June 26th National Chocolate Pudding Day

It’s National Chocolate Pudding Day! For those who love chocolate pudding this day must be Heaven on Earth. Of course, you can have chocolate pudding everyday but then it’s not a national holiday like today.

Chocolate pudding is made from milk, sugar, and chocolate, with a little vanilla added to even out the flavor. Add flour or cornstarch and you have pudding!  Add eggs and you have custard!

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The first mention of chocolate pudding came in, Mary Harris Frazer’s Kentucky Recipe Book, in 1903. Another recipe appeared in, Fanny Farmer’s Boston Cooking School Book, in 1918.  Both recipes used eggs instead of cornstarch though (doesn’t that make it custard???)

Anyway, in 1934, General Foods (Jello) started producing chocolate pudding for the public. It was a prepared mix you had called, “Walter Baker’s Dessert”(remembering Baker’s chocolate). Then it was up to you whether or not to make chocolate pudding or chocolate custard.  In 1936, for some unexplained reason they changed the name to “Pickle’s Pudding”.  I am betting that chocolate pudding sales went down!

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Chocolate pudding is used in many cake recipes to make them moist and full of flavor. This is very popular in the UK. Heck, it’s  actually very popular anywhere.

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There’s also chocolate pudding pie.  Maybe not as popular but still good.

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And of course there is the dark chocolate pudding, adding a little mint and a raspberry or two, just for good measure.

Chocolate pudding is readily available today under the label Jello, made by Kraft Foods and Snack Packs by Hunts.

How to celebrate: Have a chocolate bar, it’s easier. Go to your local gas station and buy a package of chocolate pudding and share it with the mechanic. Add a little whip cream to your chocolate pudding and live on the edge.

April 5th National Caramel Day

Caramel has become a favorite in the world of candy, desserts and confections.  Few can resist its charms in any form.  Caramel is used in brittle, nougats, pralines, creme brulee, apples, ice cream, flan and bonbons.

The term Caramel may have come from several sources.  Some say it comes from the Arabic language while others say it is from Greece. The Spanish claim to have created the term along with the French and Portuguese.  The closest anyone can actually find though comes from Latin and the word Calamellus.  Defined, it means “sugar cane”.  It roughly means the same in any of those other languages, maybe because Latin left its mark on all of them.

In 1725 caramel was added to the English dialect though it had been in use in America since 1650 as a soft, liquid treat.  By the mid 1800’s over 400 companies in the Americas were making caramel and using it in many variations.  Candy manufactures in England came up with their own variation in the 1880’s making, Toffee.

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Now candy apples had been around since the turn of the century but Dan Walker at Kraft got the idea to cover the fruit in caramel in the 1950’s. Boy are we glad he did!

Want to make your own caramel?  Well follow this easy recipe. Caramel.