IMG_2612I shared my basic recipe for chocolate pudding a few weeks ago. Variations keep popping into my head. Two ingredients the compliment chocolate beautifully are coffee and hot chilies. When making a chocolate glaze or icing, I always substitute a bit of coffee for whatever liquid is called for. And if there is anything that can warm you up even better than a nice steaming mug of hot chocolate, it’s a nice steaming mug of hot chocolate with a dash of cayenne. Don’t over do it. The chocolate is the star, the coffee and cayenne just add a bit of spotlight.

The coffee component in my experiment was a few squares of Green & Black’s Dark Chocolate Espresso Bar stirred in after the milk was added. Alternatively, replace a bit of the milk with ristretto or other strong coffee, or add some instant coffee to the dry ingredients. To bring on the heat, just add a pinch or two of cayenne when you add the salt. I buy high-powered cayenne from an Indian grocery, so you may need to add a little more if yours is milder. Play with it. You might not want to make this one for the kiddos, but that means more for you!

Chili Mocha Chocolate Pudding
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup cornstarch
pinch salt
generous pinch ground cayenne pepper
2 3/4 cups milk
1 ounce espresso dark chocolate, broken into pieces
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Sift dry ingredients into a saucepan. Stir in milk over medium high heat. Add dark chocolate. Stir constantly until mixture bubbles and thickens enough to coat the spoon. Remove from heat and blend in vanilla. Serve warm or chill. I like to spoon mine into short Mason jars (the 4 oz. ones usually used for jam). Screw on a lid, and you’ve taken pudding cups to a whole new level.

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