Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Retro Halloween Chocolate Ads

Every year I post several Vintage Halloween Chocolate Ads from the 40s and 50s. Hope you like these as much as I do! Trick or Treat!











Tuesday, October 30, 2012

CHOCOLATE CANDY CORN TRUFFLES

I love candy corn. O.K. it's very sweet, but I only have it a few times a year. Today, October 30, is National Candy Corn Day!  Shouldn't be a surprise since it's an American Halloween tradition, and nothing says Halloween like candy corn!  Shaped like real pieces of corn, candy corn is as fun as it is tasty.  In addition to the original candy corn or yellow, orange and white, there are different varieties, including Indian candy corn which is brown where the original candy corn is yellow, adding a hint of chocolate (it's only a hint and a bit waxy, and it's not real chocolate, but I don't care at Halloween).

The National Confectioners Association estimates that 20 million pounds (9,000 tons) of candy corn are sold annually. The top branded retailer of candy corn, Brach's, sells enough candy corn each year to circle the earth 4.25 times if the kernels were laid end to end. Too much information?

Candy corn was created in the 1880s by the Philadelphia based Wunderlee Candy Company and, by 1900, was being produced by the Goelitz Candy Company (now Jelly Belly), which has continuously produced it for more than a century. Candy corn is shaped like a kernel of corn, a design that made it popular with farmers when it first came out, but it was the fact that it had three colors - a really innovative idea at the time - that made it popular.

Originally, candy corn was made of sugar, corn syrup, fondant and marshmallow, among other things, and the hot mixture was poured into cornstarch molds, where it set up. The recipe changed slightly over time and there are probably a few variations in recipes between candy companies, but the use of a mixture of sugar, corn syrup, gelatin and vanilla (as well as honey, in some brands) is the standard.

Candy makers use a process called corn starch molding. Corn starch is used to fill a tray, creating candy corn shaped indentations. Candy corns are built from the top to the bottom in three waves of color. First, the indentation is partially filled with white syrup. Next, when the white is partially set, they add the the orange syrup. The creation is then finished up by adding the yellow syrup and then cooled. The candy starts fusing together while it cools. After cooling the candies, the trays are dumped out, the corn starch is sifted away, and the candy corn is ready.

I posted a Chocolate Candy Corn Brownie recipe the other day. Jumped the gun on the Holiday! You'll want to make that scrumptious recipe if you have time, but if not, try this simple recipe below is from Sunset Magazine for Chocolate Candy Corn Truffles. I've adapted this recipe a bit, but not much. Perfect for Halloween! 

CHOCOLATE CANDY CORN TRUFFLES

Ingredients
18 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup whipping cream
1 1/2 tablespoons Grand Marnier
1/4 cup Scottish or dark orange marmalade
1/4 cup unsweetened DARK cocoa powder (not Dutch-processed)
64 candy corns (about 3 oz.)

Directions
Line 8- by 8-inch baking pan with 12- by 17-inch sheet of waxed  or parchment paper.
In large heatproof bowl set over saucepan of hot water, use  heatproof spatula or wooden spoon to stir together chocolate, cream, Grand Marnier, and marmalade until chocolate is melted. Scrape chocolate mixture into prepared pan, smoothing top.
Chill until firm, at least 2 1/2 hours or (covered with plastic wrap) up to 1 week.
Put cocoa powder in shallow bowl. Remove chocolate mixture from pan. With long, sharp knife, cut chocolate mixture into 64 squares, each about 3/4 in. wide. Roll squares in cocoa powder to coat; place 1 square in each paper cup.
Gently press candy corn into top of each truffle.
Store between sheets of waxed paper in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Hurricane Cake

If you're stuck inside today "weathering" Hurricane Sandy, here's an easy cake to make -- if you have electricity or gas. This recipe has been around for ages. You can make it with a German Chocolate Cake Mix or a Devil's Food Cake Mix. Either way, it's delicious.

Hurricane Cake

Ingredients
1/2 cup sweet butter
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup flaked coconut
1 (18.25 ounce) package German Chocolate Cake Mix or Devil's Food Cake Mix
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1/2 cup sweet butter
3 3/4 cups confectioners sugar

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Melt and spread 1/2 cup butter in bottom of 9x13 inch pan.
Sprinkle coconut and pecans evenly over bottom of pan; set aside.
Prepare cake mix as directed on package.
Pour batter over coconut and pecans in pan.
In saucepan over low heat, melt cream cheese and 1/2 cup butter. Stir in confectioners sugar until mixture is smooth.
Spoon cream cheese mixture randomly over top of cake batter.
Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
Cool and serve from pan.

Monday, October 29, 2012

10 Hurricane Tips & Chocolate Hurricane Cocktail

Hope all my friends on the Eastern Seaboard have their hurricane supplies on hand as Sandy heads that way. Here are a few tips. Be safe!

10 Hurricane Tips:

1. Make sure you have enough emergency supplies such as water (fill jugs and bathtub), batteries, a battery powered radio (retro?), flashlights, first aid kit, canned goods, extra cash, toilet paper,  matches, medicines, can opener, Swiss army knife.

2. Since you will probably lose power, transfer essential foods to a small mini-fridge if you have one, therefore not losing the cold in the main refrigerator by not having to open it as much--or at all.

3. Get important papers and special photos together and secure in plastic.

4. If you have time, video or photograph your property (this will help with insurance later).

5. Make sure you have pet supplies, crate, carriers in easy reach. If you need medication for your pets, have it handy.

6. Have clothes and sleeping gear together in a closet in case you need to go to a shelter.

7. If you can, put plywood on windows that will get the brunt of the storm. If you don't have any plywood, criss-cross windows with duct tape. Take in or tie down any objects outside that might fly around--patio furniture, toys, garbage cans, garden tools, etc.

8. To keep the kids calm (without power), have board games and cards ready, play charades or other non-electrical dependent games. Do arts and crafts projects.

9. Make sure you have an emergency plan to contact other family members to check on safety.

10. Stay inside!

After the All-Clear Signal:

1. Check for power lines that are down and stay away from them.

2. Drink bottled water until you know your water is safe.

3. Check on neighbors.

4. Replenish your emergency supplies in case there's a next time.

And, because this is a Chocolate Blog:

CHOCOLATE HURRICANE COCKTAIL
1 oz Captain Morgan® Parrot Bay coconut rum
1 oz Godiva® chocolate liqueur
1 3/4 oz orange juice
1 splash lemon juice

Pour all ingredients into cocktail shaker half-filled with ice cubes. 
Shake well, strain into a cocktail glass, and serve.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

TRIPLE CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES

Today is National Chocolate Day. At my house it's always Chocolate Day, and if you've been reading this blog, you'll know that I post a chocolate recipe every day.

So today to celebrate National Chocolate Day, I thought I'd post a recipe for Triple Chocolate Cupcakes. I like to fill my cupcakes with chocolate ganache. If you find it too thick, just thin a bit with some cream. I also use the ganache for the icing. Saves a step.

TRIPLE CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES

Cupcakes

Ingredients
1/2 cup sweet butter, room temperature
1-1/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp Kosher Salt
3/4 cup Dark cocoa powder  (Read about Natural vs. Dutch Process cocoa)
1/2 cup whole milk
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla
2/3 cup mini dark chocolate chips

Directions
Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating until well combined.
In small bowl, place flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder and combine.
Add milk and vanilla and stir.
Add 1/3 dry ingredients to butter/sugar mixture and beat to combine.
Add half milk/vanilla mixture and beat to combine.
Continue adding, alternating between dry and wet and finishing with dry ingredients.
Fold in chocolate chips.
Scoop batter into cupcake cups between 1/2 & 3/4 full.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

To make cupcakes flat on top: Bake in paper cups and flip onto flat surface when finished baking.  Leave pan sitting on top to make them flat. Allow to cool.
Freeze cupcakes and then use an apple corer to make the hole for the filling.

Ganache
Of course, you might have some leftover ganache in the freezer. 
Read Things to Do With Leftover Ganache.
Ingredients
12 ounces good quality chocolate, chopped
2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 Tbsp sweet butter


Directions
Place chocolate in medium sized bowl. 
Heat cream over medium low heat until barely begins to boil. Remove from heat immediately. Do not over-heat! 
Pour hot cream over chocolate and let sit for minute. 
Stir mixture (gently) until chocolate is melted and blended with cream. 
Add butter and combine. 
Do not beat the mixture.
Cool before filling or spreading. (use pastry bag to fill and frost) 

Sprinkle with jimmies or other decorations


Saturday, October 27, 2012

American Beer Day: Chocolate Stout Truffles

October 27: National American Beer Day. I like a good chocolate stout, and I'm lucky enough to live in an area with several microbreweries that produce Chocolate Stout. Chocolate Stout adds a bit of creaminess that enhances the taste of these beer truffles

CHOCOLATE STOUT TRUFFLES

Ingredients
1/2 cup Chocolate Stout, reduced by half
12 oz. dark chocolate (65-75% cacao), chopped
2 Tbsp. sweet butter
1 cup heavy cream
Cocoa powder (Dutch process) or ground espresso

Directions
Reduce stout (texture should be thick enough to lightly coat a spoon).
Stir in butter and heavy cream and bring to simmer. As soon as bubbles start forming, pour over chopped chocolate.
Whisk to blend and put in refrigerator (covered with plastic wrap) until ganache is set, at least 3 hours.
Remove ganache from refrigerator, and using melon baller or spoon, scoop out ganache and roll into balls. You can also finish off by hand.
Place each ganache ball on parchment paper and put back in refrigerator for about an hour to harden.
Roll ganache balls in cocoa powder or ground espresso.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Quadruple Chocolate Pumpkin Pie: National Pumpkin Day

Today is National Pumpkin Day. Shouldn't be a surprise since it's so close to Halloween!

This is my all time favorite Chocolate Pumpkin Pie recipe. It's from Martha Stewart, and she labels it Triple Chocolate Pumpkin Pie. I take it a step further and make a Chocolate Cookie Crust, so it's a Quadruple Chocolate Pumpkin Pie. OMG! This is sooo smooth and delicious.

QUADRUPLE CHOCOLATE PUMPKIN PIE

For the Filling
3 ounces dark chocolate (70 % cacao) finely chopped
6 ounces chocolate (60 % cacao), chopped
2 ounces (4 tablespoons) sweet butter, cut into small pieces
1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon pure Madagascar vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Ground cloves
1 ounce milk chocolate, melted

Chocolate Cookie Pie Crust (yet another variation)
2 1/2 cups chocolate wafers
8 Tbsp sweet butter

Melt butter.
Put chocolate wafers in plastic bag and crush with spoon or rolling pin. Should be pea size.
Combine melted butter and ground chocolate wafers.
Press ingredients into 9-1/2 inch buttered pie pan--bottom and up the sides.
Bake for 10 minutes at 325.

Directions 
Immediately after taking pie shell out of oven, sprinkle darker chocolate over bottom of crust.Return to oven to melt chocolate, about 1 minute.
Spread chocolate in thin layer on bottom and up sides.
Let cool on a wire rack. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.

Make filling
In large heatproof bowl set over pot of simmering water, melt semisweet chocolate and butter, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat.
Mix pumpkin, milk, brown sugar, eggs, cornstarch, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and a pinch of cloves in medium bowl.
Whisk 1/3 pumpkin mixture into chocolate mixture.
Whisk in remaining pumpkin mixture until completely incorporated.
Transfer pie dish to rimmed baking sheet, and pour pumpkin mixture into crust.
Bake until center is set but still wobbly, 55 to 60 minutes.
Let cool in pie dish on wire rack.
Refrigerate until well chilled, at least 8 hours (preferably overnight).
Before serving, drizzle melted milk chocolate on top. Serve immediately.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

CANDY CORN BROWNIES

I love Candy Corn. It just screams Halloween. According to the National Confectioners Association, 20 million pounds (9000 tons) of candy corn are sold annually. Want to try making your own Candy Corn? Jessie Oleson (aka Cakespy) has a great recipe for Homemade Candy Corn. You will definitely taste the difference. So many ways to incorporate Candy Corn with Chocolate. Here's an easy recipe for Candy Corn Brownies. In a rush? Use a brownie mix and follow the two ways of incorporating candy corn. Don't forget to add more dark chocolate chips or chopped chocolate to the mix!

CANDY CORN BROWNIES

Ingredients
1/2 lb butter
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1-1/2 cup Dark Cocoa
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup flour
1 tsp Madegascar vanilla extract
1 cup dark chocolate, chopped into small chunks
Lots of Candy Corn

Directions 
Preheat oven to 350.
Butter 9 x 9 pan.
Beat butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla in bowl.
Stir in flour, cocoa, and salt.
Fold in chopped chocolate pieces.
Pour into prepared baking pan.
Sprinkle candy corn pieces evenly over top (alternatively, you can wait until brownies are baked and place candy corn pieces into top of baked brownies 2 minutes after taking out of oven).
Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Halloween Pumpkin S'mores

S'mores are great all year round, and these Halloween Pumpkin S'mores are fun and easy! With Toast some special Pumpkin Spice Mallows for Pumpkin S'mores around the Halloween Bonfire!

Easy Pumpkin S'mores

Ingredients
Hershey's Chocolate Bars (or Dark Chocolate Bars or Pieces)
Pumpkin Spice Mallows
Graham Crackers

Directions
Toast Pumpkin Spice Mallows
Place Toasted Pumpkin Spice Mallows & Chocolate between two Graham Crackers
Microwave for 5 seconds or wrap in foil and place on grill for 2-3 minutes


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

NATIONAL BOSTON CREAM PIE DAY

Today is National Boston Cream Pie Day. A Boston Cream Pie is a round cake that is split and filled with a custard or cream filling and frosted with chocolate. Not exactly your standard pie, but it's been around since 1855 or 1856 (two different sources with different dates).

According to Wikipedia, Boston Cream Pies were created by French Chef M. Sanzian at Boston's Parker House Hotel, opened in 1855. This pudding/cake combination comprises two layers of sponge cake filled with vanilla custard or crème pâtissière. The cake was topped with a chocolate glaze (such as ganache) and sometimes confectioner's sugar or a cherry. The cherry and sugar topping is rarely used any more.

The real question is why this is called a pie? It's a cake, after all -- two layers of yellow cake filled with custard and topped with chocolate frosting. Suggestions on why it's called pie are welcome. And here's an esoteric fact: The Boston cream pie is the official desert of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. 

This Retro Ad (3/29/68) from Jello-O Pudding has a quick and easy recipe for Boston Cream Pie. I really prefer making the cake, filling and ganache from scratch. You know I'm a sucker for good chocolate which for me will make or break the taste of a good Boston Cream Pie. However, if you don't have time, I've posted the Jell-O Pudding Boston Cream Pie below.

I. BOSTON CREAM PIE FROM SCRATCH

Ingredients
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sifted cake flour
2/3 cup sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup cooking oil
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Pastry cream, recipe follows
Ganache, recipe follows

Pastry Cream Filling
2 cups milk
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped out
6 egg yolks
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon sweet butter

Ganache
8 ounces good quality semisweet chocolate
1 cup heavy cream, boiling

Directions
Cake
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In medium mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Make well in center of lour mixture. Add milk, oil, egg yolks, and vanilla. Beat with electric mixer on low to medium speed until combined. Beat additional 3 minutes on high speed and set aside.

In large mixing bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar on medium to high speed until soft peaks form. Pour egg yolk mixture over egg white mixture and fold in. Gently pour batter into 9-inch greased pie pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched. Invert pan onto wire rack. Cool completely.

Pastry Cream Filling
In medium saucepan, heat milk and vanilla bean to boil over medium heat. Immediately turn off heat and set aside to infuse for 10 to 15 minutes. In bowl, whisk egg yolks and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add cornstarch and whisk vigorously until no lumps remain. Whisk in 1/4 cup of the hot milk mixture until incorporated. Whisk in remaining hot milk mixture, reserving empty saucepan.

Pour mixture through strainer back into saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until thickened and slowly boiling. Remove from heat and stir in  butter. Let cool slightly. Cover with plastic wrap, lightly pressing  plastic against surface to prevent skin from forming. Chill at least 2 hours or until ready to serve. (Custard can be made up to 24 hours in advance. Refrigerate until 1 hour before using.)

Ganache
In medium bowl, pour boiling cream over chopped chocolate and stir until melted.

To assemble pie
Remove cake from pan. Cut cake in half horizontally. Place bottom layer on serving plate or board, and spread with pastry cream. Top with second cake layer. Pour chocolate ganache over and down sides of cake. Store in refrigerator.

II. Jell-O Pudding Boston Cream Pie

Monday, October 22, 2012

CHOCOLATE WALNUT CLUSTERS: RETRO AD & RECIPE

Today is National Nut Day! Add chocolate!  You know I love retro ads, and Diamond Walnuts sure fits the bill. I don't think I've posted this advertisement from 1950. Love the graphics--and the recipes. I would substitute good quality very dark chocolate instead of unsweetened chocolate, but it's up to you!  Celebrate the day. Sometimes you feel like a Nut!



Sunday, October 21, 2012

National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day: Bake in a Chocolate Crust

Today is National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day: Add Chocolate...I love pumpkin and chocolate... and cheesecake is my thing, so here's an easy recipe for a Pumpkin Chocolate Cheesecake! Celebrate. Great for Halloween and Thanksgiving!

The filling for this pumpkin cheesecake is adapted from Hershey's Kitchens. I like this recipe because it has a Chocolate Cookie Crust and Mini-Chocolate Chips in the filling! I've posted the Hershey's chocolate crust recipe, but I also posted another simple Chocolate Cookie Crust using Chocolate Wafers. The second is my favorite.

PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE WITH CHOCOLATE COOKIE CRUST

Ingredients
1 Chocolate Cookie Crust (see two possible recipes below)
3 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 cup canned pumpkin
4 eggs
1-1/2 cups Mini Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

Directions
1. Prepare Chocolate Cookie Crust. Increase oven temperature to 400°F.
2. Beat cream cheese, sugar, flour and pumpkin pie spice in large bowl until well blended. Add pumpkin and eggs; beat until well blended. Stir in mini-chocolate chips; pour batter into prepared crust. Bake 10 minutes.
3. Reduce oven temperature to 250°F; continue baking 60 minutes or until almost set. Remove from oven to wire rack. With knife, loosen cake from side of pan. Cool completely; remove side of pan. Refrigerate about 5 hours before serving.

I. CHOCOLATE COOKIE CRUST
Heat oven to 350°F.
Stir together 1 cup vanilla wafer crumbs (about 30 wafers),
1/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup melted butter.
Press mixture firmly onto bottom and 1/2-inch up side of 9-inch springform pan.
Bake 8 minutes; cool slightly.

II. CHOCOLATE COOKIE CRUST
30 chocolate wafers (Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers makes abt 1 1/2 cups crumbs)
5 tablespoons sweet butter, melted and slightly cooled
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon Madegasse vanilla extract
Put cookies in container of food processor; process until finely ground.
2. Transfer crumbs to mixing bowl; combine crumbs, butter, salt, and vanilla; stir until crumbs are moistened.
3. Press mixture evenly across the bottom of 9-inch springform pan and all the way up sides of pan; pack tightly so crust is even and compacted.
4. Bake in 350° oven for 6-8 minutes or until crisp.
5. Let cool completely before filling.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Blood Red Hot Chocolate with Sweet Bones

Perfect for Halloween is this recipe for Blood and Bones! This was originally sent to me by my friend Doc Quartermass who saw this on Facebook's Every Day is Halloween. Tracked down the source recipe to Martha Stewart. I've adapted it a bit, but it's an easy cocoa and bones recipe!

Blood Red Hot Chocolate

5 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
4 cups whole milk

1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp Madagascar vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons red gel-paste food coloring (Wilton no-taste)

Bring milk, vanilla, and sugar to simmer in medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves, about 7 minutes. Pour over chocolate, and let stand. When chocolate begins to melt, stir until combined. Whisk in food coloring, being sure to scrape the bottom (it sticks). Serve immediately with marshmallow bones.

Sweet Bones

6 large egg whites
1-1/2 cups sugar

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Put egg whites and sugar in heatproof bowl of electric mixer. Set bowl over pan of simmering water; whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved and mixture feels warm to touch, about 5 minutes.
Return bowl to mixer, and fit mixer with whisk attachment.Beat on high speed until very stiff peaks form, about 8 minutes.
Transfer meringue to pastry bag fitted with 1/2-inch plain round tip(Wilton #1A). Pipe bone shapes, each 5 to 6 inches long, onto two baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Pipe by making one long (not as curvy) S shape, followed by another mirrored S shape on top of first. Bake until crisp throughout, about 1 hour. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

Hat Tip: Doc Quartermass

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

How to Make Your Own Chocolate Liqueur

Today is National Liqueur Day, and I often make Chocolate Liqueur Truffles. They're so easy to make, and you can change out the liqueur flavoring whenever you'd like. But recently I thought I should try making my own chocolate liqueur. It's simple, and you should try it. Of course you can always buy Chocolate Liqueur, and I'll have to admit that Godiva has an awesome dark chocolate liqueur. You might also want to try Mozart Black Chocolate.

Following are two great recipes for Making Your Own Chocolate Liqueur.

The following recipe is from Serious Eats, one of my favorite sites.  As always, use the best cacao nibs or cocoa, vodka and vanilla. You won't have the results to taste today, but it's worth the wait!

1. CHOCOLATE LIQUEUR

Ingredients
 2/3 cup cacao nibs
1 1/3 cup vodka
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup water
2 teaspoons Madagascar vanilla extract

Directions
Combine cacao nibs and vodka in sealable glass jar. Shake and then let steep for 8 days.
After initial steeping period, bring sugar and water to a boil. Let syrup cool, then add to jar along with vanilla extract. Let steep for additional day.
Strain out nibs through sieve and filter through a coffee filter into bottle or jar. Store in this jar.

II. CHOCOLATE LIQUEUR
This recipe from Creative Culinary uses Scharffen Berger Cocoa Powder. 

Ingredients
1/4 cup unsweetened good cocoa powder (Scharffen Berger)
1 cup boiling water
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water 1 cup vodka

Directions
In bowl, dissolve cocoa powder in boiling water.
In saucepan, bring sugar and water to simmer, stirring until sugar is dissolved.
Add sugar syrup to cocoa syrup.
Strain through fine-mesh sieve into jar with lid. Add vodka, cover and refrigerate for one week.
To serve, stir well and strain again through fine-mesh sieve.
 
These two recipes should get you started. Try less sugar and maybe add almond extract--or use run instead of vodka. Experiment!

You can drink this straight, use it in truffles or make a martini.

Have a wonderful National Liqueur Day. Make it Chocolate!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

HALLOWEEN OREO BROWNIES

I love seasonal Oreos, and Halloween Oreos are so much fun! You can use them in lots of ways including as a cookie crust for your favorite Pumpkin Cheesecake or in the following two recipes for Halloween Oreo Brownies...or just eat them straight from the bag! Orange and black, the colors of Halloween! Nabisco never fails with new graphics on its packaging of these seasonal treats. There are 5 "BOOrific" Shapes with Orange colored Creme. Shapes:

1. Easy Halloween Oreo Brownies
I use the Ghirardelli Double Chocolate Brownie Mix and crumble about 15 cookies into the mix.

Want to make your own Halloween Oreo Brownies? The following recipe is a no-fail and delicious. It's a double recipe, so be sure you have a lot of goblins around to eat these up! As always use the very best ingredients.

II. Halloween Oreo Brownies (Double recipe)

Ingredients
4 sticks sweet butter
1 pound semisweet chocolate chips
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate -- chopped
6 eggs
3 tablespoons instant coffee granules
2 tablespoons Madagascar vanilla
2-1/4 cups sugar
1-1/4 cup flour -- divided
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
50 Halloween Oreos  (4 cups chopped)

Directions
Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350.
Butter and flour an 11 1/2" x 17 1/4" x 1" baking pan. (or make in two 9x9 pans)
 1. In heatproof medium bowl set over saucepan of simmering water, heat butter, chocolate chips and unsweetened chocolate until melted and smooth. Allow to cool slightly.
2. In large bowl, whisk eggs, coffee, vanilla and sugar. Blend chocolate mixture into egg mixture; cool to room temperature.
3. In medium bowl, sift together one cup flour, baking powder and salt. Add flour mixture to chocolate mixture. In small bowl, stir Oreos and remaining 1/4 cup flour. Add Oreo mixture to chocolate mixture. Pour batter into baking pan and smooth top with a rubber spatula.
4. Bake 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted 3 inches from center comes out clean; do not overbake. Allow to cool. Refrigerate, tightly wrapped, until cold; cut into squares.

Adapted from Cooking Light and "O" Magazine recipe by Ina Garten

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Pumpkin Chocolate Brownies

Libby's Pumpkin Ad, November 14, 1949
Fall for me is always all about pumpkins, and over the years I've posted many Chocolate Pumpkin Recipes. Try Chocolate Pumpkin Bark or Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake or Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Loaf CakeChocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread, Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins and Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Here's an easy recipe for Pumpkin Chocolate Brownies adapted from a recipe from Libby's Pumpkin. My mother's name is Libby, so I always love using Libby Pumpkin in recipes. "Libby, Libby, Libby, on the Label, Label, Label."  You can always substitute 'real' pumpkin. 

FYI: These brownies are more cakelike than chewy . With that in mind, enjoy!

CHOCOLATE PUMPKIN BROWNIES

Ingredients
Nonstick cooking spray
1/2 cup LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
2 large egg whites
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon DARK unsweetened Cocoa
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup broken dark chocolate chunks (or chocolate chips)

Directions
1. PREHEAT - 350° F. Spray 8- or 9-inch-square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
2. COMBINE pumpkin, sugar, egg, egg whites and oil in large mixer bowl. Beat with electric mixer on medium speed until blended. Add flour, baking powder, cocoa, cinnamon, allspice, salt and nutmeg.
3. Beat on low speed until batter is smooth. Stir in morsels. Spread evenly into prepared pan.
4. BAKE for 25 to 30 minutes or until wooden pick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack. Cut into 2-inch squares.

Here's a link to another Pumpkin Brownie Recipe on The District Chocoholic that also uses Libby's Pumpkin.

Do you have a favorite Chocolate Pumpkin recipe? Leave a comment and link!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Duff's Devil's Food Cake Retro Ad

I'm a huge fan of Duff Goldman, cake baker/decorator extraordinaire, so when I came across this Retro Ad for Duff's Cake mixes from November 14, 1949, I couldn't help but post! Duff was born long after this ad appeared, but could he be named for this mix? :-)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

COOKING TO KILL! Chocolate Noose Recipe

With Halloween just a few short weeks away, I thought I'd post another "Chocolate Recipe" from one of my favorite "Tie-in" Cookbook Collection: Cooking to Kill! The Poison Cook-book.  The recipe is for Chocolate Noose --not Chocolate Mousse !!!

This is one of my favorite books in my Killer Cookbooks: Mystery-related cookbooks. Published in 1951, Cooking to Kill! has Recipes by Ebenezer Murgatroyd with Comic Drawings by Herb Roth (Peter Pauper Press, 1951).  Cooking to Kill! has been called "not only a cook-book to end all cook-books, but also a cook-book to end all cooks." 








Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Fluffy Chocolate Pudding with Meringue: Retro War Ad & Recipe

You know I love these Retro Ads. This one from Carnation for Fluffy Chocolate Pudding with Meringue is from October 30, 1944. Note the  Don't Buy another Depression/Buy War Bonds and Stamps!" and other advice in the corner of the recipe.



Monday, October 8, 2012

Chocolate Cherry Biscotti for Columbus Day

Columbus Day is a big deal in San Francisco. Columbus Day originated as a celebration of Italian-American heritage and was first held in San Francisco on October 12, 1869. It's still celebrated that way. In 1892 President Benjamin Harrison, 400 years after Columbus' first journey, gave a public statement in memory of the 'New World' being discovered. Let's not go into that!  In 1905 Colorado was the first State to recognize an official 'Columbus Day'. From 1921 Columbus Day was observed each year. President Franklin Roosevelt in 1937 declared October 12 as 'Columbus Day',  but in 1971, Congress proclaimed Columbus Day a national holiday the 2nd Monday of October.

There's also a Columbus Chocolate Connection. Although people tend to associate chocolate with European culture, the confection’s roots are actually a whole lot deeper in the Americas. The trees that grow the cacao beans actually originated in the tropical regions of the Americas. Chocolate didn’t find its way to Europe until Christopher Columbus brought the cacao bean back to Spain from his “New World” adventure. 

So today for Columbus Day, an Italian-American celebration, I'm re-posting one of my favorite recipes for Chocolate Cherry Biscotti.
 
CHOCOLATE CHERRY BISCOTTI


I originally found this recipe on the Internet in several places, but I've adapted it a bit. I don't like candied cherries, so I use dried cherries. My favorite are from Chukar Cherries. You can't go wrong with Biscotti on Columbus Day or any day. No time to cook? Pick up some Biscotti at your local Italian Bakery.

INGREDIENTS
1/2 cup sweet butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp. almond extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup chopped dried cherries (original recipe uses candied cherries, but I prefer Chukar Cherries)
1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease large cookie sheet.
In large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth.
Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in almond extract.
Combine flour and baking powder; stir into creamed mixture until just blended.
Fold in dried cherries and mini chocolate chips.
With lightly floured hands, shape dough into two 10 inch long loaves.
Place rolls 5 inches apart on prepared cookie sheet; flatten each to 3 inch width.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until set and light golden brown.
Cool 10 minutes.
Using serrated knife, cut loaves diagonally into 1/2 inch slices.
Arrange slices cut side down on ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until bottoms begin to brown.
Turn, and bake additional 5 minutes, or until browned and crisp.
Cool completely. Store in tightly covered container. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Black Russian Truffles: National Vodka Day

Today is National Vodka Day, and there are some wonderful Chocolate Vodkas out there. You can always make yourself a Chocolate Vodka Martini or a Chocolate Vodka Cake, but I'm a huge fan of Truffles.

Here's a simple recipe for Black Russian Truffles. A Black Russian is a cocktail made with vodka and coffee liqueur (three parts vodka to two parts coffee liqueur, or five parts vodka to two parts coffee liqueur). I love Kahlua, so that would be my coffee liqueur of choice in the following recipe.

BLACK RUSSIAN TRUFFLES

8 ounces dark (70-85% cacao) chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons sweet butter
3 1/2 tablespoons Kahlua
1 1/2 tablespoons Vodka
1 1/2 cups DARK cocoa  (or espresso powder or toasted walnuts)

Directions:
Melt chocolate in double boiler or in saucepan on top of another saucepan of simmering water.
Heat cream and butter together in microwave or in pot (don't scorch). Remove from heat and pour over melted chocolate. Using rubber spatula, stir chocolate and cream/butter mixture gently until smooth.
Add Kahlua and vodka. Stir until blended.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 2 hours to overnight.
Shape chocolate into 1-inch balls using a melon baller or small ice cream scoop or two spoons.
Roll in cocoa (or pulverized espresso beans or toasted walnuts)
Store in airtight container in refrigerator.
Serve at room temperature.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Bloody Cupcakes for Dexter

Here's another time that my two worlds of Chocolate and Mystery collide. These Bloody Cupcakes created by Magnolia Bakery in New York City were displayed in Grand Central Terminal's Vanderbilt Hall last week. They were made to celebrate the seventh season of Showtime's Dexter.

The cupcakes were red velvet with vanilla icing. The shards of glass were created by sugar glass and red syrup to create splattered blood.

Hat Tip: Foodista.com

Image from the Magnolia Bakery Facebook Page.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Michelle Obama Wins Presidential Cookie Bake Off

Photo: today.com
Reported at Today.com:

Michelle Obama has been declared the winner of the Family Circle Presidential Cookie Bake-Off. Her white and dark chocolate-chip cookies defeated the M&M cookies submitted by Republican rival Ann Romney.

Obama won with 51.5 percent of the nearly 10,000 votes submitted, compared to the 48.5 percent of the votes garnered by Romney.

Of the dozens of polls that forecast the next presidential election, this one is the sweetest: The bake-off has gone on to accurately predict the general election outcome all but once since it began.

The first contest took place in 1992, when Hillary Clinton’s oatmeal chocolate chip cookies trounced Barbara Bush’s classic chocolate chip recipe. Four years later, Clinton used the same recipe to defeat Elizabeth Dole’s pecan rolls.

In 2000, voters chose Laura Bush’s Texas Cowboy Cookies over Tipper Gore’s gingersnaps. They gave Bush another win in 2004 by selecting her oatmeal chocolate chunks over Teresa Heinz Kerry’s pumpkin spice cookies.

The only time the cookie test failed to accurately predict who would next claim the White House was in 2008, when Obama’s lemon zest shortbread cookie recipe lost to Cindy McCain’s oatmeal butterscotch cookie recipe. That win didn’t come without controversy McCain was accused of copying the recipe from a Hershey’s website.

For this year’s bake-off, Obama submitted a “splurge” recipe created by the godmother of her daughters. Romney, a baking enthusiast, submitted a recipe for M&M cookies she claims her grandkids can’t resist.

From Michelle Obama: Every evening, Barack, the girls and I sit down for a family dinner with good conversation and healthy food. If we want to splurge, these White and Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies, created by the girls’ godmother, is the perfect special treat.

Mama Kaye’s White and Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes 5 dozen cookiesPrep: 15 minutesBake at 375° for 12 minutes per batch

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 stick Crisco butter-flavored solid vegetable shortening
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 cup each white chocolate chips, milk chocolate chips and mint chocolate chips (or Andes mint pieces)
2 cups chopped walnuts

1. Heat oven to 375°.
2. Whisk together flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream butter, vegetable shortening, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract.
3. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
4. On low speed, beat in flour mixture. By hand, stir in white and milk chocolate chips, mint chips and walnuts.
5. Drop rounded tablespoons of dough onto un-greased baking sheets.
6. Bake at 375° for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.


Chocolate Bytes: Nestlé's answer to Willy Wonka

Nestlé has released candy bars with GPS-lined wrappers that send a signal to a helicopter with $16,000. (10,000 pounds) Unfortunately you have to live in the UK or Ireland.

Nestlé, the maker of KitKat chocolate bars has hidden global positioning system chips in six candy bar wrappers, released in the United Kingdom and Ireland, that could make someone a little richer.

According to Nestlé, the "We Will Find You" competition will "scramble a crack team of highly trained individuals" to find whoever opens one of the six GPS-embedded candy bars -- one each within KitKat 4 Finger, KitKat Chunky, Aero Peppermint Medium and Yorkie Milk.

The Daily Telegraph reported that the GPS chips are activated once the wrappers are opened, and they then send a signal to Nestlé. The company said the winner will be located within 24 hours by a helicopter for hand delivery of a briefcase containing £10,000, worth about $16,000, in cash.

It wasn't clear when or if the promotion would make its way to the U.S., or if the winning chocolate bars were edible.

Check out this cool video ad..

Monday, October 1, 2012

Cocoagraph: Edible Chocolate Bars from Your Photos

I've been meaning to post about The Cocoagraph Company that turns photographs into artisan chocolate bars that look like Retro Polaroids. Yes, many bakeries have been turning photos into icing images for birthday, wedding, and special events, but this is a bit different. I've been in the hospitality industry, and I've seen something like this before, but the Cocoagraph company makes it easy for the home buyer/photographer/chocoholic.

Each edible candy bar can be printed with an image or photograph in milk, white, dark chocolate or organic dark chocolate. Since they're square (Polaroid shape/very retro), Instagram and Hipstamatic photos work very well.

Just go to Cocoagraph.com and upload your photos. You'll receive Polaroid shaped Cocoagraph bars in the mail.

Rae Vittorelli  is the founder of Cocoagraph. Vittorelli studied photography and printmaking at the School of Visual Arts in New York. At Moore College of Art & Design in Philadelphia, she translated her passion into tactile techniques, earning her BFA in 3D Fine Arts. After graduation, her whimsical creativity led her to explore the world of sugar arts and launch her first business, Philly Cake Art, LLC. In 2011, she discovered she could combine fashion, photography and a vintage aesthetic in the best medium ever…chocolate! Thus, the Cocoagraph was created.


Hesitant about quality? Don't be. There's good chocolate involved. Cocoagraph's chocolatier comes from a family operated company located in Santa Barbara, California. They have been purveying exotic cocoas of pure organic origin and exclusive blends of ultra-smooth chocolate in many forms. From the four corners the world, all the chocolate is "ethically traded adhering to the highest standards of ecology, quality and humanity." Read more about the chocolate HERE.