QUESTION FOR YOU ALL. How many of you have a food philosophy similar to the following:
I want to eat better. I won’t give up chocolate.
No problem. The two statements aren’t mutually exclusive. Chocolate is one of those rare gifts, like sex and anything by Monty Python, that both bring us pleasure and are good for us. Yet despite its beneficial effects and nutrients, it contains a fair amount of saturated fat and sugar. So it is at least theoretically possible that there is such a thing as ‘too much chocolate’ – at least in any given 24-hour period.
How do we get past this dilemma? Could one get the goodness of chocolate into something less fattening and even more nutritious? Well-meaning people have been trying to solve this problem for a long time, and yesterday I tried out the latest attempt from champion ultrarunner and vegan Scott Jurek.
In Scott’s book Eat and Run, which I am currently reading, he includes a number of his favorite recipes. I’ve tried two so far. One is his vegan chili, which is a winner and which I will write more about shortly. The second is called “Carob Chia Pudding” although you can substitute cocoa powder and make “Cocoa Chia Pudding.” This is what I did, since I stand firmly behind Al Sicherman’s dictum that, ‘lips that touch carob don’t touch mine.’
There are several keys to this faux-chocolate dessert. The first is to use silken tofu as the base in place of cream, butter, and eggs. Maple syrup serves as the sweetener, and chia seeds provide a nutritional boost and thicken the pudding. Add cocoa powder and a touch of miso, toss it all in the blender, and you’re done.
The good news first. The texture was very similar to pudding – nice and creamy, and the Special Dark cocoa powder gave it a strong, though bitter, chocolate taste foundation. Unfortunately, the rest of the ingredients didn’t contribute much. And the chia seeds didn’t fully gel, so the pudding was slightly crunchy, although pre-soaking should fix that. No style points for color, either.
Okay, so by itself it’s not a keeper. What if we tossed in some fruit? That would add some natural sweetness.
Still not right. But after some more thought and experimentation, I believe I found the right combination of additions to make it work:
So there you have it – the way to incorporate tofu and chia seeds into a good-tasting, nutritious dessert. Or you could just make Jell-O brand with skim milk. Or you could do what I did after my Sunday bike ride and visit the Coffee House Creamery for this:
Note: This was supposed to be a post for my new blog, but I’m still finishing its design and didn’t want to wait. So what the hell.