My dad has a theory about marriage: that if you can survive being sick, hanging wallpaper, and moving together, you’re good. So far, Jeff and I have survived each of us being sick and adopted a staunch no-wallpaper policy. Tonight, we are loading the truck to start our first move together. He’s painstakingly breaking down all of his office equipment, which he will then arrange in the truck with Tetris-worthy precision. I’m packing up the bathroom, because I’M NOT READY to pack up the kitchen yet.
Towels? Whatever. I need my food processor.
This begs the question, how am I keeping my husband from strangling a bounty such as myself? It’s all about those three little words: Homemade Chocolate Pudding.
Right now, I have six ramekins of impossibly creamy, rich chocolate pudding to buy Jeff’s good will while I procrastinate. Make that five ramekins. Four? It is good, and those ramekins are small.
What makes this chocolate pudding so good? First, you can’t go wrong with any combination of whole milk, sugar, butter, vanilla, and chocolate. Second, you mix the pudding in your food processor, which makes it incredibly smooth. And finally, you chill the pudding for at least four hours before you eat it. Four. Hours. When you take that first bite, you might wonder what all the fuss is about, but this is a dessert that’s meant to be savored. Slow down, and the chocolate will become more pronounced.
After the first two ramekins, Jeff had this idea that the pudding would be even better with something crunchy over the top, so I baked a batch of thin Lace Cookies and sandwiched them together with melted chocolate. If you’ve never baked lace cookies, let me warn you that the secret ingredient is PROFANITY. You won’t get a decent batch until you’ve cursed. A lot. So, stay very close to the oven, and when you can smell the cookies, PULL THOSE #*%^&*$ OUT!
If we had a little more time at this house, I would make the pudding again and try it as a chocolate pie filling. But it’s time to pack the food processor. And the Kitchen-Aid. And say goodbye to our first home. I’m sure the next one will be filled with even more good times. And absolutely no wallpaper.
From Dorie Greenspan’s “Baking: From My Home to Yours”
Makes 6 servings
- 2 ¼ cups whole milk
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg
- 2 large egg yolks
- 5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and still warm
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Have six ramekins or pudding cups, each holding 4 to 6 ounces, at hand.
- Bring 2 cups of the milk and 3 tablespoons of the sugar to a boil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan.
- While the milk is heating, put the cocoa, cornstarch and salt into a food processor and whir to blend. Turn them out onto a piece of wax paper, put the remaining 3 tablespoons sugar, the egg and egg yolks into the processor and blend for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the remaining ¼ cup milk and pulse just to mix, then add the dry ingredients and pulse a few times to blend.
- With the machine running, very slowly pour in the hot milk mixture. Process for a few seconds, then put everything back into the saucepan. Whisk without stopping over medium heat – making sure to get into the edges of the pan – until the pudding thickens and a couple of bubbles burble up to the surface and pop (about 2 minutes). You want the pudding to thicken, but you don’t want it to boil, so lower the heat if necessary.
- Scrape the pudding back into the processor (if there’s a scorched spot, avoid it as you scrape) and pulse a couple of times. Add the chocolate, butter and vanilla and pulse until everything is evenly blended.
- Pour the pudding into the ramekins. If you don’t want a skin to form (some people think the skin is the best part), press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of each pudding to create an airtight seal. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
From John Scharffenberger and Robert Steenberg’s “Essence of Chocolate”
Makes about 20 sandwich cookies
- 1/2 cup sifted all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup old-fashioned or quick-cooking oats (not instant)
- 1/3 cup (generous 2 1/2 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon dark rum
- 2 ounces 82% extra dark chocolate, melted and still warm (but you can use any chocolate you like)
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with Silpats or parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, and oats. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the butter, cream, corn syrup, vanilla, and rum. Stir until smooth. Slowly add the dry ingredients, stirring to combine.
- Drop about 3/4 of a teaspoon of batter onto the prepared baking sheets. Make the cookies as close in size as possible. Place only 12 cookies on each baking sheet (four rows of three), as they will spread considerably.
- Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes, rotating once halfway through the baking. Remove from the oven and let stand on the sheets for 1 to 2 minutes. If any of the cookies have run together, cut them apart, then transfer the cookies to cooling racks to cool completely.
- Choose 2 cookies that are similar in shape. Drizzle the bottom of one cookie with melted chocolate and spread with a small offset spatula. Sandwich with the second cookie. Repeat with remaining cookies.
Storing: The cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days.