To enable SSL simply change http:// to https:// in the CURLOPT_URL option. Some common options for curl when using SSL are CURLOPT_SSL_VERIFYHOST which when set to 1 verifies the existence of a common name in the certificate and if set to 2 verifies the existence of a common name and that the common name in the certificate matches the host name of the server. CURLOPT_SSLVERSION can be used to switch between SSL version 2 and 3, this is normally auto negotiated by PHP.
Curl also has support for cookies. Cookie handling with curl is very simple. There are three options built into curl, CURLOPT_COOKIE, CURLOPT_COOKIEJAR, and CURLOPT_COOKIEFILE. CURLOPT_COOKIE is used to set a cookie for the current session. CURLOPT_COOKIEJAR stores the location of a file to store the cookies received when the session is closed. CURLOPT_COOKIEFILE stores the location of a file containing cookies written in either Netscape format or raw HTTP header style.