Chocolate has been around as a drink in Europe since the early sixteenth century but it was not until the late 1800s that the kind of chocolate now available in shops was produced in bar form by Fry’s. This was soon followed by Cadbury’s Dairy Milk Bar in 1905, which was made with fresh milk rather than powdered.
There is a considerable difference in the taste and quality between modern chocolate bars. Beware of inferior chocolate which has added vegetable fat instead of the cocoa butter. The best for health is good quality plain, or dark, with at least 70% cocoa. It is also more satisfying which means less is consumed. Much has been written about the healthy effects of cocoa, but lighter chocolate contains more fat, while white chocolate is made from cocoa butter, without the cocoa solids.
The following three recipes use chocolate, including cocoa powder, in a variety of ways. Use either good quality cooking or eating chocolate.
Recommended Reading: Get started with baking by reading our Ultimate Guide to the Best Baking Equipment for Beginners!
Easy Chocolate Cake
- 125g (4oz) self-raising flour
- 125g (4oz) caster sugar
- 2 eggs
- 125g (4oz) soft margarine
- 25g (1oz) cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 125g (4oz) cooking chocolate
- 25g (1oz) butter
- Heat oven to 180C (350F).
- Put all the ingredients into a bowl, apart from the topping.
- Beat with an electric mixer for 2-3 minutes.
- Turn into 2 greased round sandwich tins.
- Bake for 30 to 35 minutes.
- Carefully turn the cakes on to a wire rack.
- Sandwich the cakes together with whipped cream.
- Melt the chocolate in a bowl over hot water.
- Remove from heat and beat in the butter.
- Spread over the top of the cake
Easy Chocolate Brownies
- 175g (6oz) self-raising flour
- 225g (8oz) light soft brown sugar
- 125g (4oz) margarine
- 75g (3oz) plain cooking chocolate
- 2 eggs, beaten
- Heat oven to 190C (375F).
- Melt margarine, chocolate and sugar in a pan over a low heat.
- Remove from heat and stir until well blended.
- Gradually add the beaten eggs, stirring well between each.
- Stir the flour into the melted mixture. It should be quite a wet consistency.
- Pour mixture into a greased and lined 7x11x1 inch tin.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until it feels firm and is well risen.
- Cool slightly in the tin and cut into 12 squares.
- Transfer the squares to a wire tray to cool completely.
- 125g (4oz) margarine
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder (or drinking chocolate)
- 1 tablespoon syrup
- 2 tablespoon sugar
- 20 plain tea biscuits, crushed
- ½ cup of sultanas
- ¼ cup of glace cherries
- Chocolate for topping
- Melt together the margarine, cocoa powder, syrup and sugar.
- Remove from heat and mix well.
- Add the crushed biscuits, sultanas and cherries to the melted mixture.
- Stir well and press into a small, shallow baking tray.
- Leave in a cool place to firm.
- Melt half a bar of good chocolate in a bowl over hot water.
Spread over the firm mixture and cut into squares when cool.
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