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Everyday Aphrodisiacs

Ingredients close at hand can create foods fit for seduction. 

by Amy Reiley

 You don’t need to set aside a day and an arsenal of expensive ingredients  to cook an aphrodisiac meal. Many of the foods that have been regarded as aphrodisiacs throughout history are probably already in your pantry. Ingredients like garlic, walnuts, carrots, cinnamon, and vanilla offer a fascinating folkloric history that includes strengthening our desire and staying power. Fortunately, modern nutritional research supports this notion and reveals that each of these foods offers nutrients to benefit sexual health. 

 For example, almonds and eggs are both rich in zinc, a mineral that is essential for a healthy libido that promotes blood flow. And while we may not think of garlic breath as being arousing, it is beloved for its power to increase stamina. Additionally, the natural chemical that gives garlic its strong scent is actually present in female sexual secretions. Chocolate, long touted for its aphrodisiac properties, is chemically complex, rich in antioxidants, and in studies, has been shown to produce natural opiates in the brain and stimulate the release of the same hormones as sexual intercourse. Naysayers suggest that it takes pounds of chocolate to create these effects. Only the tongue knows for sure, so try seducing with a plate of cookies. 

  Whether you’re looking to stir up some romance with breakfast in bed or by serving a simple but sexy dinner or even a snack to enjoy while snuggling, here are some recipes from Romancing the Stove: the unabridged guide to aphrodisiac foods to add some passion to your meal. 

 Chocolate-Almond Seduction Cookies

Makes approximately 24 cookies

 chocolate seduction cookies

I worked for years to develop a cookie recipe that is light on fat and calories but still has great texture. The trick, I discovered, is to keep some of the fat, which is essential for “mouth feel.” The final recipe uses applesauce to replace some, but not all, of the butter and then uses egg whites for volume and body. It only recently occurred to me that adding almond meal to give the cookies gives a little aphrodisiac nutrition, including a dose of Vitamin E (the sex vitamin!).


2/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup almond meal

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup high-fat cocoa powder, sifted

4 tbsp unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup granulated sugar

3 tbsp unsweetened applesauce

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp almond extract

1 large egg white

3/4 cup dark chocolate chips


1. Combine flour, almond meal, baking soda, salt and cocoa in a small mixing bowl. Set aside.

2. In a mixing bowl, stir butter until creamy. Add the sugars and mix until combined, about 1 minute by hand. Then add applesauce, vanilla, almond extract and egg white, stirring for an additional 2 minutes.

3. Add the flour mixture, stirring until thoroughly combined.

4. Fold in the chocolate chips.

5. Coat your hands lightly with oil and shape the cookie dough into two 5-inch logs. Wrap logs in plastic wrap and freeze 1–2 hours or until firm.

6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

7. Coat baking sheet(s) with cooking spray.

8. Unwrap frozen logs and slice into approximately 24 rounds (about 1/4-inch

thick). Place the rounds on the baking sheet 1-inch apart.*

9. Bake on the center rack for 8–9 minutes, then remove from sheet. Note: Cookies should be soft. (If cookies are difficult to remove from the sheet, allow them to cool on the sheet for 30 seconds before removing.)

10. Eat warm or allow cookies to cool on a rack.

*You can store the dough in the freezer for up to a week, cutting and baking when the desire for warm cookies strikes.

Bikini Bread

Makes 1 loaf


As a child, I thought a two-piece bathing suit was called a zucchini. Even though I no longer confuse my bikini with a summer squash, I still think the two have something in common. Made with whole wheat flour, a dose of veggies and healthy walnuts (rich in the sex vitamin known as E) , this sweet can actually help keep you in bikini shape. The heating cinnamon in the recipe increases appetite–both physical and sexual. Vanilla, another ingredient here, has a scent that is particularly arousing to men. I like to serve bikini bread as an alternative to a muffin or scone or as a pick-me-up for the afternoon slump.


1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp baking powder

2 tsp cinnamon

2 eggs, room temperature

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

1 cup zucchini, grated

1/2 chopped walnuts (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (325 degrees if using a glass loaf pan).

2. Sift together flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon. Set aside.

3. Using an electric mixer, beat eggs on medium speed for 2 minutes.

4. Add sugar, oil and vanilla and beat for an additional 2 minutes, then mix in zucchini.

5. Turn mixer speed to low and add in the flour mixture, about 1/2 cup at a time, mixing until flour is just combined. Fold in walnuts (optional).*

6. Pour batter into a loaf pan that has been thoroughly greased and floured and bake until an inserted toothpick or cake tester comes out clean, about 50-55 minutes.

7. Remove from pan immediately and cool on a wire rack.


*(Batter can be made up to 24 hours in advance.)


Easy Vegan Carrot Top Pesto

 Serves 4-6 when used as a pasta topping

carrottoppestoforpr 1 

I like to buy my carrots at the farmers’ market, where they come fully intact with their tops of glorious greens. I know that the tops are not only edible but extremely nutritious. I could just never figure out what to do with them. Saddened by throwing all the greens in the compost bin week after week, I finally came up with this pesto recipe. Since we know that walnuts, garlic and olive oil are all great for the libido, I figured it was not only a practical recipe but a great one for the book! The classic way to use this sauce is as a pasta topping. I make mine with linguine, which means “little tongues” (appropriate for suggesting bedroom play). Since garlic is said to inspire stamina and energy, I also use it as a dip for veggies, salad dressing, and spread for bread.


1/4 cup unsalted walnuts

1 tbsp + 1/4 cup olive oil

1 tbsp sweet onion, roughly chopped

1 clove garlic, roughly chopped

1 bunch carrot tops, thoroughly washed and roughly chopped

smoked salt to taste

black pepper (optional)

1 lb whole wheat linguine


1. Toast walnuts in pan or oven until golden. Set aside.

2. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Saute the onions in the pan until soft. Add garlic and saute an additional minute before stirring in the carrot tops and a pinch of smoked salt. Cook until carrot tops wilt, about 1 minute.

3. Transfer carrot top mixture to a blender, adding toasted walnuts and 1 tbsp water. Blend, adding olive oil in a slow stream until mixture becomes a coarse paste (the texture of pesto). You may not need all the olive oil or you may need more.

4. Season with additional smoked salt to taste. If you like a little heat, try adding in a touch of freshly ground black pepper. Set aside while you prepare the pasta.

5. Make pasta according to package instructions, cooking to al dente.

6. Drain pasta and toss with the pesto. Serve immediately. Alternatively, serve the pesto at room temperature as a dipping sauce or refrigerate and use as a salad dressing.

 Amy Reiley has been recognized as a leading authority on aphrodisiac foods by publications as varied as National Geographic and theLondon Times.  Creator of EatSomethingSexy.com, she was the second American to earn a Master’s Degree in Gastronomy from Le Cordon Bleu. She went on to write the critically acclaimed aphrodisiac cookbooks Fork Me, Spoon Me and Romancing the Stove. Reiley has appeared as an aphrodisiacs expert on television and radio programs from The Today Show to NPR’s Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! She has also been a guest on various food-related television specials, including two series on Playboy TV–you’ll recognize her as the one wearing clothing.

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