There’s a certain comfort in hot chocolate. Not the fancy adult hot chocolates that are just melted chunks of chocolate with a splash of milk. No, you know the type I’m talking about. Think back to when you were about 14 or so. Autumn or Winter has started to set in. You’ve got your knit cap and gloves ready to go when you go out with your friends, whether it’s to an amusement park, or a walk down to the local pizza spot, or to the swings at the park down the street after school, or the basketball courts. At some point while hanging out, your nose is red and practically frozen off, you’d need something to chase away the chill. Remember? It’s that delicious hot drink you’d sip on before coffee came into your life – sweet, milky, and definitely chocolaty. It would help melt you just enough so you could keep cracking up with your friends about the silliest things.
That feeling of nostalgia has never quite left. At least not for me. I no longer reach for a packet of Swiss Miss, but I still crave the innocence of hot chocolate; the innocence of childhood or young adulthood, as cheesy as that sounds. When I think about the world we are living in, and worry about how I’m going to protect my daughter, sometimes it becomes too much. Or if it’s been one of those long days where people can’t seem to find an end to their long list of demands, and all I want to do is just take a nap. But then there are days that remind me of 14. The last days of Winter that are holding on strong, but you know Spring is right around the corner. You still have to wear your thick coat, but now you don’t have to button it up.
That’s what this pudding is for me – as simple as hot chocolate, with the comfort of pudding. With only four ingredients (three of which are pretty much hot chocolate), and ready in less than 15 minutes, it’s something simple to escape into whenever you need a hug. Trust me. Make it today, or this weekend, and pack it up in a little bowl. Then head to the nearest park with a swing set, and swing as high as you can. Let yourself fly for a few seconds with a spoonful of hot chocolate pudding melting in your mouth.
- 6 ounces (about 1 cup) semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 3 cups whole milk
- Mix sugar and cornstarch in a small sauce pan or pot. Pour enough milk into the same pan to create a paste. Pour the rest of the milk into the pan and stir.
- Heat the milk, sugar, cornstarch mixture on medium heat until warm. Add chocolate. Watch the pot, stirring intermittently to melt the chocolate.
- Stir continuously once the pudding begins to bubble and thicken (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat, and spoon into ramekins or small bowls. If you like a skin on your pudding (like I do), let them cool as is. If you don’t like a skin, cover with plastic wrap, pressing wrap directly onto the pudding.