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Real, Healthy Homemade Chocolate Pudding

In search of a quick dessert on a busy day, I dug around in the cupboard for a box of instant chocolate pudding. All gone. I had lemon, vanilla, pistachio, and cheesecake, but no chocolate. I could have sworn I'd bought some. Guess not. So, instead of just making one of the different flavors I actually had, I decided to make my own chocolate pudding. It isn't hard, and the result is, quite frankly, much better than the instant stuff anyway. Plus, the real pudding lacks the weird stuff and excessive amount of salt that goes into the boxed pudding mixes. Yes, I did have to cook the pudding. I did it in the microwave. No problem. Yes, I also had to let the pudding cool. That was more of a problem. It meant we had dessert a little later after dinner (after shower time) and that the pudding was a little softer than if it had chilled longer. Nonetheless, the pudding was quite good. It was smooth, velvety with chocolate, not to sweet, and just right for an evening snack. Plus, the homemade version was lower in sugar, fat, and other bad things. I admit, though, I dressed up our puddings with whipped topping and chocolate pieces, so the puddings weren't entirely virtuous. You can certainly eat the puddings plain or just dress them up with some fruit--like strawberries--if you'd rather.

Real, Healthy Homemade Chocolate Pudding

Real, Healthy Homemade Chocolate Pudding -- Serves 4

2 cups of low-fat milk

3 tablespoons of cornstarch

1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) of cocoa powder

Pinch of salt

1/2 cup of sugar

1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon

1/4 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips

Low-fat whipped topping, chocolate pieces, fruit, nuts, etc. (optional)

In a microwave-safe bowl, whisk the first six ingredients well. Microwave the mixture in 4-5 one-minute increments, whisking after each minute. The pudding mixture should boil just a little, so, if it does, don't worry. Just whisk it vigorously. The pudding should thicken enough to coat a spoon and leave a trail when you run a finger along the spoon (but beware--the mixture is hot). After you've finished microwaving your pudding mixture, stir in the chocolate chips and keep stirring until they melt into the pudding. You don't have to add the chips, but they'll make your pudding taste richer, sweeter, and more chocolatey. Pour the pudding into serving dishes and chill it for at least a couple of hours. Garnish the individual servings with whipped topping, chocolate pieces, fruit, nuts, marshmallows, or whatever you'd like, if you like.

Real, Healthy Homemade Chocolate Pudding

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