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Expert Foods
Pudding MixWise CHOice Cook-it-up Pudding Mix

Who doesn't love pudding? Chocolate pudding seems to be an almost universal comfort food. Unfortunately for lowcarbers, even the sugar-free puddings on the market contain 6-8g carbohydrate from the starches in the mix alone, not counting the milk. It's not easy to make a starch-free version of a dish that owes its very existence to starch. But now we've done it!

Be warned, our mix is intended to recreate "semi-old-fashioned" cooked chocolate pudding mix. If instant pudding is your pleasure, you'll probably find this pudding a bit too dense and smooth for your taste -- just as cooked-pudding lovers found instant puddings a bit too light and fluffy for their tastes. If real-old-fashioned homecooked pudding is what you like, add an egg yolk and/or some butter, just the way the old recipes do, to recreate that.

Our basic recipe was developed with Hershey's European-style cocoa for its extra-dark color. Dutch-processed cocoas are also less bitter, requiring less sweetener. The amount of cocoa and sweetener are personal tastes, as is the use of vanilla as opposed to other extracts. Feel free to modify the recipe to your taste or use other extracts like mint, rum, hazelnut, cherry -- anything that's good with chocolate -- but use a light hand at first, as vanilla intensifies chocolate, but too much of other extracts may overwhelm it.

We've also tested our mix with all milk to see if it works like regular sugar-free chocolate cooking pudding, which it does. However, we think ours is at least as good when made with water and enough heavy cream to recreate the proper texture and flavor -- most people find two tablespoons per serving to be the right amount. It's also very good with coconut milk instead of cream (or for a richer version, instead of the water, too), and we've had great reports on replacing the heavy cream with sour cream.

You can use this mix to make non-chocolate puddings by leaving out the cocoa, and increasing the other flavors. The texture of the mix is optimized to work with cocoa, so non-chocolate versions end up somewhat fluffier and less intense, almost like a custard. This can be offset by adding butter and/or egg yolk.

Other variations -- aside from using extracts or sugar-free syrups -- include coffee (just substitute coffee for the water, and leave out the cocoa), mocha (half coffee for water, half the cocoa), raspberry (replace about one quarter of the water with raspberry juice -- this should work with other juices but it has not been tested); peanut butter (soften peanut butter to taste in part of the water, add during cooking -- also good in vanilla pudding.)

Chocolate Pudding for 2 (recipe from package)

1. In quart (liter) bowl, combine 1 Tbs (15ml) mix, 2 Tbs (15-30ml) unsweetened cocoa, 1/8 tsp salt, breaking up all lumps.

2. Whisk in 3/4 cup (180ml) cold water until no lumps left.

3. Microwave until boiling, stirring frequently (or cook on stove top, stirring constantly).

4. Whisk in 1/4 cup (60ml) cream (or sour cream, coconut milk, etc.); flavor and sweeten to taste (start with 1 tsp vanilla plus 2-3 Tbs sugar equivalent, or 2-3 Tbs sugar-free syrup).

5. Serve warm or refrigerate, covered.

Suggestions: add egg yolk and/or butter for richness; replace part or all the water with coffee or fruit juice; add chopped nuts or coconut.

Per serving (using 2 Tbs cocoa and 4 Tbs heavy cream to make 2 servings):

Nutrition* (calculated by Mastercook): 145 calories; 11.7g fat; 6.3g carb (of which 3.5g is fiber); 3.9g protein--also provides 9% of Vit A and 16% of iron Daily Values *based on no-calorie sweetener


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