January 23rd, 2019

The Kosher Gourmet

The heart races --- for chocolate. Here are 5 quick-fix ways to enjoy it

Bonnie S. Benwick

By Bonnie S. Benwick The Washington Post

Published Feb. 12, 2018

The heart races --- for chocolate. Here are 5 quick-fix ways to enjoy it

I will not sink my teeth into an out-of-season fresh tomato, but I don't wait for summer to enjoy all kinds of corny-ness. This particular bowl features convenient, frozen fire-roasted kernels and an inexpensive, canned kind you might not pick up that often: hominy.

Its dried kernels are treated to the same kind of alkaline process that produces masa, and they morph into large and wonderfully chewy bits with lots of corn flavor. You may know hominy as the star of a stewy Mexican posole; once you stock your pantry with a can or two, you'll come to rely on it as an easy alternative for canned beans in other recipes.

That's how Jacques Pepin uses it in this chowder, which is humble and satisfying and quick - an apt description, you might say, of the great chef himself. Pair it with a warm brick of corn bread and you'll serve up a corny trifecta.



A sweet fondue isn't retro; it's classic. This straight-up version is particularly glossy, and clings well.

In testing, we found that the consistency suffered a bit when reheated, even with some liquids added. It won't be a hardship to make this disappear at one sitting.

If you don't have a fondue pot, serve the chocolate fondue in the same pan you cooked it in, or transfer it to a small slow cooker set on LOW.

For the fondue

  • 1/3 cup regular or low-fat milk, or more as needed

  • 1/3 cup heavy cream

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup good-quality, chopped white chocolate (may substitute Ghirardelli white chocolate chips; optional)

    For dipping (choose your favorites)

  • Hulled strawberries

  • Raspberries

  • Sliced bananas

  • Angel food cake, cut or torn into chunks

  • Plain cake doughnuts, cut into chunks

  • Toaster waffles, toasted and cut into bite-size pieces

  • Marshmallows

  • Dried apricots

  • Flaky or coarse sea salt, for sprinkling


For the fondue: Combine the chocolate, milk and cream in a medium saucepan over low heat; cook, stirring often, until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth and glossy.

Stir in the vanilla extract; if the mixture seems too thick, add more milk a tablespoon at a time. If desired, add the white chocolate (to taste) and stir just long enough to create melty swirls.

Pour the mixture into a fondue pot set over low heat or a gel-fuel flame.

For dipping: When ready to serve, set out some or all the components next to the fondue, with individual plates.

Nutrition | Per serving (fondue only, without white chocolate): 250 calories, 4 g protein, 23 g carbohydrates, 24 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 20 mg cholesterol, 15 mg sodium, 1 g dietary fiber, 1 g sugar


SERVINGS: 6 to 8 servings (makes 3/4 to 1 cup)

This is easy to make and chocolaty-rich.

Serve over ice cream or cake, or swirl into a blended non-dairy milkshake.

MAKE AHEAD: The sauce can be refrigerated in a covered container for up to 2 weeks. It will thicken when chilled; stir in 1 to 3 tablespoons water or non-dairy milk to loosen the consistency.

Adapted from a recipe at


  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon water

  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup, or more as needed

  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon Dutch-processed cocoa powder, such as Hershey's Special Dark, or more as needed

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped vegan bittersweet or dark chocolate (may substitute cocoa butter)

  • Pinch sea salt, or more as needed

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Combine the water, maple syrup, cocoa powder, vegan chocolate and salt in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring just to a boil, whisking to incorporate.

Reduce the heat to medium-low; cook for 5 minutes until thickened, whisking often. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract.

Taste and adjust the flavor as needed, adding more maple syrup for sweetness or consistency; more salt for flavor balance; or more cocoa powder (the latter, by the teaspoon) for more intense chocolate flavor.

Use right away as a hot chocolate sauce, or cool and transfer to a lidded container and refrigerate, for up to 2 weeks.

Nutrition | Per serving (based on 8): 50 calories, 1 g protein, 10 g carbohydrates, 1 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 40 mg sodium, 1 g dietary fiber, 6 g sugar


SERVINGS: 4 to 8

These have a twist: Their warm, oozing centers are store-bought peanut butter instead of chocolate. And because we ran the nutritional analysis, we recommend splitting each portion with someone you like.

Adapted from "The New Classics: A Definitive Collection of Classics for Every Modern Cook," by Donna Hay.


• 7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

• 8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into several pieces

• 2 large eggs plus 2 large egg yolks

• 1/2 cup sugar

• 1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon flour, sifted or whisked

• 8 tablespoons creamy (smooth) peanut butter, preferably Skippy or Jif brand


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease four 6-ounce custard cups or ramekins with cooking oil spray.

Combine the chocolate and butter in a medium saucepan over low heat, stirring until smooth and well incorporated. Remove from the heat.

Whisk together the eggs and egg yolks and the sugar in a mixing bowl, until well incorporated.

Whisk a little of the melted chocolate mixture into the egg mixture (to temper the eggs so they don't scramble), and then whisk the tempered mixture and flour into the remaining chocolate mixture, to form a smooth batter.

Use two-thirds of the batter to fill the four cups or ramekins, then spoon 2 tablespoons of the peanut butter into the center of each one. Top with the remaining batter, making sure to cover the peanut butter completely. Bake (middle rack) for 16 to 18 minutes, until the cake looks just set but jiggles a bit at the center.

Gently invert each cup or ramekin on individual plates. Serve right away.

Nutrition | Per serving: 390 calories, 9 g protein, 31 g carbohydrates, 32 g fat, 10 g saturated fat, 125 mg cholesterol, 95 mg sodium, 2 g dietary fiber, 14 g sugar


SERVINGS: 6 to 8 servings (makes 3/4 to 1 cup)

8 servings (makes one 8 1/2-by-4 1/2-inch or 9-by-5-inch loaf)

This beats many chocolate poundcake recipes we've tried, as it has a soft, dense crumb and lots of chocolate flavor.

Serve it plain, or slice it thin and make tea sandwiches spread with cinnamon cream cheese, jam or a chocolate-hazelnut spread.

MAKE AHEAD: The cake can be stored at room temperature for up to 3 days, or wrapped well and frozen for up to 1 year.

Adapted from "The Perfect Cake: Your Ultimate Guide to Classic, Modern and Whimsical Cakes," from the editors of America's Test Kitchen (ATK, March 2018).

(Buy it by clicking here.)


  • 1 cup flour

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (Dutch-processed, such as Hershey's)

  • 2 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped

  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon boiling water

  • 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, at room temperature

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 5 large eggs, at room temperature


Position a rack in the lower third of the oven; preheat to 325 degrees. Use baker's spray to grease/flour a loaf pan (either 8½-by-4½ or 9-by-5), or line the pan with parchment paper.

Whisk together the flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Combine the cocoa powder and chocolate in a separate medium bowl. Pour in the boiling water and whisk until smooth. Let cool for 5 minutes.

Combine the butter, granulated and brown sugars, the vanilla extract and the cooled cocoa mixture in the bowl of a stand mixer or handheld mixer; beat on medium-high speed for 2 to 3 minutes, until fluffy.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating each until thoroughly incorporated before adding the next. Reduce the speed to low; add the flour mixture in three additions, stopping to scrape down the bowl as needed. Give the batter a final stir by hand; it might look slightly curdled, which is okay.

Pour into the pan, giving it one or two raps on the counter to get rid of any air bubbles. Bake (lower rack) for 1 hour and 10 to 1 hour and 20 minutes (longer time for the smaller-size loaf pan), until a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. If you see any bubbles forming on the surface in the still-unset batter, simply use a toothpick or cake tester to pop them.

Cool (in the pan) on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then dislodge and place the cake directly on the rack to cool for an hour or two before serving or storing.

Nutrition | Per serving: 490 calories, 8 g protein, 52 g carbohydrates, 29 g fat, 17 g saturated fat, 180 mg cholesterol, 190 mg sodium, 2 g dietary fiber, 35 g sugar



This is an easy upgrade to fabulous: brownies with juicy raspberries tucked in, and baked in 4 1/2-inch round tart pans. In a pinch, you could use a muffin-top pan; the total yield may be greater and the baking time may be shorter.

Adapted from "The New Classics: A Definitive Collection of Classics for Every Modern Cook," from Donna Hay magazine


• 7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped (64 to 72 percent)

• 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

• 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

• 1/4 cup heavy cream

• 3 large eggs

• 1/4 cup flour

• 8 ounces fresh raspberries, rinsed and gently patted dry

• Lightly sweetened whipped cream, for serving


Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Arrange four 4½-inch tart pans on a rimmed baking sheet, greasing each one with cooking oil spray.

Combine the chocolate, butter, brown sugar and heavy cream in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring until smooth. Remove from the heat.

Whisk together the eggs and flour in a mixing bowl, then add a third of the chocolate mixture, stirring to incorporate. Stir in the remaining chocolate mixture to create a uniform chocolate batter. Divide evenly among the tart pans, then gently push the raspberries in each portion of batter.

Bake (middle rack) for 25 to 35 minutes, depending on how fudgy you like your brownies. (Press gently with a finger; they should feel soft but set.) For cakier brownies, a toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean.

Remove from the tart pans; serve warm, with whipped cream for passing at the table.

Nutrition | Per serving: 610 calories, 9 g protein, 64 g carbohydrates, 41 g fat, 24 g saturated fat, 190 mg cholesterol, 60 mg sodium, 6 g dietary fiber, 43 g sugar