Fairtrade Chocolate – the ultimate feel-good buy. Chocolate, because it tastes fantastic. Fairtrade, because it helps prevent child slavery. It’s the second week of Fairtrade Fortnight and to celebrate, we’ve got a delicious chocolate muffin recipe. But first a quick word about why it’s worth looking out for that black and white symbol on your chocolate.

Over a third of the world’s cocoa comes from Cota D’Ivoire, West Africa, where cocoa production uses child and forced labour (The Department of Labour, 2009). Child slaves are often trafficked from other countries where they work in dangerous, unsanitary conditions and are kept there by force without pay. But Fairtrade chocolate fights against this.

Companies like Cadburys and Mars are gradually switching to Fairtrade. This is because more and more of us are saying we don’t want child slavery in our chocolate. The Fairtrade and Rainforest Alliance symbol is the only way to tell that the chocolate your eating doesn’t have child slavery in it. So check for that symbol, and enjoy chocolate with a clear conscience.

Try out this recipe to celebrate Fairtrade fortnight and show chocolate companies that this is what we want. If you fancy a challenge, try out the choc-orange and mocha variations below. Easy, and tasty!

Fairtrade Chocolate Muffins

Makes 12 large size muffins (halve the ingredients for about 8 medium-size)

What You’ll Need
250g plain flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
100g Fairtrade caster sugar (Sainsbury’s own brand is good if you’re on a budget)
1 egg
250ml milk
90ml vegetable oil (or 85g melted butter)
½ teaspoon vanilla essence
100g Fairtrade milk chocolate, roughly chopped

Grease a muffin tray or line with cupcake cases and preheat an oven to 190°C (gas mark 5). In a large bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Use a spoon to push all the dry ingredients to the edge, making a shallow well in the centre. In a separate bowl, beat the egg with a folk then add the milk, oil or butter and vanilla essence.

Pour the wet ingredients into the well, and add the chocolate chips. Gently mix the ingredients for about 30 seconds, making sure that the batter is still really lumpy. As soon as the flour is no longer visible, it’s done. Mixing it well will make the muffins chewy, so don’t over-mix.

Spoon the batter into the tin, so the cups are about three quarters full. I use one spoon to scoop and another to push off the batter. Then bake for 20-25 mins. The tops should be golden and springy to touch. Finally allow the muffins to cool for a few minutes. These taste great warm as a snack or with ice-cream for dessert.

Variations

Chocolate Orange Muffins – Add a teaspoon grated orange rind or Cointreau to the wet ingredients. Replace milk with orange juice. Tastes best with dark chocolate chunks.

Chocolate Mocha Muffins – Replace milk with 250ml Fairtrade black coffee, ground or instant. Add 3 tablespoons Fairtrade cocoa powder (Divine from Oxfam works well). Not as sweet as traditional muffins so add extra sugar if you’d prefer – great with an afternoon coffee.

Triple Chocolate Muffins – Add 3 tablespoons Fairtrade cocoa powder to dry ingredients. Use 50g Fairtrade white chocolate and 50g Fairtrade dark chocolate roughly chopped.

For more information about child slavery in the cocoa industry, visit www.stopthetraffik.org

Katherine Dixon

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