Chocolate for everything

It’s been over a week since my last post, and I’ve only got one excuse – a new job has taken over my life. Crazy days and sleepless nights – that’s how it has been since February started.

“A new job is like a new pair of shoes – it takes a whole to get used to”

Someone said this to me today, and I think that’s the best comparison I’ve heard so far, especially since I’m definitely in the ‘wearing it in’ phase!

When you’re going through a ‘wearing’ time, it always helps to have something to look forward to. For some people it’s an ice-cold beer at the end of the day, for others it’s going to the gym. For the past week, I’ve been craving chocolate. Dark, 60% – 70% chocolate that isn’t too sweet or bitter. The kind that melts on your tongue, and leaves you craving for more.

Not just Β chocolate, but chocolate cookies too – and I’m not talking about the kind you can buy from supermarkets. Aside from Famous Amos Cookies that have such a distinctive taste, I haven’t bought any chocolate chip cookies that really hit the spot. Sometimes, you’ve just got to make them yourself.

Whenever I need a chocolate fix, I turn to one of these chocolate recipes. These are just my current favourites – I love trying new recipes, so I’m sure I’ll find more to add to this list soon. If you’ve got some favourites too, please share in the comments below!

One thing all the recipes have in common – they only taste as good as the chocolate you use, so go ahead and use your favourite brand.

1. Chocolate chip cupcakes

Hamlyn All Colour Cook Book

This recipe is adapted from Hamlyn All Colour Cook Book, a very old, very retro recipe book that I got from my mum. The recipe is for Polka Dot Dandies, but I usually skip the icing, replace the coffee essence with vanilla essence, and use this recipe for chocolate chip cupcakes instead. It’s a simple, no frills recipe that really hits the spot.

  • 4 oz. butter
  • 4 oz. caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 oz. self-raising flour, sieved (or 2 oz. wholemeal flour, 2 oz. self-raising flour, and about 1 tsp baking powder)
  • 1 packet of chocolate chips
  • 2 tsp of vanilla essence

TIP: For a ‘healthier’ version, replace half the self-raising flour with wholemeal flour, and add a bit of baking powder to help it rise a bit more.

Preheat the oven to 175 Β°C (350 F). Use an electric mixer to cream the butter and sugar until it’s light and fluffy. It usually turns a pale, cream colour at this point. Beat the eggs, add in the vanilla essence, and add it slowly to the mixture. Make sure to mix in the eggs well each time, as adding them in too fast can cause the mixture to curdle.

TIP: If your mixture does curdle, don’t worry! Folding in the flour after that usually fixes it.

Fold in the flour using a metal spoon, and add in the chocolate chips. Spoon the mixture into paper cases lightly dusted with flour. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the cupcakes turn golden brown. If you’ve added wholemeal flour, they will usually look darker.

2. Chocolate chip cookies with dulce de leche

Chocolate cookies with dulce de leche by Linda Lomelino

Photo from Call Me Cupcake by Linda Lomelino

Linda Lomelino’s blog Call Me Cupcake is one my favourite places to visit whenever I want to try something new. Her photos are beautiful, the recipes are easy, and they all sound so delicious!

After lusting over these cookies for weeks, I finally spent some time making the dulce de leche the week before, and got down to making the cookies on Sunday. Making the dulce de leche was rather troublesome, but the cookies were worth it.

TIP: If you’re using the microwave, keep an eye on it! I ended up putting it in for 1.5 minute intervals instead, after the mix boiled over once and made a sticky mess. It took a while longer, but at least I only cleaned up one mess.

They’re an addictive blend of sweet, salty and chocolatey – A had one bite, and couldn’t stop snacking on them.