These biscuits are simply irresistible eaten while still warm, when the chocolate chunks are soft and melting. Macadamia nuts add a crunchy texture, but can be omitted if you prefer. Like the chocolate, the nuts should be in large pieces.
120 g reduced-salt margarine
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 egg, beaten
2/3 cup white self-raising flour
1/2 cup wholemeal plain flour
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
120 g good-quality dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids), roughly chopped
1/3 cup macadamia nuts, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons low-fat milk
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Preheat the oven to 190ºC. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper. Place the margarine, sugar and vanilla essence in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat well.
Sift the self-raising and plain flours, cocoa powder and baking powder over the creamed mixture, tipping in any bran left in the sieve, and stir to combine thoroughly. Add the chocolate, nuts and milk, and mix together.
Place tablespoonfuls of the mixture on the baking trays, arranging them well apart so they have space to spread during baking. Flatten slightly with the back of a fork, then bake for about 15 minutes or until soft and springy.
Leave the biscuits to cool slightly on the baking trays, then transfer to a wire rack. Serve them while still slightly warm or leave until cold. They can be kept in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Plain chocolate is a good source of copper and provides useful amounts of iron. The scientific name of the cocoa bean tree is Theobroma cacao, which means ‘food of the gods’. Casanova was reputed to drink hot chocolate before his nightly conquests – in fact, he was said to prefer chocolate to champagne.
*Use walnuts or pecan nuts instead of macadamia nuts. *For cherry and almond biscuits, use white plain flour instead of the cocoa powder, and substitute 60 g dried sour cherries and 60 g flaked almonds for the chocolate chunks and macadamia nuts. If you want a pronounced almond flavour, use 1/4 teaspoon almond essence instead of vanilla essence.