The chocolate syrup I made yesterday was a huge hit. Dallas wanted to dip anything he could find in it!

I used the concotion to add flavor to another cooking first (in my home at least,) homemade pudding. I have bought many blue boxes of Sugar-Free, Fat-Free Jell-O and Jell-O pudding in my day. I hope to never buy a box again. Making pudding at home was seriously easy, seriously cheap and SERIOUSLY yummy! So yummy that a spoonful prompted Dallas to announce, “Mommy! This is better than Safeway pudding!”

Just for comparison sake, here are the listed ingredients for a package of Sugar-Free Jell-O pudding mix:

Water, xylitol (baby laxative), modified food starch, cocoa processed with alkali, milk protein concentrate, contains less than 1% of hydrogenated vegetable oil (coconut and palm kernel oils), salt, sodium stearoyl lactylate (for smooth texture), sodium alginate, sucralose and acesulfame potassium (sweeteners), natural and artificial flavor, artificial color.

From “How to Cook Everything,” by Mark Bittman

Vanilla Pudding (With choco syrup added. Don’t tell Mark)

  • 2 1/2 cups half-and-half or whole milk
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (optional)
  • 1. Put 2 cups of half-and-half or milk, sugar and salt in a small or medium saucepot over medium-low heat. If using a vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise and scrape seeds into milk or half-and-half using small sharp knife, then add pod. Cook just until mixture begins to steam.
  • 2. Combine cornstarch and remaining milk or half-and-half in a bowl and blend; there should be no lumps. Fish pod from pot and discard. Add cornstarch mixture; cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture starts to thicken and barely reaches a boil, about 5 minutes. Immediately reduce heat to very low and stir for 5 minutes or so until thick. Stir in butter and vanilla extract, if using.
  • 3. Pour mixture into a 1-quart dish or 4 to 6 small ramekins or bowls. Put plastic wrap directly on the pudding to prevent formation of a skin, or do not cover if you like skin. Refrigerate until chilled, and serve within a day, with whipped cream if you like. Whisk to remove lumps if needed.

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