich chocolate desserts nor do I like overly sweet chocolate. I like a balance of flavors with the right amount of sweetness and chocolatey goodness to make me forget the dessert might actually be, dare I say, good for me. Since becoming a nutritionist and having certain dietary restrictions of my own, I have made it my mission to revamp some of my favorite recipes so as not to feel deprived and to present my clients with healthier alternatives and yummy swaps. And dessert seems to be the thing that most people think they can no longer enjoy especially if they want to lose weight. I have said before that no matter what you eat you have to be smart about it, including how and when you indulge. Periodically I will offer my own take on a recipe that I think can be made just a little better so we can all enjoy regardless of our dietary proclivities.
This month I'm sharing one of my favorites- chocolate pudding which when you think about it, can really fill the void whether you're craving chocolate ice cream or a fudge brownie. I find when it comes to chocolate, if I can just have that flavor I don't necessarily mind if it's not a huge slab of cake as long as it tastes really good and it satisfies my chocolate fix. But this is dessert and should not be part of your daily meal planning and you will want to account for its inclusion by adjusting in other areas. So maybe you'll skip the baked potato... and drink water.
Since this is a recipe makeover, don't skimp on the ingredients. In other words, use the best stuff i.e. - pure vanilla extract, real maple syrup, etc. This recipe makes eight 1/2 cup (4-ounces) servings and has approximately 260 calories per serving. Now before you get all bent out of shape because of the calorie count, remember the average candy bar has that much and sometimes more, AND is not nearly as satisfying or the least bit nutritious. Also, a good amount of the calories (and fat content) comes from the coconut milk and coconut oil I use which have so many health benefits, (you can read all about the wonderful world of coconut here), that make them perfect for disguising this dessert as a potential "health food".
-3 Tablespoons tapioca flour (or arrowroot powder dissolved in 6 T water)
-1/4 cup maple syrup or (coconut) sugar (*DO NOT use pancake syrup)
-1/4 teaspoon sea salt
-2 and 1/2 cups (20 oz.) light coconut milk (one 14 ounce can + 6 ounces of water)
-3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chunks (or chips)
-1 Tablespoon (virgin) coconut oil
-2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1- Combine tapioca, sugar, and salt in medium sauce pan on medium heat.
A word about thickeners- they give this dessert its pudding consistency. I like using arrowroot or kudzu but some purists may prefer cornstarch. You can certainly use cornstarch but the whole point of this revamp is swapping in healthier alternatives and cornstarch is difficult to digest not to mention some people are allergic to corn or are trying to avoid grains in general. It is best to completely dissolve the arrowroot in a bit of cold water before combining with the sugar and salt. However if I use maple syrup instead of a granulated sugar, I blend the arrowroot directly with the syrup before turning on the heat and it turns out fine. I have not tried this with the kudzu starch.
2- Pour in approximately 1/2 cup of the coconut milk and whisk until smooth.
I add the 6 ounces of water to the canned milk to "soften" the pudding making it perfectly creamy and cuts down a bit of the calories.
3- Whisk in the remaining milk and bring the mixture to a boil.
You don't have to constantly stir but you don't want to walk away or you will end up with a globby mess.
4- Lower the heat and whisk until the mixture has thickened.
This only takes a few minutes. You will know you're getting there when the pudding coats a spoon.
5- Remove from the heat and add chocolate chunks, coconut oil, and vanilla extract.
Whisk until smooth.
6- Pour into eight 4-ounce glass jars and let the pudding cool before refrigerating.
Click here to see the Ball storage jars I use. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight is better especially if you use arrowroot starch or the pudding will have more of a jello texture. For added decadence, feel free to top it with homemade whipped cream.
Serving Size- 4 ounces
©2016 by Tasha D. Manigo-Bizzell