Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Sugar-Free Classic Chocolate Pudding

Rich, creamy, home-made chocolate pudding. Yay! What could be yummier? I love the recipe in the Gourmet Cookbook; it whips up in no time at all and is supremely delicious. But of course, there's the whole sugar thing. Yup, sugar. Carbohydrates. Diabetes. It all sucks.

But - ta-da! Here is my sugar-free adaptation. I promise that this is just as delicious as it would be made with sugar. Enjoy!

Old Fashioned Chocolate Pudding

Adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook

1/4 cup sugar substitute (I love Swerve, but you can use xylitol or another)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)
pinch of salt
*2-3 TB cornstarch

2 cups whole milk (this is the richest tasting, as well as lowest in carbs)
1 large egg
4 oz best quality semisweet sugar-free chocolate, chopped finely (I like ChocoPerfection)
OR a mix of sugar-free and low-sugar chocolate

6 small to medium-sized ramekins or custard cups

Whisk together the sugar substitute, cocoa powder, corn starch and pinch of salt in a 2 quart heavy saucepan, then gradually whisk in milk. (Please note that you may need a spatula to get some of the powder from the perimeter of the pan to incorporate.) Bring to a boil, whisking constantly, and boil, whisking, until the pudding is thick, 3 to 5 minutes.

Place the egg in a medium-sized bowl, and whisk it. Gradually whisk the hot pudding into the egg. Add the chopped chocolate to the pudding, then whisk until it is melted and well-incorporated.

Pour the pudding into the ramekins. Let cool until room temperature, then cover and put in the refrigerator. Chill for at least two hours. Devour!

Chocolate notes:  Most of the sugar-free chocolate on the market is sweetened with maltitol.  In fact, most of the sugar-free products on the market are sweetened with maltitol. Unfortunately, according to my online research, maltitol causes insulin to spike. Therefore. its usefulness as a sweetener for diabetics is limited. There are several nice non-maltitol-sweetend chocolates out there. ChocoPerfection, which is sweetened with inulin (chicory root) and erythritol, Coracao, which uses xylitol, and Xyla, which also uses xylitol. None of them are cheap, but it's worth it!

*Cornstarch Notes:  For reasons that are unclear to me, many of the sugar-free chocolates have a completely different thickening behavior in the pudding. While pudding made with regular chocolate requires only 2 Tablespoons of cornstarch, most sugar-free chocolates require 3 TB. If you use a mix of regular and sugar-free chocolate, the lower amount works up until approximately 50% regular chocolate. Otherwise, if using all sugar-free chocolate, I recommend using the higher amount. You will certainly find on the first batch (and I assure you, you will make more within a day or two!) whether you hit the right amount. If it's too thin or too thick, it's still completely delicious. Just adjust it on the next batch.


New: Sugar-Free Banana Bread

Even after I have created a new recipe and found it delicious, I continue to tweak it; I work on lowering the carbohydrates and raising the deliciousness. And frankly, sometimes I lose confidence in ingredients that I was fond of; soy  - not so thrilled with how it's raised.  These days, I'm pretty excited about working with coconut flour. It is low in carbs, very high in fiber and protein, and has a fine crumb and a lovely sweet base flavor, perfect for cakes and cookies. However, all that fiber tends to suck up the liquid, and creates a strong drying effect. This is where a fruit quick bread is the perfect pairing; the moisture in the fruit binds with the coconut fiber. This, plus the addition of almond meal and additional eggs creates a moist, flavorful loaf. In this case, the new formula is so much more delicious than the old, I decided to do a new posting. One word of warning: the lower the wheat content, the lower the gluten. The lower the gluten, the lower the crown. This recipe is completely delicious, but it has a lower profile than you might be used to!

Group 1
4 small, very ripe bananas, or 3 large, mashed
3 large eggs
1/3 cup erythritol
2 TB xylitol
1/4 tsp stevia extract powder
1 TB coconut palm sugar (optional, but delicious - for flavor)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

2/3 cup xylitol or Swerve
1 TB coconut palm sugar
1/4-1/2 tsp stevia extract powder

Group 2
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup almond meal
2 TB flax meal
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda

Group 3
1/2 cup walnuts, broken into medium pieces

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease loaf pan. (Gotta love spray-on coconut oil!)

2. Combine mashed bananas, eggs, sweeteners and vanilla in a large bowl and stir well to combine.

3. In a medium bowl, combine flours, salt and leavening. Whisk to combine, carefully breaking up any lumps of meal or flour. (Coconut flour does have a tendency to lump.)

4.  Stir flour mixture into banana mixture. Stir until all lumps and dry spots are well incorporated.

5. Stir in walnuts until well distributed.

6. Scoop batter into greased loaf pan and smooth top.

7.  Place pan on middle rack of preheated oven. Bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, around 50 minutes to 1 hour.

8. Cool on rack until cool enough to tip out of pan. Cool completely on rack out of pan.