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30 Days of WOW

BARK TO BITE

30 ooey, gooey and even Frenchy ways to devour chocolate

Behold, the wonderful world of chocolate. Click on an image to discover its hidden gem.

Barcelona, Spain

Located in the city center, Granja La Pallaresa is a small café that’s home to the most perfectly fried churros (Spanish doughnuts) served alongside a bowl of thick and creamy chocolate dipping sauce. Be sure to go before 1 p.m. or after 7 p.m., as they close in the afternoon for a siesta, naturalmente.

Paris, France

At Parisian teahouse Angelina, dense black Valrhona chocolate bars are melted down, boiled with heavy cream and served in elegant little teapots. It’s strong, intense and probably not for anyone wishing to sleep that night.

Hershey, Pennsylvania

No self-respecting chocoholic should be without a bottle of Hershey’s Shell. Pour the syrup over ice cream and behold as it hardens in seconds. Try it over coffee gelato for a totally adult, totally addictive dinner-party dessert.

Milan, Italy

Get your hands on a map, saunter on over to Grom and get two heaping scoops of their gianduja gelato (creamy chocolate with a hint of hazelnut). Although the gelateria has recently opened shops in New York City and San Francisco, there’s no denying their ice cream taste best when eaten on the dusty steps of the duomo.

Florence, Italy

Every year in Florence, during the week of February 14, there’s an artisan chocolate festival called Fiera del Cioccolato Artigianale is held in Piazza Santa Maria Novella. The aroma of chocolate is so rich you can almost taste it. Our advice? Fill up on samples and save your euros for the leather market.

Seattle, Washington

Salted caramels from Fran's Chocolate are so tiny (just an inch long) yet so decadent. The Gray and Smoked Salt flavor may sound off to anyone who doesn’t know that chocolate plus salt equals oh my gosh.

Lugano, Switzerland

While you can find award-winning chocolate practically anywhere in Switzerland (even the drugstore), head to Merkur Chocolatiers in the city of Lugano if you want the works. Sheets of handmade chocolate fill the shelves and are cut for you on the spot. It may cost more than your airfare, but taking home freshly cut bars makes for one hell of a gift.

Bangkok, Thailand

This is one city where you have to try the street food. Stop by a stall or food stand on the famed street Soi Rambuttri and pick up a made-that-instant banana crepe drizzled with warm chocolate. It’ll run you all of 50 cents.

Puebla, Mexico

Mole, the savory chocolate and chile sauce common in Mexican cuisine, differs from region to region. But in our experience, the best hails from the state of Puebla in the central part of Mexico. It’s made with more than 20 different ingredients, from rich chocolate to savory peanuts to spicy chiles.

Jeju, Korea

Tucked away on the tiny island of Jeju (off the southern coast of the Korean peninsula) is 초콜릿 박물, which of course translates to: The Chocolate Museum. An elderly Korean couple, with a serious love for everything chocolate has filled a former castle with irregular-shaped chocolate molds, vintage chocolate ads from the 1950s and plenty of chocolate-related tchotchkes, er, treasures. The best part? You can make your own chocolate with one of the museum's chocolatiers.

Montreal, Canada

Canadian drugstore candy: Coffee Crisps. Smarties. Aero bars. We’re into it all (and we’re considering petitioning our local pharmacy).

Where in the World is Your Favorite Chocolate?

A recipe box is never complete without a healthy dose of chocolate desserts.

  • Chocolate Budino

    What’s better than pudding made from scratch? Italian chocolate pudding made from scratch.

    Click for recipe

    Ingredients

    Chocolate Budino

    4½ ounces dark chocolate, roughly chopped

    4½ ounces milk chocolate, roughly chopped

    2¼ cups whole or 2% milk

    ¼ cup cornstarch

    2 egg yolks

    2 teaspoons granulated sugar

    3½ tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces

    Kosher salt

     

    Mint Whipped Cream

    ¼ cup heavy cream

    1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar

    1-2 tablespoons finely chopped mint leaves

    Directions

    1. Make the budino: In a metal bowl set over a saucepan filled with 2 inches of simmering water, combine the dark chocolate with the milk chocolate and heat, stirring frequently, until melted, about 5 minutes. Remove the chocolate from the heat and cover to keep warm. Set aside.

    2. In a small bowl, whisk ½ cup of the milk with the cornstarch until combined. In a large saucepan set over medium-low heat, combine the milk-cornstarch mixture with the remaining 1¾ cups milk and slowly bring the mixture to a boil, whisking often. (The mixture will thicken slightly as it heats.)

    3. Meanwhile, in a metal bowl set over a saucepan filled with 2 inches of simmering water, combine the eggs with the granulated sugar, whisking frequently until thick and pale. Gradually whisk ¼ cup of the hot milk mixture into the egg yolks to temper the yolks. Remove the bowl from the heat and whisk in the remaining milk mixture and the melted chocolate until just combined. Whisk in the butter until melted, then season to taste with salt.

    4. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer and divide among four 4-ounce ramekins. Cool slightly, then cover and refrigerate until well chilled and set, about 2 hours.

    5. Just before serving, make the mint whipped cream: In a medium bowl, whisk the heavy cream with the confectioners’ sugar until soft peaks form. Add the mint leaves to the cream to taste and continue whisking until firm peaks form. Top each budino with a dollop of the whipped cream and serve immediately.

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  • Double-Chocolate-Chip Cookies

    The best of the best.

    Click for recipe

    Ingredients

    1½ cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

    ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons cocoa powder

    1 teaspoon baking powder

    ¾ teaspoon salt

    1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into ½-inch cubes

    1½ cups packed dark brown sugar

    ½ cup granulated sugar

    2 teaspoons instant espresso powder

    1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

    2 large eggs

    1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

    Directions

    1. Preheat the oven to 350° and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

    2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

    3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter with the brown sugar and granulated sugar at medium speed until light and smooth, about 4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the espresso powder and vanilla and beat to combine. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating between each addition.

    4. Gradually add the flour mixture in large spoonfuls, mixing well at low speed until incorporated and scraping down the sides of the bowl between each addition as needed. Add the chocolate chips and mix until just combined. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour before baking.

    5. Using an ice-cream scoop, scoop the batter onto the prepared baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches between the cookies. Bake for 12 minutes or until the edges of the cookies are crisp. (The center will still be slightly gooey.) Cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely before serving. Repeat with remaining dough, refrigerating it between batches.

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  • Double-Chocolate Bread

    So easy you can make it in one bowl.

    Click for recipe

    Ingredients

    1½ cups all-purpose flour

    ¼ cup cocoa powder

    1 teaspoon baking soda

    Pinch of salt

    8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

    1 cup sugar

    3 eggs

    ½ cup sour cream

    1 teaspoon vanilla

    1 cup dark-chocolate chips

    Confectioners’ sugar, as garnish

    Directions

    1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease a loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.

    2. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt into a large bowl. Add the butter, sugar, eggs, sour cream and vanilla, then mix with a whisk until well combined.

    3. Gently fold in the chocolate chips until they are evenly distributed.

    4. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. It should fill the pan a little more than halfway.

    5. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 50 minutes to 1 hour.

    6. Let the bread cool for 15 minutes in the pan, then remove it from the pan while it is still warm by inverting it onto a cooling rack. Cool completely before slicing and serving. If desired, finish the loaf with a dusting of confectioners’ sugar.

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  • Thick Hot Chocolate with Salted-Caramel Whipped Cream

    The powdered stuff? No thanks.

    Click for recipe

    Ingredients

    Salted Caramel Sauce

    1 cup sugar

    ¼ cup water

    6 tablespoons butter, cubed and at room temperature

    ½ cup heavy cream, at room temperature

    ½ teaspoon fleur de sel sea salt (sold in gourmet and specialty groceries)

    Hot Chocolate

    1½ cups whole milk

    ¼ cup heavy cream

    ¾ cup bittersweet chocolate chips

    ½ cup milk chocolate chips

    ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

    Salted-Caramel Whipped Cream

    ½ cup heavy cream

    ¼ cup Salted Caramel Sauce

    Directions

    1. Make the caramel sauce: In a small pot, stir the sugar with the water over medium heat. Continue to stir until the mixture comes to a boil, then stop stirring. Cook until the sugar is amber in color and reads 240° on a candy thermometer.

    2. Remove the pot from the heat, and stir in the butter and cream. Be careful: The mixture will bubble and steam vigorously. Season the caramel with the fleur de sel, then carefully pour the caramel into a glass jar. Let cool to room temperature.

    3. Make the hot chocolate: In a medium pot set over medium heat, bring the milk and cream to a simmer. Meanwhile, place the chocolate chips and vanilla in a large, heat-safe bowl. Pour the warm milk mixture over the chocolate and stir until smooth.

    4. Make the whipped cream: In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip the cream until it holds soft peaks (the cream comes to a point on the whisk but falls over when you lift it out of the bowl). Add the caramel and whip until combined.

    5. Pour the hot chocolate into mugs and top with dollops of whipped cream. If desired, drizzle with additional salted caramel sauce. Serve immediately.

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  • Texas Sheet Cake

    An heirloom recipe that’s worth a second look.

    Click for recipe

    Ingredients

    Cake

    1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter

    ½ cup (1¾ ounces)
    lightly packed premium
    unsweetened cocoa
    (preferably Dutch-processed)

    3 tablespoons canola oil

    1 cup water

    2 cups (10 ounces)
    all-purpose flour

    2 cups (14 ounces) granulated sugar

    1 teaspoon baking soda

    ½ teaspoon fine sea salt

    2 large eggs

    ½ cup buttermilk

    2 teaspoons pure
    vanilla extract

    Frosting

    ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

    ¼ cup (1 ounce) lightly packed premium unsweetened cocoa (preferably Dutch-processed)

    ⅓ cup whole milk

    2 teaspoons pure
    vanilla extract

    3 cups (12 ounces) sifted confectioners’ sugar

    ½ cup toasted chopped nuts, such as walnuts, pecans or hazelnuts

    Directions

    1. Arrange an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375°. Grease a 10-by-15-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.

    2. Make the cake: In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the cocoa until combined. Add the canola oil and water, then bring to a rolling boil for 30 seconds. Remove the saucepan from the heat and set it aside to cool slightly.

    3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, sift the flour with the granulated sugar, baking soda and salt, then whisk until combined. Pour the warm cocoa mixture into the flour mixture, then whisk until just combined.

    4. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs with the buttermilk and vanilla. Using a rubber spatula, stir the buttermilk mixture into the batter until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and bake on the center rack for 32 minutes or until the top is firm and a tester stick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out with moist crumbs.

    5. Make the frosting: When the cake is nearly done, in a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the cocoa and bring to a rolling boil for 30 seconds. Remove the saucepan from the heat, then whisk in the milk and vanilla. Add the confectioners’ sugar, 1 cup at a time, whisking constantly.

    6. Remove the cake from the oven and pour the frosting evenly over the top. Sprinkle with the nuts. (Try not to jiggle the cake before it sets or you’ll leave waves in the frosting.) Let the cake cool to room temperature before cutting into squares and serving.

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  • Espresso-Hazelnut Bitter Chocolate Bark

    Step aside, peppermint. This bark is a year-round treat.

    Click for recipe

    Ingredients

    3 ounces (about ½ cup) raw hazelnuts

    ½ ounce (¼ cup) espresso beans

    ½ pound bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped

    ½ teaspoon flaky sea salt (optional)

    Directions

    1. Preheat the oven to 400° and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

    2. Spread out the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and roast until well browned and fragrant, about 10 minutes. (The skins should look nearly burned.) Put the hazelnuts in a clean kitchen towel and rub briskly to remove the skins. Coarsely chop the nuts. Lightly crush the espresso beans with a rolling pin.

    3. In a double boiler set over low heat, slowly melt 6 ounces of the chocolate, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is smooth. When the chocolate is completely melted, remove it from the heat and stir in the remaining 2 ounces chocolate until it melts.

    4. Pour the chocolate onto the prepared baking sheet, spreading it to a ¼-inch thickness with a spatula. Sprinkle the hazelnuts evenly over the surface. Repeat with the crushed espresso beans and the sea salt, if desired. Refrigerate, uncovered, until completely hardened before breaking the bark into rough pieces to serve.

     

    Excerpted from “One Good Dish” by David Tanis (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2013. Photographs by Gentl and Hyers.

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  • Banana Bread and Almond-Butter Cocoa Sandwich Cookies

    You won’t believe what’s in this filing.

    Click for recipe

    Ingredients

    Banana Bread Cookies

    2 large very ripe bananas

    ½ cup pure maple syrup

    2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce

    1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

    2 cups old-fashioned oats

    ¼ cup brown rice flour

    1 teaspoon baking soda

    1 teaspoon cinnamon

    ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

     

    Almond-Butter Cocoa Filling

    ½ cup unsalted almond butter

    1 tablespoon cocoa powder

    1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup

    Directions

    1. Make the cookies: Preheat the oven to 350° and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

    2. In a medium bowl, mash the bananas and combine with the maple syrup, applesauce and vanilla. (The mixture shouldn’t be too smooth; small chunks of banana are great.) In a large bowl, combine the oats with the brown rice flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Add the banana mixture to the oat mixture and mix until just combined.

    3. Using a tablespoon, drop the batter onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing the cookies an inch apart. (Do your best to make them all the same size and shape, because they will be sandwiched together.) Bake the cookies for 10 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through, or until they are golden brown and set but still soft and spongy. Remove the cookies from the oven and let cool on the baking sheets.

    4. Make the filling: When the cookies are nearly done cooling, in a small bowl, mix the almond butter with the cocoa powder and maple syrup until combined.

    5. Scoop a heaping teaspoon of filling and spread it on the bottom of a cookie. Take another cookie and sandwich them together. Repeat the process with the remaining cookies to make 9 sandwiches total. Serve.

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  • Devil’s Food Cake with Pinot Noir Chocolate Frosting

    A little slice of heaven (and diet hell).

    Click for recipe

    Ingredients

    Devil’s Food Cake

    2 cups all-purpose flour

    ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

    1½ teaspoons baking soda

    1 teaspoon kosher salt

    ½ teaspoon baking powder

    1¾ cups granulated sugar

    3 eggs

    1½ cups buttermilk

    ½ cup sour cream

    ⅔ cup peeled and finely grated raw red beets (from about 1 medium beet)

    Pinot Noir Chocolate Frosting

    ¾ cup Pinot Noir

    1¼ cups unsweetened cocoa powder

    Kosher salt

    1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

    ¾ cup plus 3 tablespoons sifted confectioners’ sugar

    1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

    Directions

    1. Make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350°. Coat a 9-inch cake pan with nonstick cooking spray.

    2. In a medium bowl, sift the flour with the cocoa powder, baking soda, salt and baking powder; whisk to combine and set aside.

    3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the granulated sugar with the eggs and mix at medium speed until combined. Add the buttermilk and sour cream, and mix until smooth. Add the beets and mix until combined. Add the flour mixture to the bowl in two additions, scraping down the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.

    4. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake, rotating the cake halfway through, until a tester stick inserted into the middle comes out clean, 50 to 55 minutes. Let the cake cool to room temperature in the pan, then remove the cake from the pan.

    5. Make the frosting: In a medium saucepan, bring the wine to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the wine has reduced by half, about 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool to room temperature.

    6. Sift the cocoa powder and a pinch of salt into a large bowl and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, combine the butter with the confectioners’ sugar and blend at medium-low speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the cocoa mixture and mix until combined, about 2 minutes. Add the reduced wine and vanilla, and mix until combined and smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.

    7. Using a serrated knife, cut the cake into three equally thick rounds. Frost each layer of the cake, then stack the layers on a serving plate or cake stand. Frost the sides of the cake, cut into slices and serve.

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Share Your Favorite Chocolate Recipe

Because life is much more than a box of chocolates.

Truly Chocolate Granola

Like Cocoa Puffs--only 100 times better. Granola, coconut and dried bananas are tossed in a layer of chocolate powder to deliver a (mildly healthy) chocolate snack.

(Dude, Sweet, $12)

Lighter than a truffle but packed with flavor, the tiny petit four is a dainty way to indulge. In the 16-count sampler, you’ll find chocolate covered cake layers topped with candied fruit or--in the case of the champagne flavor--a bit of gold leaf.

(Valerie Confections, $52 for 12)

Mushroom Toffee

Hate that stuck-in-your-teeth feeling that comes with most toffee? Fungus Amongus eliminates that overly chewy texture with porcini mushroom powder, toasted pumpkin seeds and a layer of chocolate glaze. It’s a cheese plate’s best friend.

(Dude, Sweet, $12)

Dude, Sweet’s Chocolate Salami

Speaking of cheese plates, surprise your guests with this little treat. Made from dates, figs, almonds and Valrhona cocoa nibs, this “salami” comes complete with a light dusting of confectioner’s sugar to mimic an authentic sausage casing.

(Dude, Sweet, $15)

Applebee’s. Dominos. Chili’s. Pretty much any chain restaurant can serve up this guilty pleasure with a song. Nothing beats that first oozing bite.

The Max Brenner Kangaroo Cup

Yes, this is a coffee cup with a side slot for chocolate bars. The hot coffee melts the chocolate and then you drink both in tandem. We can’t make this stuff up.

(Max Brenner, $22)

A chocolate doughnut from a coffee-shop drive-thru? Decent. A chocolate doughnut made from cake and topped with chocolate glaze, chocolate shavings and white chocolate pearls? Decadent.

(Glazed and Infused, $17 for 6)

Popbar’s Hot Chocolate

Tucked away in New York’s West Village, Popbar offers a Hot Chocolate on a Stick that’s one for the books. Pop it into steaming milk and--voilà--it’s an instant creamy chocolate drink.

(Popbar, $3)

What's Your Favorite Chocolate Treat?

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