Mix the cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of half & half into a bowl. Stir well to form a thick slurry.
Add the almonds and 2 tablespoons of sugar to a nonstick sauce pan. Cook over medium heat for 1 minute, stirring well.
Add the remaining half & half with the rest of the sugar, Stir well before cooking to a simmer (3-4 minutes).
Stir slowly while adding the cornstarch / half & half slurry. Cook for 4-6 minutes to thicken to a pudding-like consistency.
Pour into small dessert cups or martini glasses and cool in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours.
To serve, top with the chopped chocolate, whipped cream, and a maraschino cherry.
If you prefer a perfectly smooth pudding, substitute 1 teaspoon of almond extract for the almonds. Optionally spike the dessert with 2-4 tablespoons of almond liqueur before placing in the refrigerator
4 tablespoons cornstarch
3 cups half & half
1 cup C&H white sugar
3/4 cup chopped almonds
1 cup finely chopped semisweet chocolate
1 cup whipping cream
6 maraschino cherries