It’s 24 days until Christmas and I haven’t started my Christmas shopping yet… Ahhhh….. What am I going to do? I know what I’m getting 6 people, I just have to order it. As for my 4 Nieces and 1 Nephew well I have no idea what I’m buying them. Since the four girls are either in college or just graduated from college, I’m going for something that is practical. As for my Nephew, he being 17 mentioned he needed a new wallet so I’m trying for that. Since they are getting gift cards or checks, I wanted something small for them to open. If you have any suggestions I am open to hearing. As nothing has been decided yet.
What are you getting your kids and/or Grandkids? Please tell me.
As you know I’ve done two cooking hacks post they can be at A Simple Cooking Life Hack and Christmas Cooking Hacks And Helpful Cooking Hacks……. So that got me to thinking what are some simple chocolate recipes and alternatives to chocolate are there. Who doesn’t love chocolate? Who doesn’t love chocolate? I love chocolate except for chocolate coffee. Yes I have tried chocolate coffee too. Vegan’s I didn’t forget about you. I will have a separate post for you. Because there are so many good chocolate recipes I’m only listing 5 but will give you the link for all the recipes for your recipes.
SOME SIMPLE CHOCOLATE RECIPES
Chocolate-Banana Pudding Ingredients:
- 2 cups of heavy cream.
- tablespoons confectioners’ sugar.
- 3 bananas, thinly sliced lengthwise, plus 1/2 banana, sliced into rounds.
- 5 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped.
- 26 chocolate wafers.
- In a small saucepan, bring cream to a boil over medium-high. Remove from heat and add chocolate. Let sit 5 minutes. Add confectioners’ sugar and whisk to combine. Let cool to room temperature.
- Layer 13 chocolate wafers in a 2-quart baking dish. Add half the chocolate mixture, then top with lengthwise banana slices. Top with 13 more cookies and remaining mixture. Cover and refrigerate until pudding is set and cookies are tender, about 2 hours (or up to 1 day). Top with round banana slices and serve.
Chocolate-Covered Strawberries Ingredients:
- 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped.
- 1/3 cup of pistachios(optional).
- 1 pound large strawberries (about 20), washed and dried well.
- Place chocolate in a bowl set over (not in) a saucepan of simmering water. Stir occasionally, until melted, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Line a baking sheet with waxed paper. One at a time, dip each strawberry in chocolate, twirling to coat; then sprinkle chocolate-covered portion with pistachios, if using, and place on waxed paper.
- Chill chocolate-dipped strawberries at least 15 minutes to set chocolate. (Strawberries should not be stored in refrigerator longer than 1 hour as condensation may collect on the chocolate.)
Total Time: Prep Time: Servings:
35 minutes 20 minutes Makes About 20
Peppermint Hot Fudge Sundaes Ingredients:
- 1 cup heavy cream.
- One 12-ounce bag semisweet chocolate chips.
- Best-quality vanilla ice cream.
- 1/3 cup light corn syrup, plus more to adjust consistency.
- 1 teaspoon peppermint extract.
- Peppermint candy, coarsely chopped.
- Combine heavy cream and corn syrup in a small saucepan. Stir to combine, and bring just to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove from heat, and add chocolate and peppermint extract.
- Whisk until chocolate is melted. If necessary, adjust consistency with additional corn syrup. Serve over ice cream. Garnish with chopped peppermint candy.
Peppermint extract can be found in most supermarkets.
Crispy Chocolate-Marshmallow Treats Ingredients:
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for pan.
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar.
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled).
- 1/2 cup of chopped nuts, such as cashews, pecans or walnuts.
- 1 bag (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips.
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar.
- 2 large eggs.
- 1 cup miniature marshmallows.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan. Line bottom with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two sides; butter paper.
- In a heatproof bowl set over (not in) a saucepan of simmering water, combine butter and 1 cup chocolate chips. Heat, stirring occasionally, just until melted, 3 to 5 minutes.
- Remove mixture from heat; stir in sugars and salt, then eggs, and finally flour, stirring just until combined. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs attached, 30 to 35 minutes.
- Remove from oven, and sprinkle with remaining chocolate chips, then marshmallows and nuts. Bake until chocolate is shiny and marshmallows are puffed, about 5 minutes. Cool completely in pan. Using paper overhang, lift cake onto a work surface; cut into 16 squares.
To prevent toppings from sinking into the batter, sprinkle them on after brownies are baked. An extra 5 minutes in the oven melts the topping together for easy slicing.
Total Time: Prep Time: Servings:
45 minutes 10 minutes Make 16
Ricotta Tart With Chocolate And Kumquats Ingredients-For Crust:
- 5 ounces chocolate wafers (about 24 cookies).
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar.
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted.
- Pinch of salt.
FOR THE FILLING:
- 1 1/2 cups ricotta. (12 ounces).
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar.
- 5 kumquats, thinly sliced crosswise.
- 1/2 cup heavy cream.
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon.
- 1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped.
- For The Crust: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pulse wafers in a food processor until fine crumbs form. Transfer to a bowl, and stir in butter, sugar and salt. Press into bottom and up sides of a 9-inch tart pan. Bake for 10 minutes . Let cool.
- For The Filling: Beat together ricotta, cream, sugar, and cinnamon until fluffy. Fold in half the kumquats and half the chocolate. Pour into cooled crust. Top with remaining kumquats and chocolate. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes ( or overnight) before serving.
Total Time Prep Time Servings
1 hour 10 minutes 8
To stay with my chocolate theme and to keep my promise below is what you can use if you don’t have chocolate handy or someone can’t eat chocolate this is what you can do.
5 HEALTHY ALTERNATIVES TO CHOCOLATE
1. Cocoa Powder
Cocoa powder is a mixture of many substances that are left over after cocoa butter is extracted from cacao beans. One tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa power contains about 10 calories, and has virtually no fat, cholesterol, or sugar. And because it is 100% cacao, it is jam-packed with antioxidants.
Try mixing cocoa powder with almond or coconut milk for a homemade hot chocolate, or add a scoop to plain or vanilla Greek yogurt or as an addition to your favorite smoothie. Cocoa powder can be used in savory dishes as well – especially in many traditional Mexican dishes (cocoa and chili pepper!). For a crunchy snack, try cocoa dusted almonds (lightly drizzle almonds with honey and roll them in cocoa powder).
2. Cacao Nibs
Cacao nibs are basically Cocoa beans themselves, which have been roasted, removed from their husks, and broken into small pieces. In other words, they are a less processed form of cocoa. Cacao nibs are crunchy and taste similarly to unsweetened chocolate. They can be ground into a powder and used just like cocoa powder, or they can be eaten as is and added to yogurt, trail mixes, smoothies, or in your favorite baked good. Cacao nibs are naturally low in calories (just one ounce contains about 130 calories), are a good source of heart-healthy fiber, (9 g per ounce) and contain a number of beneficial minerals and antioxidants.
3. Dark Chocolate (at least > 70% cacao)
It is important to choose dark chocolate with at least 70%cacao in order to reap all the antioxidant benefits. Plus, the darker the chocolate (aka the higher % of cacao), the less sugar will be in the bar.
Carob is a tropical pod that is derived from a tree in the Mediterranean. Its pulp is roasted and ground into a fine powder that tastes very similar to cocoa powder. Carob is naturally low in fat, high in fiber, contains calcium, and unlike cocoa or chocolate, does not contain caffeine or theobromine (a good alternative to those who are sensitive to caffeine or migraines). Additionally, it is naturally less bitter than cocoa, so it does not need additional sweetening.
Carob comes in many forms which can be used in cooking, such as powders, liquids, and carob chips. Add carob chips to trail mix, fruit, yogurt, or use it as a substitute for chocolate chips in baking (but set your oven about 25 degrees lower or it could burn!).
I can’t think of a better way to satisfy a sweet craving while still staying within a healthy eating plan than with fruit. Most fruits are high in vitamin C, potassium, antioxidants, fiber, and health-promoting phytonutrients. Generally, the darker the fruit’s color pigment, the more nutrients it will have! Strawberries and whipped coconut cream, anyone? Or try mixing up a medley of cherries, raspberries, blueberries, and pomegranate seeds, with some carob chips or cacao nibs sprinkled over top for a delicious and healthy treat!
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