Every day I need a treat. I need a little something that says ‘Hey, I see you trying to get through this day standing on your own two feet and you deserve this special something just for you”.
Sometimes that treat is a whole milk cappuccino with extra cinnamon. Whole milk tastes like ice cream to me. It’s just too good. Sometimes that treat is a high-kick dance along to old school Beastie Boys… because, yea I’m still listening to Beastie Boys. Often times that treat is a piece of chocolate. A piece usually turns into a good portion of the chocolate bar… but then again, you knew that.
It’s Monday. We’re going to need a little something to savor. Reach for the chocolate… Or! Better yet, make these creamy, crunchy, salty, sweet, chocolate studded pudding cups! Actually… get someone to make it for you. That’s the real savor.
Let’s start by making the coffee-treat portion of this dessert cup.
Whole milk, sugar, and espresso powder will flavor our pudding. We use espresso powder instead of brewed coffee because the flavor is more pointed and direct. Eggs will add a richness to the pudding and also help thicken the mixture as it heats. Cornstarch does the heavy lifting when it comes to thickening the pudding, and a touch of butter and vanilla extract add a velvety smooth flavor and texture.
The espresso pudding is cooked over a low flame until the mixture is juuust about the thickness of mayonnaise.
Weird, but true.
Butter and vanilla for that extra something-something!
Once the pudding is set to cool, it’s time to make the whipped cream.
How about a few options? Vanilla bean whipped cream or chocolate whipped cream.
Yep! Choose your own adventure!
(I chose vanilla whipped cream and ate the chocolate whipped cream with a spoon.) (Help…)
Assembly is totally the fun part!
Crushed vanilla cookies + chilled espresso pudding + vanilla whipped cream + Ghirardelli Intense Dark Sea Salt Soiree Chocolate + dry roasted almond bits.
I mean… talk about treat yo self!
A generous layer of cookies crumbs first. Pudding to follow.
Whipped cream and a whoa amount of chopped dark chocolate and chopped almonds to top!
It’s hard not to make a mess in this process. It’s also hard not to snack on the chocolate and almonds as you make these. It’s cool. Just go with it.
I like to get a bit of each later in every bite. It’s just a little game I like to play with my dessert and my spoon. The cookies soften slightly as they absorb the pudding. The espresso pudding is creamy and sweet, with just the right amount of coffee bitterness. Whipped cream is the extra creamy interlude to the grand finale…. Ghirardelli’s Intense Dark Sea Salt Soiree Chocolate with crunchy almonds and a pinch of sea salt.
It’s a whole lotta treat for a Monday.
Espresso, Almond, and Ghirardelli Chocolate Pudding Cups
makes 6 to 8 cups
pudding recipe adapted from The Joy of Baking
For the Pudding:
3 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup granulated sugar, divided
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
2 tablespoons espresso powder
2 teaspoons pure vanilla etract
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
For the Whipped Cream:
2 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
pinch of salt
For the Topping:
2 1/2 cups crumbled vanilla wafers
2 bars (7 ounces) Ghirardelli Intense Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Soiree, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup dry roasted almonds, coarsely chopped
pinch of grey sea salt
In a large, heat-proof bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup sugar, cornstarch, salt, eggs, egg yolk, and espresso powder. Whisk in 1/2 cup of milk. Set aside.
In a large saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the remaining 3 cups milk and remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Whisk until the mixture begins to steam and bubble. Remove from the heat.
Gradually pour the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture, whisking constantly to warm the egg mixture. Mix until smooth. Transfer the pudding mixture back to the saucepan and heat over medium-low heat. Cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture has thickened to consistency of mayonnaise, about 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and whisk in the vanilla extract and butter. Transfer to a large bowl, pouring though a fine mesh strainer if you think you have any lumps in your pudding. Place plastic wrap directly on top of the pudding to prevent a pudding skin from forming. Allow to chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.
To assemble the puddings, add about 3 heaping tablespoons of crumbled vanilla wafers to 8 small glasses. Divide the chilled pudding into each cup. Top each pudding cup with whipped cream. Top each whipped cream mound with a generous amount of chocolate chunks, almond pieces, and a small sprinkling of sea salt.
Allow to rest in the refrigerator for a least an hour before serving. Pudding cups are best served within 2 days.