Chocolate Thunder Pudding

You may have noticed that compared to other dessert franchises, chocolate isn't very well represented in the Circle B Kitchen recipe index.  And why is that, you ask?  Well, it all started a few years back when The Husband mentioned in what I guess must have been a rather off-handed way that if eaten late at night, chocolate sometimes might on occasion keep him awake when he'd rather be sleeping.  Well, not wanting to contribute to a possible insomnia-ish sort of situation, I took these words to heart and since then, chocolate desserts have been rather rare occurrences around here.

And then recently, I made chocolate pudding for my grandson and his parents and the little guy said it was the best Chocolate Thunder pudding he'd ever had and it just reminded me how much I love it and so I thought I would share it with you all.  But firstly I had to make it at home and that's when The Husband said that he, too, loved it and suggested that perhaps I may have over-reacted just a bit to his comment of several years ago and he was not in the least worried about losing sleep and could he please have more.

Alrighty then.  We're back in the chocolate business.  And then there's the question of why "Chocolate Thunder Pudding"?  Very good question.  The simple answer is that Chocolate Thunder is what my grandkids call me.  Actually, my complete name is Bumpa Chocolate Thunder, so Chocolate Thunder is the shortenend version which was bestowed on me by my son-in-law when the grandkids were just learning to talk and is a possible vague reference to Thing #2's nickname in everyone's favorite Dr. Suess book.  Seems totally logical to give me a name that takes 3 or 4 minutes to say when you're only 2, right?  Well, they've all learned to say it as soon as they could string more than a few letters and phrases together and that's how we got to Chocolate Thunder Pudding.  Well, sort of.  

While my chocolate pudding has been enjoyed by the Grandkids for many years, I have recently adapted it for grown-ups, and in this version, the real Thunder comes from...

Oh yeah.  I added a little Kahlua thunder which takes this pudding places it probably was never meant to go, but is just what one wants in a grown-up pudding experience.  Am I right?  I'm pretty sure I am, and I'm also pretty sure you're going to have a hard time just eating one little pot of this stuff.  My sage advice to you is... make extra.  And lots.

Ok then.  Perhaps it's time to get your pudding cups out and prepare yourself for a little Chocolate Thunda! Here's the recipe...

Chocolate Thunder Pudding

Click here for a printable recipe

Just a quick word about the importance of using a good quality cocoa powder here.  I use a dark belgian cocoa powder that makes this luxuriously rich.  I have not had good luck with Chatfields cocoa powder from Whole Foods.  It cooks up sort of grainy, which is definitely not good eats.  If you're making this for the kiddos, just omit the Kahlua and add vanilla.  If you're making this for both adults and kids, you can divide the pudding in half and add your kahlua to half and vanilla to the other half.  If you'd like to make this into a chocolate pie, which I heartily recommend, you can easily spread it into a pre-baked pie crust and top with whipped cream before refrigerating.  If you'd like to make it into a sort of chocolate mousse pie, fold your whipped cream into the pudding mixture before adding it to your pie shell.

Makes 8 4-6 oz servings

Ingredients

6 ounces chocolate chips (semisweet or dark chocolate)
3 tablespoons cocoa powder (unsweetened)
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt1 cup heavy cream
3 large egg yolks
2 1/2 cups milk*
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup Kahlua (coffee liqueur) or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

*Depending on how thick you like your pudding or if you're putting this in a pie shell, if you're using the 1/3 cup Kahlua, you might want to cut back on the milk by 1/4 cup.

In a large bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder, cornstarch, and salt. Slowly whisk in the cream, a little at a time, until you have a smooth mixture and then whisk in the egg yolks. 

Pour the milk into a 3-quart saucepan. Add the sugar and bring to a simmer over medium heat.  Slowly pour most of the hot milk into the bowl of cream and egg yolks. whisking until well-combined, then pour everything back into the pan.

Bring the pudding mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently.  After the pudding starts boiling, cook for 2 minutes, whisking constantly. 

After 2 minutes, remove the pudding from the heat and stir in the chocolate chips.  Whisk until the chocolate is fully melted and blended and then stir in the vanilla or the Kahlua, if using.

Divide the pudding into small ramekins or dessert cups, cover each with plastic wrap (to avoid creating a skin on top) and chill for at least 2 hours.  Serve with whipped cream if desired.

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