This taste treat belongs in the “food is love” category. It has nothing to do with the Atkins Diet or nutrition and everything to do with comfort food. I tend to make it late in the evening, when most normal people are done eating for the day. It is indulgent; it is decadent in a down home way; it is the perfect answer to a hormonal chocolate craving. It’s also easy to make. All measurements are inexact.

You’ll need

  • Bisquick ( I gotta say, if you follow this link you’ll see that this product is rather looked down upon on E2. Not as good as “from scratch” and all that. Purists who want to make a gooey chocolate treat from scratch are encouraged; but when you're craving something hot and doughy and chocolatey NOW, this will do the trick.)
  • skim milk or whatever kind of milk you prefer.
  • hot chocolate mix
  • chocolate chips, or broken up bits of a Hershey’s Special Dark bar, or any other chocolate you happen to have on hand.
  • an oven and a cupcake tin, and butter or some sort of non-stick spray for greasing the tin

Heat oven to 450.

The bisquick ratio of powder to milk is 3:1. Two cupfuls of dry mix should make plenty for two bingeing adults, which means you'll be using about 2/3 cup of milk. Dump the dry mix in a bowl and add enough hot cocoa mix to make it turn light brown, then add the milk. Stir in a handful or so of chocolate chips. This is actually one of those rare recipes where the finished product tastes better than the batter, so hold off on that urge to eat big spoonfuls of batter. We'll be there soon enough.

Grease/butter/spray the cupcake tin and fill each mold* about halfway with batter. Pop the tin in the oven.

Okay, that thing I said about the finished product being better than the batter? Well, gooey chocolate yum balls are officially ready to eat as soon as the chocolate chips begin to melt. A few minutes after you put the tin in the oven, check the progress of your gooey treats by ladling out a big spoonful. If the dough is hot or even just warm, and the chips have started to become molten, then it's ready to eat!

At this point, you and your loved ones can gather around the stove, each with her own spoon, and eat directly from the cupcake tin, or you, the host(ess), can serve the gooey chocolate yum balls in bowls.

I couldn't tell you how to go about storing this for later--we always eat it all, right away. If you allow the batter to keep baking, it turns into slightly dry chocolate, chocolate-chip muffins, and not very good ones at that. It is a far, far better thing to eat the gooey mess right away, while it is still hot and moist and scrumptious. Don't say I didn't warn you.

*What do you call the individual, cupcake sized depressions in the cupcake tin?

NinjaPenguin asks, "So the end product is liquid and not really a "ball" then?"

Good question.The end product is like a doughy pudding...not liquid, but definitely something to eat with a spoon. I call them balls because the muffin tin gives them structure, but the state of the dessert can be a matter of personal choice.The longer you cook it, the more solid it becomes.

The individual, cupcake sized depressions in the cupcake tin are called wells by signmoan, cupholes by oakling, and cups by jessicapierceand Cletus the Foetus. Thanks, guys!

A non-bake boozy version could contain:

A note on the uncharacteristic vagueness in the ingredients list:

When I was 8, I got given a kid's cookbook for my birthday. It contained many simplified recipes perfect for kids, and was heavy on non-cook versions that you could make by yourself without a grownup having to turn the oven on for you. As far as I can recall, every single one of my friends also had this book, and some of the recipes in it quickly became classics cum childhood memories and comfort food.

Of these, "chocolate balls", as they are known (Hebrew balls don't bear the same double meaning as English ones), are perhaps the most ubiquitous. They are what every little girl made for her own birthday party when she was allowed to help; what every mother brought to school when it was her turn to bake for Kabbalat Shabbat; what was shown in the cooking section of every Blue Peter-like program we ever watched.

This wild popularity is due to many things, mostly to do with convenience from the parents' point of view: they're single serving sized and non-messy, they re-use stale and leftover ingredients, they're made from chocolate which all kids love, and they're small and really easy for grownups to pilfer without being caught. All this congeniality has naturally led to such a wild proliferation of versions that today there simply isn't a single authoritative recipe of this tasty treat.

Of course, different people want different things from their chocolate balls. Some folks like them to be dry and crunchy, so they use the driest biscuits, chop them up roughly and reinforce them with coarsely chopped nuts. Some strange individuals like the balls to be as gooey as possible, to which end they use finely crumbed sponge cake, lots of rum, and the additional slimy, alcohol-soaked yumminess of raisins, dates, dried apricots etc. For myself, I am somewhere in the middle. What makes the chocolate ball perhaps the ultimate dessert snack is that it is a perfect marriage between chocolate and starch: a divinely chocolaty biscuit, or better yet, a reassuringly doughy chocolate truffle.

To this end, and in order to always achieve the perfect synthesis between moisture and substance, it would be impossible for me to give any indication of measurements for this recipe. I simply start with what I've got and add bits in as I think I need them, to tweak the wetness or dryness of the mixture this way or that. On one memorable occasion a series of slips of hand on my part led to the inclusion of old leftover wine, melted down chocolate chips and those nasty biscuits that lie at the back of the cupboard because no one will eat them; it was still heavenly.

To elaborate:

  • The base of the balls can be anything, from the simplest of wheat biscuits to some really nice but stale chocolate cake, right through digestives, Oreos, bits of leftover cheesecake crust and what not. My only recommendation would be not to use biscuits with jammy fillings, as the flavours are unlikely to work well together. Then again, YMMV.

  • The size to which you pulverise your biscuits, and the amount of other dry ingredients (such as nuts) you add also influences the final moisture levels of your mixture. This is important because, personal tastes aside, if it's too dry your balls will crumble and fall apart, not really deserving the name.

  • The type of alcohol you use is entirely up to you: in my time I've made chocolate balls with red wine, rum, brandy, chocolate liqueur, and other stuff I can't even remember - severally and in combination. As long as you don't use anything really potent in flavour like Blue Curacao, it should be OK.

The Money Shot, or How to Make the Damn Things After All:

  • About 2 packets dry buscuits such as Rich Tea
  • 1 packet Lindt or other very dark chocolate
  • About 50g (1 inch slice) of unsalted butter
  • A splash of cream or milk
  • .5 cup good brandy
  • 1 cup finely chopped walnuts or almonds
  • Cocoa powder - not drinking chocolate!
  • Dessicated coconut flakes
  • Paper cupcake cups

  1. Break the biscuits into pieces, then zap them in a food processor until they achieve the required thinness of grain. (Note: if you haven't got a food processor, double bag your biscuits in plastic bags, wrap in a kitchen towel and beat vigorously with a pin roller. Very therapeutic.) Mix well with the other dry ingredients - nuts, and raisins if using (yuck).

  2. In a Bain Marie, melt the chocolate slowly with the butter and cream or milk, stirring gently once in a while. Once it has achieved a unifromly liquid, sleek and shiny consistency, take off the heat and mix in the brandy.

  3. Pour the hot chocolate mixture over the crumbs. To give yourself some room for maneuver with the moistness issue here, either reserve some extra crumbs before had, or don't pour all the chocolate into the bowl at once. In any event, hedge your bets. Tip: occasionally the mixture can be dried out by adding a few tablespoons of cocoa powder, which will also increase the resulting chocolatiness.

  4. Mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon (don't be tempted to use your hands, it's hot). When the desired consistency is arrived at, leave to cool slightly.

  5. With the aid of a dessert spoon, take little amounts of the mixture and form them into balls by rolling them around in your palms like play dough. Needless to say, these can be whatever size you like. Bit of a treat, this part, as your hands will get pasted in chocolatey goodness, and you will lick it all of when you're done.

  6. Roll each one in either coconut flakes or cocoa powder then place in a little paper cup jobbie. Arrange attractively on a tray, alternating the two like on a chequerboard, and refrigerate, sitting impatiently on your hands and resisting the urge to sneak a preview bite, for at least two hours. Serve. Enjoy. Improve on it next time and let me know.

What you'll need:
  • (Reduced Fat) Hot Chocolate Powder
  • Semi-skimmed milk (or soya milk if you want)
  • A sweet tooth
Really, I'm not trying to kill you all with this recipe. It is super packed with sugary goodness though, so no matter how tempting it is don't eat all of them.
If you're feeling really concerned then you can use reduced fat hot chocolate powder to save your waste line just a little.

On a possibly British invention:
I have no idea if you can get what you need for this recipe anywhere other than in Britain. I really hope you can as it is vital to this recipe. Yes, it might come as a shock but in a two ingredient recipe it is important to get the correct ingredients.
So what is this Hot Chocolate Powder of which I speak? It isn't cocoa. It isn't Drinking Chocolate Powder (which is just cocoa and sugar mixed). It's something else. Something in large grains, which dissolves far more easily than cocoa. Don't ask my why or how they make it like that, it's just the wonders of modern science. What ever it is, you can tell it by getting a glass of milk and sprinkling some on the milk, if it dissolves straight away with no stirring then you have the right stuff. If it doesn't then head back to the shops and try again.

How to make your pancreas panic:
Slowly add milk to a large amount of the powder.
That's it.
It's that simple.
I usually add a couple of tablespoons at a time until I get something which has a similar consistency to playdough but looks more glossy.
Roll out into little balls about half an inch in diameter and you're done.

They are so nice and chocolately, but in the same way that milk chocolate is chocolately. They keep for ages as well when put in an airtight box, which is a good thing as these things are so dense that you wouldn't want to eat more than 2 or 3.

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