Chocolate. Another food that often stands accused of causing bad skin, but chocolate actually does just the opposite. Include moderate amounts of dark chocolate in your diet, and your skin will thank you: dark chocolate can increase the density of your skin, which will fight future wrinkles. This is because the linolic acid found in chocolate has anti-aging properties, while its antioxidants protect the collagen.

Eating chocolate regularly can also help improve the overall texture and tone of your skin because the skin cells are able to repair themselves easily. According to a study in The Journal Of Nutrition, participants who drank a special chocolate drink every day for 12 weeks experienced a 25% reduction in skin redness from UV exposure, and also reported improved skin tone.

 Charlotte’s Chocolate Crackle Cookies

“I know these cookies aren’t exactly low fat, but if you share them they become half fat!”

These cookies are not difficult to make but they look great. The main thing to remember is that this dough needs to be chilled, because at first it’s so soft that you can’t roll it into balls. That’s down to the (warm) melted dark chocolate, but the extra wait in the fridge is worth it for all that chocolatey goodness.

The coating of icing sugar crackles so prettily in the oven – you really don’t have to do anything – it just happens. The contrast makes for a beautiful cookie that’s not fussy at all.

Oh, and a little warning from me to you: these cookies require a glass of cold milk. Hot coffee or tea might work too…someone will have to let me know on that one. I ran out before I could try!

Ingredients

30g melted dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids)
1 ¼ cup of flour
½ cup of cocoa powder
2 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
115g butter, room temperature
1 1/3 cup of brown sugar, firmly packed
2 eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup of milk
1 cup icing sugar, for rolling

Method

1.Don’t preheat the oven yet, this dough will need to chill for 2 hours or so.

2.Melt dark chocolate gently.

3.Mix dry ingredients (flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt).

4.Cream sugar and butter together, then beat in eggs and vanilla. Pour melted dark chocolate over the creamed butter and sugar, blend, then add dry ingredients & milk (alternating between the two so puffs of flour don’t cover your kitchen!)

5.The dough will be very sticky. Cover the bowl loosely in cling film and chill for approximately 2 hours, or until dough is hardened and can be handled.

6.Preheat oven to 180. Scoop out spoonfuls of the dough, roll between your palms to form a ball, then toss the ball into a bowl of icing sugar to coat it. If the dough gets too sticky to handle, pop it back in the fridge or freezer to cool it back down.

7.Line cookies up on the baking sheet (not too closely – they spread) and bake at 180 for 12-15 minutes.