Chocolate pudding cups were as good as GOLD when I was a kid. I would try my darndest to trade my mom’s thoughtfully prepared, healthy lunch snacks for a humble, lowly pudding cup that might be lurking inside a classmate’s lunchbox. To an eight-year-old, it was the holy grail of lunch-time swaps. Sorry, Mom. If I could get my grubby little hands on one of those babies then recess was a HUGE success.
Honestly as an adult, I still look at chocolate pudding (or chocolate anything really) with a certain degree of longing. Imagine some giant cartoon eyes bugging out of my head. My inner dessert monster knows no bounds. It convinces me that I need it. Like immediately.
When I first graduated, I moved back home to San Diego and worked for a catering company. Each day I clocked in, I had easy access to over-the-top desserts from the kitchen’s wondrous pastry chefs. Rich chocolate pots de crème, mini crème brûlée, chocolate chunk cookies and all sorts of other magnificent high-end goodies. All of which I devoured happily and greedily.
Now, when I eat those decadent, chocolately treats I am often left with one of two things:
- A big ol’ tummy ache
- A heaping portion of self-imposed guilt (or what I call “eater’s remorse”)
If I’m lucky, I will have found myself some delightful combination of the two. Yay, me!
Rather than letting this dilemma prevent me from enjoying all those tempting behind-the-glass desserts on display, I have a go-to recipe of my own with lots of simple ingredients and sensible swaps. The best part? You can whip it up at home in under 10 minutes and feel good about eating more than just your “fair share” of the batch
The food processor makes quick work of the ingredients list. Leave all the heavy lifting and effort behind this perfectly blended pudding to this most-wonderful of kitchen gadgets.
The pudding spends most of its “cook” time just sittin’, hangin’ in your fridge getting nice and chilled. Did you catch that little detail there?? There is NO cooking involved. Zero!
This a blend it and eat it kind of recipe. No heating or baking or whisking required. Whether you actually have the patience to let it chill in the fridge is entirely up to you. In our kitchen, we often demolish the just-blended bowl with the spatula or two spoons. Chocolate is chocolate at any temperature, and we can’t help ourselves. It is just too darn good.
Overripe bananas help deliver lots of natural sweetness without relying on sugar alone. The riper these are, the less sweetener you will have to add. If the peel on the banana makes it look like it was on the losing end of a fight, that’s the one you want to use. I’m not talkin’ a kinda sorta slightly spotty banana. You want one that has a peel that has turned almost completely brown. This is one of those recipes that’s great for using up fruit you wouldn’t deem snack-worthy on its own.
Depending on how strong your sweet tooth is and how ripe your bananas are, you might not need to add sweetener at all. My sweet tooth is a hulk-sized, insatiable beast. So, I enjoy adding a bit of coconut nectar to sweeten it up even further. Honey or maple syrup would work GREAT here too.
Rich cocoa powder brings that dark, chocolately note to full fruition. The addition of peanut butter and a bit of salt helps round out all the flavors. I have used powdered peanut butter (or PB2) before and had great results too. If you prefer to use almond butter, sunflower butter, or hazelnut butter (hello, homemade nutella pudding anyone?!) then by all means – GO for it! It just so happens that we have peanut butter on hand a lot in our kitchen. There are any number of swaps you could do to make this an allergy-friendly or paleo-friendly recipe.
If you haven’t incorporated salt into a dessert before – you are really missin’ out my friend! Salt helps turns up the dial on any flavor, whether savory or sweet, so you really want to make sure you have that little extra bit of it in the mix.
This brings us to the true superstar of this pudding, the hidden avocado blended up ALLLLL up into it.
No, I haven’t lost my mind and created chocolate guac. Apparently this is a thing. A real thing that people often do. It’s a bonafide trend, if you must know, this whole game of hide-and-seek / “where’s the avocado?”. And it makes total sense when you really think about it. Avocados are naturally creamy, they have a great thick consistency, and lots of healthy fats. They give this pudding amazing body and help you achieve that thick, dense texture you crave in a good custard.
And I do mean THICK. Like turn your spoon upside down over your head and have no fear, because that stuff is staying PUT. I have done this, and tested this theory. You are welcome to do it too, but I highly suggest you take that spoon and put it directly in your mouth instead.
But WAIT – don’t forget the toppings!
My favorites are fresh raspberries for a sweetly sour twist, and some mini chocolate chips for crunch. Lily’s Stevia Sweetened Chocolate Chips are my guilt-free go-to. But just think of all the things you could decorate these with…chocolate shavings, a sprinkle of toasted coconut, or a dollop of fresh whipped cream (or Greek yogurt). To me, they all sound equally delicious.
The options for topping these cute little pudding cups are endless. Let me know how you decked out your dessert at home!
- 2 ripe avocados, pitted
- 2 very ripe large bananas
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- 1 tbs vanilla extract
- 2 tbs peanut butter (can swap for: almond butter, hazelnut butter, or PB2)
- ¼ cup coconut nectar (can swap for: Honey or Maple Syrup)
- Pinch of salt
- Blend all ingredients together in a food processor. Make sure to scrape down the sides a few times with a spatula, then blend again until well combined.
- Spoon into four mini ramekins or other dishes. Use a spatula to collect every last bit of the pudding from the food processor bowl.
- Refrigerate until chilled and set (at least 15-30 minutes). Or eat immediately at room temperature.
- Top with chocolate shavings, mini chocolate chips, chopped nuts, banana slices, toasted coconut, berries, or a dollop of fresh whipped cream / greek yogurt. Devour as soon as possible.