One of life’s top indulgences must surely be the smooth unique flavour of chocolate and chocolate recipes are certainly a top favourite with all chocoholics. Chocolate is made from the seeds of the tropical cacao tree, Theobroma cacao which was named by the 17th century Swedish naturalist, Linnaeus. The Greek term theobroma means literally “food of the gods”. Cacao beans were used by the Aztecs to prepare a hot, frothy beverage with stimulant and restorative properties, chocolate itself was reserved for warriors, nobility and priests. A recent study showed that chocoholics lived longer than abstainers, possibly due to the high polyphenol levels in chocolate, and 50% of women reportedly claim to prefer chocolate to sex!

Here are some great ideas for cooking with chocolate and totally indulging yourself and your family. Forget about the diet and enjoy the unique ambrosial flavour of chocolate! You will notice that many of these recipes are in imperial measurements; this because we have used a high proportion of old tried and tested traditional recipes that are best left in their original quantity format that we know works.

CHOCOLATE SURPRISE POTS

6 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons sugar
2 cups whipping cream
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder or coffee powder

Preheat oven to 325°F. Place six small soufflé dishes in a roasting pan. Combine chopped semisweet chocolate and instant espresso powder with the whipping cream, in a stout saucepan. Bring almost to boil over medium heat, whisking until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth. Next whisk egg yolks and sugar together in large bowl to blend and then gradually whisk in hot cream mixture.

Divide custard equally between dishes. Pour enough hot water into pan to come halfway up sides of dishes. Bake custards until they are just set around edges but still soft in centre, approx 25 minutes. Remove dishes from water and refrigerate uncovered until cold. This will take at least 2 hours. Spoon whipped cream on top of custards and decorate with Terry’s Chocolate Orange segments.

CHOCOLATE BANANA PIE

100g bar of plain chocolate
6 oz butter
8 oz Rich Tea biscuits
2 ripe bananas
1 tsp lemon juice
2 oz caster sugar
2 large eggs
1½ ozs self raising flour
½ tsp vanilla essence
200ml Creme Fraiche

For topping and decoration:

100g bar of chocolate
½ pint double cream
1 banana
Lemon juice

Melt the chocolate with the butter, stirring in crushed biscuits at the same time. Press crust into a 9 inch tin. Bake at 350°F for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, beat cheese until smooth, then beat in squashed bananas, flour, vanilla essence, sugar, eggs and lemon juice until mixture is smooth and thick. Pour this filling onto crust and bake for a further 30-35 minutes until firm. Leave to cool. To make the toppingslowly melt the chocolate in the cream then cool it slightly before pouring over the pie. Chill until required then decorate with banana slices dipped in lemon juice. This delicious recipe serves 8-10 people.

RICH CHOCOLATE FUDGE CAKE

8 oz flour
2 oz cocoa powder
1½ tsp baking powder
3½ oz butter
7 oz caster sugar
3 eggs separated
¼ pt milk
Almond essence

Chocolate fudge filling:

1½ oz butter
1 lb caster sugar
3 oz plain drinking chocolate
¼ pt cream
4 tsp vanilla essence

Use a 8” x 12” greased shallow baking tin and pre-heat oven to 350F. Sieve flour, cocoa and baking powder into a bowl. In separate bowl beat sugar until creamy and then beat in firstly sugar, and then egg yolks. Stir in the flour mix, alternately with the milk, a little at a time. Then add the almond essence. Beat egg whites until stiff and fold them into the mixture. Put mixture into tin and bake for about 50 minutes – 1 hour. Transfer to wire rack to cool.

To make chocolate fudge filling:

Put all the ingredients, except vanilla essence, into pan over a low heat and stir gently until melted. Bring to the boil and continue boiling until mixture thickens. Add vanilla essence and beat to a smooth thick mixture. Leave to cool before spreading on cake.

CHOCOLATE SPONGE FINGERS

3 oz flour
2 tsp cocoa powder
3 eggs
4 oz sugar
3 oz butter – melted

Use a 8” x 9” flat tin lined with baking parchment and pre-heat oven 375F/Mk5. Sieve flour and cocoa into a bowl. Whisk together eggs and sugar in basin set over boiling water, whisking continuously for 10-15 minutes. Stir in melted butter, and gently fold-in the flour and cocoa. When mixture is smooth and thoroughly combined spread evenly in tin. Cook for 30 minutes. Turn out onto wire rack to cool. Cut into individual fingers and decorate with piped cream and grated chocolate. 

CHOCOLATE LOVERS CAKE

6 oz flour
6 oz caster sugar
5 oz butter
1½ oz cocoa powder
pinch of salt
3 eggs – separated
Vanilla essence

For chocolate icing:

2 oz best quality plain chocolate, chopped
2 tbsp milk & water mixed
4 oz icing sugar
Vanilla essence

Use a 6” round Tin – greased & floured and pre-heat oven 375F. Beat butter until creamy and beat in sugar and then egg yolks. Fold in the sieved flour, cocoa powder & salt. Whip eggs whites until stiff and gently fold into the mixture, adding a few drops of vanilla essence. Spoon mixture into cake tin and bake for about 1hr 20mins until cooked. Allow to cool slightly, turn out onto wire rack. When cold decorate using chocolate icing.

To make chocolate icing: 

Put chocolate, milk & water in basin over a pan of very hot water, do not let the basin touch the water. When completely melted stir in the icing sugar and essence. Beat thoroughly until smooth and creamy.

CHOCOLATE MERINGUES

2 oz caster sugar
½ oz cocoa powder – sieved
2 egg whites
2oz granulated sugar

Use a baking sheet lined with baking parchment and pre-heat oven 150F. Whisk egg whites until stiff and gently whisk-in the sugar, a little at a time to retain the stiffness. Fold in the cocoa powder with a metal spoon.  Spoon 2 dessertspoons of mixture per meringue onto baking sheet, allowing space between for them to spread. Cook in oven for 1-2 hrs until dry and firm. Turn-off the oven but leave the meringues to go completely cold before removing them gently. Sandwich together with whipped double cream.

CHOCOLATE SHORTBREAD

8 oz flour
1 ½ oz cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
5 oz butter
4 oz caster sugar
1 egg yolk

Use a 9” x 6” buttered shallow tin and pre-heat oven 350F. Sieve together flour, cocoa and salt – rub the butter into the flour. Stir in the sugar and enough egg yolk to bind. Spread mixture into tin and flatten out. Bake for an hour, remove from oven and score with a knife into segments. Leave in the tin to go cold.

CHOCOLATE & GINGER BISCUITS

4 oz flour
1 tbsp cocoa powder
¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp ground ginger
2oz butter
1 ½ tbsp golden syrup
2 oz sugar

Use a greased baking tray and pre-heat oven 325F. Sieve flour, cocoa, bicarbonate of soda, and ground ginger. Gently melt together butter and syrup in saucepan, stirring until combined but do not allow to get hot. Add sugar and when dissolved beat in the dry ingredients. Allow to go cold and then roll out the mixture onto a floured board until approximately ¼” thick. Using 2” cutter shape biscuits and place on baking tray. Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown and cooked. Cool on wire rack.

WALNUT & CHOCOLATE FUDGE

1lb granulated sugar
½ pt unsweetened evaporated milk
1 oz plain drinking chocolate
1 oz butter
2 tbsp cocoa powder
3 oz chopped walnuts

Use a 10” x 7” well buttered tin and put all the ingredients, except walnuts, into a heavy saucepan. Heat slowly to 238F, or when mixture is dropped into cold water it forms a soft ball when rolled. Stir in walnuts and beat until thick and creamy. Spread evenly in tin and put in fridge to cool. Cut into small squares and store in airtight tin.

CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES

¼ lb best quality plain chocolate
2 oz icing sugar
1½ tbsp unsweetened evaporated milk
½ tsp vanilla essence
Desiccated coconut
Cocoa powder

Use a tray lined with baking parchment and melt chocolate in basin which is standing over pan of hot water, do not allow basin to touch water. Stir in icing sugar, evaporated milk and vanilla essence until blended thoroughly. Allow to cool and thicken a little before moulding into small balls. Roll each ball in either coconut or cocoa powder – and place on tray. Cover and place in fridge. Eat within 3 days.

HAWAIIAN KISSES

2½ oz cocoa powder
1 lb icing sugar
½ tsp of Malibu
2oz desiccated coconut
3 tbsp unsweetened evaporated milk
1 egg white stiffly beaten

Use a tray lined with baking parchment and sieve together cocoa, sugar, Malibu and coconut, and stir in evaporated milk. Fold the egg white into the mixture. Dust hands with icing sugar and using a teaspoon of the mixture per ball, roll and place them on tray. Leave in warm place for several hours to dry out and firm-up.

CHOCOLATE & JAM TARTS

4oz shortcrust pastry
Apricot or raspberry jam
2 oz butter
2 oz sugar
1 egg separated – white whisked stiffly
2 tsp cocoa powder
2oz ground rice
Vanilla essence
1 tbsp milk

Use deep patty tins – well greased and pre-heat oven 400F. Line patty tins with pastry and spread a teaspoon of jam in each. Beat butter and sugar until creamy and then beat in the egg yolk, fold-in cocoa and ground rice, and add a few drops of vanilla essence. Fold in whisked egg white and add a little milk to just slightly soften the mixture to a dropping consistency.  Put 2 teaspoons of mix in each tart. Bake for approximately 15 minutes until lightly browned and cooked. Turn onto wire rack to cool completely.

CHOCOLATE VIENNA PUDDING

5 oz bread –crusts removed & diced
3 oz caster sugar
2 ½ fl oz water
½ pt hot milk
2dsp plain drinking chocolate
2 beaten eggs
2 oz candied peel
3 oz sultanas
2 oz glace cherries – halved
½ lemon – juice & grated rind
wine glass of medium sherry
2 tbsp single cream

For chocolate sauce:

½ pt milk
1 tsp plain drinking chocolate
1 large egg
2 tsp sugar

Use a 6” pudding basin well-buttered. Dissolve sugar in water over low heat and cook until it is light and golden, stir in hot milk and then chocolate. Pour in beaten eggs and whisk for a few minutes. Add bread, peel, fruit and lemon rind, mixing well before adding the lemon juice, sherry and cream. Cover basin with foil and steam for 2 hours. Serve with chocolate sauce.

To make chocolate sauce: 

Beat egg and sugar in basin. Heat milk in pan, sprinkle in the chocolate and stir until dissolved, bring almost to the boil. Pour onto the beaten egg mix, whisking continuously for a few minutes. Pour into large jug and stand it in a pan of boiling water until the custard thickens.

CHOCOLATE CABINET PUDDING

Cake crumbs
1 oz glace cherries – halved
2 oz sultanas
1 oz sugar
Grated rind of ½ lemon
½ pint milk
2 tsps plain drinking chocolate
2 beaten eggs

Use a 5” pudding basin, well buttered. Put a few glace cherries in bottom of pudding basin. In a mixing bowl crush sufficient cake crumbs to ¾ fill pudding basin. Mix crumbs with remaining cherries, sultanas, sugar and lemon rind. Heat milk in saucepan and stir in chocolate powder, when hot, but not boiling, pour onto the beaten eggs. Whisk for a minute then pour milk onto the crumb mix and stir well. Put mix into pudding basin, cover and seal with kitchen foil and steam for about 1hr 10mins. Turn out and serve with custard or cream.