I love chocolate. I really do. Especially dark chocolate. There’s just something so satisfying about that rich chocolate flavor that is not the same in milk chocolate, mmmmmh!!! As a kid I could down half a bar without a problem, but I’ve learned to control myself (most of the time), so I keep it to just a few pieces at a time. Chocolate is still a treat with the added milkfat and sugar. The health benefits lie in the cacao, not the fat or sugar 😉
Cacao and cocoa are not the same thing, by the way. The cocoa powder you find in the baking aisle and in most chocolates is heated and sometimes processed with alkali to make it less acidic. It has benefits of fiber and antioxidants, but not as pure and in the quantities like raw cacao has them. So, cacao is better, but if you can’t find it, cocoa will do as well.
When I want to have chocolate, I want to taste the real thing and not eat a bunch of added, artificial ingredients like in some chocolate flavored protein shakes or weight loss bars. I was seriously skeptical about this chia pudding thing and honestly thought it would just taste awful and weird. Except that it didn’t!
Chia pudding has been all over the web for a while now, and I’ve used those little seeds before in my yogurt, but I never had the urge to make a whole dish out of them. When I think of pudding, I had the idea of a creamy, smooth texture in mind – not the bubble-gel like texture of chia pudding. That may have been what kept me from trying it, but you know what they say: don’t knock it til you try it. Seriously!
So I tried it. I found a recipe that seemed quick enough to make and I was able to modify a few ingredients to make it work with what I had on hand. As long as you keep the wet to dry ingredient ratios the same, you really can’t mess this up too badly.
My skepticism forced me to make only 1 portion, so in case it failed, there wouldn’t be a ton of waste. Let me tell you something: I wished I had made more! It was sooo good!!!! This little treat will become a regular in my house:
Here’s what you need for 1 portion (go ahead and double or quadruple the recipe, you’ll thank me later):
1 tbsp cacao powder
2 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup almond milk, or coconut milk
Stir everything together in a mason jar or other lidded container, making sure all the chia seeds get thoroughly mixed with the liquid. I just gave it a good shake in the mason jar.
Set it in the fridge for at least 1 hour to “gel”. The longer it sits, the thicker it will get.
Top with some unsweetened coconut and raw cacao nibs (optional). They give it a nice crunch that will make this new pudding texture more lovable for your first try. Of course you can always put everything in your food processor and pulse it until it becomes super smooth as well.
What’s the big deal about chia seeds, you ask? I wanted to know too. Their popularity has grown so much over the past few years, that there’s gotta be a reason for it. Well, quite a few reasons actually:
– chia seeds are nutrient packed superfoods with very few calories
– great source of fiber, protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and minerals
– loaded with antioxidants
– rich in fiber, so it keeps you full longer and your blood sugar in check
– high in calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus, which are important for our bone health
So get some next time you’re at the store or order them here.