Saturday, June 22, 2013

Mint Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding in Mason Jars

I've been waiting impatiently for this — the recipe that will get me to stop what I'm doing, get up and replicate it immediately. I bought a pint of strawberries at the farmers' market yesterday hoping to incorporate them into a fresh berry tart or something, but gave up when I couldn't stop eating them by the handful. Word to the wise – fresh, seasonal strawberries are divine!

I decided to keep enjoying my strawberries by the handful and look instead to find something that may compliment their sweet perfection. When I stumbled upon this Smooth Mocha Chia Seed Pudding at A Dash of Compassion, I thought, "Yep, I'm doing that. Right now." 

In true Young Idealistic Fashion, what started as an attempt to replicate quickly developed into a somewhat frantic and overly excited improvisation session. Or pure creative genius. Let's call it that!

I got up. I fiddled around in my kitchen. I considered grinding up some chia seeds as recommended in the recipe I found. I tried to grind some chia seeds in a too-large food processor and had failed results. 

And then I decided to adapt completely and create a more tapioca-style chia seed pudding using the full seeds. And mint. I skipped the instant espresso in favor of a simple syrup flavored with fresh mint from the farmers' market.

Thus — Mint Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding! And in mason jars no less.

This recipe came together very easily in a matter of about 20 minutes, including a trip around the corner to buy a dozen half-pint sized mason jars. Then all I had to do was wait for the two hours of refrigeration time, during which the chia seeds plump up to 10 times their size, thickening the pudding much like tapioca, but with an incredible nutritious boost. 

If you're unfamiliar or haven't tried chia seeds yet, please do! The teeny seeds are packed with omega-3s, fiber, calcium and protein, and they expand in liquids keeping you feeling full longer. They're also crunchy and delicious!

Mint Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding (inspired by and adapted from A Dash of Compassion)
Makes two 8-ounce servings
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 handful whole mint leaves
  • 1/3 cup whole chia seeds
  • 2 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • In a small pot, mix together sugar, water and mint leaves
  • Bring to a boil and remove from heating, allowing to cool before using (it will thicken as it cools)
  • Remove mint leaves from syrup before using
  • In a high-speed blender or bowl, mix together chia seeds, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, sea salt, almond milk and two tablespoons of cooled mint simple syrup (you will have extra — pour it on ice cream or more fresh strawberries!)
  • Divide mixture into two 8-ounce mason jars and refrigerate for at least two hours before serving
  • Serve chilled

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