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Whidbey Recipes

"Now that we've been told that chocolate is actually good for us, full of antioxidants and other heart helpful things, can we go back to openly professing addiction for the lovely stuff instead of hiding candy bars in various obscure places?That's what I did for years, as I've confessed before, because I had two small children I was trying to set a good example for. While telling them daily that too much candy was bad for them and their teeth, I was stealthily hiding away small caches of Mounds Bars, Heath Bars, Butterfingers and, when I could get them, Mountain Bars. I'd grown up on Brown and Haley Makes 'Em Daily Mountain Bars and it came as a big shock when I moved, temporarily I thought, to the Midwest and discovered no one had even heard of Mountain Bars in that part of the world. After much pleading, several family members began mailing me those little brown mounds, which I kept under lock and key, cautiously doling them out to myself until I was sure a new supply would soon be arriving. Occasionally one or another of my secret stores would accidentally be discovered and I'd have to do some fast talking about how I'd bought them for Halloween and must have forgotten I'd put them there, or Well, I bought these for a special surprise for you kids and now you've spoiled the surprise. Then we'd all have to eat one, of course, along with a ration of guilt.When the kids grew up and left the house and I shouldn't have needed to hide chocolate any more, I found I couldn't break the habit. Some people panic at the thought of not having ready cash on hand, hidden away for emergencies; with me, it's chocolate. Right now, I take comfort in knowing that I have two Mounds Bars and a large Butterfinger at the back of a drawer, and I'm not telling which drawer either, because John is a closet chocoholic and not above hitting my stash if he's hit with an attack. As for Mountain Bars? Well, I gave up on them a few years back, when Brown & Haley still made 'em daily, but they shrank in size, doubled in price and, worst of all, just didn't taste the same. However, Almond Roca can usually be found in one or another of my hiding spots.Today is Valentine's Day, a time when more chocolate changes hands than probably any other day of the year, a day we can openly overindulge in chocolate love and now, perhaps even claim it's for our health. But for die-hard chocoholics like me, it really doesn't matter if it's St. Valentine's Day, St. Swithen's Day or All Saints Day, or whether some twit declares that chocolate may be beneficial for one's health. The plain truth is that a day without chocolate is like a day without love or, as John would say, like a kiss without a mustache.RecipesYes, John has a mustache, for those of you who don't know, thus his belief in the power of a mustache, as well as chocolate. And now for the heart of the matter, a couple of chocolate recipes that are certain to make you feel good, no matter what day it is.Chocolate Dream Torte1 1/3 cups semisweet chocolate, in small pieces1/2 cup butter, cut into small pieces4 large eggs, separated2 t. flour2 t. instant espresso powder1/4 t. cream of tartar1 T. sugar1. In a saucepan over low heat (or in bowl in microwave), heat chocolate and butter until chocolate is soft. Remove from heat and stir until mixture is smooth and well blended. Add egg yolks, flour and espresso powder; whisk until smooth.2. In a bowl, combine egg whites and cream of tartar and beat with mixer on high speed until whites are foamy. Beat, gradually adding sugar, until whites hold stiff peaks. Add about 1/4 of the beaten whites to the chocolate mixture, stirring just to mix, then add remaining whites and carefully fold into the chocolate mixture until whites are evenly mixed in; don't over mix. Use a spatula to transfer the mixture into an 8-inch torte pan or cake pan with a removable rim, lightly smoothing the batter. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven until the torte puffs slightly and the center barely jiggles, about 20 minutes. Cool at least an hour in the pan on a rack (it will sink slightly), then slide a sharp knife around the edge of the torte and remove the pan rim.3. When ready to serve, cut torte into wedges. On a dessert plate, put 2-3 stripes of chocolate sauce and 2-3 stripes of another sauce of choice (raspberry, mint, white chocolate) and draw a knife back and forth through the stripes, making a pattern in the sauce, Place a wedge of the torte on the sauce and spoon a small dollop of whipped cream or raspberry sauce or deep, rich chocolate sauce onto the wedge, garnish with a mint sprig or a few fresh raspberries or a few chocolate curls and serve immediately.And here's one from Bon Appetit I tried a couple years ago; easy but rich and delicious. Frozen Chocolate Amaretto Mousse PieFor the crust: 26 chocolate wafer cookies1/4 cup unsalted butter, meltedFor the filling:9 oz. fine milk chocolate, finely chopped1/3 cup amaretto1/4 cup light corn syrup1 1/2 cups chilled whipping cream1. Butter a 9-inch glass pie dish. Finely grind the cookies in a food processor. Add melted butter; blend until moist crumbs form. Press crumbs onto bottom and up sides of pie dish. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven about 12 minutes; allow to cool on a rack.2. Stir together the chocolate and amaretto in a medium metal bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water until chocolate is melted and smooth (don't allow bottom of pan to touch the water). Remove bowl from over water and stir in corn syrup; cool to room temp.3. Beat the cream in a large bowl to soft peaks. Fold 1/4 of the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture, then carefully fold in remaining whipped cream. Spoon filling into the baked crust. Freeze until firm, at least 4 hours or overnight.And finally, my all-time favorite hot fudge sauce, than which there is none better. From my very old, much-used and what-would-I-do-without-it Joy of Cooking. I used to make this very late at night, hide it at the back of the refrigerator and eat it with a spoon while the babes were napping. My Favorite Hot Fudge Sauce2 oz. unsweetened chocolate1 T. butter1/2 cup boiling water1 cup sugar2 T. corn syrup1 t. vanilla1. In the top of a double boiler over simmering water (don't let bottom of the top part touch the water), melt the chocolate, then add the butter and allow it to melt, stirring to blend. Add the boiling water slowly, stirring as you pour it in. Stir in the sugar and corn syrup and put over direct heat. Bring to a boil and allow to bubble. Don't stir. If you boil it about 5 minutes, it will be like regular chocolate sauce. If you like the hot fudge sauce that hardens when you put it over ice cream, let it boil for about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Sauce is very thick (like eating soft fudge) when cold; reheat over hot water to warm and make it less thick. "

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