Try steeping whole spices in the hot coconut milk for about 10 minutes, then strain through a sieve before reheating to melt the chocolate. If you’re adding extracts, add them a drop at a time at the same time as the vanilla.
Around the holidays, I often make this pudding with a dash of gingerbread spice or a drop of mint extract.
When shopping for dark chocolate, double check the ingredients to make sure it doesn't contain milk, whey, or casein. Some fairly common brands are Green & Blacks Organic Dark Chocolate, Alter Eco Dark Chocolate and Newman's Own Super Dark Chocolate. (Also, if you are Paleo, look for dark chocolate that is sweetened with stevia or honey.)
- 1 (15-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk
- 10 ounces dark chocolate (60-70%), finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract (optional)
- Optional garnishes: Whipped coconut cream, shaved chocolate, berries or other fresh fruit
1 Warm the coconut milk: Shake the can of coconut milk vigorously before opening, then pour into a small saucepan. Heat the coconut milk to a simmer over medium heat. Stir often to avoid scorching. Warm for a couple of minutes, until the liquid almost comes to a boil. Immediately remove from heat.
2 Add the chocolate: Add a third of the chopped chocolate to the hot coconut milk. Stir gently until the chocolate has completely melted and the mixture is smooth. Repeat with the remaining chocolate in two separate additions. Stir in the vanilla extract, if using.
3 Pour the pudding into jars, glasses, or ramekins. Cover with cling film and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
4 To serve: Remove from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before serving. Top with garnishes of your choice or just serve with a spoon.