My oldest daughter loves loves loves chocolate pudding. A couple of months ago, we were at Costco and I saw they carried the Hunt's Snack Pack and it was very inexpensive. I happened to be shopping with my mom that day and she said, "Oh, I'll buy one too, so there's some at my house when you guys come over." Sounded great.
Until I opened up one of them and tasted it. YUCK. When I talked to her on the phone the next day, she asked me if I happened to taste the pudding. And we both said in unison: Tastes like a mouthful of chemicals. My daughter was happily eating it (and let's face it, so was my husband and we had a million of them) but when we gleefully ran out, I decided I was going to make chocolate pudding from scratch from now on.
So a few weeks ago, I tried this recipe for chocolate pudding (substituting 5 ounces of semi-sweet for the dark chocolate). It turned out great, except for the lumps. It was so lumpy as if someone snuck into the refrigerator at night and poured cut up jelly beans in it. Even with the lumps, I think it may very well be the item that has left this kitchen the fastest.
After researching my lumpy problem, I realized it was because I improperly mixed the corn starch with the milk. You're supposed to make a slurry and if you don't mix the two together completely before adding it, then you get big ol' corn starch lumps. I was rushed that day and remember mixing it quickly and dumping it in.
This time, I made sure I mixed it properly and I used milk chocolate chips (about 5 ounces). It's amazing the way this forms right before you very eyes. At first it's all liquid.
And you have to constantly whisk it over medium heat. Even though it doesn't seem like anything is happening, there is some chemical reaction that is brewing beneath the surface.
You keep whisking and whisking until it slightly thickens and begins to simmer. This is when you add the corn starch/milk slurry. And I swear, with one big pop of a bubble and when you're blinking...poof! Suddenly it becomes pudding. Just like that.
Oh and then you add the HALF STICK OF BUTTER and the vanilla (this is on top of the whole milk and heavy cream!). I never said this was sugar-free, or good for waistline, but my husband and daughter won't suffer too much from this...they could use all of the calories they could get their hands on. And this sure is one of the most delicious things that has come out of my kitchen. If you eat this pudding, you'll never be able to eat instant pudding (any brand) ever again. I swear it's that good.
It's important to store this in an airtight container with a piece of plastic wrap placed directly on top of the pudding. This prevents a skin from forming. Some people like the skin though. In this house, we like our pudding skinless.