Are you a chocoholic?

No, really, are you a true chocoholic?  If you are a true chocoholic then you know what I’m talking about.  You can’t have chocolate, of any sort, anywhere in your home or it will be gone.

I can’t go to my favorite store, London Drugs, without checking out the confectionary isle.  I delude myself by saying that I will just check to see if there are any, not-to-be-missed bargains.  There are always  not-to-be-missed bargains. One sale that can be counted on is a package deal of chocolate bars – usually 3 for $2.00.

I reason that if I buy the three then that will be a three-day treat.  Even though the little voice inside my head always scoffs, ‘who are you fooling?’ — I will not be dissuaded.  I drown out the annoying, niggling voice with my pat response, “It’s the best bang for my buck.  What a waste of money to buy one bar for $1.00 when I can get 3 for $2.00.  Waste not, want not.”

When I get home I have my nutritious, calorie, conscious dinner. I may walk for an hour after dinner to try to round out my daily exercise goal of 10,000 steps.

However, once I settle down for the evening, the cravings come a-calling.  I will devour the three bars like an alcoholic sucking the last drop of whiskey out of a seemingly, empty bottle.  I stop just short of licking the wrapping paper.

One of my favorite treats is Hershey Canada’s Bridge Mixture.  I have been indulging in this mixture of candies coated in milk and dark for eons.  It comes in a 300 gram bag for around $3.00.  I have made myself sick to my stomach more times than I can count by eating the whole bag in one sitting.  To add to a sick stomach I now suffer from insomnia brought on by a sensitivity to caffeine (I don’t drink coffee nor regular tea so on average get very little caffeine).

I have many women friends who are also chocoholics, as it is a malady suffered by far more women then men.  Not all people who say they are chocoholics truly are.  Sally and Sue are two of my closest friends.  They both claim to be addicted to chocolate.  One truly has the addiction, the other does not.

Sally can’t keep a bag of chocolate chips in the cupboard for when she wants to make Chocolate Chip cookies (a North American all time favorite — recipe to follow).    Sue, on the other hand, though she claims that she must have chocolate every day, will buy a Jersey bar and while she is having her nightly soak, will eat only one row of the bar.  The rest is neatly wrapped and tucked away in her hiding place for the next night.  She has to hide it as her husband is constantly seeking out her hiding places. A true chocoholic would not have to worry about her husband finding her chocolate stash – she doesn’t have one.

The good news is that not all chocolate is bad for you, especially dark chocolate (unfortunately my chocolate of choice is milk chocolate.)  For example, I recently read that Cocoa flavanols – phytonutrients, abundant in dark chocolate, may keep the brain alert by increasing blood flow.  Therefore, for a mental boost, sip a cup of dark-chocolate, hot cocoa containing at least 70% cocoa.

My advice is not to follow my lead but to indulge in moderation. Life is too short to deny yourself small pleasures.  If you crave a piece of chocolate then by all means yield to temptation; just don’t eat the whole bag.

Chocolate chip cookies


The History
Chocolate Chip Toll House cookies, not surprisingly, are one of my favorite treats.  Nothing is better than a fresh, out-of-the oven platter of chocolate chip cookies and a tall glass of ice-cold milk.  Talk about comfort food.  Dunk and enjoy!!

Chocolate chip cookies are loved on both sides of the 49th parallel.  However, score one for the Americans as the recipe is 100% U.S.

NOTE: It may be confusing to non-native, North Americans how the term Americans is used.  Years ago while traveling in France a Frenchman called me American.  I said, “No. I’m Canadian.”  Perplexed he replied, “But you live in North America”
Even though 23 countries are carved out of North America only the US citizens are called, Americans.

Here is a little bit of history about the Toll House Cookie for those interested in history.  If history makes your eyelids start to droop then scroll down, get out your mixing bowl, your wooden, mixing spoon and get ready to enjoy.

Around 1930 Kenneth and Ruth Wakefield operated a toll house between Boston and New Bedford, Massachusetts.  Passengers would pay their toll, change horses and enjoy Ruth’s home-cooked meals.

One day while making her butter, drop cookies Ruth broke a Hershey, semi-sweet bar into pieces and dropped it into the dough.  Instant success.  The cookies became famous.  Ruth approached Hershey and as a result the chocolate chip, as we know them today, was created and we enjoy Ruth’s Toll House cookies to this day.  Our hats off to you, Ruth.

How to Make a Truly Great Chocolate Chip Cookie
First, always use real butter.  Don’t let anyone convince you that butter vs margarine doesn’t make any difference.  It does.

Second, TRIPLE the amount of vanilla extract recommended.  For example, if the recipe calls for 1 teaspoon then use 1 tablespoon.  Also, always use real vanilla extract.

Third, don’t just let the butter sit out at room temperature to become soft.  Instead, melt it, very carefully, so that it doesn’t burn. (Use a double-boiler – if any one still has one – or a microwave oven that is set very low.)  Melted butter, because it is both warm and liquid, does a better job of dissolving and melting the sugar.  This improves the consistency of the dough and ultimately improves the texture of the cookie.

Fourth, add a little milk, maybe just a tablespoon or two, when you mix the dough.  This makes the dough less stiff and the cookie less hard and crunchy.

Finally, chill the dough (15 – 20 minutes ought to do it) before dropping it onto a room temperature cookie sheet. PERFECTION!

Original Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cooking time: 9 minutes
Prep.: 15 minutes
Cooking: 9 minutes
Yields: 60

•    2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
•    1 teaspoon baking soda
•    1 teaspoon salt
•    1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
•    3/4 cup granulated sugar
•    3/4 cup packed brown sugar
•    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
•    2 large eggs
•    2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) NESTL?® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
•    1 cup chopped nuts
PREHEAT oven to 375° F.

COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

BAKE for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

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