Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween Oreo Brownies

I love seasonal Oreos, and Halloween Oreos are so much fun! You can use them in lots of ways including as a cookie crust for your favorite Pumpkin Cheesecake or in the following two recipes for Halloween Oreo Brownies...or just eat them straight from the bag! Orange and black, the colors of Halloween! 

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Retro Halloween Party Games & Recipes: 1960

Happy Halloween. Love Betty Crocker's Party Book from 1960. Lots of different Halloween recipes, games and centerpieces! Different holidays in the book, but the following pages are for Halloween, lots of sugar and chocolate! Cute illustrations, too! Enjoy!



Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Antique Halloween Chocolate Molds

This Halloween I thought I'd post some pictures of great Chocolate Molds. After all, Halloween is all about chocolate! These are not my molds. I only have one! But I love these antique metal chocolate molds and wonder about the chocolatiers, the children and everyone else who enjoyed the chocolate that was shaped in them.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

WITCH CHOCOLATE MOLDS



PUMPKIN CHOCOLATE MOLDS





BLACK CAT CHOCOLATE MOLD



Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Chocolate Pumpkin Cocktails

There are so many pumpkin liqueurs on the market at this time of year. Check out DrinkoftheWeek.com for a review of pumpkin liqueurs.  It's my opinion that pumpkin needs chocolate, so I put together three recipes for Chocolate Pumpkin Cocktail recipes for Halloween. These can be served all through the Fall. But you knew that, right? The first two recipes call for Pumpkin Liqueur, but the last one uses other liqueurs and some pumpkin spice.

CHOCOLATE PUMPKIN COCKTAIL

3 ounces Pumpkin Liqueur
Chocolate (melted)

Shake pumpkin liqueur with ice in cocktail shaker.
Strain into chilled cocktail glass.
Slowly add melted chocolate to glass.

WHITE CHOCOLATE PUMPKIN MARTINI

Godiva White Chocolate Liqueur
2 ounces Vanilla Vodka
1/2 ounces Pumpkin Liqueur
1 tsp whipped cream

Pour white chocolate liqueur, vodka, and pumpkin liqueur into shaker filled with ice.
Shake. Pour into martini glass. Optional: Add whipped cream.

CHOCOLATE PUMPKIN MARTINI

3/4 ounce Vanilla Vodka
1/2 ounce Bailey's
1/2 ounce Kahlua
1/2 ounce Crème de Cacao
1/4 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
Pinch cayenne pepper
Ice cubes

In cocktail shaker, combine Vanilla Vodka, Bailey's, Kahlua & Crème de Cacao, Pumpkin Pie Spice, and cayenne pepper. Add ice; cover and shake until very cold. Strain into chilled martini glass.

Photo: DrinkoftheWeek.com

National Chocolate Day: Cartoon of the Day

Today is National Chocolate Day. Every day is Chocolate Day on DyingforChocolate.com. Here's a great comic from one of my favorite cartoonist, Sandra Boynton.

Monday, October 27, 2014

HALLOWEEN PEEPS: PEEPS CHOCOLATE MOUSSE IN A JAR

O.K. you know I'm a sucker for PEEPS. They may not be the healthiest of treats for Halloween, but I love that PEEPS are made for different holidays. So many shapes and flavors. I plan to do a Halloween PEEPS diorama, so please come back to the blog later in the week. In the meantime, here's one of my favorite recipes for Halloween: PEEPS Chocolate Mousse in a Jar. This was developed by LovefromtheOven for PEEPS. So easy and pretty! You can top these Chocolate Mousse Dessert Jars with the PEEPS of your choice, but aren't these Halloween chicks perfect?

PEEPS CHOCOLATE MOUSSE IN A JAR!
from PEEPS recipes

Ingredients
One package of PEEPS Chocolate Flavored Mousse Cats
PEEPS of your choice for garnish
Two 8 oz containers of whipped topping
One cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
One Tbsp sweet butter
1 cup chocolate cookie crumbs (I like Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers)
Four ramekins, cups or jars for serving (large mouth if you want to put a PEEP on top!

Directions
In microwave safe bowl (or in pan over simmering water) combine chocolate chips, butter and two PEEPS Chocolate Flavored Mousse Cats. 
Microwave on 50% power for 30 seconds, remove to stir. Continue to microwave in 15 second increments until chocolate ship and PEEPS have melted. Stir to combine. The mixture will be very thick. Allow mixture to cool for five minutes.
In large bowl, combine 8oz container of whipped topping and melted chocolate mix. Mix with electric mixer on low until well combined. Set aside.
In ramekins, cups or jars, sprinkle 1/4 cup of cookie crumbs on bottom of container. Gently spoon 1/4 of chocolate mousse mixture into each container, on top of cookie crumbs.
Top with additional whipped topping.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Just before serving top each mousse cup with a Marshmallow PEEP of your choice.

Other Halloween PEEPS.

What are you making with PEEPS?

Sunday, October 26, 2014

CANDY CORN BROWNIES: Happy Halloween!

I love Candy Corn. It just screams Halloween. According to the National Confectioners Association, 20 million pounds (9000 tons) of candy corn are sold annually. Want to try making your own Candy Corn? Jessie Oleson (aka Cakespy) has a great recipe for Homemade Candy Corn. You will definitely taste the difference.

There are so many ways to incorporate Candy Corn with Chocolate. Here's an easy recipe for Candy Corn Brownies. In a rush? Use a brownie mix and follow the two ways of incorporating candy corn. Don't forget to add more dark chocolate chips or chopped chocolate to the mix!

CANDY CORN BROWNIES

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

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

Friday, October 24, 2014

Boston Cream Pie Cheesecake

Yesterday was Boston Cream Pie Day. This pudding/cake combination is compromised of two layers of sponge cake filled with vanilla custard or crème pâtissière. The cake is topped with a chocolate glaze.

So to celebrate this year's holiday, here's a twist on the classic Boston Cream Pie: Boston Cream Pie Cheesecake. The vanilla custard layer is replaced with cheesecake. I've tried several different recipes for Boston Cream Pie Cheesecake, but this recipe adapted from Better Homes and Gardens is one of my favorites. It's easy and delicious. You can always make your own yellow cake.

BOSTON CREAM PIE CHEESECAKE

Ingredients 
1 package 1-layer-size yellow cake mix  (probably using half the package--or make your own yellow cake)
2 Tbsp cooking oil
3-8 ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla
3 eggs
8 ounces real dairy sour cream
3/4 cup whipping cream
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped (use the very best chocolate)
2 Tbsp sweet butter, softened

Directions 
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease the bottom of 9-inch springform pan; set aside. Prepare cake mix according to package directions, except add cooking oil. Pour batter into prepared pan, spreading evenly. Bake for 25 minutes.

Filling: 
In large bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla. Beat with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Stir in sour cream. Carefully pour cream cheese mixture over cake layer.

Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until a 2-inch area around outside edge appears set and center appears nearly set when gently shaken. Cool in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes. Using small sharp knife, loosen edge of cheesecake from side of pan. Cool completely (about 1 3/4 hours). Remove side of pan; transfer cheesecake to serving plate. Cover and chill for 4 to 24 hours.

Before serving, in small saucepan, bring whipping cream to simmering. Remove from heat. Add chocolate; stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Stir in butter. Chill about 15 minutes or until mixture is slightly thickened, stirring once. Spoon chocolate mixture onto cheesecake, spreading to cover top.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Homemade Oh Henry! Bars: National Nut Day!

Today is National Nut Day, and one of my all time favorite candy bars is an Oh Henry! Bar. Chocolate covered nuts and caramel! Gotta have an Oh Henry!

So what exactly is an Oh Henry! Bar?  

From Wikipedia:
Oh Henry! is a chocolate bar containing peanuts, caramel, and fudge coated in chocolate. It was first introduced in 1920, by the Williamson Candy Company of Chicago, Illinois. According to legend, Oh Henry! was originally named after a boy who frequented the Williamson company, flirting with the girls who made the candy. The name is also said to be a homage to American writer, O. Henry. However, there is no definitive explanation as to the exact origin of the name.

Another theory is that the candy bar was invented by a man named Tom Henry of Arkansas City, Kansas. Tom Henry ran a candy company called the Peerless candy factory, and in 1919 he started making the Tom Henry candy bar. He sold the candy bar to Williamson Candy Company in 1920 where they later changed the name to "Oh Henry!". Henry's family now runs a candy factory in Dexter, Kansas that sells "momma henry" bars, which are nearly identical to the original candy bar.

In 1923, an employee of Williamson, John Glossinger, announced that he was going to make the Oh Henry! bar a national best seller. Company officials said it was impossible and denied him the funds for an advertising campaign. Glossinger went into the streets and pasted stickers saying merely "Oh Henry!" on automobile bumpers. People became curious as to what an Oh Henry! was and sales for the bar rose quickly.

1926 Oh Henry! Advertisement
Nestlé acquired the United States rights to the brand in 1984, and continues to produce the bar. In Canada, the bar is currently sold by The Hershey Company and manufactured at their Smiths Falls, Ontario facilities. Because of Canada's different chocolate standards, the Canadian "Oh Henry!" is not considered a "chocolate bar" and is labelled instead as a "candy bar." In fact, unlike the American version, which labels the bar as "milk chocolate," the Canadian version makes no mention of chocolate on the front of the wrapper. Hershey sells Oh Henry! bars made in Canada on a very limited basis in the United States as Rally bars, using the trademark of a Hershey product introduced in the 1970s and later discontinued.

Want to make your own Oh Henry! Bars? Here are three different recipes. Funny, but several of them include oats. I'm partial to #III because it doesn't include oatmeal, but that's just me. The first two recipes do seem to really capture the flavor.

I. Oh Henry!Candy Bars

Ingredients
4 cups oatmeal
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup butter (melted)
1 cup chocolate chips
3/4 cup peanut butter

Directions
Mix together oatmeal, brown sugar, white sugar and melted butter.
Press into greased 9x13 pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Melt chocolate chips and peanut butter.
Spread over baked bars.
Put in fridge so frosting hardens completely.

II. Oh Henry! Candy Bars 

Ingredients
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter
1/2 cup white Karo syrup
2 cups oatmeal

Directions
Melt butter, sugar and syrup.
Add oatmeal.
Press in well buttered 9 x 13 inch pan. Bake 12 minutes at 350 degrees.

Melt:
1 c. crunchy peanut butter
1 (6 oz.) chocolate chips

Cool bottom layer and spread mixture over the top.
Refrigerate.
Cut in squares.

III. Oh Henry! Candy Bars (my favorite recipe)

Part One
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup water
3/4 cup peanut butter

Directions:
Combine over heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved.
Cook until it reaches the hard boil stage (265 degrees).
Let cool
Add peanut butter.
Stir, then shape into rolls 3/4 inch thick and 1 inch long.
Set aside.

Part Two
1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 pounds peanuts, chopped fine
8 oz. dark chocolate, chopped

Directions:
Cook corn syrup and sugar together until it reaches the hard boil stage (265 degrees).
Dip candy from first mixture into second mixture, then roll in peanuts while still hot.
Melt dark chocolate and dip rolls into melted chocolate
Place on parchment paper.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day: Bake in a Chocolate Cookie Crust

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

Great for Halloween and Thanksgiving!

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

PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE WITH CHOCOLATE COOKIE CRUST

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

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

I. CHOCOLATE COOKIE CRUST

Stir together 1 cup vanilla wafer crumbs (about 30 wafers)
1/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup melted butter.

Press mixture firmly onto bottom and 1/2-inch up side of 9-inch springform pan.
Bake  at 350 F for 8 minutes; cool slightly.

II. CHOCOLATE COOKIE CRUST

30 chocolate wafers (Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers makes about 1 1/2 cups crumbs)
5 Tbsp sweet butter, melted and slightly cooled
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract

Put cookies in container of food processor; process until finely ground.
Transfer crumbs to mixing bowl; combine crumbs, butter, salt, and vanilla; stir until crumbs are moistened.
Press mixture evenly across the bottom of 9-inch springform pan and all the way up sides of pan; pack tightly so crust is even and compacted.
Bake at 350° for 6-8 minutes or until crisp.
Let cool completely before filling.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Brandied Fruit Day: Brandied Cherry Chocolate Cake

Today is Brandied Fruit Day. I love this recipe for Brandied Cherry Chocolate Cake that appeared in the Washington Post a few years ago. You can buy brandied cherries -- or you can make your own.

Brandied Cherries

Ingredients
1 1/2 pounds dark, sweet cherries, pitted
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
1 small cinnamon stick
1/4 cup good brandy

Directions
Combine sugar, water, lemon juice, and cinnamon stick in medium saucepan. Bring to boil and reduce heat to medium. Add cherries and simmer for five minutes.
Remove from heat, remove cinnamon stick. Stir in brandy.
Cool completely before placing in jar.

BRANDIED CHERRY CHOCOLATE CAKE

Tip: When processing nuts and chocolate, be careful not to make chocolate almond butter. Chill both ingredients -- and even the flour, if you want to be careful.

Ingredients
6 ounces chopped bittersweet chocolate, chilled (about 1-1/3 cups)
6 ounces (1-1/2 cups) chopped almonds, chilled
 6 1/2 Tbsp flour
12 Tbsp sweet butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
4 large eggs, separated into yolks and whites
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
16 ounces drained brandied cherries
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Directions
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray a9-inch cake pan with nonstick oil-and-flour spray and line bottom with circle of parchment paper.
Pulse chocolate, almonds and flour in a food processor to grind them into fine meal, being careful not to turn them into a paste.
Beat butter and sugar together at high speed in bowl of stand mixer or held-held electric mixer until mixture is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg yolks, then vanilla and almond extracts, and beat well to combine. Add chocolate-nut mixture and beat until incorporated.
Beat egg whites in separate, clean bowl of stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer until they form soft peaks. Use flexible spatula to fold them into chocolate-sugar mixture.
Spread half of batter in bottom of prepared pan. Top with brandied cherries, which should fit evenly in 1 layer. Spread remaining batter over cherries, using flexible spatula to lightly level top.
Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, until cake is puffed and set.
Cool on rack and turn out of pan.
Dust top generously with confectioners' sugar.
Serve warm or cool.

Original recipe adapted from Peter Brett, pastry chef at Blue Duck Tavern, Washington, D.C.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

TRIPLE CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES: National Chocolate Cupcake Day!

Today is National Chocolate Cupcake Day. I could stop by the bakery or Cara's Cupcakes and pick up a cupcake or two, but it's Saturday, so I'll probably make some Triple Chocolate Cupcakes. I like to fill my cupcakes with chocolate ganache. If you find it too thick, just thin a bit with some cream. I also use the ganache for the icing. Saves a step.

TRIPLE CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES

Cupcakes

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

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

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

Ganache
Of course, you might have some leftover ganache in the freezer. 
Read Things to Do With Leftover Ganache.

Ingredients
12 ounces good quality chocolate, chopped
2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 Tbsp sweet butter


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

Sprinkle with chocolate curls, sprinkles, or other decorations


Thursday, October 16, 2014

How to Make Your Own Chocolate Liqueur

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

But if you want to make your own, try one of the following two recipes for Making Your Own Chocolate Liqueur.

 As always, use the best cacao nibs or cocoa, vodka, and vanilla. You won't have the results to taste today, but it will be worth the wait!

1. CHOCOLATE LIQUEUR
The recipe is from Serious Eats, one of my favorite sites.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a wonderful National Liqueur Day. Make it Chocolate!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake

I love a good Bundt Cake, and I have multiple Bundt pans. The cakes always look great. This cake, adapted from Southern Living, May 2010, is delicious and easy -- two of the most important components of any recipe for me. The original recipe has a nut crumble 'crust', but I don't think it needs it--and it sometimes sticks to the pan. Have a look, though, and decide for yourself. I rarely garnish Bundt Cakes. I don't think they need anything more. This cake is great toasted with morning coffee or tea.

CHOCOLATE CHIP BUNDT CAKE

Ingredients
2 + 3/4 cups all-purpose flour1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup sweet butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp Madagascar vanilla extract
4 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 (12 ounce) package semisweet chocolate mini-morsels

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour 12-cup Bundt pan.
Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt.
Beat butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and vanilla at medium speed with stand mixer 3 to 5 minutes or until fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended. Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition, stopping to scrape bowl as needed.
Fold in chocolate mini-morsels. (Mixture will be thick.)
Spoon batter into prepared pan.
Bake at 350° for 50 to 55 minutes or until long wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool in pan on wire rack 10 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack, and cool completely (about 1 hour).

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Chocolate Covered Insect Day: October 14

October 14 is National Chocolate Covered Insect Day. Not my cup of cocoa, but since this is a holiday, I did a little research.

Educational Innovations (a source for teachers) offers Chocolate Covered Insects that are completely edible and farm raised. Yeah, that's what I needed to know-- that the insects were farm-raised. They come in single (Bug-350) or Box of 24 packages (Bug-350BX). Each package comes with 4: 2 crickets and 2 larva. Ugh. Description says 'tastes like chocolate covered popcorn.' I'll pass, but if you're feeling adventurous, try them and let me know. From the illustration, it looks like the insects (and larvae) are covered with white and dark chocolate.

The CandyWarehouse offers packages of Chocolate Covered Insects that seem similar. One thing that any chocolate lover wants to know is the quality of the chocolate. No description except milk chocolate and white chocolate. This website is quite flip. Although the description refers to roaches, I don't think there are any in the pack. But who knows? I found "Chocolate Covered Ants Candy" in the "You Might Also Like" box. I don't think so. I do think the CandyWarehouse needs a new copy writer. I'm not volunteering, but would you want "Gross' in your product copy? Perhaps the owners don't care or are being funny. Or maybe this whole chocolate covered bug thing is reaching for a completely different sense of aesthetics.

CandyFavorites offers Edible Insects in many different chocolate varieties. I have no fault with their copy, "We are often asked if the edible insects are real and the answer is “yes.” As featured on television reality shows, edible insects are ideal for any occasion in which you want to offer a truly unique treat!" Now, I'm a baker, and I love to entertain, but I just don't know what that special occasion might be. However, for those who are interested, they also have Chocolate Covered Crickets in addition to the standard Chocolate Covered Ants.

My husband Frank was in the Peace Corps in Cote d'Ivoire where much of cacoa is grown, and even though he often had roasted crickets as treats, he never had chocolate covered ones there. There were plenty of cacoa trees where he lived, but no finished product.

While searching for Chocolate Covered Insects, I found a very interesting recipe for Chocolate Scorpions on the BBC Homepage. Leave it to the Brits! This was listed under Onsite Catering/
Recipes. Don't think that will go down well with a film crew.

Chocolate Covered Scorpions

You will need:
12 dead scorpions
a big bar of chocolate (good quality, fair-trade)
a big pan of boiling water
a big heatproof bowl

Put the chocolate in the bowl, and gently rest it in the pan of boiling water. Once the chocolate has melted, carefully remove it from the water, taking extra care not to burn your fingers. Dip the scorpions in the chocolate, and allow to dry. Now eat. Yummy! (PS: Scorpion stings are not lethal once they’re dead.) Of course, you may not be able to make this if you don't happen to have a few scorpions around or if you're a purist and need to know that the ones you might have are farm-raised. They're probably not.

Searching some more, I found a wonderful photo of a tray of chocolate scorpions (see above) on A Yankee-in-Belgrade. Bibi, the Yankee in Belgrade, told me she saw these in the window of a candy store in Pismo Beach (CA) when she was back in the States. My good friend Pierre was in Pismo last week. Should have asked him to pick me up some. On the other hand, maybe it was just as well I didn't ask.

Enjoy!

Addendum: Perhaps I was too glib about insects. Have a look at SmallStock dedicated to a steady supply of foods derived from farmed insects.

Photo: A Yankee-in-Belgrade

Monday, October 13, 2014

Red's Ultimate M&M's Cookies: National M&M's Day!

Today is National M&M's Day! Celebrate with Red's Ultimate M&M's Cookies or just eat a bunch of M&M's. 

How Do You Eat Your M&M's? Check out this cool post on the Candystore blog.

Red's Ultimate M&M's Cookies

Ingredients
1 cup sweet butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1 12-ounce package M&M’S® MINIS® Milk Chocolate Candies
3/4 cup chopped nuts (optional) 

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°F.
In large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy
Beat in egg and vanilla.
In medium bowl combine flour, baking soda and salt; blend into butter/sugar mixture.
Stir in M&M’S® MINIS® Milk Chocolate Candies and nuts, if desired.
Drop dough by heaping teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake 10 to 13 minutes or until edges are lightly browned and centers are still soft. Do not overbake. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; cool completely on wire racks.
Store in tightly covered container.

MAKES ABOUT 50 COOKIES.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Double Layer Chocolate Pumpkin Mousse Pie: Canadian Thanksgiving

Tomorrow is Canadian Thanksgiving, and because I think all holidays should be celebrated  with Chocolate, I'm posting my favorite recipe for Double Layer Chocolate Pumpkin Mousse Pie. Since it's Canadian Thanksgiving, this recipe is from the Dairy Farmers of Canada website Dairy Goodness. Hope my North of the Border friends have a wonderful celebration. And, for those in the U.S., this Pie is fabulous for our Thanksgiving in late November.

I first celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving at a Bouchercon (the World Mystery Convention) that was held several years ago in Toronto. I confess, I didn't realize there was 'another' Thanksgiving. For me, Thanksgiving was about the Pilgrims, the Rock, the Turkeys. Same foods in Canada, but different date and reasons. So in case you're new to this holiday, here's some information on the origins of Canadian Thanksgiving which is more closely aligned to the traditions of Europe than those of the United States.

The very first Thanksgiving celebration in North America took place in Canada when Martin Frobisher, an explorer from England, arrived in Newfoundland in 1578. He wanted to give thanks for his safe arrival to the New World. That means the first Thanksgiving in Canada was celebrated 43 years before the pilgrims landed in Plymouth, Massachusetts! For a few hundred years, Thanksgiving was celebrated in either late October or early November, before it was declared a Canadian National Holiday in 1879. It was then, that November 6th was set aside as the official Thanksgiving holiday. On January 31, 1957, Canadian Parliament announced that the second Monday in October would be Thanksgiving -- "a day of general thanksgiving to almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed."

Another reason for Canadian Thanksgiving taking place earlier than its U.S. counterpart is that Canada is geographically further north than the United States, causing the Canadian harvest season to arrive earlier than the American harvest season. But what are the differences between Canadian and American Thanksgiving, other than the date? Not much! Both Canadians and Americans celebrate Thanksgiving with parades, family gatherings, pumpkin pie and a whole lot of turkey! (Info from Kidzworld.com)

So here's a fabulous Double Layer Chocolate Pumpkin Pie for the Thanksgiving table.

Double Layer Chocolate Pumpkin Mousse Pie

Ingredients

Crust:
1-1/2 cups chocolate cookie crumbs (chocolate wafers that have been crushed)
1/4 cup sweet butter, melted

Chocolate Ganache Layer:
8 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 Tbsp sweet butter, softened
1 cup whipping cream

Pumpkin Layer:
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree
2 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp cloves
1 cup thick whipping cream
Whipped cream, to garnish
Freshly grated nutmeg

Directions

Crust:
In bowl, combine cookie crumbs and butter until moistened and pat evenly into bottom and up side of 10-inch deep pie plate. Bake in preheated 350 °F oven for about 10 minutes or until firm. Let cool.

Chocolate Ganache Layer:
Place chocolate and butter in bowl. In small saucepan bring cream to boil. Pour over chocolate and let stand for 1 minute. Slowly whisk chocolate until melted and smooth. Gently pour into cooled crust. Place in refrigerator for about 1 hour or until set.

Pumpkin Layer:
Meanwhile, in large bowl, beat Cream Cheese and Sugar until fluffy. Beat in pumpkin, vanilla extract, cinnamon, ginger and cloves until smooth.

Whip cream. Fold half of cream into pumpkin mixture until light. Fold in remaining whipped cream until well combined. Spread over top of chocolate layer and smooth top. Refrigerate for about 2 hours or until set and firm. (If you make ahead: you can cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.)

Garnish with whipped cream and nutmeg before serving.

Photo: Dairy Farmers of Canada

Friday, October 10, 2014

Chocolate Angel Food Cake!

Today is National Angel Food Cake Day. Just in case you were worried that there would be no chocolate, here's my go-to recipe for Chocolate Angel Food Cake. Recipe from Martha Stewart! This cake is light and airy and delicious... truly angelic!

Angel food cake is a cake made with a lot of egg whites and usually no shortening or leavening agent. It's like a sponge cake. From WhatsCookingAmerica.net comes this piece of information: Angel Food Cake is also known as ice cream cake (a Pennsylvania Dutch wedding cake). And, because there are an abundance of cake molds in southeastern PA, one of the major producer of cake molds, angel food cake may have originated there in the 1800s. Some other historians think that the first angel food cakes were baked by African slaves in the South because making this cake required a strong beating arm and lots of labor to whip the air into the whites (pre egg-beaters 1865). Angel Food cakes are also a traditional African-American favorite at funerals.  You decide, but whatever the origin, you'll love this cake!

Easy Egg Separating Tip: Because there are so many eggs to separate in this recipe, I use the 'egg trick.' Break all eggs into bowl (yes yolks and whites). Then take an empty water bottle and place the neck near a yolk and squeeze the water bottle. The yolk pops up into the bottle. Then place the water bottle over another bowl and release. So cool! Try with one egg first, just to master this simple task!

CHOCOLATE ANGEL FOOD CAKE

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups sugar
Scant 1 cup cake flour (not self-rising)
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 ounce dark chocolate, grated (about 1/2 cup)
12 large egg whites
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp pure Madagascar vanilla extract
1/4 tsp pure almond extract

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place oven rack in center.

Sift together onto a piece of parchment paper 3/4 cup sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Add grated chocolate; set aside.

In bowl of electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. With machine running, add remaining 3/4 cup sugar in slow steady stream, beating until fully incorporated and stiff glossy peaks form. Add vanilla and almond extracts; beat to combine.

Remove from mixer. Gradually add flour mixture, gently but thoroughly, folding into egg-white mixture until fully combined. Pour into nonstick angel food cake pan. Tap pan on counter to remove air bubbles. Bake until cake springs back when depressed with finger, 30 to 35 minutes.
Cool, inverted, 1 hour before removing pan.

***
And, in case you's rather have DEVIL'S FOOD CAKE, here's a post with recipes! 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Blue Cheese Cheesecake with Chocolate Cookie Crust

Today is Moldy Cheese Day! Blue Cheese is about as moldy as I care to get, so to celebrate today's food holiday and fit it into the "Chocolate" theme of this blog, I'm posting a recipe for Blue Cheese Cheesecake with a Chocolate Cookie Crust.  

Chocolate and Blue Cheese go well together. I've made Blue Cheese Truffles on numerous occasions, and I love them. If this is your first foray into the combination, choose a mild creamy blue cheese. If you're not sure, ask your cheese specialist.

BLUE CHEESE CHEESECAKE WITH CHOCOLATE CRUST

Chocolate Cookie Crust

Ingredients
30 chocolate wafers (Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers-1-1/2 cups crumbs)
5 Tbsp sweet butter, melted and slightly cooled
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract

Directions
1. Process cookies in food processor until finely ground.
2. Transfer crumbs to mixing bowl & combine crumbs, butter, salt, and vanilla. Stir until crumbs are moistened.
3. Press mixture evenly across bottom of 9-inch springform pan and up sides of pan. Pack tightly so crust is even.
4. Bake in 350° oven for 6-8 minutes or until crisp.
5. Let cool completely before filling. You can put it in the refrigerator while you make the filling.

For the Cheesecake

Ingredients
1 pound cream cheese, room temperature
10 ounces Blue Cheese, room temperature (I've used Humboldt Fog)
3 eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup sour cream
2 Tbsp honey
Pinch kosher salt
Pinch cracked black pepper

Directions
1. In large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add blue cheese; beat until creamy. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Scrape bowl. Add sour cream, honey, salt and pepper. Beat until combined.
2. Pour into cooled prepared Chocolate Cookie Crust. Bake 40 to 45 minutes in a 325° oven or until set and knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool to room temperature in pan.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Chocolate Brownie Pie: Retro Ad & Recipe

I love these Retro Ads and Recipes. Betty Crocker's Chocolate Brownie Pie. "Sensational New Kind of Pie! Tastes like Chocolate Brownies!" Love the Pixie (Brownie?) waving a "Great" sign in case you were in any doubt. This ad appeared in House & Gardens, April 1953.



Saturday, October 4, 2014

Raspberry Vodka Truffles: The Russian Tea Room

Today is National Vodka Day, so Raspberry Vodka Truffles are definitely in order

I grew up in Philadelphia, and one of our favorite family outings was to take the train to New York. We'd visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art or MOMA or take in a matinee. Whatever we did, The Russian Tea Room was a 'must stop.' My memory: two little girls in white gloves in their Spring 'toppers'.. very 'vintage' dining in the elegant tea room. Even then it was a bit of a throwback. The Russian Tea Room had the most wonderful exotic food, well to me as an inexperienced omnivore at that time.

If you follow my blog, you know I collect cookbooks, usually theme cookbooks, but also cookbooks of famous places and restaurants. So here's a chocolate recipe from The Russian Tea Room Cookbook (by Faith Stewart-Gordon with Starla Smith; illustrations by Paul Cox) for Raspberry Vodka Truffles. Since there's vodka in the recipe, a disclaimer--my sister and I never had these at the Russian Tea Room. We were too young. We usually had blinis... my favorites! But, since this is a Chocolate Blog, I thought I'd share this recipe. I've made them, and they're really fabulous.. and easy!



 

Friday, October 3, 2014

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Sesame Chocolate Chip Cookies: Homemade Cookie Day!

Today is Homemade Cookie Day! What a day to celebrate. I've been meaning to post this addictive recipe for some time. I came across this recipe for Sesame Chocolate Chip Cookies on the Whole Foods recipe page and adapted it slightly. I won't say it's totally healthy, but with sesame seeds, whole wheat pastry flour, and tahini, it's on the verge. I also cut back on the sugar and chocolate chips. And who doesn't need another chocolate chip cookie recipe?

Funny, the site says that serving size is 1 larger cookie or 2 smaller cookies. I don't think so. More like 5-6 of the small ones, and at least 2 of the big ones.

SESAME CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

Ingredients
1/2 cup light brown sugar
8 Tbsp sweet butter, softened
2 Tbsp tahini
1 egg
2 tso Madagascar pure vanilla extract
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
3/4 cup dark chocolate chips (mini chips if you're making mini-cookies!)
1/2 cup sesame seeds, toasted and cooled

Directions
In large bowl, beat sugar, butter and tahini with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add egg and vanilla and beat again until combined.
In medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt, and then add to sugar mixture and beat until combined. Stir in baking chips and sesame seeds and shape dough into 4 1/2-inch-long logs, wrapping them individually in wax paper and twisting the ends. Chill until firm, 4 hours or overnight. (To help maintain their shape, arrange the dough logs in a 9x13-inch dish to chill.)
Preheat oven to 325°F. Slice each log of dough into 12 (for bigger cookies) or 24 (for smaller cookies) coins, arrange on parchment-paper-lined baking sheets about 2 inches apart and bake until golden brown around the edges, 8 to 10 minutes for smaller cookies, 10 to 12 minutes for larger cookies.
Cool.