I'm feeling a little under the weather, ducklings, so here's a post dating back from September 5, 2005 to keep you going until I write again:
Sleep is precious, fragile, and so easily broken. For those of us who have problems sleeping, the night can stretch on endlessly, while at the same time, daybreak will arrive like an unwelcome guest, inducing panic and dread. What to do to wile away those endless hours awake and alone, to stave off the inevitable anxiety that the lack of sleep engenders? Have a treat, I say—a delicious, ridiculous, guilty pleasure in the middle of the night.
Most doctors (including mine, if I ever admitted to it) would counsel against eating in the middle of the night, and probably would advise even more strenuously against eating food containing chocolate when attaining sleep is the goal.
Sometimes though, the calming act of cooking is all it takes to relax a little and to allow sleep to silently sneak up on you when you finally go back to bed. Cooking however, clearly leads to something on a plate that needs to be eaten; maybe it's just a bite or maybe it's the whole thing, depending upon what you whipped up there at the darkest moment before dawn.
I always find myself turning to what I think of as my guiltiest of guilty pleasures: a grilled chocolate sandwich fried up in lots and lots of butter. It might be the endorphins the chocolate triggers or it might be the fat slowing the crazy carbs surging into my bloodstream but this sandwich always enables me to go back to bed, sleek and satisfied, and to drift off effortlessly in my already sleeping household.
Grilled Chocolate Sandwich
1 slice of good bread (not sandwich bread--firm, European varieties only)
Semi-sweet chocolate pieces to cover half a slice (Scharffen Berger is my favorite)
1-2 Tb. Plugra (or any other European-style) unsalted butter
Cut your piece of bread in half (moderation, remember?). Melt the butter in a heavy skillet over low heat and swirl each half of the bread, one side only, in the butter. Place a piece of bread, buttery side down in skillet. Layer with chocolate pieces. Top with the other piece of bread, buttery side up and raise heat. Cook exactly as you would an ordinary grilled cheese sandwich, pressing down on the bread occasionally and flipping after the first side browns. Remove when the second side is golden brown and the chocolate has melted. Cool slightly and eat. Clean the kitchen carefully and never confess
to your late night culinary excursion.