Sunday, September 13, 2020

CHOCOLATE IN THE TIME OF COVID: Guest Post by Janet Rudolph + #giveaway and #chocolate #recipe!

Please welcome back a beloved and honored member of our mystery community, a true chocolate maven, and one of our favorite fellow bloggers. Take it away, Janet Rudolph!  ~ Cleo

hanks, Cleo and Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen, for inviting me. Many of you know I’m the Editor of the Mystery Readers Journal, blogger at Mystery Fanfare and DyingforChocolate, mystery convention organizer, and host of Literary Salons for mystery authors. I am also a chocolate judge at International Chocolate Salons. It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it. 

Not surprising, then, that Cleo asked me to blog about chocolate, and I knew what I wanted to write about: Chocolate, the Pandemic, Lockdown, Economic Recession, and how we’re all responding during these uncertain times. 

Some people took up exercise. Not me. I took up chocolate. Early on I began stockpiling chocolate for personal consumption (much more rewarding than toilet paper). Chocolate for me is a source of indulgence and comfort in these times of uncertainty. I ordered 15 of my favorite bars of Beyond Good (formerly known as Madecasse) 72% cacao bars. 

I justified my decision to consume chocolate knowing the many benefits of eating dark chocolate. As if one needs a reason to eat chocolate? But research has shown that dark chocolate increases heart health, balances the immune system, improves brain function, boosts athletic performance, and reduces stress. And, we are all deeply stressed during this pandemic and the economic recession.

According to Nielsen data, during the 17-week period that ended on June 27, U.S. consumers spent $3.7 billion on chocolate, up 6.3% from that time period last year. Americans spent over $2.9 billion on single serve and multi-serve versions of the chocolate. Dark chocolate sales were up 13.6%. Additionally, in the last month, forty percent said they purchased more chocolate as a result of COVID-19.

So what else besides chocolate consumption has spiked during the pandemic? Baking. How many banana breads have you made since the onset of Covid 19? I tried so many different Banana Bread recipes that my family and neighbors could hardly eat them all. Being a chocoholic, all of my banana breads contained chocolate chips. But for today’s post, I’d like to share my favorite recipe for Pandemic Chocolate Banana Bread. I mean, why not double the chocolate?




3 very ripe bananas

1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

2 Tbsp cooking oil

1 large egg

1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed 

1/4 cup white sugar

1/4 cup sour cream

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp Kosher salt

1 cup all-purpose flour 

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (Dutch process is best—but whatever you have)

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided


Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 9x5-inch loaf pan. 

Mash bananas in large bowl (I usually add a fourth banana and leave it lumpier). Add melted butter and oil to combine. Whisk in egg, vanilla, sour cream, and brown sugar until smooth. 

In another bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. Stir into wet ingredients until just combined. Fold in half the chocolate chips.

Pour batter into prepared pan and top with remaining chocolate chips. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center comes out kind of clean.

Cool in pan for 10 to 15 minutes, then remove loaf and place on wire rack. 

Janet's blogs are an absolute treat to follow. 

Check them out at the links below:

Mystery Readers Journal

Mystery Fanfare

Dying for Chocolate

Leave a comment on this blog post for 
a chance to win a $15.00 Amazon Gift Card

Congrats to our winner:

Holly S.!

Have you been eating more chocolate lately? Do you have a favorite Pandemic Chocolate Recipe you’d care to share? Janet would love to see it! Be sure to post your comment below...


  1. Thank you for the opportunity. My favorite chocolate recipe is Candy Bar pie II from Allrecipes. The secret is to use a really good chocolate bar. I use Choceur milk chocolate with hazelnuts from Aldi’s. suefoster109 at gmail dot com

  2. Hello I'm a big fan of Cleo from Japan. Thank you for sharing your nice recipe. I like add AMANATTO--Japanese traditional frosted bean sweets-- to chocolate cake!

    1. Hi, Moe - I am waving to you from NYC. Amanatto sounds like a lovely treat. I'll have to try it! Thank you so much for stopping by. xoxo

    2. OMG😂! Hello, Thank You, I love you!!!
      I am always waiting your new story 😄

    3. OMG! Thank your for your reply! I love your stories and recipes very much. Thank you for making my reading time happier!

    4. Thank you, Moe, for being so sweet. Sending my love to you. xoxo

  3. I have been eating a little more chocolate since all this craziness with COVID-19 started. This recipe I am going to try and enjoy when I get off work today.
    Kitten143 (at) Verizon (dot) net

  4. I definitely have been eating more chocolate during this pandemic. But I’ve also been walking more so I’m hoping it balances out! Thank you for the chance.

  5. It just so happens that I was planning to bake banana bread today......I think it’s time to try a new recipe! :). biszemom(at)gmail(dot)com

  6. I love chocolate. It is my go to treat when I want some thing sweet. I have a chocolate pudding recipe that my Mother gave me that I make often. I grow zucchini in my garden and many baked goods recipes with zucchini are usually chocolate. dbahn(at)iw(dot)net

    1. Now THAT'S s fun way to get your daily vegetables!

  7. Love chocolate, and yes I have been eating/baking more 🍫. Homemade peanut butter cups have been our thing. Thanks for the chance. Jenandalana(at)gmail(dot)com.

  8. I have been eating more chocolate. My hubby does all the cooking/baking. He’s made brownies and chocolate chip cookies for me. He puts extra chips in my cookies. The banana bread recipe appeals!

    Meljprincess AT aol DOT com

  9. We love both the Chocolate No Bake Oatmeal Cookies, which most people have the recipe for since it's been around for ages. We also love the Chocolate Pecan Angel Cookies and I've included that recipe below. Not only are they super easy, they are made with only 4 ingredients plus the limited quantities keep you from eating 4-5 dozen because they are very addictive.

    Thank you for the opportunity to win a $15.00 Amazon Gift Card!

    1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
    1 cup chopped pecans
    1 cup powdered sugar
    1 egg white
    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
    Combine the chocolate chips, pecans, and sugar in a medium-size bowl.
    Add the egg white and mix well.
    Using a cookie scoop, drop scoops of the cookie batter on a non-stick baking mat (or a well greased cookie sheet).
    Bake for 11-12 minutes or until the edges are golden brown and cookies are set.
    Allow the cookies to cool on the cookie sheet for 3-4 minutes.
    Remove the cookies to wire racks to cool completely.
    Store in an airtight container.
    Makes 24 cookies
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  10. Chocolate is, and always has been, my favorite food group. ckmbeg (at) gmail (dot) com

  11. Definitely need to try this. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Welcome today. Thank you for this yummy looking recipe. What interesting statistics here. Now that I think about it, I have been eating more chocolate lately. quilting dash lady at comcast dot net

  13. Thanks, Kay, for the recipe for Chocolate Pecan Angel Cookies. I'm going to make them this week.

    1. Kay's cookies sound tasty to me, too. A nice twist to the traditional nut cookie.

    2. Same goes for me, as I love anything with pecans and this sounds easy- peasy! I wonder how many of us will be making both Janet's chocolate banana bread and Kay's angel cookies this week?! I foresee a run on chocolate chips in the near future! ;)

    3. And, you can always add nuts to the Chocolate Banana Bread recipe. I do..

  14. Chocolate is so soothing and I have been enjoying the treat everyday in order to manage. I walk and the chocolate makes life enjoyable. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  15. Your recipe is so enticing and yummy. I love the loaf and the combination of flavors. Perfect for fall. I will be making it this week for the family yo enjoy. Chocolate has always been a favorite flavor of mine. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

  16. Everyone who knows me knows I'm the chocolate person! Probably the same way you are, Janet.

    For a variety of reasons I began having a square of dark chocolate with coffee every morning for breakfast, starting in 1987. My doctor is astonished at my cholesterol numbers, which are spectacular, and I keep telling her it's because I have dark chocolate every day. kmaslowski(at)fuse(dot)net

    1. Also, Chocolate Sparkle Cookies, made with almond meal instead of flour. So good.

    2. Recipe? I have really cut down on gluten.

    3. They're fabulous, Janet.

  17. That chocolate banana bread sounds amazing! I haven't eaten more chocolate but I do love it.

  18. I'm not a big banana bread person, but with double chocolate in it, I could be convinced!
    Chocolate Crack(le) Cookies are always a hit.
    libbydodd at comcast dot net

    1. I love Chocolate Krinkle cookies. Same thing?

    2. Probably. Double dipped in granulated sugar and then confectioners sugar.

  19. Just dropping in to thank Janet Rudolph again for her fabulous post. And thanks to everyone for joining in the chocolate fun with your comments. xoxo

  20. Oh, boy, does that sound GOOD! Gonna have to let some bananas go to far just so I can make it...

    Thanks so much for visiting and cheering us all up on this smokey Sunday!

    1. My pleasure. If I can't be outside in the garden, I can be inside baking. :-) Be safe.

  21. I love dark chocolate - one favorite is Trader Joe's 73% Dark Belgian Chocolate Covered Almonds. When I bake it's usually dark chocolate brownies.
    jtcgc at yahoo dot com

  22. Janet! Welcome to the Kitchen! Do you have a favorite baking chocolate? I've used Scharffen Barger for years but it's suddenly not available, and I'm casting about for good bulk chocolate.

    Thanks for visiting with us!

    1. I use every kind of chocolate for baking, but if I had to choose it would be Guittard. Fabulous!!!! Most of my chef friends use it.

  23. Sadly, a few months in to the Covid mess, I had a heart attack and also got diagnosed with type II diabetes, so I have to be careful with my chocolate consumption. The good news is, dark chocolate, in moderation, is actually good for heart and diabetes health, so I can have small pieces of it as a treat still. zukeeper.geo (at) yahoo (dot) com

    1. Sorry to hear about your health. Chocolate, as you mentioned, is good for heart and moderation. Thanks for sharing.

  24. I've been eating about the same amount of chocolate, trying to be cognizant since I'm not exercising as much. But pretty much every batch of cookies I've baked have been chocolate chip. Nothing else appeals to me currently. seboggs(at)comcast(dot)net

  25. I love chocolate, the darker the better! Once, a few squares of 90% cacao baking chocolate was left over from a recipe. Of course I ate it!

  26. I love chocolate, especially dark chocolate. I have been eating more chocolate during the pandemic and it's still a treat. Looking forward to trying your recipe for the chocolate banana bread.

  27. I love chocolate! I’ve been making brownies lately...I forgot how good they are! cking78503(at)aol(dot)com

  28. Just added chocolate chips to my list after seeing your recipe! I ate my last square of chocolate last night, but we still have both chocolate chip and fudge stripe cookies in the pantry, so I'm good for today.
    lola777_22 at hotmail dot com

  29. Oh wow, does that look good or what? Thanks for the recipe. Unfortunately I think I've been eating a lot more of everything during the pandemic. Dark chocolate is a special treat and I do try to portion it out. How about Peanut Butter Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips? Combines all the favorites, doesn't it? I've been making this for years I think it started out as a Taste of Home recipe with some tweaks. Nothing from Taste of Home is very healthy, but it's tasty!

    Peanut Butter Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
    • 4 medium ripe bananas, mashed
    • 2 eggs
    • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
    • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
    • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
    1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease an 9×5-inch loaf pan.
    2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice.
    3. In another bowl, mix together the bananas, eggs, peanut butter, applesauce, oil and vanilla. Pour the banana mixture into the flour mixture and mix just until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.
    4. Pour the batter into the loaf pan. Bake until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 60 minutes, covering the top with foil when it starts to get brown. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove to cool completely on a cooling rack.