Thursday, July 30, 2015

No Bake Chocolate Cheesecake

Today is National Cheesecake Day, and here's a fabulous easy recipe from Yvonne Ruperti at  Serious Eats for a No-Bake Chocolate Cheesecake. Perfect, especially when you don't want to turn on the oven!You'll love this cheesecake. As always, use the very best chocolate and other ingredients. Just an FYI, a no-bake cheesecake is slightly denser than a baked one...but oh so great!

NO-BAKE CHOCOLATE CHEESECAKE

Ingredients 
10 ounces chocolate cookie wafers (Nabisco Famous wafers)
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
8 Tbsp sweet butter, melted
3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp confectioners' sugar
2 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
1/4 cup sour cream
7 ounces dark chocolate (65-75%), melted
Cocoa powder for dusting

Directions
Pulse cookie crumbs and granulated sugar in food processor until fine.
Place in large bowl and toss with melted butter until moistened.
Firmly press into bottom and up sides of 8-inch springform pan.

Using mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat cream cheese and sugar on medium speed until light and creamy, about 1 minute, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary.
Reduce speed to low and mix in vanilla, sour cream, and melted chocolate until smooth.
Spoon chocolate mixture into crust and smooth top.
Chill until set, about 4 hours.
Dust with cocoa powder and let sit for 30 minutes at room temperature before serving.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Play it Cool: Chocolate Drinks!

The San Francisco Bay Area is sweltering. O.K. you may live in an area where it's 120 degrees/100 percent humidity, but here in the Bay Area, when it hits 100 degrees with 60% humidity we're fainting left and right. So I thought it was time to do a fun post which highlights two different chocolatiers and their recipes for Cool (in both senses of the word) Chocolate Drinks.

The first is from Chuao. If you haven't tried their chocolate, you're in for a treat. They have some very fun chocolate bars such as Potato Chip, Firecracker, and Rocky Road.  For this Chocolate Frappe Recipe, use Chuao Drinking Chocolate. It comes in a cute tin or a larger 5 pound bag...either Spicy Maya (which in bar form is one of my favorites) or Deluxious Dark.  I've tried this with both!
And, then today I got another recipe for Ice Ice Baby from MarieBelle New York. I have their fabulous Dark Hot Chocolate Mix, and I'm going to make this tonight. Of course, if you're in New York, they'll mix this up for you at their shop! Be sure and try truffles, bars and more! Yum!


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Milk Chocolate Cake with Milk Chocolate Frosting

Today is Milk Chocolate Day! Well, of course, you can have a cold glass of chocolate milk, but if you're feeling a bit more adventuresome, make this fabulous Milk Chocolate Cake with Milk Chocolate Frosting.  This is essentially a butter cake with three chocolate layers. Recipe was developed by Sylvia Thompson -- The Birthday Cake Book (1993).

MILK CHOCOLATE CAKE WITH MILK CHOCOLATE FROSTING


Milk Chocolate Cake

Ingredients
3 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
1/2 Tbsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tablespoon salt
6 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
1 cup water
1 cup sweet butter, softened to consistency of mayonnaise
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light-brown sugar, lumps crushed, packed
1 1/2 Tbsp Madagascar vanilla
6 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk or soured milk, room temperature
Milk Chocolate Frosting

Directions
Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in bowl.
In medium heat-proof bowl over barely simmering water, melt chocolate in water, stirring occasionally until perfectly smooth. Remove from heat.
In large mixing bowl, beat butter on medium speed until creamy. Continue beating while sprinkling in granulated and brown sugars, 1 tablespoon at time. Add vanilla and beat until very light. Add eggs one at a time, beating until thoroughly blended after each, then beat until very light and creamy. Blend in chocolate. Add flour in 3 parts by sprinkling over bowl. Alternate with buttermilk in 2 parts. Beat on lowest speed just until each addition disappears. Fold batter with large flexible rubber spatula just until thoroughly blended.
Divide batter into buttered 9-inch round cake pans with bottoms lined with wax paper. Smooth tops, then push batter slightly up against sides. Bake 2 layers on middle oven rack and 1 layer on lower oven rack at 350 degrees. Stagger so top pans are not directly over bottom pan.
Bake until wood pick emerges clean from center of cake, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool in pans on racks 15 minutes. Then turn out onto racks, top sides up, to cool completely.
Up to 6 hours before serving, set thickest layer on platter, bottoms up. Spread with 2/3 cup frosting. Repeat with second layer. Place last layer top side up. Frost top and sides. Keep cool. Do not refrigerate.

Milk Chocolate Frosting 

Ingredients
14 ounces milk chocolate
5 cups powdered sugar, sifted
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa (not Dutch-processed)
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp sweet butter
7 - 8 Tbsp milk
2 Tbsp  Madagascar vanilla

Directions
In medium heat-proof bowl over (not touching) barely simmering water, melt chocolate, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove from heat.
In food processor or mixing bowl, blend sugar and cocoa. Melt butter with 7 Tbsp milk at MEDIUM  in microwave or over low heat.
Add hot butter to sugar with chocolate and vanilla. Process or beat until smooth. Do not overprocess. If too thick, beat in remaining tablespoon hot milk. If too thin, add sugar. Spread at once.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Chocolate Cherry Bonbons: Daryl Wood Gerber

I love when my mystery and chocolate worlds collide! Today I welcome back Daryl Wood Gerber. Agatha Award-winning and nationally bestselling author DARYL WOOD GERBER writes the Cookbook Nook Mysteries, set in the fictional coastal town of Crystal Cove, California. As AVERY AAMES, she also writes the Cheese Shop Mysteries, set in quaint Providence, Ohio. Fun tidbit: as an actress, Daryl appeared in “Murder, She Wrote”. She is married, loves to cook, and has a darling, frisky Goldendoodle named Sparky. Visit Daryl or Avery at www.darylwoodgerber.com.

Giveaway: Comment below about your favorite chocolate or favorite chocolate cookbook to win a copy of Fudging the Books by Daryl Wood Gerber. Comments must be posted by July 31. Be sure and post your email address. Winner picked from random generated number.

Daryl Wood Gerber:
Chocolate Cherry Bonbons 

In the opening chapter of FUDGING THE BOOKS, there is a mention of chocolate cherry bonbons. One of my fans read the excerpt I posted on my website and said, “Boy, I hope that recipe is in the book.” Well, it’s not, but it’s right here! I thought that this blog would be the perfect place to share it first, pre-release of FUDGING THE BOOKS.

When I write A Cookbook Nook Mystery, I try to include all sorts of delectable cookbook titles and food. After all, foodies are my readers. However, I must admit that sometimes I dream up menus and foods because that’s what I want to eat at the time, and I don’t have all the recipes. It’s sort of a wish list. Uh-oh. I have now learned that I had better have a good idea of what goes into each recipe because fans want to know how to make them! In fact, when I wrote the very first Cheese Shop Mystery, a fan asked for a copy of my five-cheese mac ‘n cheese recipe. I whipped that baby up in a matter of an hour and shared it with her, and it went viral. I hope this bonbon recipe will go viral, too.

It’s so easy. Just a few steps. Which means my protagonist Jenna Hart, an avid reader, foodie, and former ad executive who has come home to Crystal Cove to help her aunt open a culinary bookshop and café, can make them. See, Jenna isn’t much of a cook—her mother did all the cooking when she was growing up—but she’s learning, one easy recipe at a time.

I hope you’ll join her on her journey as she settles into Crystal Cove. She’s learning how to cook while solving a few crimes along the way.

CHOCOLATE CHERRY BONBONS 

Ingredients: 
1-5 oz. bag dried cherries
3 Tbsp chocolate chips
1 Tbsp cocoa
1Tbsp milk
2 Tbsp coconut flour extra cocoa for coating (about 4 Tbsp)

Directions:
Put all the ingredients into a food processor. Process for about 1 minute. It will still appear that there are hard “chocolate chip” chunks in the mixture, but when you scoop out the mixture, it will be a sticky paste. That’s good.
Roll the mixture into 10-12 walnut-sized balls and set them on parchment paper. Remember to smooth them by rolling between your palms.
Then put the extra cocoa into a shallow bowl, and roll each ball in the cocoa. Shake off the excess cocoa.
Note: This can get messy, but it’s fun! You can eat these right away, or set them into the refrigerator to let them get firm. They'll keep in the refrigerator for at least a week, maybe more…if you can resist!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

S'mores Martinis

Summer is the perfect time for a S'mores Martini. Three Olives actually makes a S'mores Vodka. You can drink it straight up, or here are two recipes for S'mores Martinis from Three Olives. What a great way to drink your S'mores!


Inspired by the classic vodka martini served with a garnish of olives, Three Olives launched as a non-flavored vodka brand in 1998 and became a pioneer of the flavored-vodka market when it introduced the first-ever cherry and grape varieties in 2001. The super-premium vodka brand now offers over 20 different flavors that have fueled a three-fold increase in sales to nearly 1.5 million cases from half a million. As implied by the brand’s popular flavors - Cake, Bubble, Dude and S’mores - Three Olives delivers one-of-a-kind drinks that appeal to polished individuals who revel in their uniqueness; they are clever, witty, and loath to take themselves too seriously. 

Thanks to Three Olives for the following recipes and photos!

Campfire Martini
3 parts Three Olives S'mores Vodka
Crushed graham crackers, chocolate syrup, marshmallows

Dip rim of martini glass in chocolate syrup and coat with crushed graham crackers.
Pour Three Olives S'mores into martini shaker filled with ice.
Shake and strain into martini glass.
Garnish with a skewer of three toasted marshmallows!

S'mores Sea Salt Martini
2 parts Three Olives S'mores Vodka
2 parts half & half
Sea salt
Chocolate syrup

Dip rim of martini glass in chocolate syrup and coat with sea salt.
Drizzle chocolate syrup inside martini glass.
Pour Three Olives S'mores and half & half into martini shaker filled with ice.
Shake and strain into martini glass!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Hot Fudge Sundae Sauce & Hot Fudge Sundae Cake!

Today is National Hot Fudge Sundae Day!

The classic Hot Fudge Sundae is a creation of vanilla ice cream, hot chocolate sauce ("hot fudge"), whipped cream, nuts, and a single maraschino cherry on top. A Hot Fudge Sundae can be made with any flavor of ice cream, but vanilla is preferred!

There are lots of theories about the origins of the Hot Fudge Sundae. According to Wikipedia, a frequent theme is that the dish arose in contravention to so-called blue laws against Sunday consumption of either ice cream or ice cream soda (the latter invented by Robert M. Green in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1874). The religious laws are said to have led druggists to produce a substitute for these popular treats for consumption on Sunday. According to this theory of the name's origin, the spelling was changed to sundae to avoid offending religious conventions. Since I grew up in Philadelphia, I remember the Blue Laws, although at that time they pertained to alcohol and not ice cream.

In support of this idea, Peter Bird wrote in The First Food Empire: A History of J. Lyons and Co. (2000) that the name 'sundae' was adopted as a result of Illinois state's early prohibition of ice cream consumption on Sundays, because ice cream with a topping that obscured the main product was not deemed to be ice cream. However, according to documentation published by the Evanston, Illinois Public Library, it was the drinking of soda, not the eating of ice cream, that was outlawed on Sundays in Illinois.

There are lots of fabulous Fudge Sauces out there from great chocolatiers, but if you want to make your own, here's a delicious recipe for Hot Fudge Sauce! As in most recipes, it's the quality of the ingredients that makes all the difference!

HOT FUDGE SUNDAE SAUCE 

Ingredients
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
 6 oz dark chocolate (65-75% cacao), chopped
2 Tbsp sweet butter  (room temperature)
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla

Directions
Bring cream, corn syrup, sugar, cocoa, salt, and half of chocolate to boil in saucepan over moderate heat, stirring, until chocolate is melted.
Reduce heat and cook at low boil, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes, then remove from heat.
Add butter, vanilla, and remaining chocolate and stir until smooth.
Cool sauce to warm before serving.

Hot Fudge Sundae Cake is a great variation on this traditional treat, and it can be made in a pan in the oven or in a Slow Cooker. See recipe HERE.

Check out the recipe adapted from Betty Crocker for Hot Fudge Sundae Cake in a pan. It's an easy one bowl/pan recipe. What's especially delicious about this cake is that as the cake bakes it separates into a chocolate cake and a dark fudgy sauce. Now that's what Hot Fudge Sundaes are all about! Add the ice cream and you're all set.

Hot Fudge Sundae Cake

Ingredients
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp DARK unsweetened cocoa
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened DARK cocoa
1 3/4 cups very hot water

Vanilla Ice cream

Directions
Set oven to 350ºF.
Mix flour, granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons cocoa, baking powder,  and salt in ungreased square pan, 9 x 9 x 2 inches. Mix in milk, oil and vanilla with fork until smooth. Stir in nuts. Spread in pan.
Sprinkle brown sugar and 1/4 cup cocoa over batter. Pour water over batter.
Bake about 40 minutes or until top is dry.
Spoon warm cake into dessert dishes. Top with ice cream. Spoon sauce from pan onto each serving.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Chocolate Tequila Cocktails: National Tequila Day!

Tequila is a versatile liquor that goes well in lots of beverages. It even goes well in truffles. See my recipe for Tequila Truffles HERE.

Since today is National Tequila Day, I thought I'd post some recipes using Tanteo Cocoa Tequila. Yes, you can make drinks with tequila and your own chocolate liqueur, but Tanteo Cocoa Tequila is a chocolate-infused Tequila that's delicious. It's made with 100% agave blanco tequila and infused with cocoa beans and jalapeño. I love the extra kick of the jalapeño, and the chocolate blends well with the natural agave. Tanteo Cocoa Tequila isn't overly sweet, either, so it's quite the grown-up chocolate drink! These Chocolate Tequila Cocktail recipes are from the Tanteo website.

COCOA ROSALITA
1-1⁄4 oz Tanteo Cocoa Tequila
3/4 oz Sweet Vermouth
3/4 oz Campari
1 Drop Mole Bitters

Add ingredients into an ice filled mixing glass
Stir and strain into a Champagne coupe glass
Garnish with a flamed orange zest

BLACK SOMBRERO
1-1/2 oz Tanteo Cocoa Tequila
1/2 oz Kahlua
2 oz Club Soda
lime wedge for garnish

Combine the tequila and Kahlua in a cocktail shaker filled with ice
Shake well
Pour everything into a rocks glass
Top with club soda
Garnish with a lime wedge

Have a Great Tequila Day!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Penuche, Brown Sugar, Creamy Praline, or New England Fudge

Yesterday was Penuche Fudge Day. This tasty fudge is sometimes called Penuche Fudge, sometimes Brown Sugar Fudge, Creamy Praline Fudge, New England Fudge or even Sucre a la Creme (in Canada)! Whatever you call it, it's fabulous.

Historically, Penuche Fudge has been attributed to New England (New England Fudge) as well as some places in the South (Creamy Praline), but there are many variations in nearly every part of the world. Milk is usually boiled down to thick fudge and brown sugar is then added to it to create the distinctive butterscotch taste. The dish is very similar to Mexican Cajeta which is also a kind of sweetened thickened goat’s milk with the same dull brown color of penuche. There are also many Indian versions of the same dish using thickened milk called as peda or milk fudge burfi. The only difference between the different regional variations is the thickness of the eventual dish. Cajeta is liquidy and can be used a as a spread, while penuche is semi-soft like a fudge and pedas or milk burfis are stiffer. But the basic ingredients, penuche fudge recipe and preparation process are the same. Dulde du leche is another very popular version where condensed milk is thickened with hours of cooking resulting in a thick paste. Different versions of this dish are very popular all over Latin America and France even though they are given different names.

O.K. I meant to mention that there's no chocolate in Penuche Fudge. So if you want Chocolate Fudge, check out my National Fudge Day Recipe Round-Up!

Penuche Fudge

Ingredients
4 cups brown sugar
1 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp sweet butter
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla
1-2/3 cups chopped pecans

Directions
Combine brown sugar, cream, and butter in medium saucepan. Stir until dissolved. Heat to between 234 and 240 degrees F.
Remove from heat and stir until mixture loses its gloss (or process in food processor 30 seconds) Quickly stir in vanilla and nuts and spread into 9x9 inch dish.
Chill before cutting into squares.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

S'mores Oreos and a Recipe for S'moreos!

Nabisco has been adding different flavors to their Oreo line-up for years, usually seasonal, around the holidays--Halloween Oreos, Christmas Oreos, Valentine's Day (Red Velvet Oreos), etc. Of course there are Vanilla Oreos, but that seems to defeat the purpose. Some of the flavors work and some don't, but I think you'll find these do!

To the delight of S'mores and Oreo Lovers every where, Nabisco has produced S'mores Oreos. These new Oreos are like camping in the woods without the bugs. You can eat them straight out of the bag. The cookie is not chocolate! It's a graham cracker cookie, and instead of the usual creme filling, there's chocolate-marshmallow creme. These cookies are not too sweet, either. They're just right. If you like S'mores, you'll want to try these!

Want to make your own S'moreos? These are a real variation on Traditional S'mores.

S'MOREOS

Ingredients
Double-Stuffed Oreos
Large marshmallows, cut in half
Hershey bar

Directions
Twist Oreo apart so top and bottom are separated. Put filling side up and put 1 Hershey's rectangle on top. Add 1/2 large marshmallow. Top with remaining Oreo half.
Put on microwave safe plate and microwave on high for 15-20 seconds.
If top half of Oreo falls off, just put it back on top after removing from microwave.



Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Chocolate, Yes. Gluten, No. Cookies & Muffins

I love when my mystery and chocolate worlds cross. Today I welcome mystery author and chocolate lover Wendy Hornsby.

Wendy Hornsby:
Chocolate, Yes. Gluten, No.

When my daughter was found to be gluten intolerant, I began experimenting with gluten-free cooking. For some dishes, like the Sacher torte I adapted from the dyingforchocolate.com site for our Christmas dinner, simply substituting gluten-free multi-purpose flour for wheat flour works famously. But that isn’t always the case. I think that the biggest issues involve replicating the mouth feel and texture of some favorite foods. For my Aly, I wanted to make a good, rich, homemade cookie that was crunchy without being hard. The flourless peanut butter chocolate chip recipe below is easy, delicious, crisp, and completely gluten free.

Gluten Free Chocolate Surprise Peanut Butter Cookies 

Yield: about 18 -3” cookies
Preheat oven to 350.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Ingredients
1 egg
¾ cup sugar
1 tsp. gluten free vanilla
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. baking soda
1 cup fresh peanut butter*
¼ cup gluten free chocolate chips or chunks

*Peanut butter note: use fresh or homemade peanut butter only, not the bottled kind because you never know what has been used as emulsifiers (same comment for vanilla and chocolate). The only ingredient should be roasted peanuts. If salt has been added, eliminate salt from the recipe. Usually, fresh peanut butter can be found in the deli or produce section of your market (comes in a plastic container like potato salad). Or make it yourself in the blender.

Method 
Beat together egg, sugar, and vanilla until the mixture is foamy and pale yellow. Add salt, baking powder and soda, beat well. Add peanut butter. Mix until well incorporated. Form dough into balls about the size of ping pong balls. With a finger, make a dent in the centers, press about 4 chocolate chips into the dent and form dough around them, hiding the chips in the center. Place on lined baking sheet. Dip the tines of a fork in sugar and with the back of the fork, press hatch marks into the dough until cookie is about ¾ inch thick. Cookies don’t rise or spread very much.
Bake for 11 minutes, or until cookie bottom just begins to brown.

P.S. I tried mixing chocolate chips into the dough, but had more success hiding them in the center. Everyone likes a surprise, and what better surprise than some unexpected chocolate?

While we’re on the subject of gluten-free eats, it’s important to remember that, generally, gluten-free flours and gluten substitutes that make baked goods palatable have precious little nutritional value. When you’re making treats like a Sacher torte or cookies, who cares? But when my daughter was a new mother, and especially when maternity leave was over and she had to go back to work, having nutritious gluten-free grab-and-go food on hand was a problem.

Aly has always loved good muffins. I experimented until I had an easy muffin base that could be adapted to incorporate all sorts of good, wholesome ingredients. Admittedly, the recipe below for Chocolate, Chocolate Chip, Banana Nut Muffins verges on the treat category, but they were very popular with a pair of young, very tired parents. Every week or ten days, I would make a couple of muffin variations and ship them off, or, better still, deliver them in person.

Gluten-free Chocolate, Chocolate Chip, Banana Nut Muffins 

Yield 12-14 muffins
Line muffin cups
Pre-heat oven to 350

Ingredients 
2 eggs, beaten ½ cup soft butter (or canola oil for dairy free version)
 ½ cup plus 2 Tbs. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 ½ cups mashed ripe banana
¼ cup unsweetened apple sauce (optional)
1 cup chopped walnuts, pecans or lightly toasted almonds
¾ cup (or more) dark gluten-free chocolate chips or chunks
1 tsp. plus generous pinch baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
1 ½ cup gluten-free all purpose flour (I have success with Namaste brand, but there are several to try) 1 tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. nutmeg
¾ cup gluten free cocoa powder (e.g. Trader Joe’s)

Method 
In a large bowl, cream together beaten egg, butter, sugar, and vanilla until fluffy. Gently stir in mashed banana, apple sauce, chopped nuts, chocolate chips. In a large bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, dry seasonings, and salt. Add to wet ingredients above and stir by hand just until all ingredients are incorporated. Distribute into lined muffin cups and bake until toothpick comes out clean, about 25 min.

For a very good variation, instead of mashed banana, cocoa powder and chocolate chips, use 1 ½ cups (total) grated zucchini and/or carrots and ½ cup unsweetened applesauce. Keep the chopped walnuts. Prepare as above.

Monday, July 20, 2015

CHOCOLATE LOLLIPOPS: Lollipop Day!

Today is National Lollipop Day! Lollipops are usually made of hardened, flavored sucrose and corn syrup on a stick, but lollipops come in all kinds of sizes, flavors and textures. The story goes that the first lollipops were invented during the Civil War, but others believe they were already around in the early 1800s. George Smith claimed to be he first to invent the modern style lollipop in 1909, and he trademarked the name in 1931. He named them after a racing horse: Lolly Pop! But actually the name was around since 1794 and referred to soft, rather than hard candy. That's great because that's the recipe I have for you today!

My favorite lollipop? Tootsie Roll Pops!  I posted about Tootsie Roll Pops, including recipes for Tootsie Roll Pop Cocktails last year! This year I'm posting about a less traditional lollipop--a Chocolate Lollipop that you can either lick or bite into!

This is an easy recipe to make with the kids, too! Adapted from Kraft Recipes, these are actually called Sweetheart Chocolate Lollipops! As always feel free to substitute the very best chocolate and other ingredients.

SWEETHEART CHOCOLATE LOLLIPOPS

Ingredients
4 ounces very dark chocolate
3/4 cup sweet butter
1 3/4 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla
2 cups flour
4 ounces white chocolate
Assorted sprinkles

Directions
1. PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Microwave chocolate and butter in large microwaveable bowl on HIGH 2 min. or until butter is melted (or melt in a double boiler). Stir until chocolate is completely melted and mixture is well blended. Add sugar; mix well. Blend in eggs and vanilla. Add flour; mix well. Cover. Refrigerate 1 hour or until dough is stiff.

2. SHAPE dough into 2-inch balls; insert lollipop stick into each ball. Place, 2 inches apart, on greased baking sheets.

3. BAKE 8 min. or just until set. (Do not overbake.) Let stand on baking sheet 1 min.; transfer to wire racks. Cool completely. Drizzle with white chocolate; decorate with sprinkles (if you feel like it). Let stand until chocolate is firm.

Makes about 30 Lollipops!

A Tip from Kraft: How to Melt and Drizzle Chocolate

Coarsely chop white chocolate; place in microwaveable bowl. Microwave on MEDIUM (50%) 2 min. or until chocolate is almost melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Dip fork into chocolate, then use to drizzle chocolate over pops. Let stand until chocolate is firm.

Photo: Kraft (with chocolate heart sprinkles)

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Ben & Jerry's Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream

Photo: Ben & Jerry's Cookie Dough Ice Cream
Ever wonder about the history of Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream? It's one of my favorites. Everyone loves Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, and with great vanilla ice cream. Well, yum!

Here's Ben & Jerry's history of the invention of this great flavor:

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream:

Inspired by an Anonymous Fan in 1984 Way back in the early days of our first Scoop Shop in Burlington, Vermont, we had a bulletin board where people could suggest new flavors for Jerry and Ben to make. As the ideas flowed in, an anonymous flavor idea stood out. 

It seems like such a no-brainer now, but back then it was revolutionary. What if you put big chunks of chocolate chip cookie dough into vanilla ice cream?

One of the everlasting temptations of baking cookies is sneaking a bite or two of the dough. Sometimes it’s hard for the baker to get the dough onto the pan, since cookie dough is really tasty before it even hits the oven. 

The folks at the Scoop Shop went to work mixing up a batch of Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. It was an instant hit.

Read more HERE.

National Ice Cream Day: Ice Cream Sandwiches

Photo: Pepperidge Farm
Today is National Ice Cream Day, and what a beautiful hot day to celebrate! It's rare we have heat in the Bay Area, so this is perfect. I picked up some Three Twins Bittersweet Chocolate yesterday, so today to celebrate I'm going to make Ice Cream Sandwiches. I'll use Pepperidge Farm Cookies. They're the perfect size! I can't decide if I'm going to use Sausalito Milk Chocolate Macadamia, Nantucket Dark Chocolate Chip or Montauk Soft Baked Milk Chocolate Chip. Maybe a mix of different ones?

Just select the cookie of your choice as the base, layer on softened chocolate ice cream, put a cookie on top, roll in sprinkles or chocolate chips, and you're good to go!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Sea Salt and Thyme Chocolate Chunk Cookies

You can never have too many Chocolate Chip Cookie recipes! I've posted a recipe for Rosemary Chocolate Chip Cookies, so why not Thyme Chocolate Chunk Cookies? I have several different types of thyme growing in my herb garden, so I was glad to chance upon a recipe for Sea Salt and Thyme Chocolate Chunk Cookies at Pass the Sushi which was adapted from Desserts for Breakfast. The recipe uses chocolate chunks, but if you only have chocolate chips, that's fine, too.

SEA SALT AND THYME CHOCOLATE CHUNK COOKIES

Ingredients
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt
2 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
1 cup sweet butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups dark chocolate chunks or chips
1/2 tsp sea salt, coarsely ground

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Line baking sheets with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
In medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, kosher salt, and thyme leaves. Set aside.
In bowl of stand mixer, cream butter and sugars together. Add vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, scraping down sides as needed.
In three batches, combine flour mixture until combined.
Remove bowl from mixer and fold in chocolate chunks.
Using small ice cream scoop or two spoons, scoop out tablespoon size portions of cookie dough onto sheets.
Sprinkle with sea salt.
Bake 9-11 minutes until golden brown.
Cool for 5 minutes on sheet before transferring and cooling completely on a wire rack.

Hint: The thyme flavor is mild right out of the oven. Give it a day or so and the thyme really comes through.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Congo Squares: Retro Ad & Recipe

Love this Retro Ad & Recipe for Congo Squares aka Blondies or Blond Brownies. As always, you can never have too many recipes! Congo Squares or Bars, by the way, have nothing to do with Africa. There's nothing like it in any African country that I know of...and you can't even grow wheat in Central Africa. So why are they called Congo Squares? Who knows.. maybe because of the exotic ingredients (chocolate, cocoanut, nuts) which might come from Africa? I also read somewhere that these originated in the Southeast (US). There was a plaza in New Orleans called Congo Square which in the early 19th century was a gathering place for both free and enslaved African-Americans who met for marketing, music-making and dancing... probably not the connection, but a possibility. Whatever the origin, this is a great treat for the weekend!  This Nestle ad is from 1949 and doesn't include the cocoanut, but throw some toasted cocoanut in.







Thursday, July 16, 2015

S'MORES TRUFFLES

Photo: CenterCutCook
Summer is S'mores time, and as much as I love S'mores on the Grill, sometimes I like to plan and make a different version of S'mores ahead if tune. I do a S'mores Round-Up on National S'mores Day, but want to add a new favorite recipe before the next holiday round-up on August 10! I found this one  on food.allwomenstalk.com. Original recipe from CenterCutCook. There were lots of other recipes, but this is so easy and so yummy. As always, the quality of your chocolate will make a difference. I use dark chocolate from different purveyors, but then I always have extra chocolate around. I love to change it  up.

S'mores Truffles

Ingredients
10 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 to 1 - 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
30-35 mini marshmallows

Directions
Pour heavy cream into sauce pan over medium heat. Heat heavy cream until scalded. Remove heavy cream from stove right before it starts to boil. Pour it into large bowl. To bowl of heavy cream, add chocolate chips (or chopped chocolate) and allow to sit for a few minutes. The warm cream will begin to melt the chocolate chips.
Use whisk to combine chocolate into the heavy cream. Whisk until well combined. Place mixture in refrigerator for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Pour graham cracker crumbs into shallow dish.
When chocolate mixture has thickened to pudding consistency, begin formingtruffles. Use 1 tablespoon scoop (cookie dough scoop or melon baller) to create each truffle. Press mini marshmallow into the center of each truffle, then use hands to cover marshmallow with chocolate. This is a messy process.
Drop truffle intopan of graham cracker crumbs, and completely coat the truffle. After you’ve coated all truffles, repeat process so each truffle has been coated twice with graham cracker crumbs.
Put truffles in refrigerator for about 30 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Brownies in a Mug

Photo: Food Network. Brownie in a Mug
Do you ever find yourself wanting some chocolate at the end of the day or in the middle of the night? Have you ever made chocolate cake in a mug? Here's another 'in a mug' recipe for fool-proof Brownie in a Mug. You probably have all the ingredients. Be sure and sift the first three ... if not you'll have a lumpy end product, and not the brownie you're craving. Recipe from Ryan Scott from a segment on Rachel Ray of the Food Network.

BROWNIES IN A MUG

Ingredients
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp olive oil (one that’s not too strong is better, make sure it's fresh)
1-1/2 Tbsp water, at room temp
1 egg

Directions
Sift together sugar, flour, and cocoa powder. Add salt. Mix together olive oil, water and egg. Fold dry ingredients into wet. Pour into mug and microwave for 2 minutes (no peeking!!)

How easy is this? Grab a book, and you're good to go!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Bastille Day: Julia Child's Crepes Video

Bastille Day! What better way to celebrate than watching The French Chef, Julia Child, make crepes!

Monday, July 13, 2015

TOLLHOUSE CHOCOLATE CHIP PIE: Retro Ad & Recipe

Let's face it, there's nothing like Tollhouse Cookies aka Chocolate Chip Cookies. Well here's a wonderful Retro Recipe & Ad for Tollhouse Pie from Nestle circa 1985. The top of the pie is crispy like a crispy chocolate chip cookie, and the inside reminds me slightly of cookie dough. The marriage of two great tastes.


TOLLHOUSE CHOCOLATE CHIP PIE

Ingredients
1 unbaked 9-inch (4-cup volume) deep-dish pie shell *
2 large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup (6 oz.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels (or whatever chocolate chips you like best)
1 cup chopped nuts
Sweetened whipped cream or ice cream (optional)

Directions
PREHEAT oven to 325° F.
BEAT eggs in large mixer bowl on high speed until foamy. Beat in flour, granulated sugar and brown sugar. Beat in butter. Stir in morsels and nuts. Spoon into pie shell.
BAKE for 55 to 60 minutes or until knife inserted halfway between edge and center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack. Serve warm with whipped cream, if desired.

* If using frozen pie shell, use deep-dish style, thawed completely. Bake on baking sheet; increase baking time slightly.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

White Chocolate Blueberry Muffins

Yesterday was Blueberry Muffin Day, and I totally forgot to post this. It's never too late, though, for a good Blueberry Muffin recipe.

There's nothing quite like a muffin. It's not a scone, it's not a cupcake. For me, a really good muffin should have all the best parts of these baked goods--crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. It's about texture, and, of course, about taste.

Last year on Blueberry Muffin Day, I posted two recipes for Blueberry Chocolate Muffins. One is with chocolate chunks and the other is actually a chocolate muffin with blueberries. They're both great and easy.

This year, I thought I'd post a recipe for White Chocolate Blueberry Muffins. You can always substitute chocolate chips or chocolate chunks in this recipe, but give it a try with white chocolate chips. Blueberries are high in antioxidants, but white chocolate, not so much. So if you're going for very high antioxidants, use dark chocolate.

WHITE CHOCOLATE BLUEBERRY MUFFINS

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries

Directions
1 Preheat oven to 375.
2 Grease muffin pan or use paper liners.
3 Combine flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt in large bowl.
4 Stir in milk, egg, and butter.
5 Stir in 1-1/2 cups white chocolate chips and blueberries.
6 Spoon into prepared pan, filling almost full.
7 Bake for 25-30 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
8 Cool in pans for 5 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool.

You can do a Streusel topping for these, but I think they're already sweet enough. If you do want to top them, sprinkle streusel topping on muffins on top of batter in pans just before baking.

Streusel: 1/3 cup sugar, 1/4 cup flour, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 3 Tbsp butter. Combine sugar, flour & cinnamon in bowl. Cut in butter with pastry blender until mixure resembles course crumbs--but you can use any good streusel.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Chocolate Sugar Cookie Day: 2 Recipes

For me there's nothing quite like a sugar cookie, and if you add chocolate it's even better! The following recipe is terrific. Perfect every time! The resulting Chocolate Sugar Cookie is perfect for today's holiday: National Sugar Cookie Day! FYI; the first cookie is chewy.

And, since you can never have too many chocolate cookie recipes, the second recipe is for a variation -- Chocolate Caramel Sugar Cookies! This easy recipe is adapted from Kraft.

1. CHOCOLATE SUGAR COOKIES

Ingredients
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1-1/2 cups plus 2 Tbsp flour
3/4 cup unsweetened DARK cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
14 Tbsp sweet butter
1-3/4 cups dark brown sugar (packed)
1 Tbsp Madagascar vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In shallow bowl, put granulated sugar on a plate. Set aside.
In bowl, stir together flour, cocoa, baking soda and baking powder.
In large bowl, melt 10 Tbsp butter in microwave. Do not overheat; microwave butter until just melted. Stir in remaining 4 Tbsp butter until melted. Allow butter to cool for 10-15 minutes.
Whisk brown sugar, vanilla and salt into melted butter until  smooth. Whisk in egg and egg yolk until smooth. Stir in flour mixture until just combined.
Roll dough into balls -- 2 Tbsp for each cookie. Roll balls in white sugar and place on lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheets.
Flatten cookies to 1/4-inch thick.
Sprinkle cookies with more white sugar.
Bake 12-14 minutes. Don't overbake.
Transfer to wire rack to cool.

This second cookie recipe is for Chocolate Caramel Sugar Cookies! This easy recipe is adapted from Kraft. Feel free to use Kraft products such as the caramels and Planters Pecans-- or use other caramels and nuts.

2. CHOCOLATE CARAMEL SUGAR COOKIES

Ingredients
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
4 ounces very dark chocolate, chopped
1 cup butter
3/4 cups sugar, divided
1 egg
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla
1/2 cup chopped Planter Pecans
14 ounces KRAFT caramels
2 Tbsp milk

Directions
Mix flour, baking soda and salt; set aside. Microwave chocolate and butter in large microwaveable bowl on High for 2 minutes or until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Add 1 cup sugar, egg, and vanilla; mix well. Stir in flour mixture until well blended.
Refrigerate 15 minutes or until dough is easy to handle.
Heat oven to 375°F.
Shape dough into 1-inch balls; roll in 1/2 cup chopped Pecans.
Place, 2 inches apart, on baking sheets. Make indentation in each ball.
Bake 8 to 10 min. or until centers are set.
Microwave 1 package Kraft Caramels with 2 Tbsp milk in microwaveable bowl on High for 3 minutes or until caramels are melted..stirring after 2 minutes.
Spoon into centers of cookies.
(Drizzle with extra melted chocolate, if you feel inclined)
Cool on baking sheets 1 minute.
Remove to wire racks; cool completely.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

2015 International Chocolate Salon Luxury Caramel Awards

Luxe Chocolat Bees Knees
I was a judge at the International Chocolate Salon Luxury Caramel Tasting a few weeks ago. I know, it's a hard job, but someone has to do it.

The choices were outstanding. So many varieties--in taste, shape, packaging and design! So hard to choose. I was glad there was a panel of judges with different tastes and qualifications. Here are the winners! You'll want to taste all these caramels yourself. Set up your own tasting!



Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Grammy Shield's Chocolate Cake

Because you can never have too many recipes for Chocolate Cake,  I welcome back Carleen M. Loper with a guest post with a fabulous chocolate cake recipe. Carleen is an Assistant Librarian at Bridgewater State University (MA). She writes humor and nature essays, as well as being a supporter of environmental causes and baking up a storm.

Carleen M. Loper: A New Tradition

My friend Joanna has the most beautiful, big brown eyes and when we were discussing cake baking those eyes got as large as chocolate saucers and she said “ohhhhhhh…you have to make my grandmother’s chocolate cake.”

To be honest, I didn’t really think anything could top Duncan Hines. (Yes. True.)  I do lots of baking, but when it comes to chocolate layer cake I didn’t even bother looking for recipes. The birthday tradition in my house growing up was the box cake, and I think the memory was as important as the taste. This recipe from Joanna has shifted my priorities. Memories are fine, but life, after all, is really about new experiences, right?

Some people may cringe at the amount of coffee. (I did, and I love all things mocha). Joanna insisted you wouldn’t taste it. Like other chocolate recipes, it simply highlights and deepens the chocolate flavor. “Really? Even with THAT much coffee?” Yes, really. Trust Grammy.

When I told Joanna I was sharing the recipe on Janet’s blog, I asked her for a little background information about her grandmother to share. Jeanne Shields loved throwing cocktail parties, went to art school, and was an avid gardener and seamstress. She had four children, lived in the same home in Mt. Penn, PA for over 50 years, and she was one hell of a baker.

I used a standard chocolate buttercream for the frosting. Joanna prefers a cream cheese frosting for a bit of tang. I love strawberries and chocolate, so that addition to the top of the cake is how I made the recipe my own for my birthday celebration this year.

Grammy Shield’s Chocolate Cake

Jeanne "Grammy" Shields
Ingredients
3 cups flour
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
4 eggs
1 cup oil
2 1/4 cups hot coffee

Directions
Mix the eggs, sugar, and oil in a large bowl
In a separate bowl whisk the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt
Take about a cup of the flour mixture and pour into a separate bowl with a cup of the coffee, mix
Add the flour/coffee mixture to the egg mixture and stir
Add the remaining flour mixture
Mix in the remaining coffee
(Batter will be very thin)
2 9" pans/buttered
Bake 30-35 minutes at 350
Cool in pans on rack 10 minutes, then remove from pans/completely cool before frosting

When Carleen and Joanna aren't discussing recipes or perusing cookbooks, they work together at the Bridgewater State University library.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

CHOCOLATE-DIPPED FROZEN BANANA POPS

Photo: TAZA
I'm a huge fan of TAZA Chocolate. There's always a round (bar) or two of Taza Mexicano in my desk! As I've mentioned on this blog in the past, brand websites and blogs are often a great resource for recipes. Taza's blog is filled with many--all using their great chocolate. Taza Chocolate is stone ground, so it has a special mouth-feel. Of course, there are all kinds of flavors, special origin and percents of cacao products, too!

For summer you'll love these easy to make/easy to eat Taza-Dipped Frozen Banana Pops--recipe from the Taza Blog!

CHOCOLATE-DIPPED FROZEN BANANA POPS

Ingredients
6 medium bananas, with peels on
2 bars (6 oz.) Taza Dominican 60% Dark Chocolate
approximately 1 cup each of 2 or 3 assorted toppings, e.g. chopped nuts, flaked coconut, or Taza Roasted Cacao Nibs
2 tsp vanilla extract
12 popsicle sticks

Directions
Cut unpeeled bananas in half width-wise, and stick on to popsicle sticks (keep peel on while you do this)
After cutting and sticking all bananas, take off peels and place bananas on parchment lined cookie sheet and place in freezer for about 90 minutes.
While bananas are freezing, prepare toppings as needed.  (roasted salted peanuts, roughly chopped; flaked coconut (toasted lightly in pan); and Taza Roasted Cacao Nibs (no prep needed!).
Place prepared toppings on separate shallow plates, then coarsely chop chocolate and melt slowly in heavy-bottomed pot on stove-top, over low heat, stirring often to avoid clumps and burning.
Line baking sheet or platter with parchment paper to place banana pops on after dipping.
Once chocolate is smooth and lump-free, remove from heat. Take frozen banana pops out of freezer and dip, then roll immediately in topping of your choice! It gets messy, so set them on parchment-lined baking sheet or platter.
After all bananas have been coated and topped, place back in freezer for 30 minutes for chocolate to harden.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Oreo Makeover: New "Thins" don't twist!

Really, Oreo?

From The Associated Press:


Oreos are getting a skinny new look, and the cookie maker says the new treat is a "sophisticated" snack for grown-ups that isn't meant to be twisted or dunked.

 
 
 
  
Mondelez International Inc. says it will add "Oreo Thins" to its permanent lineup in the U.S. starting next week. The cookies look like regular Oreos and have a similar cookie-to-filling ratio except that they're slimmer. That means four of the cookies contain 140 calories, compared with 160 calories for three regular Oreos.


And since they're for adults, Oreo says they weren't designed to be twisted open or dunked. That's even though about half of customers pull apart regular Oreos before eating them, according to the company. 

Read more here. 

Why?????


No Bake Strawberry Chocolate Tart Recipe

This No Bake Strawberry Chocolate Tart was my favorite  chocolate recipe discovery this past Spring. I think Judy Bobalik first posted the link for this No Bake Strawberry Chocolate Tart Recipe by Home Cooking Adventure. What an easy recipe and clear video! You'll love this!

As always, use the very best chocolate! I've also substituted raspberries for strawberries. I'm a bit of a purist, so I don't add nuts. I have, though, sprinkled the tart with Fleur de Sel (sea salt).


Saturday, July 4, 2015

S'mores Brownies


What's Fourth of July without S'mores? Well, you know I'm always looking for a new s'mores recipes -- for truffles, for cakes, for drinks...whatever. I've posted several recipes for S'mores Brownies, but this is my new favorite! You'll love these. If you're making these today for Independence Day, consider adding Patriotic Peeps instead of traditional marshmallows. These Smores Brownies are perfect for the Fourth of July or anytime!!!

S'mores Brownies

Ingredients
3/4 cup sweet butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsweetened DARK cocoa powder
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
Graham Crackers  
4 Hershey bars
5 ounces marshmallows (regular or mini)

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 F°. Grease an 8 inch square pan.
In large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla, eggs and sugar until combined. Mix in cocoa powder, flour, baking powder and salt until well blended.
Pour half batter into pan.
Layer graham crackers side by side over the top of the brownie batter until completely covered.
Put layer of Hershey’s chocolate bars side by side over graham crackers.
Place marshmallows over chocolate bars.
Pour remaining batter evenly over marshmallows, spreading with a spatula if necessary.
Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes.
Cool before cutting.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Red Velvet Blueberry Whoopie Pies for Fourth of July!

Photo: US Highbush Blueberry Council
I always say you should check out food sites and associations for creative recipes! This recipe for Red Velvet Blueberry Whoopie Pies from the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council is perfect for Fourth of July, Labor Day, Memorial Day...or just about any time. And, you can always change it up by using a chocolate cake mix instead of red velvet. The recipe calls for a mix--very easy--but if you're a purist, you can always use your favorite red velvet cake recipe.

RED VELVET BLUEBERRY WHOOPIE PIES

Ingredients 
1 red velvet cake mix (18.25 ounces)
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup water
1⁄3 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1-1/2 cups marshmallow crème from a jar
1 cup fresh blueberries

Directions
Heat oven to 350°F Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
In large bowl combine cake mix, flour, water, oil and eggs With electric mixer, beat at medium speed until smooth, 2-3 minutes.
Scoop batter by rounded tablespoons onto prepared baking sheets, 2 inches apart, to make 24 cookies Bake until puffed, 8-10 minutes.
Let cool 2 minutes on baking sheets. With spatula, remove to wire racks to cool completely.
With small spatula or knife, spread 1-1/2 teaspoons marshmallow crème onto flat side of each cookie.    
Divide blueberries and put near edge of marshmallow creme. (or alternatively add to edges after putting top cookie on.)
Top with remaining cookies to make sandwiches.
Serve immediately or store chilled in an airtight container layered between sheets of waxed paper.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Chocolate Baby Back Ribs for Fourth of July

So what are you making for the Fourth of July barbecue? Chicken? Hotdogs? Burgers? Ribs? Here's a great recipe for Chocolate Flavored Ribs for Fourth of July. Don't let this fool you. These ribs are savory and have a kick! I found the original recipe on the Fox News Latino site in 2011. I've made a few adjustments, but not many!

CHOCOLATE BABY BACK RIBS

Ingredients
3 pounds baby back ribs
4 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup apple juice

Chipotle Chocolate Sauce Ingredients
1 Tbsp sweet Butter
1/2 tsp Chipotle Chili Powder
1/2 cup Half and half
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (65 % cacao or more), chopped
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

Directions
Heat cast iron skillet with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Mix paprika, cumin, salt and pepper, and rub on all sides of baby back ribs.
Working in two batches, cut seasoned ribs in half.
Brown both sides until crispy.
Place each section in oversized piece of heavy duty aluminum foil. Place sliced garlic over ribs and divide apple juice and pour over.
Create airtight seal and place in preheated grill for 90 minutes.
Remove from foil and place directly on grill. Brush with chocolate chipotle sauce. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Turn over and repeat, then EAT!

Chocolate Chipotle Sauce
To make sauce, sauté butter over low heat, add cumin and half and half. Continuously stir until hot but not boiled.
Add chopped chocolate and continue to stir until smooth. Mix in apple cider vinegar. Set aside until ready to brush over ribs.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Patriotic Strawberry, Chocolate, Blueberry Salad!

Here's a Patriotic Salad for the Fourth of July. Simple and easy.

Strawberry, Blueberry, and Chocolate Salad

Combine a basket of strawberries with a basket of blueberries.
Chop dark chocolate into chunks.
Combine chocolate and fruit and toss in a raspberry vinaigrette.
One of my favorites is Brianna's Blush Wine Vinaigrette... or make your own. Keep it slightly fruity.