Mocha Hazelnut Chia Pudding

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Photo by Stephen Johnson

Chia pudding in all variations is one of my most-popular recipes with friends and clients. It’s sweet and light, is irresistibly creamy and lends itself well to a variety of flavors.

Making a batch is a virtually mess-free endeavor, with only a blender and a bowl to clean, and this is also the perfect dessert to serve when you have no desire to stand over a stove. The only caveat is to allow enough time for the mixture to chill completely; overnight is best.

The creamy texture of the pudding comes from “blooming” chia seeds. When chia seeds are added to liquid, they absorb up to 10 times their weight and grow a gel around each tiny seed; this is what gives the pudding its tapioca-like consistency.

Chia seeds need to “bloom” in order for our bodies to absorb their incredible nutritious properties. Packed with omega-3s, antioxidants, protein and fiber, and revered by Aztecs, Mayans and Incans, the nutrient-dense tiny seeds were a staple food that was cultivated throughout Central America for centuries.

Mocha Hazelnut Chia Pudding

Here you can use real coffee or an instant grain coffee such as Inka dissolved in boiling water. Instant espresso powder would also work. Freshly toasted nuts lend this pudding its rich caramel-y flavor.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts, plus more to garnish (see recipe below)

2 cups water

6 Medjool dates, pitted

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 tablespoon extra virgin coconut oil

2 teaspoons cocoa powder, plus more to serve

2 teaspoons espresso or grain coffee dissolved in 1 tablespoon boiling water

1 tablespoon pure maple syrup or coconut nectar

Pinch sea salt

1/4 cup chia seeds

Directions:

Add all ingredients except chia seeds to an upright blender and puree until completely smooth. Pour into a medium mixing bowl, add chia seeds and whisk to combine.

Place in the refrigerator for 2 hours or until completely chilled; mixture will thicken further after a night in the refrigerator. Spoon into small bowls, dust with cocoa and top with a few toasted hazelnuts.

Store any remaining pudding in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Toasted hazelnuts: Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Place raw hazelnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and roast for 12 to 14 minutes or until fragrant.

Set aside to cool. Toss nuts on the tray to remove their papery skins. Pick nuts off tray and discard the skins. Store in a jar for up to 3 weeks.

Related Links:

Desserts to Feel Good About

Fruit Sweetened Desserts

Every Way to Make Banana Bread

6 Sweet Ways to Do Dip for Dessert

Photo: Stephen Johnson

Amy Chaplin is a chef and recipe developer based in New York City. She is the author of the award winning cookbook At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen. See more of Amy’s recipes at amychaplin.com.

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