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Posted at 3:40 PM ET, 02/11/2011

Shopping Cart: Last-minute choc and beyond

By Bonnie S. Benwick
zoes_opt.jpg V-Day treats from Zoe's Chocolate. (Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post)

We continue to be impressed with just about whatever holiday treats Zoe's Chocolate Co. of Frederick produces. For Valentine's Day, there's still time to pick up or order her delicately flavored liquid caramels ($1.75 each at Periwinkle's, 3815 Livingston St. NW, 202-364-3076; order online at Zoe'sChocolate.com. Shown above: A bag of English butter toffee with dark chocolate, almonds, candy hearts ($9.75); white mint or dark chocolate bars decorated with small hearts ($6.95 each); caramels in espresso, orange nerole, pear walnut, apple pie and baklava flavors (9-piece box, $13.75 or 16-piece Valentine Signature assortment, $23.75).

mixermate_opt.jpg The Mixer Mate bowl, and fun kitchen hat. (Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post)

Rose Levy Beranbaum likes it, and now that we've tried it, we know why. The Mixer Mate bowl is a must-have for cooks/bakers with hand-held mixers. It's made by New Metro Design in Duncansville, Pa., the folks who brought you the Beater Blade. It's "all about the shape," as the company's literature touts: easy to grip, eliminates splatters, makes faster work of beating whipped cream and egg whites. The three-quart bowl comes in white, red, blue and green; microwaving's not recommended because of the rubbery grip handles and base, but a company rep said the bowl can withstand discrete 30-second sessions.

(This is not a recommended use, either, but we were inspired by the bowl's funky shape to try it out as a hat, a la the "I Love Lucy" episode where L&E make fashion waves in Paris by wearing hats fashioned from something like a feedbag and a wine bucket. One size fits all.)

See more info here, or pick one up at for $14.95 at Kitchen Collection, Leesburg Corner Premium Outlet, 241 Fort Evans Rd. NE, Leesburg. 703-777-6766.

mahlab_opt.jpg Mahlab: A flavor alternative for baked goods. (Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post)

I recently came across a little jar of flavor love for baked goods. Mahlab is finely ground sour cherry pits and widely used in Iranian, Armenian and Greek recipes and more. But I've been using it instead of vanilla extract in chocolate chip cookies and breakfast scones, with great success. It's a little almond, a little fruity. $5.99 for a 1-ounce jar that will last a while. Available at Yas Bakery, 137 Church St., Vienna, 703-242-4050.

prezcookies_opt.jpg Presidential cookies from OneToughCookieNYC.com. (Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post)

On to the next holiday: Presidents' Day is right around the corner, and native Washingtonian Gail Dosik, a.k.a. OneToughCookieNYC.com, is talented enough to render sweet profiles of Lincoln and Washington -- or any other two presidents you'd like to see -- on iced sugar cookies. They taste good, too. You must order by the dozen: $75 plus shipping. Order online here.

By Bonnie S. Benwick  | February 11, 2011; 3:40 PM ET
Categories:  Shopping  | Tags:  Bonnie S. Benwick, Shopping  
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