Chocolate coconut amaranth baked pudding

You know the expression, "kill two birds with one stone"? I kind of loathe it. That statement seems to contradict itself, given "kind of" and "loathe" don't exactly work well together, but why do the birds need to be killed, anyway? There is way too much brutality in the physical world today; let's kindly give the metaphorical a happy place. But back to that phrase. I don't like it, but I love the feeling it describes. Even when the check marks tick off completely frivolous and mostly meaningless tasks. Who doesn't get a little buzz off crossing off items, any items, on a list?!

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Bird #1. Since finally discovering amaranth and the many marvelous benefits that elevate it and all its tiny beadiness to supergrain status (e.g., protein, lysine, calcium, magnesium, vitamin C, iron, and a slew of other key vitamins and minerals...), I haven't had much desire to cook with it. I'll throw it in with quinoa on a regular basis, but have been oh so reluctant to make it the star. This could be because of an attempt at a slow cooker porridge that was an absolute FAILURE , the spoils of which I forced myself to nibble at for a week. Yeah, that's probably it. Regardless, the amaranth resistance has irritated me. I place a lot of stock into hardy plant-based sources of calcium and iron. This pudding got me cooking amaranth in a way that turned out so heavenly, I can confidently say resistance has melted in the most delicious melt-in-mouth way it became a very dim memory after one bite.

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Bird #2: a little embarrassing to divulge (or maybe more embarrassing is more appropriate). I wanted a snack. That's all. Lately I've been building up running mileage quite a bit again, and it's been hard to stick to the commitment to avoid snacking on processed foods like cereal the way I'd like to. I would have been happy with animal crackers, but as noted above, what I got was soooo much better, and better for you, too, packing in some nutritional richness in addition to rich taste. Plus, it's dairy, gluten, and refined sugar-free (again giving dark chocolate a bit of a blinders-up pass).

Last week we had a couple dreary, drizzly days that happened to match my mood and perfect for baking this easy-to-assemble pudding. Little monkey was on my hip for most of the simple prep. You can tweak and toy with this easily, I think...add chia seeds, subtract honey, try it without eggs. You don't need to include the coconut, but I highly recommend it: the coconut shreds totally complement the texture of the amaranth, which has something of a sandiness on its own.

Speaking of heavenly things, our family lost someone beloved, dear, and special recently, and posting chocolate goodies, even on-the-healthy-side ones, a week later feels heavily flippant and even wrong. At the same time, in a strange way creating something just for fun feels exactly right. There is no sweetness that takes away the pain and finality of goodbye, but there is no denying the cause for celebration in an accomplished life well loved. (You'd probably find blog stream-of-consciousness like this a little trite, ***, but I love you and I miss you, so very much.)

Chocolate coconut amaranth pudding

  • 3 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 3 ounces dark chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup amaranth
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  1. Heat milk in a large saucepan, slowly, until just beginning to bubble. Continue to heat on medium low, whisking in chocolate and cocoa powder until chocolate is melted and ingredients are combined.
  2. Whisk in remaining ingredients, then pour into an oven-proof casserole dish.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees F for one hour.