Here are my secrets for enjoying chocolate in moderation.
If you hang around me for more than a few hours you'll quickly realize that there is one food, and one food only, that I can get rather crazy over. It's not coffee (although it is brown), or ice cream (although it is creamy), and it has a melting point that's just below body temperature. Oh yeah, baby...it's chocolate.
Here's one confession to start us off. One St. Patrick's Day, my sister gave my two girls 3-inch foil-wrapped chocolate leprechauns from a nice chocolate store. The girls put them away in the refrigerator to savor later. Normally, these leprechauns would have been safe from my chocolate-craving clutches. But several days later I was in the mood for a bite or two of chocolate. And when I searched my usual chocolate stashes -- even the chocolate chips for baking -- the well was dry! Before you could say "the luck of the leprechauns," off went one of the heads. A few days later, I had made it down to the pointed feet.
I'm not a compulsive eater, and I really don't have food cravings to speak of. But I do have a love for chocolate that is unmatched by any other food I can think of, as evidenced by the chocolate leprechaun massacre.
Do I ever have more than a few bites at one time? Not really. Because I don't deprive myself of chocolate, it's always been something that I can enjoy in small amounts: a few chocolate kisses here, and a tablespoon of chocolate chips there.
I'll let you in on a little secret. In the upper right-hand corner of the freezer door is my chocolate stash -- some type of chocolate in individual pieces, like chocolate chips or Hershey Nuggets.
Hang on ... there is method to my madness!
Elaine's Frozen Chocolate Trick
This is based on my "Elaine Magee frozen chocolate theory": When you place a bite-size piece of frozen chocolate in your mouth, it forces you to take your time enjoying it. You can't bite it, so you have no choice but to roll it around on your tongue, slowly warming it and softening it.
This method will give you 3 full minutes of chocolate ecstasy per Hershey's nugget, compared with mere seconds for chocolate at room temperature. I know this because I timed myself doing it several times just to be sure (this was a really fun experiment -- do try it at home!).