This is my Chocolate Appreciation post, for reading a little about Chocolate & cocoa pods, and how we can use in our baking. Known as 'Food of The Gods', this universally loved ingredient is a must have for bakers.
‘Food Of The Gods’
Chocolate is universally loved and devoured, on a daily basis, in different forms, and apparently by the bucket load 🙂 According to Divinechocolate.com, Britain alone goes through nearly 700,000 tones per year, that equates as an average of 11kg per person, per year!!1 Please check out that Divine Chocolate Divine Chocolate website, as there is loads of information on chocolate & cocoa beans. The history of it, down to how it’s harvested and much much more. So I will only touch on a few things on this article.
Our Love Of Chocolate
History Of Chocolate
Chocolate is loved for it’s taste, texture, and how it can make you feel. Full of vitamins and minerals, such as magnesium and calcium, it also is high in antioxidants, & believed to have relaxing and aphrodisiac properties.
Aztec’s believed those who ate cocoa beans would be blessed with spiritual wisdom. It was often used as currency and the first civilisation reported to have used the beans, was The Olmec, from it growing wild in central America, over 3500 years ago2 Only in the last 200 years has cocoa beans been used to make chocolate bars.
The Cocoa Beans
Cocoa beans are a fruit of the cocoa trees, generally producing 2 harvests per year of about 50 pods in each. The trees can live up to 200 years, but only produce viable harvests for about 25 years.
In each pods is usually 40 beans. One pod can made 8 bars of milk (semi-sweet) chocolate bars, or 4 dark (bitter chocolate) bars3. (I am assuming that to be 100g bars (3.5 oz). The cocoa beans start off as red, and when ripe are yellow or orange in colour. West Africa produce about 70% of the world’s cocoa, and Ghana 25%4.
See Photo of the Cocoa Tree, where the pods are yellow, indicating they are ripe5.
Chocolate In Baking
Now for bakers chocolate and cocoa powder, is a very special ingredient. It can be used in recipes in so many different ways, in the bake or on top of the bake for presentation. (Photo – cocoa covering truffles, see recipe below).
Bakers tip – add some coffee or espresso powder to your chocolate cakes & cookies, and the chocolate flavour will be accentuated! Only a small amount is needed to bring out the flavour, and has no coffee taste to the bake. You can also bloom your cocoa powder, in some warm water (or even coffee), again to bring the full flavour out.
Before we hit the chocolate recipes, here’s a little about the Latin for Cocoa – they named it “Theobroma Cacao”.
This literally means “FOOD OF THE GODS”!!6 I think that say’s it all.
Black Forest Gateau In Air Fryer
This Black Forest Gateau is filled with chocolate – 4 layers of chocolate cake made with cocoa and lots of chocolate shaving on the sides and on top! Not only a tutorial for how to make everything from scratch, but the 6″ cake layers are made in the air fryer!
Tropical Cake Truffles
These no-bake cake truffles, don’t need buttercream or cream cheese to bind them and are simple to make. Coat in in cocoa, coconut, or dip in your favourite chocolate!
INDIVIDUAL CHOCOLATE TARTS
Try my super simple recipe for indulgent chocolate tarts.
Go to my Chocolate Tarts recipe or watch the video below:
Easy Gooey Chocolate Brownies
Let me show you how to easily make, perfect gooey chocolate brownies and not just another boring chocolate cake.
The secret is whisking the sugar and eggs for 5 minutes till mousse like, very pale in colour and with a noticeable increase in volume size.
Be sure to also get the brownies out of the oven a bit sooner than if you were making a chocolate cake or tray bake.
Try my classic version or one of the 3 variations below. Including an impressive but simple to make, ‘Brownie Tower’ or ‘Brownie Stack’.
Browned Butter & Hazelnut Brownies
Here’s my new Chocolate brownie recipe, but this time, with browned butter & hazelnuts. With the same gooey texture, these Browned Butter Hazelnut Brownies are as addictive as my classic version.
Chocolate Orange Brownie Tower
Using my new Chocolate Orange Brownie recipe, as well as my Browned Butter Hazelnut Brownies, I created the ‘Chocolate Orange Brownie Tower’.
Mini Egg Gooey Brownies – Easter Version
Let me show you how to make perfect gooey brownies and not just another chocolate cake. This time with the addition of Easter chocolate mini eggs.
EASTER DEVIL’S FOOD BUNDT CAKE
Looking for a super simple Easter or Spring cake? Are a beginner baker, or just wanting something with minimal decorating skills required? Look no further than this Easter Devil’s Food Bundt Cake.
CHOCOLATE VICTORIA SANDWICH CAKE
Here’s my chocolate version of British classic cake Victoria Sandwich.
Go to my Chocolate Victoria Sandwich cake recipe, or watch the video below.
CHOCOLATE & RASPBERRY TART REVIEW
Read my review, of Michel Roux’s recipe for a truly decadent chocolate dessert, paired with raspberries.
Go to Chocolate Raspberry Tart review or watch video below
QUICK & EASY 1 BOWL CHOCOLATE CARDAMOM CUPCAKES WITH ESPRESSO BUTTERCREAM
This is such a super simple and quick recipe, and one you can whip up with whatever you have in. Very versatile, it can be used in different ways and made Vegan. dairy-free, egg-free & lactose free.
Easter Praline Crackle
Easter Praline Crackle is my easy and quick recipe, for a Spring version of Praline Crackle. Known as Christmas Crack in the US, I want to make this popular in the UK too. It’s so simple to make, tastes great and you can add any sprinkles or extra toppings you like. Make from crackers, brown sugar, butter & chocolate.
CHOCOLATE DIGESTIVE BISCUITS
Here’s my version of the British classic cookie, with added coconut.
Go to Chocolate Digestive recipe or watch video tutorial below
Egg & Butter Free Chocolate Layer Cake
Egg & Butter Free Chocolate Layer Cake, is a super simple & quick recipe & one you can whip up with whatever you have in the cupboard or fridge. Very versatile, it can be used in different ways & made Vegan, dairy-free, egg-free & lactose free. A great base chocolate layer cake, sandwich with cream, jam & fresh fruit – or whatever you like!
Or try the cupcake version – 1 hour Versatile Chocolate Cupcake Recipe
CHOCOLATE CHIP SOFT COOKIES
Try my soft chocolate chip cookies that are so simple to make.
Go to Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe or watch video below
Healthier Banana Bread Muffins
Here’s my quick & easy, Healthier Banana Bread Muffins recipe. Using wholemeal flour, bananas & less butter & sugar, these will be your new favourite Banana Bread Muffin! Adding chocolate chips is optional.
Chocolate Coconut Scottish Shortbread
Chocolate & Coconut Scottish Shortbread is based on my traditional Scottish shortbread recipe, with a melt-in-the-mouth texture, just as we make them here in Scotland.
Honeycomb (AKA Sponge Candy)
Here’s a super simple & quick, no-bake recipe for Honeycomb. This sweet treat, (also known as Sponge Candy), is so easy to make, it’s ideal for beginner bakers. You don’t need lots of equipment to be able to make this either. Half coat in chocolate to make even better!
CHOCOLATE PUMPKIN MUFFINS – With Chocolate Pudding
Try this new recipe for muffins, with pumpkin & all the spices that resonate Fall, but with a special ingredient of chocolate pudding! Instead of chocolate chips or chocolate cake, try making up an easy packet of chocolate pudding mix & use to give some surprise pockets of moist chocolate goodness!
CHOCOLATE & PUMPKIN BUNDT CAKE – A Recipe Review
This chocolate & pumpkin bundt cake is a recipe I tested by Anna Olson. Lean how I rated the recipe as well what I changed.
VANILLA SANDWICH COOKIES WITH CHOCOLATE FILLING
Vanilla sandwich cookies, but this time with my firmer chocolate orange filling.
Banana bread Loaf With Chocolate Chips
My classic but super simple banana bread recipe, with a packet of chocolate chips thrown in by my son, who made this one in the photos, for Mother’s Day 2022.
Lamingtons – Australia’s Light Coconut Sponge Cakes
Try my chocolate & coconut version of this classic light sponge cake. Master the Genoise sponge.
MARY BERRY’S 3 WAYS MINI COOKIES REVIEW
Read my review of Mary Berry’s mini cookies, one way with chocolate chips.
CHOCOLATE ORANGE GANACHE
See how simple it is to make chocolate ganache & bonus recipe of Whipped Ganache.
Simple no-bake chocolate-fix recipe, using chocolate ganache and can be rolled in cocoa to finish.
MICROWAVE CHOCOLATE FUDGE
Quicker & safer method of making chocolate fudge. Decorate anyway you like and even add some Baileys!
VERSATILE CHOCOLATE CUPCAKE RECIPE
A simple chocolate cupcake recipe, that is easily changed up and made vegan.
FLOURLESS (GLUTEN FREE) CHOCOLATE SWISS/JELLY ROLL
Flour-free chocolate Swiss/Jelly Roll, with just sugar, eggs & cocoa in the sponge.
Go to Flour free Gluten free Chocolate Swiss Roll recipe or watch video below
CHOCOLATE & ORANGE YULE LOG
A perfect centrepiece for a Christmas dinner table & it’s Gluten free too.
Or watch the video
Known as Christmas Crack in the US, I want to make this popular in the UK too. It’s so simple to make, tastes great and you can add any sprinkles or extra toppings you like. No need to just have at Christmas.
EASY CHOCOLATE COOKIES – Soft & Chunky or Thin & Crispy
Here’s my super simple beginner recipe for making double chocolate cookies. These cookies are big. Originally developed as chunky & soft, you can also make thin and crispy. Whichever way you prefer or split the batch. You can add whatever chocolate chips or nuts you would like. They are also easily customised to any season or theme, by adding some simple quick decoration.
Here’s also some videos of recipes not online yet:
EASY BANANA BREAD MUFFINS WITH CHOCOLATE CHIPS
SOFT CHUNKY PEANUT M&M CHOCOLATE COOKIES
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Happy Baking & Making
Happy Tummies & Memories!
1, 2, 6 – Divine Chocolate, Chocolate Facts and Figures, (8 July 2019), https://www.divinechocolate.com/resources/chocolate-facts-and-figures
3 – Bitter Sweet World Of Chocolate, book by Nikki Van Der, Troth Wells, New Internationalist (06 Dec 2007)
4 – ICCO (International Cocoa Organisation), https://www.icco.org/, (2012)
5 – Photo of Cocoa tree with ripe cocoa pods from Public Domain Pictures, https://www.publicdomainpictures.net
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