Love Your Heart Chocolate Pudding

You don’t have to compromise flavor to make a delicious chocolate dessert that is heart healthy and still says “I love you!”

 It’s fun to make a special treat on Valentine’s Day, but sometimes dietary restrictions can leave you scratching your head to make a dessert that is both delicious and healthful. After my husband’s heart attack earlier this winter, we’ve had to take an even closer look at our already pretty healthful diet. But, we still need some treats now and then, certainly on special occasions!

Dark chocolate, minimally processed

            Chocolate to the rescue. In its unsweetened form is very healthful! Iron, magnesium, zinc, potassium, calcium, B vitamins, and antioxidants that can fight cancer and protect your heart. Of course, we are talking minimally processed dark chocolate and not chocolate that has been filled with extra sugars and other ingredients. Moderation, of course, but there is room even in a restricted diet for a treat that includes chocolate, and my doctor agrees. She also approves of coffee, so we’re all set!

There’s still fat, there’s still sugar, but in a minimal way that supports a healthy heart!

            I’ve included a really fast pudding recipe here that requires no cooking and is done in a few minutes, and a cooked pudding that basically substitutes a few heart-healthy ingredients for the original.

            The quick version uses creamy avocados for the base. The cooked version uses corn starch to thicken a traditional chocolate style pudding.

Top with fresh fruit, strawberries if available, and serve in dessert glasses. Our family’s favorite is a set of Elsie the Cow dessert parfait dishes that the kids love. It is always their go-to for puddings and ice cream. Well, not just the kids…

Quick Dark Chocolate Secret Ingredient Pudding

  • 2 very ripe avocados
  • 2 Tbsp. Dutch processed cocoa powder
  • Pinch of espresso powder
  • 6 pitted dates, softened
  • 2 – 3 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup mini dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2/3 cup lite coconut milk

            Place everything but the milk in a food processor, chocolate chips last. Heat milk to just below boiling and pour over. Cover and leave it for 30 seconds. Pulse for a few seconds, then process until smooth, about a minute.

            Divide between six dessert glasses. Chill for an hour, and serve with dark chocolate shavings or fruit on top.

Traditional Dairy-Free Dark Chocolate Pudding

  • ½ cup unsweetened Droste brand cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp. espresso powder
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 3 1/2 cups almond or soy milk
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 2 tbsp. vegan butter, chopped up
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

      With a wire whisk, mix together sugar, cocoa power, espresso powder, salt, and cornstarch in a medium saucepan. Whisk in the milk, and place over medium heat and start to warm 

      Heat until the mixture begins to send up a few large bubbles, and thickens. Cook for an additional minute or so, remove from heat, and stir in the chocolate chips, butter, and vanilla extract, continuing to mix well until everything is melted and incorporated. 

      Turn out into a bowl and cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. Chill. You can also put this in your individual serving dishes, but you do have to cover them all. Serves 8 to 10, or one nice pie.

      Once chilled, serve topped with strawberries. If you have Elsie the Cow dessert dishes, even better!


You can really jazz up this humble dessert. Add some chopped up candied ginger and drizzle with ginger syrup. Or, make a spicy version with a pinch of both cayenne and cinnamon. It is also delicious with some grated orange peel added to the milk, and topped with candied orange peel.

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  1. Thank you for these recipes! We have recently become vegans, and these two will go in the to-be-made file. (TBM file?)

    1. I hope you enjoy them Laurie! Happy Valentine’s Day!

  2. jama says:

    Yum yum yum! Nice to be able to enjoy a healthier chocolate pudding!! Happy Valentine’s Day and thanks for the recipes!

    1. You are welcome Jama! Happy Valentine’s Day to you too!

  3. Suzassippi says:

    These both sound delicious. I stumbled across Sinh to bo [avocado smoothie shakes] a few years ago and made them for a while so I can totally see this!

    1. The avocados lend a silky smoothness to the pudding, or the shake! I’ve made this same pudding with tofu and hands down the avocado was the best.

      1. Suzassippi says:

        I can see why! The avocado does not really taste like avocado in the shake, so I would think it would not in the pudding either.

      2. I know it sounds strange, but as you know, it’s a great secret ingredient!

  4. NativeNM says:

    My husband loves dark chocolate so this would be perfect!

    1. Wonderful! Take care of him and his heart at the same time!

  5. Chef Mimi says:

    I personally wouldn’t bother with fake butter, but I love all of the other ingredients! It looks divine.

    1. Thanks Mimi! There’s only one fake butter I use, most of them are filled with palm oil and other additives!

  6. Both options sound great, and it’s always good to have a dairy-free recipe. 🙂

    1. Thank you Ronit! With both lactose and cholesterol issues surrounding me, I need a few options!

      1. And such tasty ones! 🙂

  7. Looks so good and love the cow dessert glass dishes!

    1. Thank you! We’ve lugged those glasses from place to place for decades!

  8. Happy Valentine, Dorothy

    1. To you too my friend! ❤️

  9. Delicious!

  10. Bernadette says:

    Dorothy, this is nothing short of amazing.💕

    1. Thanks Bernie! I originally developed this to offer treats to the grandchildren that I didn’t feel guilty about giving them, and, of course, that they would enjoy! Thumbs up all the way! With them, I add more maple syrup, but not much more!

  11. Americaoncoffee says:

    I love this! Your foods are so wholesome and healing. Happy Valentine’s Day to you and hubby! 💞🎶

  12. Carolyn Page says:

    Dorothy, I was so saddened to read about your hubby’s heart attack. That must have been such a shock for you both, and the family. I’m sure though, with you by his side, he couldn’t be in better hands. 💕
    It was wonderful to read that you have the ‘go-ahead’ from the doctor for these two incredible desserts; I’ll definitely be making the ‘secret ingredient pudding’. Perhaps a treat for Valentines Day.
    Just popped it into my ‘Dorothy’s Recipe Folder’.

    1. Thank you so much Carolyn! Your comments are always so kind.
      My husband is doing well, following most of the guidelines, and going to his rehab every week. Fingers crossed It was a big scare, but a much needed wake-up call.

      1. Carolyn Page says:


  13. Nancy says:

    Both look to be Incredibly delicious!
    Thank you for always sharing wonderful delights with us.
    Happy Valentine’s Day!

    1. Thank you Nancy! I hope you have a lovely Valentine’s Day! ❤️💕❤️

  14. I ‘always’ learn something new from your recipes, and these are no exception. Who knew? Not me. 🙂 Happy Valentine’s Day.

    1. Thank you Judy! The avocado is a great little secret ingredient, adding lovely creaminess, and it doesn’t taste like a vegetable. I like this version better than others I’ve made in the past using silken tofu.

  15. Wow Dorothy, the one with avocado is so easy and sounds so good!! Thank you and Happy Valentine’s Day!

    1. Happy Valentine’s Day to you too! I’m sure it will be beautiful, tasty, and well-decorated event at your house!

  16. Ally Bean says:

    Forget the pudding, you have Elsie the Cow on your bowl! I remember her. I loved her I did. The daisies around her neck… a little girl’s dream.

    1. Daisy was everywhere! I had her on a lunchbox too! Elmer wasn’t nearly as much fun!

  17. Leah says:

    Such a fun recipe and I love the cobbler glasses you put the pudding in. This spells Valentine’s! Happy Valentine’s Day! 🙂

    1. Happy Valentine’s Day to you too Leah! 💕❤️💕

  18. Robbie Cheadle says:

    These both sound and look great, Dorothy. It makes sense to use avocado.

    1. Thanks Robbie! It lends a beautiful smoothness!

  19. JOY journal says:

    🙂 Happy Valentine’s Day!!

    1. Thank you! We had a nice day, I hope yours was equally as good!

  20. The ‘Elsie the Cow’ dishes does put this (or any desert) over the top! Happy Valentine’s Day, Dorothy. 💞

    1. Thank you my friend! Happy Valentine’s Day to you too!💕❤️

  21. Sowmya says:

    Looks tempting Dorothy. What a lovely pudding with the goodness of avocado 👍

    1. Everyone I served it to over the weekend loved it! A wide range of ages too.

      1. Sowmya says:

        Glad to know Dorothy

  22. You had me at expresso powder! This looks so tasty Dorothy. You are such a good wife!!!!

    1. I try! It has been a bit challenging lately! 😇

  23. nancyc says:

    This pudding looks so yummy! I love that it has healthy ingredients like avocado in it too!

  24. nancyc says:

    This pudding looks so yummy! I love that the “secret ingredient” pudding has healthy avocado in it and that the other has almond or soy milk—I drink both of those quite a bit! 🙂

    1. It’s really satisfying, and I like it a lot more than the versions i made with tofu.

  25. terrie gura says:

    You are the best, Dorothy! Your husband is a lucky guy, and I have no doubt he appreciates the efforts you make to help him enjoy his favorite treats and stay healthy. I want to know more about this avocado substitute. The Whole Foods here used to make a dark chocolate gelato using avocado. That stuff was out of this world!

    1. It’s really pretty cool. You don’t taste the avocado at all, but it lends a smoothness and richness. The chocolate almost tastes more chocolaty, and nothing needs to be cooked!

      1. terrie gura says:

        Sounds like a win-win! I’ll be looking into it because I’d love to rework some of my more decadent recipes.

      2. Have fun with it! They make a great smoothie thickener too! The avocados have to be beautifully ripe so they blend in.

  26. What a lovely dessert 😋 perfect for any day not only Valentine’s Day 😉💝

    1. My grandkids really love it! And I feel like a good grandmother serving it to them!

  27. This looks absolutely gorgeous!

    1. It’s so good Teresa! And it passes the grandchildren test!

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