Cooking with Chocolate
It’s not Easter without chocolate, but after the third attempt on the giant Kinder egg, you may be hiding the rest of your haul – the ‘out of sight, out of mind’ advantage.
But wait, there are plenty of ways you can put them to use without making yourself nauseous, from cakes and slices to ice cream and cookies. You may even be surprised to discover that chocolate was once treated largely as a spice!
Chocolate has existed in the Americas since at least 600 BC. When Spanish explorer Hernán Cortés arrived in Mexico in 1519, he noted the use of chocolate as a drink, where it was either sweetened (by the upper classes) or thickened with cornmeal (by the lower classes). Upon his return to Europe he brought home the sweetened version, where it became immensely popular amongst the upper class. Over the next few centuries, chocolate production became more widespread, with a Swiss manufacturer eventually refining the product into a chocolate bar.
Today, chocolate is one of the world’s most popular foods, with the average Aussie consuming a whopping 32 kilograms of chocolate per year, according to a recent CSIRO study.
If you don’t feel like eating that whole 32 kilos in one sitting (thanks Easter Bunny), we’ve compiled a few of our favourite recipes that use chocolate.
Chocolate Raspberry Muffins
- 150g butter, softened
- 1 cup caster sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups self-raising flour
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon bi-carb soda
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup choc chunks (broken up Easter eggs work perfectly here)
- 1 cup frozen raspberries
- Icing sugar, to serve
- Beat butter, sugar and eggs in the bowl of your kitchen mixer until pale and fluffy.
- In a separate bowl, sift the flour, cocoa and bi-carb soda together. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the eggs followed by 1/2 cup of buttermilk. Repeat this process, ending with the flour and beat until just combined. Fold through the choc chunks.
- Spoon into prepared muffin tins, top with the raspberries and bake in preheated oven at 175 degrees Celsius for 22 minutes or until muffins are cooked through.
- Allow to cool and then dust with icing sugar to serve.
Chocolate Stuffed French Toast
- 4 slices of brioche bread
- 100 grams grated dark chocolate
- 4 eggs
- 100ml pure cream
- ½ cup milk
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Butter, to fry
- Strawberries, to serve
- Extra thick cream, to serve
- Icing sugar, to dust
- In a large shallow dish, whisk together the eggs, cream, milk and vanilla.
- Heat a non-stick frying pan to medium-high and add some butter.
- Soak the brioche slices in the egg mixture and then place them in the butter in the frying pan. Top them with the grated chocolate and then sandwich with the remaining brioche slices and cook until golden brown on both sides.
- Dust with icing sugar and serve with extra thick cream and fresh strawberries.
Chocolate & Blood Orange Biscotti
- ½ cup butter, at room temperature
- ¾ cup raw caster sugar
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons blood orange juice
- 1 ¾ cups plain flour, sifted
- ½ cup almond meal
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- Good pinch of salt
- Finely grated zest of 1 blood orange
- ¼ cup slivered almonds, toasted
- 100 grams chocolate
- Preheat your oven to 175 degrees Celsius and grease and line your baking sheet with baking paper.
- In the bowl of your kitchen mixer, or using your handheld mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until you have a pale thick mixture and then add the vanilla extract and blood orange juice. Beat again until just combined.
- Add the flour, almond meal, baking powder, salt and orange zest and beat until ingredients just come together to form a dough.
- Turn the dough out onto a very lightly floured surface and knead until the dough comes together. (Do not overwork the dough or your biscotti will be very tough!) Add the slivered almonds and knead again lightly to disperse through the dough and then divide the dough into 2 portions.
- Shape each piece of dough into a wide log or loaf shape and then bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes before cutting into slices about 1 ½ centimetres thick.
- Reduce oven temperature to 150 degrees Celsius and then lay the biscotti slices, cut side down, on the baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Turn the biscotti over and then cook for a further 15 minutes. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
- When the biscotti are cool, melt the chocolate and use a piping bag with a very thin tip to drizzle over the biscotti. Store in airtight container.