Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Cool and Creamy Chocolate Pudding


I was at work late last night, working on a writing project with a deadline. I’ll be pulling late nights all this week. When I got home, I had to have “something.” It was about 11:00 p.m. and there was not one sweet thing in my house other than a box of Craisins, and that wasn’t going to do it. I wanted chocolate. I’m on a chocolate bend lately (as you can tell by my recent chocolate cake posting). Well, the cake was long-gone and I stood with the refrigerator door open thinking I’d find something that clearly wasn’t there. Pudding. I wanted chocolate pudding. I checked my cabinets – no, no pudding mixes. But I don’t like pudding mixes. I like the real deal—cooked and stirred and smooth as silk. How hard could it be? What’s in pudding besides cocoa, cornstarch, sugar, and milk? I can figure it out. I have no internet right now and my cookbooks are all still (ugh) packed in the basement. So I gambled and combined the above ingredients in estimated proportions and cooked them up to a smooth, creamy, incredible chocolate pudding! I poured it into a bowl and laid plastic wrap on top to avoid a skin forming. But I couldn’t wait. I spooned a bit of the still-steaming pudding into a small, white coffee cup and admired the simple beauty of it. I thought, “I should take a picture of this” because it looked like something out of a food advertisement: smooth, shiny, lightly mounded to a peak (but I still haven’t replaced my camera that was stolen in July)… The visual was almost enough to satisfy me, and it was late and I’d already brushed my teeth, but I went for it. It was perfection. No whipped cream, just pudding, and it was exactly right.

You should know that chocolate pudding and I have history. When my kids were young, I’d stay up late, long after everyone was asleep. After picking up the house and folding my fourth basket of laundry, I’d make a small pot of cooked chocolate pudding (mix) and was so anxious to have it that I put the bowl of cooked pudding in a larger bowl of ice water to cool it off so I could eat it without burning my mouth! This was during the period of time when my marriage had seen better days and things were getting worse, and I was looking (apparently) to fill an emotional void. I’ve never been one to use food as compensation for relationships. (My extra baggage is due exclusively to a love of food and an apparently hibernating commitment to regular exercise.) And this pudding had no such responsibility. It was just there to provide a little bit of comfort when a whole lot of comfort was what I needed.

Last night’s pudding was better than any I remember having. In the very early 70s, Birdseye made a frozen line of puddings called “Cool and Creamy” and when I ask, no one seems to remember it, which surprises me because it was amazing! It came in a Cool Whip-type container and after it was thawed, it was so smooth and cold and delicious. I was still a kid and not buying groceries at the time, which is a good thing because I’d have filled a cart with nothing but Cool and Creamy!

Here’s my recipe for Cool and Creamy Chocolate Pudding, named in honor of the one I remember from 1970, and best made at 11:00 p.m!

Cool and Creamy Chocolate Pudding

½ cup cocoa
½ cup sugar
¼ cup cornstarch

Mix all these together in a hefty saucepan.

Pour in 3 cups milk and whisk constantly over a medium flame until the mixture starts to bubble. Once big bubbles break the surface, turn off the heat and add 1 tbsp. butter and 1 tsp. vanilla extract. I also added two tablespoons coffee from the pot, but that’s not necessary.

Whisk again like crazy and pour into a serving bowl. Cover with plastic wrap to avoid a skin forming. Cool and refrigerate, or take a spoonful right away and risk burning your mouth!

Photo credit: http://thelunacafe.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/chocolate-pudding-in-glass-with-whip-2.jpg

10 comments:

  1. My husband and I BOTH (very fondly) remember Cool and Creamy and for many years have been bemoaning the fact that it's no longer available. I was just having a chocolate craving and thanks to search for Cool and Creamy, I found your blog and this recipe. I'll be trying it later today. This could be life changing. Thanks so much for sharing!

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  2. My Sister and I looked forward to heading to our Grandparents house in Everett, PA to meet with all of our "many" cousins on Holiday's. They always kept the freezer full of "Cool and Creamy". We always hoped that we would arrive there first so we could get first pick of all the flavors they bought. The Chocolate (of course) was our favorite. We have searched for years to find it or find out why they stopped making it, and it seemed like no one ever heard of it until I read this. THANK YOU SO MUCH for posting this. I can't wait to make this and surprise my Sister.

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    1. Terry, you are so welcome! Thank you for finding this blog and this post, which really has a nostalgic inspiration! I so wish they still made Cool and Creamy Pudding, but try this recipe, and I think it will take you back to your grandparents' house. There's something so sensory about memories, and food memories especially. Thank YOU!!!

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  3. My last memory of the gastro-miracle known as chocolate cool & creamy was high school circa early 1970 s I sat in class day dreaming of getting home to finish off the container of choco heaven..mmm...ecstasy ! NOT ! When I got home to my horror it was gone ! My dickhead brother ate it. He doesnt even like chocolate. I rode the bus,he had a car. Birdseye stopped production. I have not yet recovered. I still dont talk to my brother

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    1. Freshman year 1971 we would keep a container or two in our dorm 'frig. No time to thaw it out. We would sit it on top of a wash cloth on the metal radiator and as the sides got slightly melted, would spoon around the edges as if chocolate ice cream. Good memories. I do wish they still made it. Maybe we all should write the company or post the commercial from Youtube. Check it out. There were three flavors but I only ate the chocolate.

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    2. I love everything about your comment!

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  4. There was a frozen chocolate pudding brand in the 60's that I have been trying to track down for ages. It came in a yellow package, and I remember that you mixed the ingredients (with milk, I think) in the very package that it came in, put it in the freezer, and about an hour or so later had some delectable (at least to my 5-year old palette at the time) frozen chocolate pudding. Does anyone out there remember this product? I grew up in the Chicago area, so it very well might have been a local thing. Any information would be greatly appreciated!

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  5. I remember Birds Eye Cool and Creamy Pudding! The chocolate came in a brown tub, vanilla in a blue tub, and butterscotch in a tan tub! Now I eat Kozy Shack Pudding. It's similar! :)

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  6. Wow! I thought I was the only one that remembered Cool and Creamy Pudding!! I loved it and will definitely make your version!! Thanks!!

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  7. Omg I remember that pudding....been missing it of late. And I finally found the name and your recipe.....which I will be making soon! No your not crazy!

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