Thursday, January 31, 2013

CHOCOLATE COCA COLA CHICKEN WINGS

Looking for a Savory Chocolate Super Bowl Recipe? You'll love these Chocolate Coca Cola Chicken Wings--fabulous for SuperBowl Sunday! This recipe is adapted from Michael Siry of Duke's Original Roadhouse and Big Daddy's Restaurant and appeared on the Today Show a few years ago along with two other chicken wing recipes.

CHOCOLATE COCA COLA CHICKEN WINGS

Ingredients
4 cans Coca Cola
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp Worchestershire sauce
1 habanera, minced
1-1/2 cups ketchup
1/2 cup aged balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup chocolate sauce
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp. orange zest
1 stick of butter
1/2 cup white vinegar

Frying
Brined chicken wings
2 cups flour
1/4 cup salt
2 Tbsp ground black pepper

Baking
Brined chicken wings
2 cups flour
1/4 cup salt
2 Tbsp ground black pepper
Vegetable cooking spray

Directions 
1. Add all ingredients (except butter and white vinegar) into 2-quart saucepan.
2. Bring to boil and simmer until 3/4 reduced.
3. Add butter and vinegar.
4. Keep sauce warm and toss with wings.

Frying recipe:
1. Drain wings from brine, toss chicken wings in flour and place on racked sheet pan.
2. Let stand for 5 minutes; during that time preheat fryer to 325 degrees.
3. Fry wings in batches for 10-13 minutes until wings start to float.
4. Place on racked sheet pan to cool.
5. Toss in sauce.

Baking recipe:
1. Drain wings from brine and toss chicken wings in flour and place on racked sheet pan.
2. Let stand for 5 minutes; during that time preheat oven to 325 degrees.
3. Spray wings with vegetable oil spray.
4. Bake wings for 20 minutes (wings should reach internal temp of 150).
5. Place on racked sheet pan to cool.
6. Toss in sauce. 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

SUPER BOWL GUINNESS CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES

Planning a Super Bowl Party? You'll want to get in a lot of beer and chocolate! How about in one Super Bowl taste treat? Celebrations, a party planning website, recommends Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes: Beer & Chocolate! The other day I posted Super Bowl Chocolate Guinness Pretzel Truffles. Beer and Chocolate goes so well together, so here's a recipe for Super Bowl Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes, adapted from Amy Berman, Chef &a Co-Owner of Vanilla Bake Shop. I love the Guinness Buttercream Frosting!

Super Bowl Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes!

Ingredients
1 Cup Guinness Extra Stout
1-1/2 Sticks Sweet Butter
3/4 Cup Dark Chocolate, Chopped (85%+ cacao)
2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 Cups Sugar
1/2 Tablespoon Baking Soda
3/4 Teaspoon Salt
2 Large Eggs
3/4 Cup Sour Cream

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Bring stout and butter to simmer in large saucepan over medium heat. Do not boil.
Add chocolate chunks to hot stout/butter mixture. Whisk until chocolate melts. Turn heat off and let cool.
Add sugar to chocolate mixture and whisk to combine.
Sift flour, baking soda and salt.
In stand-alone mixer with whisk attachment, combine eggs and sour cream on medium speed.
Add stout-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and combine on medium-low speed until incorporated.
Slowly add flour mixture in thirds to chocolate mixture with whisk attachment. Scrape sides with whisk to make sure all dry ingredients combined.
Place cupcake papers in pan and divide batter into cups evenly. Fill about 2/3 of cup.
Bake 18-24 minutes or until tops are firm to the touch, and toothpick comes out clean when inserted into cupcake.
Let cool on wire rack before frosting.

Guinness Buttercream Frosting 
Ingredients
1 Cup Sweet Butter (room temperature)
2 1/2 Cups Sifted Powder Sugar
1/4 Cup Milk
1/2 Whole Scraped Vanilla Bean
1/2 Tablespoon MadegascarVanilla Extract
1 Cup Guinness Extra Stout

Directions
In sauce pan, simmer Guinness on low heat for 10-15 min, until stout becomes reduced and thicker in consistency--similar to syrup. *Tip: keep your eye on the store, so stout does not over cook. Let cool.
In stand alone mixer, cream butter 1 minute
Slowly add powdered sugar in thirds, alternating with some milk each time till mixture is creamy.
Add scraped vanilla bean and vanilla extract.
Slowly add reduced Guinness a little at a time. Taste test to desired flavor. You may not use all the Guinness reduction.
Place buttercream in piping bag with French star tip (or plain plastic bag with corner cut off), frost cupcakes --or just ice.


Want some other Chocolate Super Bowl treats?  Check out:

Sarah Sprague's Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Pretzel Cookies
LaFuji Mama has Super Bowl Chocolate Crunchie Munchies
Slate's Super Bowl Chile with Beer, Black Beans and Chocolate 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

EARLIEST EVIDENCE OF CHOCOLATE IN NORTH AMERICA 1200 years ago

From Science Magazine:

They were humble farmers who grew corn and dwelt in subterranean pit houses. But the people who lived 1200 years ago in a Utah village known as Site 13, near Canyonlands National Park in Utah, seem to have had at least one indulgence: chocolate. Researchers report that half a dozen bowls excavated from the area contain traces of chocolate, the earliest known in North America. The finding implies that by the end of the 8th century C.E., cacao beans, which grow only in the tropics, were being imported to Utah from orchards thousands of kilometers away.

The discovery could force archaeologists to rethink the widely held view that the early people of the northern Southwest, who would go on to build enormous masonry "great houses" at New Mexico's Chaco Canyon and create fine pottery, had little interaction with their neighbors in Mesoamerica. Other scientists are intrigued by the new claim, but also skeptical.

The new research is "exciting, no doubt. … Archaeologists have been looking for Mesoamerican connections to the Southwest for 100 years," says Robert Hard of the University of Texas, San Antonio, who specializes in the archaeology of the Southwest and was not involved in the new study. But, he says, "I'm not convinced this is chocolate."

The findings stem from collaboration between Dorothy Washburn, an archaeologist at the University of Pennsylvania's University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in Philadelphia, and her husband William Washburn, a chemist at Bristol-Myers Squibb in Princeton, New Jersey. In an earlier study, they detected evidence of cacao in pottery from 11th century burial sites in New Mexico's Chaco Canyon and in vessels from other Southwestern sites. As a follow-up, the scientists tested bowls excavated in the 1930s from Site 13, which dates to roughly 770 C.E.

The researchers swirled water in the bowls, then analyzed the compounds in the rinse water with a high-resolution liquid chromatograph-mass spectrometer, an instrument that separates the components of a mixture and then determines the mass of each. They found traces of theobromine and caffeine, both found in cacao, in nearly every Site 13 bowl they tested. They also found the telltale molecules in vessels from other villages close to Site 13 and from two Colorado villages. Site 13's cacao is the oldest in North America, eclipsing the Chaco chocolate by some 300 years. 

Humanity's cacao habit dates back to at least 1900 B.C.E to 1500 B.C.E., when Mexico's Mokaya people were already enjoying a chocolate drink.

In Mesoamerica, cacao was mostly a food of the elite, who sipped a foamy chocolate drink, often spiked with spices, at banquets and other ceremonial occasions. But an 8th century village such as Site 13 probably would have been classless, so the chocolate would've been consumed by ordinary people. 

Hat Tip: Nic Ford

Monday, January 28, 2013

SUPER BOWL CHOCOLATE GUINNESS PRETZEL TRUFFLES

Here's a great recipe for Super Bowl Sunday. I've posted this recipe before, but it deserves a repost because it's perfect for  Super Bowl Sunday. It contains all the Football Food Groups: Chocolate, Beer & Pretzels (or nuts).  These Chocolate Beer Truffles are rolled in Crushed Pretzels, but you can use crushed peanuts or crushed beer nuts. If you're a purist, you can always roll them in cocoa!

I know this Guinness Ad isn't for the Super Bowl or even for U.S. Football, but I love it!

CHOCOLATE GUINNESS PRETZEL TRUFFLES

Ingredients
3/4 cup Guinness
1 pound dark chocolate (65-75% cacao), chopped
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
Crushed salted pretzels

Directions
Melt chocolate in top of a double boiler  or a saucepan over a saucepan with simmering water.
Stir in cream.
Slowly add Guinness, stirring to blend.
Cover and chill overnight.
Shape mixture into 3/4 inch balls using small scoop or melon baller or your hands- using about a tablespoon of ganache for each.
Roll in crushed Salted Pretzels (or crushed peanuts or beer nuts).

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Tu B'shevat Chocolate Chip Cookies

Today is the Jewish holiday of Tu B'Shevat, the day that marks the beginning of a 'New Year' for Trees. This is the day in Israel when the earliest blooming trees begin a new fruit bearing cycle. I'm a gardener, and I live in a Mediterranean climate, so this is a holiday I love to celebrate.

About Trees in Jewish literature from Kolel:
Trees figure prominently in Jewish literature and lore—from the very first trees planted at creation and the Garden of Eden, to the trees worshipped by King Ahaz in the final chapters of the Bible. In the Bible, the Hebrew word for tree appears over 150 times, and more than 100 different kinds of trees, shrubs and plants are named. The Mishnah (Masechet Zera’im in particular deals with laws of agriculture) adds hundreds of names of plants. Midrashim, too, often use plants in similes and parables. In all, over 500 different plants are mentioned in classical Jewish sources.

The Bible uses images and descriptions of trees but is not meant to be a botanical encyclopedia. The names and descriptions of plant (and animal) life are casual; many common species of plants are not mentioned in the Bible (like the carob), while others appear only once (such as ebony, pistachio, and walnut).

I love trees and the nuts and other fruits that grow on them. Here's a great drop cookie recipe that uses lots of different fruits and nuts. You can substitue dried apricots, raisins, currants, dates, dried figs, dried cranberries, and other nuts for any of the additional ingredients. This recipe makes a very moist chewy cookie. Eat them within 3 days. You shouldn't have any problem doing that :-)

Can't make cookies today? Plant a tree. I am.

TU B'SHEVAT COOKIES

Ingredients
1-1⁄4 cups all-purpose flour
1-1⁄4 tsp. baking powder
1⁄4 tsp. baking soda
1⁄4 tsp. salt
1⁄2 cup sweet butter, room temperature
3⁄4 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 tsp. grated lemon zest
1⁄4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup flaked toasted coconut
3/4 cup chopped pistachios
3/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts
3⁄4 cup chopped dried cherries
1 cup dark chocolate chips

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Grease 3 baking sheets.
Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into medium bowl.
Cream butter in mixing bowl, add sugar and beat until smooth and fluffy.
Add egg and beat until smooth. Add lemon zest and beat until blended.
Stir in 1⁄2 of flour mixture until blended.
Stir in 1⁄2 of sour cream.
Repeat with remaining flour mixture and sour cream.
Stir in coconut, pistachios, walnuts, cherries and chocolate chips.
Drop batter on prepared cookie sheets. Use two teaspoons to shape and drop (about 1 Tbsp. batter for each cookie. Mound high. Space 2 inches apart (they will spread).
Bake 10-12 minutes or until light brown at edges and nearly set but soft in center.
Transfer cookies to racks and cool.

Friday, January 25, 2013

IRISH COFFEE CHOCOLATE MOUSSE

Today is National Irish Coffee Day! Irish Coffee was invented at the Buena Vista Cafe, right here in San Francisco.

On my first day in California I was lucky to hitch a ride with a visiting dignitary. The day's tour of San Francisco included the hills of San Francisco, Sonoma County, the Renaissance Fair, Sausalito, Fisherman's Wharf, the Palace of Fine Arts, Cliff House, the Golden Gate Bridge and a stop at the Buena Vista Cafe for an Irish Coffee. I saw more of the San Francisco Bay Area on that one day than I did over the next ten years.

Irish Coffee at the Buena Vista Cafe is a very San Francisco tradition. The drink was invented there in 1952. The recipe was a collaborative effort between Jack Koeppler, the Buena Vista’s owner, and Stanton Delaplane, a well-known international travel writer and San Francisco Chronicle columnist.

The official story of Irish Coffee tells of the perseverance and repeated attempts of Koeppler & Delaplane and even a trip to Shannon Airport, where a forerunner of Koeppler’s vision was served. The whipped cream posed a problem, but the input of a prominent dairy farmer turned Mayor of San Francisco, solved the problem: Age the cream for 48 hours and froth it to a precise consistency so it would float on top of the hot coffee, to Koeppler’s specifications.


So if you're in San Francisco today, it's a big day at the Buena Vista. Stop by and raise a glass!

But this is a Chocolate Blog, so once again I wanted to post a recipe that includes Chocolate and the day's 'food' holiday.

Irish Coffee Chocolate Mousse

Ingredients
4 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
1 cup heavy cream
1-1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
4 teaspoons Irish whiskey
2 eggs
2 tablespoons plus 4 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions
Put Chocolate, 1/3 cup of cream, and 1/4 teaspoon of espresso powder in heatproof bowl. Put bowl in skillet of barely simmering water. Stir frequently until chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Remove bowl from skillet, stir in whiskey, and set aside.
In heatproof medium bowl, whisk eggs with 1 tablespoon water and 2 tablespoons of sugar until well blended.
Put bowl in skillet and whisk eggs constantly (to prevent from scrambling) over barely simmering water until they register 160 degrees F. on instant-read thermometer.
Remove bowl from skillet and beat at high speed with electric mixer until eggs have texture like softly whipped cream, 3 to 4 minutes.
Fold one quarter of eggs into chocolate.
Scrape chocolate mixture over remaining whipped eggs and continue to fold just until evenly incorporated.
Divide mousse into ramekins. Chill at least 1 hour, or until set, before serving.

Serve with Bailey's Irish Cream
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon Baileys Irish Cream

Whip heavy cream to soft peaks. Add Baileys Irish Cream and whisk until combined.
Spoon small amount of whipped cream onto the top of each mousse ramekin.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER WHOOPIE PIES

Today is National Peanut Butter Day. I love Chocolate and Peanut Butter, and I love Whoopie Pies whatever their origin. See my previous post on Whoopie Pies. So what could be better than Chocolate Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies. I really like Martha Stewart's recipe for miniature Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies. As always use the very best chocolate, and in this case the best cocoa.

Here's a tip for Presentation: Serve them is on a bed of peanuts. For added crunch, roll them in the peanuts when you pick them up. You can also sprinkle them with confectionary sugar, especially during the holidays!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies

For the Cookies:
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened DARK cocoa powder, not Dutch-process  (I use Ghirardelli)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 tablespoon sweet butter, softened
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
1 large egg
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon pure Madagascar vanilla extract

For the Filling:
2/3 cup natural, creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup sweet butter, softened
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
Coarse salt, optional

Directions
1. Make cookies: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in small bowl; set aside.
2. Put butter, shortening, and sugars in bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Mix on high speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add egg; mix until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in half flour mixture, then milk and vanilla. Mix in remaining flour mixture.
3. Drop rounded tablespoons dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake until cookies spring back when lightly touched, 12 to 14 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks 10 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks using a spatula; let cool completely.
Or you can use a Whoopie Pie Pan (I have several): Whoopie Pie Pan post
4. Make filling: Put peanut butter and butter in bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Mix on high speed until smooth. Reduce mixer speed to low. Add confectioners' sugar; mix until combined. Raise speed to high, and mix until fluffy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Season with salt, if desired. I like this**
5. Assemble cookies: Spread 1 scant tablespoon filling on bottom of 1 cookie. Sandwich with another cookie. Repeat with remaining cookies and filling. Cookies can be refrigerated in single layers in airtight containers up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

CHOCOLATE ORANGE CREAM PIE: Retro Recipe & Ad

Today is National Pie Day. Now, you might think that December 1 is National Pie Day, and you'd be right! There are actually two days devoted to pie, and that doesn't include National Boston Cream Pie Day and National Peach Pie Day or any of the other 'special' pie days.

So in honor of the day, I thought I'd post one of the Retro Baker's Chocolate Recipe Story Ads. This one is for Chocolate Orange Cream Pie and appeared in Life Magazine on April 1, 1940. Take note of the incredibly retro comments about women pleasing men.



Tuesday, January 22, 2013

BISSINGER'S CHOCOLATE-COVERED POINT REYES ORIGINAL BLUE CHEESE WINE GRAPE

I attended the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco this week, and needless to say there was a lot of chocolate. I'll be blogging about different chocolate products in the days to come, but I thought I'd mention one product that stood out for me: Bissinger's Chocolate-Covered Point Reyes Original Blue Cheese Wine Grape. It is a great combination of sweet and savory. I'm a sucker for chocolate and cheese, and local Point Reyes Original Blue is one of my favorite blues. Add a wine grape to that, and I'm in heaven. This product isn't available yet, but look for it in the next few months at Whole Foods, Neiman Marcus, smaller high end specialty shops and markets, and on the Bissinger's website.

Over two years in the making, this confection evolved as a natural progression from Bissinger’s original Chocolate-Covered Wine Grape. Plump Muscat grapes are infused with Shiraz, then incorporated with a delicate layer of Point Reyes Original Blue and finally covered in Bissinger's signature 60% European-style Chocolate.  Heaven!

Chief Chocolatier, Dave Owens, says, “At first bite you taste the rich chocolate, then the sweet depth of fruit rushes forward, and finally the creamy blue cheese carries it through to the savory side.” Bissinger’s began discussions with Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company about the idea several years ago. “The Original Blue was the only cheese we wanted for this project,” Owens said. “It is a true stand out in the industry.”

Point Reyes has a long tradition of crafting artisanal creations. “It has been a pleasure working with a company that shares our same passion and commitment to quality,” said Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company Manager Partner-Owner, Lynn Giacomini Stray. “We strive to craft innovative confections and are grateful to be carrying on the legacy that was started by the Bissinger family in Paris centuries ago, said Kellerhals. “Bissinger’s remains committed to the high standards, heritage and the passionate attention to detail that goes into every piece we craft.”

It certainly shows in this wonderful wine/cheese/chocolate pairing. I'd love to have a bowl of them by my desk right now!

Monday, January 21, 2013

BLONDIES: NATIONAL BLONDE BROWNIE DAY

Tomorrow is Blond Brownie Day. That's a misnomer. Blondies are not brownies! They get their flavor from brown sugar and not cocoa or chocolate, but they're wonderful for exactly what they are--a great butterscotch 'brownie'.

Over the years, I've added macadamia nuts, white chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, chocolate chips or a combination of these ingredients to the following basic recipe. The variety of additions is huge, and the basic batter is a delicious brown sugar concoction.

Blondies are simple to make, and I highly recommend them. I use dark brown sugar because I think it has more flavor. As in any recipe, the quality of the ingredients makes a difference in your final product.

BLONDIES

Ingredients
1/2 cup sweet butter, melted
1 cup tightly packed dark brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon Madagascar vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup of chocolate chips or any other addition (walnuts, macadamia nuts, butterscotch chips, etc.. you can pack more in, but the consistency will be different...but more gooey and delicious)

Directions
Preheat oven to 350F
1. Butter and lightly flour 8×8 pan.
2. Mix melted butter with brown sugar – beat until smooth.
3. Beat in egg and vanilla and whisk.
4. Add flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt and mix together. Stir in chips and/or nuts --or whatever 'extras' you're using this time around :-)
5. Pour into prepared pan. Bake at 20-25 minutes (350), or until toothpick comes out clean. Don't overcook.
6. Cool on rack. Cut into squares or bars.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

CHOCOLATE COVERED POPCORN DAY

Today is National Popcorn Day. Chocolate Covered Popcorn is simple to make. You can use dark or white chocolate--or both. Just drizzle some great melted chocolate over your air-popped Popcorn. Drizzle sparingly.

CHOCOLATE COVERED POPCORN

1. Make a bag of popcorn (buttered or plain) and pop it according to the directions. (airpopping!)

2. Put popped popcorn into large bowl or flat baking pan (for more even distribution).

3. Melt dark or white chocolate or both (in separate bowls) in top of double boiler (or in microwave).

4. Drizzle chocolate on popcorn. You can always add more chocolate, but you can't remove it, so use sparingly.

Friday, January 18, 2013

National Cheese Lovers Day: Chocolate Truffle Cake

January 20 is National Cheese Lovers Day, and I immediately thought of my friend mystery writer Avery Aames, who writes the Cheese Shop Mystery series. And what goes better with cheese than chocolate?! So I asked Avery for a guest post. Lots of recipes to try and a day or so two to make them before 'the holiday'!

AVERY AAMES writes the Agatha Award-winning, nationally bestselling Cheese Shop Mystery series. As DARYL WOOD GERBER, she writes A Cookbook Nook Mystery series featuring a cookbook store owner who is an avid reader and admitted foodie. Set on the coast of California, it debuts July 2013. Daryl’s short stories have been nominated for the Agatha, Macavity, and other awards. As an actress, Daryl has appeared in “Murder, She Wrote” and more. Visit Avery or Daryl at www.averyaames.com.

AVERY AAMES:
HAPPY NATIONAL CHEESE LOVERS DAY!

“Life is great; cheese makes it better.” ~ Avery Aames

MY SECOND CAREER…AS A CHEF

No one told me that when I became a writer, in addition to spending time in my writing office, I would be spending a lot of time in a different office…the kitchen. I spent years writing novels at a desk, in the library, in coffee shops, but I never had an inkling that, for much of my time, I would wind up cooking in the kitchen. I baked as a girl. I catered at one point in my life and I waitressed in restaurants and worked in camp kitchens, but not once did I consider becoming a professional cook.

And yet here I am. I write A CHEESE SHOP MYSTERY series, so cooking has become a large part of my research. Why? Because I include recipes in my books. In addition, to promote my novels, I blog with a bunch of authors every week on Mystery Lovers Kitchen, a blog for writers who love to cook up crime. For my weekly posts and books, I do a lot of research and test recipes. Ooh, do I love research. I’ve visited cheese shops in numerous states. I’ve tasted over a hundred different cheeses in the past couple of years (ever since I started writing the series)--cheeses like Tuscan Tartufo, Brebis d’Argental, Abbaye de Belloc, Hook’s Cheddar, Beecher’s Flagship, and more. Thanks to all the cheese tasting, I’m adding cheese to tons of recipes. As a downside to being a chef, because I taste test more, I have to exercise more, which becomes a vicious cycle, similar to a rat caught in a maze…probably goes along with the cheese theme, right? LOL

I’ve made lots of recipes with chocolate and cheese. Chocolate Goat Cheese Truffles and Chocolate (with cheese) fondue. Of late, I’ve been making lots of recipes with Brie because the next Cheese Shop Mystery out is TO BRIE OR NOT TO BRIE, coming in February. I haven’t made anything chocolate-y with Brie, yet. In the book, I share a Brie Blueberry Ice Cream that is to die for! If you have a Brie Chocolate recipe, I hope you’ll share it with me. In the meantime, let me offer this morsel. Because this blog is called Dying for Chocolate…it’s all chocolate. I don’t know about you, but I love a good dose of chocolate while I’m working. I sampled this cake at Ruth’s Chris (a steak house) and I fell in love!! Talk about taste testing. I had to taste over and over…

Chocolate Truffle Cake
Inspired by Ruth’s Chris
Tweaked by me (no flour!!)

Ingredients:
2 cups half-and-half
2/3 cup sugar
½ cup applesauce
2 oz. flavored liquid of your choice (cordials, coffee, etc.) * I used espresso
2 lbs. dark, milk or mixed chocolate, chopped (5 CUPS) * I used half dark, half semi-sweet
6 eggs (whisked)

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 300º. Brush a 10" spring-form pan with butter, line the bottom with buttered parchment and wrap the pan in foil in case of any leaks. [MINE DIDN’T LEAK AT ALL BUT IT’S A GOOD PRECAUTION.]

In a saucepan, bring the half-and-half, sugar, applesauce, and coffee JUST to a boil. Place the chocolate into a mixing bowl. Pour the hot milk mixture over the chocolate.

Let sit for a few minutes. [It will melt nicely.]

Mix at low speed for two minutes.

Add the eggs in all at once and mix thirty seconds, until incorporated.

Pour batter into prepared spring-form pan. Bake until the cake is “set” - about 1 to 1 and 1/2 hours. The cake will still look wet and slightly loose in the very center, but the edges will be set, slightly puffed and have small cracks. [looks like a cheesecake – I cooked mine one hour then turned off the oven and let it set for another 20 minutes]

Allow cake to cool on a rack (this takes about 2 full hours), then chill for 6 hours or overnight before removing pan sides.

Half Recipe for 6” springform pan 

Ingredients:
1 cup half and half
1/3 cup sugar
¼ cup applesauce
1 oz. espresso (2 tablespoons)
1 lbs. dark chocolate chips (approx.. 2 ¾ cup chips)
3 eggs whisked

Directions:
COOK ONLY 45 MINUTES FOR “MINI” CAKE, let rest 10 minutes in oven, remove cool as before.

TIP OF THE DAY: If you don’t happen to have half-and-half on hand, I found out you can use regular milk plus 1 tablespoon of butter to create half-and-half. I haven’t tried it, but it’s a good thing to know. ☺

Question of the day: 
What’s your snack of choice while reading or working? 

Two commenters will win an autographed copy of YOUR CHOICE of A CHEESE SHOP MYSTERY. The Long Quiche Goodbye, Lost and Fondue, Clobbered by Camembert or To Brie or not To Brie (coming February). So make sure we have your email. Good luck.

And don’t forget to sign up for the newsletter on my website so you’ll be entered in the launch contest for To Brie or not To Brie.
Say cheese!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

CHOCOLATE HOT BUTTERED RUM

Today is National Hot Buttered Rum Day, and it's the perfect day for it. Brrrr...

The recipe for Hot Buttered Rum Cocoa is from the Wisconsin Cheese Board. So many Food associations have great recipes.

If you don't feel like making Chocolate Hot Buttered Rum, you can always celebrate this food holiday with Seattle Chocolates Hot Buttered Rum Milk Chocolate Truffle Bar. Fabulous! I just love Seattle Truffles. This bar is buttery, smooth with a light hint of rum and toffee crunch in milk chocolate.

Chocolate Hot Buttered Rum

1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup dark rum
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup cocoa
4 cups milk

Combine butter, brown sugar and seasonings in small bowl, mixing until well-blended. Drop six spoonfuls onto plastic wrap-lined plate; chill while preparing beverage, then form into balls.
Combine rum, sugar and cocoa in 2 quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat until mixture boils, stirring constantly. Simmer 1 minute; add milk. Cook until heated through; do not boil.
Pour into six coffee cups; place one butter ball in each cup.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

NATIONAL FIG NEWTON DAY

January 16 is Fig Newton Day! My Dad was a huge Fig Newtons fan. Me, not so much. However, I love figs, and I'm using this food holiday as a jumping off point for Chocolate Covered Figs. Before I embark on recipes for Chocolate Covered Dried Figs, just wanted to let you know that Vice Chocolates' Dark Chocolate Bar with Fig &Anise is one of my favorite chocolate fig combinations!

Last summer when fresh figs were available, I posted a simple recipe for Chocolate Covered Figs. Following are two recipes for Chocolate Covered Dried Figs. The first is alcoholic, because who doesn't love a drunken fig? The second recipe calls for stuffing the dried figs with walnuts, but contains no alcohol. Actually you can mix and match these recipes to come up with whatever you think is perfect for you! As always, use the very best chocolate and figs! Different chocolate, different figs, different tastes!

And if you want a recipe for Chocolate Covered Fig Newtons, check out Cakespy's post for Chocolate Covered Fig Newtons on a Stick.

Want to make your own Fig Newtons? Try this recipe for Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Figgy Newtons.

And, just as an FYI. The original Fig Newtons are now called just Newtons. Sad.

Chocolate Covered Dried Figs

Ingredients:
20 dried figs
Rum
10 ounces 85-90% dark chocolate, chopped fine
1/4 cup sweet butter
pinch of sea salt

Preparation:
Put figs in bowl and cover with run. Let them soak, covered, overnight in refrigerator.
Next day, drain well and pat dry.
Put chopped chocolate into top of double boiler, stirring. Add butter, stirring until smooth. 
Take figs by stems and dip in chocolate several times, covering completely.
Put figs on rack over cookie sheet to catch drips.
When finished dipping, chill figs in refrigerator.

Non-Alcoholic Chocolate Covered Figs Stuffed with Walnuts

Ingredients
9 figs, dried
9 walnut halves
5  tbsp. dark chocolate (60-75%), broken up

Directions
Make small incisions in bottoms of 9 dried figs and stuff each with a walnut half.
Melt chocolate in double boiler until smooth.
Holding the stem, dip stuffed figs into chocolate.
Let them drip from a rack over a cookie sheet, or place on plate or wax paper.
Put the chocolate covered figs on the plate or waxed paper in the refrigerator for 10 minutes or more until chocolate hardens.

Monday, January 14, 2013

DoubleTree Chocolate Chip Cookies

Not everyone chooses a hotel by its cookies, but on check-in, the DoubleTree by Hilton offers up fresh chocolate chip cookies from a heated drawer. Recently the DoubleTree began offering a Chocolate Chip Martini at the Bar, and I posted a recipe for that sweet cocktail the other day. But what about the Cookie itself. It's really a good cookie, and I'm a bit of a cookie maven. Suppose you just want the cookie and not the stay? You can order DoubleTree Chocolate Chip Cookies from The Christie Cookie. Some of the DoubleTree Hotels also have the cookies for sale.

DoubleTree by Hilton gives out approximately 60,000 chocolate chip cookies each day adding up to more than 21 million cookies annually. Since 1986, the DoubleTree started handing out cookies to all its guests. Since 1995, the Christie Cookie has been the keeper of the "secret" cookie recipe. Every DoubleTree by Hilton hotel follows this recipe and exact baking instructions to the letter to ensure each guest gets the same experience no matter which DoubleTree they visit. Cookies are baked fresh every day at every hotel, all over the world, from Canada to China. Each cookie is approximately two full ounces and is filled with an average of 20 chocolate chips. In addition, DoubleTree has donated more than 1,000,000 cookies to acknowledge and honor members of the communities where we operate hotels. Doctors and nurses, homeless shelters and orphanages, food banks and firefighters have all been given DoubleTree signature Chocolate Chip Cookies.

The copycat recipe is available on the Internet from multiple sources. The secret ingredient? Well, not so secret anymore--pulverized oats. Here's the recipe for DoubleTree Chocolate Chip Cookies that you can enjoy at home. Don't want to bake? Order the cookies from The Christie Cookie.

DOUBLETREE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

Ingredients
1/2 cup rolled oats
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
2 eggs
3 cups semi-sweet, chocolate chips
1-1/2 cups chopped walnuts

Directions
1. Grind oats in food processor or blender until fine. Combine ground oats with flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in medium bowl.
2. Cream together butter, sugars, vanilla, and lemon juice in another medium bowl with electric mixer. Add eggs and mix until smooth. Stir dry mixture into wet mixture and blend well. Add chocolate chips and nuts to dough and mix by hand until ingredients are well blended.
3. For best results, chill dough overnight in refrigerator before baking cookies.
4. Spoon rounded 1/4 cup portions onto ungreased cookie sheet. Place scoops about 2 inches apart. 

5. Bake in 350°F oven for 16-18 minutes or until cookies are light brown and soft in middle. 
Store in a sealed container when cool to keep soft.


Saturday, January 12, 2013

DoubleTree Chocolate Chip Martini

I love staying at the DoubleTree by Hilton, especially for the hot Chocolate Chip Cookies they offer at check-in. O.K.not the best reason for staying at a hotel, but for a chocoholic, it's an incentive. Now the DoubleTree offers something else. Check in, pick up your cookie and head for the Bar. You can now order a Chocolate Chip Martini garnished with a Chocolate Chip Cookie!

Want to stay at home and enjoy a Chocolate Chip Martini? Make your own.

CHOCOLATE CHIP MARTINI

1.5 ounces Vodka
.5 ounce Butterscotch Liqueur
.5  ounce Bailey’s

Pour all ingredients into Shaker filled with ice and shake.
Rim Martini glass with chocolate syrup and dip in chocolate chip cookie crumbs.
Strain martini ingredients into glass.
Garnish with Chocolate Chip Cookie.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Bittersweet Chocolate Bundt Cake

These food holidays are really odd, and I'm not sure who started them and who really sanctions them, but I do. January 10 is Bittersweet Chocolate Day, not to be confused with Bittersweet Chocolate Almond Day on November 7.

Since I eat and review chocolate, the word bittersweet isn't really part of my lexicon. I certainly have purchased bars that are labeled bittersweet chocolate chips and bars, but usually I buy chocolate based on its origins, fair-trade and amount of cacao. Bittersweet is just too vague a term for me.

According to Wikipedia, Bittersweet chocolate is chocolate liquor (unsweetened chocolate not liqueur) to which some sugar (typically a third), more cocoa butter, vanilla and sometimes lecithin has been added. It has less sugar and more liquor than semisweet chocolate, but the two are interchangeable in baking. Bittersweet and semisweet chocolates are sometimes referred to as 'couverture' (chocolate that contains at least 32 percent cocoa butter); many brands (the ones I like) print on the package the percentage of cocoa (as chocolate liquor and added cocoa butter) contained. The rule is that the higher the percentage of cocoa, the less sweet the chocolate will be. The American FDA classifies chocolate as either "bittersweet" or "semisweet" that contain at least 35% cacao (either cacao solids or butter from the cacao beans).

So using this definition, almost any of my recipes will work since I use mostly very dark chocolate.

Here's a recipe for Bittersweet Chocolate Bundt Cake adapted from Nestle Toll House's Chocolate Pound Cake recipe. It's easy and delicious. If you use a Nestle Toll House Unsweetened Chocolate Baking Bar be sure and add more sugar to the recipe.

I don't always use the glaze. Sometimes I sprinkle this cake with powdered sugar, as in the photo.

BITTERSWEET CHOCOLATE BUNDT CAKE


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons Instant Coffee Granules (something you'll only use for this)*
8 ounces dark chocolate (75%-90%), broken into pieces, divided (save 2 oz for glaze)
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup sweet butter, softened
1 teaspoon Madagascar vanilla
3 large eggs

CHOCOLATE GLAZE:
3 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

FOR CAKE:
1. PREHEAT oven to 325 degrees F. Grease 10-inch Bundt pan.
2. COMBINE flour, baking soda and baking powder in small bowl. Bring water and coffee granules to a boil in small saucepan; remove from heat. Add 6 ounces chocolate; stir until smooth.
3. BEAT sugar, butter and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs; beat on high speed for 5 minutes. Beat in flour mixture alternately with chocolate mixture. Pour into prepared Bundt pan.
4. BAKE for 50 to 60 minutes or until long wooden pick inserted in cake comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack for 30 minutes. Invert onto wire rack to cool completely. Place on plate.
Optional: Drizzle with Chocolate Glaze

** Sometimes I pour the glaze over the bundt cake while it's still a bit warm. The cake absorbs the glaze, and it's yummy!

FOR CHOCOLATE GLAZE: Melt remaining 2 ounces of chocolate with butter in small, saucepan over low heat, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat. Stir in powdered sugar alternately with water. Stir in vanilla extract. Drizzle over cake.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Icicle Cake: Retro Ad & Recipe

Brr.. it's cold outside. Time to make an Icicle Cake. This Retro Advertisement and Recipe is for Dexo, an all purpose hydrogenized vegetable shortening similar to Crisco. "So Blendable. So Dependable."



Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Elvis Peanut Butter, Banana, Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

Happy Birthday, Elvis!
We all know that Elvis loved his peanut butter and banana sandwiches, but add some bacon ad chocolate chunks and make these cookies to celebrate the day. Elvis Cookies recipe from the Cooking Channel).  Some interesting ingredients, as well a preparation--in muffin tins!

ELVIS PEANUT BUTTER, BANANA, BACON CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES!

Ingredients 
10 slices bacon
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
8 ounces sweet butter, softened
1/4 cup mayonnaise
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chunks
1/2 cup chopped salted peanuts
1/2 cup sweet dried banana chips, roughly chopped

Directions 
Cook bacon in skillet until crisp, then drain on paper towels. Once bacon is cool, roughly chop it (you should have about 1/2 cup).
Combine flour, baking soda and salt in medium bowl.
In large bowl, beat butter, mayonnaise and sugars with mixer at medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until well blended. Add peanut butter and vanilla and beat until combined. At low speed, add  flour mixture in batches, beating until just combined.
Using wooden spoon, stir in  chocolate chunks, bacon, peanuts and banana chips.
Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill at least 30 minutes or overnight.
Position racks in upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Line 2 muffin tins with paper liners. Fill muffin tins about halfway full with batter (a 2-inch, 2-ounce ice cream scoop gives you just about the perfect amount, and helps prevent spilling).
Bake until tops are slightly golden and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. (Keep in mind that the cookies won't rise and form a dome like a cupcake.)
Let cool in muffin tins on wire racks for about 10 minutes, then unmold cookie cups and transfer to racks to cool completely.
Cook's Notes: The mayonnaise in this recipe makes these cookies especially tender. 

Elvis has left the building, and he took these cookies with him!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Oreo Tempura: National Tempura Day

January 7 is National Tempura Day. I've had ice cream tempura in a few local restaurants. Don't think I have the skills or inclination to duplicate that. I've had Fried Oreos, but that's not quite the same as Oreo Tempura. 

This recipe is from Sarah Lasry of Kosher Street. Although I posted this recipe a few years ago, I still haven't made this, but looking at the ingredients, seems like a light-ish tempura batter, and the photo is divine! Oreo tempura, how can you go wrong?

OREO TEMPURA

Ingredients:
1 package chocolate Oreos (or other sandwich cookies) 

Tempura Batter:
1½ cups flour
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
½ cup sour cream
¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon milk
2 extra large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
vegetable oil, for frying

Optional Garnish:
vanilla ice cream
chocolate sauce
chopped almonds or walnuts

1. In medium bowl, sift together flour, sugar baking powder and salt. Whisk together sour cream, milk, eggs and vanilla. Add wet ingredients to dry ones, mixing only enough to combine.
2. Heat oil in pot, bring to boil.
3. Using tongs, dip the cookie in batter. Get a thick coat of batter all over cookie, With tongs, dip the battered cookie into boiling oil and release. The cookie will float to top and start to fry. After two minutes, flip over cookie for additional two minutes. Cookie is ready when outside is puffed and golden. Remove from oil and pat dry on paper towel.
4. Serve immediately with a scoop of ice cream, drizzle chocolate sauce and garnish with nuts of your choice.

Photo: Originally from Tastebuds Cafe & Flower Shop

Sunday, January 6, 2013

National Shortbread Day: Scottie Dogs with Chocolate Muddy Boots

Today is National Shortbread Day, so I thought I'd revisit a previous post. Last year Walkers introduced Shortbread Scottie Dogs at the Fancy Food Show in San Francisco. I love Walker's pure butter Shortbread, and I'm a sucker for dog shapes. These Scotties are definitely BEST IN SHOW!

It's raining today, and my own pup, a Golden Retriever, came in with 'muddy boots', so I thought it would be fun to dip these Scottie dogs in Chocolate. I used milk chocolate to be more 'mud-like'. Apologies for the photo.. I didn't shake the cookies off after I dipped them. That would have shown the shape better, but they still taste wonderful! And, these Scottie Dogs don't need to be walked in the rain!

Walkers Shortbread Scottie Dogs with Muddy Boots

Ingredients
4 squares of Guittard baking milk chocolate
a bit of sweet butter

Directions
Melt chocolate and butter together in top of double boiler or saucepan over saucepan with simmering water. Stir so it doesn't seize.
Dip Shortbread Scottie dogs in 'mud'. Remember that Scotties are low to the ground, so dip as low as you like. Be more professional than I was, and shake the excess chocolate from the shortbread cookie.
Put chocolate covered Scotties on parchment and place in refrigerator for 30 minutes to harden.

You can also dip in chocolate and roll in chopped nuts. You know dogs-- they pick up 'debris.' 

****
Want to make your own shortbread? Check out this recipe for Chocolate Shortbread Fingers.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Chocolate Whipped Cream: National Whipped Cream Day

Photo: MarthaStewart.com
Another day, another food holiday. Today is Whipped Cream Day. I've posted lots of recipes that call for whipped cream including chocolate whipped cream for National Cream Puff Day. So today, I'm posting two recipes for Chocolate Whipped Cream.

Chocolate Whip Cream is terrific to add to desserts.  It's easy to make and delicious. You can use with just about anything including as an icing or filling (tarts, pies, etc). Just about anything you would use regular whipped cream for, including Strawberry Short Cake!

The first recipe for Chocolate Whipped Cream is from Martha Stewart.   Martha uses chocolate whipped cream for the filling of chocolate sandwich cookies. Fabulous! This first recipe uses Milk Chocolate. You can always switch and use dark chocolate, or make the second recipe.

I love these Chocolate Sandwich Cookies with Chocolate Whipped Cream, but you can use any chocolate cookie recipe--or big store-bought cookies.

Before you make either of the following two recipes, have a look. The second Chocolate Whipped Cream Recipe uses a lot more chocolate, and it's dark chocolate. Which you choose depends on what you like and need!

CHOCOLATE WHIPPED CREAM I (from Martha Stewart)

Ingredients
4 ounces milk chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons sugar

Directions
1. Place chocolate in a medium bowl; set aside.
2. Heat sugar and 1 cup cream in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook until sugar has dissolved.
3. Pour cream mixture over chocolate; stir until chocolate has melted. Let cool.
4. Transfer chocolate mixture to an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Add remaining cup heavy cream and beat on medium speed until thick and fluffy.

How easy is that?

Chocolate Whipped Cream II (from Sherry Yard)

I really love this recipe from Sherry Yard for Chocolate Whipped Cream. It's definitely more of a rich whipped ganache, but then isn't that what it's all about?  Sherry Yard was the executive pastry chef at Wolfgang Puck's Spago in Beverly Hills and shared this recipe on Cookin' with Good Morning America (December 25, 2003). It's also in in her book Secrets of Baking: Simple Techniques for Sophisticated Desserts.

Ingredients
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon sugar (optional)

Directions
1. Using serrated knife, finely chop chocolate into 1/4 inch pieces and place in medium heatproof bowl.
2. Bring cream and sugar, if using, to boil in small saucepan over medium heat. Immediately pour hot cream over chopped chocolate. Tap bowl on counter to settle chocolate into cream, then let sit for 1 minute.
Using rubber spatula, slowly stir in circular motion, starting from  center of bowl and working out to sides. Stir until all chocolate is melted, about 2 minutes.
3. Pour ganache into medium container, cover, and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight. It should be  consistency of peanut butter.
4. Once ganache has chilled, transfer to large bowl. Using balloon whisk, whip ganache by hand until it just reaches soft peaks, about 2 minutes. Be sure to lift the whisk out of cream with each pass to bring in as much air as possible. Do not overwhip. Don't worry if cream doesn't seem firm enough. It will have consistency of mustard but will solidify a little more after it sets in refrigerator. You can also use hand mixer.
5. Use this cream immediately to fill pastries, tarts, and cakes. After dessert is filled, refrigerate it for about 1 hour to set the Chocolate Whipped Cream.

Friday, January 4, 2013

National Spaghetti Day: Make it Chocolate

Today is National Spaghetti Day, and what can be better than Chocolate Spaghetti? On National Pasta Day a few years ago, I posted a very easy Recipe for making Chocolate Pasta. I also posted a Pasta with Sage and Chocolate recipe. That recipe can be made with plain spaghetti but with cheese and chocolate in the sauce, so it's a savory dish.

For National Spaghetti Day, I have two different chocolate spaghetti recipes. You can buy chocolate spaghetti online from several chocolatiers and pasta makers. My local Pasta Shop has fresh chocolate spaghetti periodically, and it freezes well.

The first recipe for Chocolate Spaghetti is from Emeril Lagasse. It's slightly more complicated than the second recipe, but has a completely different taste and is worth the effort.

Chocolate Spaghetti with Whipped Cream, Sliced Strawberries and Chocolate Nibs 
from Emeril Lagasse (Food Network)

Ingredients
2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar plus 3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
Pinch salt
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (Madagascar)
2 teaspoons walnut oil or vegetable oil (go with the Walnut Oil)
1=1/2 cups cold heavy cream
1 tablespoon Nocello or brandy
1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh strawberries
1/2 cup chocolate nibs or finely chopped semisweet chocolate

Directions
In large bowl or on a work surface, sift together flour, cocoa, 3 Tbsp sugar, and salt. Make a well in center and add eggs a bit at time, working them into dry ingredients using circular motion with hands. Continue working in eggs, and add vanilla and oil, until sticky dough is formed. Knead on lightly floured surface until dough is smooth and elastic, and is no longer sticky. (Alternatively, place dry ingredients in bowl of  food processor, add eggs, vanilla and oil and pulse to form ball of dough. Turn out onto work surface and work to smooth dough.) Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 20 minutes.

Divide dough into 4 fist-sized pieces and flatten into disks. One at time, roll out each dough piece through widest setting of a pasta machine, according to manufacturer's instructions. Remove, fold into thirds and repeat. Continue rolling through machine on 4 times, dusting lightly with flour to keep from sticking. Decrease roller size down 1 notch, and roll through once, passing dough through each setting twice until desired thickness is reached and cut into spaghetti strands. Let dry briefly while assembling "sauce."

In medium bowl, beat cream with electric mixer at medium speed until it becomes thick and frothy. Beating, add sugar and Nocello, and beat until soft peaks form, being careful not to overbeat. Set aside until ready to serve.

Bring pot of salted water to boil and cook pasta until just al dente, about 2 minutes. Drain in colander. Place  drained pasta in large pasta bowl and toss with whipped cream, strawberries and nibs. Serve immediately.

And a second easier recipe.

Chocolate Spaghetti and White Chocolate "Cream" Sauce
 
Spaghetti
2 oz dark chocolate (60% cacao +), melted, cooled
2 eggs
1 3/4 cups flour

White Chocolate Cream Sauce
2 oz white chocolate (Guittard or another 'real' white chocolate)
2/3 cup whipping cream

Directions for Spaghetti:

Add melted chocolate to eggs. Make pasta using chocolate-egg mixture and flour. (follow any easy pasta recipe). Let rest for 30 minutes.

Roll out pasta. Roll pasta sheets through spaghetti cutter. Let spaghetti dry for 30 minutes.
In large pan of boiling water, cook spaghetti until al dente.
Drain spaghetti.
Make sauce.
Serve spaghetti with sauce.

Directions for Cream Sauce
Blend white chocolate and cream in a saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until chocolate is melted and smooth.

For more information on spaghetti, its history, culture, recipes, go to that remarkable blog Months of Edible Celebrations!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Chocolate Train: World's Longest Chocolate Structure

Here's one for Chocolate and Train Enthusiasts: A detailed steam-powered train--the World's Longest Chocolate Structure made of 2755 pounds of Belgian chocolate and 111.5 feet in length. This was made by Maltese master chocolatier Andrew Farrugia and unveiled at Brussels Chocolate Week!

Farrugia spent more than 700 hours on the sculpture. He decided to create the chocolate train after visiting the Belgian Chocolate Festival in Bruge last year.

"I had this idea for a while, and I said what do you think if we do this realization of a long chocolate train, you know, because a train you can make it as long as you like," Farrugia said. "Actually it was going to be much smaller than it was, but I kept on adding another wagon, and another wagon, and it's the size it is today."

The train's components include seven wagons modeled after modern Belgian trains. The remaining trains recall Belgium's older train wagons including one with a bar and restaurant.

Most of the structure was constructed in Farrugia's home country, but the world record almost wasn't -- many pieces were damaged in transit to Brussels. Farrugia managed to reconstruct the trouble spots in time for the train's debut.

Guinness officials said they measured the train and ensured no materials other than chocolate were used in its construction before certifying it as the record holder in the new longest chocolate structure category.

Sources: UPI, Huffington Post

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New Year's Resolution Cake: Chocolate Clock Cake

Have you made any New Year's Resolutions? This Retro advertisement from 1952 begins, "Here's a resolution you can make from this minute on..." This Ad is 60 years old.. but the recipe, if not the Dexo, is still fun. I love this Chocolate Clock Cake! Perfect for the New Year!

Dexo was a brand of hydrogenated vegetable shortening similar to Crisco: "Blendable, dependable and thrifty."



And in case you want to know more about Dexo, check out this 1940s Ad: