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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Reese's Flavored Chia Pudding Recipe- Homemade Chocolate Peanut Butter Chia Dessert- Vegan, Paleo Option


Recently we had a guest over from Namibia, which was really cool. For those that don't know (I didn't until she was at our house), Namibia used to be called South West Africa and gained independence from South Africa only in 1990, and is has a very large Afrikaaner population, the Dutch descent people who also comprise a significant percentage of South Africa's white population. My husband is part Afrikaaner (my mother in law's mother) and part English (mother in law's father) (along with Greek and Lithuanian from his father's side), so having over an Afrikaaner and getting to learn more about their culture and language and history was pretty awesome. South African English and Afrikaaners have some similarities in terms of culture and some things very different (and I see that my mother in law is an equal mix of English and Afrikaaner in terms of personality and culture), but one thing they have in common is similar eating habits.
Which brings me to this post.

I grew up with cakes and cookies and other baked goods being our standard desserts. Mandelbrodt was one of the most common, oatmeal raisin cookies and marble cake too, not to mention brownies. Ever since we've been married, though, my husband constantly tells me "Why serve something heavy like that at the end of the meal? You just ate something filling- dessert should be something light, like ice cream or pudding or jelly (the South African word for jello)!"
Well, sometimes I take what my husband says into consideration, and make his style desserts. Other times I stick to mine. My versions of desserts are usually more easily made with pantry staples and quickly, whereas the light desserts usually take more work or have ingredients that I don't always have in the house.
When I knew this Afrikaaner guest was coming, I decided to go with the South African accepted type of dessert- something light, but I didn't have much time available to prepare something, and my kitchen wasn't full of many of the ingredients I would usually use to make such desserts. I thought and thought about what type of dessert to make, and came up with this one.

Chia seeds are in the sage family, and have a special property that makes them absorb tremendous amounts of water and swell up. You can grind them up and use them as a vegan egg substitute as you would ground flax seeds, or you can let the seeds swell up and make desserts or drinks based on that, such as this chia kombucha drink, as long as you don't mind the gelatinous texture of soaked chia seeds.

I used chia seeds to make this quick no fuss pudding. It did need some time to sit to let the chia seeds fully absorb the liquid, but actual hands on time to make it was very minimal. And it used only ingredients I had in the house.
This makes quite a large batch- feel free to halve it or quarter it or whatever.

I used peanut butter, since that was what I had available, but any nut or seed butter can be used for this, whether walnut, almond, cashew, hazelnut, sunflower seed butter, or tahini etc.... You can even use coconut milk or rice milk or regular milk in this, but then it won't have that Reese's chocolate peanut buttery taste that you can get when combining the chocolate with other nut or seed butters.
What I like about this recipe is its versatility, that you can use whatever sweetener or nut butter you prefer or have in the house, so I could make mine cheaply and vegan and refined sugar free by using jaggery syrup, but you can make it paleo by using nut butter, and as cheap as possible by using white sugar if you don't try to avoid it.
I topped mine with dragon fruit that I got super cheaply at the market because it was from the reduced rack, and coconut cream, but you can top it with whatever fruit you have available, or leave out the fruit if you want.

Not only is it a wonderful dessert that went over well with my family and with my guests, leftovers also made a great breakfast.

Reese's Flavored Chia Pudding Recipe- Homemade Chocolate Peanut Butter Chia Dessert- Vegan, Paleo Option

Ingredients:
8 cups peanut butter or other nut or seed milk (see below)
Sweetener to taste (I used approximately 1/3 cup jaggery)
Salt to taste (I used a pinch)
scant 1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 cups chia seeds
Fruit of choice (optional)
Coconut cream or whipped cream (optional)

Instructions:
1. When making tahini dressing from tahini paste, you first add a small amount of water to the paste, and mix it well, and it starts thickening. You add a little more water at a time, mixing it well, watching it get thicker and thicker, and eventually once you add more water it will start thinning out, and then you can add as much water as you want to get the taste and consistency that you like. The thing is, though, that if you add a lot of water from the start, it won't work- your tahini and water will just separate into very unappetizing looking globules. You have to first add the water slowly until thickened, and only then add large quantities of water to thin it out.
I've since discovered that this works with every single nut butter that I've tried, including peanut butter. This is my go to way to make nut milks now, because I can have the shelf stable nut butter on hand and then mix up as much nut milk as I need, without needing to soak and blend my nuts each time, especially since homemade nut milk seems to spoil after just two or three days, and doesn't freeze well. Cashew butter turned into nut milk is my absolute favorite, but hazelnut butter has been my go-to lately as I have hazelnut butter that I made for my photo shoot for my book.
For this recipe, choose whatever nut or seed butter you'd like, and then water it down using this method until you get the taste you'd like. If you want it more mild, use more water compared to nut/seed butter, but if you want a very pronounced peanut buttery chocolaty taste, water it down less.
Then sweeten it as much as you'd like.
You need to end up with 8 cups of liquid for this recipe, so water it down and add sweeteners accordingly, remembering that liquid sweeteners especially will add volume to the final amount. I think I probably used about 1/2 or 3/4 cups of peanut butter (possibly less or more, I didn't measure) to make my 8 cups of peanut butter milk.

2. Salt to taste.

3. Add cocoa powder to your milk, and whisk very very well to ensure that there are no clumps.

4. Add chia seeds and mix very well, so that all the chia seeds get wet and there don't remain any dry clumps, because those won't absorb any water.

5. Pour into serving dishes or just a large container, and refrigerate at least 6 hours.

6. If you want, after refrigerating, mix well to make sure that the chia seeds are evenly distributed and there are no clumpy areas, and then let sit for another 30 minutes. This is optional, not required at all.

7. If you'd like, top your pudding with chopped fruit and/or coconut cream/dairy cream. I didn't whip up my coconut cream, though I could have, and it probably would have been even nicer.

Are you a fan of the combination of flavors found in Reese's peanut butter cups, peanut butter (or other nut butters) and chocolate? Ever have chia pudding before? Does this look like a recipe you'd try? If so, which type of nut milk or other milk do you think you'd use?

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