15 Ways to Satisfy a Chocolate Craving in 15 Minutes
Life would be no fun without chocolate. Here’s how to get your fix, quick.
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Recently, I heard a rumor that has me shook: Apparently, not everyone eats chocolate every day. I find it hard to believe, but it seems there are people who don’t consider the smooth, sweet-but-bitter indulgence a food group.
I am not among them.
Every single one of my birthday cakes — and there have been, ahem, a lot of them — has had chocolate in it. Even while I was in the process of losing 100 pounds, I ate a small amount every day. I’d shave one ounce off a bar of really good, really expensive 70% dark, and focus on my enjoyment as the shards melted on my tongue. These days I’m less rigid about it, but still, I don’t think I’ve gone 24 hours without chocolate for decades.
My cupboards always contain chocolate chips, chocolate bars, chocolate syrup, and cocoa powder. One never knows when the urge to bake will strike. But lately, I’ve been less likely to spend hours (or even a single hour) whipping up a treat. Instead, when a craving comes on I go for quick hits, recipes that can get chocolatey goodness into my mouth in a jiff.
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Why am I craving chocolate?
It might surprise you to learn a chocolate craving can be driven by specific things going on inside your body:
If your blood sugar is low, your body may signal for some chocolate — your sweet tooth may have a physiological trigger.
Chocolate has a moderate amount of caffeine, so you may just be tired.
Research has shown that chocolate can give your brain a boost via neurotransmitter systems including dopamine and serotonin, which means it may help your mood.
There’s some evidence that a magnesium deficiency may be driving the urge. In chocolate, magnesium levels vary depending on the cacao content. One ounce of 70-85% dark will give you almost 65 mg magnesium, which is about 20% of the recommended daily allowance for women, 15% for men. Experts don’t agree about this idea, though, since we don’t tend to crave other foods high in magnesium, like pumpkin seeds or almonds.
Choose carefully when the need for chocolate strikes. We’re not talking about a regular ol’ candy bar here — scientists don’t typically include Hershey’s milk chocolate bars on their recommended list. In general, research into the health benefits of chocolate focuses on dark chocolate, with cacao percentages well over 50%. Meanwhile, the FDA says milk chocolate can have as little as 10% cacao. And white chocolate contains a whopping 0%; it’s got cocoa butter, which does have nutrients, but none that offer these potential benefits.
On the other hand, sometimes you just want a candy bar. Ain’t nothing wrong with that.
What does a chocolate craving mean?
Obviously, it means you should eat some chocolate.
What to eat when craving chocolate
If you’re like me, just reading about chocolate can trigger a craving. Not to worry: Here are 15 recipes that’ll satisfy that urge — in less than 15 minutes.
Quick chocolate cookies, bars, and cakes
My food cravings often have a textural aspect. Some days I want something with a little heft, like baked goods, but without devoting more than a quarter-hour to making them.
Made with ground pecans instead of flour, this gorgeous creation only spends nine minutes in the oven — and it uses both cocoa powder and dark chocolate chips, for ultimate chocolateyness (yes, I made up a word). As far as I can tell, the only problem is that I’m likely to eat the whole thing myself.
Who has time to wait for an oven to preheat before you can eat chocolatey cookies? Not me, if my sweet tooth is calling. That’s when I make these easy treats. Just seven ingredients — butter, sugar, cocoa powder, milk, nut butter, vanilla extract, and rolled oats — get mixed together and dropped onto parchment paper. Give them a few minutes to set, and you’re good to go.
When you can’t wait even 15 minutes, your microwave oven comes to the rescue. To make this single-serve sweet treat, small amounts of the usual cake ingredients go into a microwave-safe mug, then spend a minute or two getting nuked. What comes out is perfectly satisfying.
My mom never made Rice Krispies Treats when I was growing up, and I didn’t taste my first Scotcharoo until I was in my thirties. How deprived I was! These peanut butter crispy bars, topped with a layer of melted butterscotch and chocolate chips, hit all my favorite flavor notes.
When I realized the famous, fancy restaurant dessert is this easy, I practically wept. To achieve that lava sensation, you underbake the cakes slightly — so when you crack one open with a spoon, the molten chocolate center comes gushing out. If you’re lucky enough to have vanilla ice cream lying around, I highly recommend topping each little cake with a scoop before serving.
Easy chocolate snacks
When my chocolate craving leans more towards munchies, one of these recipes does the trick.
I don’t think there’s an American alive who’s never snuck a spoonful of chocolate chip cookie dough from the bowl. When we were kids, we didn’t know from bacteria risks, so raw eggs and flour were just fine. Now, not so much. This recipe takes care of that by baking just the flour, briefly, and skipping the eggs entirely. Imagine: A whole bowl of cookie dough, just for you.
Carnation evaporated milk gave this recipe to the world eons ago, and it still gets passed around for one reason: It yields a trayful of creamy fudge in no time. You will have to wait a little while for it to firm up, but I won’t tell if you swipe a fingerful to satisfy your yen for chocolate immediately.
Think of this as Chex mix for chocolate lovers. To make it, melt your favorite type of chocolate (the recipe creator recommends a milk chocolate/semisweet chocolate combo) with peanut butter and butter, then pour over cereal, and mix. Toss with powdered sugar and eat it by the handful.
My husband likes to reminisce about his grandmother’s cannoli, and how she would deep-fry the shells, then pipe them to order with a sugary, creamy, cheesy filling. I love my husband, but I don’t have time to do all that. Scooped up with pieces of broken-up waffle cones, this dip provides similar flavors for 10 minutes of work.
I’ll be honest: I have been known to attack a jar of Nutella with a spoon. But we don’t always have that Italian classic on-hand, right? No biggie, when it’s this easy to make your own. All you need is a food processor, hazelnuts, dark chocolate chips, and sweetened condensed milk.
Healthy ways to satisfy a chocolate craving, fast
As you probably guessed, I’m a major chocoholic. But I’m also a person who opts for healthy eating more often than not. Luckily, dark chocolate and cocoa powder are rich in antioxidants, and have proven health benefits — the higher the cacao percentage, the more you reap. In addition to better-for-you types of chocolate, these quick recipes swap fat and sugar for ingredients with actual nutrients.
Eating chocolate can give your energy levels a boost — maybe not as much as a cup of coffee, but in the middle of the afternoon I don’t want that much caffeine. Soft, chewy bites made from dark chocolate chips, Medjool dates, almond butter, oats (good-for-you whole grains!), and mint extract provide the perfect energy boost.
No-bake granola bars are ready to eat in just a few minutes, if you pop them into the fridge or freezer to help them set. To make them, combine nut butter, honey, coconut oil, and rolled oats and spread in a baking dish. Press pecan pieces and chocolate chips into the top, chill, cut, and eat.
Smoothies are among my favorite ways to feel like I’m enjoying something decadent that’s actually good for me. This treat may be billed as a milkshake, but it’s definitely a smoothie. Frozen banana, milk, cacao powder (or cocoa powder), peanut butter, and vanilla go into the blender. Out comes a thick, frosty, chocolatey drink you could even have for breakfast.
Avocados are full of heart-healthy fats, which is why they’re such a spectacular substitute for the saturated fat-laden heavy cream and eggs usually found in chocolate mousse. Plus they add fiber, minerals like niacin and magnesium, and vitamins C, E, K, and B6. All that, and you get to eat a deliciously creamy, chocolatey treat in just a few minutes.
I consider frozen bananas my secret weapon. When I’m aching for a bowl of chocolate ice cream, I pull out a few and pop them into the food processor with cocoa powder, chocolate protein powder, and almond milk. It makes a luscious, dairy-free confection that used to fool my kid, with enough protein to consider it a mini-meal. And thanks to bananas’ natural sweetness, there’s no need for added sugar.
Never too much chocolate
If you're in the "chocolate as food group" camp, you definitely need additional options.