Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Coffee Chocolate Chip Cookies: National Coffee Day

Today is National Coffee Day. So many ways to celebrate, especially if you add Chocolate. You can always have a Caffe Mocha. Chocolate Coffee Fudge, Chocolate Clouds in your Coffee, or pick up some Chocolate Covered Coffee Beans. Chocolate goes great coffee!

In honor of the day, I thought I'd post a recipe for Coffee Chocolate Chip Cookies. Everyone loves chocolate chip cookies. What I love about Chocolate Chip Cookies are the infinite varieties.

As I've mentioned before, your final product is only as good as your ingredients. Use the very best Chocolate, Espresso Beans, Vanilla, Flour, Butter and other ingredients!  This recipe calls for a baking stone. You can use a pizza stone. If you don't have one, you can make these Coffee Chocolate Chip Cookies the traditional way. The stone helps makes them gooey on the inside and crispy on the outside. I've adapted this recipe from  ehow.com.

COFFEE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

Ingredients
1 cup Sweet Butter, softened
2 fresh Large eggs (these should be room temperature)
2 cup Brown Sugar
6 Tbsp Granulated Sugar
5 tsp Pure Madagascar Vanilla Extract (I use Madecasse)
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Sea Salt
3- 1/2 cups King Arthur Flour
4 tsp Ground Espresso Beans (or finely ground coffee beans). Try this recipe with ground chocolate covered Coffee beans. Gives it just a bit more chocolate!
16 oz Dark chocolate (65-85% cacao) broken into pieces  (or dark chocolate chips)
Baking Stone

Method
1. Toss butter in microwave for 20 seconds to SOFTEN not melt the butter. (or leave out in advance, so it's already softened)
2. Cream butter and sugars together until fluffy. Mixture should be well blended but firm.
3. Add 2 eggs. Beat. Add Vanilla. Mix well. Set aside.
4. Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt into another bowl. Add the ground coffee or espresso beans.
5. Add dry ingredients to the wet mixure, beating in a little at a time. Fold in chocolate pieces (or chips). Possible to add walnuts, if you want them. I didn't put them in the ingredients above, but I always like chopped walnuts in my chocolate chip cookies.
6. Put Cookie Dough in the refrigerator for 2 hours to firm up. Put wax paper on top to prevent drying.
7. Pre-heat oven to 350. Put hot stone in Oven.
8. Take hot stone out of oven. Drop cookie balls (use a small scoop or form balls) onto the stone, smashing with fork after dropping. Put back in oven on the stone.
9. Cook for about 8 minutes. Depends on your oven, of course.
10. Transfer with spatula to Wire Rack.
Hint: Check the first one. If the cookies fall apart or aren't cooked all the way, give them another minute.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Rumble Cakes

I'm a big fan of Trader Joe's. I like their mixes and products...and certainly their prices. I always have frozen TJ desserts in my freezer in case I don't have time to make something.

Here's one of my favorite recipes direct from the Trader Joe's website.  You can buy all the ingredients at Trader Joe's or you can mix and match with your own items. The beauty of this recipe is that it's filled with all kinds of things and you can change them out, add or delete! Don't you just love the name? Rumble Cakes!

Let's Rumble!

RUMBLE CAKES

1 stick Sweet Butter
2  Eggs
1 box TJ’s Truffle Brownie Mix
¼ cup TJ’s Dried Tart Montmorency Cherries (I love these)
¼ cup Walnut Halves and Pieces
1 box TJ’s Frozen Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

Preheat the oven to 350°.
Bring the butter to room temperature and combine the eggs with the
butter and whisk/ mix.
Slowly add in the brownie mix.
Once the mixture is uniform, add in the cherries and walnuts; set aside.
Lightly grease a brownie pan and place the chunks of cookie dough sporadically around the bottom of the pan (there may be a few pieces of cookie dough left, do with them what you must).
Pour the brownie mix over the top, evenly coating the cookie dough.
Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes or until you can stick a toothpick in the center and it comes out clean.

Monday, September 27, 2010

National Chocolate Milk Day: Chocolate Milk with Salt

Today is National Chocolate Milk Day. The fact that it's really hot outside today makes this such an easy day to celebrate.

Last year I posted several Recipes for Chocolate Milk, but today I want to pay homage to one of my favorite TV sitcoms, Modern Family. In the premier episode last week, Manny is studying with a girl he has a crush on. She comes to his house where Manny's doting hot Columbian Mama Gloria (Sofia Vergara) makes the kids chocolate milk. The young girl with whom Manny is smitten says that they always add salt to chocolate milk at her home. Gloria, threatened by another 'woman' in Manny's life,  says she doesn't like it that way.  Of course, when she tries it without the two in the room, she really loves it.

I've posted lots of reviews and recipes that call for salt and chocolate. Salt gives chocolate a certain pop, and I think you'll find it very refreshing in chocolate milk. Just don't add too much. A pinch will do.

The Modern Family Chocolate Milk with Salt Showdown:
Gloria: So how is it going?
Manny: Great, Kelly's moving her stuff into my notebook.
Gloria: This is sudden.
Kelly: It just felt right. Oh, you know what you should do, put a pinch of salt in the chocolate milk, it really brings out the flavor.
Gloria: Salt is for the popcorn.
Manny: Sounds good.
Gloria: You wouldn't like it.
Kelly: Maybe we should let Manny decide.
Gloria: Okay, here's the salt. We'll see what he likes.
Manny tries both:
Manny: Wow! It's great! Try it, Mom.
Gloria: I don't care for it.

Her best line of the episode, defeated and with her accent, she tells the camera, "It was delicious."

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Chocolate Marble Cake, a Vintage Recipe


So today is Frank's Birthday and what could be more fitting than a Vintage Cake for a vintage man. Found this ad in a 1939 Life Magazine. Frank's not that old, but it's the perfect cake. This cake is simple to make and delicious. Of course, I've substituted other products.  For instance, I don't have Swans Down Cake Flour. Do they even still make it? I know it was a staple in my grandmother's pantry. And, although they still make Baker's Chocolate, I'm more apt to use a dark baking chocolate from a specialty chocolate company. In 1939, it was unique to make marble cake in layers according to this ad. Usually marble cake was a coffee cake.

I love this advertisement because it's so period. Don't miss the sexist comic strip on the bottom. If you can't read the fine print, "How Fran got first nibble from the season's best 'Catch.' She baked him this cake! Well, as they used to say, the way to a man's heart is through his stomach! Update that to "The way to your lover's heart is through his/her stomach" and that will bring it up to 2010.

Happy Birthday, Frank!

Here's the exact recipe in case your eyesight is vintage.

CHOCOLATE MARBLE CAKE

3 cups sifted Swans Down Cake Flour
3 tsp Calumet Baking Powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter or other shortening
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
6 egg whites, stiffly beaten
3 squares Baker's Unsweetened Chocolate, melted
4 tbsp sugar
1/4 cup boiling water
1/4 tsp soda

Recipe:
Sift flour once, measure, add baking powder and salt, and sift together three times.
Cream butter thoroughly, add sugar gradually, and cream together until light and fluffy.
Add flour, alternately with milk, in small amounts, beating well after each. Add vanilla. Fold in egg whites quickly and thoroughly.
To melted chocolate, add sugar and boiling water, stirring until blended. Then add soda and stir until thickened. Cool slightly.
Divide batter in two parts. To one part add chocolate mixture.
Put by tablespoons into two greased 9-inch layer pans, alternating light and dark misture. Then with knife cut carefully through batter once in a wife zigzag course.
Bake in moderate oven (375F) 30 to 35 minutes.
Spread Hungarian Chocolate Frosing between layers and over cake.
*This recipe has been developed with Calumet Baking Powder. If another baking powder is used, adjust the proportions as recommended by the manufacturers.

HUNGARIAN CHOCOLATE FROSTING (Using egg yolks). Combine 3 squares Baker's Unsweetened Chocolate, melted, 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, and 2 1/2 tablespoons hot water; belend. Add 3 egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each. Add 4 tablespoons butter, a tablespoon at a time, beating thoroughly after each amount. (All measurements are level.)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Otis Spunkmeyer Pink Cookies for Susan G. Komen for the Cure

Otis Spunkmeyer, Inc. has donated over $100,000 to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure in the fight to end breast cancer through sales of its limited-edition Pink Cookies.

The Susan G. Komen for the Cure is one of the world's largest grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activities. The organization works to save lives, empower people, ensure quality care for all and energize science to find the cure.


The Otis Spunkmeyer Pink Cookie is available now through October 31 through the Otis Spunkmeyer fundraising program and can be purchased by restaurants and other foodservice outlets through regular distribution channels. The Pink Cookie is a 1.33 oz chocolate cookie loaded with pink candy-coated chocolate pieces. 

“At Otis Spunkmeyer, charitable giving and community service is at the heart of our culture,” said John Schiavo, President and CEO of Otis Spunkmeyer. “Breast cancer affects so many families and we hope that by providing special cookie moments through our Pink Cookie and partnering with Susan G. Komen for the Cure, we can make a positive impact on those battling this disease.”

“Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s partnership with Otis Spunkmeyer offers consumers a sweet way to support the breast cancer movement,” said Katrina McGhee, senior vice president, global partnerships and business development. “One in eight women will be affected by breast cancer in their lifetime and this program is providing funds that are vital to our promise to save lives and end breast cancer forever."

Photo: Frank Price

Friday, September 24, 2010

Chocolate Cherries Jubilee: National Cherries Jubilee Day!

I hadn't planned to post this recipe today, but how could I pass up National Cherries Jubilee Day! So celebrate this food holiday with recipes for Chocolate Cherries Jubilee Cake and Chocolate Cherries Jubilee. Don't forget that Cherries Jubilee is pretty retro, so feel free to wait until Sunday and eat either of these while watching Mad Men! This cake is moist and scrumptious. You can also pour the Cherries Jubilee sauce over your own chocolate cake!

CHOCOLATE CHERRIES JUBILEE CAKE!

Cake:
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1- 1/2 cups cake flour or 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1- 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided use
1/2 cup unsweetened DARK cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup Canola oil
2 large eggs, separated
1/2 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract

Cherry Sauce:
1 (16 or 17-ounces) can pitted dark sweet cherries, drained (reserve 3/4 cup liquid)
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tbsp Kirsch or Cherry Brandy
1 tbsp cornstarch
Dash salt

Vanilla ice cream

Method:
1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan.
2. For Cake: Stir baking soda into buttermilk in medium bowl until dissolved; set aside.
3. In a large bowl, stir together flour, 1 cup sugar, cocoa and salt. Add oil, buttermilk mixture, egg yolks and vanilla and beat until smooth.
4. In a small bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form; gradually add remaining 1/2 cup sugar, beating until stiff peaks form.
5. Gently fold egg whites into chocolate batter. Pour batter into prepared pan.
6. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until cake springs back when touched lightly in center. Cool in pan.

7. For Cherry Sauce: In medium saucepan, stir together reserved cherry liquid, cherry liqueur, sugar, cornstarch and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and add cherries and orange peel.
8. Serve cake with a scoop of ice cream and Cherry Sauce spooned over the top.

CHOCOLATE CHERRIES JUBILEE
1/2 cup dark cherry preserves (I love Bonne Maman)
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons Cognac or Kirsh

1 pint chocolate chocolate chip ice cream
Toasted sliced almonds (optional)

1. Melt preserves in heavy small saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently. Mix in cinnamon and Cognac.
2. Scoop ice cream into bowls. Spoon sauce over (you can ignite it for special effects and then pour :-). Sprinkle with almonds (optional)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

White Chocolate Day: White Chocolate Mint Mousse

Today is National White Chocolate Day, and, of course, you need to celebrate! I've posted several white chocolate recipes before. I especially love  White Chocolate Cheesecake with a Dark Chocolate Cookie Crust. I also love White Chocolate Mashed Potatoes! Not that much richer than using butter.

But if you don't have a lot of time today, Nigella Lawson to the rescue. Nigella's White Chocolate Mint Mousse is delicious. Chocolate and mint. What's not to love? O.K. White chocolate isn't the real deal for me, but that being said, you can always make this recipe using dark chocolate. Taste will change with the amount of cacao, but if you're a purist, and you want to celebrate National White Chocolate Day, try this recipe now! It's easy and yummy!

WHITE CHOCOLATE MINT MOUSSE

Ingredients
 9 ounces white chocolate, broken into small pieces
1 cup heavy cream
1 egg white
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
6 fresh mint leaves, optional

Directions
1. Put the pieces of white chocolate in a bowl, and set this bowl over a pan over simmering water until it melts, stirring gently with a spatula every now and then. When it's melted, stand the bowl on a cold surface to cool down a little.
2. In another bowl, and using an electric handheld whisk for ease, whip the cream, egg white and extract together. You want soft peaking rather than a stiff mixture.
3. Put a big dollop of cream onto the slightly cooled chocolate and mix, and then gently fold the chocolate mixture into the cream.
4. Divide mixture between 6 small but perfectly formed glasses with a capacity of 1/4-cup each. (yes, less is more, this is sweet)
5. Chill in the fridge or put them in the freezer for 10 or 15 minutes.
Optional: Decorate top with a mint leaf before serving.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Double Chocolate Pecan Cookies: National Pecan Cookie Day

Pecans and chocolate are a true marriage made in heaven. I've posted recipes for Chocolate Pecan Sandies, definitely a pecan cookie, but I thought I'd post a different one to celebrate National Pecan Cookie Day!

This recipe is adapted from Woman's Day, April 1, 2006.  As always, I suggest you use the very best ingredients. I used See's English Toffee for the English toffee bits in the recipe, and I used 15 ounces of 85% Madecasse chocolate in place of the original 2 10-oz milk chocolate bars. Also used DARK cocoa. And, an FYI, there are over 1000 varieties of pecans. Whichever you choose, you'll go nuts for this recipe.

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE PECAN COOKIES

Ingredients
2 sticks (1 cup) sweet butter, softened
2⁄3 cup packed light-brown sugar
2⁄3 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
2 large eggs
3⁄4 tsp baking soda
3⁄4 tsp salt
2 1⁄3 cups all-purpose flour
2⁄3 cup unsweetened DARK cocoa powder
10 oz English toffee bits
1 1⁄2 cups coarsely chopped pecans
15-oz dark chocolate (70-85% cacao), chopped coarsely

Preparation
1. Heat oven to 375°F. Have baking sheet(s) ready.

2. Beat butter, sugars and vanilla in a large bowl with mixer on medium speed 1 to 2 minutes until fluffy. Beat in eggs, baking soda and salt until combined. Add flour and beat on low speed until blended.

3. Stir in cocoa powder,  English toffee bits,  pecans and chocolate.

4. Drop rounded tablespoons dough about 1 1⁄2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheet(s).

5. Bake 8 to 9 minutes until edges are golden brown. Cool on sheet 1 to 2 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Chocolate Chile Bohemia Ice Cream

You're going to love this recipe: Mexican Chocolate, Bohemia Beer, Chiles... what could be better? This was posted on my favorite cocktail blog: Drink of the Week. I'm not going to say this is easy, but it's delicious. Created by Rick Bayless.

CHOCOLATE CHILE BOHEMIA ICE CREAM

1 large pasilla negro chile, stemmed, seeded, deveined
1 1/3 cups half-and-half
2 ounces Mexican chocolate, chopped into small pieces
3 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped into ¼-inch pieces
4 egg yolks
½ cup sugar
1 1/3 cups heavy (whipping) cream
1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla, preferably Mexican
¼ cup Bohemia beer

In a small skillet heated over medium, toast the chile, pressing it flat against the skillet with a metal spatula until it is very aromatic—about 10 seconds per side. Place in a small saucepan and add the half-and-half, Mexican chocolate and the semi-sweet chocolate; heat over medium until steaming (but not boiling). Remove from heat. Cover and let steep for 10 minutes, then pour into a blender jar and process until the chile is completely pureed.

Set up a 4-quart saucepan, filled halfway with water, into which you can nestle a 3-quart stainless steel bowl. Bring the pot of water to a boil over high heat while you’re preparing the custard base. Reduce the temperature under the pot of boiling water to maintain a gentle simmer.

In the 3-quart stainless steel bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until thoroughly combined, then whisk in the chile-infused chocolate mixture. Set the bowl of custard base over the simmering water and whisk frequently, scraping down the sides of the bowl regularly with a rubber spatula, until the mixture thickens noticeably, about 5 minutes. The custard is sufficiently cooked when it reaches 180 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. (You can also test it by dipping a wooden spoon into the custard, then running your finger through the custard: if the line holds clearly, the custard has thickened sufficiently.) For the finest texture, strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a clean bowl.

Fill a large bowl halfway with ice. Nestle the bowl of strained custard in the ice bath. Whisk the mixture until it is completely cool. Refrigerate if not using immediately.
Stir the heavy cream, vanilla and Bohemia into the base. Freeze in an ice cream freezer according to the manufacturer’s directions. Scrape into a freezer container and freeze for several hours to firm.

Created by Chef Rick Bayless
Courtesy Bohemia Beer and Drink of the Week

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Chocolate Butterscotch Mug Cake: National Butterscotch Pudding Day

Today is National Butterscotch Pudding Day, and of course, it's even better with Chocolate. You can make Butterscotch Pudding from scratch or you can use a Box Mix. Add some chocolate chips.

Want to make something more fun to celebrate the day? Try this adaptation from Rachael Ray's Chocolate Butterscotch Mug Cake. It's a different Cake in a Mug recipe. Under five minutes in the microwave! Originally from Stacey J. Miller's 101 Recipes for Microwave Mug Cakes!

Chocolate Butterscotch Mug Cake

Ingredients
1 egg
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons Canola oil
1/8 teaspoon Madagascar vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
4 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons instant butterscotch pudding powder
4 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 tablespoons dark bittersweet chocolate chips
  
Optional Frosting:
1 box of prepared butterscotch pudding mixed with store bought chocolate frosting

Directions
1. Prepare mug by coating the inside lightly with cooking spray. Pour all of the dry ingredients into a bowl.
2. Beat egg first with a spoon and mix in other liquid ingredients.
3. Add dry ingredients and mix until you’ve removed all lumps.
4. Pour the batter into the mug (don't fill more than halfway) and smooth the top with a spoon.
5. Thump mug firmly on the tabletop six times to remove excess air bubbles.
6. Place mug on top of a microwaveable small plate or saucer.
7. Bake for 3-4 minutes. Check for doneness by inserting a toothpick in the middle of the microwave mug cake and removing the toothpick. If the toothpick is dry, the mug cake is done.
8. Wait two minutes then run a butter knife along the inside of the mug and tip the cake into plate. 9. Position the mug cake so that the slightly rounded top is on top. It will look like a slightly overgrown muffin. 

Optional: Frost the whole chocolate chip butterscotch microwave mug cake with prepared butterscotch pudding chocolate frosting. I prefer to dust with a little powdered sugar. The cake is already pretty rich!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Chocolate Ginger Pudding Pie from Aarti Party

I was cheering Aarti Sequeira on from the start of this year's Next Food Network Star competition.  I'm so glad she won. I love her recipes, her wit, and her giggles. She makes cooking look easy and fun which is the way it should be. So as the winner of the Next Food Network Star, she has her own show, Aarti Party! I've watched the first four shows now. Yes, I have to 'tape' them since they appear only once a week Sunday at noon, not a time for me to be watching TV.  Hope she gets a better time slot in the future.

Aarti adds a lot of subtle Indian twists to her recipes. I like that, of course, and I was thrilled to see a chocolate recipe on the second program: Chocolate Ginger Pudding Pie aka Come Ere Puddin Pie. It's absolutely incredible. First, it's easy. That's always a big one in my book. And, I think the Chocolate Cookie Gingersnap Crust is absolutely brilliant. I plan to use it with lots of cheesecakes, too.  Anyway, the crystallized ginger in the pudding filling is downright awesome. You are going to love this pie! 

Chocolate Ginger Pudding Pie

Ingredients

Crust:
15 chocolate wafer cookies
15 gingersnaps
3/4 stick unsalted butter, melted
Generous pinch salt

Filling:
2 cups whole milk
3 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
Pinch salt
2 tablespoons chopped candied ginger
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Crust: Crush the cookies in a food processor with the melted butter until almost finely crushed (or in a plastic food storage bag, using a rolling pin). Pour the cookie crumbs into pie dish. Using your hands, smooth out the crumbs to form an even crust on bottom and sides of the pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool completely.

Filling: In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk together the milk, yolks and vanilla. Stir in the sugar, cornstarch, chocolate and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. Boil for 1 minute, then immediately remove from heat. Mixture should be very thick! Quickly stir in the ginger, then pour the pudding into the crust. Cover the surface of pie with plastic wrap (to prevent a skin from forming) and chill for 3 hours, until set.

Before serving, whip the cream and sugar together in a small bowl, until soft peaks form. Serve each slice of pie with a dollop of whipped cream, and a light dusting of leftover cookie crumbs, if you have any.

Heaven!!!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Deep Fried Candy Bars

The State and County Fairs have ended for the season, but there's no doubt that Deep Fried Everything was the big hit. Given that we live in a Fat Filled Nation, this should come as no surprise.

Want to make some deep fried candy bars at home? Elizabeth LaBau at About.com has the perfect recipe, as well as great step by step photos and a video. She's got you coming and going, so you can't go wrong! A deep fryer would be great to use, but if you don't have one, you can always make deep fried candy bars in a regular sauce pan. Pretty much any candy bar will work, so pick your favorite.

Your candy bars will be crisp on the outside, and goey on the inside as the chocolate and caramel (depending on your bar) liquify! Hold on to your arteries!

DEEP FRIED CANDY BARS

Ingredients:
Up to 8 full-size candy bars
8-12 cups of vegetable or peanut oil, quantity depending on your pan
1.5 cups flour, divided
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk
2 tbsp white vinegar
1 tbsp vegetable oil

Preparation:
1. Begin by freezing your bars: remove your desired bars from their wrappers, and place them on a cookie sheet. Freeze them for at least 2 hours, until they are solid and frozen throughout.
2. When the candy bars are almost through with their chilling period, start heating the oil for frying. Pour vegetable oil into a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan until it is three inches deep. The exact quantity of oil required will depend on the size of your saucepan. Turn the heat to medium-high, and insert a candy/deep fry thermometer. The oil needs to reach 375 degrees on the thermometer, which will take about 10 minutes.
3. While the oil heats, prepare the batter. Place 1/2 cup of flour in a shallow bowl or pie tin and set aside for now. Place the remaining 1 cup of flour in a small bowl and stir in the baking powder and salt. In a mixing cup, stir together the milk, vinegar, and oil. Whisk the wet ingredients into the dry until smooth and free of most lumps.
4. Remove the frozen candy bars from the freezer. If you have a large pan or are using a deep fryer, you may be able to do several candy bars at once. If you are uncertain or if your pan is a medium size, it is best to do one candy bar at a time so that they cook evenly.
5. Dredge a candy bar in the flour, covering it completely. Holding it gently with two fingers, dip it into the batter until it is immersed, shifting your finger position so that it is completely covered.
6. Quickly place the battered candy bar into the 375-degree oil, being careful not to drop it and cause oil to splash up. Monitor the frying candy bar carefully, as it can cook quickly. If it bobs to the surface, gently press it down with the back of a spoon so that it cooks evenly.
7. Once it has reached a beautiful, rich golden brown color, remove the candy bar from the oil with a slotted spoon and place it on a plate covered with paper towel to soak up the excess grease. Repeat the battering and frying process with the remaining candy bars. While frying, be sure to monitor the temperature of the oil and adjust your heat up or down accordingly. If the oil is too cold it won’t fry quickly enough and the candy bar will soak up too much grease. If it is too hot the outside will get dark before the inside is fully warmed, leaving you with a partially defrosted candy bar.
8. After your candy bars are fried, let them cool slightly, then dust them lightly with powdered sugar and serve while still slightly warm.

Photo guide for Step by Step Instructions.

Video Deep Fried Candy Bars with Elizabeth LaBau

Monday, September 13, 2010

Agatha Christie Cake: Delicious Death

So many Celebrations in honor of Agatha Christie's 120th birthday this week.  I posted a bit about Agatha Christie yesterday on my other blog, Mystery Fanfare. Be sure and check it out. It includes a link to a 1955 BBC interview with the Queen of Crime. I will be posting more about Agatha Christie this week as part of two Agatha Christie Blog Tours.

As many of you know, I collect 'literary' cookbooks, tie-in cookbooks and the like. There is sadly no Agatha Christie cookbook, and if there were, I doubt there would be a lot of chocolate cakes in the cookbooks. Lots of scones and finger sandwiches, perhaps, an omelet or two, but not many that I would consider deliciously chocolate, although certainly for Poirot there might be some Belgian chocolate.

However, in honor of Agatha Christie's 120th birthday celebration, Jane Asher has created a chocolate cake she calls Delicious Death.  Jane Asher, a long-time fan of Agatha Christie and actor in many Christie productions, was asked by Christie's grandson, Mathew Prichard, to create a recipe for the celebration.

"There is nothing more indulgent than afternoon tea. I have particularly fond memories of the lazy afternoons spent with my grandmother at Greenway as she tried out her latest ideas on us over a pot of tea and delicious cakes," said Prichard, calling Asher's invention "truly decadent".

Asher's cake was inspired by a passage in Christie's Miss Marple novel A Murder is Announced in which émigré housekeeper Mitzi bakes it for Dora Bunner's birthday tea. "'Impossible to make such a cake. I need for it chocolate and much butter, and sugar and raisins,'" she tells her employer, Miss Blacklock, who suggests using a tin of butter sent from America and raisins that were being kept for Christmas, along with a "slab of chocolate and a pound of sugar".

Mitzi is delighted. "'It will be rich, rich, of a melting richness! And on top I will put the icing – chocolate icing – I make him so nice – and write on it Good Wishes. These English people with their cakes that tastes of sand, never never, will they have tasted such a cake. Delicious, they will say – delicious'" - but is not so impressed with the name which is dubbed Delicious Death because it's so rich. It becomes an apt name though when Dora Bunner is found dead from poisoning after her birthday tea.

Basing her recipe on the ingredients mentioned in the 1950 novel, Jane Asher created her own version of Delicious Death. From the Guardian: "It has an intense, forbidding dark Belgian chocolate centre which is lifted by the unexpected sharp zing of its brandy-soaked cherry and ginger filling," she said. "The glorious assault on the senses doesn't end there: the cake is decorated with flecks of pure gold, sprinklings of crystallised rose and violet petals, and swirls of ganache piping. This paragon of a cake is as beautiful to look at as it is delicious – and deadly? – to eat."

This cake will be served at Greenway in Devon throughout Agatha Christie Week (September 12-19, 2010), as well as being available at Greenway and the opening of the Torquay festival. It will also be on the menu at Brown's Hotel in Mayfair, said to be the inspiration for At Bertram's Hotel.

Agatha Christie's Delicious Death by Jane Asher

Ingredients
175g dark chocolate drops (50-55% cocoa solids)
100g softened or spreadable butter
100g golden caster sugar
5 large eggs
½ tsp vanilla extract

100g ground almonds
½ tsp baking powder

For the filling:
150ml rum, brandy or orange juice
150g raisins
55g soft dark brown sugar
6-8 glacé cherries
4-6 pieces crystallised ginger
1 tsp lemon juice

For the decoration:

175g dark chocolate drops (50-55% cocoa solids)
150ml double cream
2 tsps apricot jam
10g crystallized violet petals
10g crystallized rose petals
A small quantity of gold leaf

Method
Pre-heat the oven to 150C, (300F, 135C fan-assisted). 
Grease an 8" deep cake tin and line the bottom with baking parchment or silicone.

Prepare the filling: in a small saucepan, combine all the ingredients and stir over heat until the mixture is bubbling. Allow to simmer gently, while stirring, for at least two minutes, or until most of the liquid has evaporated and the mixture is thickened. Allow to cool.

In a small heatproof bowl, melt the chocolate drops over simmering water or in a microwave, being careful not to let it overheat. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.

Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until very pale and fluffy. Separate the eggs, setting aside the whites in a large mixing bowl, and, one by one, add 4 of the yolks to the butter/sugar mix, beating well between each one.

Add the melted chocolate and fold in carefully, then stir in the vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, mix together the ground almonds and baking powder, then stir them into the cake mix.

Whisk the egg whites until peaked and stiff, then fold gently into the chocolate cake mix.

Spoon the mix into the prepared cake tin, leveling the top, and bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 55-65 minutes, or until firm and well risen. Allow the cake to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning it out on to a rack to cool completely.

Using a serrated knife, slice the cake in half horizontally. Spread the cooled fruit filling onto one half and sandwich the two halves back together.

To decorate: put the chocolate and cream in a heatproof bowl and melt them together over simmering water or in a microwave. Spread the cake all over with warmed apricot jam and place on a rack over a baking tray. Keeping back a couple of tablespoonfuls, pour the icing over the whole cake, making sure it covers the top and the sides completely, scooping up the excess from the tray with a palette knife as necessary. Add any surplus to the kept back icing. Carefully transfer the cake to a 10" cake board or pretty plate.

Once the reserved icing is firm enough to pipe, place it in a piping bag with no. 8 star nozzle and pipe a scrolling line around the top and bottom edges of the cake. Leave for two to three hours to set.

Place the violet and rose petals into a plastic bag and crush them into small flakes. Sprinkle these liberally around the chocolate scrolls. Finally, with a cocktail stick, pull off some small flakes of gold leaf and gently add them to the top of the cake.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

World's Largest Chocolate Bar

I'm always Dying for Chocolate, but this might be too much even for me.  At least it was dark chocolate, although the amount of cacao was not mentioned.

Armenian company Grand Candy yesterday unveiled the world's largest-ever chocolate bar -- a 25-centimetre-thick slab weighing in at 4410 kilograms and measuring 5.60 metres by 2.75 metres.

In a televised ceremony, representatives of Guinness World Records measured the dark chocolate bar and handed a document to company managers certifying it as the new record-holder.

Grand Candy CEO Karen Vardanian told journalists the bar was produced in honour of the company's 10th anniversary.

The record was previously held by a chocolate bar produced in Italy in October 2007 that weighed 3580 kilograms (7890 pounds).

Friday, September 10, 2010

Chocolate Babka for the New Year: The Kosher Baker

Just in time for the Jewish New Year.. or any time really comes a great new cookbook: The Kosher Baker: Over 160 Dairy-free Recipes from Traditional to Trendy, by Paula Shoyer and published by Brandeis University Press. 

Paula Shoyer is the owner of Paula's Parisian Pastries Cooking School  in Chevy Chase, MD. Not only does her cookbook feature Jewish classic recipes but there are kosher versions of many 'regular' great baked desserts. The book is organized into three sections - quick and elegant, two-step and multiple step desserts and breads. You decide. I usually go for Quick and Elegant, but this recipe is worth the effort. Dairy-free is great for so many reasons, and this is a welcome addition to anyone's CookBook Shelf!


One of my favorite Jewish Chocolate Foods is Chocolate Babka. I've posted a  Chocolate Babka recipe before, but I love this one in The Kosher Baker.


CHOCOLATE BABKA

1/2 cup warm water
1/2 ounce (2 envelopes) active dry yeast
2 1/2 cups plus 1 teaspoon sugar, divided
5 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups (6 sticks) parve margarine, softened, divided
2 large eggs plus 1 white (reserve yolk for glazing)
1/2 cup parve unsweetened cocoa
Spray oil, for greasing pans
1/2 cup parve mini or regular chocolate chips

1. Place the 1/2 cup warm water, yeast, and 1 teaspoon of the sugar in a large mixing bowl and let sit 10 minutes, until the mixture bubbles. Add 1/2 cup of the sugar, the flour, 2 sticks of the margarine, and the 2 whole eggs and egg white. Combine by hand with a wooden spoon or with a dough hook in a stand mixer until all the ingredients are mixed in. Cover the bowl with plastic and let rise 2 to 4 hours, until the dough has increased in size at least 50 percent.

2. Meanwhile, make the filling. In a medium bowl, combine the remaining 2 cups of the sugar with the cocoa. Add the remaining 4 sticks margarine and mix well with a hand-held or stand mixer or by hand with a whisk. You can let the filling sit out covered while the dough is rising.

3. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease two 12-inch-long loaf pans with spray oil.

4. Divide the dough into four pieces. On a large piece of parchment, roll each piece into a 10 x 7-inch rectangle. Spread 1/4 of the filling on one of the rectangles and then sprinkle on of the chocolate chips. Roll the dough up working with the long side of the rectangle. Repeat with the next dough rectangle. When you have the two rolls, twist them around each other, trying to keep the seam on the bottom. Tuck the ends under and place into one of the loaf pans. Do the same with the other two pieces of dough. Brush the tops of the loaves with the reserved egg yolk mixed with a little water.

5. Bake for 45 minutes. Cool for 20 minutes in the pan. Run a knife around the babka and then remove from the pans and let cool.

Storage: Store wrapped in foil at room temperature. If you will not eat it within 24 hours, freeze it for up to three months. Thaw at room temperature for 4 hours before serving. 

 Like not devouring this within 24 hours would ever happen!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Chocolate Kahlua Date Nut Bread: National Date Nut Bread Day

September 8  is National Date Nut Bread. I love nut breads of all kinds, and I think you'll enjoy this spin on a traditional Date Nut Bread. The Kahlua Date Nut Bread recipe was making the rounds a few years ago, but I adapted it a bit to add chocolate chunks (or chocolate chips, if you're so inclined). How can you go wrong with Kahlua and Chocolate and Dates and Nuts? And, this is so easy and quick! It's a Quick Bread! :-)

Chocolate Kahlua Date Nut Bread


Ingredients:
1 cup chopped, pitted dates
1/2 cup Kahlua
2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons sweet butter, softened
1 large egg
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1/2 cup dark chocolate (65-75% cacao), broken into small chunks (or use dark chocolate chips)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°
1. Combine Dates and Kahlua. Set aside and let the dates absorb the Kahlua. Yum!
2. Beat sugar, butter, and egg together until creamy.
3. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt.
4. Alternate adding flour mixture and date mixture to sugar mixture.
5. Stir in pecans and dark chocolate chunks.
6. Put batter in sprayed/greased loaf pan (s).
7. Let batter stand in pan(s) for about 5 minutes.

Bake until done. For a regular loaf pan, bake 60 to 70 minutes. For medium loaf pans, bake 50 to 60 minutes. For small loaf pans, bake 45 to 50 minutes.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Chocolate Honey Cake for a Sweet New Year

As I've mentioned in my last few blogs, September is National Honey Month, so here's another Chocolate Honey Cake Recipe. I posted a Chocolate Honey Cake recipe before, and I really like that Chocolate Honey Cake. It's quite different from the one below.  Either of these cakes would also be great to make to celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, that begins on Wednesday night. Honey is a traditional food that symbolizes a Sweet New Year. Add Chocolate, and the year is bound to be sweet!

If you read my blog, you'll know I'm quite taken with many of Nigella Lawson's recipes, especially those with chocolate. Here then is my adaptation of her Chocolate Honey Cake, aka Honey Bee Cake. She decorates her Chocolate Honey Cake with the most adorable marzipan bees, but I never get quite that involved. Too bad, because they're really beautiful.  And, honey cake doesn't have to be dry and heavy. This cake is incredibly moist! As I've mentioned before, though, your final product will be different depending on the type and brand of chocolate and the type of honey you use.

Chocolate Honey Cake

Ingredients

Cake:
4 ounces dark chocolate (50-65% cacao), broken into pieces
1 1/3 cups soft light brown sugar
2 sticks soft sweet butter
1/2 cup local honey
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon DARK cocoa
1 cup boiling water

Sticky Honey Glaze:
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup honey
6 ounces dark chocolate (50-65% cacao), finely chopped
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar

Directions
1. Have all ingredients at room temperature.
2. Melt the chocolate from the cake part of the ingredients list in a large bowl, either in the microwave or in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Set aside to cool slightly.
3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and butter and line a 9-inch springform pan.
4. Beat together sugar and softened butter until airy and creamy, and then add the honey.
5. Add 1 of the eggs, beating it in with a tablespoon of the flour, and then the other egg with another tablespoon of flour.
6. Fold in the melted chocolate, and then the rest of the flour and baking soda.
7. Add the cocoa pushed through a tea strainer to ensure no lumps, and last of all, beat in the boiling water.
8. Mix everything together well to make a smooth batter and pour into the prepared springform pan.
9. Bake for up to 1 -1/2 hours, but check the cake after 45 minutes. If it's getting too dark, cover the top lightly with aluminium foil and keep checking every 15 minutes.
10. Let the cake cool completely in the pan on a rack.

Glaze: 
1. To make the glaze, bring the water and honey to a boil in a pot, then turn off the heat and add the finely chopped chocolate, swirling it around to melt in the hot liquid.
2. Leave it for a few minutes, then whisk together.
3. Add the sugar through a sieve and whisk again until smooth.

Putting it together:
1. Choose your plate or stand, and cut 4 strips of parchment paper and form a square outline on the plate. Reason: So when you put the cake on it and ice it, the icing won't run  all over the plate (you can always cut the excess off later).
2. Unclip the springform pan and set the thoroughly cooled cake on the prepared plate.
3. Pour the glaze over the cold chocolate honey cake. It might dribble a bit down the edges, but don't worry too much about it. The glaze stays tacky for some time (which is what gives it its melting goeyness) so ice in time for the glaze to harden a little,  at least an hour before you want to serve it.

Nigella Lawson decorates this great cake with marzipan bees. For the recipe for them, and for her exact recipe, go HERE.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Chocolate Honey Truffles

Since September is National Honey Month, here's something fun and easy to make recipe that will make your honey fall in love all over again. These Chocolate Honey Truffles will change their flavor with the type of honey you use, as well as the brand of chocolate and amount of cacoa. These truffles are honey infused, so mix it up and have a Chocolate Honey Truffle tasting. Here's what I used the last time I made these.

Chocolate Honey Truffles

4 ounces 70% Madegasse dark chocolate, broken up
1 teaspoon Sonoma County Spring Wildflower Honey
1/3 cup of heavy whipping cream
Some unsweetened Dark cocoa powder
A pinch of salt

1. Melt the broken pieces of dark chocolate with the whipping cream in the top of a double-boiler or a pot on top of a pot of simmering water.
2. Continue to whisk mixture until the chocolate is fully blended with the cream.
3. Continue stirring as you add the honey and salt.
4. Either transfer the chocolate mixture to a bowl or put the pot you're using in the refrigerator for a few hours (or the freezer for a shorter time if you're in a hurry). Be sure and cover with aluminum foil.
5. Take out when the chocolate hardens but is still soft enough to shape it into balls.
6. Have a shallow bowl or plate ready with the cocoa.
7. Using a melon baller, shape the chocolate into small balls.
8. Throw (o.k. drop) the chocolate balls into the powder and roll around a bit so they're well coated.

Now make them again with a different type of honey and a different type of chocolate!

Cabernet Day: Molten Spiced Chocolate Cabernet Cakes

Today is #Cabernet Day on social media sites! There will be at least 41 'realtime' meetups and many more virtual. I've blogged about Cabernet and Chocolate before in two recipes: Double Double Chocolate Cherry Cookies and Chocolate Wine Brownies (substitute Cabernet for Merlot in the first recipe, but the second uses Cabernet).  I know I'll have a big glass of Cabernet tonight, but in the meantime, I thought I might mention some of my favorite chocolate cabernet sauces, a recipe and a few other things.

Two of my favorite Chocolate Cabernet Sauces: Anette's Chocolate Cabernet sauce and B.R. Cohn's Chocolate Cabernet sauce. Perfect on strawberries, ice cream, cheesecake, brownies and lots of other desserts.

Want to make something that includes both cabernet and chocolate? This recipe for Molten Spiced Chocolate Cabernet Cakes is fabulous. Don't be intimidated by the spices. It's really delicious. It's a version of Molten Lava Cakes. Adapted from the McCormick Gourmet Collection,  I add more wine, of course,  and a regular, not baking only, chocolate. It's all about quality, after all. Since it's a McCormick recipe, I've tried it with their Saigon cinnamon. Very different flavor. Again, this is really easy. 15 minutes to make, 15 minutes to bake! Great way to celebrate Cabernet Day.

Molten Spiced Chocolate Cabernet Cakes

Ingredients

4 ounces dark chocolate (65-75 % cacao) broken up
1/2 cup  sweet butter
2 tablespoon Cabernet Sauvignon
1 teaspoon McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
6 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon McCormick® Gourmet Collection Cinnamon, Saigon or 1/4 teaspoon McCormick® Gourmet Collection Roasted Saigon Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon McCormick® Gourmet Collection Ginger, Ground

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Butter 4 (6-ounce) custard cups or soufflé dishes. Place on baking sheet.
2. Microwave chocolate and butter in large microwavable bowl on HIGH 1 minute or until butter is melted. Stir with wire whisk until chocolate is completely melted. Stir in wine, vanilla and confectioners' sugar until well blended. Stir in eggs and yolk. Stir in flour, cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Pour batter evenly into prepared custard cups.
3. Bake 13 to 15 minutes or until sides are firm but centers are soft. Let stand 1 minute. Carefully loosen edges with small knife. Invert cakes onto serving plates. Sprinkle with additional confectioners' sugar. Serve immediately.

Tips from McCormick's:
Make Ahead: The chocolate mixture can be prepared up to 1 day ahead of time. Pour the batter into prepared custard cups; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature for 30 minutes before baking.

Test Kitchen Tip: Molten cakes prepared with Saigon Cinnamon will have a warm, flavorful cinnamon taste. Use Roasted Saigon Cinnamon for a robust, sweet-spicy cinnamon flavor.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

National Honey Month: Honey Chocolate Brownies

September is National Honey Month, so I thought I'd begin posting some chocolate/honey recipes. I'm a huge fan of HONEY, as you know from reading this BLOG. One of my favorite honey places is Beekind in Sebastopol, and they now have a place at the Ferry Building in San Francisco. I love that BeeKind carries honey from all over the Bay Area-- so many microclimates with different vegetation for the bees. Beekind also carries honey from other locales. Great to go in and taste.

This first Honey/Chocolate recipe this month is for Honey Chocolate Brownies. This Recipe won the 2000 Huron County Fair Blue Ribbon. I've adapted it slightly. Just as different cocoa will change the taste of these brownies, so will the honey. Try these brownies with different honey and chocolate combinations.

HONEY CHOCOLATE BROWNIES

1 cup softened sweet butter
½ tsp. Salt
1 ½ cups honey
1 cup flour
3 eggs beaten
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 tsp. Madagascar Vanilla extract
1/3 cup dark cocoa

In mixer, beat butter until creamy.
Slowly add honey, mixing constantly.
Add eggs, vanilla and salt. Add cocoa.
Add flour.
Fold in nuts.
Make sure it is mixed completely.
Pour batter into greased 9x13x2 inch. deep pan and bake at 350* for 30 to 35 minutes.