Monday, November 30, 2015

Cherry Pie Stuffed Chocolate Cake: 3 Recipes

Photo: www.piecakenblogspot.com
So last week, everyone was talking Turducken and Pie Stuffed Cakes. I didn't have the time or inclination to make one, so I was thrilled when Duff Goldman, one of my favorite Food Network Bakers, posted a recipe and video for Duff's Cherry Pie Stuffed Chocolate Cake today. I like the recipe, and I, especially like that there's a video on the Food Network site. Lots of tips and tricks for this Cherry Pie Stuffed Chocolate Cake, as well as for other baking.

But I always like to have more than one choice, and I found two other recipes for Cherry Pie Stuffed Chocolate Cake--one from Everyday Gourmet  and one from Danielle Wheeler at Not Yet There. They're both even easier than Duff's! Be sure and scroll down for the other two recipes. Any of these cakes would make a great holiday dessert!

1. Duff's Cherry Pie-Stuffed Chocolate Cake  
Check the Video out here.

Duff Goldman combines cherry pie and chocolate cake into the ultimate dessert mashup

Ingredients 
4 boxes chocolate cake mix, baked, cooled and leveled
3 cans store-bought whipped chocolate frosting
Nonstick cooking spray
All-purpose flour, for dusting
1 pie crust, recipe follows or store-bought
One 12-ounce can cherry pie filling
Confectioners' sugar, for garnish

Pie Crust: 
1 1/2 pounds all-purpose flour
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 pound (4 sticks) cold butter, cubed
 1/4 cup heavy cream
 4 egg yolks

Directions

Special equipment: a 4-inch round cutter; a ruler
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Use a 4-inch round cutter to cut out a hole in the exact center of two of the cakes. Using an offset spatula or butter knife, add a 1/4-inch layer of the frosting to one of the whole cakes, which will become the bottom layer. Then place one cake with a hole in it over the top of the bottom layer. Frost that cake with a 1/4-inch layer of frosting. Place the second cake with the hole over the top and frost that cake with a 1/4-inch layer of frosting. Set the remaining whole cake aside for a later use. Measure the height of the barrel created in the cake center.

Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Dust flour on a clean surface and roll out the pie crust to 1/8-inch thick. Use a ruler to cut 15 strips of pie dough, 1-inch wide and the height of the cake, and then use the 4-inch round cutter to cut a round of pie dough. Transfer the pie strips and round to the prepared baking sheet. Bake the dough until golden, 8 to 10 minutes.

 Frost the inside of the barrel of the cake. Drop the pie round into the bottom of the barrel to create the bottom. Lightly press the baked pie strips into the sides of the barrel directly next to each other until the barrel is fully formed. Pour the cherry pie filling into the center of the barrel. Finally place the remaining whole cake on top to cover. Cover the entire cake with the remaining chocolate frosting. Dust with confectioners' sugar to serve.

Pie Crust:  (you can always buy pie crust..I used Trader Joe's)
In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Slowly drop in the cubed butter and mix until the mixture resembles wet sand. In a small bowl whisk together the egg yolks and heavy cream, then pour the mixture into the bowl of the stand mixer and whip until just combined. Turn the dough out onto a clean cutting board and cut in half. Using your hands, gently push each half of dough into a disc and wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours or up to overnight.

Yield: 2 pie crusts. 

2. CHERRY PIE STUFFED CHOCOLATE CAKE 
from Everyday Gourmet

Here's why this is so easy. Start with a pre-baked cherry pie and store bought cake mix. The cake pan is a 10 inch round with a 3 inch deep pan. You can also use a smaller cake pan by just using 1 box of cake mix instead of 1.5. Once cake batter is prepared according to directions on box, pour half of it into bottom of your prepared cake pan, place pre-baked pie inside cake pan upside down on batter, then pour remaining batter over top. 50 minutes later, you're done!  

Easier Cherry Pie Stuffed Chocolate Cake 

Ingredients
2 – 15 ounce box chocolate cake mix prepared according to directions up to baking portion 1 prebaked cherry pie
Whipped Cream for Garnish

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Prepare cake batters in mixing bowl and whisk until all ingredients are evenly combined. Pour 1/2 of batter amount into prepared 10 round cake pan. (with 3 inch depth pan)
Invert cherry pie onto cake batter, remove foil.
Top with remaining cake batter and bake in oven for 50-55 minutes or until cake rises, top is solid, and cake tester comes out clean and free of cake batter. (will have pie on it)
Remove from oven and cool for 2 hours.
(You can cheat and set it outside for 30 minutes in refrigerator or freezer)
Invert cake onto pie plate, slice, and top with whipped cream for serving.

3. And yet another EASY recipe for PIECAKEN! 
Go to Not Yet There for the recipe.

4. or Piecaken.blogspot.com

 

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Chocolate Banana French Toast: National French Toast Day

1919 Advertisement for Log Cabin Syrup
I love French Toast: Pain Perdu ... This wonderful food was a way to use up stale bread by dipping it in eggs and milk and frying it. I usually make French Toast with Challah, Brioche, or Sourdough, but I've been known to try other breads.

Have a look at some of the other French Toast recipes I've posted. Stuffed Chocolate French Toast, Hazelnut French Toast, Stuffed Challah Nutella French Toast.

Today in honor of National French Toast Day, I thought I'd share an easy recipe for Baked Banana Chocolate French Toast! I love Chocolate and Bananas, and this is a great make-ahead French toast recipe! OK, this French Toast is not fried, and it's a bit like a bread pudding, but it's still fabulous! You could always fry it by following the directions but putting the chocolate between two pieces of the bread--stuffed French Toast.

CHOCOLATE BANANA FRENCH TOAST

Ingredients
4 ripe bananas
4 eggs
3/4 cups half and half
1/4 cup sweet butter, melted
4 tablespoons sugar, divided
1 teaspoon Madagascar vanilla extract
1 loaf of Challah (or Brioche) cut in thick slices
1/2 cup fair-trade dark chocolate 65-85% cacao, chopped into pieces

Instructions
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Butter a 9" x 13" baking dish.
In large bowl, mash bananas. Add eggs, half and half, melted butter, 3 tablespoons sugar, and vanilla; mix until well beaten. Add bread and turn to coat.
Layer bread in prepared baking dish. Pour remaining mixture over bread.
Sprinkle with chocolate chunks and remaining tablespoon of sugar.
Bake 18 minutes, or until set & golden.

Thanksgiving Weekend: Retro Ad & Recipes

I have posted several Retro Baker's Ads from Life Magazine from 1936-1941. They're usually one or two page spreads that 'tell' a story. I just had to post this one from November 22, 1937Life Magazine was the most popular magazine in the U.S. at the time, with a huge readership, so these ads were well placed for the homemaker. This one for Chocolate Souffles and Between-Meal Snacks is perfect for the Thanksgiving Weekend!




Friday, November 27, 2015

Black Friday Cake

Yesterday was National Cake Day, but with so many Thanksgiving desserts, I didn't post about cake. But, since the Black Friday sales have already begun--in the stores and online, I thought I'd post this great recipe for Black Friday Cake. You'll be the first in line! It's easy to make and delicious to eat. Don't be put off by the thin batter.. it will work!

Black Friday is traditionally the Friday after Thanksgiving when millions of people in the U.S. start their holiday shopping! There are many stories about the origins of the term Black Friday. In the 1950s, some factory managers referred to the day after Thanksgiving as "Black Friday" because so many workers called in sick. The day, noted one industrial magazine, was "a disease second only to the bubonic plague" in its effects on employees. In the 1960s, police in Philadelphia complained about the congested streets, clogged with motorists and pedestrians out shopping, calling it “Black Friday.” By the mid 1970s, newspapers in and around Philadelphia used it to refer to the start of holiday shopping. But its usage also has negative associations. In the1980s, some enterprising merchants turned it around. They pointed out that there was a "black ink" that showed up on balance sheets as a result of the day. “Black” refers to stores moving from the “red” to the “black,” back when accounting records were kept by hand, and red ink indicated a loss, and black a profit--a short hop to the idea that Black Friday was the day when retailers came out of the red and went into the black by beginning to turn a profit.

As retailers began to realize they could draw big crowds by discounting prices, Black Friday became the day to shop, with lots of bargains. Black Friday is a long day, with stores opening at 5 p.m. the night before or 3 a.m. in the morning on the actual Friday. It's just amazing to me that hordes of people stand in line for items they may or may not need, just because it's a bargain. For those of you who don't want to stand in an actual line, there are plenty of Black Friday sales online. Not to mention Small Store Saturday and CyberMonday.

Planning to be at the stores today? Bring some chocolate to give you energy throughout the day. At home in your jammies shopping online? You'll have plenty of time to make and enjoy this delicious Black Friday Cake! This is an adaptation of the original Hershey's Black Magic Cake.

BLACK FRIDAY CAKE

Ingredients 
1 3/4 cups flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cups DARK cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 cup strong black coffee, cooled
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract

CHOCOLATE FROSTING
1/2 cup sweet butter, softened
2 oz melted very dark or unsweetened chocolate, cooled
3 cups powdered sugar
3 Tbsp milk
2 tsp Madagascar vanilla

Directions
Combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in large mixing bowl or stand mixer.
Add eggs, coffee, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla.
Beat at medium speed for two minutes. Batter is thin.
Pour batter into greased and floured 9x13 pan or two 9 inch cake pans.
Bake at 350 degrees 35-40 minutes for 9x13, or 30-35 minutes for layer pans.
Combine frosting ingredients and mix with hand or stand mixer.
Spread frosting on cooled cakes.

Thanksgiving Leftovers: Turkey Mole

If you have left-over Turkey from last night's Thanksgiving dinner, make a Turkey Mole! I make this Quick Turkey Mole with Taza Chocolate Mexicano (my favorite daily chocolate) or their Chipotle Chili Chocolate Mexicano, but any good chocolate will work!

Here's a Quick Mole recipe adapted from Paula Deen's Quick Chicken Mole. Perfect with Turkey.

Quick Turkey Mole

Ingredients
2 Tbsp good quality olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 Tbsp chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 chipotle peppers, roughly chopped
1 (10-ounce) can chicken broth
2 Tbsp peanut butter
4 ounces Taza Chocolate Mexicano, chopped
Leftover Turkey
Toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds), for garnish

Directions
Heat oil in heavy saute pan over medium heat. Add onion and saute until translucent. Add garlic and spices and continue to saute to toast and develop flavor. Add diced tomatoes, peppers, chipotles, broth, peanut butter, and chocolate. Simmer for 10 minutes. Strain and puree until smooth.

Take left over Turkey and either add to oven friendly saute pan or put in another pot and then cover with the Mole sauce. Braise in 350 oven for 45 minutes. Garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds.


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Vintage Turkey Chocolate Molds

I love chocolate molds, especially Vintage ones. Here are a few chocolate molds for your Thanksgiving viewing pleasure. Of course you can buy new ones, but I think these have such character. They're still usable. As always, if you're making a chocolate turkey, use the very best chocolate!









And a Double Chocolate Turkey Mold
And a Triple Chocolate Turkey Mold

And some Turkey humor for you Thanksgiving Pleasure!



GOBBLE! GOBBLE!


Thanksgiving Side Dish: White Chocolate Mashed Potatoes

Here's my go-to recipe for a Thanksgiving Chocolate Side Dish -- White Chocolate Mashed Potatoes. These potatoes are not sweet because white chocolate --real white chocolate -- is not really chocolate. White chocolate has a lot of cocoa butter in it, so these potatoes are rich. The white chocolate takes the place of butter in a 'normal' recipe. I've changed fat free milk to regular milk, because let's face it.. I love the fat. You can even use cream! Make sure you use pure white chocolate made from cocoa butter and not those fake white chocolate disks or you'll have a tasteless mess. Want to make these a bit spicy? Add a few dashes of hot sauce when you add the salt.

Happy Thanksgiving!

White Chocolate Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients
3 lbs yellow-fleshed potatoes, peeled
1-1/2 ounces white chocolate, chopped (make sure it's pure white chocolate made from cocoa butter and not just a hydrogenated shortening-I use Guittard white chocolate)
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup milk

Directions
Cook potatoes in large pot. Cover with cold water and bring to simmer over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until tender (25 minutes). Drain in colander set in sink (completely.. the less starch, the flufflier the potatoes) and return potatoes to pot. Add white chocolate to hot potatoes; stir until white chocolate starts to melt. Stir in salt.
Use electric mixer at medium-low speed to mash potatoes slightly. Pour in milk (or cream) and continue mixing until smooth, about 1 minute. Serve hot.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Chocolate Pecan Pie Recipe Round-Up

My husband loves Pecan Pie, especially at Thanksgiving. I'm more of a pumpkin pie kind of person. I've already posted several Chocolate Pumpkin Pie recipes (Double Layer Chocolate Pumpkin Mousse Pie, Chocolate Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake, and Pumpkin Pie Truffles), so today I'm posting a Pecan Pie Recipe Round-up. And, since I love Retro Ads, I'm posting this Retro Ad & Recipe for Karo Pecan Pie.

PECAN PIE ROUND-UP

For me, Pecan Pie is all about the chocolate, corn syrup, pecans--and sometimes bourbon! I posted a Recipe Round-up of Kentucky Derby Pie in May, just in time for the Kentucky Derby. I also posted my friend Emily Stashower's Frozen Chocolate Pecan Pie. And, last November I posted a Recipe Round-up for Chocolate Pecan Pie. You see a pattern here.

Here are two more Chocolate Pecan Pie Recipes, because you should always have a few recipes to choose from.

Drunken Chocolate Pecan Pie

From the kitchen of Buddy Valastro
This recipe gives regular pecan pie an update with chocolate and chocolate liquor. The chocolate liquor is baked in the pie giving additional flavor!

Ingredients 
1 cup pecans
1 cup sugar
3/4 cups corn syrup
2 Tbsp butter (melted)
2 tsp salt
3 large eggs (beaten)
1/4 cup chocolate liquor

Directions
Cover bottom of  (baked) pie shell with pecans.
Mix sugar, corn syrup, salt, and eggs in double boiler.
After mixed, add melted butter, and chocolate liquor.
Fill pie shell 3/4 to rim with mixture. Pecans will float to top. Add additional pecans.
Bake 40-45 minutes at 350F

And, in case you want to take the easy way out, here's a great recipe for Pecan Pie Truffles.
This recipe is adapted from a 2012 issue of Southern Living for Kentucky Derby Truffles! I adapted the recipe slightly. This is such an easy recipe, and these are great! You have to make these! As always, use the very best ingredients for the best taste!

CHOCOLATE PECAN PIE TRUFFLES

Ingredients
12 ounces dark chocolate (70-85% cacao), chopped
1 -1/2 Tbsp sweet cold butter, cubed
2 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
9 Tbsp heavy cream
1/4 cup good Kentucky Bourbon
1 (5.3-oz.) package pure butter shortbread cookies, crushed (I use Walker's)
2 cups finely chopped roasted, salted pecans

Directions
Combine first 3 ingredients in large glass bowl. Cook cream and bourbon in small saucepan over medium heat 3 to 4 minutes or until mixture is hot but not boiling. (Mixture will steam, and bubbles will form around edge of pan.) Pour cream mixture over chocolate. Let stand 1 minute.

Stir chocolate mixture until melted and smooth. (If mixture doesn't melt completely, microwave on HIGH 30 seconds.) Stir in crushed cookies. Cover and chill 3 hours or until firm.

Shape into 1-inch balls (about 2 tsp per ball). Roll in chopped pecans. Place on wax or parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Chill 1 hour. Store in airtight container in refrigerator up to 5 days.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Pumpkin Pie Truffles: To Buy or Make

Socola Pumpkin Burnt Caramel Truffles
Pumpkin Pie Truffles would be great after Thanksgiving feast or as a hostess gift (how retro is that?) or for yourself. Luckily you have the choice of buying or making them. They're easy to make, but I am also quite fond of  See's Candies Pumpkin Pie Truffle. Other premium Pumpkin Truffles are delicate with a combination of burnt caramel (Socola Chocolates Pumpkin Burnt Caramel Chocolate Truffles) or smooth 'unrobed' Pumpkin Spice Milk Chocolate Truffles from Neo Cocoa. Check out your local chocolatier for seasonal Pumpkin Truffles or scroll down for some favorites at the end of this post. Get your order in quickly, though, before they run out.

***

I always have 'natural' pumpkin in the cupboard. Besides using it for pies, truffles and cakes, it's great for doggie upset stomachs. I also have Libby's pumpkin puree because I grew up with it, and sometimes it's just what I want. I'm not much for making my own pumpkin puree.

Truffles are simple to make. The following recipe is from FoodNetwork for Easy Pumpkin Truffles. They are just that--easy and delicious. But in case you want to experiment, I've added links to other Pumpkin Truffle and Pumpkin Pie Truffle recipes.

Easy Pumpkin Truffles

Ingredients
1 cup pumpkin puree
See's Pumpkin Pie Truffles
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground gloves
2 cups cream
1 pound dark chocolate, finely chopped
1 ounce sweet butter, room temperature
1/4 cup Grand Marnier
6 ounces melted dark chocolate
3 ounces cocoa powder

Directions
In medium saucepan over low heat, combine pumpkin, brown sugar and spices. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes, or until mixture reduces by half and pumpkin looks dry. Set aside.
In medium saucepan over high heat, add cream. When cream boils, take off heat.
In heatproof medium bowl, add chocolate and hot cream. Let mixture sit for minute, then slowly begin to stir, starting in center of bowl and working outwards.
Once chocolate and cream are evenly mixed, add pumpkin mixture and whisk to combine.
Add butter (and liqueur, if using).
Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled.
On parchment lined cookie sheet, scoop mixture into small balls using melon baller.
Place in refrigerator for 1 hour, or until chilled.
Remove truffles from refrigerator and dip each in melted chocolate.
Roll in cocoa powder and serve. 

Other fun Pumpkin Truffle Recipes to check out:

Pumpkin Pie Truffles from Cake, Batter, and Bowl: Robed in orange white chocolate with insides of dark chocolate pumpkin ganache. Love the walnut half as a pumpkin stem.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Truffles from The Yummy Mummy: White chocolate, gingersnaps, cream cheese and more. What's not to love?

Pumpkin Pie Truffles from Shugarysweets: Pumpkin-y centers robed in white chocolate.

Pumpkin Truffles from Cara's Cravings. Yum!

Pumpkin Spice Truffles from Elizabeth LaBau at about.com (these look like little pumpkins!)

Pumpkin Pie Oreo Truffles from WillBakefor Books

No time to make Truffles? Try these fabulous Pumpkin Truffles:

Socola: Pumpkin Burnt Caramel Chocolate Truffles: A rich blend of pumpkin pie spices, burnt caramel, Hawaiian sea salt and a splash of brandy.

Neo Cocoa: Pumpkin Spice Milk Chocolate Truffles. Infused with classic blend of spices traditionally used in making pumpkin pie. I love these smooth ganache shell-less truffles.

Coco Delice Pumpkin Spice Chocolates: Made with a ganache of white chocolate, pumpkin puree, and seasonal spices, enrobed in dark chocolate.

Godiva: Pumpkin Patch Truffles filled with creamy pumpkin-spice ganache and enrobed in milk chocolate.

See's Pumpkin Pie Truffles: Sweet spicy flavors of cinnamon and allspice combine with the rich mellowness of real pumpkin in these one-of-a-kind Truffles. Enrobed in See's traditional milk chocolate.

Seattle Chocolates Pumpkin Spice Truffles.

What's your favorite?

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Double Layer Chocolate Pumpkin Mousse Pie

Thanksgiving is coming up this week, and, if you read this blog, you know that I think all holidays should be celebrated with Chocolate. Consequently, I'm posting my favorite Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pie. This recipe for Double Layer Chocolate Pumpkin Mousse Pie is from the Dairy Farmers of Canada website Dairy Goodness. I've posted this recipe in the past for Canadian Thanksgiving which occurs in October, but I think those of us south of the border will benefit by this pie at our November 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 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 Tbsp sweet butter, softened
1 cup whipping cream

Pumpkin Layer:
8 ounces 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

Chocolate Pumpkin Marble Bundt Cake: Thanksgiving Bundt Pans

Photo: Sunset Magazine
Why not celebrate Thanksgiving with this fabulous Pumpkin Chocolate Bundt Cake? You can serve it at Thanksgiving Dinner or the next morning at breakfast. It tastes great toasted with fresh butter or cream cheese. Bundt cakes also look pretty!

According to Nordic Ware, the original makers of the Bundt Pan, "If there is a kitchen in the home, there is a Bundt pan." Even if there's not, I think my kitchen makes up the difference. I have all kinds of bundt pans. I find the shapes so versatile and fun. Bundt cakes always look so special. I'm always buying unique bundt pans at the flea market or White Elephant Sale.

Here are some Nordic Ware Pumpkin Bundt Pans for Thanksgiving:

Nordic Ware: Great Pumpkin Bundt Pan
Love this go-to recipe from Sunset Magazine (Charity Ferreira: 2003) for Chocolate Pumpkin Marble Bundt Cake. This marbled bundt cake features two separate batters: chocolate and pumpkin. The original recipe calls for a chocolate glaze, but that's optional. The cake is rich enough as it is. I rarely glaze a Bundt Cake.

CHOCOLATE PUMPKIN MARBLE BUNDT CAKE

Ingredients:
1-1/2 cups (3/4 lb) sweet butter, room temperature
3 cups sugar
6 large eggs
2 tsp Madagascar vanilla
1 1/4 cups canned pumpkin (I use an all natural canned pumpkin but Libby's works well, too)
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
3/4 cup Dutch-processed unsweetened cocoa
2/3 cup buttermilk

Directions
In large bowl, with mixer on medium speed, beat butter and sugar until well blended. Add eggs, one at time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Scrape half mixture into another bowl.

To make pumpkin batter:
Beat pumpkin into half butter mixture until well blended. In another bowl, stir together 1 3/4 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture and beat on low speed or fold in with flexible spatula just until blended.

To make chocolate batter:
In another bowl, mix remaining 1 cup flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and cocoa. Add flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk to the other half of the butter mixture (starting and ending with flour mixture), beating after each addition just until blended.

Spoon half pumpkin batter into buttered and floured 12-cup bundt-cake pan. Drop half chocolate batter by spoonfuls over (but not entirely covering) pumpkin batter. Repeat to spoon remaining pumpkin and chocolate batters into pan. Gently run blade of butter knife around center of pan several times, then draw knife across width of pan in 10 to 12 places to swirl batters.

Bake in 350° regular or 325° convection oven until wood skewer inserted into center of cake comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 55 to 60 minutes. Let cake cool 10 minutes in pan, then invert onto rack, lift off pan, and cool cake completely.
Nordic Ware: Turkey Bundt Pan

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Cream-filled Oreo Churros & Oreo Cookie Crumb/Sugar Topping

Oreos come in all kinds of flavors and varieties, but J&J Snack Foods announced yesterday that Oreo Churros will soon be available--in two different sizes: 10-inch sticks anda  smaller, bit sized version.

The new Oreo Churros are packed with cream filling and made from real Oreo pieces. The bite-sized churros will be sold in the frozen section of stores. Unfortunately the longer sticks will only be available at movie theatres and sporting events.

These are not the first Oreo Churros, but the others are 'dipping' versions: Traditional Churros, Double-Twisted, and Bites.

Another new product from J&J Snack Foods is OREO Cookie Crumb/Sugar Topping. They recommend using it for rolling your Oreo Churros in after heating.

Happy Hunting! Haven't seen them in any stores yet!

Cranberry Fudge Pie

Since today is National Cranberry Day, I'm going to make this fabulous pie. It's also perfect for Thanksgiving, a great alternative to pumpkin pie.

I'm a big fan of King Arthur Flour, not just the flour, but all the food products, pans, videos, and more. Great gluten-free help for the holidays, too! Love their recipes, too. I'm signed up for email updates, and you might want to do that, too. If I hadn't, I might have missed this incredible Recipe for Cranberry Fudge Pie a few years ago.

For the crust, you can always use a prepared graham cracker crust, but it's so easy to make one yourself. As always use the very best chocolate and other ingredients! I've kept the link to glazing sugar. Definitely great to have in your pantry. I'm all about easy, and this recipe is simple!

CRANBERRY FUDGE PIE

Crust
1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs (One cellophane-wrapped packet of graham crackers (11 whole crackers) will yield this amount of crumbs)
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar or glazing sugar
6 Tbsp melted sweet butter

Filling
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips or chopped semisweet chocolate (Don't use bittersweet chocolate; with the acidic tang of the cranberries, it's just too much. You want a dark chocolate that's sweet; most chocolate chips will be fine)
2/3 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup diced walnuts or pecans

Topping
1 cup sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups cranberry juice
1 cup dried cranberries (I use Trader Joe's-they're always in my pantry)
12-ounce package fresh or frozen cranberries, a generous 3 cups
You'll need about 15 ounces (a scant 1-1/2 cups) topping for the pie.

Directions
Preheat oven to 375°F.

To Make Crust: 
Process graham crackers, sugar, and melted butter in food processor until crumbly and well combined.
Press into bottom and up sides of 9" pie pan.
Bake crust for about 7 to 8 minutes, until set, but not brown. Remove from oven and cool.

To Make Filling: 
Put chips (or chopped chocolate) and cream in  microwave-safe container, and heat for about 90 seconds.
Remove from microwave, and stir until mixture becomes smooth and dark brown; you're simply making a basic ganache.  (I tend to do this in a pot over a pot over simmering water)
Spoon hot ganache into cooled crust, and sprinkle nuts on top.
Refrigerate pie for at 2 hours, until ganache firms up.
While pie is chilling, make topping.

To Make Topping:
Bring sugar, salt, and cranberry juice to a boil.
Stir in dried cranberries, and simmer for about 5 minutes.
Add fresh or frozen cranberries, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes, until some of berries have burst.
Remove the cranberries from heat, spoon into bowl, and chill.

To Finish Assembling Pie: 
Spoon 1-1/2 cups cranberry sauce on top of fudge/nut filling.
Chill until ready to serve.

Photo: King Arthur Flour

Friday, November 20, 2015

Peanut Butter Fudge: Guest post by Carleen M. Loper

Today is National Peanut Butter Fudge Day. My friend Carleen Loper sent this  post a few year's ago. It's her Godmother's recipe for Peanut Butter Fudge. Thought today's holiday would be the perfect time to repost. Thanks, Carleen.

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

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

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

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

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

Ma Tante Rita’s Peanut Butter Fudge

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

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

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

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Chocolate Caramel Trifle with Raspberries: An Alternative to Pumpkin Pie

Photo: Sunset
Sunset has a wonderful list of 28 Thanksgiving desserts. Most call for pumpkin or cranberries but the one that stands out for me is Chocolate Caramel Trifle with Raspberries. This chocolate trifle is outstanding... and decadent. Below is the original recipe and an easy adaptation for the Time Challenged Cook.

Chocolate Caramel Trifle with Raspberries

Note: Make and cool pastry cream while cake bakes and cools.

Ingredients
About 1/2 cup (1/4 lb) sweet butter, at room temperature
About 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
4 ounces semisweet chocolate
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup hazelnut- or coffee-flavor liqueur
Caramel Pastry Cream
1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries (6 oz.), rinsed and drained

Directions
1. Butter and flour 9-inch square baking pan.
2. Coarsely chop 3 ounces of the chocolate and place in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat in  microwave oven on full power (100%), stirring every 30 seconds, until melted and smooth, about 1 1/2 minutes total.
3. In large bowl, with mixer on medium-high speed, beat 1/2 cup butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until well blended. Stir in melted chocolate.
4. In another bowl, mix 1 1/2 cups flour, baking soda, and salt. Add flour mixture and milk to butter mixture, stir to combine, then beat until well blended. Scrape batter into prepared pan and spread level.
5. Bake in 350° regular or convection oven until cake begins to pull from pan sides, 40 to 50 minutes. Let cake cool to room temperature in pan on a rack, about 1 1/2 hours.
6. Run thin knife between cake and pan sides and invert onto board to release. Cut cake into 1- to 1 1/2-inch cubes. Layer third of cubes in the bottom of a 3- to 3 1/2-quart trifle bowl or other straight-sided glass bowl. Drizzle 1/4 cup liqueur evenly over cake. Spoon third of Caramel Pastry Cream over cake and spread level. Repeat to make two more layers each of cake, liqueur, and pastry cream, ending with pastry cream. Cover and chill at least 2 hours or up to 1 day.
7. Finely chop remaining 1 ounce chocolate or scrape into curls. Arrange raspberries on trifle and sprinkle chocolate evenly over berries. Scoop onto dessert plates to serve.

Easy Adaptation:
Use a good chocolate cake mix. You can also substitute caramel syrup for the caramelized sugar in the pastry cream. Fast and easy. I serve this trifle in a glass bowl with straight sides. Trifles should be seen and admired, as well as taste good.

Photograph: James Carrier for Sunset. Yours will look this good, too!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Chocolate Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake

Photo: Betty Crocker
I always think that alcohol escalates chocolate, so I was thrilled when I found this recipe a few years ago in People Magazine. The original recipe for this Chocolate Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake is from Betty Crocker. The recipe is a triple threat: chocolate, bourbon, cheesecake. Wow! Perfect for Thanksgiving.

Chocolate Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake 

Crust
2 cups gingersnap cookie crumbs (35 to 40 cookies)
1/4 cup butter, melted

Cheesecake 
4 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 eggs
4 Tbsp bourbon
1/2 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
1 1/2 tsp aromatic bitters
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted  (or chopped dark chocolate)

Toppings  (I consider the topping optional..it's great without)

1/2 cup caramel topping 
2 tsp bourbon 
Dash aromatic bitters 
Toasted pecans (optional) 

Directions
Heat oven to 300ºF. Grease 9-inch springform pan with shortening or cooking spray. Wrap outside bottom and side of pan with foil to prevent leaking. In small bowl, mix crust ingredients. Press mixture into bottom and one inch up tside of pan. Bake eight to 10 minutes or until set. Cool for five minutes.

In large bowl, beat cream cheese with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth and creamy; do not overbeat. On low speed, gradually beat in sugar, then flour and then eggs (one at a time), just until blended. Remove half of cream cheese mixture (about 3 cups) into another large bowl; reserve.

Into remaining cream cheese mixture, stir 2 Tbsp bourbon, pumpkin, 1 1/2 tsp bitters, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg with whisk until smooth. Spoon over crust into pan. Into  reserved 3 cups of filling, stir 2 Tbsp bourbon, vanilla and melted chocolate. Pour mixture over pumpkin layer directly in middle of pan. (This will create layers so that each slice includes some of each flavor.)

To minimize cracking, place shallow pan half-full of hot water on lower oven rack. Bake  cheesecake 80 to 90 minutes minutes, or until edges are set but center of cheesecake still jiggles slightly when moved.

Turn oven off, and open oven door at least four inches. Leave cheesecake in oven 30 minutes longer. Remove from oven; place on cooling rack. Without releasing side of pan, run your knife around edge of the pan to loosen cheesecake. Cool in pan on cooling rack for 30 minutes. Cover loosely; refrigerate at least six hours but no longer than 24 hours.

To release: Run knife around side of pan to loosen cheesecake again; carefully remove side of pan. Put cheesecake on serving plate.

I consider adding a rich topping optional, and I don't top this already rich cheesecake, but here's the original recipe in case you want it. Stir together caramel topping, 2 tsp bourbon and dash of bitters. To serve, drizzle with caramel and sprinkle with pecans. Cover and refrigerate any remaining cheesecake.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Tuesday Tips: How to Make Cake Flour at Home

Now that the holiday season is upon us, I'm sure you've stocked your pantry with fresh ingredients. You've thrown out the old flour and spices, renewed your stock of baking powder and baking soda. How about chocolate? I'm sure you'll want the very best and freshest. O.K. let's say you've cleaned the pantry and stocked up, but you forgot to buy fresh cake flour. Lots of holiday recipes call for cake flour rather than all purpose flour, but don't worry. Today's Tuesday Tip is How to Make Cake Flour at Home.

Love this wonderful retro advertisement that offers up the recipe (without the sifting).

How to Make Cake Flour at Home

In a cup measure, add 2 Tbsp cornstarch, then fill cup up with flour. So basically for every cup of flour, you take out two Tbsp of the flour and add 2 Tbsp cornstarch. Sift before adding to your other ingredients. I actually sift several times for better aeration.  Or measure out a cup of all purpose flour and take out 2 Tbsp, then add 2 Tbsp cornstarch. And, you thought math wasn't important? LOL!

Want to buy the best cake flour? I like King Arthur Flour's cake flour. It's unbleached flour.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Easy Chocolate Hot Fudge Sauce

Who doesn't love Chocolate Fudge Sauce? I've posted several different recipes, and with all the new chocolatiers there are many great Chocolate Fudge Sauces to buy, but if you want to make your own, here's an easy recipe that takes a few minutes and will reward you with great taste for days to come. Recipe adapted from Simply-Gourmet.com  This hot fudge sauce (I like it hot) can be poured over ice cream or stirred into milk or used as a fondue. You can also just eat it from the jar. It can also be used with the Turtle Monkey Bread I posted yesterday. And, with the holidays coming up, you can give a jar to your host on Thanksgiving or make Chocolate Hot Fudge Sauce for holiday gifts for friends and family.

Easy Chocolate Hot Fudge Sauce

Ingredients
1/2 cup sweet butter
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips or chopped chocolate

Directions
In medium sized saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat.
Once butter is melted, add sweetened condensed milk. Use whisk to combine.
Add chocolate, and stir continuously with whisk until melted and smooth.
Immediately remove from heat.
Store in glass jar for up to 2 weeks in refrigerator. I use wide-mouth ball jars.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Slow Cooker Turtle Monkey Bread

My friend Judy Bobalik loves Slow Cooker recipes. I love Monkey Bread, and with the addition of chocolate and pecans, this is a favorite!!! Thanks, Judy, for the original link from Betty Crocker.

Monkey Bread, also called monkey puzzle bread, is a sticky coffee cake that consists of pieces of soft bread that pull apart. Often sprinkled with caramel and cinnamon, the recipe below features chocolate, so I'm all about it! According to Wikipedia, recipes for the first Monkey Bread appeared in American women's magazines and community cookbooks int he 1950s. The bread is made with pieces of sweet yeast dough and usually baked in a cake pan at high heat after being individually coverd in melted butter, cinnamon, sugar, and chopped pecans. 

SLOW COOKER TURTLE MONKEY BREAD

Ingredients
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sweet butter
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 can (16.3 oz) Pillsbury™ Grands!™Homestyle refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
3/4 cup pecan halves

For final topping: (I use ready made high quality chocolate sauce)
2 Tbsp whipping cream
1/3 cup milk chocolate chips

Directions
Spray 4 1/2- to 5-quart slow cooker with cooking spray.
In 2-cup microwavable measuring cup, mix brown sugar and butter; microwave uncovered on High 1 to 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until mixture is boiling and smooth.
In large resealable food-storage plastic bag, place granulated sugar.
Separate dough into 8 biscuits; cut each into fourths.
Add a few of the biscuit pieces a few at a time to bag; shake to coat.
Sprinkle 1/4 cup of pecans in slow cooker; top with half of biscuit mixture. Pour one-third of the butter mixture over biscuits in cooker.
Repeat with 1/4 cup pecans and remaining biscuit mixture.
Pour remaining butter mixture over biscuits, and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup pecans.
Cover; cook on High heat setting 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until knife inserted in center comes out clean and biscuits are no longer doughy in center. Tops of biscuits will be moist and may appear unbaked. Turn off cooker.
Carefully remove cover so condensation does not drip onto bread.
Cover opening with paper towels; return cover to cooker.
Let stand 10 minutes.
Run knife around edge of cooker; turn bread upside down onto heatproof serving plate.

(I use high quality chocolate sauce instead of making my own): In 1-quart saucepan, heat cream over medium heat just to boiling. Remove from heat. Stir in chocolate chips until melted and smooth. Drizzle over monkey bread.
Serve warm.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Parisian Chocolate Truffles

America is my country and Paris is my hometown. -Gertrude Stein
A walk about Paris will provide lessons in history, beauty, and in the point of Life. -Thomas Jefferson

I am so saddened by the horrific destruction of human life last night in Paris. What a blow to humanity. So senseless. Paris, the City of Light, represents art, culture, beauty and so much more. My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Paris ... and the people of this world.

PARISIAN CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES 

Ingredients
10 1/2 ounces superior-quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
3 1/2 ounces unsweetened cocoa powder
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
6 3/4 ounces crème fraîche (or whipping cream if you don't have crème fraîche)
1 3/4 ounces soft sweet butter

Directions 
Put finely chopped semisweet chocolate in heatproof bowl. Bring cream to full boil.
Remove from heat and pour over chocolate pieces. Let sit for 30 seconds, then add butter and stir until you have smooth mixture. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
When set, using teaspoon to form small balls. Then roll by hand. Balls can be lumpy. Real French truffles are shaped irregularly like the famous mushrooms they’re named after.
Put shaped truffles in refrigerator for 5 to 10 minutes.
Melt bittersweet chocolate by placing in small bowl over a pan of water over low heat.
Using fork, dip truffles one by one in melted chocolate and immediately roll in cocoa powder.
Store in cool place. Do not refrigerate.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Hershey Bar Chocolate Cake

Growing up in Philadelphia, my family often visited the Hershey Factory in near-by Hershey, PA. What an amazing Family outing. It truly was a Willy Wonka experience. At the end of the factory tour, each child was given a Hershey Bar! I'm not talking mini, either, these were the 'regular' sized bars. Since I was used to buying penny candy (remember that?), this was a huge treat. Visiting the Hershey factory was an experience I'll never forget, and even though I might now opt for more refined single origin organic dark chocolate, I'll never turn down a Hershey's Milk Chocolate Bar.

So here's another Classic Chocolate Cake recipe. You'll find this in many of the older Hershey Cookbooks. And, yes, you can make it with high end dark chocolate and syrup, but try it first with Hershey chocolate bars and Hershey's syrup. This easy to make cake will satisfy any chocoholic!

HERSHEY BAR CHOCOLATE CAKE

Ingredients
1 cup buttermilk
2-1/2 cups flour
Pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup sweet butter, softened
2/3 cup Hershey's chocolate syrup
1-1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
6 Hershey's Milk Chocolate bars (43 grams =1.55 ounces), melted and cooled

Directions
Heat oven to 350. Butter either 12 cup Bundt Pan or 10" tube pan. 
In medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt and baking soda. Set aside. 
Cream butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla with electric mixer. Add syrup and melted chocolate and mix completely. Blend in buttermilk. Gradually add flour mixture until well combined. 
Pour into prepared pans.
Bake in Tube or Bundt pan for 45 minutes to an hour -- or until done.
Cover with foil immediately to steam and make cake moister.
Keep covered until cake is completely cool.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veteran's Day: 1943 Vintage Toll House Cookies Advertisement

Here's a Vintage Ad that appeared in Good Housekeeping in 1943. Seems appropriate for Veteran's Day. Toll House Cookies are still great for the Veteran in your life, as well as our men and women still fighting. Recipe below.


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

War Time Chocolate Cake for Veteran's Day

Tomorrow is Veterans Day (aka Remembrance Day, Armistice Day). My father was a decorated Veteran of WWII, so today I'm posting a recipe from that era. Times were hard during the War, on the battlefield and on the Homefront. This recipe is for War Time Chocolate Cake. I think it was slightly easier to get sugar and cocoa in the U.S. than other countries, although I've seen several versions of War Time Chocolate Cake in various British war time cookbooks. Milk and eggs were rationed, too, so this cake, which is quite spongy, does without.

During the Second World War, you couldn't just walk into a store and buy as much sugar or butter as you wanted. Because these items were rationed, you were only allowed to buy a small amount (even if you could afford more). The government introduced rationing because certain items were in short supply.

Some things were scarce because they were needed to supply the military - gas, oil, metal, meat and other foods. Some things were scarce because they normally were imported from countries with whom we were at war or because they had to be brought in by ship from foreign places. Sugar and coffee were very scarce. Coca-Cola even stopped production during the war because sugar in great quantities was not available.

Everyone was given a ration book that contained ration stamps for different items. Grocers and other business people would post what your ration stamps could buy that week, but it was up to the individual to decide how to spend the stamps and possibly save up the items for a cake like this.

Support our Veterans!

WAR TIME CHOCOLATE CAKE

Ingredients:
1-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon white vinegar
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup cold water

Directions:
In large mixing bowl, mix flour, sugar, cocoa, soda, and salt.
Make three wells in the flour mixture. In one put vanilla; in another the vinegar, and in the third the oil. Pour the cold water over the mixture and stir until moistened.
Pour into 8 x 8-inch pan.
Bake at 350°F. oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until it springs back when touched lightly.