Epic Chocolate Pudding and The Boys

by Michael on March 24, 2012 · 28 comments

Chocolate pudding. Back in the day kind of memories stir up. Adolescence and hot summer days and friends coming together. There was something special about one of our parent’s turning a box of brown powder into childhood magic. It bridged the gap between children and adults, sharing spoonfuls around the same table. There is something nostalgic about a rich, velvety bowl of pudding. I think of old, tattered metal lunch boxes and playgrounds trading lunches. Except not the pudding.

Never.

W and I don’t have children of our own. Yet, not yet. But that’s not the topic of this post. Lots of our dear friends have wonderful children that we see nearly everyday, since we live within a few houses of each other. And when the weather gets warm, they all come out. Last spring and summer the three boys three doors down had talked about a sleepover at our house one night. But as one night became two nights became the tip of fall, that idea disappeared, albeit temporarily.

The last couple of weeks skipped right past the end of winter and straight into summer. Spring, forget you not.  Temperatures broke records and new highs. And each day was hotter than the day before. So it wasn’t long before the youngest brother asked us when we were having a sleepover. They never forget. We talked to their parents and told them we’d take them off their hands for a night but they’d have to pick the day and give the go ahead to it. And they did.

By Monday late afternoon we figured on a date and time. I was out walking the dog and saw the boys outside and told them about Friday night. Mistake number one. Their mom hadn’t told them yet so they wouldn’t act up all week. But all was well. As each day passed the kids would ride their bikes to our driveway and count down the days. “Only four more days,” one would say. “Three more to go, right Michael?” said another. One day after the other, consistent in timing and place.

When Friday rolled around W and I went over our game plan for the night. We knew three boys could be a handful so we wanted to make sure we had enough things planned to keep them busy and happy. With hours to go we had nearly everything taken care of and crossed off. Except dessert. And I thought and thought about it and then it hit me. Pudding. Every boy I’ve ever known likes both chocolate and pudding. Even the picky eaters can’t resist pudding goodness.

In the past I’ve made baked chocolate pudding, self-saucing pudding and other puds so recreating that childhood classic was just a matter of time. And this was the perfect time. Like the other puddings before it, making chocolate pudding from scratch is fairly effortless. And so much better than the box variety. So I made a batch until it was thick and creamy and poured them into cups. I made the whipped cream with cocoa and grated chocolate and put them away for the secret stash dessert.

When it hit 4pm on Friday W received a text from their mom asking about timing. We were finally ready. So we walked up to pick them up and give their parents a night off. Much needed and deserved. They each handed us a hand drawn picture and we were off. W was snapping away as they took off down the street. The middle one at our door before we were two steps from their house. This was going to be fun, and a lesson.

It was still warm out, although not nearly as hot as the days before, so we dropped their bags off in their room and packed into the car. We had an agenda, so we were gone in a flash. We made a short drive near the pizzeria but took a detour. Up by the old abandoned railroad tracks. W snapped away in her element as the boys moved between the tracks and bridgeway overlooking the water. A good thirty minutes taking some great pics for their mom to have.

After working up an appetite we stopped in at the corner store to pick up a treat and then grabbed a couple of pizzas to bring home. We had planned on everyone making their own pizza, but it turns out kids are picky and they only like one kind of pizza so it would have to do this time. W spread out the drinks across our usually half-empty table and I brought out the pizza. The five of us sat there, quiet and lost in our food. It seemed like forever, although it was more like a couple of minutes. I caught a glimpse of W as she watched over the boys. She fit the part. Her smile lit up the house.

As they helped us clear off the table I told them to have a seat back at the table because I had a surprise for them. Do you like chocolate pudding, I asked. Dumb question. I passed the glasses and spoons around the table and, for a few more minutes, we were all quiet again. This was the reason I made the pudding. I could see it in their eyes. Happiness. Content.

We finished off the night with a long walk with the dog and then settled in for movie night and homemade popcorn. Real popcorn, the first time the kids had the real deal. They laughed throughout the movie, as kids do, and we just enjoyed the night. When the movie ended we could sense they were finally tired. Although probably not as much as we were. We watched them brush their teeth, tucked them in, turned on the bedside table lamp, left the door slightly open and said goodnight. I checked in on them thirty minutes later. The light was off and they were fast asleep. Job well done.

Only the job wasn’t finished. W and I awoke slightly after 6am Saturday morning. Much earlier than our usual weekend time. We could hear the chatter of the boys. We lay still and quiet and listened as they talked as softly as they could, still loud by most measures, about games and each other.  We kept quiet for a bit and then I went to see who was up. The youngest and oldest, downstairs on our couch chatting up a storm. “Aren’t you tired?” I said. And, “where’s your brother?” Asleep it turned out.  So we made a plan. The little one would stay behind with W and I would take the oldest one for an early morning car ride to pick up milk and coffee.

When we pulled back into the driveway the lights to the house were on. It was still early by our measure, but we had sunk into the day by now. W and the two boys were in the kitchen waiting and we brought home the goodies. I started in on breakfast while W poured them milk and juice and started the coffee. It wasn’t long before the five of us were back around the table eating. French toast and croissants and bacon and fruit. Juices and milk and coffee. This is how a table should be. Some day.

We finished up breakfast and played games for a bit. Before long it was time to get going. They packed up their bags and belongings and I walked them back home. We said bye at the door. And they said thanks. I was fifteen steps down the sidewalk when the two youngest boys burst through the front door after me and gave me a hug. “Thanks Michael!!” they said. “And say thanks to Wendy as well!” The oldest boy appeared on the second deck, “Thanks Mike!”

It was just one night but it was great. We gave our friends a night off, which they were thankful for, and we had fun with three of the best young boys we’ve met. Yes, full of energy. But they are polite and kind and caring and they watch out for each other, always. As the day started to slip away we actually started to miss some of the noise that came with three energetic kids. But we were thankful for the chance.

It was epic.

From my kitchen to yours,

Michael

 

Epic Chocolate Pudding

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1/3 sweetened cocoa powder
  • pinch salt
  • pinch of cayenne
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 5 oz. or 150 grams dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa) finely chopped
  • grated chocolate, for topping
  • cocoa, for topping
  • whipped cream

Prep:

  1. In a large mixing bowl combine the sugar, cornstarch, cocoa powder, salt, cayenne and 1 cup of milk and whisk until all ingredients dissolved. Add in the egg yolks, whisking to combine thoroughly. Keep aside for a moment.
  2. In a medium saucepan combine the remaining milk and the cream and bring to a boil. Immediately remove from the heat. Slowly pour the hot milk and cream over the mixture set aside, whisking constantly until smooth.
  3. Pour everything back into the saucepan and place over a medium heat, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens, about 5-10 minutes. It should coat the back of a wooden spoon when done.
  4. Remove from heat and push through a sieve to get rid of any remaining lumps and into a clean mixing bowl. Add in the finely chopped chocolate, stirring until the mixture is smooth again. Pour into 4–6 cups or bowls and cover with plastic wrap. Place in the fridge until cold.
  5. Prior to serving, top the pudding with a good dollop of whipped cream, a pinch of cocoa and some freshly grated chocolate.

 

 

Leave a Comment

{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Tricia March 24, 2012 at 9:51 pm

Oh, Michael, that was lovely…and ALMOST made me look forward to our usual barely-6am wakeup call from a bouncing, happy 3 year old tomorrow ;)

Sounds like you gave them a perfectly lovely night – I’m sure joy was had by all and, trust me, their parents needed that break and appreciated your generosity and kindness with their children. Good on ‘ya.

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Rosie @ Sweetapolita March 24, 2012 at 10:38 pm

What a fun and unexpected post! Sounds like you & W had an adventure, and there’s no doubt the boys would love everything about your chocolate pudding. My kids are chocolate pudding fanatics, and I’m kind of ashamed to say I’ve never made it from scratch. I’m going to give this a go this weekend, actually–you’ve inspired me! I adore the image of one of the boys holding the pudding, as well as the final image, but the entire post is gorgeous, as always.

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Brian March 25, 2012 at 8:20 am

Michael, I so love the evening that you planned. And who wouldn’t be happy with this chocolate pudding recipe. I’m marking this one down. Happy weekend, my friend!

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foodwanderings March 25, 2012 at 10:38 am

I love chocolate pudding. Growing up we always had it and then I made it. No wonder though cause’ I love anything custards and your version looks awesome!

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Kimmy @ Lighter and Local March 25, 2012 at 10:44 am

I’ve been dying for an amazing, beautiful, chocolate pudding as of late. As always, I must try yours. We, like you two, don’t have kids… yet. We’re always entertaining the children of all our friends, however. I find it amazingly good practice!

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Carolyn March 25, 2012 at 12:04 pm

The boys had the most wonderful time with you guys! The very next night Brody asked when his next sleep over was! lol Thank you so much for the ‘”much needed” night off. You guys are the greatest! xo

(P.S. Ben and I will be making this chocolate pudding together real soon!)

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Barbara | Creative Culinary March 25, 2012 at 6:59 pm

Your story brought back a wealth of memories from when my kids were young. I was a single mom for most of their lives, starting when they were 6 and 2 and I doubt we ever had a sleepover that there was a second pair of hands to help. But I loved having a houseful of girls and we always had great fun. The one big difference apparently between boys and girls who spend the night? Those girls NEVER wanted to go to sleep!

I’m sure they don’t even know the word sumptuous but no matter; they were fortunate that is what they were served. I wish I had some now; it looks deliciously simple and divine at the same time Mike.

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SMITH BITES March 26, 2012 at 7:32 am

perfect evening for active boys and really, who can resist chocolate pudding?? not i, said the mama – you and W will make great parents someday!!

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Cristina Alt March 26, 2012 at 1:41 pm

What a cute post!! And i’m dying to try out the pudding recipe! I love love loved it as a kid… my mom used to make it from scratch. I’ve tried a few boxed version but once I read the ingredients I never went near the stuff again.

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Yadsia @ShopCookMake March 26, 2012 at 4:02 pm

I’m craving this right now! A bowl of comforting pudding, yum!

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Cookin' Canuck March 26, 2012 at 7:54 pm

When I saw your tweet about this, I imagined in my head that you and W had all sorts of fun activities planned, ones that would tire out a crew of boys in due time. It sounds as though it was a wonderful evening for everyone and I’m sure those boys will be talking about their time at Mike and Wendy’s, and that awesome chocolate pudding.

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Erin@TheFoodMentalist March 27, 2012 at 5:57 am

Yum! this does look EPIC :)

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Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen March 27, 2012 at 6:12 am

Sounds like kids may be in your future? :-) You two clearly have a knack for it.

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Helen March 28, 2012 at 10:37 pm

What a wonderful memory. There are occasions that I will take children for a sleepover to let my friends have a break and those are the times I have find myself laughing the most. We done drive-in movies to pillow fights to colored pancakes. I’m thinking I might need some kid time, wonder which of my friend really need a break. Thanks for reminding me of the fun!

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Lori @ Lemons and Lavender March 29, 2012 at 11:14 am

What a heart-warming post. You and W are the kind of neighbors anyone would want to have. I don’t know who was luckier: you, the other parents, the kids? A case could be made for each. But I think anyone who got their hands on that pillowy chocolate pudding would definitely have bragging rights of their own.

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Claire March 30, 2012 at 8:06 am

That pudding looks fantastic! I love the added pinch of cayenne pepper – think I might put a dash of cinnamon in mine too.

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Karina March 30, 2012 at 1:08 pm

This looks absolutely delish. Forget my 3 year old – I want some!

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Naomi March 31, 2012 at 10:36 am

Beautiful! Chocolate pudding is one of favorite desserts it always reminds of being a kid. looks like you captured a perfect weekend for the boys.

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Zuzanna March 31, 2012 at 1:17 pm

Hi :) I fell i love with the photos, especially for the deep color of puddings. I am going to make it next week but I found sth quite unclear: “1/3 sweetened cocoa powder”. How much is that? A cup or tbsp?

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Martha in KS March 31, 2012 at 5:32 pm

Glad you had such a nice time with your neighbor kids. I have no children of my own – and am now old enough to be a Grandma – but I say that being an aunt is the greatest job in the world. You can spoil them & then take them home. In fact, I just got an email from my niece in the Peace Corps asking if she could “give that spare bedroom some company” when she comes home this summer. You betcha!

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Michael March 31, 2012 at 5:35 pm

Martha, I’m sure your niece will love the company. As will you. And thanks for commenting!

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Zuzanna April 1, 2012 at 5:10 pm

There is an answer for post under mine but not for my question :/ Once more I ask:
“1/3 sweetened cocoa powder”. How much is that? A cup or tbsp?

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Memoria April 1, 2012 at 11:33 pm

Since I’ve never seen “1/3 Tbsp” (otherwise, the recipe would call for a teaspoon amount) of anything, I would assume that that amount refers to 1/3 CUP of cocoa powder.

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Zuzanna April 3, 2012 at 4:36 am

Thank you

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Zuzanna April 2, 2012 at 4:09 am

Badly constructed question. I have to study English more.
How do you measure that “1/3″? Are you using spoon or cup?

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Shayna June 10, 2012 at 1:47 pm

LOVE CHOCOLATE PUDDING :) I always have a stack of those and Jello on stand by for dessert ;) Not near as fancy though, lol. Can’t wait to try it one day ;) ‘Pudding’ in an early request for dessert, lol.

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