Chocolate, Last Minute Gifts, and Cookies that Don't Crumble
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Wittamer Hot Chocolate
About 4 Mugs
This recipe is from Michael Lewis-Anderson, the chocolatier at Wittamer chocolate shop in Belgium, one of my favorite chocolate shops in the world. Michael is a true master of chocolate and sports a terrific and rather wicked sense of humor: he once created a life-sized replica of Cher out of pure dark chocolate for the window of their chocolate boutique, which stunned and amused the staid patrons of Brussels. Michael contributed this recipe for The Great Book of Chocolate.
Although Belgians like their chocolate rich, if you prefer you can use whole milk instead of the half-and-half. And to ward off any winter chills, I suspect few adults would object to sneaking in a few drops of vanilla extract or a warming shot of dark rum or cognac.
- 1 quart half-and-half (or whole milk)
- 8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 4 ounces top-quality milk chocolate, finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- In a saucepan, heat 1 cup of half-and-half (or milk) with the dark and milk chocolates. Stir until melted. Add the remaining 3 cups of half-and-half and the cinnamon and heat.
- Stir briskly with a whisk or use an immersion blender to make the hot chocolate completely smooth.
Lona Sandon is an assistant professor of clinical nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.
Shirley Corriher is a food scientist and the author of Cookwise: The Hows and Whys of Successful Cooking, published by Morrow.
For cookies that won't break up into crumbs when you send them in the mail, add 1 tablespoon of water into your flour and stir, when you're making your cookie dough. This will make little lumps but don't worry. This will produce cookies that won't crumble.
To secret to keeping moist cookies moist is to use brown sugar. All sugars absorb water out of the air. Brown sugar and honey absorb more water out of the air than white sugar. You can substitute light brown sugar equal parts for white sugar.
This is the best sugar cookie recipe, according to Shirley.
Mary's Sugar Cookies
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp cream of tartar
- Granulated sugar
- Mix together sugar and butter.
- Add egg, vanilla, and almond extract; mix well.
- Blend in flour, baking soda and cream of tartar.
- Cover and chill for 2 to 3 hours.
- Heat oven to 375F.
- Divide dough in half, and roll each half 3/16 inch thick on lightly floured cloth-covered board.
- Cut into desired shapes; sprinkle with granulated sugar.
- Place on lightly greased baking sheet.
- Bake 7 to 8 minutes or until light brown on edges.
Teri Gelber is a co-producer of Good Food. Here are her suggestions of food shops around town, perfect for last minute gifts.
- Nicole's Gourmet Foods
921 Meridian Ave #B (on the corner of El Centro)
Bake-at-home frozen croissants, cheeses; puff pastry and sweet short crust and savory short crust
950 E Colorado (at Mentor)
Yule logs, Christmas cookie trays, chocolate biscotti, chocolate cherry bread, gingerbread man cookies, delicious baked goods, lemon bars and breads -- also the best egg salad sandwich in LA
- Julienne Fine Foods
2649 Mission St
Deli/restaurant; spiced pumpkin cheesecakes, blackberry polenta bread pudding; can also pick up your entire holiday meal.
- Say Cheese
10% off gourmet cheeses with your KCRW Fringe Benefits card
3360 W 1st Street
Chocolates, baked goods. Baskets available with tea and chocolates and pastas.
- Silverlake Wine Shop
2395 Glendale Blvd
- Cheese Store of Silverlake
3926-28 W Sunset Blvd
10% off with your KCRW Fringe Benefits card
- La Brea Bakery
624 S La Brea
Individually wrapped tea breads, spiced pig-shaped cookies (mom and runt tied together with twine); holiday flavored ice creams.
- Joan's on Third
8350 W 3rd St
Gourmet deli in the style of Dean & Deluca; homemade fudge (maple walnut, peanut butter and traditional chocolate); handmade caramels, small cupcakes
10% off gourmet prepared foods, specialty food products & cafe fare; excludes catering with your KCRW Fringe Benefits card
- Larchmont Wines & Spirits
223 N Larchmont
- Du Vin Wine & Spirits
540 N San Vicente (at Melrose)
Wood crates ready for filling with selections of wines; go for dessert wines or liqueurs
10% off purchases over $40 with your KCRW Fringe Benefits card
7122 Beverly Blvd. (near La Brea)
Mandlebrot, almond tarts, Hannukah cookies; lots of minature sweets
- Little John's Candy Kitchen
6333 W 3rd St
323-660-6025 Beautifully crafted small desserts that are delicious and look beautiful.
- Boule (hopefully opening December 20th)
420 N La Cienega (near Melrose)
French patisserie including ice creams and confections plus baked goods.
- Cheese Store of Beverly Hills
419 N. Beverly Drive
10% off with your KCRW Fringe Benefits card
- Palais des The
401 N Canon Drive
Lots of gift packages with teas and tea cups
- Graffeo Coffee Roasting Co
315 N Beverly Drive
Also1260 Bison Ave
- Sorrento Market 5518 Sepulveda Blvd
Italian deli, gourmet items. Pastas, olives, oils, deli items
10% off many items with your KCRW Fringe Benefits card
8825 National Blvd
All kinds of gourmet food products and cooking supplies; cheeses, butters, fine chocolates, knives, etc
KCRW Fringe Benefits provider. Check for discounts
1751 Ensley Ave
West Los Angeles
Shaker boxes to fill with their cookies and baked goods plus old-fashioned candies. Breakfast pastry baskets available.
- Jin Patisserie
1202 Abbot Kinney
Beautiful chocolates, artisinal. Look like little gems.
- Little Flower Candy Co
Handcrafted caramels, sea salt, lemon and nut; handmade marshmallows -- great $6 gifts Malcolm's Munchies
- Market Gourmet
1800 Abbot Kinney #A
Baked goods, etc
Delicious and giant cookies, brownies, bars, all made with organic ingredients
5% off gourmet organic cookies, brownies, cakes & pastries with your KCRW Fringe Benefits card
3510 E Broadway
Gourmet food shop with cheeses and, of course, olives
Jonathan Gold is the food critic for the LA Weekly and restaurant writer for Gourmet magazine. He spoke about Dai Ho Kitchen at 9148 Las Tunas Drive in Temple City, (626) 291-2295. The restaurant is open only for lunch Tuesdays through Sundays. Closed Monday. The specialty of the house is spicy beef noodle soup. (It's always served spicy. If you ask for it to not be spicy Mr. Ku will pay you a visit and give a very stern look.)
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