My husband and I met on a summer morning in 1993 at the back of a small church in the Michigan countryside. We still attend that church, and every Sunday, I walk right past the spot where Chad and I met, fell in love, and decided to marry each other, all in the space of about five minutes. At the time of our meeting, Chad was a law student in Lansing, Michigan, and I was living and working in Manassas, Virginia, outside of Washington, D.C., at my first post-college job. Because I was 23 years old with no marriage prospects in sight, my younger sister and various aunts were on constant husband-watch for me. My sister, who along with my parents had just started attending the little church in the cornfield, reported to me on the phone that she had found a candidate. “He’s cute, he’s going to be a lawyer, and his parents are really nice.” My Aunt Judy, who was friends with Chad and his family, told him one night at dinner she thought he and I would be perfect for each other. Chad thought, “That’s great, but doesn't she live 700 miles away?”
The day we met, Chad was home on break from law school, and I was home from Virginia for a memorial service for my grandpa, who had lost his long battle with cancer. That morning, I sang "Holy, Holy, Holy" for music ministry, and afterwards, while I was casually walking past Chad on my way to nowhere in particular, he said, “I really enjoyed your song this morning, Elizabeth.” I walked over to him and launched into the conversation I had rehearsed in my mind during the 11-hour drive home from Virginia. After we finished talking, Chad went to the lobby of the church, where he was offered a doughnut by one of the church ladies trying to get rid of leftovers. He chose the doughnut with chocolate frosting, and I thought, “Yes, I could spend the rest of my life with this man.” I promised to do just that a few months short of two years later (quick courtship, long engagement…there were bar exams to pass and job contracts to finish out).
So, chocolate is very important in our relationship. Chad was raised by two parents who much preferred vanilla, but marriage to me has brought out his inner chocoholic. When we need to meet our daily chocolate requirement in a hurry, I make Molten Chocolate-Peanut Butter Pudding. Not only is it fast, easy, and made with ingredients I almost always have in the pantry, but with calcium from the milk, protein from the peanut butter, and heart-healthy flavonoids from the cocoa powder, it qualifies as health food in our house. Stir up a batch the next time you need to satisfy a chocolate craving, but beware: it just might be love at first bite.
Molten Chocolate-Peanut Butter Pudding
This pudding is made in the microwave, which eliminates the possibility of scorching. I love using the microwave for pudding so much, in fact, that this is the only way I make pudding anymore.
9 tablespoons (1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon) sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
6 tablespoons (1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) unsweetened cocoa powder
2¼ cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup creamy peanut butter
½ cup non-dairy whipped topping, unthawed
2-3 regular-sized or 4-6 mini chocolate-peanut butter cups (I like the dark chocolate variety), coarsely chopped