Food hacks seem to be everywhere these days. On food shows and in my social media feeds with captions like “55 food hacks that will change your life”, or “39 food hacks that will change the way you cook”. I’ve never understood why I would need so many but captions sell right?!
Hacks like the walking taco, invented by Frito Lay is simply tacos in a bag. Another popular hack is spray your measuring cup with oil before adding molasses or honey. Yes it’s a food hack! You’ve probably even heard them called something other than food hacks leading us to ask: what really is a food hack?
According to Food52.com, food hacks spawned from “life hacks”. They go on to say good hacks should: solve (or purport to solve) a tangible problem, to make the task at hand either possible or easier. Hacks are creative for the purpose of utility and resourcefulness. Hacks don’t promise to transform your state of being; they promise to make a fix in the moment.
For example if you don’t have a steamer but you need to steam broccoli, using a fine-mesh sieve as a makeshift basket over a pot of simmering water is a hack. Replacing lye with baked baking soda is also a hack.
So one would assume replacing cocoa powder with hot chocolate powder would also be a hack wink wink?
One day last year while making Nanaimo bars, you know the Canadian dream bar named after a small town on Vancouver Island, I forgot to check my pantry for all the ingredients. Sure enough I was completely out of cocoa powder, not one container in sight (I now have three).
What I did have on hand was several varieties of hot chocolate; in bags, jars and containers. Hot chocolate powder has cocoa powder in it, and a few other things like sugar, so I opted to sub hot chocolate for cocoa powder in my Nanaimo bar recipe and BAM it was a hit. Well more than a hit, it was awesome!
Fast forward to this past weekend. Thanks to Christmas and a cold long winter, I once again have several variations of hot chocolate in my pantry. The kids wanted waffles, I wanted to chocolate so even though I have three containers of cocoa powder, I opted for the hot chocolate powder again. Subbed it in again and another success story.
The kids poured maple syrup, chocolate syrup, whipping cream and powdered sugar on these bad boys. Spring Break Food.
Food Hack: Use hot chocolate in place of cocoa powder for all the things. Or at least two.
Back to Food52.com again. They advise (and I completely agree): let’s all agree to stop calling hacks “life-changing.” In order to change your life, you’ll likely need a lot more than a hack.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup hot chocolate powder
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 3 eggs, separated
- ⅓ cup oil
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 6 ounces of semi sweet chocolate, rough chopped
- Nonstick spray oil
- Equipment needed: waffle maker
- Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Set aside.
- Turn waffler maker on to preheat.
- In a large bowl whisk together flour, hot chocolate powder, baking powder, baking soda, brown sugar and salt.
- In a second bowl add buttermilk, egg yolks, oil and vanilla. Do not mix. Pour wet ingredients into into dry mixture along with chopped chocolate and mix until combined (do not over mix).
- Carefully fold egg whites into batter in two batches.
- When waffle maker is ready coat with spray oil. This is important otherwise your waffles will stick (talking from experience).
- Using a ½ cup measuring scoop add your batter to waffle maker and cook until ready. Transfer to a dish and keep warm in oven until all waffles made and ready to eat.
- Serve with maple syrup, icing sugar, chocolate syrup and fresh berries.