Chocolate pudding with pretzel crunch Prep: 10 minutes Cook: 8 minutes Chill: 2 hours Makes: 6 servings For a story on using pretzels in desserts, Chicago-based freelance food writer Lisa Futterman created a pretzel brittle to bring salty sweet crunch to homemade chocolate pudding. 2 cups whole milk 1/4 cup dark brown sugar Pinch salt 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate 2 tablespoons unsalted butter 3 tablespoons cornstarch 2 egg yolks 1 teaspoon vanilla or 1 tablespoon cognac, brandy or dark rum 1 cup whipping cream, whipped to soft peaks, chilled Pretzel crunch, see recipe below 1. Heat 1 3/4 cups milk, brown sugar and salt in a saucepan over medium heat until steaming. Off heat, stir in the chocolate and butter until chocolate is melted and the mixture looks smooth. 2. Combine the remaining 1/4 cup milk and the cornstarch in a small bowl; stir to blend. Gradually stir into chocolate mixture; return mixture to medium heat, whisking constantly, until thickened and boiling, about 3 minutes. Reduce heat to low; cook 5 minutes. 3. Remove from heat. Add a tablespoon of the chocolate mixture to the yolks while stirring vigorously. Repeat three times. This will temper the egg yolks. Stir yolk mixture into chocolate mixture; add vanilla, whisking until smooth. Place in a bowl, with plastic wrap directly on the surface; chill in refrigerator, 2-3 hours or overnight. 4. To serve, spoon the pudding into six dessert bowls, layering in the crunch . Top with whipped cream and more crunch. Pretzel crunch Combine 1/4 cup water and 1 cup sugar in a heavy saucepan. Heat to a boil over high heat; cook, without stirring, until mixture begins to caramelize. Swirl the pan carefully until the syrup looks amber, like maple syrup, about 15 minutes. Carefully add 2 cups salted pretzels (sticks, rings or twists), lightly broken, off the heat; pour the mixture onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, spreading as thin as possible. Allow to cool at room temperature, then break into pieces.
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