Desserts! Mexican Hot Chocolate Pudding

What better start to my infant blog than a warm, soul-soothing dessert?  Hot Chocolate Pudding, to be exact. I saw this on David Lebovitz’s page not long before Christmas and it was a joyous moment. At the time, I’d only recently broken up with gluten, and as hard as I was trying to look at it as an opportunity to stretch my creative culinary wings, my nutritionist broke the news to me in the middle of the semester. So there was a lot of whining. And flailing about helplessly because I suddenly had to make a dramatic change to my diet while trying to keep up with classes and a full-time job. And a girl can only eat so much Chocolate Idiot Cake, especially when I seem to be the idiot that can screw it up after half a dozen successful cakes. So you can imagine my delight. Non-Dairy? I asked (well, except for the butter. But butter doesn’t have enough milk proteins to cause trouble. Mine is a fickle allergy). Gluten-free without substitutions? I asked. And there was much rejoicing! And then there’s the fact that it has four ingredients that any properly stocked kitchen should have anyway.

I’d love to tell you I trotted right into the kitchen and made it right away. But did I mention that middle of the semester thing? And then there was Hanukkah, which I seemed to have agreed to host somewhere around that fourth cup of wine at Passover. And then finals. And then family coming for Christmas. And somewhere in between, Mom, The Best Sister-In-Law in the World, the Adorable Niece and I managed to give birth to dozens and dozens of Holiday cookies, most of which I was only able to admire. It was a busy time. But then, somewhere in between rushing home from work to cook Christmas Eve dinner, helping herd a four-year old juggernaut dynamo, and eventually crawling into bed to get up early for Christmas before sending my brother and his sweet little family back to Phoenix, did I mention that I’m the idiot that can screw up that Chocolate Idiot Cake? Somehow, despite my careful wrapping, my normally no-fail dessert emerged water-logged and inedible. What a waste of chocolate and butter. And that, my little cherubs, is when I remembered the recipe. And since we were still recovering from our baking frenzy, I was still well-supplied with butter, sugar, eggs, and chocolate. I’m just going to say that it saved Christmas dessert. It was everything I’d hoped it would be. Fast enough to knock together Christmas morning, warm, chocolatey, and just gooey enough.

Fast forward to a game night in late January, early February. We started with dinner at our favorite new local wine bar, then back to our house for some games. Now the upside to being both gluten-intolerant and allergic to milk is that I am saved from myself whenever the dessert menu is presented. See? Trying to be positive here. And it’s not working. It was a chilly night, had been a long day at work, and dammit, I wanted dessert! And well, who am I kidding? I don’t really need to be wrapping up a baking frenzy to be well supplied with chocolate, because well, chocolate. But this time, since I’d made it almost exactly as instructed the first time, and some warming spices sounded like a good idea in the middle of what we call Winter here, I decided on a Mexican Hot Chocolate variation. Adding some quality cinnamon and some ground chipotle gave it just what I had hoped for, and we devoured it as quickly as we could without burninating our mouths. For my next trick, I’m going to add espresso powder and some orange zest for a Cafe Borgia variation.

On Christmas, I baked these in small coffee bowls. The next time, I made them in 6-oz ramekins. Both worked well, I think the bowls made for a slightly gooier pudding.

Don’t wait as long as I did. Scroll back up to the top of the page. Follow that link and make yourself some warm chocolate pudding before it gets so hot around here that the very idea of warm dessert becomes flinch-worthy. If you want to try the Mexican Hot Chocolate version I did, add about half a teaspoon of ground chipotle and a teaspoon or so of your favorite cinnamon.