15 Surprisingly Delicious Ways to Use Chocolate Chips

iStock.com/bhofack2
iStock.com/bhofack2

We all know about the chocolate chip cookie—it’s been a bake sale standard since the 1940s. But there’s more you can do with chocolate chips than dump them in a bowl of plain batter and let them bake for 10 minutes or until crispy. On National Chocolate Chip Day (May 15th), show your appreciation for the tasty morsels in one of these creative ways.

1. Add chocolate chips to your chili.

No one said chocolate chips have to be relegated to dessert. There are chili recipes that call for semisweet chips mixed with beef, spices, vegetables, and Mexican beer.

2. Spread it on your face.

Some face masks call for liquefied dark chocolate—easy enough to make by melting down chocolate chips in the microwave—and are sometimes mixed with olive oil and/or egg yolk. Others involve blending the chocolate with different fruits like apples, bananas, and watermelon. Once the mask is ready, apply it for 15-20 minutes before washing it off with lukewarm water.

3. Sprinkle them over apples.

For a sweet alternative to nachos, you can cover apple slices with peanut butter, almond butter, Nutella, caramel, or your other favorite sweet spread, then sprinkle them with almonds, chocolate chips, and/or coconut. It’s an easy, delicious dessert.

4. Spell out words on cakes.

If frosting isn’t your thing but you still want to write “Congratulations!” on a cake, use mini chocolate chips to form the letters. Placing each one may be a bit time consuming, but the results will be appreciated.

5. Use it as body paint.

Don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it. Melt down chocolate chips then draw mustaches and beards on yourself and your friends. You’ll have the best selfies on the Internet. (Some recipes suggest adding a bit of alcohol.)

6. Make a natural hair treatment.

To make your hair extra silky, mix melted dark chocolate chips with water and apply it to your hair before showering. Rinse it off before you lather in the shampoo. For a fancier, fruitier version, mix melted dark chocolate chips, honey, and mashed banana. After letting it sit in your towel-wrapped hair for an hour, rinse it off and then wash your hair as you would normally.

7. Create a chocolate slide.

With enough melted chocolate chips, you can cover a giant tarp and make a super messy version of a water slide. It’ll need frequent refreshing, but on a hot enough day, you won’t have to worry about it cooling and getting crusty.

8. Include them in trail mix.

Any snack mix could benefit from the addition of a bit of chocolate chip sweetness. Add them to granola, dried fruit, and nuts and bag it to make an ideal on-the-go energy boost.

9. Kick your pudding pops up a notch.

Scoop a mix of cheesecake pudding, crushed wafer cookies, graham crackers, and chocolate chips into small paper bathroom cups. Then, stick a popsicle stick through the bottom and freeze until solid. Rip off the paper and enjoy!

10. Try chocolate kale cookies.

Kale and chocolate may not seem like an appetizing combination, but if the kale is hidden beneath the taste of cocoa powder, chocolate chips, sugar, vanilla, butter, and applesauce in thick cookie dough, even the kids won’t notice.

11. Blend into a smoothie.

Make a mouthwatering tropical smoothie with coconut milk, semisweet chocolate chips, yogurt, bananas, vanilla, and ice. All you have to do is throw them into the blender and let it spin until the texture’s to your liking.

12. Make matcha and white chocolate chip cookies.

Matcha (a powder derived from green tea leaves) meets its match in these white chocolate chip cookies. The batter is made from other easy to find ingredients like brown sugar, white sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, baking soda, flour, unsalted butter, and salt, and has a total prep time of about 25 minutes.

13. Fondue everything!

To be extra fancy, melt down chocolate chips and pour the liquid into a chocolate fountain. Once that’s good and flowing, dip strawberries, bananas, pretzels, graham crackers, pineapple, and marshmallows into the chocolate. Just make sure you have napkins at the ready—it gets very drippy.

14. Use them as eyes on a snowman.

Tiny snowmen (or women) need tiny eyes. When pieces of coal or buttons just won’t cut it, use chocolate chips to decorate your chilly creature. Be prepared to replace them frequently—chocolate doesn’t last long in the wild. (For a tastier version, make your snowmen out of cupcakes or cookies!)

15. Bake bacon and chocolate chip cookies.

If you’re looking to get more protein from your cookies, consider adding some candied bacon. Make the batter from flour, baking soda, butter, white and brown sugar, vanilla extract, egg, and semisweet chocolate chips. Add in the candied bacon and bake for around 15 minutes.

Fuel Your Cold Brew Obsession With This Elegant, Efficient Coffee Maker

Brrrewer
Brrrewer

The sun is scorching, the days are endless, and the gentle clinking of ice cubes in a glass of cold brew coffee sounds like chimes at the gates of heaven itself.

A beverage so divine deserves to be created by a machine to match, right? Meet Brrrewer, a coffee maker that will provide you with the smoothest, sweetest, richest cold brew coffee you’ve ever had—and it’ll do it in just four hours.

Brrrewer uses the cold drip method to brew coffee in which coffee grounds are suspended between two microfilter membranes. Water is poured over the top membrane, then slowly filters through the coffee grounds and drips out from the bottom membrane. The top membrane ensures that the water is evenly distributed among the coffee grounds, and the bottom membrane allows only the water-turned-coffee to fall into the carafe below, without any of the gritty residue. (That gritty residue is often a result of the full immersion method, which is popular among those with French presses; basically, you just steep your coffee grounds in cold water for 12 to 24 hours, strain out the grounds, and drink.)

The carafe is encased in a second layer of glass, providing thermal insulation and keeping your coffee cold for longer than a regular glass bottle or pitcher. And you can cross “coffee filters” off your shopping list—the microfilter membranes do that job already.

The Italy-based team at Essense designed Brrrewer with elegance and minimalism in mind, so it won’t throw off the aesthetic groove of your kitchen. In fact, it might enhance it. Also, it’s manufactured from a combination of borosilicate glass and BPA-free Tritan plastic; in other words, it’s extra-sturdy and environmentally friendly.

Mixologist Francesco Corona, five-time Italian “Coffee in Good Spirits” champion and world championship finalist, worked with Essense to develop special cocktail recipes for Brrrewer, which you can find in the paperback book, available on its own for $17 or with Brrrewer (the book and coffee maker combo is $78). Order Brrrewer by itself for $67 here, or see other purchase options from Kickstarter.

If four hours is more than you’re willing to wait for cold brew, check out Ninja’s Hot & Cold Brewed System, which can make it in about 15 minutes.

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‘Budget Meal Planner’ Website Shows You How to Eat Well on $5 Per Day

DragonImages/iStock via Getty Images
DragonImages/iStock via Getty Images

Eating on a budget is often associated with instant ramen, fast food, and other meal options that offer a lot of convenience and not so much nutrition. But finding cheap, healthy ingredients at the grocery store is far from impossible: Many healthy staples—like brown rice, canned black beans, eggs, bananas, and sweet potatoes—can be purchased for less than $1 per serving. The one downside to buying fresh ingredients is that some planning is required to get them on the plate. You may still have to do the shopping and cooking yourself, but by using the website Budget Meal Planner, you won't have to worry about brainstorming new meal ideas each week.

According to Lifehacker, every meal plan on Budget Meal Planner can be made for less than $5 a day—which is roughly equivalent to the average food stamp allotment in the United States. Every meal plan includes grocery lists and recipes for seven days worth of breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. The plans on the site are broken down into different themes, including mushroom, Thai, Tex-Mex, potato, and Mediterranean. The recipes listed may be cheap and healthy, but they don't skimp on flavor. With Tex-Mex, you'll get chicken tacos, stuffed bell peppers, and chili. Choose Thai and enjoy Thai chicken cabbage wraps with peanut sauce and Thai yellow chicken curry.

The site includes meat-free options as well. Just select "vegetarian" beneath the "meal plans" tab for vegetarian versions of Budget Meal Planner's recipes lists. The vegetarian take on the Thai meal plan, for example, uses tofu instead of chicken and mushrooms instead of beef.

All of the meal plans on the website are free, but you can support the project by donating to the creator's Patreon. Patrons also have the opportunity to suggest new meal plan themes they'd like to see each week.

Budget Meal Planner publishes a new themed meal plan every Friday, and you can subscribe to the website's newsletter to stay updated. Here are some more helpful tips for planning your meals.

[h/t Lifehacker]

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