Saturday, May 3, 2014

Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding

Chia Seed have a deeply rooted and fascinating history. These tiny little seeds pack quite the punch in terms of nutrition. They may be itty-bitty but are powerfully rich with omega-3, antioxidants, calcium, iron, zinc, fiber and protein. Just a tablespoon a day would make a noticeable difference in person's overall well-being. It's most definitely worth the time to find ways to incorporate into your diet. Our family enjoys this Chocolate chia seed pudding recipe adapted from Allrecipes.

Serve alone or with a dollop of real whipped or coconut cream on top. YUM. It also serves well with a side of fresh fruit, especially strawberries.

Serves 4-8

Chia Seed Pudding

4 tablespoons Cocoa Powder (if omitting chocolate chips, make these heaping tablespoons)
4 tablespoons Brown Sugar (a granulated sugar alternatives can be used)
1/2 cup Chia Seed
2 cups light Vanilla Almond Milk (dairy milk or another milk alternative is fine. Vanilla flavor is best)
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract (2 if not using vanilla infused milk)
1/4 - 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips


Excluding chocolate chips, combine dry ingredients into a bowl large enough for 2-1/2 cups of liquid and mix well with wire whisk.  Heat milk until it's warmer than room temperature but NOT boiling. I use a glass measuring cup in the microwave for about two minutes. If heating on a stove, be sure to stir constantly so the milk doesn't burn. Once warm, add the vanilla and stir it into the cocoa mixture; whisk until incorporated. Cover the bowl and leave mixture on the counter for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so to ensure mixture is well incorporated. I prefer a glass Pyrex bowl with a sealed lid so I can shake instead of stir. It works very well!

After 30 minutes, transfer the pudding into the refrigerator for a minimum of two hours. When ready to eat, taste first to determine how much more sweetness is desired. For some, it will be fine as is but its yumminess is greatly increased by the following. Place desired amount of chocolate chips into a glass bowl with a tsp or two of milk of choice; heat 20 or so seconds until milk is warm and chips are soft. Stir chips until smooth and immediately fold into the pudding with a fork. *Taste again; if more sweetness is desired lightly stir in honey, maple syrup or another liquid sweetener until desired sweetness is achieved.  I haven't tried this yet but pureed dates would be a healthier alternative if it works.

By adding the chocolate chips, two things are accomplished. First, it adds to the chocolate complexity of the dessert by enhancing its decadence. Second, for some (aka my husband), the chia seeds are off putting. Unlike tapioca, chia seeds will never be completely soft and will maintain slightly chewy in texture. When you add the melted chocolate into the chilled pudding, the chocolate curdles for a lack of a better word, so some chocolate chunks are left fooling the mind into thinking all those chewy bits are chocolate. For our family, I added chocolate chips the first two times I made this and have omitted it ever since. The family just assumes the chia seeds are chocolate now. Just be sure to increase cocoa and maybe the brown sugar a tiny bit so it's sweet enough.

Bon App├ętit