"All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesnt hurt."
                                                                                  --- Lucy Van Pelt, Peanuts



Clearly we love chocolate all year long ! Of course, as you know its a "must-do" on a regular basis ... for medicinal purposes. But in the chill of winter ... a little softened version of deep dark chocolate is what we crave. We want all of the rich flavor (and anti-oxidants) without that heavy feeling of too much of a good thing. Our solutions to this grave problem follows.

"Life is like a box of chocolates ... you never know what youre gonna get."
                                                                                                                   ---- Forrest Gump


For thirty-five Holiday Seasons in New York, every Christmas meant at least one trip to Serendipity for their signature drink, Frozen Hot Chocolate. It was always simply splendiferous to sit amidst an assortment of kids of every age on their white ice cream parlor chairs beneath the real Tiffany shades being served huge balloon soda glasses of glacial chocolate always with two straws for sharing . Wed gasp every time it was set before us. Could it be possible to eat that entire glass along with the mountain of whipped cream on top.? Well, it always was.

These days we like the serving slightly smaller, the chocolate slightly richer, yet weve kept that icy chill so thrilling on a hot day, and the generous dollop of cream atop. No reason to grow up now, its too late. Serves 4 or 2 magnificent appetites.

cup whole or low fat milk
1 tablespoon cocoa powder (Dutch process)
4 ounces of bittersweet chocolate (we like Ghirardelli)
3 cups ice cubes
3 scoops chocolate ice cream (Haagan Dazs or similar quality)
Whipped Cream and chocolate shavings for serving

1. In a small saucepan, heat 2/3 of the milk with the cocoa powder, just until it beings to boil. Remove from the heat and drop in the chocolate stirring until it is melted and smooth. Let cool to room temperature.
2. Using a blender, mix the chocolate with the rest of the milk, the ice cubes and ice cream until it is completely smooth. Divide into glasses (Margarita glasses, Martini glasses, the prettier the better), top with a generous dollop of whipped cream (we like ours with a little sour cream mixed in) and shaved chocolate. Red and white straws dazzle all.

"Everyone has a price, mine is chocolate." --- Julia Child


These tangy little bites were a gift from my mailman one day. Who knew that he had been a chef at one of my favorite local restaurants years ago. You just never know when someone you see every day is going to bring an idea right to your own front door. These take minutes to make, have that little goat cheese tang, are chocolaty as can be, and take no time to disappear. Makes a zillion.

6 ounces of fresh goat cheese, or goat cheese rounds, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
12 ounces chocolate chips, melted (we prefer Ghirardelli)
Cocoa powder

"There are four basic food groups: milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate, and chocolate truffles."      --- Anon

1. Cream the goat cheese and vanilla by hand with a spoon. Melt the chocolate chips and combine with the cheese mixture until smooth. With your fingers form into one-inch balls, or even smaller, and chill. After they are firm, roll in cocoa powder. Refrigerate until 10 minutes before serving.

"Nobody knows the truffles Ive seen."  --- Lucy Arnaz


Ferran Adrias upcoming book, "The Family Meal" is anxiously anticipated by this cook. We have been granted more than our share of reservations at El Bulli over the years, only to have to cancel for one reason or another. And so, Ive enjoyed only vicariously for years Adrias cooking ... through the mouthwatering descriptions of those lucky ones who have made the pilgrimage to Roses, Spain and by scanning his fabulously photographed books. When Mark Bittman had the good fortune to cook with Adria and then share the recipes in the NYT Magazine on July 3rd, this was my breakfast Since then weve served it as a snack, and a dessert when we were grilling poolside. This is so simple, yet with that special twist of olive oil and sea salt. Its like enjoying a Picasso from his sketchbook. The artist is a genius, and even in the simplest of dishes, it shines through. Serves 6.

6 thick slices of country-style bread (about 10 ounces total)
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate (preferably 60 percent cocoa) coarsely grated, (Microplane helps, or in my haste, I chopped some chocolate chips until quite fine)
cup olive oil, best quality
teaspoon sea salt

1. Heat the oven to 325F. Put the bread on a baking sheet and bake until golden brown on both sides, 5-7 minutes total. Or, weve toasted it on the grill if it's hot.
2. Spoon the chocolate over the toast in a thin, even layer. Drizzle with the oil and holding the salt at least twenty inches high, sprinkle with salt. Devour.

"Ideas should be clear and chocolate thick." --- Spanish Proverb


Delightfully indulgent, and the centerpiece of any special occasion, these popovers always please! To ensure your first batch is a success, please read the recipe through completely before beginning. Makes 6 popovers, each large enough for sharing

1 cups milk
1 cups all-purpose flour
tablespoon kosher salt
3 eggs
6 tablespoons melted butter
2/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Place a 6-cup popover pan in bottom third of oven. Place baking sheet on rack underneath to catch any drips. Preheat oven to 400F.
2. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, warm milk until small bubbles form around the edges. Put flour and salt in a fine-mesh sieve; sift onto sheet of waxed paper. In a large bowl, whisk eggs until frothy, about 2 minutes. Slowly whisk into hot milk. Gradually whisk in flour mixture until almost smooth.
3. Remove pan from oven; spray cups with butter-flavored non-stick vegetable spray (chemical free, if possible). Fill cups three-quarters full. Bake 15 minutes; Rotate pan 180 degrees. Continue baking until popovers are browned and puffed, 30 minutes more; do not open oven after rotating pan.
4 Meanwhile, 10 minutes before the popovers are to be done, melt the butter and set it aside. Mix the cinnamon and sugar in a shallow bowl. When you remove the popovers from the oven, let them rest just a moment until theyre cool enough to handle. Remove one from the pan (without puncturing it in any way) and thoroughly brush it all over with the melted butter, then dredge it in the sugar and cinnamon mixture to coat completely. Repeat with each. Enjoy immensely.
5. Savory Option: These can be made into a savory treat by eliminating the butter, sugar and spice and substituting 3 ounces of grated Gruyere cheese sprinkled on top of the batter just before its popped into the oven. Heavenly.


With sugar and spice and everything nice, this is great for brunch or as a dessert with a dollop of whipped cream.

8 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cups sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
teaspoon cloves
Zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 cups fresh or frozen cranberries (keep frozen)
1 cups cake flour
teaspoon baking powder
teaspoon baking soda
teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
cup white sugar
cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a 9-inch spring-form pan generously and wrap the bottom and sides with foil. Set aside. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add sugar, lemon juice and zest, cinnamon and cloves. Cook, stirring frequently, until sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes. Add cranberries and coat evenly with the sauce, but keep plump, 3-5 minutes. Set aside. Sift together flour, baking soda and salt onto waxed paper. Set aside.
2. In a medium mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, cream butter for 1 minute. Add sugars and continue to cream until smooth and fluffy (1-2 minutes). Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
3. On low speed, add half of the flour mixture, mixing until combined. Add sour cream and vanilla, and mix until combined. Add remaining flour mixture; mix until smooth.
4. Transfer to spring-form pan, spreading evenly over top of cranberries. Bake 50-55 minutes in middle of oven until golden brown edges begin to pull away from the side of the pan and toothpick test comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Run knife around edge to loosen cake. Invert onto serving plate, remove foil, spring form ring and pan bottom. Cut into wedges and serve immediately, or within four hours.