Chocolate Addict Foodie

Yeah, I’m addicted to chocolate. But you won’t hear me saying I want to recover from the addiction. Any excuse to eat it is a good one. Several years ago, I made a New Year’s resolution to eat chocolate at least once a week. I figured it was a resolution I could keep.

Today is National Dessert Day so Foodie Friday will feature a couple (or more) chocolate desserts. But first, let’s talk about baking with chocolate.

Helpful Hints

For converting chocolate, these tips should help.

1 oz. (1 square) unsweetened baking chocolate = 3 oz. (1/2 cup) semi-sweet chocolate morsels. If, in a recipe calling for unsweetened baking chocolate, you use semi-sweet morsels instead, decrease butter, margarine or shortening by 1 T. and sugar by ¼ cup.

¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder = 3 oz. semi-sweet chocolate morsels. When substituting, again, butter (or whatever you use) and sugar should be decreased by the same amounts.

Chocolate may develop a grey film on its surface called a “bloom.” Chocolate bloom is caused by cocoa butter within the chocolate rising to the surface. It’s no big deal; it doesn’t change the taste, even though it dulls the color. Go ahead and use it for melting or baking. The attractive color will reappear.

Keep chocolate in a cool, dry place. It can be refrigerated, but if you choose to do so, wrap it tightly so it doesn’t absorb odors from other foods. Airtight wrapping also prevents the chocolate from acquiring moisture which can condense on it. This is a problem discussed below. Also, chocolate becomes hard and brittle when chilled, so allow it to come to room temperature before using.

About Melting Chocolateheart-dripping-chocolate

Important Warning: The smallest drop of moisture (even a wet spoon or steam from a double boiler) can cause melted chocolate to become lumpy. If this occurs, stir in 1 T. vegetable oil or shortening for every 3 oz. chocolate. Don’t use butter since it contains water.

Yield: One 12-ounce package (2 cups) of semi-sweet morsels equals 1 cup melted chocolate.

Top-of-stove method: Place the chocolate in the top of a double boiler. Place over hot, not boiling water. Stir occasionally until smooth.

Microwave method: To melt chocolate, place morsels or chunks of baking chocolate in a dry 4 cup microwave safe bowl or measuring cup. Microwave on high for 2 minutes; stir. Nuke it again on high 1 more minute and stir until it’s smooth.

These methods also, obviously, work for other morsels such as butterscotch, white chocolate, etc.

I’m doing the happy homemaker thing today. I’ve baked the squash and toasted the seeds from it. Next will come the mending, ironing, and laundry. But I just might get around to making something chocolatey for National Dessert Day. Brownies? Sounds good.

I promised some recipes and here are some I found. My favorite dessert, besides pie, is cheesecake and a well-done cheesecake is worth the effort. Urban Bakes offers her Hazelnut Chocolate Cheesecake. Looks dreamy.

Suburban Soapbox has a recipe for a No Bake Chocolate Mousse Pie. It’s easier to prepare than a cheesecake, but you have to save a bunch of your daily calories for it. It’s reeealy rich.

And these aren’t exactly a dessert––more of treat or snack––but here you’ll find a recipe for my ‘famous’ Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies.

keep calm eat dk chocWe who are addicted to chocolate could have told researchers a long time ago that chocolate is good for you. We didn’t know anything scientific; we just knew we felt better when we ate it. Right? Well, here’s a story by Medical News Today with a list of facts about chocolate and some reasons backed up by research (finally!) for why we should be eating this sweet–or semi-sweet–substance.

Enjoy your chocolate desserts today!

Chocolate is Good for You!

keep calm eat dk choc

Raise your hand if you think of chocolate as a food group.

I thought so.

Chocoholics make up a big section of the population, say…anywhere, I’m guessing. At one time, we felt guilty about our indulgences. But now, scientific studies say that a little bit of the delectable stuff is good for us. They say dark chocolate is the best.

That was good news to me. I like chocolate with muscle.

A Facebook friend of mine recently posted an invitation to the Traverse City Chocolate Festival later this month. I traveled on over to their page and the graphic for their cover photo made my mouth water.

We Michiganians first think of Traverse City as the Cherry Capital of the state. They even celebrate that food group with a cherry festival at harvest time. And if you like flavored coffee, you really should try the Traverse City cherry flavored brew. Mmmmm.

“You Never Know What You’ll Get”

If you hadn’t figured it out by now, today’s Feature For Friday is about food and more specifically, chocolate. Chocolate kisses, peanut butter cups, hot cocoa, fudge, hot fudge, German chocolate cake, and chocolate chip cookies. You can almost smell it, can’t you?

While planning this post, I went “shopping” for some recipes that include chocolate. One of the blogs I follow introduced me to Cocoa and Chai Spice Tea. When I clicked on the link, I thought I’d find a recipe for Chai with chocolate. No. It was a plug for Mr. Henry Landon’s product.

Since I make my own chai tea, I decided to adapt it and came up with a recipe that I’m sharing at the end of this post. I’m not averse to tweaking my own recipes if it means saving money and coming up with something new and improved.

Chocolate certainly improved it. Now it tastes like a chai tea cocoa. Mmmmm.

Included here are some of the chocolate goodies I found. One is a recipe I’ve had in my kitchen for years and wanted to share so I intentionally went in search of it.

Bustling Around the Kitchenchocolate-whisk

Try these No-Bake Chocolate Almond Bars for a healthy breakfast treat. I know the name sounds decadent, but they’re chock full of good stuff.

Fabulously Flawless Fudge is a tried and true recipe I’ve made for years, especially at Christmas. Way back when I made it on the stove top and it still can be made that way if you prefer. This one instructs you to melt the chocolate and milk in the microwave. It really is hard to ruin this one.

Another chocolate confection that would work for people who like a baked treat in the morning or with lunch are these Moist Chocolate Muffins.

Finally, I have to plug my own “famous” chocolate chip oatmeal cookies. I shared this recipe a while back. I have never had anyone say, “Well, these aren’t very good.” Not to my face anyway. In fact, I take them to the guys who change my oil and now I have a reputation as The Cookie Lady.

That can’t be all bad.

So celebrate the cocoa bean and everything it’s brought us. Indulge on April 26, in honor of the Chocolate Festival and don’t feel the least bit guilty. God gives us all good things to enjoy.

Besides, you know chocolate is good for you.heart dripping chocolate

 

Chocolatey Chai Spice Tea

1 tablespoon cocoa powder
Three teaspoons sugar (or to taste)
1/2 c. boiling water
1 1/2 c. more water
2 cinnamon sticks
12 whole cloves
8 cardamom pods
3/4 c. milk
4 teaspoons unperfumed loose black tea or 4 tea bags

Begin by dissolving in a sauce pan the cocoa powder and sugar in boiling water. Add rest of water to mixture. Add cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, and cardamom pods and bring to a boil.

Cover, turn heat to low and simmer for ten minutes. Add milk and bring to a simmer again. Throw in loose tea or tea bags. Cover, and turn off heat. After a couple of minutes, strain the mixture and serve immediately.

Yields about two mugs of tea. May be scaled up for more. (If using loose tea, it helps to use a tea ball if you have one.)

Here, Have a Cookie

Cookies were a staple at our house just as much as bread and butter. I began dabbling in the kitchen with my older sister who, like me, enjoys cooking and baking. There were times Mom would let me help too.

To me, cookies are a basic food group (although I try not to eat as many cookies as I do fruits and veggies). They’re a finger food so they’re portable. And there are a gazillion ways to make them. How could one NOT like cookies?

A few years ago I learned a lesson in sharing from someone I thought was an unlikely person to learn the lesson from. The lesson came from my desire to share my cookies.

I made a batch of my ‘famous’ Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies and took them with me on Sunday to share with the rest of our choral worship team. It happened that day just like every other time I’d shared my cookies: people wanted the recipe.

“Oh, I don’t share my recipe,” I told them. “It has a secret ingredient.”

I thought that had put the question to rest. No one began begging for it, after all. Then our worship leader spoke.

“I remember a woman who used to come here named Jewel. Maybe some of you remember her.”

Of course I remembered her. She was one of the sweetest women I’d met since I began attending that church. I was so sad when she passed away. She had signature hugs and a smile that lit up the sanctuary.

“Jewel had a special recipe too,” our leader went on. “And whenever someone asked for it, she was quick to say yes.”

I think he said a couple more things, but by then I’d taken the hint.

Every good and perfect gift is from above. (James 1:17) Even cookies. The next Sunday I brought copies of the recipe in case there were still some who wanted it. That sure felt better than hoarding my ‘secret’ out of pride. Over the years, because of that Holy Spirit leading, I’ve shared other recipes and kitchen tips too.
Cookie Monster Our Planet

 

I certainly don’t want to give the name Cookie Monster a new meaning. So I’m sharing the recipe here for you as well.

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Preheat oven to 350 F

3/4 c. shortening or vegetable oil
1 1/2 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
1/4 c. milk (any kind)
1 t. vanilla
2 c. flour
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. cinnamon
2 c. rolled oats, uncooked
1.c. wheat germ
1 pkg. semi-sweet chocolate morsels

In a large mixing bowl, cream together brown sugar and oil/shortening. Add eggs, vanilla, and milk and blend together thoroughly. In a small mixing bowl, blend together flour, salt, soda, cinnamon and rolled oats. Add dry mixture to the creamed mixture in the large bowl. Stir well. Add wheat germ and blend again. When adding chocolate morsels, begin with only half of package. Stir and add more if you need too. Sometimes a whole package is too many.
Drop by teaspoonfuls onto prepared baking sheets. Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes.

Remember that ovens vary. Keep an eye on the cookies through the door. They should only become lightly browned on top. Baking too long makes for a crisp rather than chewy cookie.
(Another ‘secret ingredient’ for chewiness is the wheat germ!)