Ridge chef whips up chocolate magic in Sunset

January 24, 2018 Helen Klein
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What’s better than chocolate?

Arguably, the opportunity to learn how to make treats featuring it — for free.

To that end, Beyond at Liberty View, 850 Third Avenue, has begun a trio of cooking demos with acclaimed celebrity chef Nick Malgieri.

With the first of the series highlighting Chocolate Mousse Cake and brownies already a fait accompli, Malgieri — who has lived in Bay Ridge for the past three and a half years — is looking forward to enthralling home cooks with his recipes for chocolate truffles, three different ways (February 10) and bar cookies (February 18), both from 3-4 p.m.

Malgieri — who has taught cooking for nearly 40 years and trained at the renowned Culinary Institute of America as well as in Europe under renowned pastry chefs there — told this paper that he aims to demonstrate recipes that taste good, look beautiful, but are not “intimidating.”

That said, he stressed that, “Every class has to have a little wow factor. That engages people, even if they are not going to attempt it on their own.”

For the truffles, Malgieri is planning on demonstrating classic champagne truffles that are flavored with a grade of brandy known as “fine champagne,” as well as “a citrus variation and then a kid’s truffle,” featuring “a little vanilla and rolled in multi-colored sprinkles.”

For the bar cookie demonstration, Malgieri said he plans to highlight blondie bars, bar cookies with a “mixture of sweet coconut, pecans and chocolate chips” and finally ginger squares with lemon icing. “There isn’t any chocolate in them,” he noted, “but everyone is going to love them.”

The first session, he said, was “a love fest.” He enjoyed every minute of it, he said, adding, “I think people had fun too.”

It likely helped that the brownie recipe he demonstrated was “probably my most requested recipe of all time, Supernatural Brownies,” which, he confessed, “came about as the result of an accident,” when he doubled ingredients to make his standard brownies, but forgot to increase the flour proportionately.

He realized the mistake after the brownies were already baking, and was happily surprised when they came out, “So much better and moister and more luscious.”

Malgieri, who moved to the Ridge from Manhattan, said he wasn’t quite sure why he hadn’t made the move years ago, given the community’s culinary chops. “What I love about Bay Ridge, you can jump on the Fifth Avenue bus and be in the Middle East in 10 minutes, and you can be in Latino land not long after, and from there, it’s Chinatown,” he enthused. “There’s an incredible wealth of food opportunities within a short distance.”

Malgieri’s also incredibly enthusiastic about what Beyond at Liberty View is providing to those who come by. “It’s very community-oriented,” he said. “It brings people together. They’re not compelled to buy anything and they have a good time. The demographic is very much a microcosm of the whole Bay Ridge to Sunset Park area, a lot of families with kids and a lot of single people too.”

The setup is also conducive to attracting people who might not have known the event was taking place, Malgieri added. “A lot of people passing by stopped and watched,” he recalled. “The design of the space allows people to experience it without devoting an hour to it.”

For Malgieri’s recipes and to watch his videos of how to prepare these desserts, as well as to see the calendar of future events at Beyond at Liberty View Plaza, visit bedbathandbeyond.com/brooklyn.

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