Saturday, July 31, 2010

Red Velvet Cheesecake

I love Red Velvet Cake...Red Velvet Cupcakes, Red Velvet Macarons...just about anything. Since yesterday was National Cheesecake Day, I thought I'd get a jumpstart on next year and post a recipe for Red Velvet Cheesecake. This recipe is easy and delicious! It does use red food dye, and I haven't figured out how to use beets in this recipe. You can always use Wilton's red, but it won't give you quite the same color. Sacrifices.  Have a look at my post Red Velvet the Natural Way. I think beets would change the flavor in the cheesecake. Cake is more forgiving.

The following recipe for Red Velvet Cheesecake is from Southern Living. I especially like the deep red of the red velvet cheesecake that's spiked with cocoa, the smooth creamy cheesecake layer on top, and the dark chocolate crust. I've made a few adaptations. Not everyone likes to add the frosting on top, but it really is yummy and is a great taste companion. You can always leave it off or reduce the thickness. My preference is to add the cream cheese icing.

RED VELVET CHEESECAKE
Prep: 20 min; Bake: 1 hr. 25 min; Stand: 1 hr; Chill: 8 hrs

Crust:
1 3/4 cups chocolate wafers whirled and crushed  (or 1 1/2 cups chocolate graham cracker crumbs)
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 tablespoon granulated sugar

Cheesecake:
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons unsweetened DARK cocoa
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup whole buttermilk
2 teaspoons Madagascar vanilla
1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
2 (1-ounce) bottles red food coloring

Frosting:
1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preparation
1. Stir together chocolate wafer crumbs (or chocolate graham cracker crumbs), melted butter, and 1 tablespoon granulated sugar; press mixture into bottom of a 9-inch springform pan.
2. Beat 3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese and 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar at medium-low speed with an electric mixer 1 minute. Add eggs and next 6 ingredients, mixing on low speed just until fully combined. Pour batter into prepared crust.
3. Bake at preheated over 325° for 10 minutes (if you're using a waterbath, be sure and preheat the waterbath when you preheat oven); reduce heat to 300°, and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until center is firm. (For a really great cheesecake, bake in a water bath to avoid cracks.)  Run knife along outer edge of cheesecake. Turn oven off. Let cheesecake stand in oven 30 minutes. Remove cheesecake from oven; cool in pan on a wire rack 30 minutes. Cover and chill 8 hours.
4. Beat 1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese and 1/4 cup butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth; gradually add powdered sugar and vanilla, beating until smooth. Spread evenly over top of cheesecake. Remove sides of springform pan.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Decadent Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake: National Cheesecake Day

Today is National Cheesecake Day!

I mentioned a few posts ago how much I love Driscoll's Berries, and I posted their Mixed Berry Chocolate Molten Cake recipe. Their berries are always flavorful!

So here's another Driscoll's recipe that's perfect for National Cheesecake Day! Driscoll's actually sent this recipe for me to post. It's fabulous--and easy! I've tweaked the recipe just a bit, but not much. As always, use the very best ingredients--fresh cream cheese and high quality chocolate.

Decadent Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake
Prep time: 15 minutes
Bake time: 1 hour 10 minutes

2  packages (8-oz each) cream cheese, softened
2  packages (8-oz each) 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
1 teaspoon Madagascar vanilla extract
4  large eggs
2  packages (6-oz each) Driscoll’s Raspberries
2  ounce bar of semi-sweet chocolate (65-70% fair trade cacao)

Preheat oven to 325ºF. Butter bottom and sides of a 9-inch round springform pan.

Beat cream cheeses in a large bowl of electric mixer until smooth. Beat in sugar, cocoa powder and vanilla, starting on low speed then increasing to high, until thoroughly mixed.

Beat in eggs one at a time, scraping edges well after each addition. Pour into pan.

Bake about 1 hour and 10 minutes or until just barely set in center. Edges may crack slightly. Turn oven off and leave in oven 1 hour with door ajar. Remove from oven and cool completely.  Cover and chill at least 8 hours. Run a knife around edge and remove rim.

Top cheesecake with raspberries. Hold chocolate bar over cheesecake; firmly slide a sharp vegetable peeler along edge of chocolate allowing shavings to fall on cake.

Lighten Up:
Use four 1/3 less fat packages of cream cheese, or two 1/3 less fat and two fat-free packages. Cheesecake will be denser.


Healthy Tip:
Calorie and fat content of this cheesecake can be adjusted by using regular, low-fat, or fat-free cream cheese.

Looking for other Cheesecake recipes to celebrate National Cheesecake Day? I've posted quite a few.

Amaretto Cheesecake

White Chocolate Cheesecake

Bailey's Irish Cream Chocolate Cheesecake

Addendum: Free or Cheap Cheesecake today! 

The Cheesecake Factory: promotion for National Cheesecake Day. Half Off Today! Also exclusive (printable) coupon for Facebook fans yesterday to receive cheesecake slices for $1.50.

Junior’s in Brooklyn: People who order lunch or dinner today get a free slice, and to celebrate the NYC institution’s 60th anniversary, a la carte cheesecake is only 60 cents a slice. Brooklyn only. No other locations.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Chocolate Lasagne: National Lasagne Day

Another day, another Food Holiday. Today is National Lasagne Day. I didn't make that up... but clearly someone did. I don't know the origin, but I do know that I love lasagne. All the food groups, pasta, cheese, and definitely some chocolate in both savory and sweet dishes.

Savory: Chocolate is a wonderful ingredient in tomato sauce, especially with lasagne. I'm not going to give you a recipe for tomato sauce, just some advice. Next time you make your sauce, after you brown the onions, cook the tomatoes and add your wine--well, I guess it depends on how you make your sauce, but you get the idea. When you're near the end of your preparations, add some tomato paste and about 2 ounces of very dark chocolate. You won't taste the chocolate per se as chocolate, but the chocolate will give your sauce a lovely and an excellent and different flavor. Don't overdo the chocolate. 2 ounces is just fine. You might want to add a 1/2 tsp of cinnamon, too. Again, it depends on how much sauce you're making. And, as far as cinnamon and chocolate in savory sauces, my Mexican Mole includes both, so why not Italian pasta sauce?

Sweet:  I love food that represents something other than it is. I adore Chocolate Pizza, Chocolate Pasta dishes, Chocolate Salami, and I've posted recipes for them before. I'm pretty sure I've never posted a recipe for Chocolate Lasagne. George Duran (Ham on the Street/Food Network) has a great recipe for Chocolate Dessert Lasagne. The final product of the following recipe really looks like lasagne, and the extra bonus is that it's a great chocolate dessert and easy to make. I've tweaked it a bit, but it's pretty true to the original.

Chocolate Dessert Lasagna

Ingredients
1 (8-ounce) package no-boil lasagna noodles (this is a misnomer. You do boil them, but only for a minute)
2 pounds ricotta or Mascarpone
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened dark cocoa
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups mini dark chocolate chips
1 orange, zested
1/2 cup roasted pistachios
4 ounces white chocolate, coarsely grated (make sure it's really white chocolate, and not an imitation)

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Bring a large pot of water to the boil and cook the noodles for 1 minute. Drain them and put them into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Drain again and lay on paper towels to dry.
Whisk together the ricotta (or mascarpone), sugar, cocoa powder, and eggs on medium speed with a hand or stand mixer, scraping down the sides of the bowl, until it is well blended. Stir in the chocolate chips and orange zest. 
Spread 1/4 of the cheese mixture into the bottom of an 8 by 8-inch baking dish. Sprinkle some of the pistachios over the top and press on a layer of noodles. Repeat, ending with the ricotta (or mascarpone) mixture and pistachios.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the lasagna has risen.
Remove the pan from the oven and evenly sprinkle the white chocolate over it. Let cool, cut, and serve.

I think chocolate bloggers must think alike, because Annmarie Kostyk, a major chocolate blogger, gave recipes for both savory and sweet chocolate lasagne in June. I must have missed that post, but you shouldn't. Her recipe for Annie's Dark Chocolate Lasagne looks fabulous. It's a little more labor intensive than the one above, but I can tell by the ingredients that the results will be wonderful. Lots of textures as well as a mix of flavors. She also posted a great Sicilian (savory) Chocolate Lasagna recipe, so if you don't know how to make a good sauce, try hers.

And, if you're following my Chocolate Blog, you should be following hers. Annmarie Kostyk, Chocolate Goddess.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Milk Chocolate Chip Pecan Pound Cake: National Milk Chocolate Day

July 28 is National Milk Chocolate Day, and even though Milk Chocolate is not my favorite, I think you're going to love the following recipe for Milk Chocolate Chip Pecan Pound Cake. I left the recipe pretty much as is since I did originally find it on the Hershey's Kitchens website, but, of course, feel free to substitute. It's actually quite awesome with dark chocolate chips, dark cocoa and rich dark chocolate syrup. Oops, reminder to self, this is MILK Chocolate Day.

Milk Chocolate Chip Pecan Pound Cake from the Hershey's Kitchens

Ingredients:
 2 cups (11.5-oz. pkg.) HERSHEY'S Milk Chocolate Chips, divided
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened (Margarine in original recipe as option. I don't ever use margarine)
1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 eggs
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Dash salt
1 cup buttermilk or sour milk*
3/4 cup HERSHEY'S Syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans
 Powdered sugar(optional)

Directions:
1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 12-cup fluted tube pan (bundt pan). Place 1 cup milk chocolate chips in medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at MEDIUM (50%) 1 minute; stir. If necessary, microwave at MEDIUM an additional 15 seconds at a time, stirring after each heating, until chips are melted when stirred.
2. Beat butter in large bowl until creamy; gradually add granulated sugar, beating on medium speed of mixer until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add melted chocolate; beat until blended.
3. Stir together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt; add to chocolate mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating until blended. Add syrup and vanilla; beat until blended. Stir in remaining milk chocolate chips and pecans. Spoon batter into prepard pan.
4. Bake 1 hour and 15 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, Cool 10 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired. 12 to 16 servings. (Who are they kidding? It's so good, it will be gone by 4-8 people in no time!)

*To sour milk: Use 1 tablespoon white vinegar plus milk to equal 1 cup.

Confused about what Milk Chocolate actually is?  Take a look at last year's Post on Milk Chocolate Day.

Photo: Hershey's Kitchens

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

National Scotch Day: Scotch Whiskey Fudge

Here's a holiday I can get behind. Today is National Scotch Day. Scotch goes well with many dark chocolates, and I've been to a few Scotch and Chocolate Tastings. Have a look at the Nibble for an Overview of Pairing Chocolate & Scotch.  You can have your own tasting at home.

If you'd rather have your Scotch and Chocolate together in on bite, try this Scotch-Whiskey Fudge. This recipe  is reprinted with permission from The Cake Mistress. I haven't changed the measurements to U.S., but you can find a good calculator online. Also, I love the 'variant' spellings, so I didn't change those either except for Whisky to Whiskey, but just in a few places. Enjoy! This Fudge is fabulous!!!

Scotch-Whiskey Fudge

Ingredients:
Melted butter, to grease
1 x 395g can sweetened condensed milk
100 g unsalted butter, cubed
255 g (1 1/4 cups) brown sugar, firmly packed
2 tablespoons glucose syrup
150 g good-quality dark chocolate, finely chopped (I used Lindt 70% Dark Chocolate)
60ml (1/ 4 cup) Scotch Whiskey (or other spirit of choice)

Directions:
1. Brush a 20cm (base measurement) square cake pan with melted butter to lightly grease. Line base and 2 opposite sides with non-stick baking paper, allowing it to overhang.
2. Combine the condensed milk, butter, sugar and glucose syrup in a medium heavy-based saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat for 3 minutes or until sugar dissolves.
3. Increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring constantly, for 10-15 minutes or until mixture thickens, turns a caramel colour and leaves the side of pan. Remove from heat.
4. Add the chocolate and liqueur, and stir until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. Pour into the prepared pan and smooth the surface. Set aside for 1 hour to cool.
5. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 1 hour or until firm.
6. Remove fudge from pan, using the paper to help lift the fudge. Use a sharp knife to cut fudge into equal portions.

Makes 16 large pieces or ~32 pieces sized 2×3cm 
Best made the day before serving. Overnight refrigeration allows for the flavours to develop, and makes it easier to cut. I imagine you can make many flavour variants)

Thanks to The Cake Mistress for this awesome recipe!


***
Like Scotch in your Brownies?
Try these Butter "Scotch" Brownies I posted on National Butterscotch Brownie Day.

Photo: The Cake Mistress

Monday, July 26, 2010

Bomb Shelter Chocolate-Cherry Delight Cake

Yesterday I posted Coca Cola Cake for Mad Men. BV Lawson sent me a note about Bomb Shelter Chocolate-Cherry Delight Cake which she found in:
Fashionable Food: Seven Decades of Food Fads
With a new Preface (University of Chicago Press)
©1995, 2005 464 pages, 35 halftones, 7 line drawings
ISBN: 978-0-226-49407-4

Since I don't have a bomb shelter, I haven't made this cake. It certainly would keep, especially with all the preservatives in some of the ingredients. I'm more into fresh organic chocolate foods, but if you try this cake, let me know what you think. What I do know is that I ordered Fashionable Food: Seven Decades of Food Fads for my cookbook collection!


Food for a Nuclear Winter:
"Not all the instant food being served up carried fancy French names. This “party-pretty dessert” could be made ahead (weeks probably) to save “hostessing time,” according to the Better Homes and Gardens Guide to Entertaining (1969)."

Bomb Shelter Chocolate-Cherry Delight Cake
1 (18 ¼-ounce) package devil’s food cake mix
1 (20-ounce) can cherry pie filling, undrained
1 (3.9-ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 package dessert topping mix (or use Cool Whip), enough to make 2 cups whipped topping
Maraschino cherries for garnish

Prepare and bake two 8- or 9-inch layers from the cake mix according to the package directions; cool. Whirl the pie filling in a blender for a few seconds, just until the cherries are chopped. Stir the pudding mix and cocoa into the pie filling. Prepare the dessert topping according to the package directions; fold into the cherry mixture. Spread about ½ cup of the cherry mixture on the bottom cake layer; top with the second layer. Spread the rest of the cherry mixture on the top and sides of the cake. Garnish with maraschino cherries. Chill until serving time.

Makes 1 cake

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Coca-Cola Cake for Mad Men

Tonight is the much awaited first episode of the new season of Mad Men, so I thought I should post a "Retro" recipe. Something that Betty might make. Because it's all about the Mad Men, I thought a Chocolate Coca-Cola Cake would be perfect. There are many versions of Chocolate Coca-Cola cake. If you're a Pepsi fan, you can always substitute Pepsi in the recipe. See the Retro Pepsi Ad below. Is that Don Draper in the Ad? Was it his account?

You'll love the instructions. They're pretty retro, too. I couldn't resist, though, posting two different icing recipes (and techniques). Take your pick. So, get out your 'Pyrex' dish and bake!

COCA-COLA CHOCOLATE CAKE

2 c. unsifted cake flour
2 c. sugar
2 sticks butter
2 tbsp. cocoa
1 c. Coca-Cola
1/2 c. buttermilk
1 tsp. baking soda
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt

Sift together the flour and sugar. Heat to boiling point the butter, cocoa and Coca-Cola. Add to the flour and sugar mixture. Stir to blend. Add buttermilk, soda, eggs, salt and vanilla. Stir with a spoon until well blended. Pour into a greased and floured oblong pan (Pyrex dish). Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Batter will be thin. Ice while hot.

COCA-COLA ICING
1/2 c. butter
6 tbsp. Coca-Cola
1 box confectioners' sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tbsp. cocoa

Heat to boiling point the butter, cocoa and Cola-Cola. Add confectioners' sugar and vanilla; stir to blend. Using a fork, make holes in the hot cake and pour the hot icing over it.

BROILED PEANUT BUTTER ICING
6 Tbsp Butter
1 cup  Brown Sugar; Dark, Packed
2/3 cup Peanut Butter
1/4 cup Milk
2/3 cup Peanuts; Chopped

Cream Butter, sugar, and peanut butter. Add milk and stir well. Add nuts. Spread over warm cake. Place iced cake under broiler about 4-inches from heat source. Broil just a few seconds, or until topping starts to bubble. DO NOT scorch! Let cool at least 30 minutes before serving.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Chocolate Full Moon: National Tequila Day

It's almost the Full Moon (7/26), but today's National Tequila Day. Since these two dates are so close together this year, it must be in the stars...or over the moon, so  I decided to post a recipe for a Chocolate Full Moon. Tequila and Chocolate (Creme de Cacao, both dark and clear) go so well in this simple drink. Don't let it fool you, though. You'll be howling at the moon, if you drink too many. :-)

Chocolate Full Moon

1 oz Cream
1/2 oz Creme de Cacao
2 oz Tequila
1/2 oz Dark Creme de Cacao

Pour all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake.
Strain into a cocktail glass.
Garnish with chocolate curls.

For more information about Tequila, Chocolate Tequila and  a recipe for Chocolate Tequila Mousse, go to last year's National Tequila Day post.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Chocolate Creme Brulee: National Creme Brulee Day

My mother loves  Creme Brulee, so this is definitely her day. Celebrate National Creme Brulee Day with Chocolate Creme Brulee. There are a lot of recipes out there, but a really good never fail Recipe for Chocolate Creme Brulee comes from Paula Deen of the Food Network.  I love her recipe because it's easy, contains alcohol (Chocolate Liqueur) and tastes fantastic. Because this recipe calls for egg yolks only, use the extra egg whites to make chocolate meringues.

Chocolate Creme Brulee 

Ingredients
1 quart heavy cream
1 cup sugar
1- ounce chocolate liqueur (recommended: Godiva Liqueur)
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 ounces dark cocoa powder
1-ounce unsweetened chocolate (remember the best quality makes a difference)
11 large egg yolks

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a medium sized saucepan over medium-high heat, add the heavy cream, sugar, liqueur, and vanilla. When the mixture is warm add the cocoa powder and chocolate and whisk until blended.
Place the egg yolks in a large stainless steel bowl.
Slowly add the warm chocolate mixture to the eggs a little at a time while whisking.
Strain and pour into individual porcelain ramekins.
Place the ramekins in a large baking pan.
Pour enough hot water into the pan to come half way up the sides of the ramekins.
Bake until firm in the center, about 30 minutes.
Remove the ramekins from the water bath and let cool completely.
Place in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
Dust with sugar and caramelize with a propane torch. Serve immediately.

If you've never carmelized sugar with a torch, read The Kitchn on Apartment Therapy. I use a small torch from the hardware store, but you can find torches at find kitchen shops. It's a fun item to have on hand. You can use it to finish your smores, too!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Blueberry Chocolate Chunk Scones: Blueberry Month

I love Blueberries, and July is Blueberry Month. I've posted several blueberry recipes before: Blueberry Truffles/BarkChocolate Blueberry Muffins, but I haven't posted a recipe for Blueberry Chocolate Chunk Scones. I love scones. They're not as sweet as muffins, but the blueberries with the chocolate make them pop! Both blueberries and chocolate are high in antioxidants, so they're healthy, too. The only non-healthy part might be the butter and sugar. Oh well, they're delicious. 

I usually like clotted cream on my scones. I can find clotted cream in my markets and local cheese stores, but I live in the very foodie San Francisco Bay Area. Check your market. I know Whole Foods carries Clotted Cream. You'll find it in the dairy section. No obligation to use Clotted Cream!

FYI: You can substitute raspberries or strawberries (husked and cut into slices) in this recipe. The reason I like this recipe so much is that it's not  sweet. It's a great morning scone for breakfast, but good at teatime, too!


Blueberry Chocolate Chunk Scones

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup cold butter, cubed
1 cup Greek yogurt
1 large egg
2/3 cup blueberries
1/2 cup dark chocolate (65-85% cacao fair-trade organic) broken into chunks

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
Cut in butter with pastry knife until it looks like coarse crumbs.
In a separate bowl, whisk yogurt and egg.
Pour wet mixture over flour mixture and stir with a fork just until dough is formed.
Gently fold in blueberries and chocolate chunks.
Flour hands and press dough into a ball.
On floured surface, gently fold 8-10 times.
Pat out into a 10 x 7-inch rectangle (this is approximate).
Cut rectangle into 4 squares.
Cut each square diagonally in half to make 8 triangles.
Place on large baking sheet covered with parchment paper.
Bake in center of oven until golden, 16-18 minutes.
Transfer to rack and let cool.

Serve with Clotted Cream (optional)

Monday, July 19, 2010

National Lollipop Day: Chocolate Tootsie Roll Pops

July 20 is National Lollipop Day according to Louise at Months of Edible Celebrations. It should come as no surprise that my favorite lollipop when I was growing up was a Chocolate Tootsie Roll Pop.

I loved licking the hard outside to get to the chewy center. At some point, I used to chomp on the lollipop to make that crunchy hard candy shell combine in my mouth with the chewy tootsie roll center.

The Tootsie Roll Pop official website says that the Tootsie Roll Pop was the first lollipop providing an embedded candy "prize." That's exactly what it was...a prize!  I can still taste it. Of course I only wanted a chocolate tootsie roll pop because what goes better with chocolate than more chocolate. And, don't forget the sticks. They were always fabulous to chew on even after all traces of 'chocolate' were gone.

The history of the Tootsie Roll Pop: Tootsie Roll Pops were invented in 1930 by Brandon Perry, an employee of The Sweets Company of America or in another history, by an employee named Luke Weisgram who was experimenting with new products, or in another story an employee named Tom Medric. Doesn't matter! The Chocolate Tootsie Roll Pop was made from putting company's famous Tootsie Rolls into hard candy, and it quickly became one of the best selling lollipops in the world. 

For people with more time on their hands than they should have: A student study at the University of Cambridge concluded that it takes 3481 licks to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop. Another study by Purdue University concluded that it takes an average of 364 licks to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop using a "licking machine", while it takes an average of 252 licks when tried by 20 volunteers. Yet another study by the University of Michigan concluded that it takes 411 licks to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop. A study by junior high students in Swarthmore School concluded that it takes 144 licks to get to the centre of a Tootsie Pop. As I mentioned before, I chomp near the end, so I would certainly alter the statistics.

For those who love a mystery, read the history of Leo Hirschfeld: Tootsie Roll Tragedy- and the murky Tootsie Roll history HERE.

And, for those of you who prefer their Tootsie Pops in a Glass, two cocktail recipes.

My Tootsie Pop Cocktail Recipe: You'll be amazed at how much this tastes like a tootsie roll!

1 part Kahlua
1 part Root beer
2 drops chocolate syrup

In a Highball Glass, add the Kahlua, then the root beer. Stir. Then let the chocolate syrup drop. Add a tootsie pop (unwrapped) to garnish.

Traditional Tootsie Pop Cocktail Recipe (more like a cherry tootsie pop, if you ask me)

2 oz grenadine syrup
5 oz amaretto almond liqueur
3 oz lemon juice
2 drops chocolate syrup

Layer grenadine, amaretto, and lemon juice, then stir. Add 2 drops of chocolate syrup, let sink, and serve in a Highball Glass


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Mixed Berry Chocolate Molten Cakes

July is not just Blueberry Month--it's also Berry Month! Berries are appearing at the Farmers Markets, the roadside stalls and in your garden.  Throughout the year, though, Driscoll's brings berries to my table. I can always depend on the quality of their organic berries. So, if you're at the market and you find their berries, you know they'll be good.

Driscoll's has a great website with terrific berry recipes. This was Recipe of the Month last February, and I love it! I've made lava cake before (Molten cake is the same thing), and putting the berries inside the 'lava' is fabulous. It's that surprise bite of berries with oozing dark chocolate that makes this soooo good.

There are so many ways to combine Chocolate and Berries, and Driscoll's fabulous recipe for
Mixed Berry Chocolate Molten Cakes is a keeper! 

Another good thing about this recipe is that these Mixed Berry Chocolate Molten Cakes is that it only takes 15 minutes to prepare and 15 minutes to cook. As you know, I am all about easy, and this is both simple to make and delicious. I've made a few adaptations, but really the recipe is so good as is.

Mixed Berry Chocolate Molten Cakes

Ingredients
8 oz. dark chocolate, 65-85% cacao fair trade, chopped
5 tbsp unsalted butter, plus butter for ramekins
3 large eggs
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla
2 tbsp unsweetened dark cocoa powder
6 oz Driscoll’s Raspberries
6 oz Driscoll’s Blackberries
6 oz Driscoll’s Blueberries

Vanilla ice cream or Whipped Cream with just a dash of sugar

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. Generously coat 6 ramekins or custard cups with butter (generous because you'll be unmolding them)
3. Melt chocolate and 5 tablespoons butter in a medium-size microwave-safe bowl on medium power for 2 minutes, stirring after 1 minute--or in a double boiler or saucepan on top of a saucepan of simmering water. I usually don't melt chocolate in the microwave.
4. Return to microwave if needed, stirring until completely melted. Do not overheat.
5. Beat eggs, sugar and vanilla until lemon colored and about tripled in volume, 3-5 minutes with an electric mixer.
6. Stir cocoa powder and half the egg mixture into melted chocolate.
7. Gently fold chocolate-egg mixture into remaining eggs until thoroughly blended, but still fluffy.
8. Pour half the batter into prepared ramekins (about 3 tablespoons each).
9. Place 3-4 raspberries or blackberries in centers. Top berries with remaining batter. (Can cover at this point and refrigerate up to 24 hours before baking.)
10. Bake 13-15 minutes (16-18 minutes if refrigerated) until puffed and slightly cracked on edges and centers are still moist.
11. Cool 2 minutes. Run a knife around edges.
12. Using hotpads, invert cakes onto dessert plates. Surround with remaining berries.
13. Serve warm with ice cream.

Photo: Driscoll's Berries

Friday, July 16, 2010

Chocolate Cherry Frozen Yogurt: Laura Kramarsky aka Laura Curtis Guest Blogs

Recently I became Twitter friends with Laura Kramarsky (aka Laura Curtis, author).  I'm a big fan of chocolate and cherries, and I've been posting lots of chocolate and cherry recipes.  So recently on Twitter, Laura mentioned she made Chocolate Cherry Frozen Yogurt, and I knew I wanted to make it, eat it, and share the recipe. Laura agreed.

Today Laura Kramarsky guest blogs the recipe and the history of why she made it. Fabulous! Perfect for the weekend!

Laura Kramarsky aka Laura Curtis Guest Blog:
Chocolate Cherry Frozen Yogurt

My husband and I go to our favorite Italian restaurant, Enzo's Antichi Sapori, about once a week and over the past couple of years, we've gotten to be quite good friends with the owner. I've been known to bake cookies for the small staff there, and frequently Enzo will either try out a new recipe on us or just give us things he thinks we should be eating.

The most recent taste of Italy Enzo sent home with us was a beautifully decorated jar of Amarena Fabbri Wild Cherries in Heavy Syrup. Dark and rich, these cherries smell and taste amazing, but they're almost too sweet. My husband and I had eaten the cherries spooned over vanilla ice cream, and they were delicious, but it was primarily because the ice cream cut some of the sweetness out of the heavy syrup. Still, I was sure there would be another way to make the most of these treats. So they sat, and I pondered.

And then, the ice cream maker I'd had my eye on went on sale.

With all the recipes I'd saved from this blog over time about the combination of chocolate and cherries in mind, I set off to mix the two into a frozen dessert. I found recipes for ice cream and for frozen yogurt, most of which called for (and I shudder to tell you this) maraschino cherries.

The Amarena Fabbri Wild Cherry is no maraschino.

This frozen yogurt is rich, with lots of cherry flavor. In fact, the first time I made it, I thought the cherry rather overwhelmed the chocolate, so I added chopped chocolate as well.

This recipe makes a generous two quarts. If your ice cream maker is smaller than that, you'll need to cut the recipe in half.

9 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, broken into pieces
1 1/2 cups whole milk
4 cups plain lowfat Greek yogurt (two of the big tubs is four cups)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup heavy syrup from the Amarena Fabbri cherries
1 cup drained Amarena Fabbri cherries, roughly chopped
3 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped (or shaved or shredded)

In a food processor fitted with metal chopping blade, pulse chop the 9 ounces of chocolate.

Warm milk to a simmer in a small saucepan. With food processor running, pour in a slow stream and process until chocolate is melted. Add the yogurt, sugar and cherry syrup. Process until smooth. (This may take longer than you might expect--the Greek yogurt is thick, which is beneficial to the overall texture later on, but it is sticky in the food processor!)

Refrigerate at least two hours, or until well chilled. Can be refrigerated overnight without problems.

Turn on ice cream machine, spoon/pour mixture into freezer bowl and let mix until thickened, about 20-25 minutes. Add in the chopped cherries and chopped chocolate and continue to mix for another five minutes. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze until you are ready to eat!

Laura Kramarsky can be found at: www.torchsongsglassworks.com and www.womenofmystery.net/

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Grilled Peaches with Dark Chocolate

So the weekend is coming up, and peaches are in season. Yes, I could make something complicated, but I know I'll be grilling. Here's a simple recipe for Grilled Peaches with Dark Chocolate adapted from an Epicurious recipe for Grilled Brown-Sugar Peaches with White Chocolate. That's a great recipe, too, and I love it with the toasted pistachios. I don't like pistachios with the dark chocolate and peaches. It's just a matter of taste. I'm off to the Farmers' Market this weekend for peaches! Love all the varieties.

Grilled Peaches with Dark Chocolate

4 tablespoons sweet butter, melted
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
4 unpeeled peaches, halved, pitted
1/3 cup finely chopped dark chocolate (I like  85% dark organic fair trade chocolate)

Get the barbecue to a medium-high heat. We use a Weber, so judge accordingly when you think it's hot. Make sure the grates are clean--brush the grate with a tiny bit of oil right before the peaches go on.
Blend butter and sugar in large bowl. Add peach halves; toss to coat.
Place peaches, cut side down, on grill. Grill about a minute until slightly charred.
Turn peaches over (use tongs).
Divide chopped dark chocolate among peach cavities. Drizzle remaining butter/sugar mixture from bowl over chocolate.
Grill until chocolate just begins to melt and peaches are charred, about 2 minutes.
Remove carefully from grill and plate.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Blueberry Truffles/Blueberry Bark

July is Blueberry Month, and I'll be celebrating in all kinds of ways. I used to pick wild blueberries when I was a kid, and my Aunt Ann had lots of blueberry recipes. They rarely involved chocolate. Last year on Blueberry Muffin Day (July 11), I posted two Blueberry Chocolate Muffin recipes: One a wonderful rich muffin with an equal amount of chocolate chunks and blueberries-- and the other a chocolate muffin with blueberries. Both are great.

So I was thinking about something else, easy, of course, and here's something you can make in July at the Cabin or at the Beach. Perfect for vacation eating!

Easy Blueberry Truffles/Blueberry Bark

container of fresh firm blueberries
7 ounces of organic dark chocolate-72-85% cacao organic fair trade


Melt chocolate, stirring to blend.
Coat clean dry blueberries with cooled liquid chocolate.
Pile chocolate covered blueberries on waxed paper in little clumps.
Refrigerator for 15 minutes or a little more--until they firm up.
Eat!

This will be either truffle like or bark like, depending on how you pile the blueberries. Flatter would be more bark like.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Guest Blogger Suzanne Arruda's Chocolate Glaze

Again my worlds collide: Crime Fiction and Chocolate. Today I welcome Suzanne Arruda, the author of the historical Jade del Cameron mystery series, set in 1920’s Africa. For more information, visit www.suzannearruda.com and drop by her weekly blog at http://suzannearruda.blogspot.com

Guest Blogger: Suzanne Arruda:

I have to confess something straight off – when it comes to chocolate, I have gone to the “dark side,” so much so that I find milk chocolate to be bleah. It all began with innocent chocolate chips, those semi-sweet morsels of joy. Mom always let us snitch a couple when she made cookies. The trend developed when I discovered I didn’t much care for ordinary chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. I preferred a deep devil’s food cake and a fudgy topping. And now to my ultimate delight, I find that dark chocolate has health benefits. As one who justifies having milkshakes for supper as “dairy food group night,” I can easily justify eating a bar of dark chocolate as “health food.”

Chocolate can save a person’s life. In book 5 of my Jade del Cameron mystery series, Treasure of the Golden Cheetah, Jade is climbing the icy slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro, searching for a murderer and her pet cheetah. Chocolate was the mountain climber's best companion. Not only could nibbling some give the climber energy, it could be melted into a cup of canned milk for a hot chocolate beverage – one that would warm and revitalize a person succumbing to the cold and the altitude. Talk about “dying for chocolate” or rather, not dying because of chocolate.

One of my writing friends has used chocolate as a reward to herself. She says that she gives herself a small treat for finishing a proposal or a chapter. I tried it. It didn’t work for me. I kept lowering the stakes to get a chocolate fix. I began with a little square of dark chocolate for writing a chapter. My chapters immediately got smaller. Next the goody came just for outlining a chapter, then for a page. A sentence (chocolate) a word (chocolate) a thought (chocolate). Before I knew it, the bag of treats was empty and I suddenly lost my incentive for writing.

I considered rehab but I would have rewarded myself for going by having a dark chocolate, possibly with blueberries and cocoa nibbies in it.

Now I’ve managed to isolate my chocolate from my writing. It’s hard to write a murder when one has a mouth full of happy so it’s for the best. Now chocolate has been delegated to celebrations. I think National Punctuation Day is coming up August 22. Maybe chocolate is good for “the colon.”

Silky Fudge Glaze to cover cookies, cake, ice cream.

2 TBSP butter
3 TBSP Cocoa Powder
2 TBSP water
2 cup confectioner’s sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract

Melt the butter over low heat in a small pan. Remove from heat. Add cocoa and water and stir or whisk until blended. If it is not already thickened, place over low heat, stirring until thickened.

Remove from heat

Add confectioner's sugar and vanilla. Stir

Try to save it for icing something and don't just devour right then and there.

I love it over a Boston Cream Pie.

Monday, July 12, 2010

National Pecan Pie Day: Fudge Brownie Pecan Pie

Today is National Pecan Pie Day, and I love pecan pie. There are so many variations, and I've posted many recipes for different types of pecan pies...all that include chocolate, of course.

Here's a round-up of Pecan Pie Recipes! Choose one and celebrate National Pecan Pie Day!

Chocolate Chunk Pecan Pie for Mardi Gras
Kentucky Derby Chocolate Pecan Pie
Kentucky Derby Bourbon Chocolate Pie
Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Pie

And a new recipe for: Fudge Brownie Pie from the North Carolina Pecan Growers Association. It's a winner. This is so easy--and not what you'd expect! Delicious.

Fudge Brownie Pecan Pie

1 unbaked pie shell (I use Trader Joe's frozen pie dough)
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips (or 6-7 ounce dark chocolate bar-fair trade 70-85% cacao)
1/4 cup sweet butter
1/2 cup biscuit mix
1 cup chopped pecans
1 teaspoon Madagascar vanilla (I like Madecasse--you can also substitute Bourbon here)
14 ounces sweetened condensed milk


Bake pastry shell at 375F for 10 minutes.
Remove from oven.
Reduce oven temperature to 325F.
In a saucepan melt chips with butter.
In large bowl beat chocolate mixture with remaining ingredients.
Pour into shell.
(You can also add 1/2 pecan pieces on top and sprinkle with grated chocolate before baking)
Bake 35 to 45 minutes.
Serve warm with ice cream.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Chocolate Covered Figs

So, I'm on a fig roll. Today I picked up a lot of figs at the Farmer's Market. The easiest way to eat figs is to just pop them in your mouth, but if you want to be a bit fancier, add chocolate. Here's a very simple Chocolate Covered Figs recipe. 

I don't have any 'real' measurements for this, but it's pretty basic and easy!
  
Chocolate Covered Figs

Line a cookie sheet with waxed or parchment paper. 
Melt dark chocolate (I like very dark chocolate, but anything 65% cacao or over would be great) in the microwave or on top of a double boiler over simmering water, until smooth.
Hold top of fig with your fingers and dip into melted chocolate, covering only bottom part.
Place chocolate covered fig on cookie sheet.
Repeat with remaining figs.
Put chocolate covered figs in refrigerator for 15 minutes or so until chocolate is set.
Serve.
If you're not eating them right away, keep them in the fridge for up to 12 hours.

As different types of figs come in to the market, experiment.
You might want to dip the chocolate covered figs in chopped nuts before putting on the cookiesheet.
Use different figs, different chocolate.
You can't go wrong!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Chocolate Fig Bread Pudding

Yesterday I was looking at a fabulous house in the country with over 3 acres of mature plantings. Loved the house and grounds, but I was most taken by the huge fig tree that shaded the back entertaining area. I could easily see myself sitting under that fig tree, reading a mystery and eating chocolate. So I thought, figs and chocolate. Sounds like a match. When I came home, I went through my recipe files, and found a recipe I picked up from the Blue Ribbon, Orchard Choice, Sun Maid Figs booth at the Fancy Food Show. It is also online, along with a lot of other terrific fig recipes.

Figs offer so many nutrients and minerals, so like chocolate, they're good for your health. They're fat-free, cholesterol free, sodium free! Perfect for pairing with chocolate.

I didn't find out what type of fig tree was at the house, but here in California, there are many varieties. Fresh figs are in now, and dried figs are always available. This is another easy recipe, and I absolutely love bread pudding!

Chocolate Fig Bread Pudding with Spirited Sauce

Chocolate Fig Bread Pudding
4 cups (3/4-inch cubes) firm white bread
1 cup coarsely chopped Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid Mission or Calimyrna figs, stems removed (or fresh figs from the farmers' market)
1/2 cup (3 oz) chocolate morsels or coarsely chopped chocolate (dark chocolate-70% or higher)
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons butter
2 large eggs
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt

Spirited Sauce
1 -1/4cups powdered sugar
6 tablespoons butter
1 large egg, beaten
1/4 cup dark rum or brandy

Heat oven to 350F.
Grease 1 1/2-quart baking dish.
Combine bread cubes, figs and chocolate in baking dish.
Heat milk and butter until butter is melted (do not boil).
Combine eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt; blend well.
Add hot milk mixture to egg mixture, stirring constantly.
Pour over bread and fig mixture. Let stand 5 minutes.
Bake uncovered 50 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.
If desired, baked pudding can be made several days ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Before serving, reheat in 325F oven 15 minutes.
To prepare sauce, combine all ingredients in saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, about 3 minutes. Serve warm over bread pudding.

Source and Photo: Valley Fig Growers

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Savory Chocolate, Almonds, Bacon: Chocolate with Almonds Day

Another day, another food holiday. Tomorrow, July 8,  is Chocolate with Almonds Day, not to be confused with Bittersweet Chocolate With Almonds Day on November 7.

For a nice change, here are two savory chocolate with almonds recipes. They're both for chocolate with almonds--and BACON.

The first recipe comes from Food Network Star Chef Michael Symon. It's easy and delicious. Easy, is always the key word. I adapted this recipe to use dark chocolate. I like the taste better. But if you're a milk chocolate person, give it a go with Michael Symon's original recipe.

Chocolate Covered Bacon with Almonds

Ingredients
1 pound thickly sliced slab bacon
1/2 pound dark chocolate-65% or higher-good quality
1/4 pound toasted almonds

Preparation
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Place bacon on a sheet tray and bake until crisp, about 25 minutes. Melt chocolate in double boiler over low heat. Dip crisp bacon in chocolate and place back on sheet tray. Sprinkle with almonds and refrigerate for 30 minutes or until ready to serve.

I haven't tried the following recipe yet, but it looks sensational. The stuffing of the dates takes a little more time, but it's still a simple recipe. It's quite a chocolatey-variation on the more standard Devils on Horseback. This recipe was adapted from Jonathon Sawyer of The Greenhouse Tavern in Cleveland and appeared on The TastingTable Chefs' Recipe the other day. It appears to have everything: sweet, salty, spicy!

DEVILS ON HORSEBACK

Ingredients:
12 strips of bacon, halved crosswise
24 dates, pitted
6 squares of bittersweet baker's chocolate, broken into shards
Fleur de sel or other coarse sea salt
12 marcona almonds, halved
½ jalapeño, seeded and thinly sliced into 1/4-inch pieces

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 300°. Arrange the bacon on a baking sheet and warm in the oven for 15 seconds, then remove and let cool. Turn the oven up to 400°.
2. Stuff each date with a piece of chocolate, a few grains of fleur de sel, half a marcona almond and a piece of jalapeño. Wrap each date with a strip of bacon (secure it with a toothpick, if desired) and place on a baking sheet, seam side down.
3. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes or until the bacon is golden brown. Serve immediately.

Be still my heart. I need a few more people here to try this, but I'll let you know when I try these. Likewise, let me know if you make this recipe. I can tell from the recipe that I want to eat them all myself.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Dalmation Bars

I haven't made these in a long time, but the original recipe was from Family Circle Magazine. If you don't want to use nuts-and you can use walnuts or other nuts in place of the macadamia nuts-- you can add dark chocolate chips or broken pieces of chocolate in their place.

These bar cookies are named for Dalmatians because they have 'spots', but don't be fooled. These are definitely not for dogs. No chocolate for dogs. Chocolate is very bad for dogs.

Dalmatian Bars

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
3/4 cup sweet butter
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
1-3/4 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons Madagascar vanilla
3 1/2 ounces Macadamia nuts
1-1/2 cups mini white chocolate chips

Preparation:
Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
Coat a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. (you're making bars)
Melt unsweetened chocolate and butter in top of a double boiler over simmering water. Stir 'til smooth.
Mix together flour, baking powder, and salt in small bowl.
Beat sugar, eggs, and chocolate mixture in medium-size bowl.
Mix in vanilla, then flour mixture until combined.
Stir in macadamia nuts and half of white chocolate chips.
Spread evenly in prepared pan.
Sprinkle remaining white chocolate chips on top.
Bake in 350 degree F. oven 20 to 25 minutes or until firm and chocolate chips are tan.
Cool in pan.
Cut into bars.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

More Cupcakes for Fourth of July: Domino Sugar's Red Velvet Cupcakes

I love Red Velvet Cake, and it's the perfect treat to celebrate Fourth of July. Here's the most recent post from Domino Sugar for Red Velvet Cupcakes.  On my Red, White, and Blue, and Chocolate Cupcake post a few days ago, I gave a chocolate cupcake recipes and a few cupcake decorating tips for the Fourth of July. Be sure and check it out.

RED VELVET CUPCAKES

Ingredients
2 1/2 cups  all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder (not dark cocoa)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup  butter, softened (2 sticks)
2 cups Domino® Granulated Sugar
5 eggs at room temperature
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons red food coloring (or use Wilton's natural food dyes)

Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting:
3/4 cup butter, softened (1 1/2 sticks)
2 (8 oz) pkgs. cream cheese, softened
2 (1 lb) pkgs. Domino® Confectioners Sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350°F.  
Line 36 muffin cups with paper baking cups.  
Mix flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl and set aside. 
Beat butter and sugar in large mixing bowl at medium speed until light and fluffy.

Add eggs one at a time, scraping down sides of bowl with each addition.
On low speed, add sour cream, milk, vinegar, vanilla and food coloring.
Slowly add in flour mixture, and blend until just combined. DO NOT OVER MIX. 
Fill muffin cups 2/3 full.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until cupcakes spring back when touched.
Remove from oven and cool completely in pan.
Prepare frosting.

For frosting, beat butter and cream cheese on medium speed until light and fluffy. Gradually add in confectioners’ sugar, and beat until smooth and creamy. Slowly add in vanilla, and continue beating for 1 minute.

To create Red and Blue Stars, take two 3/4 cup portions of the frosting and place in two separate bowls. Add blue and red food coloring to dye each portion of frosting. Place into two zipper-style plastic bags, one for each color, and cut a small hole in one corner of each bag. Carefully squeeze out frosting in a star design on cupcake.

Want other recipes for Red Velvet Cake?

Here's a link to Marge's Red Velvet Cake.
And, a link to Red Velvet Cake, the natural Way. Chocolate Beet Cake.

Have a Red, White, & Blue, and Chocolate Fourth of July!

Photo: Domino Sugar

Saturday, July 3, 2010

National Chocolate Wafer Day: Famous Chocolate Refrigerator Roll

Today is National Chocolate Wafer Day! I love chocolate wafers, and I usually have a few boxes in the pantry-- 1) because they're not always easy to find and 2) I make my cheesecake chocolate crusts with them.
Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers, the most famous for sure, are thin and round, crisp and dark. I did a little digging into the history of these Wafers (not called cookies). According to a Washington Post article (and I can't find the reference/mea culpa!) in the Nabisco's archives there is a 1929 ad for the chocolate wafers. The copy in the ad suggests layering the wafers with whipped cream and refrigerating them overnight for an easy, elegant dessert.  By 1930, the recipe for Famous Chocolate Refrigerator Roll was printed on each tin of the chocolate wafers. Don't you wish the Famous Chocolate Wafers still came in a tin? How cool is that? Found a tin on Tias (without wafers) and one on eBay, but can't decide if I want to spring for it. Note that the original tin had 10 ounces. Now there are only 9 ounces.

Famous Chocolate Refrigerator Roll aka Icebox Cake!
Recipe from Nabisco

Don't be afraid to experiment with flavor in the Whipped Cream such as Kahlua or Chocolate Liqueur or add just a bit of sugar when you're whipping the cream. Here's the "original" recipe. The whipping cream actually softens the wafers, so this is absolutely delicious, and, as always, easy!

Ingredients:
1 tsp. vanilla
1 pt. (2 cups) whipping cream, whipped
1 pkg. (9 oz.) FAMOUS Chocolate Wafers

Preparation:
ADD vanilla to whipped cream; stir gently until well blended.
SPREAD 1-1/2 tsp. of the whipped cream mixture onto each wafer. Stack wafers together, then stand on edge on serving platter to make a log.
Frost with the remaining whipped cream mixture. 
REFRIGERATE at least 4 hours or overnight. Cut dessert diagonally into 14 slices to serve.
Store leftover dessert in refrigerator.

I like to add chocolate curls or grated chocolate to the top. On the Fourth of July, I add raspberries and blueberries!

Photo: Refrigerator (Icebox) Cake from Nabisco website and reproduced on the Box
Tin on Tias

Friday, July 2, 2010

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies in a Jar

Oatmeal and Chocolate are both excellent foods to lower your cholesterol and keep your heart healthy. O.K., so there's a lot of sugar and butter in this recipe, and that's not all that healthy, but I'm making cookies, and they taste better with sugar and butter. :-)

I posted a recipe for Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies on National Oatmeal Cookie Day. That's a great recipe, but this recipe continues my "Cookies in a Jar" series. It's simple and easy and makes a great gift. Not into gifting this mix? Just make the cookies!

I usually use either dark Guittard or dark Ghirardelli Chocolate Chips in this recipe, but use whatever you have or like.

As I've mentioned in other Cookies in a Jar mixes, be sure and tamp down each layer of ingredients as you fill the jar. Wipe excess off the insides with a dry paper towel after each addition. When my Jar is finished, I add a piece of burlap and tie with raffia. I usually place a label directly on the jar, but you can make a tag and attach with the raffia or with ribbon.

Note: If you're worried about people with nut allergies, put the walnuts in a plastic bag, cut excess off bag and tie tightly. Attach to the jar with raffia or ribbon. Add a note about the nuts on your instructions.

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookie Mix in a Jar

3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup rolled oats (I use Quaker Oats)
1 1/2  cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup dark chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Use a 1 quart jar, layering ingredients in the order given. You can mix the baking powder, flour and salt together and make that a layer. Pack down after each addition. Put lid on, and cover with a circle of burlap and tie with raffia.

Attach the following instructions:

Preheat oven to 350° F.
In a medium bowl, cream together 3/4 cup softened butter, 2 eggs, and 1 tsp vanilla.
Add the entire contents of the jar.
Mix by hand until combined.

Drop dough by rounded tablespoon onto unprepared cookie sheet.
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven.

Makes 2 dozen.

Love this Vintage Oatmeal Ad. Husky? Only if you add lots of sugar, milk, and butter!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Patriotic Cupcakes: Red White & Blue & Chocolate Cupcakes

Fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays. Last year for Independence Day I posted a Red Velvet Cupcake recipe with Cream Cheese Icing. You might also want to do Strawberries dipped in White Chocolate.

Here's a Chocolate Cupcake Recipe that is simple and 'patriotic' from Hershey!

Red, White & Blue & Chocolate Cupcakes
Ingredients:
2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa or HERSHEY'S SPECIAL DARK Cocoa (I use the dark)*
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
 2 eggs
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

VANILLA BUTTERCREAM FROSTING (recipe follows)
* Fresh blueberries and strawberries

Directions:
1. Heat oven to 350°F. Line muffin cups (2-1/2 inches in diameter) with paper bake cups.
2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of electric mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Fill muffin cups 2/3 full with batter.
3. Bake 22 to 25 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely.
3. Frost with VANILLA BUTTERCREAM FROSTING. Definitely put on more frosting than in the Hershey photo. Garnish with blueberries and strawberries.

VANILLA BUTTERCREAM FROSTING:
Beat 5 tablespoons softened butter until creamy in medium bowl. Gradually add 4 cups powdered sugar, 1/4 cup milk and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, beating until of spreading consistency. About 2 cups frosting.

This recipe makes about 2 1/2 dozen cupcakes.

Other Creative Patriotic Cupcake Decorations:

1. Make a 5 pointed star with strawberries: Ice the cupcake with  buttercream frosting. Slice strawberries. Put five slices on an angle to form a five pointed star on each cupcake. Put wide part in center with points out. Fill center of stars with 3-4 blueberries.

2. Instead of fruit, dip the iced cupcakes in a bowl of mixed red, white, and blue sprinkles!

3. Add red and blue coloring to part of the icing and arrange cupcakes on a platter as a flag!.. I would still add sprinkles.

4. Use patriotic cupcake stencils you can buy-- or make your own.

5. Use Patriotic baking cups for your cupcakes!

6. Use Wilton's coloring gel to make the cupcakes blue or red. They may not come out perfectly the first time. It's trial and error to get the color right, especially if you're using cocoa. If you do this, you might want to use the regular cocoa.


What Chocolate Dessert are you making for the Fourth of July?

Photo: Hershey's Recipes