⅔ cup sugar
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch processed)
2 ½ tablespoons cornstarch
⅛ teaspoon salt
2 ½ cups whole milk
1½ ounces semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped (best quality, such as Ghirardelli)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For Kids: Whipped Cream, Sprinkles, Candies, Maraschino Cherries
For Grown-ups: Whipped Cream, Fresh Berries, Shaved Chocolate
1. Mix sugar, cocoa, cornstarch and salt in a heavy medium saucepan. Add half of milk and whisk until mixture is smooth. Whisk in remaining milk. Continue whisking over medium heat until pudding thickens and comes to boil, about 8 minutes. Continue to boil 1 minute longer, whisking constantly.
2. Remove pudding from heat. Add chopped chocolate and vanilla; whisk until chocolate melts and pudding is smooth. Divide between 4 dessert dishes. Cover puddings by placing a small piece of saran wrap inside dessert dishes and directly over pudding (see picture below). This prevents a film from developing at top. Cool puddings in refrigerator until cold and set, about 2 - 3 hours, then top with whipped cream and toppings and serve.