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Like some heat with your sweet? Try Mexican-spiced brownies

Mexican hot chocolate is a beloved beverage made from chocolate (no surprise there) combined with cinnamon and another spice or two to bring up the heat. The combination of spicy and chocolate just plain works, and I wanted to see how it would translate into another beloved treat, the good old American brownie. Again, it just plain worked.

Chai spice truffles

Valentine’s Day can throw the best of us into a wild panic. How to show the one you love the way you feel without succumbing to cliches? You know what I mean ‚Äî booking a table at a romantic restaurant for the set steak dinner with a side of heavy breathing couples, or buying a bunch of roses on the way home. Always lovely, but never original.

Lidia Bastianich’s recipes for pasta with clams; chocolate-hazelnut cake

Lidia Bastianich hopes her new book, “Lidia’s Mastering the Art of Italian Cuisine,” will help dispel apprehensions some people may have about cooking.

“Just the fact of relaxing in the kitchen and give yourself the confidence that you can do something. You can boil pasta, you can scramble an egg, you can steam some vegetables. You begin that and then you build on that.