Something beginning with ‘C’…

CHOCOLATE. Why? What did you think I was gonna to say? Wrote this lovely blog for Learning With Experts about the history of chocolate – and let’s be honest, we could all do with a bit of distraction right now.

Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies
Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

From sugary white to bitter dark, chocolate is the sweet treat we simply can’t get enough of. But where does it come from and what is its history?

Chocolate can be traced back the ancient Maya of Mesoamerica (what we now know as South America). Cocoa was a household staple to the Mayans readily available to everyone. This thick and bitter drink accompanied most meals and was often teamed with honey or chili peppers – a far cry from the sweet confectionary we’re used to today. Later on, in the 13th century, the Aztecs moved in and dominated Mesoamerica. They believed cacao was a gift from the gods and was considered more valuable than gold and was even used as currency. As the status of chocolate reached new heights it began to be enjoyed mostly by the wealthy.

It’s widely disputed how chocolate made its way to Europe, but it is generally thought it first arrived in Spain, where it was adored by the Spanish who swiftly began importing it in the 1500’s. Before long, chocolate fever had swept across Europe and was in high demand with the upper classes. Europeans, however, didn’t care for the bitter Aztec version so began adding sugar and spices, making it a fashionable luxury.

It wasn’t until the 19th century that chocolate become readily available and affordable to the masses. In 1828 a Dutch chemist developed the cocoa press that inexpensively separated the cocoa butter from the roasted cocoa beans, making cocoa powder accessible to all. The powder was mostly enjoyed as a hot drink with milk until 1847, when British chocolatier J.S Fry and Sons moulded the first chocolate bar made out of sugar, cocoa butter and chocolate liquor. But it was Swiss chocolatier Daniel Peter who thought to add dried milk to cocoa to create the chocolate we all know and love today, milk chocolate. A few years later he teamed up with his friend Henri Nestle and the rest is history.

So why not raid the cupboards and rustle up a batch of homemade chocolate chip cookies. Or better still, master the art of tempering, moulding and (let’s be honest) eating chocolate in the comfort of your own home with The Art of Chocolate Making, taught by Paul A Young. This four-week course begins anytime from the 27th of March and could be a great way to see out the current Corona crisis.


Dark chocolate chip cookies
Makes 16-18 cookies / Hands on time 20 mins / Total time 30 mins / V 
125g salted butter, at room temperature
125g golden caster sugar
2 heaped tbs condensed milk
50g Green and Black’s Organic 70% Dark Chocolate, roughly chopped
½ tsp vanilla extract
150g self-raising flour
Sea salt flakes


Method

My original cookie recipe

1. Preheat an oven to 180°C/160°C fan/350°F/gas mark 4. Using an electric whisk in a large bowl, cream together the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the condensed milk and the vanilla extract and continue to whisk until incorporated.
2. On a chopping board using a large knife, roughly chop the chocolate. Add to the mixture and sift the self raising flour over the top. Using a wooden spoon, mix together by hand until you have a well incorporated cookie dough.
3. Line two baking trays with baking paper and using a teaspoon, scoop up a ball of the dough, roughly the size of a walnut. Roll the dough in your hands until you have a ball and place on the baking tray. Space the cookie dough out evenly (be sure not to over crowd the baking trays, the cookies will expand in the oven).
4. Using the back of a tablespoon, press down on each ball gently to squash it out a little to help form a round disk. Bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes. Cool slightly on the tray, before carefully transferring to a cooling rack using a spatula. Sprinkle with a tiny pinch of sea salt flakes and serve with a good cup of tea.


If you’ve had a go at making any of my recipes, I’d love to hear from you. Follow me now @corrieheale and tag your recipe pictures using #corriesrabbitfood.


V – Vegetarian
 – The cookie dough is suitable for home freezing. Roll into a sausage shape and wrap in a few layers of clingfilm. Consume within 3 months.



Chocolate pear porridge

Chocolate pear porridge

 


I like it when my breakfast resembles dessert, especially when it’s deceptively nutritious and uses seasonal produce. January is literally the only time you can get a pear that isn’t so hard you chip your teeth on it. So get with the season and enjoy a warming bowl of chocolate porridge – would be rude not to.


Chocolate pear porridge
Serves 1 / Hands on time 10 mins / Total time 10 mins / V Vn Df
1/3 cup porridge oats
2/3 cup oat milk
1 heaped tsp cocoa powder
1 tsp milled flaxseed (optional)
Pinch of sea salt flakes
Handful fruit and nuts
1 tsp maple syrup + extra to serve
Drop of vanilla extract (optional)
½  pear to serve, sliced


Tip: Don’t wait to soak your pan, do it immediately or your porridge will turn to cement. 


Method
1. In a small saucepan, combine all the ingredients together apart from the pear. Cook on a medium heat stirring continually until the porridge is thick and creamy.
2. Serve immediately topped with sliced pear and a drizzle of maple syrup.

Chocolate pear porridge

If you’ve had a go at making any of my recipes, I’d love to hear from you. Follow me now @corrieheale and tag your recipe pictures using #corriesrabbitfood.


V– Vegetarian    Vn– Vegan    Df– Dairy free.



Cocoa & coconut energy balls

Cocoa & Coconut Energy Balls

I don’t know about you, but I’ve literally spent the last two weeks eating nothing but Cadbury’s Roses (good times) but what in gods name have Cadbury’s done to their wrappers? The once delicately wrapped choccies I used to twist straight into my mouth have been replaced with what looked like assorted condom wrappers. Thanks a lot Cadbury’s, thanks for ruining Christmas… Okay so I still ate two tubs but this isn’t over Cadbury’s, a strongly worded letter will be winging it’s way to you when I can be bothered to write and post one.
Until then, I shall be making my own chocolates — mainly because I am now addicted to Cadbury’s Roses and need a healthier substitute for January. Happy new year every body


Cocoa & coconut energy balls
​Makes 12 balls / Hands on time 10 mins / Total time 10 mins + chilling time / V 
180g ready to eat dates, stones removed
50g porridge oats
50g Green & Blacks Organic 70% dark chocolate
50g nuts of your choice (I used a mix of cashews, almonds and pecans)
½ tsp cinnamon
2 tsp flaxseed mill (I use Lindwoods milled flax, sunflower, pumpkin and sesame seeds with goji berries)
4 tsp cold water
2 tbs desiccated coconut (optional)


Method
1. De-stone the dates and add them to the blender along with the oats, chocolate and your choice of nuts. Blitz until you have a paste.
2. Add half a tsp of cinnamon, 2 tsp of flaxseed mill and 4 tsp of cold water. Blend again until combined and a bit sticky.
3. Turn out and roughly divide the mixture into 12. Using your hands, roll the mixture into a walnut sized balls before placing inside a sealable container (it’s okay if the balls touch but don’t put them on top of each other). Once rolled, I like to roll half of my balls in desiccated coconut for a bit of variation but this is optional (tastes really good though so I recommend it).
4. Pop them in the fridge to chill and eat as and when desired. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 month.

Cocoa & Coconut Energy Balls

If you’ve had a go at making any of my recipes, I’d love to hear from you. Follow me now @corrieheale and tag your recipe pictures using #corriesrabbitfood.


V– Vegetarian.   – Suitable for home freezing. Wrap individually in cling film and consume within 1 month.



Salted chocolate granola bars

Salted Chocolate Granola Bars
Salted Chocolate Granola Bars

I was becoming a bit bored of granola for breakfast so I decided to make granola bars instead (basically the same thing, but with added chocolate and more sugar – how very nutritious). They’re basically a fruit and nut flapjack laced with salted dark chocolate, coconut and golden syrup. I mean, what’s not to like? To be honest, they’re nowhere near as calorific as they could be, but even if they were, who cares? It’s six weeks until Christmas and there’s not a bikini in sight. So dig out the elasticated trousers and stock up on Tums because the build up to Christmas has officially started, with elevenses.


Salted chocolate granola bars
Makes 10-12 bars/ Hands on time 15 mins / Total time 35 mins / 
150g mixed nuts and dried fruit, I used Sainsbury’s SO Organic Fruit & Nut Mix
4 tbs desiccated coconut
20g mixed seeds
120g rolled oats
30g Rice Krispies
70g salted dark chocolate, I use Green & Black’s. If you can’t get this, then simply use a good quality dark chocolate and add a good pinch of salt
50g golden caster sugar
100g Golden Syrup
75g unsalted butter


Method
1. Preheat the oven to 160°C/140°C/300°F/gas mark 3.
2. In a large bowl, combine the coconut, mixed seeds, oats and the Rice Krispies, mixed nuts and dried fruit (I like to keep my nuts whole but if you prefer smaller piece then roughly chop them before adding them to the mix). Roughly chop the chocolate and add the to the dry mixture. Give it a good stir and put it to one side.
3. In a small saucepan on a low heat, melt the sugar, butter and golden syrup together. Once melted, pour over the dry mixture and give it a good stir until the dry mixture is evenly coated.
4. Grease a large baking dish with butter and pour in the mixture. Spread to the edges and pat down firmly with the back of a spoon. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes.
5. Once cooked, leave to cool fully in the dish before turning out and cutting into bars.

Salted Chocolate Granola Bars

If you’ve had a go at making any of my recipes, I’d love to hear from you. Follow me now @corrieheale and tag your recipe pictures using #corriesrabbitfood.


V– Vegetarian   – Suitable for home freezing. Wrap bars individually in a few layers of cling film and freeze for up to 3 months.



Dark chocolate chip cookies

Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies
Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

I used to make these cookies all the time, in fact, I’ve been making them so long, I don’t even remember how this recipe came to be. So why does my first batch look like something that came out of my housemates dog?
My faultless recipe is clearly faulty, either that, or my nine year old self is a better cook than me. If she were here right now I’d slap her. What? She’s not real! Anyway, admittedly it’s been a while since I’ve made these (ten years) but surely it’s like riding a bike.
I look down at the burnt little puddles stuck to my baking tray, ‘how can they be burnt AND raw?’ I ponder. Without thinking I plunge my finger into a partially oozy one, it’s as hot as molten lava. I drop the tray and it lands face down on the floor. Of course it does.
Round two. I up the heat, reduce the cooking time, swap plain flour for self raising and use an electric whisk. Having no idea if any of these decisions are the right ones and having eaten most of the chocolate, this was my last chance. However, this time I would be more cautious, I won’t bake and ruin a whole batch of 18, I’ll start with 6.
Burnt! Again!… But at least the butter didn’t separated this time so they looked a little less pooey. Feeling encouraged by the progress, I line up another six and pop them in the oven, reducing the cooking time by 5 minutes. SUCCESS! Chewy, golden, melt in the mouth little roundels of heaven. I knew I could do it. Now all I have to do is not eat another one, I’m on a diet… I hate my life.


My original cookie recipe

Dark chocolate chip cookies
Makes 16-18 cookies / Hands on time 
20 mins / Total time 30 mins / V 
125g salted butter, at room temperature
125g golden caster sugar
2 heaped tbs condensed milk
50g Green and Black’s Organic 70% Dark Chocolate, roughly chopped
½ tsp vanilla extract
150g self-raising flour
Sea salt flakes


Method
1. Preheat an oven to 180°C/160°C fan/350°F/gas mark 4. Using an electric whisk in a large bowl, cream together the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the condensed milk and the vanilla extract and continue to whisk until incorporated.
2. On a chopping board using a large knife, roughly chop the chocolate. Add to the mixture and sift the self raising flour over the top. Using a wooden spoon, mix together by hand until you have a well incorporated cookie dough.
3. Line two baking trays with baking paper and using a teaspoon, scoop up a ball of the dough, roughly the size of a walnut. Roll the dough in your hands until you have a ball and place on the baking tray. Space the cookie dough out evenly (be sure not to over crowd the baking trays, the cookies will expand in the oven).
4. Using the back of a tablespoon, press down on each ball gently to squash it out a little to help form a round disk. Bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes. Cool slightly on the tray, before carefully transferring to a cooling rack using a spatula. Sprinkle with a tiny pinch of sea salt flakes and serve with a good cup of tea.

 

Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

If you’ve had a go at making any of my recipes, I’d love to hear from you. Follow me now @corrieheale and tag your recipe pictures using #corriesrabbitfood.


– Vegetarian
❄ – The cookie dough is suitable for home freezing. Roll into a sausage shape and wrap in a few layers of clingfilm. Consume within 3 months.



Cardamom, chocolate & pear pudding

Cardamom, Chocolate & Pear Pudding
Cardamom, Chocolate & Pear Pudding
Cardamom, Chocolate & Pear Pudding

Okay so I know it’s Januaray and you’re all busy doing the duck walk with that idiot Bee Gees lookalike Joe Wicks, but it’s cold and I need something warm and chocolatey. What could be better than cardamom spiced pears baked in chocolate cake? Exactly, literally nothing. So stop chomping on kale for 5 minutes and lets scoff this pear pudding. You’ve been good for almost 2 weeks now, it’s time for some oozy chocolatey goodness – you deserve it.


Cardamom, Chocolate & Pear Pudding
As featured in Families First Magazine
Serves 6 / Hands on time 30 mins / Total time 1 hr / V
You’ll need: A pestle and mortar, 8×6 inch deep oven dish
130g golden caster sugar
130g plain flour
25g Green & Black’s Organic Cocoa Powder
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp bicarbonate soda
Pinch of salt
10 pods of cardamon, shells discarded and ground
150g unsalted butter, melted
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
50g Green & Black’s Organic 70% Dark Chocolate 
2 cans pear halves in juice, drained (415g)
Crème fraîche to serve


Method
1. Pre-heat an oven to 190°C/170°C fan/375°F/gas mark 5. Butter an oven dish and drain the pears. Line the dish with the pears facing up and put to one side.
2. Carefully bash your cardamom pods in the pastel and mortar, discard the shells and grind until you have a powder.
3. Put the butter in a small saucepan over a low heat and melt with the powdered cardamom.
4. Meanwhile combine all the dry ingredients together in a bowl and give it a bit of a mix. Add the melted butter with the cardamom and combine well with a wooden spoon. Beat in the eggs until you have a gooey chocolate mixture.
5. Pour over the pears and distribute the mixture evenly (the mixture will be quite gooey so use a spoon to spread it to the edges).
6. Break up the dark chocolate and submerge the pieces into the batter evenly and bake for 30-35 minutes. Serve immediately with a dollop of creme fraiche.

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If you’ve had a go at making any of my recipes, I’d love to hear from you. Follow me now @corrieheale and tag your recipe pictures using #corriesrabbitfood.


V– Vegetarian


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Cheats puff pastry churros

Sam's Cheaty Churros
Sam’s Cheaty Churros

Okay so I was supposed to make Thai green curry but the curry I made turned into watery green slop so Jamie and I ate that – you can have churros.
Have you ever actually tried to make your own doughnuts? Of course you haven’t – that would be mental. So when my friend Sam said she was making churros for dessert, I simply assumed she was mentally ill. Turns out I’d misdiagnosed her. She’s was actually a beautiful genius armed with a packet of shop-bought puff pastry. I watched in bewilderment as she lazily cut, twisted and positioned the pastry onto a baking tray… That was it! No deep frying, no piping bags, nothing! Okay so maybe we can’t really call them churros but covered in melted butter and rolled in cinnamon sugar, they taste pretty darn close. So bang out a batch of these beauties for your next swanky soirée or eat them alone in bed watching extreme angler Jeremy Wade catch river monsters… What?


Cheats puff pastry churros
Makes 12-16 / Hands on time 30 mins / Total time 40 mins / V
160g ready rolled puff pastry
50g butter, melted
2 tbs caster sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
Chocolate Sauce
100g Green & Black’s Organic 70% Dark Chocolate, broken into pieces
150g double cream
Pinch of sea salt


Method
1. Preheat an oven to 200°C/180°C fan/400°F/gas mark 6. Line a couple of baking trays with baking paper and put to one side.
2. Roll out the pastry and cut into strips and then cut the strips in half. One at a time give them a twist and place evenly on the baking trays a finger apart.
3. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Meanwhile, melt the butter over a low heat in a small saucepan and transfer to a small bowl. In another small bowl, mix together the sugar and the cinnamon ready for dusting later.
5. Once the churros are golden brown, transfer to a couple of large plates. Brush them with melted butter and dust with plenty of cinnamon sugar.
6. To make the chocolate sauce heat the cream in a medium sized saucepan. Once simmering, take off the heat and leave to stand for a few minutes to cool slightly. Whisk in the chocolate pieces and a pinch of salt until you have a silky smooth chocolate sauce. Pour into a dipping bowl and serve.

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If you’ve had a go at making any of my recipes, I’d love to hear from you. Follow me now @corrieheale and tag your recipe pictures using #corriesrabbitfood.


V– Vegetarian


Apricot & chocolate granola

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Most of you may know that granola isn’t exactly the slimmers breakfast but for those of you that didn’t and have been happily chomping on it for years, then I’m surprised you have any teeth left. I’m by no means anti-sugar, it makes things taste great but the amount of sugar in most shop-bought granola is ridiculous. You might as well have a bowl of Crunchy Nut Cornflakes with a dollop of double cream like my dad used to do.
‘But it’s only 120 calories per serving’… If you have the recommended portion size which is basically the size of a teaspoon.
‘But it’s full of nuts and seeds so it must be low fat right?”… Healthy is not the same as low fat.

So anyway, I couldn’t find a low sugar granola that didn’t taste like bird food, so I had to come up with my own. I’ve added a bit of chocolate powder to give the illusion of indulgence but it’s only sweetened by four spoonfuls of honey and dried fruit.


Apricot and chocolate granola
Makes 6 portions / Hands on time 20 mins / Total time 50 mins / V
You’ll need: 2 baking trays, baking paper
4 handfuls rolled oats
2 handfuls mixed seeds
1 handful walnuts, roughly chopped
1 handful pecans, roughly chopped
1 handful desiccated coconut
3 tsp Green and Black’s Organic cocoa
¼ tsp sea salt flakes
4 tbs honey
2 handfuls dried apricots, roughly chopped
1 handful raisins
Greek yogurt or milk to serve (optional)
Lemon zest and blackberries to serve (optional)


Method
1. Preheat oven to 160°C/140°C fan/325°F/gas mark 3. Line a couple of baking trays with baking paper and put to one side.
2. Combine the oats, seeds, nuts, coconut, cocoa and salt in a large bowl before heating the honey in a small saucepan, over a low heat until warm and runny
3. Mix the the warm honey into the dry mixture with a wooden spoon. Spoon out evenly onto the baking trays and spread evenly and as thinly as you can.
4. Bake in the oven for 5 mins before removing and turning with a spatular. Continue to bake for a further 15 mins but removing and turning every 5 mins (granola burns easily, so it’s important to keep turning it).
5. Remove from the oven and evenly sprinkle over the apricots and raisins. Return to the oven for 5 mins before removing and turning. Continue to cook for a further 5 minutes.
6. Leave to cool on the baking trays before serving with milk, yogurt and a grating of lemon zest (optional). Store in a glass jars or an airtight container. Consume within a month.



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If you’ve had a go at making any of my recipes, I’d love to hear from you. Follow me now @corrieheale and tag your recipe pictures using #corriesrabbitfood.


V – Vegetarian


 

Jamie’s chocolate nutty bites

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Sorry I’ve been a little neglectful food chums, I’ve been on holiday… Okay so I haven’t been on holiday but I’ve been extremely busy sunning myself in pub beer gardens with my boyfriend. Yes I now have a boyfriend, and yes he is real, and yes he is called Jamie, and yes he plays the harmonica. Now enough with your incessant questions!

Anyway, now the weather’s decided to be a bum-hole, I thought I’d cheer us all up with something lovely and chocolatey – like these chocolate bites Jamie made me a few weeks ago. I loved them so much, I decided to try and pass them off as my own at my friend Rosie’s baby shower. Good job I did, as without them I would have turned up completely empty handed. I know this sounds stupid but I didn’t know you were supposed to bring gifts to a baby shower. I’ve seen enough American TV to know better but thankfully I was able to hide behind the chocolate until I could redeem myself with a trip to Kath Kidson the following week. Phew!


Jamie’s chocolate nutty bites
Makes 1 slab / Hands on time 20 mins/ Total time 20 mins + 2 hours to chill / V Gf
You’ll need: Electric Hand whisk, 18-20cm round flan or cake tin
300g Green & Black’s Organic 70% Dark Chocolate 
3 egg whites
3 tbs runny honey
200g ground almonds
50g hazelnuts
100g walnuts
200g icing sugar


Method
1. Line a flan or cake tin with cling film. Melt the dark chocolate in a large heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water.
2. In medium bowl, separate the whites and discard the yolks and whisk with an electric whisk for 2 mins – you just want to break them up rather than whisk them to a peak. Add the honey and whisk once more to incorporate.
3. Fold in the ground almonds with a large metal spoon and mix to a paste. Fold in the nuts,  stir in the icing sugar before very gently folding in the melted chocolate.
4. Pour the mixture into the tin, fold the cling film over the mixture and press everything down until smooth. Refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hrs.
5. Remove the clingfilm and slice into bite sized chunks. Sprinkle with icing sugar and serve with a cup of tea. 
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If you’ve had a go at making any of my recipes, I’d love to hear from you. Follow me now @corrieheale and tag your recipe pictures using #corriesrabbitfood.

 


V– Vegetarian    GfGreen & Black’s Organic 70% dark chocolate is gluten free but some other brands may not be. Always check the label.