Like a massage, chia pudding is one of those rare entities that is both good and good for you. The seeds come from a desert plant, Salvia hispanica, originally found in Central America. Yes, they are the same seeds used in that fantastic 1970s phenomenon the Chia Pet where you placed moistened seeds on a sculpture in the shape of a hedgehog or human head and watch them grow into “hair”. More recently, foodies have resisted the temptation to sprout them on cute, terracotta planters and instead started putting them in salads, smoothies and other dishes. As it turns out, they are high in omega-3 fatty acids, protein, fiber and minerals. They have a slightly nutty taste but are a more likely to be a neutral, albeit crunchy platform for other flavors. That’s where pairing them with maple syrup comes in.
When submerged in liquid for several hours, the seeds soften and gel into a pillowy, delicate pudding. I used a recipe with whole milk, though I have seen many recipes that use coconut milk, making it a vegan dessert. You simply mix the chia seeds, the milk and some maple syrup and let it sit in the fridge for several hours or overnight. It is the perfect vehicle for any of our barrel-aged syrups since dairy enhances the nuances of the maple and whiskey beautifully. When it has achieved a pudding like consistency, you can add nuts or fruit. The result is a creamy pudding with just a hint of crunch and the excellent flavor of boozy maple syrup. Eating your daily nutrients with the taste of Whiskey Barrel-aged Maple Syrup is my idea of health food.
Chia Pudding with Barrel-Aged Maple Syrup
- 1 cup whole milk (or coconut milk)
- ¼ cup chia seeds
- 2 – 3 Tbsp Runamok Barrel-Aged Maple Syrup (Whiskey, Bourbon, Rum or Apple Brandy)
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- Sliced fruit, nuts, toasted coconut or other topping (optional)
Combine the first four ingredients and stir. Put in a small container, cover and place in the fridge. Leave for eight hours or overnight, stirring occasionally. Serve with fresh fruit, nuts, toasted coconut or extra maple syrup.