Saturday, April 30, 2011

Oatmeal Raisin Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies: National Raisin Day

I can never have enough Chocolate Chip Cookie recipes, and this recipe adapted from Engrossed in 2006 on Food.com is awesome!  Make Oatmeal Raisin Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies to celebrate National Raisin Day.  Be sure and scroll down to see the California Raisins dancing to I Heard it on the Grapevine!

OATMEAL RAISIN WALNUT CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons Madagascar vanilla extract
1 cup ground walnuts (can grind in blender)
1 cup old fashioned oats
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips or chocolate broken into bits
1 cup raisins

Directions
1. In a small bowl mix flour, baking soda and cinnamon.
2. In a large mixing bowl beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla.
3. At a low speed, beat in flour mixture until blended.
4. Fold in ground walnuts, oats, chocolate chips (or pieces) and raisins.
5. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.
6. Preheat oven to 350.
7. Grease 2 baking sheets.
8. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place balls 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Flatten each cookie slightly
9. Bake cookies until lightly browned around the edges, 10 to 12 minutes.
10. Transfer to flattened brown paper bags or wire racks to cool.

Dough also freezes well. Freeze dough balls on a cookie sheet and then put them in a ziploc bag in the freezer until ready to bake!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Two More Chocolate Biscuit Cake Recipes

I know McVittie's is making the Royal Wedding Chocolate Biscuit Cake, but I couldn't find that top secret recipe. I did post a link to a great recipe for Chocolate Biscuit Cake from The Daily Spud, and I do think it probably comes quite close, especially since it uses golden syrup.  Walkers has a fabulous recipe that I posted yesterday from the Millstone Cafe in Connecticut.

Well, in case you plan to serve all the wedding guests (the Queen's not, but that's another story), here are two more recipes for Chocolate Biscuit Cake. The first recipe is from Butlers Chocolates in the UK. You have the option of using either white or milk chocolate. For the wedding, use milk chocolate (or maybe even something darker?). Since it's an English wedding, I didn't change the measurements. You can find a converter on the Internet. This recipe is a cinch and delicious. A hob is a stove...but you knew that!  The second recipe is from Betty Crocker. A bit more complicated, but definitely satisfying.

CHOCOLATE BISCUIT CAKE III: Butler's Chocolates

Ingredients:
100g Butter
400g Butlers Milk Chocolate / 400g Butlers White Chocolate  (or your favorite brand)
1 can of condensed milk
150g/250g rich tea or digestive biscuits

Method:
1. Melt your butter and preferred type of chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of near boiling water. Turn on the hob and melt it slowly because if it melts too quickly it will curdle and you will have to start again!
2. While the two ingredients are melting break up the biscuits either by hand OR with a rolling pin in a bag, put the broken biscuits in a bowl and leave to the side.
3. Open the can of condensed milk.
4. Remove the melted chocolate and butter from the hob when there are no lumps left in the mixture and the ingredients are a shiny, rich, brown/cream colour.
5. Gradually add the condensed milk to the chocolate mixture.
The ingredients will look as if you have done something wrong as they will combine and then separate. DON’T WORRY, this is normal. KEEP adding the condensed milk until there is none remaining in the can. Eventually the mixture will get thicker and smoother than before
6. Gradually add the biscuits to the mixture, as much or as little as you want.
7. Line a squared baking tray with tinfoil. Add the chocolate biscuit mixture.
8. Refrigerate for 4-6 hours.
9. Cut up into squares

CHOCOLATE BISCUIT CAKE IV: Betty Crocker

Cake
1 pkg (8.8 oz) McVitie's® chocolate digestives tea biscuits or rich tea biscuits
1 1/3 cups dark chocolate chips (8 oz)
2/3 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons butter

Frosting
2/3 cup dark chocolate chips (4 oz)
1/3 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon butter

Directions
1. Line a 6- or 8-inch round cake pan with foil. Spray with nonstick cooking spray. Break each of the biscuits into 1-inch pieces; set aside.
2. In medium bowl, place 1 1/3 cup chocolate chips; set aside. In 1-quart saucepan, heat 2/3 cup whipping cream and 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat, stirring until butter is melted and mixture comes to a boil. Pour cream mixture over chocolate and stir smooth.
3. Add biscuit pieces to chocolate mixture, gently fold until all pieces are coated. Spoon into the prepared cake pan. Gently press mixture into pan. Refrigerate cake for 3 hours or until firm.
4. Remove cake from cake pan and turn upside down onto a serving plate. Remove foil. In small bowl place remaining 2/3 cup chocolate chips. In 1-quart saucepan, heat remaining 1/3 cup whipping cream and 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat, stirring until butter is melted and mixture comes to a boil. Pour cream mixture over chocolate and stir smooth. Pour the melted chocolate over the cake; frost top and sides using a butter knife or offset spatula. If desired, decorate with melted milk chocolate.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Walkers Chocolate Biscuit Cake fit for a Future King

The Millstone CafĂ© in Kent, CT invites you to celebrate the Royal Wedding in style. Starting on Friday, April 29th, the day of the wedding and while supplies last, guests can enjoy a slice of the Chocolate Biscuit Cake, inspired by  Prince William's choice and made with Walkers Butter Digestive Biscuits.  This cake is made with chocolate, cream, butter and wonderful  Walkers biscuits, creating an irresistible, rich and delicacy.

As I posted before, Prince William chose the cake for his wedding to Kate Middleton since it has been one of his favorites since childhood. Guests at the Buckingham Palace reception will be able to choose between the Chocolate Biscuit Cake and a classic fruitcake, the couple's official selection.

Millstone co-owners Carol Hawran and John Cummins said "We've heard from some of our customers that they will be getting up pretty early to watch the wedding on TV and so we thought that by offering our own version of the groom's cake, we could extend the romance and delight of the occasion by having some of this delicious treat on our menu."

Be sure and check out www.walkersus.com for recipes. This recipe from Hawran was posted there. So if you can't make it to Connecticut this weekend...or to the wedding... give this recipe a try. 

Chocolate Biscuit Cake
The Millstone Cafe - Kent, CT

For the Cake: 2 5.3 oz. boxes of Walkers Butter Digestive Biscuits 1 cup Heavy Cream 2 tbsp. Honey 4 tbsp. Butter, unsalted 8 oz. Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips 8 oz. Bittersweet Chocolate 65%, chips or chopped 1 tsp. vanilla extract 1/2 cup dried tart cherries, whole For the Ganache Glaze: 2 tbsp. Butter, unsalted 1/4 Heavy Cream 1 cup Bittersweet Chocolate 65%, chips or chopped

For the Cake:

1. Prepare an 8" springform pan, butter the inside lightly.
2. Break up the biscuits into 1/2" chunks, not fine crumbs. Place in a bowl, set aside.
3. Place the cream, honey, butter, and all the chocolate pieces into a bowl, over simmering water.
4. Stir until combined and all the chocolate is melted.
5. Add the vanilla, cherries, stir and pour the chocolate mixture over the biscuit chunks. Stir well to coat.
6. Pour into the pan, tapping lightly on the counter to remove any air bubbles.
7. Chill for 3 hours.
8. Unmold, invert and place on a rack, with a cookie pan underneath; remove bottom.

Prepare the ganache:
1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter and cream. When the mixture reaches a boil, remove it from the heat and pour over the chocolate bits, stirring until completely melted and smooth.
2. Pour the glaze evenly over the cake, allowing it to drip down and completely cover the top and sides.
3. Allow it to firm up, transfer it to serving plate. Chill for 20 minutes or until firm. Cut with sharp knife that has been dipped in hot water.
4. Serve with whipped cream if desired.
5. Refrigerate any leftovers.

Photo: The Millstone Cafe on Walkers site

http://www.butlerschocolates.com/pages/Chocolate-Recipes/Chocolate-Biscuit-Cake.htm

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

French Chocolate Hazelnut Toast: Cynthia St-Pierre

My Chocolate and Mystery Worlds collide again in this wonderful and simple recipe for French Chocolate Hazelnut Toast. Just the reorganizing of the words makes this memorable! The post is written by Cynthia St. Pierre in the words of her sleuth Becki Green. Thank you both!

Cynthia St-Pierre is an Associate Writer Member of Crime Writers of Canada. For nebulous reasons, Cynthia threw out all her Arches 100% cotton rag watercolor paper, all chalk pastels, all sable brushes… to explore mystery writing. In the meantime, working for an advertising agency and a multi-level marketing company, she wrote promotional, packaging and communications materials. She penned articles for periodicals Financial Times of Canada and MacBiz Canada, and a chapter of How to Successfully Do Business in Canada. In the category "Not Completely Off Her Rocker" she boasts a York Regional Police Citizens Awareness Program certificate, and second prize in the Bloody Words VIII Bony Pete Short Story Contest. Cynthia St-Pierre and Melodie Campbell are co-authors of the (as yet unpublished) novel Where There’s a Will. Becki Green, one of the characters in that novel, blogs at Vegetarian Detective.
 

BECKI GREEN:

One can’t go around solving mysteries ALL the time. And Beautiful Things, the interior design shop I run with half-sister Anne, only boasts so many clients in Black Currant Bay, population 8,000, give or take a herd of moose. So I took up an on-line investigation – www.vegetariandetective.blogspot.com. There I’m On the Case of Good Food. Best thing about the whole veggie scene is it includes CHOCOLATE! Case in point – this variation of my French Vanilla Toast. Tastes like a buttery chocolate croissant.

French Chocolate Hazelnut Toast

2 eggs
1/4 tsp vanilla
salt
2 slices whole-wheat bread
2 generous tbsps chocolate hazelnut spread (Nutella is good)
1 tsp butter
icing sugar

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla and salt to taste. Spread the Nutella between the slices of bread. Dip both sides of the sandwich in the egg mixture and let soak just a little. Fry in the butter until golden brown on both sides. Slide onto a cutting board and cut in half before plating and dusting with icing sugar. Serves 1.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Ways to Use Leftover Easter Chocolate

I was in Walgreen's yesterday and noticed racks of Leftover Chocolate Bunnies and other Chocolate Easter Candy. Lots of chocolate...and Peeps. Everything 50% off. Do you have a lot of leftover chocolate at home?  Maybe not the ears of the bunny, but body parts and decimated eggs? Put them to tasty use!

Leftover chocolate goes great on ice cream or added to brownies, but I really hadn't thought of the full extent of possibilities. Chelsea Dillon-Miller at the EncinitasPatch did, and she has 10 Recipes for Leftover Easter Chocolate READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE HERE. Here's my take on her chocolate-y article--a few changes and additions. Feel free to add your own leftover chocolate ideas!

Ice Cream: Have some left over chocolate flavored with caramel or nuts? Chop it up and sprinkle on ice cream. Add berries and whipped cream for a great sundae.

Milk Shake: Use any chopped chocolate with two scoops of ice cream and some milk. Blend!

S'Mores: Well they're a natural with Peeps, especially the chocolate covered ones.. but in a pinch add some chocolate bunny and a peep, toast over the fire and sandwich between two graham crackers and you're good to go!

Trail Mix: Well, duh... chop up the chocolate and add some dried fruit and nuts. I think a chopped up chocolate coconut egg would be great to add, too! Put in a small baggie and go for a hike!

Chocolate Covered Strawberries. Instead of dipping (unless you have a lot of chocolate), drizzle some melted chocolate over fresh strawberries.

Chocolate Fondue: see my fondue recipes. The bunny has never tasted so good... Retro treat with Retro Chocolate.

Hot Chocolate: Melt some chocolate and then heat with milk until it's just right. Add some whipped cream!

Brownies: I always add some extra chopped chocolate to my brownies, so why not some chocolate eggs? Chop and fold into the batter. 

Pancakes: Bake up a batch of pancakes and drop some chocolate in (do it toward the end or the chocolate will scorch) or melt some chocolate and use in place of syrup.

Cookies: Do I really need to tell you how to do this? Chop and Drop in your favorite batter!

Cupcakes: Any way you'd use other chocolate-- or use an apple corer and fill the centers.

Rice Krispies Treats: Melt the chocolate then stir in Rice Krispies. Spread on a tray. Put in Refrigerator. Cut.

Any other ideas for left-over Easter Chocolate?

Monday, April 25, 2011

White Chocolate Walnut Zucchini Bread

April 25 is National Zucchini Bread Day, not to be confused with National Zucchini Day which falls on August 8, the time of year when zucchini seem to multiply and grow overnight and take over the vegetable garden. You can find zucchinis in the market now, although depending on where you live it might put the cabash on being a locavore.

This is the third time National Zucchini Bread Day has rolled around since I started blogging here at DyingforChocolate.com. In 2009 I posted recipes for Geeky Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread (fabulous!) and Amy's Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread(very good), as well as some zucchini lore and links to other Chocolate Zucchini Bread recipes. Last year I posted my go-to recipe for Chocolate Chunk Zucchini Bread that I adapted from an old Sunset Magazine.

This year I thought I might step outside the box and post a recipe for White Chocolate Walnut Zucchini bread. O.K. white chocolate isn't really chocolate, but you can use white chocolate chips in place of broken up chocolate or chocolate chips in last year's recipe, or try this recipe adapted from Danette Randall in last summer's Boulder Weekly. Walnuts always add a nice crunch to zucchini breads. And, if you're planning to make one loaf, why not two and share the wealth? As if the first loaf won't be eaten fresh out of the oven.

You can never have too many Zucchini Bread recipes!

White Chocolate Walnut Zucchini Bread

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 eggs
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
2 tsp. Madagascar vanilla
2 cups shredded zucchini (2 medium-large)
1 cup white chocolate chips or white chocolate broken into smallish chunks
1 cup roughly chopped walnuts

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan. Sift together flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda and baking powder in small bowl. Set aside.
In large bowl, beat eggs until light. Add in brown sugar, oil and vanilla and mix well. Fold in zucchini, white chocolate and walnuts.
Stir dry ingredients into wet ingredients and mix until well-combined. Pour into prepared pan.
Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Chocolate Orange Hot Cross Buns: Easter

The other day I mentioned saving holiday recipes from the newspaper, blogs and articles on line. A few years ago Jo Pratt posted this Easter Recipe on the Mailonline. It's a great recipe for Chocolate Orange Hot Cross Buns. If you want to make hot cross buns and add chocolate without making a chocolate bun, you can make regular hot cross buns and add chocolate chips instead of raisins. But give this one a try. This recipe for Chocolate Orange Hot Cross Buns, a yeast bread, is great. Once again I've converted the measurements from the U.K. to the U.S. They're not totally exact, but very close. If you want to check out the original recipe with UK measurements, go HERE. Makes 12 buns.

CHOCOLATE ORANGE HOT CROSS BUNS

Ingredients
1/2 cup milk
4 tbsp superfine sugar (castor sugar)
5 tbsp sweet butter
3 1/2 cups white flour
4 tsp. dark cocoa powder
1tsp mixed spice  (combo of allspice, cinnamon, clove, coriander, ginger and nutmeg)
1tsp salt
2 1/2 tbsp chopped mixed peel (candied citrus peel)*
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
1 3/4 fast action dried yeast
1/2 cup or 4 ounces dark chocolate, broken into pieces, or chocolate chips
1 egg, beaten
Flour for dusting

For the crosses and glaze
1/4 cup white flour
1tbsp sunflower oil
 2-3 tbsp water
2 tbsp orange juice
2 tbsp caster sugar

METHOD
Place the milk in a saucepan over a low heat. Just before it boils, remove from the heat and stir in the sugar and butter, until they have dissolved. Add 1/4 cold water and leave to cool down until you can comfortably hold your finger in it for a few seconds.

Sift together the flour, cocoa, mixed spice (if you're using it) and salt into a large bowl and stir in the mixed peel, orange zest and yeast. Make a well in the center and pour in the warm milk mixture and beaten egg. Mix together until you have a sticky dough. Add the chocolate chips or broken chocolate, and knead on a floured surface for 8-10 minutes until it's smooth and elastic.

Place the dough in a large, lightly oiled bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for about 1 hour, or until doubled in volume. Punch the dough and knead for a couple of minutes. Divide into 12 pieces and shape into buns.

Place on greased baking sheets, leaving enough space between each for rising. Cover with the tea towel and leave to rise again until doubled in size – about 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400 F.

For the glaze, mix the flour and oil with 2-3tbsp water until smooth.

Lightly cut a cross in the center of each of the buns with a knife to mark out your crosses. Using a piping bag (or use a plastic bag with a corner snipped off), pipe on the crosses. Cook the buns for 15-18 minutes until they are golden and sound hollow when tapped underneath.

Place the orange juice and sugar in a small pan, and gently heat until the sugar dissolves. As soon as the buns are out of the oven, brush with the glaze and leave to cool slightly on a wire rack before serving warm.

Photo: Mailonline

Friday, April 22, 2011

Chocolate Earth Balls: Earth Day!

Today is Earth Day! Every day should be Earth Day, and most of the recipes I post are earth- friendly. Here's a simple recipe that's fun to make with the kids. As I've mentioned many times, always check food product, associations and markets for great recipes! This recipe is from Whole Foods Market! What says Earth Day more than Chocolate Earth Balls! These Earth Balls tend to be a bit sticky: just a heads up!

Chocolate Earth Balls

Ingredients
1 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup honey
2 teaspoons carob powder or unsweetened organic cocoa powder
1/2 cup raisins
3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, divided (you can used sweetened, but it is not as healthy... obviously)
1/2 cup semisweet fair-trade organic chocolate, chopped fine (or use chocolate chips)
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup finely chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans, etc.)

Directions
Mix the peanut butter, honey and carob or cocoa powder until well combined. Stir in the raisins and 2 tablespoons of the coconut. Stir in the chocolate chips. Refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.

Place the remaining coconut, sesame seeds and nuts into 3 separate bowls. Using a spoon, scoop small heaps of the peanut mixture from the bowl; roll into 1 1/4-inch balls. Rolling is easier if you form a rough ball, roll in the coconut, and then continue rolling into a more perfect shape. Roll each finished ball in more coconut, sesame seeds and chopped nuts. Arrange the balls on a plate, cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Photo: Whole Foods Market

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Chocolate Humming Bird Nests for Easter & Earth Day

Here's a fun recipe you can make with your children or grandchildren. This is perfect for Easter and Earth Day (except maybe the jellybeans). And, if you omit the jelly bean eggs, it's also perfect for Passover. It's a Trifecta! Recipe adapted from the  Disney Family Fun site: Hummingbird Nests. I use dark chocolate about 60% cacao, but the original recipe calls for milk chocolate which would make the Bird Nests sweeter, since there's no added sugar.

CHOCOLATE HUMMING BIRD NESTS

Ingredients
1 cup chocolate (60%), broken (or chocolate chips)
1 cup shredded coconut (can be toasted coconut for a sharper taste)
Jelly bean eggs

Instructions
1. Melt the chocolate chips, following the directions on the bag. When the chocolate is smooth, stir in the coconut, then drop the mixture by the heaping tablespoon onto waxed-paper-lined cookie sheets.
2.While the nests are still warm, use your thumbs to poke an impression into the middle of each. Cool them, then fill with jelly bean eggs. Makes about a dozen.

If you make fewer of them and make them bigger, you can put Peeps inside. Fun for Easter. Great Kid-Friendly Recipe!

Photo: Disney Family Fun

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Chocolate Truffle Cake: Easter

I used to clip recipes out of the newspaper, especially around holiday time. Those recipes would fall out now and again when I opened a cookbook or looked for something else. Always a nice surprise! Now I have a vaguely organized system for articles and recipes online.

This recipe appeared in the Daily Mail at Easter two years ago (Jo Pratt's Chocolate Truffle Cake). I've converted (and adapted) the measurements for a US audience, but if you're in the UK, be sure and check back to the original recipe. To make this cake even more 'Easter-y", shape the truffles into oval 'eggs'!  You're going to love this cake. It''s really easy, too!

CHOCOLATE TRUFFLE CAKE

Ingredients 
For the cake

3/4 cups self-rising flour
4 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
5 oz superfine sugar
2 1/4 tbsp golden syrup  (Lyle's is available at many stores/ do not substitute)*
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup mil
1/2 cup corn or vegetable oil

For decoration
1 cup whipping cream
11 ounces quality dark chocolate  (70-80% cacao)
1 1/4 ounces butter
Dash of salt
5 tbsp raspberry or apricot jam  (cherry is great, too!)
White chocolate to grate/peel over the top

Directions
Preheat the oven to  350  F.
Grease two 8 inch cake pans, and dust them with flour.
Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and baking powder into a large mixing bowl.
Add remaining cake ingredients and beat well until you have a smooth, thick batter consistency.

Divide mixture between cake pans and bake in oven for 30-35 minutes, until just firm to touch. Leave to cool in pans for about 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.

To make truffle mixture, put cream in a saucepan and place over a medium heat. Once cream is hot, but not quite boiling, stir in butter until melted. While cream is heating, break chocolate into small pieces and place in medium-sized mixing bowl with pinch of salt. Pour over hot cream and butter, and stir well until chocolate melts into cream. Put aside.

Once cake is cool, sandwich the two layers together with jam. Frost with truffle mixture, leaving enough to make the 11 truffles. Place remaining mixture in refrigerator for about 30 minutes until firm. Roll into 11 truffles and place around top of cake. Finish by grating or peeling white chocolate all over the top.

Photo: Daily Mail 2009

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Chocolate Bunny Cake: Easter

I blogged about yesterday--the kind you buy at the store. Lots of quality chocolate Easter bunnies, and they'll look great in your Easter Basket centerpiece. But the following recipe for a Chocolate Bunny Cake is the ultimate Bunny Centerpiece.

This Chocolate Easter Bunny Cake Recipe is from Williams Sonoma's Kitchen. I've mentioned before that there are so many great places to find recipes. I actually have a different Easter Bunny 3-D cake pan for this cake, and there are lots of other bunny cake pans you can find. Double sided cakes aren't all that hard, and they're fun to make. The Wilton Cake Pan with the Eggs is the one in the recipe (first cake pan photo). If you use the second cake pan, skip the directions for the cake egg. You can make your own chocolate eggs or decorate with jellybeans or Cadbury chocolate eggs.

Other alternatives: Bake a chocolate cake and cover with a buttercream 'fur' frosting!

The following recipe is for the ultimate Easter dessert: a bunny-shaped cake coated with rich chocolate ganache.

Wilton Cake Pan used in Recipe
CHOCOLATE BUNNY CAKE

Ingredients:

For the cake:
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 tsp. baking powder
1 1/4 tsp. salt
20 Tbsp sweet butter
2 cups sugar
5 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/4 tsp. Madasgascar vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups milk

For the chocolate ganache:
1 lb. dark chocolate (65-70%), chopped into small pieces
6 Tbsp sweet butter, at room temperature
2 cups heavy cream
1 jelly bean

Directions:
Have all the ingredients at room temperature.

To make the cake, position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 325°F. Grease and flour a bunny cake pan; tap out excess flour.

Over a sheet of waxed paper, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.

Williams Sonoma Bunny Cake Pan
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy and smooth, about 30 seconds. Add the sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the eggs a little at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla just until incorporated, about 1 minute.

Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour. Beat each addition just until incorporated, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Spoon the batter into the prepared bunny pan, spreading the batter so the sides are higher than the center. Bake until the cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 35 to 38 minutes.

Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the cake cool upright in the pan for 15 minutes. Invert the pan onto the rack and lift off the pan. Let the cake cool completely, at least 2 hours, before serving or decorating.

To make the chocolate ganache, in a metal bowl, combine the chocolate and butter.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the cream just to a boil. Immediately pour the cream over the chocolate and butter. Whisk until they melt and the mixture is smooth.

Transfer 2/3 cup of the ganache to a small bowl and let cool to room temperature. Keep the remaining ganache warm and fluid by placing the bowl over but not touching barely simmering water in a small saucepan.

To assemble and decorate the cake, wash and thoroughly dry the pan, then return both halves of the cooled bunny cake to the pan. Level the cake by using a serrated knife to gently saw off the part of each cake half that rose above the edge of the pan.

Line a baking sheet with plastic wrap or aluminum foil, making sure it covers the edges of the pan, and set a wire cooling rack on the sheet. Place both cake halves, cut side down, on the rack. Remove any crumbs that fall off the cake onto the baking sheet. Slowly pour warm ganache over the halves, coating them completely. Tap the baking sheet to allow the excess ganache to drip off. Place the rack on another baking sheet or a piece of parchment paper. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the excess ganache from the lined baking sheet back into the bowl. Reheat over simmering water if it is not fluid. Set the rack on the lined baking sheet again and place the egg cake halves on the rack alongside the bunny. Pour warm ganache over the eggs.

Cut a jelly bean in half and attach the halves to the bunny to create the eyes. Place the baking sheet, with the rack still on top, in the refrigerator until the ganache has set and the cake halves are firm enough to handle, at least 30 minutes.

Place 1 Bunny cake half, cut side up, in the center of a large piece of aluminum foil. The ganache on this side of the bunny may smudge a little. Using a small offset spatula, spread 1/2 to 2/3 cup of the room-temperature ganache over the cut side. Slide a metal spatula under the other cake half and carefully place the cake half on top of the other one. Press down on the jelly bean eye to help secure the halves. Use the foil to help turn the bunny upright, then squeeze the bunny on the jelly bean eyes, feet and tail to secure the halves. If there are any gaps in the seam, place a little warm ganache on a small offset spatula and fill in the gaps. Dab warm ganache on the areas where you squeezed the cake and on any other exposed areas. Soften any smudged areas by heating gently with a culinary torch.

Carefully slide a large metal spatula under the base of the bunny and transfer to a platter. Using the spatula, transfer the egg halves to the platter.

Photo: Chocolate bunny cake/Williams Sonoma

Monday, April 18, 2011

Hopping Down the Bunny Trail: Easter Bunnies

I can't imagine Easter without a Chocolate Bunny. When I was growing up, my Uncle Victor ran a candy factory. I know, every little girl's dream. His factory made Chocolate Eggs, Chocolate Candy, and, of course, Easter Bunnies. My uncle's company actually made these beautiful and delicious treats for other companies to sell. Since it was a small factory and everything was hand-made, there were often 'seconds' and you know where those ended up. Yes, the small imperfections didn't mar the taste for me at all. So here are a few select Chocolate Bunnies hopping down the Bunny Trail to your Easter basket this year. 

Be sure to read last year's post about the history of Chocolate Bunnies.

Lindt Gold Bunny. I like the looks of this one and captured a few at Cost Plus, Safeway and CVS. It's a classic and be sure to check out last year's link to the history of the iconic Bunny!



Anything from Jacques Torres. I love their chocolate. New this year is the Running Rabbit, available in both milk or dark chocolate. 12 ounces. There's also the larger Running Rabbit at 2 1/2 pounds. That's a lot of chocolate. Be sure and check out their Backpack Bunny, Bunny Family, Cowboy Bunny and Bunny Peeps.


Vosges Bunnies: These are fabulous and they come in several exotic flavors. The bunnies are molded with waving rabbit ears. Barcelona Bunny (Hickory smoked almonds  with grey sea salt (45% milk chocolate). Amalfi Bunny (Lemon zest and pink peppercorns and white chocolate) The Orchid Vanilla Bunny is Tahitian vanilla bean with 62% dark chocolate and pink Himalyan salt. Toffee Bunny is one after my heart. I've never met a toffee I didn't like, and bunny shape? Well, of course.

Vosges' Mad Hare Orchestra. All five members of the Mad Hare Orchestra arrive together in solid 62% dark chocolate infused with Tahitian vanilla Bean. Each is individually wrapped in its own bag and tied with ribbon. Problem: They're so cute, I want to put them on the shelf.. I might just need to bite off an ear now and again. 

Speaking of retro, Christopher Norman Chocolates brings back his Racer Bunny. It's a hand-painted molded chocolate hollow bunny sitting in a woven convertible. Sooo cute. Who can eat this? There's also the Tractor Bunny and others. Great molds.

Martine's Chocolates has all kinds of lovely Bunnies, both sitting  (solid and hollow), Bunny Cartoon (solid), Bunny standing with Baskets and colored chocolate and Bunny standing with Marzipan Carrot.

See's Milk Chocolate Rabbit. A hollow, foil-covered Chocolate Bunny with a basket. 10 oz. There's also a small milk chocolate bunny in colored foil. These are a tradition, and they taste great.

New this year are Williams Sonoma's Bunny Smores. Each bunny-shaped treat has handcrafted, freshly baked graham crackers made with wildflower honey and Saigon cinnamon which are then dipped into milk or dark couverture chocolate. Sandwiched in between the two chocolate covered bunny shaped graham crackers is a handmade, handcut marshmallow made with Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon vanilla. Each bunny smore is then embellished with a vanilla “cottontail”.

And now from the sublime to the ridiculous. Peeps are a tradition in our household. New the year are the Chocolate Mousse Marshmallow Bunnies.  There are also Chocolate Covered Peeps Rabbits that come individually packages. 


Apologies to all my chocolatier friends who provide fabulous chocolate bunnies at Easter. Couldn't get to them all, but welcome comments. Nice thing about a Blog is that I can add at any time.

And, the age-old question of what part of the Bunny do you eat first? With all the new Bunny shapes and molds, it's not an easy answer.

Love to hear about your favorite Chocolate Bunnies.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Chocolate Macaroons: Passover

The San Francisco Chronicle's Food section did a Taste Test of 5 different store-bought Chocolate Macaroons for Passover. None of them made the grade. Conclusion: it's better to make your own!

Here's a simple but great recipe for Chocolate Macaroons. These will take less than an hour. What a great treat to take to the Passover seder. This recipe is adapted from Epicurious.com, a recipe from Bev Heinecke of San Anselmo, CA. You can use chocolate chips, but I always have high quality chocolate around, so you might want to take a few good bars and break them up.

These macaroons are not the usual gooey coconut macaroon you might be expecting, but they're fabulous. More like a brownie/meringue. Oxymoron? They are kosher for Passover.

CHOCOLATE MACAROONS

Ingredients
1 1/3 (8 ounces) cups dark (70%) chocolate, broken up into small pieces, divided
2 large egg whites
pinch of salt
1/4-1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon Madagascar vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups sweetened fresh flaked coconut

Preparation
Preheat oven to 325°F. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Place 1 cup chocolate  in microwave-safe bowl; microwave on low setting at 10-second intervals until chocolate is melted, stirring occasionally (or melt in a double boiler). Cool just to room temperature.

Using electric mixer, beat egg whites and salt in medium bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar, then vanilla, beating until whites are thick and glossy. Fold in melted chocolate and coconut, then remaining 1/3 cup chocolate (broken into small pieces the size of mini-chips).

Drop batter by heaping teaspoonfuls onto prepared sheets, spacing 1 1/2 inches apart.
Bake cookies 10 minutes. Reverse sheets. Bake until tops are dry and cracked and tester inserted into centers comes out with moist crumbs attached, about 10 minutes longer.
Cool cookies on sheets on racks.
Store airtight at room temperature up to 2 days.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Passover Chocolate Walnut Flourless Cake

Today is the final day of my Passover Chocolate Recipes. Be sure and check out this year's recipes: Chocolate Flourless Cake, Chocolate Almond Matzo Brittle, Chocolate Truffle Pie with Macaroon Crust, Key Lime Pie with Macaroon Crust This Passover Chocolate Walnut Flourless Cake is delicious and gluten-free. I love the texture. I've mentioned before that many food product companies and food associations have great recipes on their websites. This recipe is adapted from Kraft recipes.

CHOCOLATE WALNUT FLOURLESS CAKE

Ingredients
1 Tbsp. matzo meal or matzo cake meal, for dusting
8 ounces semi-sweet dark chocolate, divided into 7 and 1 oz* (see optional directions below)
6 eggs, separated
3/4 cup sugar, divided
3/4 cup butter (or margarine), softened
1 tsp. grated orange zest
1 cup fresh walnut pieces, finely ground (whirl in blender)

Optional: 1/4 cup apricot jam  (I have tried it with orange marmalade)

Directions

PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Grease and dust side of 9-inch springform pan with matzo meal.
Melt 7 oz. of the chocolate in a double boiler or a metal bowl over a pan of simmering water; set aside.
Beat egg yolks and 1/2 cup of the sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on high speed until thick and lemon colored.
Add butter (or margarine); beat until light and fluffy.
Add melted chocolate, orange zest and walnuts; mix well.

BEAT egg whites in small bowl with electric mixer on high speed until foamy. Gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar, beating until stiff peaks form. Gently stir into chocolate mixture. Pour into prepared pan.

BAKE 35 to 40 min. or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool in pan on wire rack 10 min. Run small knife or spatula around rim of pan to loosen cake; remove rim of pan.
Gently loosen cake from bottom of pan with spatula; place cake on wire rack.
Cool completely.

Optional topping: (I don't do this because I like it the way it is and this makes it too sweet for me, but you might want to try it. If you want to top it with something less sweet, I have used thick cut Scottish orange marmalade with peel. This  works well since it is tart and adds texture)

Microwave jam in microwaveable bowl on HIGH 10 sec. Spread over top of cake.
Melt remaining 1 oz. chocolate; drizzle over cake. Let stand until chocolate is firm.

Photo: Kraft (with the topping)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Matzo Almond Chocolate Brittle

One more easy Passover recipe! I've mentioned many times that brands and associations often have the best recipes on their websites. Sarah Lasry has a recipe on the Manischewitz website for Matzo Almond Chocolate Brittle. Brittle is so easy to make and so good to eat. Here's a link to a Chocolate Matzo Brittle I posted last year that is made with matzo.

In this Manischewitz recipe, you don't use matzo. You use Matzo Farfel. Also, I don't usually use margarine, but if you plan to make this and take it as a gift to a Seder, you might consider it. If you use butter, just let the host know it's made with butter in case they plan to serve it right after a meat meal. I'm not going to go into kashrut right now. Let's just say it's complicated. You can do a search on the Internet to find out the major dos and don'ts. Then throw in Passover, and you've got the whole Megillah. Oops, wrong holiday!

Matzo Chocolate Almond Brittle

Ingredients:
2 1/4 cups Manischewitz® Matzo Farfel
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
1 1/2 cup sliced almonds (5 ounces)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 stick butter or margarine

Preparation:
Spread matzo farfel and almonds in a large shallow baking pan and toast for 15-20 min or until golden. Transfer to parchment paper on counter and let cool. Bring sugar, water and salt to a boil in heavy saucepan over moderate heat. Stir slowly until sugar is dissolved and is a deep golden caramel. Remove from heat and stir in 3 tablespoons butter or margarine. When bubbling begins to subside, immediately stir in the toasted matzo farfel and almonds and quickly pour into baking pan, smoothing and spreading it flat before mixture hardens. Completely cool brittle.

In the microwave or double broiler, melt chocolate and rest of butter or margarine. Stir until creamy and drizzle generously over cooled matzo farfel brittle. Let cool and then break into large pieces with your hands.


Photo: Manischewitz

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Passover: YouLittleTarte's Chocolate Flourless Cake

Oh, the vagaries and surprises of the Internet. I was browsing one of my favorite sites, Months of Edible Celebrations, when I noticed a chocolate cake on one of the sidebar links. Well, you know me and chocolate. A bit more exploration on the fabulous YouLittleTarte site brought me to an amazing Flourless Chocolate Cake for Passover that is even richer...and higher (more eggs) than mine! Well, I think this is the one I'll be making to take to the Seder. I asked Nadine Rosenthal at YouLittleTarte if she'd care to share. And, the rest is history. Do comment, and do visit the rest of the wonderful recipes and stories at YouLittleTarte!

NADINE ROSENTHAL
I am so excited to be here to write a guest post for Dying for Chocolate.
   I am a self taught cook and baker. With the exception of a couple of classes many years ago, everything I have learned to do in a kitchen has come by trial and error. And believe me, there's been a lot of error. But, as with anything, practice makes perfect, and while I'm not perfect I can read a recipe. Being able to read a recipe and follow directions is a key component in being able to cook.
  Do you know how some people think they are destined to write the "great American novel"? Well, on You Little Tarte, I'll give you a great couple of paragraphs. Every recipe has a story, and I'll tell you mine.
   I hope you'll stop by and visit.

A CAKE TO DIE FOR

I have to start by saying that I look at Passover, which begins at sundown on April 18th, as a low-carb holiday. I'm not a matzo eater so I just do without the bread and pasta. It's a meat and veggie time for me. The only exception I make to the Adkins/South Beach approach to Passover is for macaroons, which I love year round, and this really decadent chocolate cake.

This cake has a good story. Back when I first got married and had absolutely no culinary skills, I decided to take a cooking class.

Never mind learning how to roast a chicken, I took a baking class taught by Donald Wressell. Donald, who was then the pastry chef at the Four Seasons Hotel in Los Angeles, was just at the beginning of his career and is now a HUGE deal in the pastry world. He's won zillions of awards. Nothing like over reaching one's skill level. There were all these professional pastry chefs in the class and me. Needless to say, I was outclassed in every culinary way possible.

I recognized my situation very quickly, when on the first day of class everyone went around and gave a brief bio of themselves. "Hi, I'm Joe Pastry Chef and I work at (name your fancy restaurant or hotel)." I was in real trouble. When it was my turn, I did what any self respecting Santa Monica newlywed would do. I went to the bathroom, thus avoiding the "Hi, I'm Nadine and I have no idea what I'm doing here" speech.

The good news in all this was that it was a demonstration class so I never actually had to do anything besides watch and learn. And I did. I came out of that class armed with a bunch of fancy schmancy recipes that I have only mastered in more recent years. Hey, you live and learn.

One of the recipes Donald demonstrated was this one for flourless chocolate cake. It takes flourless chocolate cake to a whole new level. Do not be put off by the 18 egg yolks. Yes, you heard me right. There are 18 egg yolks in this cake. The cake is amazing and really spruces up the dessert offerings at a sedar. I'm not saying the Passover brownies aren't tasty but this cake is better. Really. It's worth the calories and the cholesterol. Have a small piece, and you'll avoid the emergency room and an angioplasty.

And, if you're not a Passover person, make the cake anyway. It's not actually a Passover cake. I just adopted it as such because it's sans flour. I'm probably breaking some other kosher rules with it anyway.

RECIPE: FLOURLESS CHOCOLATE CAKE
(Donald Wressell)

Note: If you are making this cake for Passover you can use the whites to make your macaroons.

Ingredients:
1 pound 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
12 ounces unsalted butter
18 egg yolks
4 ounces granulated sugar
3 ounces cocoa powder

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 325F. Butter and flour a 10 inch round baking pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper.

In a double boiler over simmering water, melt the chocolate with the butter. Let cool slightly.
In a stand mixer, whip the egg yolks with the sugar until very light, about 5 minutes. Fold the cooled chocolate mixture into the egg sugar mixture. Sift in the cocoa powder. On medium speed, beat the mixture just to combine. Mixture will appear fudgy and heavy.
Transfer to prepared pan and bake in a water bath for 25 minutes.
Sift more cocoa powder or confectioner's sugar on top of cake to serve, if desired.


Photos: You Little Tarte

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Chocolate Truffle Pie with Macaroon Crust: Passover or Any Time

A surprising number of "regular" recipes are perfect for Passover. I'll bet if you go through your recipes, you'll find some gems that will work! Yesterday I posted a recipe for a Key Lime Pie with a Chocolate Macaroon Crust. Well, a Macaroon Pie Crust goes great with Chocolate filling! You can use an almond pie crust that you've used in lots of other recipes.

Here's an easy Kosher for Passover Chocolate Truffle Pie with Macaroon Crust. As I mentioned yesterday, you can make your own crust or buy a Manischewitz Macaroon Pie Crust (either plain or chocolate). You might want to make your own chocolate macaroon pie crust. Either use chocolate macaroons and prepare as in yesterday's recipe or try the following recipe. You can make this pie anytime. It's not just for Passover. Be ecumenical and take it to Easter Dinner. You won't have to take anything home except your pie plate!

CHOCOLATE TRUFFLE PIE WITH MACAROON CRUST 
This recipe is adapted from allrecipes.com

Crust
2 cups chopped pecans
1/3 cup white sugar
1/4 cup sweet butter, melted
1/2 cup miniature dark chocolate chocolate chips

Filling
1-1/3 cups dark chocolate, broken
1/2 cup sweet butter, at room temperature
4 egg yolks
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon Madagascar vanilla extract

1/4 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup dark chocolate, 65-75% cacao, fair trade.. (Earth Day is coming up)
1 tablespoon amaretto

Directions
Pie Shell
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F
2. In medium bowl, mix together pecans, 1/3 cup sugar, 1/4 cup butter and miniature chocolate chips. Press into the bottom and up the sides of a 9 inch pie plate. Bake 8 to 10 minutes in preheated oven. Cool completely.

Filling
3. In metal bowl over simmering water (or in a double boiler), combine 1-1/3 cups dark chocolate and 1/2 cup sweet butter, stirring occasionally until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
4. In separate bowl, beat egg yolks with 1/4 cup sugar until thick and pale using electric mixer, at least 3 minutes. Stir into the melted chocolate and set back over the pan of simmering water. Whisk constantly until thick, 3 to 4 minutes. Pour into cooled crust and smooth the top.
5. Heat the heavy cream in a small saucepan. When warm, stir in the remaining chocolate until melted. Remove from heat and stir in amaretto. Pour over truffle filling. Refrigerate for several hours to set before serving. Be sure and take out of refrigerator for 1/2 hour before serving.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Key Lime Pie with Chocolate Macaroon Crust: Passover Dessert

Passover starts on Monday, April 18 this year. Plenty of time to think about creative Passover dessert recipes that include Chocolate. I saw the most amazing pie shells today on the Passover stand at the local market. Manischewitz makes a chocolate macaroon pie shell. They also have a regular macaroon pie shell. Started me thinking. I might just make some kind of a pie for the Passover seder rather than the flourless chocolate cake I was asked to bring. We'll see.

In the meantime, here's my recipe for Key Lime Pie with Chocolate Macaroon Crust. You can either buy the Manischewitz chocolate macaroon pie shell or make your own which is simple to do.

KEY LIME PIE WITH CHOCOLATE MACAROON CRUST

CHOCOLATE MACAROON PIE SHELL
1/2 cup crumbled chocolate macaroons
1/4 stick sweet butter, softened

KEY LIME FILLING
3/4 cup fresh Key Lime Juice
6 egg yolks
14 ounces sweetened condensed milk (see directions below for Kosher for Passover condensed milk to make yourself)

Directions
Preheat oven to 350.
Crush the macaroons in food processor.  Remove to medium size bowl. Add softened butter and mix well.
Press mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9 inch tart or pie pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 7 minutes until set.
Cool on rack

Prepare Filling:
In a stainless steel bowl, whisk egg yolks with condensed milk and add in lime juice a few teaspoons at a time stirring constantly.
Pour mixture into pre-baked pie shell and bake in 325 oven for 10 minutes.**
Chill for one hour.

Looking for the meringue? Cream of tartar which would be used in the meringue is not Kosher for Passover, so I've skipped it. If I'm wrong, let me know. It's about the rising thing.

**NOTE** some people think you have to cook key lime pie because of the raw eggs. That's why I went back and added a 10 minute bake; however, if you're not worried about the egg thing, there's really no need to bake this custard.

If you're going by the book, here's a recipe for Kosher for Passover Condensed Milk: 1 1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk =1 cup instant nonfat dry milk, 2/3 cup sugar, 1/3 cup boiling water and 3 tablespoons margarine. Blend all the ingredients until smooth. To thicken, let set in the refrigerator for 24 hours.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Chocolate Caramel Fondue: National Fondue Day

OK, today is actually National Cheese Fondue Day, but I'm a CHOCOLATE kind of person, so I've tweaked the holiday. If you'd like to read a really great post about Cheese Fondue, go to my other blog, Mystery Fanfare, where Avery Aames, author of the Cheese Shop Mysteries, has posted a guest blog about Cheese Fondue! Recipe, photos and book give-away.

But back to the chocolate. Here's a simple chocolate fondue recipe with a twist: Caramel.

CHOCOLATE CARAMEL FONDUE

Ingredients
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1 jar Recchiuti burnt caramel sauce (I'm partial to this sauce)*
3 ounces extra dark chocolate (85% cacao), chopped
Assorted fresh fruit

Directions
1. Combine the condensed milk, caramel sauce and chocolate in a saucepan. Cook over low heat until chocolate is melted.
2. Put in a fondue pot and keep warm.

Serve fresh fruit for dipping!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Chocolate Crescent Rolls: National Crescent Roll Day

Today is National Crescent Roll Day. There's a bit of a difference...or a lot of difference, depending on who's making what.. between Crescent Rolls and Croissants. (National Croissant Day is January 30). I know Croissants are layered with butter as they're turned over and over before being twisted into a crescent shape. For a history of Croissants aka in some circles as Crescent Rolls, go HERE. For the purposes of this holiday: National Crescent Roll Day, I'm proposing using refrigerated crescent rolls. I know horrors! But in a pinch, these Chocolate Crescent Rolls are great. I'm all about easy.

Chocolate Crescent Rolls

Ingredients
1 can refrigerated crescent rolls (different sizes, so adjust accordingly)
Sweet Butter, room temperature (the amount depends on how much you want to use)
Ground cinnamon
1/2 cup dark chocolate, chopped
Beaten eggs (1-2)

Directions
Unroll crescent rolls on ungreased cookie sheet to form 8 triangles.
Butter each triangle.
Lightly sprinkle cinnamon and 1 tablespoon chopped dark chocolate on each triangle.
Press into dough (gently)
Starting at short side of triangle, roll dough to opposite point.
Brush lightly with beaten egg.
Put on baking sheet, and bake at 375 degrees -- 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.

Want a variation? Try putting some Nutella (about 1 tbsp) instead of the cinnamon and chocolate.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Chocolate Cinnamon Buns: Vintage Ad & Recipe

I'm a sucker for Vintage Ads and Recipes. Since it's Saturday morning, and this might be the last day I have my ovens for a week or so, I thought I'd post this Vintage Ad & Recipe for Chocolate Cinnamon Buns. I know it's not National Cinnamon Bun Day (October 4), but these are worth making. This is a vintage Betty Crocker Gold Medal Flour Advertisement and Recipe.

Chocolate Cinnamon Buns

3/4 cup warm water (not hot - 110 to 115 degrees)
1 package active dry yeast
1/4 cup shortening
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup cocoa  (use DARK cocoa for richness)
2 and 1/4 cups sifted flour
1 Tablespoon soft butter
1 and 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
3 Tablespoons sugar
chopped pistachio nuts (or almonds or pecans)

In mixer bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add shortening, salt, sugar, egg, cocoa and 1 cup flour. Beat 2 minutes, medium speed on mixer or 300 vigorous strokes by hand. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl. Stir in remaining flour; blend well. Scrape sides of bowl.

Cover with cloth; let rise in warm place (85 degrees) until double in bulk, about 1 hour. (If kitchen is cool, place dough on rack over bowl of hot water; cover completely with towel.) Stir down by beating 25 strokes. Turn soft dough out on well floured cloth-covered board. Roll into rectangle, 12 x 9". Spread with butter; sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar mixture. Roll up, beginning at wide side. Pinch edge into roll. Cut 12 pieces. Place in greased 9" square pan. Let rise in warm place (85 degrees) until double, about 40 minutes.

Heat oven to 375 degrees (quick mod.). Bake 25 minutes. Remove from pan, frost top immediately with icing (3/4 cup sifted confectioners' sugar moistened with cream or milk to spreading consistency.) Sprinkle with chopped nuts. Serve warm.

Friday, April 8, 2011

San Francisco International Chocolate Salon

This year's San Francisco International Chocolate Salon is going to be bigger and better than ever before! I'm a Judge. I know, I know. It's a hard job, but someone has to do it. Hope to see you there!

April 17, 2011
10:00am - 6:00pm
San Francisco, Fort Mason Center
Festival Pavilion, 50,000 square feet of Chocolate, Wine and Confections

This is the premier chocolate show on the West Coast. Chocolate aficionados, fanatics, buyers and journalists will experience the finest in artisan, gourmet & premium chocolate in one of the world's great culinary metropolitan areas.

Janet Rudolph at Last Year's Salon
Featuring a delicious selection chosen and curated by the Organizers, International CHOCOLATE SALON participants include over 50 master chocolatiers, confectioners, wineries and other culinary artisans such as The Tea Room chocolate, Guittard Chocolate Company, Christopher Michael Chocolates, Plumeria Flours, Saratoga Chocolates, Choclatique, Divine Chocolate, Landru Chocolates, Alter Eco Fair Trade Chocolate, Goat Milk Candy Company, Snake & Butterfly, Clarine's Florentines, Salt Side Down Chocolates, Dolce Bella Chocolates and Cafe, Neo Cocoa, Fabrica de Chocolate Momotombo, CocoTutti, Her Coconess Confections, Marti Chocolatt, Ghirardelli Chocolate Company, Gateau et Ganache, Nicole Lee Fine Chocolates, Vice Chocolates, Socola Chocolatier, Amano Artisan Chocolate, Cacao Atlanta Chocolate Co., William Dean Chocolates, Seattle Chocolate Company, Jade Chocolates, Kika's Treats, CJ's Toffee and Toppings, Valrhona Chocolates, Pure Dark, Taza Chocolate, 5th Avenue Chocolatiere, New Tree, Madecasse, Sterling Confections, and Lulu's Chocolate.

New 2011 Chocolate Salon Additions include Celebrity Chef demos, the Chocolate Salon Fashion Bar, and the 1st Annual SF Invitational Wine Salon.

Salon highlights feature chocolate tasting, demonstrations, new product launches and flavor combinations, fair trade & organic offerings, celebrity chef & author talks, wine pairings, Chocolate Spa and Makeovers, ongoing interviews by TasteTV's Chocolate Television program, and book signings.

Buy Tickets HERE.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Yeasted Chocolate Coffee Cake: Babka

Today is National Coffee Cake Day! Last year I posted a wonderful recipe for Chocolate Marble Coffee Cake. It's quick and easy, but if you have a bit more time, you'll want to try the following recipe for Yeasted Chocolate Coffee Cake. It's similar to a Babka. I have several Babka recipes, but this recipe from Martha Stewart is one of the best and closest to the Babka I used to buy at Greenberg's Bakery in Philadelphia many years ago. Martha doesn't call it Babka, but what's in a name?

This recipe is easy. You just have to have a little patience to wait for the yeast to rise. There's even a fabulous video with Martha and Terry Crews making this crumbly coffee cake laced with chocolate and cinnamon. I definitely think you should watch the video (link on the original page) for several tips. There's nothing quite like the visual for best results.

This Yeasted Chocolate Coffee Cake really holds together when cut, and you can butter it. As if you needed more butter! Tastes great toasted, too!

YEASTED CHOCOLATE COFFEE CAKE

Ingredients
2 1/4 teaspoons (one 1/4-ounce envelope) active dry yeast
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons plus a pinch of granulated sugar
3/4 cup warm milk (110 degrees)
1 large egg, plus 1 large egg yolk
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
 Coarse salt
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for bowl, pan, and parchment
1 large egg, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon heavy cream, for egg wash
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (1 1/4 cups)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

Directions
1. Make the cake: Sprinkle yeast and a pinch of granulated sugar over milk in a medium bowl. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.
2. Whisk together remaining 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, the egg, and yolk. Whisk into yeast mixture.
3. Combine flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt in the bowl of a mixer. Add egg mixture. Beat on low speed until almost fully combined, about 30 seconds. Switch to the dough-hook attachment. Add butter. Beat until smooth, soft, and slightly sticky, about 10 minutes.
4. Butter a large bowl. Turn out dough onto a floured surface; knead a few times until smooth. Place in bowl, turn to coat, and cover with plastic wrap. Let stand in a warm place until doubled in volume, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
5. Make the filling: Combine chocolate, granulated sugar, and cinnamon. Cut in butter with a pastry cutter or rub in with your fingers until combined.
6. Punch down dough. Transfer to a floured work surface. Let stand for 5 minutes. Roll out to an 18-inch square (about 1/8 inch thick). Brush edges with egg wash. Spread filling over dough, reserving 1/2 cup and leaving a 1-inch border. Tightly roll dough like a jelly roll. Pinch seam to seal, and fold in half to bring ends together to form a U. Twist 2 or 3 times to "braid." Butter a 5-by-10-inch loaf pan, and line with parchment, leaving 1-inch overhangs; butter parchment. Transfer dough to pan. Brush top with egg wash.
7. Make the crumb topping: Combine confectioners' sugar, flour, and butter. Sprinkle topping and reserved 1/2 cup filling over cake.
8. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Drape plastic wrap over dough. Let stand in a warm place until risen by half, 20 to 30 minutes.
9. Remove plastic wrap, and bake, rotating halfway through, until golden, about 55 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Bake until deeply golden, 15 to 20 minutes more (cover with foil if top gets too dark). Transfer pan to a wire rack. Let cake cool.

Photo: Martha Stewart.com

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Chocolate Dipped Candied Orange Peels: Pattie Tierney

Today I welcome back Pattie Tierney, fabulous chocolate guest blogger.

Pattie Tierney is a blogger, reader, traveler, diner, jewelry-maker, and lover of all things chocolate and mysterious.  Check out her online jewelry shop; her online paper goods shop; follow her on Twitter @pattietierney or read her Blog.

PATTIE TIERNEY:

I was first introduced to the magic of the chocolate/orange combination by Bruce Morley, my not-so-secret admirer in the sixth grade. It was the last day of school before the Christmas break and there, waiting for me in the center of my well-used, flip-top desk was a "Terry's Chocolate Orange," the ball of chocolate mixed with orange flavoring, divided into segments to appear much like a real orange, and wrapped in orange-colored foil. Bliss! I never saw Bruce after the sixth grade as we headed in opposite directions for Junior High, but I always figured that he ended up making some woman very happy as, after all, he certainly knew what pleased females back in the sixth grade!

I can't say it was Bruce, or that Terry's Orange, but I have, ever since, had a particular fondness for the chocolate and citrus combination, so when a friend offered me a chocolate-dipped candied orange segment two Christmases ago I had to have the recipe right then and there. She was nonplussed. There's no recipe, she told me (this from, a woman who once cooked with Julia Child!), you simply boil orange peel three times, boil it again in simple syrup, let it dry and dip it in chocolate. Okay.

Essentially it is that simple, but I'm a fanatic for having things written down in some sort of understandable form, and if you are too, here is the recipe. It is easy, and these are more delicious than you can imagine. Don't wait to serve them at holiday time or special occasions, make some now. In fact, never throw away an orange peel, carefully remove it, bag it up and freeze it so you're always ready when the mood hits.

Chocolate-Dipped Candied Orange Peels

3 large oranges
2 cups water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup superfine sugar
Chocolate for dipping

Cut off the top and bottom of each orange. Then, make four vertical cuts equal distance apart, working your way around the orange and remove the peel in segments. If there is too much pith on the segment, lay it flat on a cutting board and carefully run a knife back and forth to remove as much as you can.
Once this is accomplished, slice each segment, vertically into thin strips, about 3/8" wide.
Place the strips into a medium-large saucepan and cover with cold water.
Place pan on the burner of your stove and bring to a boil.
Boil peel for 15 minutes.
Drain peel and rinse, then repeat the boiling process two more times.
As the peel is draining for the final time, bring the 2 cups of water and 1 cup of sugar to a boil over medium heat in a medium-large saucepan.
Add the peel, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer for about 45 minutes until the peels are tender.
Drain once again, saving the syrup, if you like, to use in iced tea.
Pour the superfine sugar into a small bowl and toss the orange peels in the sugar until well coated. Don't overcrowd. You may need to do this 2-3 times depending upon the size of your bowl.
Place the sugar-coated orange peels onto a cooling rack to dry, leaving about 1/4" to 1/2" of space between each one.
Allow to dry at room temperature for 24-48 hours. You'll want to taste one (or 2, or maybe 8) to make sure they're all right.
When they are dry, melt the chocolate of your choice (I've used anything from Ghirardelli 60% cacao chips, to a left over giant Hershey bar) in a small bowl over simmering water and dip the end of the peel into the chocolate to coat.
Place back on the rack until the chocolate is dry.
I have no idea just how long these will keep as that has never proven itself to be an issue.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Chocolate Caramel Cookie Bars: National Caramel Day

Today is National Caramel Day. Last year I did a Chocolate Caramel round-up of some of the great caramels at the San Francisco International Chocolate Salon.

Today I have a delicious and easy recipe from Martha Stewart for Chocolate Caramel Cookie Bars. And, since I've posted several chocolate caramel recipes, I thought I'd do a Round-Up! Enjoy! Celebrate the Day.

If you don't want to bake, pick up a Chocolate Caramel at your local chocolate shop... or in a pinch have some Milk Duds.

Chocolate Caramel Cookie Bars
from Martha Stewart Living, November 2009

Ingredients
For the Crust
4 1/2 ounces (9 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for parchment
1/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon table salt

For the Chocolate Caramel
10 1/2 ounces milk chocolate, chopped (2 cups)--I substituted dark chocolate
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
3 ounces (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 tablespoon sea salt, preferably fleur de sel

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make the crust: Line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment, leaving an overhang on all sides; butter parchment, excluding overhang. Beat butter and brown sugar on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add flour and table salt, and beat until just combined.
2. Press dough evenly into pan, and bake until lightly browned, about 30 minutes.
3. Make the chocolate caramel: Place chocolate in a medium bowl. Heat granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, washing sides of pan with a wet pastry brush to prevent sugar crystals from forming, until amber, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from heat. Add butter, cream, and table salt. Bring to a boil, stirring until smooth. Pour over chocolate. Let stand for 2 minutes. Stir to combine, and let stand until cool, about 10 minutes.
4. Pour mixture over crust. Refrigerate at least 4 hours, or overnight. Run a knife around edges; lift parchment to remove whole bar from pan. Sprinkle with sea salt. Trim edges, and cut into 16 bars. Bars can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Chocolate Caramel Round-Up

Chocolate Caramel Trifle with Raspberries
Hazelnut Caramel Toffee Bon Bon for National Chocolate Covered Nut Day
Warm Chocolate Caramel Cakes for National Chocolate Caramel Day
Caramel Filled Chocolate Cookies for National Caramel Day last year  (and some sorted caramel chocolate reviews)


Photo: Chocolate Caramel Cookie Bars/Martha Stewart Living

Monday, April 4, 2011

Chocolate Chip Macaroons: April Birthday Vintage Ad

Here's a Vintage Ad from Baker's Chocolate. April Birthday Party. Snowdrop Birthday Cake, Animal Cracker Place Cards, Chocolate Chip Macaroons and more!  So, Happy Birthday to my April Birthday Friends.

Baker's has a one bowl Chocolate Chip Macaroon recipe in this ad. Simple and delicious. There are even some substitute ideas for the macaroons. Of course, you can use any fabulous ingredients you'd like, but I've copied the recipe as it was printed in April 1962. Recipe below.

Chocolate Chip Macaroons 
Ingredients
1 cup Semi-Sweet Baker's Chocolate Chips
2 cups Baker's Angel Flake Cocoanut
1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 tsp salt
*1 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk

Combine chocolate chips, coconut, baking powder and salt. Add vanilla and condensed milk and mix well. Drop from teaspoon on lightly greased baking sheet and bake in slow oven (325 F) 12 minutes, or until "deliciously" browned. Makes about 26 macaroons.
* One teaspoon grated orange rind may be added with vanilla. Or 1/2 teaspoons peppermint extract may be substituted for vanilla.