I love chocolate more than most people. I’m what you would call an extreme chocoholic. For instance, I tell people the reason that my best friend and I have remained so close for 14 years is because she’s allergic to chocolate, which means we never fight over who gets the last bite. Also, I’m not ashamed to admit that I once ate a five-pound chocolate bar in three days. I even ate bugs once just because they were covered in chocolate. Therefore, I’m clearly not above finding ways to sneak chocolate into all my meals.
All of these ideas are super easy to do and either involve using semi-sweet chocolate chips or cocoa powder, two ingredients everyone should have in their kitchen.
On those mornings when you wake up already craving something sweet you don’t have to go out and buy a chocolate chip muffin or chocolate croissant. You can spice up your old breakfast standbys.
1. Pancakes. Add chocolate chips and a little cinnamon to pancake batter.
2. Oatmeal. Add some chocolate chips and dried cranberries to oatmeal.
3. Bacon. For those of you who love the chocolate/bacon combo why not dip your cooked bacon in a little melted chocolate?
4. Hot Chocolate. Maybe you woke up feeling energized and don’t IMMEDIATELY need your daily dose of caffeine. In that case, you could do as the Spanish and many Latin Americans do and dip churros or some kind of sweet bread into a cup of hot chocolate. This is not your average hot chocolate, though. It’s so thick that you need a spoon to help you “drink” it. To make it place a cup of milk in a saucepan over medium heat with a 1/2 teaspoon of cornstarch. Stir occasionally until the mixture comes to a boil. Take it off the heat and add 2 to 3 ounces of chopped chocolate. Stir until the chocolate is melted.
For lunch there is nothing better than having a sandwich. Unless there is chocolate in that sandwich…
1. The Classic. You could do a take on a fluffernutter but instead of adding peanut butter use Nutella. My little brother likes to mix all three on his sandwiches.
2. Pain au Chocolat. French kids often get pain au chocolat as an afternoon snack, but why not eat it for lunch? Your parents aren’t around to stop you. To do this take on those yummy afternoon snacks, toast bread and then add melted chocolate chips and bananas.
3. Holy Grilled Cheesus. As weird as this may sound, melted chocolate chips with melted cheddar cheese is an AMAZING combo. To make this decadent grilled cheese sandwich spread butter (or mayonnaise if you are out of butter) on one side of sliced bread and then place it butter-side down in skillet that is over medium heat. Sprinkle shredded cheddar cheese on both halves and place a cover over the skillet. The cheese should be melted after 2-3 minutes. While you are waiting for the cheese to melt, melt 1-2 tablespoons of chocolate chips in the microwave. Once the cheese has melted take the two halves out of the skillet and place on a plate. Add the melted chocolate. Smush it together and you have achieved sandwich greatness. For a spicier version try substituting jalapeno cheddar jack for the regular stuff.
I’m a big snacker, and all of these ideas blend salty and sweet.
1. Granola Crunch. Take 1/2 cup store bought granola and add 1/4 cup dried fruit, such as apricots or cherries, 1/8 cup chocolate chips and 1/8 cup chopped almonds.
2. Bananas. Take a banana and cut it in half and then cut each half in half lengthwise. Then melt 1/3 cup of chocolate chips. Once it is all melted add two tablespoons of peanut butter and spread it over the cut bananas. You could sprinkle chopped nuts on top if you wanted.
3. Pretzels. My little sister and I love to dip pretzels into nutella for our afternoon snack. However, for those of you who like spicy food, you could melt 1/3 cup of chocolate chips and then add anywhere from an 1/8 to 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, depending on how spicy you like things, to the chocolate.
4. Potato Chips. One year the Easter bunny put chocolate covered potato chips into my basket, and I’ve been obsessed with them ever since. The trick to these is using thick potato chips with ridges. If you use the thin ones you’ll end up with a hot mess. Again, for this snack melt 1/3 cup of chocolate chips and then dip the potato chips in it. It couldn’t get any easier.
At dinner time you may not want to be hit over the head with that chocolate flavor, or by this point you might just be tired of melting chocolate and dipping things in it. Unsweetened cocoa powder can add a surprising flavor to meat dishes.
1. Spice Rub. This spice rub is great on pork, steak and chicken. Mix 1 teaspoon (or more if you like your food super spicy) of cayenne pepper, 1 1/2 teaspoons of unsweetened cocoa powder, and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon with salt and pepper to taste. Then rub it onto your meat of choice for a tasty Mexican inspired meal. Serve with a mashed or baked sweet potato and green beans for a healthy dinner. The leftovers can be used in tacos or wraps the next day with some salad greens, quac and/or greek yogurt.
2. Chili. 1 tablespoon of chopped semi-sweet chocolate or unsweetened cocoa powder can add a surprising twist to your old chili and beef stew recipes.
BOOZE IT UP
1. Grown-up Hot Chocolate. Spike your hot chocolate with kalhua, amaretto, or chambord.
2. Peppermint Patty Shots. Take a shot of peppermint schnapps (but don’t swallow!) and then quickly have someone squirt chocolate syrup in your mouth. Swirl it around your mouth and then bottoms up!
3. Raspberry-Chocolate Jello Shots. Make raspberry jello shots with your preferred choice of alcohol, and then you top it with the chocolate magic shell sauce. Place your shots in the freezer for a couple of minutes and you are set to go.
Emily is a recent grad of Colgate University, where she studied International Relations and Art History and volunteered at the Friendship Inn and with the Colgate Hunger Outreach Program. She loves to bake cookies.