This summer has been insane to say the least. Coming back from Jordan and settling in has resulted in my losing more than a few of my marbles, and as someone who’s lacking more than her fair share to begin with, I don’t say that lightly. In the past week (has it only been a week?) I have started running again, seen Harry Potter, learned to shoot pistols, and finally, finally, found solace in my kitchen again. We had company join us for the past weekend, and, as the resident go-to dessert girl, I found myself busy and distracted for the first time since I came home. The change was a blessed relief, and gave me some momentary clarity.
Classic chocolate pudding, up with a twist – this is summer to me. It reminds me of childhood get-togethers, of the delight in others faces when they saw the little worms crawling up out of the dirt. It reminds me of summers when it rained like it was supposed to (before serious droughts), of summers when my sister and I were wrapped up in each other, dress-ups, and silly plays. While pudding is undeniably a heavier summer treat, it is still one of those fabulous creations that doesn’t require turning on the oven, and does result in a cold, fun dessert.
Since making this, I have once again stepped out of the kitchen. My parents are heading out of town for the weekend, and I will be back in to start cooking again. As it heats up, I am grateful to know that I will once again be sweating over my meals, chopping vegetables, and trying some new things. For now, however, I am grateful for the delicious taste of pudding and gummy worms.
Dirt ‘n Worms (Pudding recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
Generously serves seven
1/3+ cup cornstarch
3/4 cup sugar
1/8+ tsp salt*
4 1/2 cups milk (divided as 2 1/4 skim milk, 2 1/4 cups half+half)
9 oz 60% + dark chocolate**
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Package of Oreos or Newman-O’s
Package of gummy worms
In a medium-sized saucepan, whisk together the cornstarch, sugar and the salt. Pour in the milk and whisk vigorously to combine. Heat on medium heat (so that it heats, but is not simmering). Whisk as necessary to remove lumps and to incorporate all the ingredients equally. Heat for approximately 15 to 20 minutes, or until the mixture thickens and coats the back of the spoon (this sounds ambiguous, but trust me when I say – you’ll know). Add in the chocolate and whisk until it is combined. Remove from heat after several minutes and stir in the vanilla.
Pour into cups or ramekins and cover the top of the pudding with plastic wrap (to avoid pudding skin, unless you’re into that…). Chill for thirty minutes to an hour.
On a cutting board, or in a plastic bag (depending on how many dishes you’re up for), crush the oreos. Use about two oreos for each serving. When the pudding is set, add the crushed oreos to the top. Stick several gummy worms into each cup, and serve!