I might be the last person on Earth to get the hard-copy of the newspaper delivered at home, but as a career journalist, I can’t help myself. It isn’t morning without me reading the newspaper while eating breakfast, shaking the crisp newsprint open to see what information the writers, photographers and editors have curated for me that day.
Of course I look forward to Sundays, because of the comics and the magazine insert. Parade Magazine comes in my L.A. Times, and one early January edition was devoted to “The Biggest Loser” and strategies for losing weight and maintaining weight loss.
It included a recipe for a lightened-up chocolate pudding, thickened with cornstarch instead of cream, and flavored with cocoa instead of higher-fat chocolate. In fact, it had no dairy whatsoever, and so is a vegan rendition.
I was immediately ALL IN!
My family loved it, and I even took it to a Food Bloggers L.A. meeting, and the bloggers were surprised at how chocolatey and satisfying it was.
Try it yourself when you need something sweet and chocolate, and you don’t want to be too naughty on the waistline.
Shockingly Delicious Variations
1. Orange-Chocolate: Use a microplane grater to remove the orange rind from a tangerine or orange (try a Cara Cara orange, or Morro blood orange, in season now). Stir rind into the pudding along with the coconut milk and proceed as directed. Garnish top of each pudding with an orange slice or two.
2. Use the pudding as a dip for fruit: Slice a firm Korean Pear into thin slices (no need to peel), and dip the pear slices into a small bowl of room-temperature pudding. YUM!
3. Use the pudding as fudge sauce: OK, this might take The Biggest Loser pudding into The Smallest Loser territory, but you know what’s seriously good? Place a small amount of high-quality vanilla bean ice cream (think Talenti or Haagen Daz) in a bowl, and sling a couple of dollops of this pudding on top. It’s best if the pudding is slightly warm or room temperature when you do it. The warm pudding will slightly melt the ice cream. Close your eyes and enjoy. Keep your ice cream portion very small and enjoy every bite.
4. Chocolate-Almond: Stir 1/4 teaspoon almond extract into the pudding along with the coconut milk, and proceed with directions. Instead of pistachios, sprinkle with slivered almonds. Want to push the envelope? Sprinkle with chopped SMOKED ALMONDS! Bam, I went there — sweet, salty, smoky.
5. Spread pudding on toast instead of using Nutella: I discovered the wonders of Nutella on toast in Amsterdam, where, bless their hedonistic souls, they apparently consider gobs of chocolate a suitable breakfast. However, the calorie count of Nutella is daunting — 100 calories a tablespoon, and let’s be honest, we all know we’re putting several times that on each slice of toast. Each serving of this pudding is only 150 calories, so let’s spread a little pudding on toast (or dip your toast into your pudding), and maybe sprinkle with chopped hazelnuts for authenticity. Boom, done, you’re welcome!
Disclosure: Melissa’s Produce provided the Korean Pears and agave syrup for recipe development.