Friday, February 13, 2015

Just pudding it out there

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day, and there's no more traditional way to show your love than with chocolate. That, however, can have some rather unwanted consequences...particularly if you're the kind of idiot that signs up for long spring races at bloody ski hills.

Don't you worry, though - I've got your back! I'm here to show you a quick, simple way to indulge in rich, chocolatey goodness that won't wreck your dreams of reaching (or maintaining) race weight. You can even make a single serving just to quash a chocolate craving, and since all of the ingredients are whole, natural foods you can feel pretty good about what you're eating. It's absurdly easy, too, and will take you less than 5mins from the time you start pulling out ingredients until you're savouring your first spoonful of chocolate heaven.

Healthy Chocolate Pudding

(Makes 2 servings - approximately 5mins total required)


1 ripe banana
5 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp almond butter
1 tsp vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)

You only need half a banana per serving, but you can always just eat the other half..


Peel a banana and break it into chunks in a small bowl. If you're not too fussy about presentation, you can pop them right into the serving dishes.

We're not too picky.

Use a sturdy fork to mash the hell out of the banana chunks. You want to get it as smooth as possible.

Keep going..

Once you've got the banana to a fairly uniform, creamy consistency, add 1/2 tsp of the vanilla bean paste and stir in thoroughly. If you can't find vanilla bean paste you can use vanilla extract instead, or even scrape a vanilla bean pod into the banana.

This stuff is goooooood, though.

Now add 1/2 tbsp nut butter per serving. I like to use a raw, unsweetened almond butter but you could change it up if you'd like something different. Don't use stuff that's chock full of sugar, salt, soybean oil and other crap though - it sort of defeats the purpose of making a healthy alternative. I'd also suggest that you should only use smooth butters for this, not crunchy...unless you really like chunky pudding.

Stir the nut butter in until well blended. As an aside, this makes a damn tasty dessert all on its own, or as a base for other flavours.

This, however, is about chocolate. Let's get after it!

Now here's where you may have to play around with things to get it right. I add a heaping forkful (which I estimate to be about 2 tbsp worth) plus another 1/2 tbsp or so of unsweetened cocoa powder per serving. I also eat and really, really enjoy dark chocolate with 90% cocoa content that other people find rather bitter. Thus, you might want to try less cocoa powder to start, then adjust to taste. Or, you can add ALL THE COCOA, then add a liquid sweetener like maple syrup or honey to reduce the bitterness.

I won't judge. Promise.

I do, however, suggest that you use the absolute best quality cocoa powder on which you're able to lay hands. Without it, the flavour will be disappointing at best. I try to find cocoa powder with higher fat content (20% or more) like this one from the Bulk Barn as the flavour is more intense than the standard fare. 

Now take that fork and stir the ever-loving bejeezus out of the mixture. It will start off looking like you've added way too much cocoa powder and are going to end up with a sticky mess.

Have faith!

Just keep stirring, scraping down the sides of the bowl as you go. You might be able to do this with a food processor or some other gadget, but I'm trying to keep things simple here. A fork is fine, and with enough elbow grease you'll finally come to a smooth consistency.

Taste and adjust things to suit yourself. If you don't have an ingredient (other than banana and cocoa) then go ahead and make it anyway - I started out just stirring cocoa powder into mashed banana and it's pretty awesome, though the almond butter does add creaminess and the vanilla bean paste makes the flavour pop. If you want to be all fancy-schmancy about it, you could modify it further with some add-ins like:
  • A sprinkle of fleur de sel or sea salt on top
  • A spoonful of cocoa nibs
  • Top with fresh raspberries
  • Stir in a swirl of caramel
  • Sprinkle with unsweetened, shredded coconut
  • Add 1/4 tsp instant coffee for a mocha flavour
Or just grab your spoon and go to town on the smooth, chocolatey deliciousness as is. I ran the basic ingredients through a calculator and it spit out the following data:

Does not include any add-ins; just half of the recipe as listed.

Just 160cal for a bowl of silky smooth, mouth-watering chocolate pudding, made entirely from ingredients that you can pronounce and probably have sitting in your kitchen right now. Make it for a loved one to show them you love them, make it for yourself as a midnight snack, or make it any time at all just because it's freakin' amazing.

So what exactly are you waiting for? Get stirring!

And remember that the cook gets to lick the bowl.

Hope you all have a wonderful Valentine's Day!


  1. Thanks for the recipe. Made it for my wife tonight topped with raspberries and she loved it. We're both fans of 90% cacao chocolate as well. I think it could use some sort of liquid additive to "loosen" it a little. I suggested rum but she told me to "keep thinking" ha


    1. Glad to hear you enjoyed it! An extra drop of vanilla extract can help with the liquid issue, or a couple of drips of maple syrup if you don't mind extra sweetness. I must say, though, that I quite like your suggestion!
      Thanks for reading - cheers!


Go on, have at me!