"Both versions were much better than any prepared pudding I've eaten."
Please, I remember thinking, don't let me be allergic to chocolate pudding. We never did figure out what caused that mild rash but I'm happy to report that it wasn't the pudding. I've been enjoying the creamy dessert itch-free for the last 21 years. I always get a craving for it at this time of year, when thoughts turn to comfort foods and school lunches.
While nothing can compare to pudding made from scratch, many people hold a special place in their hearts, and stomachs, for store-bought pudding mixes. Who didn't have cook-and-serve or instant pudding at least once as a kid? I can think of nothing more satisfying after a dinner of macaroni and cheese. Jell-O recently released two new kinds of pudding: Vanilla Chocolate Chip and Chocolate Mint Chip ($1.99 each). I whipped up both—in under ten minutes!—for this week's Mixed Review.
While I especially love the skin that forms on the surface of cook-and-serve pudding, Jell-O's vanilla chip and mint chip puddings are both instant varieties. All I had to do to prepare them was add two cups of cold milk and beat with a whisk for two minutes until smooth. Then I transferred the bowls to the refrigerator to chill. In fewer than 20 minutes, the puddings had set up. Each one looked thick, luscious, and smooth. The chocolate mint pudding appeared to be a bit denser, while the vanilla chip seemed especially creamy.
I served myself a bowl of each (hey, I needed to make an accurate comparison!). Just as it looked, the chocolate mint had a heavier consistency. The flavor was very bold: rich dark chocolate and an assertive burst of mint, not unlike peppermint patty or after-dinner Andes.
The vanilla chip was more understated, its taste sweet and comforting, if not exactly "authenticly" vanilla. The chocolate chips added a toothsome crunch. While I missed the superior texture of a cook-and-serve pudding, I thought both versions were much better than any prepared pudding I've eaten. I would highly recommend them as an alternative to packaged pudding cups.
The next day, my boyfriend discovered an added bonus: they taste especially delicious, and a lot like fancy frozen custard, when left in the freezer for an hour or two.
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