Chocolate mint is my favorite flavor combination of all sweet eats, and it’s scope is far beyond that of just ice cream.
The base of this pudding is avocados that are mashed with cacao powder, peppermint extract, and a few other ingredients to create a rich, sweet, tingly cream that’s both deeply satisfying and healthy.
How healthy is this really, you ask? Well, for one, avocados are high in mono-unsaturated fats, which are comprised of oleic acid that reduces inflammation. But that’s not all, avocados also:
- contain more potassium than bananas
- reduce LDL cholesterol dramatically
- allow fat soluble nutrients from other foods to be ingested
Another potent, health food in this pudding is cacao powder, which is loaded with magnesium, active enzymes, and a high concentration of antioxidants. But before we dig in too deep, let’s take a moment to draw the distinction between cacao powder and cocoa powder.
As concise as I can phrase this, cacao powder is made from removing the fat (cacao butter) from raw cacao pods and grinding the resulting beans into a fine powder. Cocoa powder is similar, however, the beans are roasted before they’re ground, thus, greatly reducing the quantity of their antioxidants and active enzymes.
Now, “dutch process cocoa powder“ is cocoa powder which has been treated with potassium carbonate before it’s ground into it’s final state. Don’t know what potassium carbonate is? Yeah, me neither! But my general rule of thumb is “if it sounds like it belongs in a laboratory, it probably belongs in a laboratory.“
In terms of flavor, cacao powder has more bitter notes – similar to that of semi-dry red wine – than cocoa powder does. However, being that this pudding is raw and will therefore preserve the enzymes and antioxidants of cacao powder, that’s what I use in this dish. Plus, the subtle bitter notes of cacao powder tickle a part of the palate left in the dark by most desserts.
If you want to learn more about cacao and cocoa, check out this informative article by Corey Pemberton of Paleo Hacks!
Toasted coconut & crushed almonds add something for the teeth to sink into, which is why they comprise the middle layer and top garnish of this pudding, turning what would taste like chef quality baby food into a sophisticated dessert.
Toasted coconut can easily be made at home by roasting dried coconut flakes at 350° F for 5 minutes, until golden brown, crispy, and sweetly aromatic.
What’s even better than a cherry on top? I’ll tell ya: coconut whip cream.
Up until making this pudding, I haven’t tasted perfect coconut whip cream, but I discovered the secrets to treat it just like regular ole’ dairy heavy cream.
“Wow, ingenious thinking, Einstein.”
Okay, I know it doesn’t seem like that hard of an idea to conjure up, but when I had coconut whip this good, I knew I’d been messing up in all of my previous attempts. Instead of removing the “solid part” of chilled coconut cream, I found that a quality cream (I used “Let’s Do… Organic”) can be transformed from a thick, liquid state into light, fluffy, whipped cream by simply beating it with an electric whisk for a few minutes.
After adding some pure vanilla extract and stevia, I have made a whipped cream that was good enough for my buddy to say “Dang man, this is better than actual whipped cream.”
That my friends, is the low-down on this devilishly deceiving desert, as rich as cheesecake and as healthy as a sugar-less smoothie.
If there’s a dish you’ve always wanted to see veganized, submit it here, and we’ll head to the lab, break out the test tubes, and whip out our culinary gadgets, so that in a couple of weeks there’ll be a recipe dedicated all to you.
All the best,
Ryan & Kim
Layered Mint Chocolate Pudding
Rich mint chocolate pudding is complimented by crunchy almonds, crispy coconut chips, and fluffy vanilla whipped cream.
Chocolate Peppermint Pudding
- 2 ripe hass avocados
- 1/4 c coconut milk (if it’s syrupy thick, dilute it with water)
- 2 tbsp cacao powder
- 1/2 tsp stevia
- 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
- 1/2 tsp white distilled vinegar
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- small pinch of salt
Coconut Whipped Cream
- 1 13.5 oz can of coconut cream, chilled overnight*
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/8 tsp liquid stevia extract
- 1 c toasted coconut flakes
- 2 tbsp almonds, lightly crushed
- In a medium mixing bowl, mash together all of the chocolate peppermint pudding ingredients until mostly creamy. Then, transfer mixture to a food processor or personal blender and blitz until completely smooth. If you have a high quality food processor, you can skip the mashing phase of this step.
- Place in an air tight container or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until pudding is chilled, at least 1 hour.
- To toast coconut flakes, bake 1 cup dried coconut flakes on a cookie sheet at 350° F until browned, 3-5 minutes. Allow coconut to cool by resting on pan at room temperature for 15 minutes.
- To crush almonds, you can give them a rough chop on a cutting board (effective, but messy), you can pulse them a few times in a small blender or food processor, or you can place them in a plastic bag and crush them with a heavy object, like a glass jar or hammer.
- When your pudding is chilled, place cold coconut cream, vanilla, and stevia in the bowl of a stand-up mixer – fitted with the whisk attachment – or in a medium mixing bowl accompanied by an electric hand whisk. Whisk for 3-5 minutes on high, until soft peaks are formed and the coconut cream is fluffy.
- To assemble, divide peppermint chocolate mixture between two glasses or small bowls, then top each dish with crushed almonds, toasted coconut, and a thick layer of coconut whipped cream. Garnish with a mint leaf, toasted coconut, and a couple whole almonds.
- Leftover pudding and whipped cream can be kept in the fridge for up to three days, and the toasted coconut can be stored for up to a month at room temperature.
*Certain brands of coconut cream work better than others; at first, I tried using Trader Joe’s coconut cream, but it resulted clumps of hard coconut in pools of liquid, which is far from whipped cream. I ended up going with “Let’s Do… Organic’s” heavy coconut cream, which whipped up just like dairy heavy cream. I’ve also heard brands “Native Forest” and “Thai Kitchen” yield positive results with coconut whip.