Sunday, August 03, 2008

Chocolate Pudding and Pretzels

My baking plan for the weekend was to make a Mexican chocolate cake by Rick Bayless (I've been making a lot from his cookbook - have you noticed?). But then I realized I didn't have enough butter or Mexican chocolate, so that was out. Then I got depressed because I really wanted something chocolatey.

Enter Food Network. I was watching a show that I've never watched before, Cooking For Real with Sunny Anderson, while I was folding the laundry. Suddenly she made this super-easy chocolate pudding topped with pretzels. Exactly what I was craving. Perfect. And I had all the ingredients on hand. Double-perfect.

I got the ramekins into the refrigerator within about 10 minutes and stored the pretzels in Tupperware until we were ready to eat. I'm not going to pretend it was the best chocolate pudding ever (especially since I burned the sugar a little), but it was exactly what I was wanting today.

Not a make-again, but it sure did make me happy.

We sort of went overboard with the pretzels, so imagine all the chocolatey goodness under them.

Chocolate Pudding and Pretzels
Sunny Anderson

1 cup pretzels, lightly crushed
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 cups milk
1 egg
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Special Equipment: 4 (4-ounce) ramekins

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. On a sheet tray, gently toss pretzels, butter and 2 tablespoons sugar. Bake until sugar melts and crystallizes on the pretzels, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, whisk together the cocoa, 1/2 cup sugar and cornstarch. Form a well in the center and slowly whisk in milk over medium heat. This helps prevent the cornstarch from clumping. Bring mixture to a boil to thicken. Remove from heat. In a small bowl, whisk a little of the milk mixture into the egg to temper. Add egg mixture to the pot of milk. Heat over low until mixture thickens to a pudding-like consistency, about 3 to 5 minutes. Mix in chips until melted and combined well. Pour pudding into ramekins. Chill at least 1 hour. To serve, top with pretzels.

Yield: 4 servings

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