Growing up, my sisters and I were lucky to have a number of fun babysitters to choose from when our parents wanted a night out, but Amanda was the best of the best. She would show up with a bag full of prizes and I don’t recall ever having to do anything to win them… She always looked as excited to see us as we were to see her, and as the years went on, she became our close friend.
Amanda would claim she knew nothing about baking, but that can’t be true because I’m convinced she’s now better at making and decorating cakes than I’ll ever be. I know those skills were always somewhere hidden in there with all her other strengths- tucked next to her amazing listening skills, compassion, and knowledge of where to buy lava lamps.
When we get together, we reminisce about cooking dinner when she’d babysit. She tells me that once we would finish dinner, I’d pull a chair up to the stove in our tiny kitchen and proclaim I was making chocolate pudding for dessert. She recalls that watching a six-year-old use the stove made her uneasy at first, but she quickly realized this was the norm.
Why chocolate pudding? It was our go-to dessert. My mom always kept boxes of Jell-O Cook N Serve chocolate pudding stocked in the baking cabinet, and like any other family in the 90’s (before everyone discovered their lactose intolerance), we always had 2% milk in the fridge.
I still love chocolate pudding, but can’t stomach dairy anymore. My solution? Vegan chocolate pudding that I SWEAR is even better than what I remember. But that could just be my terrible memory…? This recipe swaps dairy out for coconut milk, and like most of my other recipes, doesn’t need any refined sugar. This dessert turns out so creamy and chocolate-y that you won’t even notice the dairy is missing. Top it with just about anything and enjoy!
Vegan Chocolate Pudding
14 oz can coconut milk (both full fat and low fat work)
4 T cocoa powder
3 T corn starch
1/2 t salt
1/4 C pure maple syrup or honey
1 1/2 t vanilla extract
Heat half of the coconut milk in a saucepan over medium heat. In separate bowl, combine other half of coconut milk, cocoa powder, and corn starch, whisking until incorporated. Once coconut milk in saucepan is heated and coming to a low boil, reduce heat to low and slowly whisk in chocolate mixture. Add salt and maple syrup or honey. Whisk continuously until pudding returns to a boil and thickens (sticking to the side of a spoon). Remove from heat and add vanilla.
Tip** if you do not care about the pudding being perfectly vegan, mix 1/4 C chopped chocolate or chocolate chips into finished pudding for extra chocolate-y goodness
Top with toasted coconut, bananas, berries, nuts, etc. Store leftovers in fridge with layer of plastic wrap touching the top of the pudding- this will prevent “skin” on the top!