If you were to join my family for dinner on a regular weeknight, you'd see our typical dessert routine in action.
It works like this: My husband grabs my favorite tiny bamboo cutting board and a paring knife while I grab a variety of fruit. Then we sit with our four daughters, chatting about our days — sometimes enjoying an impromptu dance show from one or more of the girls — as we pass wedges of pears or whatever around the table. It's sacred family time.
But … sometimes a girl needs a serious dessert. And by serious, I mean chocolate.
Yes, I'll sometimes satisfy this need by nibbling on a square of dark chocolate with my decaf espresso. That's fine. But for truly special occasions I whip up little edible chocolate bowls. They take just minutes to make using chocolate chips, and you can fill them with berries, your favorite fruit or anything else you want. These little bowls are fun enough to make for kids' sleepovers, yet elegant enough to serve at a dinner party.
I love buying the darkest chocolate chips I can find (usually 60 percent) because I love the almost-bitter flavor of darker chocolate. Plus, it is healthier.
Once you master the (simple) technique of making these chocolate baskets, you can easily customize them, adding cinnamon, cayenne, rosemary, chunky sea salt, flecks of orange zest, whatever your imagination desires. I usually fill my bowls with berries or in-season fruit (try lightly sauteed pears), but feel free to treat them like super-tasty tart crusts and build even more decadent desserts in them.
Food Network star Melissa d'Arabian is an expert on healthy eating on a budget and the author of "Supermarket Healthy."