Saturday, August 31, 2013

NUTTY CHOCOLATE BLUEBERRY CHERRY TRAIL MIX

Today is National Trail Mix Day! Since I like to walk in the hills and at the beach--on trails--I always make my own trailmix. It's so easy, and there are an infinite number of combinations. I use a lot of dried fruits and nuts from Trader Joe's, but whatever you have.

Trail mix is perfect to take on a hike, as snacks for school, or throw some into your next oatmeal cookie dough for an out of this world taste treat. The following trail mix is good for the heart. Blueberries have the highest antioxidants  of almost any dried fruit, and you all know the benefits of dark chocolate. Most of the nuts in this trail mix recipe are salted, but if you want to be really healthy, cut back on the salt. And, of course, you can add anything else you'd like to the mix: other nuts, coconut, other berries.

NUTTY CHOCOLATE BLUEBERRY CHERRY TRAIL MIX

2 cups roasted salted peanuts
1 cup roasted salted almonds
1 cup roasted whole cashews
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (the darker, the better)
1 cup dried tart cherries
1 cup dried blueberries
1/4 cup crystallized ginger, chopped

Mix together. How easy is that?

Friday, August 30, 2013

Toasted Marshmallow Flourless Chocolate Cake: National Toasted Marshmallow Day

Today is National Toasted Marshmallow Day, and, of course, you can make S'mores--and all the variations thereof. Here's a link to a S'mores Round-up on National S'mores Day that I posted last year. I've added lots of other Smores recipes since then.. but it's a start.

But how about something other than Smores? Something easy and great for the Gluten-Free Folks? The following Flourless Chocolate Cake with Toasted Marshmallow Topping is fabulous!

You can use your favorite flourless chocolate cake recipe or try the easy Flourless Chocolate Cake recipe below. For the Marshmallows, I recommend using high quality marshmallows or making your own. Here's a link to Michael Recchiuti's Marshmallow recipe.  If you only have 'regular' marshmallows, that will work, too.

Toasted Marshmallow Flourless Chocolate Cake

Ingredients 
8 ounces dark chocolate 70-75% cacoa
1 cup sweet butter
1-1/2 cup sugar
6 large eggs (room temperature)
3/4 cup unsweetened DARK cocoa
25 marshmallows 

Directions
Preheat oven to 375°F
Butter 10-inch spring form round baking pan. Line bottom with buttered wax paper.
Break chocolate into pieces.
In double boiler or metal bowl over saucepan of simmering water, melt chocolate with butter, stirring, until smooth.
Remove top of double boiler or bowl from heat and whisk sugar into chocolate mixture.
Add eggs and whisk well.
Sift cocoa over chocolate mixture and whisk until just combined.
Pour batter into pan and bake in middle of oven 35-40 minutes, or until top has formed thin crust and toothpick comes out moist but not wet.
Cool cake in pan on a rack 10 minutes.
Remove springform sides. Leave cake on bottom of pan.
Put cake (still on springform base) on cookie sheet.
Top with marshmallows while still warm (leave an inch around edge free-they spread).
Put cake back in oven at 375 for 5 minutes--until marshmallows are 'toasted'.
Remove from oven.
If they're not toasted enough, use mini-torch (one of my favorite kitchen tools) to toast.
Cool on rack.

Photo: Wikipedia

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Chocolate Chip Cookies Secret Ingredient: Lemon Juice

Today is National Lemon Juice Day. I have several lemon trees, mostly Meyer lemons, so I could make lemonade, but since it's National Lemon Juice Day, I thought I'd share a secret. Lemon Juice is a secret ingredient in making chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies. So if you're given lemons, make Chocolate Chip Cookies! You're not going to taste the lemon juice, but it will make for a chewier cookie. And, the reality is that since you only use a teaspoon in the batter, you can make lemonade with the rest of the juice to go with these cookies!

Chocolate Chip Cookies Secret Ingredient: Lemon Juice

Ingredients
1/2 cup rolled oats, ground to fine powder in blender or food processor
2-1/4 cups flour  (if you have bread flour, give it a try.. it will make an awesome cookie)
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 cup butter, softened (do not microwave)**
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1-1/2 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
1 tsp fresh lemon juice 
2 eggs
3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips or dark chocolate chopped into chunks

Directions
1. Grind rolled oats in blender or food processor until very fine.
2. Measure flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in blender jar and use blender to combine all dry ingredients.
3. Cream together butter and both sugars. Add eggs, lemon juice, and vanilla. Stir after each addition. Beat until fluffy.
4. Combine dry ingredients with wet stuff, and mix until fully combined.
5. Add chocolate chips and stir by hand or fold in chopped chocolate chunks.
6. Refrigerate dough for an hour--o.k. I usually skip this step.. but if you're a purist...
7. Drop dough by large spoonfuls or using an ice cream scoop onto ungreased cookie sheet. Leave room for cookies to spread as they cook.
8. Bake in preheated oven-350° F for approximately 16 minutes, or until barely golden and still slightly raw.
9. Cool cookies in pan for five minutes, then transfer to rack to cool completely.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Chocolate Garden

Chocolate Cosmos
A little diversion today from Chocolate recipes, Chocolate holidays and Chocolate reviews. I'm an avid gardener, mainly roses (including Hot Cocoa), and I am lucky to have several different garden areas on my property.

I've always wanted a dedicated 'chocolate-scented' garden. Since I'm in a fairly temperate zone of California, it's certainly possible. I've always used cocoa bean hulls as mulch, and there's nothing that smells more like chocolate than this mulch, but if you have dogs, you'll want to skip the mulch which is dangerous to dogs.

But as for real chocolate smelling plants, I've been given (and time to get more) Cosmos atrosanguineus. This is a lovely maroon cosmos that actually has a heavy chocolate scent. Originally from Mexico, this plant reblooms in the San Francisco Bay Area Mediterranean climate.

I have Chocolate mint, a very hardy perennial, well it's mint, after all. Warning: it will take over the garden. Plant in containers or monitor its spread. It doesn't taste like chocolate, but definitely smells like it.

There's a wonderful article online: Growing a Chocolate-Scented Garden by Deb Babcok in Steamboat Today. Her climate in Steamboat Springs is harsher than mine and the growing season is shorter, but she has a great list of chocolate scented plants. I decided to add to this list, so here are several plants that smell like chocolate. What could be more delightful than a chocolate garden? Be sure and check that these plants will grow and flourish in your zone. Be sure and check before planting.

Chocolate Flower (Berlandiera lyrata) Looks like a daisy with yellow petals and a dark chocolate center. The aroma from the flower can be detected as far as 30 feet away. This is a night-bloomer, so the garden will smell like cocoa in the morning.

Nicotania Chocolate Smoke
Nicotiana 'Chocolate Smoke' This is a Chocolate Flower Farm exclusive and replaced Nicotiana 'Hot Chocolate'. It has a very dark flower.

Decidious (to semi-evergreen) twining Chocolate Vine (Akebia Quinata): climbing plant with purple-red flowers that smell of milk chocolate. Warning: Can be invasive. Keep it trimmed.

Chocolate Mint (Mentha piperita): Some people think this tastes like a combo of chocolate and peppermint. Nice bronze-green leaves.. and as I mentioned, it can be used as a tea and as one of the main ingredients in Chocolate Mint Pots de Creme.

Delphinium "Kissed by Chocolate"

Dahlia 'Karma Choc': Not certain of the odor on this but it has a very dark color like chocolate.

Gilia tricolor (Bird's Eyes): annual California wildflower with wonderful fragrance. Meadow plantings. Grows to 3'

Columbine chocolate soldiers
Columbine comes in a chocolate-scented variety (Aquilegia 'Chocolate Soldiers')

Foxglove (Digitalis 'chocolate') now this is literally a Dying for Chocolate plant as foxglove is a poisonous plant  also: Digitalis Lanata 'Cafe Creme'; Digitalis parviflora 'Milk Chocolate'

Nasturtium (Tropaeolum 'Chocolate')

Rudbeckia (R. 'Chocolate Drop')

Sweet William (Diantush 'Bittersweet William')

Carolina allspice (Calycanthus floridus): Deciduous shrub with maroon brown flowers (cinnamon-spiced, bittersweet chocolate fragrance)

Cosmos Astroganguineus: Plants form a medium-sized clump of dark green leaves, with deep maroon blooms that smell of dark chocolate.

Chocolate Cherry Tomatoes
Chocolate Geranium (Pelargonium 'Chocolate Joy')

Penstemon 'Chocolate Drop' How can you go wrong with penstemon?

One mustn't forget edible plants in the garden that smell (and sometimes taste) like chocolate:

Chocolate Corn, Chocolate Cherry Tomato, Chocolate Mini Bell Pepper, 'Velour Frosted Chocolate' Viola, Chocolate Nasturtium, and Milk Chocolate Calendula.

Cacoa Pod-UC Botanical Garden
If your local nursery does not offer the seeds or plants, contact Chocolate Flower Farm.They also have other chocolate scented products such as candles, bath and body products, chocolate teas, sachets and other gifts. They're located in Langley, WA.

Love to add to this list, so please comment on your favorite "chocolate" plants. Plants or seeds welcome.

And, here's a photo from one of the UC Botanical Garden greenhouses of a chocolate pod. I do not have a tropical greenhouse on my property.


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

CHOCOLATE MINT POTS DE CREME

Today is National Pots de Creme Day! Pots de Creme is a lot like pudding, only much more intense. I love Chocolate Pots de Creme, but this recipe is even more fun because it's made with chocolate mint. I grow Chocolate Mint in my garden. It's very easy to grow, although it can become invasive, as most mints. Keep it in a pot by the kitchen door, and you'll be a happy camper. There are so many uses.

A few years ago Sunset Magazine (July 2011), one of my favorite magazines for design, food and gardening, had an entire article on Chocolate Mint. Be sure and read the article in Sunset with recipes for Grilled Lamb with chocolate mint salsa, and Moroccan Chocolate Mint Tea. Don't expect the mint to taste as intense as a piece of chocolate. The chocolate part is very, very subtle, but the mint is strong and different from the usual mint, and if you're not growing it in your garden, you might find it at the market.

So for Pots de Creme Day, here's Sunset Recipe for Chocolate Mint Pots de Creme. You can make this ahead.

CHOCOLATE MINT POTS DE CREME

One of the hints from Sunset is to add all cream instead of half milk and half cream. It definitely makes it so much richer! I've adapted the recipe below. If you really love chocolate (you're reading this blog, so you must!), add a bit more chocolate on top!

Ingredients
4 cups heavy cream
3 ounces (3 big handfuls) chocolate mint sprigs, plus leaves for garnish
1 cup sugar
8 large egg yolks
Sweetened whipped cream
3/4 cup dark chocolate shavings

Preparation
1. Heat together cream and mint in a medium pot over medium heat until mixture starts to simmer. Remove from heat, cover, and let steep about 2 hours.
2. Preheat oven to 300°. Set 8 ramekins (4 oz. each) in large roasting pan or baking dish.
3. Reheat cream mixture to a simmer; strain into medium bowl. Whisk together sugar and yolks in large bowl. Slowly add cream to yolk mixture, whisking constantly.
4. Pour mixture into ramekins, dividing evenly. Fill pan with hot water until it reaches halfway up sides of ramekins.
5. Cover pan with foil and bake until custards are set and jiggle only slightly in center, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit in hot water 30 minutes. Transfer ramekins to baking sheet, cover, and chill at least 2 hours and up to 3 days.
6. Serve with whipped cream, fresh mint leaves, and chocolate shavings.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Toffee Talk Takes the Gold in Toffee

Toffee Talk is one of my all time favorite toffees. At the International Chocolate Salon recently, Toffee Talk was awarded the Gold for Top Toffee, Gold for Best Texture and Bronze for Best PackagingToffee Talk is also the Official Toffee for 2013 (the Taste Awards).  

Toffee Talk is owned and operated by cousins and best friends Catherine Hughes and Ellin Purdom who started the business after turning 50 and deciding it was time for a career change.  Toffee Talk began operations in 2009, selling hand-made confections online. The Toffee is made from simple, pure natural ingredients and is gluten free. The company is open 24/7 online at www.cjstoffeetalk.com and also wholesales its toffee to retailers. Toffee Talk, 2269 Chestnut Street, #298, San Francisco, CA 94123; Twitter: @Toffee_Talk

In Conversation with Catherine Hughes, founder of Toffee Talk.

The following Q& A is with Adam Smith, owner and proprietor of Fog City News in the SF Financial district. Fog City News has one of the most amazing Chocolate Collections in SF. We include it in our San Francisco Foodie tours. Thanks, Adam, for permission to post this great 'chocolate' interview!

Fog City News: Toffee is something that everyone’s familiar with. How do you make your core product something new and exciting again?

Catherine Hughes: Toffee has been around for centuries! The word was actually first published in 1825 in the Oxford English Dictionary. Almost everyone we meet has a favorite toffee. We are competing also with the Heath Bar and Almond Roca... So our challenge has been to make Toffee Talk stand out. When our confection started garnering awards we knew we had a winner.

FCN: We know that you have always been a fabulous cook, Catherine, but when did you become a more serious cook, one who could launch a food company?

CH: I have always loved cooking! It started when I was a Camp Fire Girl in the third grade. We had to give ourselves an Indian name and I chose right away “Pa shu ta” – which means, “to be a cook”. I believe my cousin Ellin chose “Ay Ashe” or “chipmunk”. From this early age I have always loved entertaining and cooking for friends. I was always the favorite roommate in college!

FCN: When did you first make candy at home?

CH: I grew up right next door to my godmother Suzi Soper. I would watch Suzi from my kitchen window cooking and making toffee at Christmas time. She shared her recipe with me about 13 years ago and taught me all of her secrets. So, 2000 (the millennium) was the first year I made candy at home to share with my friends. I had no idea that I would be running a Toffee company today.

FCN: Were there other items you considered before settling on toffee?

CH: Believe it our not I was going to start a Crouton business. I make the most amazing croutons – which I will share with you one day. My company is called CJ’s Toffee & Toppings for that very reason. You may see a line of my croutons in the near future. Maybe chocolate covered croutons? I have a wonderful friend & partner in my real-estate firm who encouraged me to start my own business. When I told him I wanted to make and sell my croutons he said no way – sell that Toffee! That’s how it all started. What we thought would be a fun new hobby has grown in to growing concern.

FCN: You entered (and won acclaim) at the 2010 Marin County Fair, but before that did you try out versions of your toffee at informal tasting parties with friends? or did you sell at farmers markets?

CH: I started to make and give Toffee Talk to all my friends and family at Christmas time. I did experiment with Suzy’s original recipe to make it my own. I added the different nuts for variations on the original Almond Toffee. Everyone seems to have a favorite nut – which made it more interesting and fun for me. We have never sold at farmers markets, as the weather is too much of a factor when selling chocolate/confections. Once I won the Best Confection/Best in Show Award out of 600 entries at the Marin County Fair, I knew that it was just not my family and friends praising my product. I was on to something.

FCN: Before your real estate career, had you been involved in a startup?

CH: I had never been involved in a startup but have been mentored by many successful entrepreneurs. My thought was if they could do it – so can I! However, my career in legal transactional real estate has proven to invaluable in launching Toffee Talk. There are so many legalities in starting your own business – I had a good understanding. I am now a proud card-carrying member of the Small Business/Entrepreneur Club.

FCN: Have there been any unforeseen challenges so far? Have there been any lucky breaks?

CH: Our lucky break came when my cousin Ellin was networking on the Golden Gate Transit commuter bus and mentioned to a fellow bus rider about what she was doing for Toffee Talk. As it turned out this woman’s sister works for one of the largest food distributors in San Francisco and purchases all the “snacks” for Google. Samples were provided, tastings followed, and the Googlers themselves voted Toffee Talk into the Google micro kitchens. This chance encounter/lucky break took us to the next level.

FCN: How long were you doing production by yourself? As your company grew, did you enlist friends first or did you move immediately to hiring a crew of helpers?

CH: For the first year I cooked at home but soon learned that we needed to be cooking in a commercial kitchen to be a legitimate confectionary company. I was fortunate to find a wonderful kitchen in San Rafael run by Donna’s Tamales that we could rent by the hour. We are still in Donna’s kitchen today using all the hours possible when tamales are not in production. At first we did enlist our friends and family to help with cooking and production. As soon as Google placed their first order we knew it was time to hire a crew of helpers.

FCN: I saw from one of the videos on your website that you have a team that helps you at your commercial kitchen in Marin. Are you still personally involved in daily production?

CH: I am totally involved in the production. Toffee Talk is still made in small batches, hand broken, hand weighed and hand packaged. I am so fortunate that I have a crew of amazing women who can now help me produce the hundreds of pounds of toffee a week to meet the growing demand, but I am unwilling to give up my involvement. It is a true artisan product and my personal responsibility to oversee the quality.

FCN: Have any items in your line surprised you, either as successes or failures?

CH: Our Crumble Mumble (ice cream topper) has turned into a runaway success. We were giving away the “toffee shrapnel ” to my brother-in-law by the bag full! One day my cousin Ellin asked if I had a Mason jar – and Crumble Mumble was born! The bits and pieces too small to package after hand breaking have turned into the most profitable item in our line.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Fresh Peach Pie with Chocolate Cookie Crust: National Peach Pie Day

The other day was National Eat a Peach Day, this month is Peach Month, and today is National Peach Pie Day. Lucky for me there are all kinds of fresh peaches at the Farmers Market.

So today in honor of the holiday, I'm making a Chocolate Peach Pie. I've found that adding chocolate to the peach filling is way too sweet and gooey, so I'm keeping it simple. The chocolate in the following recipe is a traditional chocolate cookie crust made with chocolate wafers. The peach filling is also simple, but feel free to substitute your favorite peach pie filling.

Since peaches are in season (here in California), and there are so many different varieties to choose from, I'll be able to make a fabulous pie! This peach pie is best served chilled, but there are plenty of other recipes out there for a warm peach pie, if you prefer.

CHOCOLATE PEACH PIE

CHOCOLATE CRUST

Ingredients
2 cups chocolate wafers
6 Tbsp sweet butter (or salted if you're inclined)

Directions
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 inch buttered pie pan--bottom and up the sides.
Bake for 10 minutes-325. Let cool.

FRESH PEACH FILLING

Ingredients
1 cup Sugar
3 Tbsp cornstarch
Peeled Fresh Peach halves (pitted)
1/2 pint heavy cream

Directions
Mix sugar and cornstarch.
Cover inside of chocolate cookie crust with 3/4 of mixture. Go out to sides
Arrange peeled peach halves around outside edge (insides of peaches up).
Fill in with other peaches until full.
Sprinkle rest of mixture over peaches.
Put cream inside each peach center.
Bake at 325 for about 30-40 minutes.
Chill and serve.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Chocolate Sponge Cake: Gluten-free

Today is National Sponge Cake Day! I have several recipes for chocolate sponge cake that I post during Passover, but this specific Chocolate Sponge Cake is fabulous all year round. And it's gluten-free! It's made with almond flour. Want to dress it up? Add some whipped cream and fresh berries, cut it in half and fill with a light chocolate buttercream, or cut it up and put it in a trifle. Easy to make and delicious.

A few hints. Fresh Almond flour is readily available where I live, but you can always grind your own. Use a hand grinder (a clean coffee grinder) or blender over a food processor to avoid making oil. I use a blender, and just do this in smaller increments, about 1/2 cup at a time. Almond and chocolate go very well together. Try using different types of chocolate to achieve the flavor you like best. Enjoy!

CHOCOLATE SPONGE CAKE

Ingredients
7 ounces dark chocolate (60-75% cacao), chopped
10 eggs, separated
3/4 cup white sugar
2 cups ground almonds
Almond Flour

Directions
1. Melt chocolate in top of double boiler or saucepan over another saucepan of simmering water. Set aside.
2. Beat egg yolks until thick and lemon colored. Gradually beat in sugar. Blend in chocolate and almonds.
3. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold whites into chocolate batter.
4. Spoon batter into ungreased 10 inch Bundt pan or tall springform pan.
5. Bake at 350 for 1 hour, or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Remove from oven, invert pan, and cool about 40 minutes before removing from pan.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Grilled Peaches with Dark Chocolate

Everything is just PEACHY today! It's both National Eat a Peach Day and National Peach Month! In honor of the day (and month), throw some peaches on the grill and then dip them in dark chocolate! It's a great combination of flavors.

Want to experiment? Choose different varieties of peaches and chocolate from different chocolate makers and with different amounts of cacao.  Celebrate!

Here's a simple recipe for Grilled Peaches with Dark Chocolate adapted from an Epicurious recipe for Grilled Brown-Sugar Peaches with White Chocolate. That's a great recipe, too, and I love it with the toasted pistachios. I don't like pistachios with the dark chocolate and peaches, though, but let me know what you think if you add the pistachios. It's a matter of taste. So I'm off to the Berkeley Organic Farmers' Market today for peaches! Love all the varieties.

Grilled Peaches with Dark Chocolate

Ingredients
4 tablespoons sweet butter, melted
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
4 unpeeled peaches, halved, pitted
1/3 cup finely chopped dark chocolate (I like 70% dark organic fair trade chocolate)

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

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Chocolate Pecan Pie Day: Recipe Round-Up

Today is National Chocolate Pecan Pie Day, not to be confused with Pecan Day (4/18) or Pecan Pie Day (7/12). Since I add chocolate to just about everything, Chocolate Pecan Pie is celebrated at each holiday. Want to Drink Your Chocolate Pecan Pie? Check out my recipe for Chocolate Pecan Pie Cocktail that I posted on Pecan Pie Day a few years ago.

Here's a mini round-up of recipes for Chocolate Pecan Pie. I really like Bourbon in my Chocolate Pecan Pies, but if you don't, try the Easy Chocolate Pecan Pie recipe that follows the round-up.

Chocolate Chunk Pecan Pie for Mardi Gras
Kentucky Derby Chocolate Pecan Pie
Kentucky Derby Bourbon Chocolate Pie
Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Pie
Fudge Brownie Pecan Pie
Kentucky Chocolate-Nut Pie Mix in a Jar  

EASY CHOCOLATE PECAN PIE

Ingredients
1 unbaked pie shell (I like Trader Joe's pie dough, but you can make your own or buy one)
3 eggs
1 cup light or dark corn syrup
1 cup sugar (can be 1/2 brown & 1/2 granulated)
2 Tbsp. sweet butter
1 tsp. Madagascar vanilla
Pinch of salt
1 1/4 cup Pecans
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (I like Ghirardelli) or 4 ounces chopped dark chocolate

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Mix eggs, corn syrup, sugar, butter, salt and vanilla in large bowl using spoon (not in the mixer). Fold in pecans and chocolate.
Pour into pie shell.
Bake 50 to 55 min. or until top is slightly puffy.
Cool completely before serving.

Monday, August 19, 2013

NO BAKE S'MORES BROWNIES

I'm all about S'mores in the summer. Last week I posted Frozen S'mores Bars. Here's another great S'mores treat to beat the dog days of summer. No Bake Smores Brownies. This is from the cookbook Fat Witch Brownies: Brownies, Blondies, and Bars from New York's Legendary Fat Witch Bakery by Patricia Helding and Bryna Levin.  I use chopped milk chocolate instead of chips, and you might want to use dark chocolate--whatever works for you!

NO BAKE S'MORES BROWNIES

Ingredients
2-1/4 cups crushed graham crackers
1-1/2 cup miniature marshmallows
3/4 cup milk chocolate chips (I use chopped milk chocolate or a low cacao dark chocolate)
1 stick sweet butter, plus extra for greasing a pan or skillet
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla

Directions
1. Grease 9-inch-by-9-inch baking pan or skillet with butter. Dust with flour and tap out excess.
2. Mix graham cracker crumbs, ¾ cup of marshmallows, and 1/2 cup chocolate chips together in a bowl and set aside.
3. Over low heat, in saucepan or skillet, melt butter with sugar, egg, and vanilla, stirring constantly. Set aside to cool.
4. Add cooled sugar mixture to bowl and stir well, allowing  marshmallows and chips to melt. Fold in remaining marshmallows and chips.
5. Press tmixture into pan and cool for 30 minutes.
6. Cut.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

CHOCOLATE CRUNCH ICE CREAM PIE

Tomorrow is National Ice Cream Pie Day. I've posted many ice cream pie recipes. They're very easy, and I suggest if you're in a hurry, you make a nice chocolate cookie crust, soften some ice cream and put it in the pie shell (after you've put the pie shell in the freezer for 1/2 hour). Top with sprinkles or chocolate curls and freeze.

Want to get a bit fancier? Here's a wonderful vintage recipe from a magazine for Chocolate Crunch Ice Cream Pie. The chocolate crust is made with chocolate, coconut, oatmeal, nuts and butter! Great combo.

I found this recipe on one of my favorite sites: Recipe Curio. This site is still up but hasn't been updated in about 3 years. Anyone know why? Or if the blogger is posting elsewhere? We share an affinity for older recipes and ads, and she has also found some great old handwritten recipes and cookbooks and pamphlets.

I use hazelnuts in the pie crust, but almonds would be great, too. This recipe is gluten-free. Always good! Also, you don't need to make the 'coffee' ice cream recipe. Buy some.. or use another type of ice cream.. or use your own recipe.




Chocolate Crunch Ice Cream Pie
(Makes one 9-inch pie)
Roll your pie and coffee into one spectacular of a dessert–a chocolate crunch shell mounded with scoops of coffee-flavored ice cream.
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate pieces
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
2/3 cup coconut, toasted
2/3 cup oatmeal, toasted
1/4 cup finely chopped nuts (I like hazelnuts)

Coffee Ice Cream:
1 quart vanilla ice cream, softened
3/4 to 1 1/2 teaspoons instant coffee powder
Melt chocolate pieces and butter over hot water. In bowl, combine coconut, oatmeal, and nuts. Add chocolate mixture. Press firmly in 9-inch buttered pie plate. Freeze 30 minutes.
To make coffee ice cream, combine softened vanilla ice cream with coffee powder till well blended. Spoon into pie shell. (If mixture is too soft, return to freezer before spooning into shell.) Freeze till firm, about 2 or 3 hours, or overnight.
For easier cutting, dip bottom of pie plate in hot water for a few seconds.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Rum Fudge: National Rum Day! Retro Rum

Today is National Rum Day. I love Chocolate and Rum, and I use rum in lots of recipes. I picked up this 1941 Ronrico Rum recipe pamphlet at a flea market. "The Rum Connoisseur". This must have been a giveaway from Ronrico Rum. Love the graphics on the cover and title page. So I'm renaming this Retro Rum Day!  Recipe for Rum Fudge.. and a recipe for Homemade Marshmallows with Rum below.. Dip the marshmallows in chocolate, and yum!



Enjoy the Rum Fudge and Marshmallow recipes!


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Happy Birthday, Julia Child! Chocolate Almond Cake

Today would have been Julia Child's 101st birthday! How to celebrate the Queen of Cuisine's Birthday? Reine de Saba

In The Way to Cook, Julia Child wrote that Reine de Saba was the first French cake she had ever eaten and that she never forgot it. What could be more fitting, then, than Julia Child's own favorite Chocolate and Almond Cake -- Reine de Saba with Chocolate Butter Icing? The recipe below can be found in Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol. 1, p. 677-78 and The Way to Cook, p. 471.

According to the National Museum of American History at th Smithsonian where Julia's Kitchen is displayed: In the hundredth episode of the television series, The French Chef, Julia made the Reine de Saba, or Queen of Sheba cake. One of the tools she used for making this special cake with the grand name was an ordinary rubber spatula. Essential for folding the smooth and shiny beaten egg whites into the batter, Julia also noted that the rubber spatula was one of America’s great culinary contributions. She kept her spatulas in a ceramic crock on a shelf above her stove.

I must admit that I haven't made this cake in years, but it's not too difficult and it's absolutely fabulous. It's kind of like a dense brownie with creamy buttery chocolate frosting with almonds.


REINE DE SABA [Chocolate Almond Cake] This extremely good chocolate cake is baked so that its center remains slightly underdone; overcooked, the cake loses its special creamy quality. It is covered with a chocolate-butter icing, and decorated with almonds. Because of its creamy center it needs no filling. It can be made by starting out with a beating of egg yolks and sugar, then proceeding with the rest of the ingredients. But because the chocolate and the almonds make a batter so stiff it is difficult to fold in the egg whites, we have chosen another method, that of creaming together the butter and sugar, and then incorporating the remaining items. - Mastering the Art of French Cooking

JULIA CHILD'S REINE DE SABA

Ingredients: 

For the cake:  
4 ounces or squares semisweet chocolate melted with 2 Tablespoons rum or coffee 
1/4 lb. or 1 stick softened butter
2/3 cup granulated sugar
3 egg yolks
3 egg whites
Pinch of salt
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
2/3 cup pulverized almonds
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup cake flour (scooped and leveled) turned into a sifter

For the icing:
2 ounces (2 squares) semisweet baking chocolate
2 Tb rum or coffee
5 to 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter 

Directions:

For the cake:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Butter and flour the cake pan. Set the chocolate and rum or coffee in a small pan, cover, and place (off heat) in a larger pan of almost simmering water; let melt while you proceed with the recipe. Measure out the rest of the ingredients.
3. Cream the butter and sugar together for several minutes until they form a pale yellow, fluffy mixture.
4. Beat in the egg yolks until well blended.
5. Beat the egg whites and salt in a separate bowl until soft peaks are formed; sprinkle on the sugar and beat until stiff peaks are formed.
6. With a rubber spatula, blend the melted chocolate into the butter and sugar mixture, then stir in almonds, and almond extract. Immediately stir one fourth of the beaten egg whites to lighten the batter. Delicately fold in a third of the remaining whites and when partially blended, sift on one third of the flour and continue folding. Alternate rapidly with more egg whites and more flour until all egg whites and flour are incorporated.
7. Turn the batter into the cake pan, pushing the batter up to its rim with a rubber spatula. Bake in middle level of preheated oven for about 25 minutes. Cake is done when it has puffed, and 2-1/2 to 3 inches around the circumference are set so that a needle plunged into that area comes out clean; the center should move slightly if the pan is shaken, and a needle comes out oily.
8. Allow cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Run knife around the edge of the pan, and reverse cake on the rack. Allow it to cool for an hour or two; it must be thoroughly cold if it is to be iced.
9. To serve, use the chocolate-butter icing recipe below, then press a design of almonds over the icing.

For the Icing:

Place the chocolate and rum or coffee in the small pan, cover, and set in the larger pan of almost simmering water. Remove pans from heat and let chocolate melt for 5 minutes or so, until perfectly smooth. Lift chocolate pan out of the hot water, and beat in the butter a tablespoon at a time. Then beat over the ice and water until chocolate mixture has cooled to spreading consistency. At once spread it over your cake with spatula or knife, and press a design of almonds over the icing.

Reprinted from Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking

BON APPETIT!


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Chocolate 'n Mint! Retro Ad & Recipe

Love this Ad and Recipe from Baker's Chocolate from August 21, 1939 (Life Magazine)!
Um-m! chocolate 'n mint! A dessert just made for August!

I have to admit I've never made this... and I doubt I will, but I like these 'story' ads that Baker's Chocolate ran in the 30s and 40s. Let me know if you try this!



Tuesday, August 13, 2013

HEALTHY BROWNIES: Judy Hogan guest post

Once again my mystery and chocolate worlds cross. Today I welcome Judy Hogan, author of Killer Frost and Farm Fresh Fatal, as well as PMZ Poor Woman's Cookbook and Beaver Soul Poems. 

JUDY HOGAN:
HEALTHY BROWNIES

Back in the 70s I was very influenced by Frances Moore Lappe’s Diet for a Small Planet. I began making her baked desserts, which called for both soy and whole wheat flour. Then I discovered that this combination of flours–I changed over to rye a few years later–using organic flour–was easy to substitute for white flour in recipes with spices or chocolate, so I was soon making healthier gingerbread, chocolate cake, brownies, oatmeal cookies, and chocolate chip cookies. Of course, there is still sugar, but the combination of soy and a whole grain flour creates a complete protein, as good as a meat protein. You need a little less flour than with white flour.

I’ve always lived simply, saving money to buy time to write, staying healthy by eating a mostly vegetarian diet and making even my desserts and snacks as healthy as possible. Since 1999, when I owned my first land, I’ve been growing organically as much of my food as possible, too.

In 2000 I self-published my PMZ Poor Woman’s Cookbook. I myself by then had been through menopause with relative ease, and I’d followed the advice I finally found after much hunting: stay active, get plenty of exercise, allow yourself to carry a little extra weight, and eat soy, which the Japanese women have found useful in menopause. Then when your menstrual cycle finishes, you’ll be ready for the zest period. My pmz years have been active, challenging, and zesty. I’m 76 now and feel I’m in my prime. I’ve begun publishing more books, having written hordes of unpublished ones. This fall I have both a poetry book, Beaver Soul, and a second mystery in my Penny Weaver series coming out: Farm Fresh and Fatal, which takes place at a farmers’ market in a small North Carolina town. My heroine, Penny Weaver, uses the recipes in PMZ Poor Woman’s Cookbook.

When I myself sold at my local market, as well as vegetables, I also sold my high protein rye-soy loaf, sweet breads like gingerbread, pumpkin bread, and applesauce cake, as well as healthy brownies.

Here’s the brownie recipe. Be sure and use organic flour. It sold at the market and has been a favorite with my children and grandchildren. My son says, “After I eat your brownies, Mom, I don’t go up high and then get dropped like a rock, as I do when I eat a candy bar. Instead, I keep the energy.”

HEALTHY BROWNIES 

Sift 1/3 cup of soy with 1 t. salt, 12 T (=3/4 cup, or less) cocoa.
Mix this with 2/3 cup of rye or whole wheat flour.
In a bowl beat 4 eggs, add 1 cup oil, then add gradually 2 cups white sugar.
Add 2 teaspoons vanilla.
Then add the flour mixture in two parts.
Add 1 cup chopped nuts, if desired.
Bake in a large greased baking pan (12 x 16) or two small ones (8 x 8) at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. Watch! Use the toothpick test (it should come out clean).
Cool on a rack in the pan and cut in squares.

***
More about Farm Fresh and Fatal: 

When Penny Weaver joins the new Riverdell Farmers’ Market to represent their neighborhood garden, squabbles break out among the farmers about their places. The county poultry agent tries to sort them out before Nora, the market manager, arrives, infuriating her. Penny discovers that there may have been racism behind her friend Sammie’s almost not being accepted to sell her flower bouquets. After the third market, the poultry agent is found dead of food poisoning, apparently from drinking the punch provided by Nora. That and her fights with him cause her to be arrested. Meantime Penny is skeptical of her daughter’s new sponging boyfriend, and her husband Kenneth confesses to being homesick for Wales.

Penny and Sammie work to uncover the real poisoner and to release Nora. Derek, the lead detective and Sammie’s husband, wants them to stay out of it. The poultry agent was unpopular with the quirky farmers, with the exception of the genetically modified seeds man and the baker/jelly maker. Penny and Sammie discover that the poison was black nightshade, but which farmer grows it and who put it in the poultry agent’s punch? The state ag department threatens to close the market, if the case isn’t solved.

***
What others are saying about the Penny Weaver mysteries:
***
Praise for Killer Frost: A charming puzzler of a traditional mystery, this classic academic mystery debut is a pageturner populated with layered, interesting characters. My hat is off to Judy Hogan on a stellar debut. I look forward to the further adventures of Professor Penny Weaver at St. Francis college! –Julia Spencer-Fleming, New York Times Bestselling Author of One Was A Soldier. Farm

Fresh and Fatal features an appealing protagonist, an intriguing background, and well-realized characters. Readers will enjoy these characters and empathize with their successes and failures. In the tradition of Margaret Maron. –Carolyn Hart, author of Dead, White, and Blue.

In Farm Fresh and Fatal Hogan serves up a complex dish that is flavored with community and family drama. It is spiced with intrigue, finished with mystery and delivered right off the vine. –Lyle Estill, President, Piedmont Biofuels and author of Small is Possible

 ***

If you wish to order my PMZ Poor Woman’s Cookbook, send $13 (postpaid) to: Judy Hogan, PO Box 253, Moncure, NC, 27559-0253 To order Killer Frost (2012) or Farm Fresh and Fatal (Oct 1, 2013), Amazon.com or MainlyMurderPress.com. Or from Judy, $20 (postpaid).
Judy’s web: judyhogan.home.mindspring.com
Judy’s blog: postmenopausalzest.blogspot.com
email: judyhogan at mindspring.com

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Retro Betty Crocker Chocolate Brownie Pie

This Chocolate Brownie Pie is truly wonderful and simple!  I've posted several different recipes before, but here's another recipe, this time from a Retro Betty Crocker Gold Medal Flour advertisement. It really "Tastes like Chocolate Brownies!" You can never have too many Brownie Pie recipes!

The following recipe is from the ad, but you can modernize and improve it by using an excellent dark chocolate (cut down on the sugar), and make your own pie crust.

CHOCOLATE BROWNIE PIE

Ingredients
2/3 cup butter
5 oz unsweetened baking chocolate
1-1/4 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
1 cup flour
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
1 frozen deep dish pie crust
Whipped cream, if desired

Directions
1. Heat oven to 350º.
2. In 1-quart saucepan, melt butter and chocolate over low heat, stirring constantly. Cool 5 minutes.
3. In medium bowl, beat sugar, vanilla and eggs with electric mixer on high speed 5 minutes. Beat in chocolate mixture on low speed, scraping bowl occasionally. Beat in flour just until blended, scraping bowl occasionally. Stir in walnuts. Spread in frozen pie crust.
4. Bake 37 to 42 minutes or until toothpick inserted halfway between center and edge of pan comes out almost clean. Cool in pan on wire rack, at least 2 hours. Cut into wedges.
Serve with whipped cream, if desired.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Frozen S'mores Bars: National S'mores Day

August 10 is National S'mores Day. S'mores, however, are no longer relegated to summer campfires. You can make all kinds of S'mores all year round. Here's my S'mores Recipe Round-up from 2012.

And, here's one more, that's so easy: FROZEN S'MORES BARS. You can glam these up by making your own graham crackers and using fabulous chocolate--or making your own Marshmallow Fluff (recipe below). But, if you're in a hurry and just want a yummy treat, use store bought grahams, Marshmallow Fluff, and dark chocolate.

How to make these: 

Basically you're freezing marshmallow cream between two graham crackers, dipping the'sandwiches'  in melted dark chocolate and then freezing! How easy is that?

Want to be more precise?

FROZEN S'MORES BARS

Put graham crackers bottom side up on parchment lined cookie sheet. Pipe (use a ziplock with a corner cut out or piping bag) marshmallow cream onto graham crackers and top with graham crackers. Put in freezer to harden (30 minutes).
Melt chocolate in double boiler or microwave. Let cool a bit (can't be too hot or will start to melt the cream).
Keep cookies in freezer until ready to use. Take a few out and dip halfway in chocolate. Put back in freezer. Continue to dip. Freeze until hard.

Want to make your own Marshmallow Fluff?

Ingredients
3 egg whites, room temp
2 cups lite corn syrup
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 Tbsp Madagascar vanilla

Directions
In bowl of stand mixer with whisk attachment, add egg whites, corn syrup, and salt.
On high speed whisk for 5 minutes, until thick and doubled.
On low speed, add powdered sugar. Mix until blended. Add vanilla and blend.

HT Sweetened with Honey, who also has a recipe for homemade Graham Crackers! yummy...

Friday, August 9, 2013

Dark Chocolate Rice Pudding Recipes: National Rice Pudding Day

1899 Chocolate Ad
Today is National Rice Pudding Day, and of course, it's Chocolate Rice Pudding at my house. The following recipes are completely different, so try both and see which you flavor you favor! Remember the final results will only be as good as your ingredients. Use the best! Both can be topped with fresh whipped cream, but I think they're rich enough as is.

I. DARK CHOCOLATE RICE PUDDING

Ingredients
1-1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup half and half
1/3 cup sugar
dash of salt
1 cup uncooked rice
3/4 tsp Madagascar vanilla
3 ounces dark chocolate (75-85% cacao), finely chopped

Directions
Over low heat, bring milk, half and half, sugar and salt to nearly scalding temperature. Hint: Milk will not simmer, but it will steam when stirred at the near-scalding point.
Add rice to milk and continue cooking over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 20 to 22 minutes, until rice is creamy and slightly soft.
Add vanilla and chopped dark chocolate to hot rice and stir until chocolate melts and becomes part of pudding.
Divide pudding into 4 ramikins or casserole dish and serve warm or chilled.

II. CINNAMON CHOCOLATE RICE PUDDING

Ingredients
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup dark cocoa
1/4 cup cold milk
1- 1/2 cups hot milk
1 cup hot cooked rice
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla

Directions
Beat eggs slightly.
Combine sugar, salt, cinnamon & cocoa and slowly beat into eggs.
Stir in cold milk. Add hot milk and rice.
Cook until thickened, stirring constantly.
Stir in vanilla.
Pour into ramikins or put in casserole dish.
Serve warm or cold.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

ZUCCHINI CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES: National Zucchini Day

Tomorrow is National Zucchini Day. Zucchini is such an abundant summer crop. Plant a single plant, and you'll be picking zucchini all summer long.

So what to do with it? Add Chocolate!

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread with Pistachios 
Geeky Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread
Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread
White Chocolate Walnut Zucchini Bread
Chocolate Chunk Zucchini Bread
Chocolate Zucchini Cake

The other day was National Chocolate Chip Day, and I did a Round-up of Chocolate Chip Recipes, so here's one for Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe! This is my go-to recipe for Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookies!

This recipe is from Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life (2007) by Barbara Kingsolver with Steven L. Hopp and Camille Kingsolver. I've added walnuts, because I like a little crunch. The book should be a staple on your shelf. It's part memoir, part journalistic investigation. It tells the story of how the family was changed by one year of deliberately eating food produced in the place where they live (locavores). Kingsolver wrote the central narrative; Hopp's sidebars explore various aspects of food-production science and industry; Camille Kingsolver's brief essays offer a nineteen-year-old's perspective on the local-food project, plus nutritional information, meal plans and most importantly for this blog, the recipes. Being that it's mid-summer and zucchini are multiplying at amazing rates in the garden: there's a Zucchini Season Meal Plan in the book. The recipes are all fabulous, and here's the adapted recipe for Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookies. As I mentioned, I add walnuts for extra crunch.

Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup sweet butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup honey
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Combine in large bowl.

1 cup white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
Combine in separate, small bowl and blend into liquid mixture.

1 cup finely shredded zucchini
12 oz chocolate chips  (or chocolate chunks)
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
Stir these into other ingredients, mix well. Drop by spoonful onto greased baking
sheet, and flatten with the back of spoon. Bake at 350F degrees, 10 to 15 minutes.


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

HUCKLEBERRY MOUSSE: Guest post by Leslie Budewitz

Another instance of my Mystery and Chocolate worlds colliding: Today I welcome mystery author Leslie Budewitz. Death al Dente, first in the Food Lovers' Village Mysteries, debuts from Berkley Prime Crime today. The series is set in a small, lakeside resort community in Northwest Montana, on the road to Glacier Park, near where author Leslie Budewitz lives. Leslie is also a lawyer. Her first book, Books, Crooks & Counselors: How to Write Accurately About Criminal Law & Courtroom Procedure (Quill Driver Books) won the 2011 Agatha Award for Best Nonfiction, and was nominated for the Anthony and Macavity awards. Visit her at www.LeslieBudewitz.com

LESLIE BUDEWITZ:
HU-HUCKLE, BU-BUCKLE, HUCKLEBERRY MOUSSE 

The most popular woman in Paris is probably the young woman who carries the giant wooden bowl of chocolate mousse among the tables at Chez Janou, a delightful corner bistro in the 4th Arrondissement. With dark chocolate skin and a smile as bright as the lights on the Eiffel Tower, she dispenses huge spoonfuls of thick, rich mousse. If the look on a diner’s face says “more,” she happily obliges.

When we returned from our first trip to Paris, I searched on line for Chez Janou’s chocolate mousse recipe. Alas, all I found were raves, with notes that Janou and her staff repeatedly refused to divulge it—and a hint that it resembled Julia Child’s classic recipe.

Voila! ‘Tis the same, or darned close. To me, it evokes the taste of the perfect evening in Paris with my hunny. So what’s the taste of the perfect evening in Montana? Well, to Erin Murphy, the protagonist of my new series, The Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries, set in Jewel Bay, Montana, it’s Huckleberry Chocolate Mousse served at Chez Max.

If Montana had an official fruit, it would be the huckleberry, a wild mountain relative of the blueberry. Yes, other states claim them, too—Idaho, Wyoming, Maine. But ours are the Real Thing. I know, because the last time I went picking, in the mountains above town known as the Jewel Basin, I was happily filling my little bucket with the deep purple jewels when the sounds of leaves and fruit being torn from branches told me a bear had the same idea. And if a bear wants something, you know it’s good—and you let her have it!

The Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries are set in a small town in NW Montana where good food reigns supreme. Erin Murphy runs a specialty regional foods market, known as the Merc, and right next door are Le Panier, the bakery, and Chez Max, a bistro, run by Max and Wendy Fontaine. Wendy’s a local girl, but Max hails from Provence. His bistro bears a resemblance to Chez Janou, and to Bistrot áa Vins in Arles. But it’s got a flavor all its own—call it Montana, with a French accent.

CHEZ MAX’S HUCKLEBERRY CHOCOLATE MOUSSE 

Ingredients
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons huckleberry syrup
3 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
pinch of salt
1-/12 teaspoons sugar

Directions
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler, in the microwave, or in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir in the huckleberry syrup. Transfer to a bowl large enough for all the ingredients.

Whisk the egg yolks into the chocolate, one at a time.
Beat the egg whites with the salt until they start to form peaks. (A stand mixer is perfect, if you have one.) Continue to beat and gradually add the sugar. Beat until the whites are shiny and hold medium-firm peaks.

Using a rubber spatula, spoon about a quarter of the whites into the chocolate and fold until almost smooth. (This lightens the chocolate and makes it easier to blend in the rest.) Spoon the rest of the whites into the chocolate and fold in carefully. Don’t overwork the mixture—you want to leave the bubbles in the mousse for lightness, and streaks are fine.

Spoon mousse into individual serving dishes and chill, covered. Garnish with whipped cream, mint, and huckleberries, if you’d like—and if you’re lucky enough to snare a few from the bear. Or if you’re feeling like the jeune fille Chez Janou, leave it in the bowl and serve your guests tableside.

(The Wild Huckleberry syrups and preserves from Eva Gates, in Bigfork, Montana—the model for Jewel Bay, are particularly tasty. www.evagates.com )

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Peanut Butter Fudge: Carleen M. Loper guest post

Today is National Chocolate Chip Day, and yesterday I posted a Chocolate Chip Recipe Round-Up. My friend Carleen Loper was already in the process of maximizing the 'chocolate chip' holiday with her Godmother's recipe for Peanut Butter Fudge. I had to ask her for the recipe!

CARLEEN M. LOPER:
Plus ça Change, Plus c'est la Même Chose

Janet happened to put up a post about National Chocolate Chip Day at the very same time I was waiting for a batch of peanut butter fudge to set in the kitchen. Needless to say, I did not wait for it to entirely set before digging a knife in for a taste test. P.S. yum.

The chocolate chip. Who among us can really count the ways we’ve added its beloved and nostalgic magic to recipes?

The recipe I made today is an old family favorite. It started with my godmother, Ma Tante Rita. A lovely French Canadian soul who was my grandmother’s sister, and the relative I loved to spend the most time with growing up. Peanut Butter Fudge would primarily be found during the holidays. My mother continued the tradition, and my husband, the peanut butter freak, has carried it on to the next generation. It makes a huge batch of candy and you can separate it into nice little packages of pieces to share with multiple friends or family as you go visiting.

Today it came to mind because our young neighbor next door is having a graduation-slash-birthday-slash-going-in-the-navy party. When he was little, I knew peanut butter cups were always the candy I had to buy at Halloween to make him happy. He’s 18 now, so he’ll get a slightly more grown up version of his favorite sweet.

Ma Tante Rita’s Peanut Butter Fudge

Ingredients:
1 16 oz jar creamy peanut butter
1 16 oz package confectioner’s sugar
2 sticks butter
1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
1 12 oz package semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:
Melt the peanut butter and butter together over medium-low heat.
Mix the confectioner’s sugar and graham crackers together in a large bowl. Pour the peanut butter and butter mixture into the dry ingredients and stir well. Press evenly into a 13x9 pan.
Melt the chocolate chips. I melt them in a glass bowl in the microwave at 30 second intervals/stirring with a rubber spatula as they melt for approximately 3 minutes.
Spread over the top. (It should cover completely in a thin layer).
Let set before slicing.

Carleen M. Loper lives in Massachusetts, works in a library, and loves to play in the kitchen!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

National Chocolate Chip Day: Chocolate Chip Recipe Round-Up

According to those who keep the Food Calendars, there are actually two National Chocolate Chip Days: May 15 and August 4. Not wanting to slight August 4, I thought I'd repost my Chocolate Chip Round-Up. Let's face it, every day is chocolate chip day at my house!

So here's an updated round-up of some (but not all) Chocolate Chip Recipes from DyingforChocolate.com. What are you going to make or eat to celebrate the day?

Post a comment, recipe or link about your favorite chocolate chip recipe!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Toll House Cookies: Vintage Ad & Recipe

DoubleTree Chocolate Chip Cookies

Coffee Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Bars

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Sandwiches

Chocolate Chip Mandelbrot

Oatmeal Raisin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Macaroons

Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies in a Jar

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies in a Jar

Kentucky Chocolate-Nut Pie Mix in a Jar

Chocolate Chip Cookies in a Jar

Toll House Stars & Stripes Cookies

Blueberry White Chocolate Muffins

Goat Cheese Chocolate Chip Cheesecake 

Cheesecake Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups  

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake

Coconut Almond Torte with Chocolate Chips

Nutty Chocolate Chip Caramel Squares

Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookies  

Pumpkin Pie Chocolate Chip Bars in a Jar

Kentucky Derby Pie 

Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ruth Graves Wakefield, the Birth of Toll House Cookies  

Chocolate Chip Cookie Stuffed Pies

Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Chocolate Chip Macadamia Cookies

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Friday, August 2, 2013

Chipwich: National Ice Cream Sandwich Day

Today is National Ice Cream Sandwich Day! Perfect for these hot summer days. There's something about an ice cream sandwich that always appeals to me. I think it's because the ice-cream is 'contained'. I'm not big on gooey hands. So in honor of the day, here's a nod to and history of the Chipwich, along with a recipe to make the Chipwich at home.

The Chipwich was 'invented' by Richard LaMotta who turned his childhood passion for dunking cookies in milk into the Chipwich — two chocolate chip cookies embracing a chunk of vanilla ice cream dotted with chocolate chips. On May 1, 1982, Mr. LaMotta dispatched 60 street-cart vendors, each wearing pith helmets and khakis, to the streets of Manhattan to begin selling his 4 1/2-ounce concoction (including 3 1/2 ounces of ice cream) for what at the time was a pricey $1 each. A few hours later, all 25,000 Chipwiches had been gobbled — the start of something big. Within two weeks, Mr. LaMotta was selling 40,000 a day, and by the middle of that summer, the Chipwich plants in Queens, N.Y., and Lodi, N.J., were turning out 200,000 a day.

Want to make your own Chipwich at Home?

Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Sandwich

Chocolate Chip Cookies I use the big Pepperidge Farm Chocolate Chip Cookies (or make your own)
Vanilla Ice Cream I like Dreyer's (softened)
Mini-chocolate chips I use Guittard Semisweet Chocolate Mini Chips

Soften ice cream for 10 minutes before making sandwiches.
Place scoop of ice cream on flat side of 1 cookie.
Place second cookie flat side down and carefully press together until ice cream reaches edge of cookies.
Roll edges in Mini-Chocolate Chips.
Freeze for 15 minutes and serve.

Lots of variations, of course, but this recipe is fairly close to the original Chipwich.

And here's a retro commercial for the Chipwich