June 8, 2012 by lytlejoc
I feel obligated to write a post about chia seeds. I’m pretty sure it’s mandatory if you’re a blogger.
However, I’m so late to this party that the guests are half gone and those that are left are drinking cooking sherry and singing Bohemian Rhapsody. Since I’m usually the one leading the round of “Mama Mia let me go!”, I suppose I am right on schedule.
So why am I climbing aboard the chia wagon, and why should you?
You can see what Dr. Oz has to say if you like, but the long and the short of it is that chia seeds are not just for growing hair on your sad, ceramic pet anymore. They are high in fiber, calcium and Omegas 3 and 6. I bought them for the Omegas since I’ve been trying desperately to repair my sorry hands (the story of which is a small seedling in my brain, growing for a future post). And because of the crazy health benefits, I really want to like them.
I really do.
The first thing I tried them in was Pepper Lynn’s Overnight Oats – and if you’re not into clicking links, I will tell you that it’s oats, yogurt, milk, fruit and chia seeds shaken in a jar and refrigerated for the night. In the morning, you’ve got cold oatmeal. (This recipe was also a reason for me to use some of my own yogurt which was a novelty then.) The chia seeds were kind of like tiny little tapioca pearls in there. And I have to say, I was surprised by how good this breakfast was since, you know, it was cold oatmeal. It was good enough that it’s still on the books to make again some day but I’ve already tried it so… there goes my attention span.
Then, one night when I was craving something sweet, I came across a recipe for Chocolate Chia Pudding and I thought, “Hey! I have all those ingredients! And it’s fast! And it’s healthy!” So I made it. And it did the trick to soothe my ever-aching sweet tooth. But, I thought, there was something amiss. It was kind of… weird. And chunky. I wanted something more pudding-like. More chocolatey. Since then, I’ve been obsessed with finding the perfect recipe for Chocolate Chia Pudding, and let me tell you, I tried a ton of recipes.
They were all pretty good, but each one had something different about it that I wasn’t keen on. Some were too much like chocolate chia soup. Some were crazy glue-y. None of them had that rich, sinful chocolate flavour that I was hankering after. I dug through traditional homemade chocolate pudding recipes to see what made them so good, then I went to my kitchen armed with chia seeds and invented my own. The result: a much more decadent and much less gloopy chocolate chia pudding.
Before I reveal my recipe, I should tell you that I’m a bit of a cheater when it comes to healthy food. Don’t get me wrong – I love fruits and vegetables. I love yogurt. I love chia seeds. I love feeling good about myself because I ate properly. But I also love sweets and I want them more often than I want the good-for-you stuff. So I’ll have things like apple crumble, or blueberry bran muffins, or chocolate frozen yogurt and pat myself on the back for getting something that satisfies my cravings AND gets a dose of one of the four food groups into me. I’m all about multitasking.
That being said, I was attracted to the idea of chia pudding for that very reason. You can make it extremely healthy and, in theory, you are then having a “treat” that is super good for you. I pretty much destroyed most of the goodness in the following recipe.
It’s not low fat. It’s not sugar free. It’s also not that fast.
Basically, the only thing “good” about it is that it’s a vehicle for chia seeds. But I’ll still congratulate myself for eating it anyway. I take the breaks where I can get them.
So without further ado, here it is: my recipe for
Not-So-Healthy (but definitely delicious) Chocolate Chia Pudding
Here’s what yoou need:
1 heaping Tbsp ground chia seeds + 1 tsp whole seeds
I tried grinding the seeds so the consistency would be a little less gloopy. However, my first test batch revealed that while the ground seeds definitely make for a smoother texture than whole seeds, they unfortunately also make it rather woody. Kind of like eating pudding thickened with sawdust. Not exactly what I was going for. Still, the texture was closer to traditional pudding than before so I tried adding a teaspoon of whole seeds to see if they would disguise the splintery effect, and they did. The resulting consistency is a little like eating tapioca but with a crunch. (If you don’t like tapioca, then chia seeds may not be for you. I’ll leave you to go find a different chocolate pudding recipe. No hard feelings.)
You can use a coffee grinder to bust up the seeds but I will hazard a guess that you could probably use a mortar and pestle if you don’t have a coffee grinder.
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup semi sweet chips (Baker’s chocolate works well here too. If you want your pudding to be more like dark chocolate than milk chocolate, use bittersweet chocolate and add a bit of sugar to taste in with the chocolate and cream.)
1 Tbsp cocoa powder
1 Tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla
A pinch of salt
Here’s how you do it:
Whisk together the cocoa powder and chia seeds with the milk. These thirsty little guys will absorb the milk while you’re doing everything else.
Rinse a saucepan in cold water (to avoid burning the cream). Pour in the cream and chocolate chips and whisk until the chocolate has melted and the concoction looks silky. (This on it’s own, by the way, is delicious. You can stop here and just drink this if you are feeling indifferent toward chia seeds.)
Remove the pot from the heat and add a pinch salt and a tsp of vanilla.
Add the butter and whisk until it has melted into the chocolate then pour this mixture into the paste that the chia seeds and milk have produced while you were working away.
Cool for about an hour, stirring partway through chill time. Top with whipped cream… or not, if you’re the guilty sort. (Totally worth it, though.) Eat, enjoy, and feel good about getting some fiber, omega and calcium.
This recipe is a good one, but I’m sure someone out there has a better one and I’d LOVE to hear if you have improvements to share or even if you just give this one a shot and dug it. Thanks for reading!