Choc TacticsChocolate Recipes to Scare your Body into Submission

Who doesn’t love chocolate? Whether we’re talking a sumptuous chocolate cake for a celebration, batches of muffins for the kids or a silky chocolate sauce, it’s much easier than you may think to use chocolate recipes in your cooking. And you mustn’t feel guilty about enjoying this universal pleasure: chocolate is a good source of iron and antioxidants called flavenoids which may help to protect against heart disease and cancer.

A few tips to start with – Many people suggest melting chocolate in a microwave, but in fact this will cook the chocolate as well as melting it (although it’s fine for the world’s speediest chocolate pud, below!). You can do it, but it’s much gentler on the ingredient to heat it in a bowl over a pan of simmering water, making sure the base of the bowl doesn’t come into contact with the water.

Experiment with different brands to give variations for simple chocolate recipes. Like wine, chocolate differs hugely depending on where the beans were grown, how they were roasted and their quality in general.

Make easy chocolate curls for decorating desserts. Just melt chocolate then spread it thinly over a piece of baking parchment, lining a baking tray. Put it in the fridge to harden, then carefully ease it off with a knife. Your cakes and puddings will have a very professional touch!

Magical muffins – Buy a chocolate muffin in a shop and you’ll pay quite a bit for something that’s probably quite ordinary. Instead, why not make your own for a fraction of the price? Using oil in muffins gives a lovely light result and is ideal for vegans or those avoiding animal fats. With this recipe you simply add 175g self-raising flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 150g caster sugar and 2 tbsp cocoa to a mixing bowl. Make a well then add 150ml each oil and milk and 2 beaten eggs. Whisk it all together by hand or using a whisk, then pour the batter into 12 muffin cases, or 16 cake cases. Bake at 180C for 20 minutes or until springy to the touch.

The speediest chocolate pud recipe in the world! – Every child I know (and adults too) love this speedy choccie pud. Put the kettle on and, while it boils, mix together 4 tbsp self-raising flour, 4 tbsp caster sugar and 4 tbsp cocoa in a large microwaveproof mug or jug. Add 1 egg then mix again. Pour in 3 tbsp milk and 3 tbsp vegetable oil and mix again, adding a handful of chocolate drops if you like. Microwave on HIGH for 2.5 minutes. What could be easier…and hardly any washing up! Top with cream, chopped nuts or summer berries, or eat as it is.

A quick and impressive dessert chocolate recipe in summer is to take a range of fresh fruit – strawberries, physalis (Cape gooseberries), pineapple, mango and banana and dip them into melted chocolate – a good way of getting some of their 5 a day into your children, while giving them a choccie treat at the same time.

Find more interesting and delicious chocolate recipes from the website Delia Online.

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