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Need a Quick, Inexpensive Valentine's Day Dessert? Make Easy Chocolate Pudding

Making your own chocolate pudding is almost as easy as using the little boxes, and the homemade version tastes better and is better for you. The "real" pudding lacks the weird stuff and excessive amount of salt that goes into the boxed pudding mixes. You also can customize your homemade version to suit your tastes. The microwave makes the cooking process incredibly easy. You can serve the pudding warm or let it cool in the refrigerator. I've been known to cool off the pudding fast in our unheated sunroom (which is below freezing right now). The homemade pudding is smooth, velvety with chocolate, not too sweet, and just right for a special dessert or evening snack. Although the pudding, served plain, is low in sugar, fat, and other bad things, you can dress it up, if you'd like. I often top servings with whipped topping or cream and chocolate pieces. Nuts and/or fruit (strawberries or raspberries, especially) are good, too. Enjoy!

Need a Quick, Inexpensive Valentine's Day Dessert?  Make Easy Chocolate Pudding
Need a Quick, Inexpensive Valentine's Day Dessert? Make Easy Chocolate Pudding

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.

Need a Quick, Inexpensive Valentine's Day Dessert?  Make Easy Chocolate Pudding
Need a Quick, Inexpensive Valentine's Day Dessert? Make Easy Chocolate Pudding


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