I dream in ice cream.

Really, I do.  I could eat chocolate ice cream with crushed peanuts and bananas until I vomited.  Then I would start all over again.  I can’t explain ice cream’s hold on me.  I have always, always loved ice cream.

I can remember when I was a kid, my Grandma Helen would take me to the deli on occasion and we would get ice cream.  Every time Gram would get strawberry, but I would struggle making a choice, selecting very carefully a new flavor that I was sure was the best.  We would walk around eating our cones and within minutes, I would be asked by Gram if I wanted a taste of hers, I of course, would share a taste of mine, and then as if it were scripted, I would end up with her strawberry ice cream cone.  Meanwhile, she struggled to figure out what things like bubblegum, blue moon and superman tasted like as she was stuck holding the newest and greatest flavor I had rejected in lieu of the ever tasty tried and true strawberry.  I have since, moved on to chocolate.

In the middle of grading papers, it hit me.  Must.  Have.  Chocolate.  Ice.  Cream.  Mr. Wonderful, because he is well, wonderful, perked up and offered to drop everything and make an ice cream run.  I couldn’t let him do that (could I? no.)…so I went to the pantry and to Google.  “Chocolate Pudding Recipe” entered and like magic the interwebs returned a number of recipes.  I combined a few pudding and ice cream recipes (basically the same ingredients) to make this one, which satisfied my craving for chocolate goodness, sans bananas and peanuts, which I didn’t have on hand.  I forget how delicious REAL pudding is just out of the fridge.  It’s worth the 20 minutes of effort, with 5 minutes of stirring to get this velvety consistency.  Another bonus, most of the items you probably have in your pantry and fridge right now.  Go on, make your midnight snack before bed, you will thank me later.

Mexican Hot Chocolate “Pudding”

  • 2 C half and half*
  • 2C skim milk *
  • 4 T cornstarch
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 hot chili peppers dried, whole
  • 1 tsp ancho chili powder
  • 1/2 C Splenda or sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp espresso powder
  • 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1/2 C cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp salt

*You could use 4 C of whole milk if you like also.  To make vegan, omit both milk products and go with a soy replacement, just make sure it’s not labeled “light”.  Coconut milk would be delicious in this too!

Directions:

Combine cocoa powder, espresso powder, Splenda, spices and peppers in a thick walled saute pan, slowly add the milk and half and half while whisking so as to avoid lumps.  Bring to boil, reduce to simmer, keep stirring for 3-5 minutes.  Remove from heat, add vanilla.

In heat resistant bowl, whisk eggs together with a small amount of the hot mixture, tempering the eggs, add the remainder of the chocolate mixture to the eggs, combine.  Lastly, add the chocolate chips, whisk until melted.

Pour into bowls, coffee mugs, ramekins, whatever you have lying around the house that you can fit a spoon into, wrap in plastic wrap and pop in the fridge.  If you want to avoid the “skin” which I happen to think is gross, but Mr. Wonderful loves, press the plastic wrap down to the pudding until it touches and wrap up.   I tossed a few in the freezer in ziploc containers so as to mimic the frozen delish that is ice-cream.

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