Dessert Chef Alice Medrich's 8 Ideas for a Chocolate Bar

PHOTO: Chef Alice Medrich's chocolate dipped fruit is shown here.
Artisan Books

From cakes to cookies, dessert chef Alice Medrich is the queen of all things chocolate.

For her eighth cookbook, "Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts," the award-winning chocolatier's goal was to turn recipes for some of her favorite decadent delicacies into something the common chef can tackle.

The following are Medrich's eight ideas for creating easy dishes with a chocolate bar.

Note from the Dessert Chef: At my house, we taste a lot of chocolate in an informal and spontaneous way. We sit at the table with a bar or two or three of some new or interesting chocolate, or a familiar one that we love, on a wooden cutting board. I break the bars into small pieces with the tip of a sharp paring knife. We nibble. The ritual becomes more elaborate, and more like dessert than a "tasting," if I add toasted nuts, fresh or dried fruit, even a fresh or hard cheese. It is fascinating to see how different chocolates pair with the various ingredients. Think of it as you might a cheese course, but different! Serve a little dessert wine or the rich red wine left from dinner. Here are some other ways to turn a bar of chocolate into a dessert.

Alice Medrich's "Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts"

1.
Classic S'mores

Make classic s'mores with graham crackers and marshmallows. Or substitute buttered and toasted baguette slices or Spice-Drawer Cinnamon Toast or the graham crackers.

Alice Medrich's "Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts"

2.
Make a Rich Chocolate Demitasse

For 3 servings, put 3 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped, in a small saucepan, pour 1/3 cup boiling water over it, and stir until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Stir in another 1/3 cup boiling water, followed by 2/3 cup whole milk. Heat gently, whisking or stirring, until the chocolate is steaming hot but not simmering. Serve immediately, with cookies or Spice-Drawer Cinnamon Toast. You can offer ground cinnamon, cardamom, ancho chile, black pepper, or other spices for guests to sprinkle (just a pinch or so) over the chocolate to taste.

Alice Medrich's "Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts"

3.
Grill Pineapple

Grill slices of fresh pineapple and pile them on a platter, interspersed with chopped chocolate.

Alice Medrich's "Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts"

4.
Melt Chocolate on Toast

Top Spice-Drawer Cinnamon Toast with small chunks of chocolate and let them melt.

Alice Medrich's "Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts"

5.
Use Chocolate With Ricotta

Finely chop chocolate and stir into sweetened ricotta along with chopped candied orange peel and pistachios or toasted almonds.

Alice Medrich's "Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts"

6.
Sweeten Up a Corn Tortilla

Strew chopped chocolate over a hot buttered corn tortilla, sprinkle with ground cinnamon or cardamom and sugar and/or chopped nuts, fold, and serve.

Alice Medrich's "Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts"

7.
Chocolate in a Baguette

Split a baguette in half, butter generously, and stuff with pieces of chocolate.

Alice Medrich's "Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts"

8.
Make a Chocolate Pizzetta

Make a chocolate pizzetta: bake purchased pizza dough as directed and top in the last 5 minutes with chunks of chocolate and cinnamon sugar.

You can find more of dessert chef Alice Medrich's favorite recipes and techniques for cooking with chocolate in her new cookbook, "Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts," in stores now, and on her website, http://alicemedrich.com/

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