Sometimes I get a vision of some wonderful concoction I want to create. This often happens while I’m nursing the baby in the middle of the night and the world is still, or at other random times—flipping through a magazine of recipes, looking at library books, glancing at ingredients. For quite some time I’ve been ruminating over an idea for a dessert, and the other day, I finally decided to try it out.
After 15 minutes of fun and then 45 minutes of desperately trying to salvage my quickly deteriorating idea, I had clearly failed. (But keep reading; I still have a treat for you.) Spoons and bowls and beaters and measuring cups covered every surface in my kitchen, I had an overly sweet, uncookable failure on my hands (literally). The worst part is, whenever one of my desserts turns out poorly, I keep tasting and tasting it, hoping I will figure out some way to fix the problem. As a result, I end up feeling sick on top of every thing else. Bleh! (Whenever I write or read this word, I think of a great strip from Calvin and Hobbes where Calvin responds to a dinner his mother made with this expression. I remember feeling that way as a child, and I suppose my daughter does sometimes too, particularly as I have an annoying tendency of combining more than one ingredient when I cook. She is a purist as of late.)
Back to the point: it was a fiasco. To redeem myself, though, I whipped up this creamy pudding a few hours later in order to feel like I had something to show for my efforts. It’s a variation on a recipe from Alissa Cohen’s Living on Live Foods, a raw cookbook that I look through now and then, although mostly, I confess, at the desserts.
I love this recipe because, again, it’s so fast, but also because I feel great about serving it to my daughter. It’s healthy but still ridiculously good. For kids, I love that it’s high in healthy fats and low in added sugars (and totally free of added sweeteners if you leave the agave out, which I often do for myself).
I had to smile as I was making it, because it reminds me of this video my sister-in-law’s sister-in-law (whew!) showed me, which is hilarious. Have you seen it? It hit very close to home for me, both in terms of my own childhood and how I am as a mother. Every since I saw it, I find myself humming under my breath, “you can’t even taste it!” And honestly, I don’t think you can here. That’s right, there’s a secret ingredient. It’s avocado. I know that sounds weird in a dessert, but it has such a mild flavor, that all it does is make the pudding creamy and thick. I hope you’ll give it a try. It will only take you a few minutes, so what is there to lose? This really is delightful of its own right–not one of those that’s “good—for a healthy dessert.”
I like a deep, dark chocolate flavor, so I put in an extra tablespoon full of cocoa and leave out the agave (I might add an extra date or two, depending on my mood), but the recipe as it’s should please anyone.
The recipe notes you can use peanut butter or almond butter. When I was at my parent’s house over the holidays, I found a jar of unroasted almond butter in the cupboard, and I thought that was fantastic in the place of the peanut butter I use at home. I’d also like trying some other types of nut butters here, but haven’t yet. If you do, let me know.
Speed it Up: There’s really no work, but if you don’t have time to soak the dates, it’s possible to skip that step. See the headnotes.
Special Diets and Allergies: Dairy free and vegan if you use non-dairy milk, soy free if you use almond or rice milk, gluten free. Raw if you use carob instead of cocoa and raw almond butter instead of peanut butter and leave the agave out.
What’s your favorite healthy dessert?
Super Fast, Healthy Chocolate Pudding
Makes 2 child-sized portions and 1 adult-sized portion
This creamy, delicious pudding tastes like pure chocolate mousse, but it’s far healthier. Instead of a dairy base, it’s made from avocado. In fact, it’s so full of healthy stuff (antioxidants from the cocoa, healthy fats from the avocado, protein from the nut butter) that you could actually eat it for breakfast. I like to serve it as a dessert, though, particualrly for children. It’s a fun treat to share and not feel guilty about eating. Plus, it only takes a few minutes to whip together, once the dates are soaked. I often find myself wanting to make this on the spur of the moment, with no soaked dates on hand, so I skip that step. If you do that, be aware that there will be some chunks of date in the pudding (which I love anyway). It’s also best to use medjool dates if you skip the soaking. For a darker chocolate flavor, increase the cocoa to 3 T. This stores well in the fridge; it will stay firm and creamy for a few days at least. If you have a largeer food procesor, you will need to at least double this recipe. The amounts given here work well in my 4-Cup Cuisinart.
7 medium-sized dates (about 1/3 C packed), pitted
1/2 medium-sized avocado, pitted and skin removed
2 T creamy peanut or almond butter
1/3 C milk of choice (I like plain almond milk)
2 T cocoa powder
1 T agave (or to taste)
- Cover the dates with cool water. Let soak for about 4 hours or until soft.
- Put all the ingredients in a small food processor.
- Puree until smooth. Serve immediately or store in the fridge until ready to serve.