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Nibbles: Everybody wins in Strip Chocolate

Thursday, December 13, 2001

By Nancy Anderson, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

For the adventurous chocoholic or significant other on your gift list, how about a game of Strip Chocolate? It has a board, dice and cards, and the rules are simple -- as you remove pieces of clothing, your partner paints a picture on one of your body parts with chocolate frosting. When all your clothes are off, there is "extended play," which we'll leave to your imagination.

This unique game can be found at The Chocolate Moose, 5830 Forbes Ave., Squirrel Hill, for $24.95, paintbrush and two flavors of frosting included. Moose co-owners Roberta Brody and Meira Gumerman describe the game as "medium tame."

The store has all kinds of fun chocolate stuff, including edible Monopoly, Pictionary and Trivial Pursuit (Milk Chocolate Edition) for $13.95.

Molded chocolate shaped like cell phones, motorcycles, bingo cards, PCs with keyboards, musical notes, pizzas and lions are also popular.

Food-scented candles that smell like gingerbread, peanut butter cookies or hazelnut coffee, along with multilayered scented candles, such as S'mores (chocolate, marshmallow and graham cracker scents) and Creamy Cheesecake (wild cherry, cheesecake, graham cracker crust), are great gifts for any time of the year.

For the serious chocolate lover, the store carries Godiva and Neuhaus. Call 412-422-2208.

Rania's holiday favorites

Caterer and cooking teacher Rania Harris will team up with Patrice King Brown on KDKA-TV at noon Saturday for "Cooking at Home with Rania," a one-hour show highlighting favorite holiday recipes.

On the menu are Crab, Shrimp and Asparagus Strudel; Crown Roast of Pork; Wild Rice Stuffing with Onions, Cherries and Apricots; Spinach, Beet and Walnut Salad; Fresh Cranberry Sauce; and a Nutcracker Tart.

More raw sauerkraut

In response to our item about fresh, raw sauerkraut at Thoma's market in Saxonburg, a reader called to tell us the same raw kraut can be found at Foster's market in Lawrenceville and at Kennedy's farm stand at the Farmers' Market of East Liberty on Saturdays.

Seasonal specialties

Just for the holidays:

Dunkin' Donuts has two new doughnut flavors -- Glazed Gingerbread Cake and Candy Cane Krunch with speckles of candy canes on top.

Ben & Jerry's flavor of the month is Festivus, a brown sugar cinnamon ice cream spiced with gingerbread cookie chunks and a swirl of ginger caramel. Festivus was the goofy Christmas-substitute holiday invented by George's father on "Seinfeld."

Cookie care

Seems as if everyone is baking cookies at this time of year. Here are a few cookie tips from Cook's Illustrated:

If cookies get too brown on the bottom or even slightly burned, try to gently rub the over-browned layer off with a zester or fine grater. This doesn't work for the hopelessly burned but is worth a try for cookies on the cusp.

When storing cookies in a decorative jar that isn't airtight, line the inside with a large zipper-lock bag. Place the cookies in the bag and seal.

To dry a large number of frosted cookies, stack sturdy paper plates -- with 4-ounce paper cups in the middle -- pyramid fashion, adding a little frosting to the rim of the paper cups to help them stick to the plate above.

Peanut butter recipes

Now that Smucker's is in the peanut butter business, the Ohio jelly and jam maker is offering a collection of eight recipes using its Natural Peanut Butter besides PB&J sandwiches.

From entrees such as Peanut Butter and Apple Stuffed Pork Chops to Citrus Salad with Peanut Butter Dressing and Decadent Peanut Butter Pie, the recipes are on glossy recipe file-size cards.

For a free copy, send a self-addressed, stamped (two 34-cent stamps) envelope to: J.M. Smucker Co., Attn: Natural Peanut Butter Recipe Collection, Consumer Relations Dept., Box 280, Orrville, OH 44667.

Cocoa fit for the White House

First lady Laura Bush has given out her recipe for hot chocolate as a gift to the public who won't get to see the White House decorations this year because of security precautions:

6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
6 tablespoons sugar
Pinch of salt
2 1/2 cups milk
2 1/2 cups light cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Pinch of cinnamon (optional)
Whipped cream
Orange zest

Mix cocoa, salt and sugar. Add milk. Heat to dissolve. Add light cream, cinnamon, vanilla. Heat to just under boiling. Mix very well and pour into warm mug. Top with whipped cream, cocoa powder and fine orange zest.

The last word

"Chocolate is a passionate, sensuous connection to all my hedonistic yearnings." The author and food and wine lover known as Herself.

E-mail this writer at nanderson@post-gazette.com.

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