Are You A Chocoholic ?
Are you addicted ?
Does the mere mention have your mouth watering ?
Can you not get through the day without your fix ?
If you answered yes to these questions it sounds like you're a chocoholic. I have to confess I am a big chocolate fan myself. The world feels a much nicer place after eating a portion of this delicious confection.
Chocolate is the ultimate comfort food. The taste of chocolate makes you feel better, and after a bad day what could be better than coming home to some chocolate treats, but even if your day has not been bad, you sometimes get those chocolate cravings that can not be ignored.
I have the perfect chocolate recipes to lift your mood and remove those chocolate cravings, even if you're a chocoholic. They are quick and easy to make.
Before you rush to get your aprons out (or not) I would like to begin with a few chocolate facts.
Assorted chocolates -Image courtesy of myfreedigitalphotos.com
- Chocolate is obtained from the beans of the cocoa plant theobroma cacao.
- Chocolate has positive mood enhancing effects after consuming, as it contains the chemicals phenethylamine and theobromine. It also increases the levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin, high levels of serotonin also has a positive effect on your mood.
- The chemical Theobromine found in chocolate is toxic to some animals. Particularly dogs and cats.
- 40% of the world's chocolate is consumed in Europe and Switzerland is the country that consumes the most.
- According to a study in Sweden of 33,000 women, who ate chocolate or increasing the amount they comsumed, lowered their risk of a stroke. It is thought that if the study had been carried out with men they would have had similar results.
- Dark chocolate is more beneficial as it contains more cocoa and less fat. However, eating more chocolate than recommended decreases the health benefits because of the high levels of sugar and fat
So the adage of everything in moderation applies.
Chocolate by Petr Kratochvil-public domain pictures.net
The first chocolate recipe is a favourite.
I have had the recipe book for these chocolate chip cookies for a long time (I will not reveal how long though). I adapted the recipe to make it into double chocolate chip cookies, if you want to make a more softer cookie use the castor/brown sugar combination.
Servings: 18 small cookies or 9 large
Time: 1 hour or less
- 4 oz / 100 g Butter
- 7 oz / 100 g Castor sugar (superfine sugar)
- (or 4 oz/100g Castor sugar & 3 oz / 75 g Brown sugar)
- 2 small/medium Eggs
- ½ teaspoon Vanilla essence
- 5 oz / 140 g Flour
- 1 oz / 28 g Cocoa Powder
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- ½ teaspoon Bicarbonate of soda
- 4 oz / 50 g Chocolate chips
Double chocolate chip cookies picture/direction pictures by Paz
Recipe from : Cakes and Sponges by Marshall Cavendish Publications Ltd
Heat oven to 350ºF / Gas 4 / 180ºC
The Cocoa Bean
The cocoa plant was discovered over 4000 years ago in the rain forests of South America.
The Mayan civilisation were the first to consume cocoa beans they ground the beans and made it into a bitter, spicy drink; the spice was provided by adding chilli. This drink was called Xocoatl.
Cocoa beans were offered by Mayan priests as a gift to the gods and the xocoatl drink was served during ceremonies and sacrifices.
The Aztecs also highly revered the cocoa plant . The cocoa bean was reserved for the rich and nobility and was used as currency. It was also ground and made into a drink.
Chocolate; as it was now known, arrived in spain in 1528. It was presented to the King of Spain by Hernán Cortez.
Cortez had a cocoa plantation in Mexico, he came upon the idea of adding sugar to the bitter chocolate beverage to make it make it more palatable. It became a fashionable drink for the nobility of Spain.
Image - Mayan civilisation [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Chocolate was kept a secret from the rest of the world for nearly 100 years.
In 1615 Ann of Austria, the daughter of King Philip III of Spain; introduced the chocolate drink to her husband King Louis XIII of France. It became popular with the French court and eventually to the rest of France.
The popularity of the chocolate drink spread to the rest of Europe. The first Chocolate House opened in London in 1657. It became a popular place for meeting and socialising.
As the price of cocoa came down it became more affordable to the masses.
Image: Champurrado via Wikimedia Commons
available from Amazon
The True History of Chocolate; in paperback, telling the tale of chocolate from the beginning of its' discovery and its' use by The Mayan and Aztecs, to the industrialisation and mass production of chocolate.
The book contains 100 illustrations and a section on the medical and nutritional benefits of chocolate.
An interesting read for those wishing to learn more about the history, and uses of chocolate, or for the chocoholic who wants to read about chocolate and not just eat it.
Helping communities and stopping slavery
Chocolate slaves were the main workers on cocoa plantations in the past, but the situation hasn't changed much over the years.
The working conditions are harsh and the use of child slaves is rife. The introduction of Fair Trade chocolate has made conditions much better for the cocoa plantation workers and their communities.
Cocoa bean purchasers pay an above market price for the beans and the extra money is given back to the community. The use of child labour is forbidden.
There are a number of companies that use fair trade chocolate, you can find them here
Image - swedish fair trade label[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Fair Trade Chocolate Cookbook
The Bittersweet World of Chocolate is a recipe book dedicated to use of Fair Trade chocolate.
With recipes for chocolate cake to chocolate enchiladas.
The book also chronicles the history of chocolate and shows the processing and farming of chocolate today.
Chocolate brownies are another popular chocolate treat.
These are not quite so naughty, because some of the fat has been replaced by the addition of apple sauce.
This recipe is courtesy of Weight Watchers, so it can't be that bad for your waistline.
Servings: 10 - 12
Time: 1 hour or less
- 2¾ oz / 75 g Self Raising Flour
- 1¾ oz / 50 g Cocoa Powder
- ¼ teaspoon Salt
- 1 Egg
- 2 Egg whites
- 6 oz / 175 g Castor sugar (superfine sugar)
- 2 tablespoons / 30ml Sunflower oil
- 2 teaspoons Vanilla essence
- 1 oz / 30 g Chopped Walnuts
- 6 tablespoons of unsweetened Apple sauce.
- Heat the oven to 350º F / Gas 4 / 180º C
- Combine the flour, cocoa powder and salt and sift into a bowl.
- Beat together the eggs, castor sugar, sunflower oil, unsweetened apple sauce and vanilla essence.
- Combine the mixture with the flour & cocoa powder.
- Whisk the egg whites until they reach the soft peak stage.
- Gently fold the egg whites into the the brownie mixture,the folding will incorporate air into the mixture this will help the brownies to rise.
- Add the chopped walnuts.
- Transfer the brownie mixture to an 8 inch square cake tin (pan), that has been lined at the bottom with greased baking parchment.
- Bake for 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle, comes out clean.
- Cool slightly then cut into 10 - 12 pieces and transfer to a wire cooling rack.
Recipe from: Winning Recipes by Weight Watchers International Inc.
Chocolate brownie photograph courtesy of Photos-Public-Domain.com
The Story Of Chocolate
This simple sweet treat recipe needs no cooking and there would no problem letting small children help you make this fudge.
Time: 30 minutes
- 8 oz / 225 g Dark chocolate
- 4 oz / 125 g Butter
- 8 tablespoons Evaporated milk
- 1lb / 450 g Icing sugar
1. Melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl over a pan of hot water.
2. Add the evaporated milk and give the chocolate mixture a good stir.
3. Sift the icing sugar and add to the chocolate mixture, stir well.
4. Transfer into a greased shallow baking tin.
5. When set cut into squares.
Recipe from: Favourite Sweets and Toffee Recipes by Carol Wilson
A quote from the film Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory
"Invention, my dear friends, is 93% perspiration, 6% electricity, 4% evaporation, and 2% butterscotch ripple."
There is many an argument about which chocolate tastes better.