I have never met a piece of chocolate I didn’t like. When you are really hungry for chocolate, nothing else will do.

My mama makes the best homemade chocolate fudge in the world. When I was a little girl, she would make it on the weekends. I would help stir while she dripped the boiling chocolate mixture from her wooden spoon into a cup of cold water to tell when the soft ball stage had been reached. The same oval platter would be buttered to prepare for the delicious confection to be poured out to cool before cutting.

My all-time favorite chocolate treat is a box of Whitman Sampler candy. I love opening the box and reading the diagram on top to lead you to your favorite delicious filling inside the individual chocolate pieces. When I was pregnant with my son, Steven, I kept a Whitman Sampler box of candy under the sofa where I would rest. No one else knew about the candy except my dog, Pooh-Bear. One night, Pooh-Bear was digging and barking under the sofa. Steve went to investigate and located my “stash.” I still can’t believe my dog would tell on me, but he did.

I have met a few people here and there who did not like chocolate. They are a breed of sweet-eaters I can’t understand. Can they be trusted? What other strange likes and dislikes do they have?

While reading a food magazine last week, I ran across an article about a hotel in Hershey, Pennsylvania — the sweetest place on Earth. The Hotel Hershey stands on a mountaintop overlooking the town of Hershey, Pennsylvania. Milton Hershey, the chocolate mogul, built this elegant hotel in the 1930s after returning home from a trip to Europe. The hotel combines elegance, modern amenities and uncompromising service. It is the perfect place to relax, refresh and re-focus on creative energies for the future. The most amazing feature of the hotel and what really got my attention was the hotel’s spa. The Hershey spa uses chocolate as a main ingredient or theme for everything they offer.

Just imagine a whipped cocoa bath or a chocolate massage body polish. Chocolate sugar scrubs, a cocoa massage and, last but certainly not least, a chocolate fondue wrap!

There are some intriguing Day Spa packages. I love the names — the Hershey Kiss, the Hershey Hug, the Chocolate Escape and the Chocolate Immersion.

The photos and descriptions of everything offered at the spa look and sound divine! I wonder if that would change the minds of the people who are not so fond of chocolate.

This week I have some chocolate recipes. Hope you enjoy them. Thanks for reading.

CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER CAKE

(If you like Reese’s peanut butter cups, you will love this!)

Cake:

2 sticks butter

1 cup buttermilk

½ cup cocoa powder

2 cups plain flour

2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 (18-ounce) jar creamy peanut butter (2 cups)

Frosting:

1 stick butter

¼ cup cocoa powder

6 tablespoons buttermilk

1 (16-ounce) package powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13-by-9-by-2-inch baking pan. Place the butter, buttermilk, cocoa and 1 cup water in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir constantly until just lightly bubbling — do not let the milk scorch. Remove from heat, and set aside. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar and baking soda. Add the eggs and vanilla, and stir with a wooden spoon until smooth. Slowly pour the milk chocolate mixture in, and mix well. Pour the batter into the baking pan, and bake for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. While the cake is still warm, spoon the peanut butter over the top and gently spread evenly. Let the cake cool until the peanut butter is firm, about one hour.

Frosting: Place the butter, cocoa and buttermilk in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir constantly just until lightly bubbling. Remove from heat. Add the powdered sugar, and mix well. Pour the frosting over the peanut butter, spreading as necessary to cover the top. Let cool until the frosting is firm, about one hour. Cut into squares and serve.

CHOCOLATE MARSHMALLOW CHEESE BALL

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened

½ cup butter, softened

½ cup powdered sugar

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup mini marshmallows

1 cup mini semisweet chocolate morsels

1 cup finely chopped toasted pecans

In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese and butter. Beat at medium speed until creamy. Add powdered sugar, cocoa, brown sugar and vanilla. Beat until well combined. Add marshmallows and chocolate morsels. Stir to combine well. Cover and chill for at least two hours. Form into a ball, and roll in pecans. Serve with honey and chocolate-flavored graham crackers.

EASY CHOCOLATE MONKEY BREAD

1¾ cups sugar

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cup butter, melted

2 (12-ounce) cans refrigerated biscuits, cut into fourths

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 10-cup bundt pan. In a medium bowl, combine sugar, cocoa and cinnamon. In a separate bowl, place the melted butter. Dip the biscuit fourths into the butter, and dredge in sugar mixture. Layer prepared biscuits in prepared bundt pan. Bake for one hour, covering pan with aluminum foil to prevent excess browning if necessary. Let cool in pan for about 10 minutes. Invert pan onto serving platter.

• Contact Lee Ann Flemming at lafkitchen@hughes.net.

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