A Hard Year

Caramelized Milk Chocolate Magic Shell (plus ice cream with duck eggs)

pouring chocolate
I’m having a bit of a hard time letting go of chocolate this year. Every year, around this time (well, actually a bit sooner), I post a recipe with chocolate to get it out of my system as, with the change in seasons, my days turn from brown to color.

I’ve described myself as a chocolate lover but not a chocoholic; the ingredient doesn’t fuel my creativity as much as dough, spices, herbs, and produce do. But this winter—the harshest I’ve experienced—may have turned a friend into a lover. I didn’t post more recipes that included chocolate than normal, just three: Chocolate-Dipped Peanut Butter Cookies with Aleppo Pepper, Individual Sesame-Chocolate Ice Cream Cakes, and Miso S’more Bars. But the ones I did post may have been some of my best and boldest.

I really turned into a lush. I found myself craving warm, fudgy-crumbed brownies, irresponsibly sliced into while they’re just baked and still gooey; the darkest and densest of flourless chocolate cakes, so overwhelming that it needs to be sliced into pencil-thin slivers; and rich ganaches coating just about everything.

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