Since chia may not always gel as much as you'd like for a pudding, this is a way to use chia without worry. Just don't tell anyone what you are making until you are ready to serve. If it's thick enough, call it a pudding. If not, call it a milkshake. Then adjust the quantities of your ingredients next time you make it!
Soak 1/2 cup almonds in cold water overnight, then drain. (Or, to make this easier, just use 2 cups of commercial almond milk [and if you want it double-chocolate, use chocolate almond milk] and skip the next step. You might want extra almond milk on hand for thinning this down to a milkshake consistency.)
At least two hours before you want to serve your concoction, blend the soaked and drained almonds in a heavy-duty blender with 1/2 cup of water for one minute, then add 1 1/2 cups of water and a pinch of salt and blend for another minute.
If you opt to add in any spices, do so now. Start with 1/4 to 1/2 tsp of spice. Experiment with spices like:
pumpkin pie spice
Add in the following ingredients and blend again thoroughly:
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 tsp carob or cocoa powder
2-4 tbsp honey or other sweetener (more or less, according to your taste. [If you use commercial almond milk instead of making your own, reduce the sweetener by 1 tbsp.])
Blend in 1 cup frozen or fresh cranberries (or 1/2 cup of dehydrated cranberries. [Frozen fruit will conjure up the feeling of milkshakes best if you are in a rush to serve this, but you can use fresh or even dehydrated fruit. Dehydrated fruit will cause this mixture to thicken to a pudding more rapidly. If you use dehydrated fruit, start with 1/4 cup and gradually add more until you are happy with the consistency.])
What fruits do you like with chocolate? If you'd like to try some of them instead of the cranberries, here are some great suggestions:
Taste and adjust spices and sweetener if necessary.
Pour 6 tbsp of chia seeds (black or white) into a bowl and stir in the milk mixture about 1/2 cupful at a time. (Do not do this in the blender or you'll have a difficult time removing seeds from the bottom of the jug!) Stir very well each time. Let sit at least an hour, stirring every 15 minutes or so until all the liquid has been absorbed. Then refrigerate.
When you are ready to serve, check the consistency. If the mixture is thin, call it a milkshake and serve in glasses with milkshake straws. If it is thick, either thin it down with milk or water--or call it a pudding. If you've made a pudding, spoon it into dessert bowls and dress the individual servings up with extra fruit.
Makes 4 servings.
If you'd like to use this recipe but make it more healthy by substituting some ingredient(s), by all means do so! For example, you might prefer to use a different kind of nutmilk in this recipe. Walnut or brazil nut milk is very nice, and so is milk made of hemp seeds--although I have not tried it in this recipe.
If you tried this recipe, how did it work for you? Would you like to submit an original, healthy recipe of your own for use on the website? Send me an e-mail to have your say.