With new gourmet shops popping up all over Queens, chocoholics have their pick of superb locally-made chocolate. One shop, Schmidt’s Candy, stands out from the rest. They’ve been in the chocolate making business since 1925, and it remains a family run place.
A visit to Schmidt’s is like a step back in time; glass cases glisten with hand-dipped dark and milk chocolate treats while old fashioned candy jars sit out on the counter. The smell of chocolate hits you as soon as you walk through their door. The owner and grand-daughter of Schmidt’s founder, Margie, greets each customer warmly and explains that she’s covered in chocolate because she makes them herself. She still uses her grandpa’s recipes, original copper kettle and marble tables to make the chocolate.
Varieties of chocolate dipped fruit, caramels and crèmes are available to please every taste. And, for the chocolate purists, break-up solid bars are sold by the pound; perfect for melting, baking or snacking.
Bakers know that starting with the very best chocolate is the way to ensure a perfect dessert. So, hop on the J Train to Woodhaven, pick up some of the best chocolate around, and then whip up this decadent and easy dessert for someone you love this Valentine’s Day!
Dark Chocolate Tart
- 1 ¼ cups chocolate wafer cookies, crushed (about 30 cookies)
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 6 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
- 12 oz best quality dark chocolate, such as Schmidt’s
- 1 ¼ cups heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Kosher salt
- Powdered sugar, red colored sugar or sprinkles, heart shaped paper cutout or doily for decoration
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine cookie crumbs, sugar and a pinch of salt in a food processor until well combined. Add melted butter and process just until mixture comes together. Use a cup to press evenly into bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch tart pan. Bake on a cookie sheet for 20 minutes, and then let cool. Note: you can also use a pie plate or store-bought cookie crust, just don’t unmold.
- Chop chocolate coarsely and add to a large mixing bowl with a pinch of salt. Heat heavy cream in a saucepan until just about to simmer, and then pour over chocolate. Let mixture stand for 2 minutes, and then begin to stir gently until chocolate and cream have combined. Stir in vanilla.
- Pour chocolate mixture into cooled tart shell and chill for at least an hour. Once set, un-mold from tart pan.
- Place a heart shaped cut-out or doily in center of tart.
- Sprinkle with powdered sugar to coat, and then carefully remove paper.
- Use colored sugar or sprinkles to decorate center of heart design.
Schmidt’s Candy: Shop in person or online.
Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 11am-6pm, closed July & August
Where: 94-15 Jamaica Avenue, Woodhaven; 718-846-9326
By Vivian Cardinale