Make these delicious chocolate treats for Easter – Boston Herald

Some food memories are forever stuck in my noggin. One that remains from early childhood involves chocolate bunnies. At 4, I requested that the Easter Bunny bring a basket filled with treats that were green, my favorite color. I didn’t know much about candy and had no knowledge of chocolate. My mother had a low opinion of sugar consumption and desserts were relegated to holiday menus, most often showcased in tart fruit pies.

The Easter Bunny brought me chocolate bunnies along with a note of apology, explaining that bunnies weren’t available in a greenish hue.

I can remember that joyous taste of that first bunny’s ear. Bingo! Creamy sweetness edged with a subtle bitter note, complex irresistibility. Chocolate erased my desire for anything else on my Easter list. Forever after, Easter has provided a bounty of chocolate. Dark brown, milky brown, and all shades in between.

Here are recipes to make your Easter a chocolate delight.

Chocolate Ice Box Cookies hark back to a bygone, bake-from-scratch era. (Photo by Cathy Thomas)
Chocolate Ice Box Cookies hark back to a bygone, bake-from-scratch era. (Photo by Cathy Thomas)

Chocolate Icebox Cookies

According to “The Joy of Cooking” by Irma S. Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker and Ethan Becker (Scribner, 1997, $30), what Irma Rombauer called “icebox cookies” in the 1931 edition, were renamed “refrigerator cookies” in the ’50s by Marion Becker. But “Joy,” along with many other cookbooks, returned to the original nomenclature. Icebox harks back to a bake-from-scratch, bygone era. Somehow it seems a lot homier. The recipe originally called for mint chocolate chips.

Yield: about 3 1/2 dozen


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

Optional: 1 1/4 teaspoons peppermint extract

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup sugar

1 egg

Garnish: 6 ounces coating chocolate or semisweet chocolate, chopped, or mint chocolate chips


1. Whisk flour, cocoa powder and salt in medium bowl to blend.

2. Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until smooth. Beat in peppermint extract (if using) and vanilla extract. Beat in sugar in 3 additions. Add egg and beat until blended. Add dry ingredients and beat just until blended (dough will be sticky).

3. Divide dough between 2 sheets of plastic wrap or wax paper. Using plastic wrap or wax paper as aid, form dough on each into 2-inch-diameter log. Refrigerate dough until well chilled, at least 2 hours.

4. Position 1 rack in center and 1 rack in top third of oven; preheat to 350 degrees.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Unwrap cookie dough logs; roll briefly on work surface to form smooth round logs. Cut logs crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Place rounds on prepared baking sheets, spacing 1 inch apart. Bake cookies until tops and edges are dry to touch, about 15 minutes. Transfer baking sheets with cookies to racks; cool completely.

5. Stir chocolate in top of double boiler set over simmering water until melted and smooth. Remove from over water. Chocolate should only be warm enough to melt, not hot. You can either dip half of each cookie in the white or dark chocolate (and allow to harden on a sheet of wax paper) or place melted white chocolate in a pastry bag fitted with a small, plain tip and pipe polka dots or zigzags on the top of each cooled cookie. Refrigerate cookies on baking sheets until chocolate is set, about 10 minutes. If you use coating chocolate (such as Candiquik ) it will harden at room temperature and no refrigeration is needed.

Source: Adapted from “Bon Appetit Desserts” by Barbara Fairchild (Andrews McMeel, $40)

A Warm Mocha Tart is a tasty chocolate treat to enjoy on Easter. (Photo by Getty Images)
A Warm Mocha Tart is a tasty chocolate treat to enjoy on Easter. (Photo by Getty Images)

Warm Mocha Tart

Alice Medrich, baker, cookbook author, and businesswoman, focuses on desserts made with chocolate with a higher percentage of cocoa bean solids and less sugar than milk chocolate in her cookbook “Bittersweet: Recipes and Tales from a Life in Chocolate.”  Some versions use a chocolate crust for this Warm Mocha Tart, but this rendition omits the cocoa powder in the crust making it very easy to work with. If you like, sprinkle the tart with a smidgen of flakey sea salt just before serving.

Yield: 8 to 10 servings



8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup all-purpose flour


3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, Dutch-process cocoa preferred; see cook’s notes

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1 1/4 teaspoons instant espresso powder, such as Medaglia d’Oro, or 1 1/2 teaspoons instant coffee crystals

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 large egg, lightly beaten

Cook’s notes: Dutch-processed cocoa powder is processed with alkali, which gives it a less bitter flavor. It’s sold online and at some supermarkets with large specialty baking sections.


1. Adjust oven rack to lower third of oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Prepare crust: Mix melted butter, sugar, salt, and vanilla in medium bowl. Add flour and mix just until blended. Don’t worry if the dough seems too soft. Press all of dough very thinly and evenly into bottom and up sides of 9 1/2-inch fluted tart pan with removable bottom. Bake 20-25 minutes, or until crust is deep golden brown.

3. Meanwhile, make filling: Place 3 tablespoons butter, sugar, cocoa powder, and cream in medium saucepan; cook on medium heat, stirring, until blended and smooth, and beginning to simmer around edges. Remove from heat and stir in espresso powder and vanilla.

4. Just before crust is ready, whisk egg thoroughly into hot chocolate mixture. Pour filling into hot crust and turn off oven. Leave tart in oven until it quivers like gelatin in center when pan is nudged, about 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Source: “BitterSweet: Recipes and Tales from a Life in Chocolate” by Alice Medrich (Artisan)

Chocolate Bundt Cake can be simply dusted with powdered sugar, as shown here, or topped with chocolate drizzle-style frosting. (Photo by Cathy Thomas)
Chocolate Bundt Cake can be simply dusted with powdered sugar, as shown here, or topped with chocolate drizzle-style frosting. (Photo by Cathy Thomas)

Chocolate Bundt Cake

The cooled cake can be simply dusted with powdered sugar, but if you wish, a chocolate drizzle-style frosting can adorn it. Serve this tasty Chocolate Bundt Cake with sweetened whipped cream and lightly sweetened fresh raspberries.

Yield: 10 to 12 servings


3/4 cup (regular not Dutch processed) cocoa powder, plus 1 tablespoon, divided use

12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus 1 tablespoon melted for pan prep

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Optional: 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder

3/4 cup boiling water

1 cup sour cream, room temperature

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 cups packed light brown sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

5 large eggs, room temperature

Garnish: powdered sugar for dusting, see cook’s notes

For serving: 15 ounces (3 cups) fresh raspberries and 1 to 2 tablespoons sugar

For serving: sweetened whipped cream or ice cream

Cook’s notes: Chocolate drizzle-style frosting is an option. Combine 2 tablespoons butter and 2 ounces chopped unsweetened chocolate in a saucepan on low heat; stir until melted (do not overheat). Off heat, stir in 1 cup powdered sugar. Beat, adding boiling water (about 2 tablespoons) until thinned to desired consistency. Slowly drizzle over cooled cake.


1. In small bowl, mix 1 tablespoon cocoa powder and melted butter. Using a pastry brush, thoroughly coat interior of 12-cup Bundt pan. Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Combine remaining cocoa, chocolate and espresso (if using) in medium heatproof bowl. Pour boiling water over mixture and let sit, covered, for 5 minutes. Whisk mixture until smooth. Let cool to room temperature, and then whisk in sour cream. In separate bowl, whisk to combine remaining flour, salt and baking soda; set aside.

3. Using stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat 12 tablespoons butter, sugar, and vanilla on medium high speed for 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat until combined, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with chocolate-sour cream mixture in 2 additions, scraping down bowl as needed. Give batter a final stir or two by hand using a rubber spatula.

4. Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth top with rubber spatula. Bake until skewer inserted in center comes out with only a few crumbs attached, 45 to 55 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking. Let cake cool in pan for 10 minutes, then invert cake onto cooling rack. Cool to room temperature, about 3 hours. Meanwhile, gently toss raspberries with sugar and set aside. Dust cake with powdered sugar, or if you prefer, drizzle with chocolate frosting (see cook’s notes). Serve with lightly sweetened raspberries and whipped cream.

Source: adapted from “Cook’s Illustrated Baking Book” (America’s Test Kitchen)

Using the microwave will speed up the process of making these Five Ingredient Chocolate Truffles. (Photo by Cathy Thomas)
Using the microwave will speed up the process of making these Five Ingredient Chocolate Truffles. (Photo by Cathy Thomas)

Five Ingredient Chocolate Truffles

Here’s a microwave shortcut that makes quick work of making ganache. A mix of heated chocolate and heavy whipping cream, the ganache is microwaved for a couple of minutes. Stir occasionally with a silicone or rubber spatula. This recipe adds a little salt to the mix; it amplifies the bittersweet chocolate’s complex flavors.

Yield: About 24


1/4 cup (3/4 ounce) unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tablespoon powdered sugar

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Pinch of salt


1. Sift cocoa powder and powdered sugar though a fine-mesh strainer into a pie plate. Microwave chocolate, cream, and salt in microwave-safe bowl at 50 percent power, stirring occasionally with silicone (or rubber) spatula, until melted and smooth, 2 to 4 minutes. Stir mixture until fully combined. Transfer to an 8-inch baking dish and refrigerate until set, about 45 minutes.

2. Using a heaping teaspoon measure, scoop chocolate mixture into 24 portions. I speed up the process using a very small ice cream scoop instead of a measuring spoon. Place on a large plate and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes. Roll each truffle between your hands to form balls (they don’t need to be perfect).

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