Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Blender Pudding

Vanessa and I were thrust together our freshman year of high school by way of the alphabet. She (Rubio) and I (Ramos) were seated next to each other in 6 of our 8 classes that first quarter; a fact that we found very annoying as we Did. Not. Like. Each. Other. 

Forced to spend our days together, we eventually started talking, first out of necessity ("Do you know what page the Spanish assignment is on?"), then familiarity ("You cut your hair--it looks great!"), and finally, friendship ("Want to go to the mall after school?").

Soon we began to realize that we were a lot more alike than we'd wanted to admit--we both were smart and pretty, but confidently nerdy in a way that made us seem a bit odd in an environment where most kids went with the crowd. We both had artistic inclinations and loved to daydream and play; when the other kids were going to football games and parties, we spent most of our evenings and weekends holed up in my bedroom memorizing scenes from movies, listening to jazz, and occasionally even dressing up in costumes (I have photographic evidence of this nonsense).

Looking back, it seems like we were always playing, so much so that we occasionally forgot where we were--much to the befuddlement of our classmates.

Since we shared a lunch period, the two of us would typically buy our food and then eat together. One of our favorite snacks was the chocolate pudding they sold in the cafeteria. It was 50 cents for a small white Styrofoam bowl, piled high with silky, dark pudding that quivered ever so slightly when shook. It wasn't always available, but on days that it was, we'd each get a bowl and eat it with a plastic spoon, scraping up the last bits before returning to class.

Somehow along the way, we decided to see who could finish her bowl of pudding first. While the other girls picked at their salads and whole wheat sandwiches, Vanessa and I--oblivious to the stares--challenged each other to pudding eating competitions, which we excitedly called "Pudding Races!".

We soon found that racing through a bowl of simple pudding was too easy, so we upped the stakes, adding what we called "obstacles"--aka peanut m&m's--to slow us down. We'd buy one yellow bag from the vending machine and carefully count out the candies to make sure we each got an exact amount. Then we stirred them into the pudding, counted off loudly, and proceeded to eat as quickly as possible. Occasionally, we'd have to penalize each other (for example if one of us started eating too early) by tossing in an extra obstacle or two in the other one's bowl.

It was as delicious as it was ridiculous, and we'd usually end up laughing hysterically and wiping pudding spills off our Catholic schoolgirl uniform sweaters. Occasionally, there would be some coughing and choking. (Those obstacles were dangerous!)

[If you're wondering: Yes, we did both end up taking two gay male friends as our dates to senior prom, thank you very much.]

A few days ago, I found myself craving that same chocolate pudding and decided to recreate the combination of chocolate and peanuts by adding smooth natural peanut butter to a bittersweet chocolate pudding base. I used the same technique I use in my No Bake Pot de Creme, making the entire batch in the blender for a recipe that takes a mere 5 minutes (if that!)

The results: a thick, silky pudding redolent with peanut butter flavor. The dark chocolate keeps the pudding just this side of bitter for a distinctively adult take on that long-ago treat.

I'd suggest not racing through this bowl; it's much too good for that, but definitely share it with a friend.

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Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Blender Pudding Recipe
Unlike many pudding recipes, which require that you stand and stir for several minutes, this recipe is made almost entirely in a blender in a matter of minutes. The results are silky and luscious. The heat from the heavy cream cooks the eggs, but I still recommend that you start with good quality pastured eggs that you can trust.  Serves 4-6

1 1/2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips (use semisweet chocolate for a sweeter pudding)
3/4 cup natural unsweetened smooth peanut butter (only ingredients should be peanuts and salt; you can use sweetened kind, but note that it will make the final pudding a little sweeter)
2 large eggs (preferably pastured eggs)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cup Heavy Cream (do not substitute with milk or it won't work)

Combine chocolate chips, eggs, vanilla, and salt in a blender and blend for 2 minutes until the chocolate is finely chopped. Heat the heavy cream in a small saucepan until bubbles start to form. Pour the hot milk over the chocolate and egg mixture, and add the peanut butter. Blend again for 3 minutes, allowing the heat from the milk to melt the chocolate and peanut butter, and cook the egg. Let blend until all ingredients are completely blended and the mixture is silky and shiny (depending on your blender, you may have to occasionally use a spoon to move things along), about 3 minutes.
Divide into individual pudding cups, and let chill 30 minutes before serving (will thicken as it chills). Leftovers will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, but will thicken as they chill because of the peanut butter: you can let sit at room temp for about 20 minutes or so before serving to get the silky texture back.

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