Every day might be chocolate day in your house (because what else are you meant to do at 11am, other than reach for the chocolate bar stash?) but today, it is also World Chocolate Day.
In honour of such a delicious occasion, and to mix things up (go on, treat yourself, don’t just eat another Crunchie), here are a few chocolate challenges to consider indulging in…
1. Make perfect chocolate chip cookies
Everyone needs a swift and reliable chocolate chip cookie recipe in their repertoire. The cookies must be crisp, gooey, moreish and filled with big chunks of chocolate. Find your ultimate recipe and fill your freezer with individual balls of cookie dough, so anytime you get a craving, you need just switch on the oven and chuck one in.
2. Create a Matilda-worthy chocolate cake
It may have been a punishment administered by Miss Trunchbull in Roald Dahl's Matilda, but who wouldn’t want a slice of the chocolate cake Bruce Bogtrotter is forced to eat? That is one serious chocolate cake.
Looking for inspiration? Get the recipe for Rachel Allan's chocolate coconut cake here.
3. Nail a chocolate fondant
The bane of almost every single MasterChef contestant ever, chocolate fondants are tricky beasts to master. Cook for too long, and they’ll harden into a dry cake even ice cream can’t improve; cook for too little, and they’ll remain a raw chocolatey liquid. They must ooze!
4. Try a weird flavour
Turn to the internet for a myriad of weird and wonderful flavours. You can pep things up a little (dark chocolate with sea salt or chilli), a medium amount (green tea flavoured chocolate), or a lot – think wasabi, tobacco, ketchup and curry. Yes, really.
5. Attempt to temper it
Do you have a large kitchen work surface, a kitchen thermometer and quite a bit of patience? If so, tempering chocolate might just be within your reach. Essentially, it’s when you heat and cool chocolate to stabilise it, so it’s glossy and shiny when making confectionery. First person to temper a chocolate cigarillo wins.
6. Use chocolate in savoury stuff
Not got a sweet tooth? You can – like Juliette Binoche’s character in the film Chocolat – use chocolate in savoury dishes, too. Start with a Mexican chicken mole. Chocolate is added to the sauce for spice, smokiness and depth of flavour.
7. Whip up a batch of truffles
Truffles always come up as a suggestion when looking for the perfect homemade gift, but maybe we’d quite like to make a tray of them, and eat them all ourselves?
8. Have an argument over whether chocolate should go in the fridge or not
The most contentious of all chocolate-related questions – but surely, chocolate biscuits and snack bars in the cupboard, and slabs in the fridge? Right?!