Beat the Heat with Low-Fat Peanut Butter Pudding
We've hit a new record in northern Virginia for 90-plus degree days, so no-bake desserts are high on my list of good things. Unfortunately, my husband doesn't like ice cream as much as I do (which would be hard, because I really, really, I mean really! like ice cream). So, I often make puddings. Generally, I opt for the low-fat, limited sugar versions of puddings--the kind that are reasonably nutritious as well as tasty. This peanut butter pudding is one of our favorites. It's light, sweet but not too sweet, and it's got peanut butter and crunched up cookies. What's not to like? Even better, I make the pudding using the microwave, which cuts down on the cooking time. The cookies are entirely optional. You could eat the pudding "as is" or just top it with a little whipped cream or topping. We like the crunch of the cookies, and I like to use chocolate cookie crumbs (complete with chocolate chips!). Nonetheless, if you opt for the cookie crumbs, feel free to use what you have--peanut butter cookie crumbs are great. Vanilla wafer crumbs and even graham cracker crumbs also will add a nice crunch. You also can sprinkle on chopped roasted peanuts to dress up the pudding.
Peanut Butter Pudding -- Makes 4 Servings
3 cups of low-fat milk, divided
1/3 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of peanut butter
1/4 cup of cornstarch
1/2 cup of chocolate or other cookie crumbs
Whipped cream or topping
Whisk 2 1/2 cups of milk and the sugar together in a large bowl or quart measure. Microwave the mixture for 5 minutes or until very hot but not boiling. Whisk in the peanut butter. Whisk the remaining 1/2 cup of milk together with the cornstarch, then whisk the cornstarch mixture into the milk/peanut butter mixture. Microwave the combined mixture for about three minutes, stopping to whisk the mixture again after one minute, then every 30 seconds until the mixture is quite thick. The pudding mixture should coat the back of a spoon. Divide half of the pudding between four dessert dishes. Divide half of the cookie crumbs among the dessert dishes, topping the pudding. Pour the remaining pudding evenly over the crumbs in each dish and then top the pudding with the remaining crumbs. Refrigerate the puddings for several hours or until set and cold. Top with whipped cream or topping. You can also let the puddings sit for 30 minutes to set and then eat the puddings warm, if you prefer.