Wednesday, November 30, 2016

NO BAKE CHOCOLATE MOUSSE PIE

Today is National Mousse Day. Of course for me it's always chocolate mousse. Chocolate Mousse is easy to make and simple to enjoy! I came across this recipe for No Bake Chocolate Mousse Pie a few years ago. What a great way to enhance chocolate mousse -- add more chocolate! The cookie crust made with Italian wafer sandwich cookies is fab and adds some zip, but you can also make a regular chocolate cookie crust if you don't have any Italian sandwich cookies! You can also make an oreo cookie crust. This recipe is adapted from Fine Cooking, a great resource for recipes.

NO BAKE CHOCOLATE MOUSSE PIE

Ingredients
1 ounce sweet butter, melted; more for the pan
8 ounces Italian chocolate wafer sandwich cookies (Quadratini) (if you don't have these you can use Famous Chocolate Wafers or Oreos)
9 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped (about 1-1/2 cups); more for garnish
1-1/2 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
Pinch kosher salt
3-3/4 cups heavy cream

Directions
Butter 9-inch springform pan.
Grind cookies in food processor until they resemble wet sand, 20 to 30 seconds; you will have about 1-3/4 cups. Transfer to small bowl and mix in butter. Spread crumbs in pan, cover with plastic wrap, and press evenly into bottom. Refrigerate.

Combine chocolate, 1/2 tsp of vanilla, and salt in large bowl. In small saucepan, bring 3/4 cup of cream to barely a simmer. Pour cream over chocolate, let sit for 1 minute, then whisk until smooth. Cover and refrigerate for about 30 minutes to cool.

Beat 1-1/2 cups of cream in medium bowl with electric mixer on medium-high speed to stiff peaks, about 2 minutes. Whisk chocolate mixture to loosen, and fold into whipped cream with large silicone spatula until no streaks remain.

Carefully peel plastic wrap off crust and scrape mousse into pan, gently spreading to edges. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours.

Just before serving, beat remaining 1-1/2 cups cream and 1 tsp vanilla in medium bowl to medium-stiff peaks. Run knife around pie to loosen edges and then remove side of pan. Slide spatula under crust and transfer pie to serving plate. Mound whipped cream over mousse and top with chocolate curls, shards, or shavings. To serve, dip knife into hot water and dry before slicing.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Fudge Dreams: Retro Ad & Recipe

With the holidays coming up, it's time to get cooking. Here's a great Retro Ad & Recipe from McCormick for Fudge Dreams. This recipe is easy and delicious--a great stocking stuffer or neighborly gift. I rarely have unsweetened chocolate around, so I substitute a good chocolate with a high amount of cacao, and I reduce the sugar.

FUDGE DREAMS



Monday, November 28, 2016

Stuffed Chocolate French Toast: National French Toast Day

Today is National French Toast Day. I posted a great recipe several years ago for Stuffed Challah Nutella French Toast, and if you have Nutella on hand, today's the day to make that recipe!

I also posted a recipe  in 2009 on National French Toast Day for Chocolate French Toast. That recipe calls for Cocoa as the Chocolate, and the cocoa is actually in the batter. It's lovely, and I usually make it with cinnamon bread, so there's the extra taste of cinnamon.

Today I have a totally different recipe for a Stuffed Chocolate French Toast that is more like a French Toast Chocolate Croissant! Using Challah or Brioche is great because they're egg breads, so they're richer. Adds to the flavor!

Stuffed Chocolate French Toast

Ingredients:
3 large eggs
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup cream
1/2 tsp Madagascar vanilla
1/2 Tbsp granulated sugar
dash of salt
3 Tbsp sweet butter
8 (1/2-inch-thick) slices brioche or challah
4+ ounces dark chocolate, 55-85% cacao,  finely chopped

Preparation:
Whisk together eggs, milk, cream, vanilla, sugar, and salt in large shallow dish until mixture is combined.
Melt 1-1/2 tablespoons butter in large heavy nonstick skillet or griddle over moderately high heat.
Dip 2 bread slices in egg mixture until lightly soaked, turning once.
Transfer to skillet and reduce heat to moderate.
Sprinkle each slice with a fourth of chocolate and top with 2 more slices of egg-dipped bread.
Press sandwiches gently with a spatula to help slices stick together.
Cook, turning sandwiches over once, until chocolate is melted and French toast is browned and cooked through, about 10 minutes total.
Transfer to a plate and keep warm, covered.
Wipe out skillet and make 2 more sandwiches in same manner.
Cut French toast in half and sprinkle with powdered sugar or a bit more chopped chocolate.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Chocolate Bavarian Cream Pie with Oreo Crust: Bavarian Cream Pie Day!

Today is National Bavarian Cream Pie Day. Here's a great Retro Ad from 1968 for Bavarian Pudding. But since this Bavarian Cream Pie Day, I'm posting a much better recipe for Chocolate Bavarian Cream Pie with an Oreo Crust! Be sure and scroll down for the recipe!


***
CHOCOLATE BAVARIAN CREAM PIE WITH OREO COOKIE CRUST

 Ingredients
 2 ounces dark chocolate (85% cacao)
 2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup hot whole milk
1 Tbsp gelatin
1/4 cup cold water
1 pint whipping cream
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla
Pinch of salt

Oreo Pie Crust
24 Oreo Cookies
1/4 cup sweet butter, melted

Put cookies in food processor and pulse until crumbs.
Add melted butter and blend until combined.
Put crumb mixture in 9" pie pan and press on bottom and up sides (evenly)
Refrigerate crust for an hour before adding filling.

Filling
Soak gelatin in cold water.
Melt chocolate in double boiler (or saucepan over saucepan) over simmering water.
Add sugar, salt and hot milk. Stir.
Add gelatin to chocolate mixture.
Remove from heat and cool until mixture begins to thicken.
Beat with hand mixer until very light.
Fold in whipped cream.
Add vanilla.
Pour Chocolate Bavarian Cream mixture into Oreo Cookie Pie Crust.
Place in refrigerator to cool.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Hershey's Perfectly Chocolate Chocolate Cake: National Cake Day


Today is National Cake Day and what better cake to make than Hershey's "Perfectly Chocolate" Chocolate Cake? It always works, and it's rich and chocolatey! I often say there are great recipes to be found on 'product' websites, and when you're talking chocolate, Hershey's is a go-to site.

This "Perfectly Chocolate" Chocolate Cake  lends itself to so many variations. See below!

HERSHEY'S 'PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE" CHOCOLATE CAKE

Ingredients
2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

Directions
Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.
Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.
Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.
Frost with "PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE" CHOCOLATE FROSTING. 10 to 12 servings.

"PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE" CHOCOLATE FROSTING 
1/2 cup butter
2/3 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency. Add small amount additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla. About 2 cups frosting.  

VARIATIONS on HERSHEY'S 'PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE" CHOCOLATE CAKE 

ONE-PAN CAKE: Grease and flour 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Heat oven to 350° F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely. Frost.

THREE LAYER CAKE: Grease and flour three 8-inch round baking pans. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake 30 to 35 minutes. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost.

BUNDT CAKE: Grease and flour 12-cup fluted tube pan. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 50 to 55 minutes. Cool 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely. Frost.

CUPCAKES: Line muffin cups (2-1/2 inches in diameter) with paper bake cups. Heat oven to 350°F. Fill cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake 22 to 25 minutes. Cool completely. Frost. About 30 cupcakes.

Photo: Hershey's

Thanksgiving Weekend: 1937 Ad & Recipes

I have posted several 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 Thanksgiving Weekend!




Friday, November 25, 2016

BLACK FRIDAY CHOCOLATE CAKE

The Black Friday sales have already begun--in the stores and online, so 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.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Mashed Potato Chocolate Cake: Thanksgiving Leftovers

If you're like me, you'll have a lot of Thanksgiving Leftovers. I posted 2 recipes yesterday for Turkey Mole to use with leftover turkey, but here's another great recipe for those delicious leftover mashed potatoes. This Mashed Potato Chocolate Cake recipe is easy and absolutely delicious. WARNING: This recipe won't work if you seasoned your potatoes with herbs or garlic. Mashed potatoes with butter or cream or cream cheese will work perfectly.

In case you want to make this as its own dish (not using leftovers), try this recipe for White Chocolate Mashed Potatoes.

I've never met a potato I didn't like!

MASHED POTATO CHOCOLATE CAKE

Ingredients
4 ounces dark chocolate (65-75% cacao)
1 cup sweet butter
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 cup mashed potatoes
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp Madagascar or Mexican vanilla extract
2 cups cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 ounces dark chocolate chopped into chunks (or chocolate chips)

Directions
Melt chocolate with vanilla; cool slightly.
Sift together flour, baking powder, soda, and salt.
In another bowl, cream together butter and sugar and beat in eggs, one by one.
Add chocolate and mashed potatoes.
Beat in dry ingredients alternately with buttermilk.
Fold in dark chocolate chips or chunks.
Pour into greased 13x9 x 2 inch pan (or Bundt Pan) and bake in preheated 350 degree oven for approximately 40 minutes. 

Quick Turkey Molé: 2 Recipes for Thanksgiving Leftovers

If you have left-over Turkey from Thanksgiving dinner, make a Turkey Mole! According to common legend molé was originally created for turkey. At the Convent of Santa Rosa in Puebla, the nuns had to rush to prepare a meal for a visiting archbishop so they killed an old turkey, cooked it, and mixed everything else they had in a sauce to top it. That sauce was the original mole.

So if you have leftover turkey--or fresh turkey you've just made, you will love these two Quick Turkey Mole recipes. I make the first recipe with Taza Chocolate Mexicano (my favorite daily chocolate) or their Chipotle Chili Chocolate Mexicano, but any good chocolate will work!

The first Quick Molé recipe is adapted from Paula Deen's Quick Chicken Mole. Perfect with Turkey. The second recipe is from Grand Velas Riviera Maya in Mexico, a Five Diamond resort.


Quick Turkey Molé

Ingredients
2 Tbsp good quality olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp 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 sauté pan or put in another pot and then cover with the Molé sauce. Braise in 350 oven for 45 minutes. Garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds.

***

This second recipe is from the Grand Velas Riviera Maya Hotel. I haven't made this one yet, so let me know if you do! 

Turkey con Mole Sauce

Ingredients
1 1/4 lbs Turkey Breast
1/4 cup Vegetable Oil
1 1/4 cup Mole Paste
3/4 cup Chicken Broth
1/4 cup Nopal, peeled and cubed  (cactus!)
1/4 cup Tomato, seeded and cut
1/4 cup Onion, diced
2 Tbsp Coriander leaves, finely diced
1/2 cup Lemon Juice
1 large Avocado
2 1/2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
Salt
Pepper

Directions 
(If using fresh turkey): Cut turkey breast into 4 pieces and season with salt and pepper.
In frying pan, add oil over medium-high heat and brown both sides. Remove from pan and finish cooking on  baking sheet at 350 ° F for about 8 minutes. Set aside.  (or use turkey from Thanksgiving's meal)
In pan over medium heat add mole paste. Add chicken broth slowly, bringing to boil and then simmering until you’ve achieved hick consistency. Set aside.
Combine nopal, onion, tomato and coriander in bowl, add 1/4 cup lemon juice and season.
Blend pulp of avocado with remaining lemon juice and season.
Plate some sliced turkey over layer of mole and dress with some drops of mashed avocado and pico de gallo.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Chocolate Pecan Pie Truffles

And, in case you don't have time to make a Pecan Pie for Thanksgiving, here's a great recipe for Pecan Pie Truffles. Recipe adapted from 2012 issue of Southern Living for Kentucky Derby Truffles! 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 ounce) 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.

Espresso Truffles for National Espresso Day

Today is National Espresso Day. I'm always looking for an easy way to combine the food of the day with chocolate, and what could be easier than Chocolate Espresso Truffles. Following are two recipes. The results are different, so you might want to try both and compare. The first is an easy recipe, and the second comes from RealSimple.com. These truffles would be great to add to the Thanksgiving dessert table.

Espresso Truffles I

For Ganache:
8.5 ounces of Dark Chocolate (70% or so)
1/2 cup heavy Cream
1/2 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
2 tsp finely ground Espresso

For Cating:
Cocoa powder

Directions
Grate or chop chocolate
Heat cream just until boiling. Add espresso and mix well.
Pour cream over chocolate and using double-boiler method, melt chocolate. (Place pan with chocolate and cream over simmering water,  stirring until  chocolate is melted).
Add vanilla extract to melted chocolate and mix well until smooth. Cover and chill for several hours or overnight.
Remove from refrigerator. Place cocoa on plate.
Using small cookie scooper or two spoons scoop chocolate. Roll into a ball using hands.
Roll chocolate balls in cocoa, thoroughly coating truffle. Place truffle on parchment lined tray.
Serve at room temperature or refrigerate for later use.

From Real Simple:

Espresso Truffles II

Ingredients
20 ounces semisweet chocolate, cut into small pieces (or semisweet chocolate chips)
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 cup heavy cream
3 Tbsp finely ground espresso coffee
1 cup confectioners' sugar or shredded coconut

Directions
Make filling:
Place 8 ounces chocolate pieces and butter in large bowl. In small saucepan over low heat, bring cream to simmer. Remove from heat and pour half cream into bowl. As chocolate melts, slowly whisk mixture together until smooth. Then gradually add remaining cream until completely incorporated and  ganache is thick and shiny. Whisk in coffee.

Form truffles:
Pour ganache into 2-inch-deep baking pan, spread evenly, and place in freezer for 30 minutes or until set ( should have consistency of fudge). Using  melonballer or small spoon, form rounds and place on baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper. Let truffles harden in freezer for about 15 minutes. After removing from freezer, roll truffles between hands into marble-size spheres, squeezing slightly (try to do this quickly, otherwise they'll become too soft).

Make coating: 
Let truffles rest in freezer while you make chocolate glaze. Place remaining chocolate pieces in large bowl over saucepan of simmering water and stir occasionally, until chocolate is completely melted. Remove from heat and let cool at room temperature, stirring occasionally, until chocolate starts to set at edge of bowl. Drop truffles into melted chocolate and retrieve with fork, allowing any excess chocolate to drip off. Garnish immediately or leave truffles plain and proceed to next step.

Garnish:
For coconut garnish, roll freshly coated truffles in shallow dish of shredded coconut. For confectioners' sugar garnish, set freshly coated truffles on plate and sift sugar over them. Turn truffles and sift again to cover completely.

Storage: 
Place truffles on lined baking sheet and allow to set in refrigerator for 5 minutes. Truffles will keep for about 2 weeks, chilled or at room temperature, when stored in tightly sealed container.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Spicy Chocolate Turkey Rub: Barbecue Turkey for Thanksgiving

I live in Northern California, and we barbecue turkey all year round, so it's not surprising that we also barbecue the turkey for Thanksgiving. I love the smokiness and flavor that the barbecue brings to the bird. Barbecuing the turkey also leaves the ovens free for all those side dishes and pies.

Several years ago we started barbecuing our turkeys with spicy chocolate rubs. Here are two great recipes. We've made some adaptations, but the first recipe for Spicy Chocolate Rub Recipe is adapted from  The BBQ Report. Just combine everything in the Cuisinart until finely ground and pat on turkey. Very easy!

This recipe is for chicken, so if you're planning a 20 lb. turkey, you'll need to increase the amounts.

SPICY CHOCOLATE RUB

Ingredients
1 cup natural unsweetened DARK cocoa powder
1/4 cup kosher salt
2 tsp dried red pepper flakes, chopped fine
1/2 tsp ground cloves
2 Tbsp granulated sugar

**
Want to get a little more sophisticated with the Rub? Kunde Family Estates (great wines to accompany your turkey) has a recipe for BBQ Turkey with Ancho Chile/Chocolate Rub. This recipe includes brining the turkey first. If you buy a kosher turkey it will already be brined. This recipe is for a 12-16 pound turkey, so if yours is bigger than that, you'll need to adjust the measurements.

ANCHO CHILE CHOCOLATE RUB

Ingredients
3 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp chile powder
1 Tbsp unsweetened DARK cocoa powder
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp chipotle chile powder
2 tbsp softened butter

Directions

In small bowl, combine all dry rub ingredients. Mix well. In another small bowl, mash butter together with 2 Tbsp rub – set aside.

Place turkey in large roasting pan. With fingers, gently loosen the skin over breast meat and insert butter/rub under skin; gently rub over breast meat. Rub the outside of bird well with olive oil; then sprinkle generously inside and out with rub. Loosely pack  cavity with lemon and orange slices. Tie drumsticks together with kitchen string. Place in refrigerator and let sit; uncovered, 5 – 6 hours, or until ready to cook.

When ready to cook, prepare grill. If using charcoal grill, prepare for indirect cooking. For gas grills, heat to medium high. Put turkey in roasting pan on grill; add 2 cups water; cover. Turn all gas setting to low. Grill-roast turkey, basting with pan juices and rotating pan 180 degrees every hour, for 3 hours. (If using charcoal grill, add briquettes or mesquite every hour to maintain an even temperature). After 3 hours, insert instant-read thermometer in fleshy part of inner thigh to check for doneness. Thigh meat should register 175° F and the juices should run clear when thigh is pierced. If not done, cover and continue to cook; checking every 20 minutes for doneness.

When done, transfer turkey to heated platter, cover loosely with foil and allow to sit for 20 minutes before carving.

Does Chocolate have a place at your Thanksgiving Table this year?

Monday, November 21, 2016

Chocolate Pumpkin Bread Pudding for Thanksgiving

I love Chocolate Pumpkin Bread Pudding. It's perfect for Thanksgiving or any time! As an extra bonus it's dairy and egg free, so you'll feel you've indulged, but you won't have...at least not all that much. Recipe is from Chloe Coscarelli and appeared in the NYT in 2010. I have posted other Chocolate Pumpkin Bread Pudding recipes, all of which include a thick sauce. This recipe is so much lighter.

Chocolate Pumpkin Bread Pudding

Ingredients 
1 cup coconut milk
1 15-ounce can organic pumpkin
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cloves
10 cups cubed day-old bread of your choice (about 10 to 12 slices of sandwich bread, depending on the thickness of slices)
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips (Guittard and Ghirardelli are nondairy)
2 Tbsp brown sugar
Powdered sugar for dusting (optional)

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 14 4-ounce ramekins (single-serving ceramic dishes) or a 9-by-13-by-2-inch baking dish.
In blender, process coconut milk, pumpkin, brown sugar, salt and spices until smooth.
In large bowl, toss bread cubes with pumpkin mixture and chocolate chips until each bread cube is coated.

If using ramekins:
Evenly sprinkle about 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar into the bottom of each greased ramekin. Fill each ramekin to the top with the mixture and lightly press it down with the back of a spoon.

If using 9-by-13 baking dish:
Fill baking dish with mixture and lightly press down with back of spoon. Evenly sprinkle about 2 tablespoons brown sugar over the top of the bread pudding. The brown sugar will help the pudding to caramelize on the edges.
(Steps 1 through 3 can be done up to three days in advance; store covered in the refrigerator.)
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until top is lightly browned.

If using ramekins:
Let pudding cool a few minutes, then carve around edges with knife to loosen and unmold.
Garnish with powdered sugar if desired and serve warm.

If using  9-by-13 baking dish:
Let pudding cool a few minutes before serving. Cut into portions, then garnish with powdered sugar if desired and serve warm.

The pudding can be baked right before serving or earlier that day and then reheated for 8 to 10 more minutes right before serving.

Chocolate Gingerbread Cake: Vintage 1919 Ad & Recipe

According to The Nibble today is National Gingerbread Day, but June 5 is also designated as National Gingerbread Day. I think today is more in keeping with Gingerbread Day. (Just an FYI, December 12 is Gingerbread House Day). I associate Gingerbread with Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the Fall/Winter season in general. That being said, I hate to miss posting a chocolate holiday recipe, so I know you'll like this recipe for "Chocolate Gingerbread" from 1919 Crisco Advertisement.

I grew up with Crisco, and I still use it in many recipes. Crisco was introduced by Procter & Gamble in 1911 to provide an economical alternative to animal fats and butter. Crisco was the first solidified shortening product made entirely of vegetable oil. This was the result of hydrogenation, a new process that produced shortening that would stay in solid form year-round, regardless of temperature.

I love that the Crisco Cookbook in this Advertisement was only 25 cents (or 10 cents in stamps)! Check out this recipe for Chocolate Gingerbread Cake. Gingerbread season is almost upon us. Get Baking!



Sunday, November 20, 2016

Frozen Chocolate Pecan Pie: Guest post by Emily Stashower

Today I welcome back Emily Stashower, a friend who shares my love of gardening, photography and chocolate! Emily is an amateur nature enthusiast, blogger and mother of twins. After a career in healthcare and numerous community organizations, her current endeavor, her blog www.rootsinreality.com, was started on a lark to combine a love of gardening, writing, photography, nature and an inability to meet deadlines. The blog notes that "sometimes an empty nest is just a nest without a bird. Other times, it's a middle aged suburban woman rediscovering interests and cultivating passions."

Emily Stashower:

This chocolate pecan pie dates back to when I was young and just married (1985). I loved having one or two in the freezer for the friends who stopped by so we could easily make an "on the spot" dinner.  It keeps for months.

FROZEN CHOCOLATE PECAN PIE

Crust:
2 Cups finely chopped pecans - toasted
5 Tablespoons + 1 teaspoon firmly packed brown sugar
5 Tablespoons butter chilled, cut into small pieces 
2 teaspoons dark rum (or any other preferred liquor)

Make crust by blending all crust ingredients until mixture holds together. Press into the bottom and sides of a 9 inch pie plate - freeze one hour before filling

Filling:
6 ounces semisweet chocolate
1/2 teaspoon instant coffee
4 eggs at room temperature
1 Tablespoon dark rum
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 & 1/2 Cups whipping cream
Shaved chocolate for top

Make filling by melting the chocolate with coffee over double boiler. Remove from heat and whisk in eggs, rum, and vanilla until smooth. Cool 5 minutes. Whip 1 Cup of the cream until stiff. Gently fold into chocolate mixture, blending completely. Pour into the crust and freeze.

About an hour before serving transfer the pie from freezer to refrigerator. Whip remaining 1/2 Cup cream and dollop over pie. Sprinkle with shave chocolate.

Incredibly easy, delicious pecan pie.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Double Layer Chocolate Pumpkin Mousse Pie for Thanksgiving

Some of you may remember that I posted this recipe for Double Layer Chocolate Pumpkin Mousse Pie for Canadian Thanksgiving. Well, in case you didn't bookmark it, here it is is again for our own Thanksgiving! This recipe for Double Layer Chocolate Pumpkin Mousse Pie is an all-time favorite. Recipe from the Dairy Farmers of Canada website Dairy Goodness. Make this one for Thanksgiving. You will love it!

Double Layer Chocolate Pumpkin Mousse Pie

Ingredients

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

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

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

Directions

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

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

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

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

Garnish with whipped cream and nutmeg before serving.

Photo: Dairy Farmers of Canada

Friday, November 18, 2016

Chocolate Pecan Pie Recipe Round-Up

I love a good Pecan Pie at Thanksgiving. Since I add chocolate to just about everything, Chocolate Pecan Pie is one of my favorites.

Here's a Mini Round-up of Recipes for Chocolate Pecan Pie. Be sure and check out the following Chocolate Pecan Pie Recipes before making your decision of which to make for Thanksgiving (or any time!) And, if you don't have a lot of time, I've added two more Easy Chocolate Pecan Pie recipes below.

Chocolate Chunk Pecan Pie for Mardi Gras
Kentucky Derby Chocolate Pecan Pie
Kentucky Derby Bourbon Chocolate Pie Recipe Round-Up
Fudge Brownie Pecan Pie
Kentucky Chocolate-Nut Pie Mix in a Jar  
Chocolate Pecan Torte
Frozen Chocolate Pecan Pie 

1. EASY CHOCOLATE PECAN PIE 

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups sugar
Dash of Salt
4 Tbsp unsweetened DARK cocoa
2 large eggs
1/2 Tbsp Madagascar vanilla
1/2 can (6 ounces) evaporated milk
4 Tbsp sweet butter
3/4 cup toasted pecan halves
1 unbaked deep dish pie shell (make yourself or prepared--prepared is faster!)

Directions
Mix sugar, salt, and cocoa together.
Whisk together eggs, vanilla, and milk; stir into dry ingredients.
Add melted butter and stir until totally blended.
Sprinkle toasted pecan halves in pie shell.
Pour filling over pecans.
Bake at 350° for 45 to 55 minutes, or until filling is set and center is just slightly jiggly (don't overbake).

2. EASY CHOCOLATE PECAN PIE

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

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



Thursday, November 17, 2016

Chocolate Pumpkin Marble Bundt Cake for Thanksgiving

Want an alternative to pumpkin pie? Why not celebrate Thanksgiving with this fabulous Chocolate Pumpkin Marble Bundt Cake? You can serve it at Thanksgiving Dinner or the next morning for breakfast. It tastes great toasted with fresh butter or cream cheese. Bundt cakes always look pretty! Be sure to scroll down for the recipe for Chocolate Pumpkin Marble Bundt Cake.

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

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Chocolate Pumpkin Toffee Trifle: An Alternative to Pumpkin Pie

Holidays are the perfect time for Trifles. I make a wicked (and easy) Trifle for the Fourth of July with sponge cake, strawberries, blueberries & kirsh. So for Thanksgiving, I thought I'd post this easy and sweet trifle recipe for Chocolate Pumpkin Trifle that combines pumpkin and chocolate.

What's a TRIFLE? The dictionary defines 'Trifle' as something insignificant, but you'll find that this dessert is anything but insignificant. I'm not trifling with you. This is a fabulous dessert!

Trifles are traditionally made in a large clear deep bowl so you can see all the layers. I have the perfect bowl! The assembled trifle is covered and placed in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours and up to 24 hours so the flavors can mingle. This Chocolate and Pumpkin Trifle is perfect for Thanksgiving since it can feed upwards of 8 guests.

There are many variations, and you can add different things in different layers--and you can vary the size of your layers. You can follow the recipe below with cookies but stack as you please: ex, layer of pumpkin cream, layer of cookies, layer of chocolate cream, etc. This is not a science. Instead of Chocolate Wafers, you can use Chocolate Cake or Brownies or try using left over Chocolate Pumpkin Bundt Cake (as if there is any left over!) or Pumpkin Bread.

CHOCOLATE PUMPKIN TOFFEE TRIFLE

Ingredients
4 ounces dark chocolate (70% cacao), chopped
4 cups heavy cream
2 tsp Madagascar vanilla
1 cup natural pumpkin puree
1/4 tsp pumpkin spice
1- 7.5-ounce jar of Marshmallow Fluff
6 small Heath bars, chopped (still have any left over from Halloween?)
1 1/2  9-ounce boxes chocolate wafer cookies (or chocolate cake)

Directions (but when it comes to layering, that's up to you!)
In small saucepan over another saucepan, melt chocolate with 1/2 cup cream over medium-low heat, stirring until smooth. Let cool.
Using electric mixer, whip 2 cups cream with 1 tsp vanilla until stiff.
In medium bowl, whisk together pumpkin, pumpkin spice, and marshmallow cream. Fold in whipped cream in 2 parts; refrigerate.
Add remaining 1-1/2 cups heavy cream to mixer bowl and whip until thickened. With machine on, slowly add the chocolate mixture and the remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla and beat until stiff but not dry.
Spread one-third of chocolate cream in a 4-quart clear glass trifle bowl.
Layer with one-third of the toffee.
Make cookie (or cake) layer--be sure and stand up some cookies along the side of the bowl (it will look pretty)*
Make pumpkin cream layer
Repeat with remaining cookies and more pumpkin cream (depending on how thick you make the layers).
Add chocolate cream layer.
Sprinkle with chopped toffee and cover with chocolate cream.
Cover and refrigerate for 4-24 hours.
To serve, sprinkle with the remaining toffee (or not).

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Pumpkin Seed Cocoa Nib Brittle

I love this recipe. It's so easy to make, and it's a great snack. I always say you should check different chocolate sites for recipes and news, and I'm glad I did. Iound this recipe on the Scharffen Berger site. It's from Arnon Oren, of Oren's Kitchen, Berkeley. Arnon recommends serving this crushed and sprinkled over a salad of endive, roasted beets and goat cheese. Wouldn't this make a great Thanksgiving Salad? Of course, you can always just crack it and eat it!

Pumpkin Seed Cocoa Nib Brittle

Ingredients
1/4 cup SCHARFFEN BERGER Cacao Nibs
1/4 cup hulled raw pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
Pinch of cayenne pepper

Directions
Coarsely chop nibs and strain through small strainer. Removing dustier pieces will make clearer brittle.
Toast pumpkin seeds in  small skillet over medium heat, shaking often, until they begin to pop, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove seeds from  skillet, and set aside.
Line baking sheet with Silpat or brush  with butter.
In medium saucepan, combine sugar, water, and cream of tartar and bring to simmer over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Lower heat to medium low, cover, and let simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove pan lid and brush any sugar crystals from sides of pan with wet pastry brush. Continue simmering for 3 to 5 minutes, or until syrup begins to color. Watch closely, because caramel can quickly burn. Test color of caramel by drizzling a few drops on white plate. When color is medium to dark amber, remove pan from heat and stir in nibs, pumpkin seeds, and cayenne.
Working quickly, pour mixture onto prepared pan and spread as thin as possible with heatproof spatula or wooden spoon. Allow brittle to cool completely, then break into small pieces.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Super Moon Blue Cheese Brownies

Last night and tonight the Earth is experiencing a really spectacular astronomical event--the Super Moon. A super moon appears bigger and brighter in the night sky than usual, and we haven't had one for nearly 70 years. Super moon is a non-technical term for a moon that turns full at the same time it hits perigee — the point on its orbit when it is closest to Earth.

Given that we were all told at some time in our lives that the 'Moon is Made of Cheese,' I think this recipe for Blue Cheese Brownies is perfect to celebrate this extraordinary Super Moon. This recipe for Blue Cheese Brownies is adapted from Mandy at Monetize Your Vision.

Super Moon Blue Cheese Brownies

Ingredients
8 ounces good quality dark chocolate (65-80% cacao), chopped
16 Tbsp butter
3/4 cup of good quality blue cheese (I use Rogue or Humboldt or Cowgirl Creamery)
3 medium eggs
2 cups caster/fine sugar (not confectioners sugar)
1/3 cup good quality DARK cocoa powder
1 cup of all purpose flour
1 1/2 level tsp of baking powder

Directions
Melt chocolate, blue cheese, and butter in saucepan over saucepan of simmering hot water. Set aside to cool slightly.
Whisk eggs with sugar and mix with cooled chocolate, blue cheese, and butter mixture.
Sift and stir in cocoa and flour.
Pour mixture into greased parchment (or waxed paper) lined baking pan.
Bake for 35 minutes at 350.
COOL (totally) on rack before taking out or they will totally fall apart.
When cooled, ease around the edges with a knife and cut.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Chocolate Persimmon Bread Pudding

I recently posted photos of persimmons on Facebook, and several people asked what you do with persimmons. Here's a great recipe I've before for Chocolate Persimmon Bread Pudding. There are lots of persimmons at the farmer's market (and on several of my neighbors' trees) right now. My favorites are Fuyu Persimmons.

Because I love Persimmon Bread Pudding, I thought I'd post this delicious and easy recipe adapted from Whole Foods for Chocolate Persimmon Bread Pudding. It's the perfect Autumn dessert! Be sure to use Fuyu Persimmons (not Hachiya).

CHOCOLATE PERSIMMON BREAD PUDDING

Ingredients
4 cups half-and-half
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened DARK cocoa powder
4 eggs
1 Tbsp Madagascar vanilla extract
1 loaf challah, cut into 1-inch cubes (this also works well with a Brioche loaf)
1 cup chocolate chips (or a cup of chopped chocolate--65-70% cacao)
2 ripe fuyu persimmons, quartered and cut into 1/4-inch slices

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Combine half-and-half with sugar, cocoa powder, eggs, and vanilla in large mixing bowl, whisking until smooth.
Add challah, toss to coat, and set aside to let soak for 15 minutes.
Pour two-thirds of challah mixture into buttered 9 x 13 inch baking dish and sprinkle with 1/2 cup of chocolate chips (or chocolate chunks) and all of the persimmons.
Top with remaining challah mixture and remaining 1/2 cup chocolate chips (or chopped chocolate).
Place dish into water bath (large roasting pan and add hot water to the roasting pan until it reaches about 1 inch up the sides of the dish).
Bake for 40 minutes, then set aside to let cool, leaving dish in water bath.
Once cool, remove dish from water bath then cut pudding into squares and serve.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Marshmallow Fudge Cake: Retro Thanksgiving Ad & Recipe

Love this Retro Thanksgiving Campfire Marshmallow Ad from the 1920s. You'll definitely want to try the Campfire Apple Mallows. So easy and fun.. And, of course Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallow topping is a perfect Thanksgiving side dish.  But here's a recipe you may not have seen before: Marshmallow Fudge Cake. This cake is easy to make for Thanksgiving or just about any time.


Recipe:


Friday, November 11, 2016

WWII Wartime Chocolate Cake: Veterans Day

Today 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.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Annual Fall Chocolate Salon: November 20

TasteTV and the International Chocolate Salon are pleased to announce that the Holiday and Seasonal Chocolate Show for the San Francisco Bay Area takes place on November 20th at the 7th Annual Fall Chocolate Salon.

An intimate setting, the Fall Chocolate Salon is the perfect place to find the perfect gift, while tasting and savoring the chocolate lovers experience in one of the world's great culinary metropolitan areas.

November 20th, at the Hotel Kabuki in San Francisco's popular Japantown district.

Advanced Tickets available through November 19th  (while quantities last, $20 advance, Limited Tickets at the Door. $25 door)

Celebrating its anniversary and National Holiday Chocolate Day, curated 2016 chocolatiers and artisan culinary partners include Amano Artisan Chocolates, Kindred Cooks, Heavenly Taste Toffee, Endorfin, Basel B, Rainy Day Chocolate, Fera'wyn's Artisan Chocolates, Philip Marks Chocolates, CaCoCo, Firefly Chocolate, Alter Eco, CocoTutti Chocolates, Fab Delight's Chocolate Truffles, Cowboy Toffee Company, o'cacao, Starchild chocolate, Be a gourmet, New Orleans Bill, Farm Fresh to You, Welk Resorts, and more.


www.FallChocolateSalon.com

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Greek Yogurt Chocolate Bundt Cake

Today is Greek Yogurt Day. Greek Yogurt is great in baking because it gives a bit of a tangy taste to lots of cakes, muffins, and breads. I often substitute Greek Yogurt for sour cream in recipes. You'll love this Greek Yogurt Chocolate Bundt Cake.

Greek Yogurt is not necessarily from Greece. Greek yogurt refers to a yogurt making process. It's different from regular yogurt in that the whey is strained off in the process. Consequently it contains less sugar, fewer carbs, and a lot more protein. Real old fashioned Greek yogurt is made with goat's milk, while much American Greek-style yogurt is made from cow's milk. You can try either in the following recipe. As always, choose a good quality Greek yogurt, as you would a good cocoa.

Greek Yogurt Chocolate Bundt Cake

Ingredients
1 cup unsalted butter, plus more for bundt pan
1 cup water
1/3 cup DARK cocoa powder
1 tsp salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp instant espresso powder
1  3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
2 large eggs
1/2 cup plain Greek Yogurt
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
Optional: Confectioners Sugar for sprinkling

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 10- or 12-cup Bundt pan.
Put butter, water, cocoa powder, espresso powder, and salt in small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until butter has just melted and mixture is combined. Set aside.
Whisk together flour, sugar, and baking soda in large mixing bowl. Add half butter mixture and whisk to combine. Add remaining butter mixture, and whisk until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, whisking well after each addition. Whisk in Greek yogurt and vanilla.
Pour batter into prepared pan and spread evenly.
Bake 40 to 45 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
Cool cake in pan for 15 minutes.
Invert cake onto wire rack and cool completely.
Optional: Sprinkle with confectioners sugar.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Cappuccino Chocolate Chunk Muffins: National Cappuccino Day

Today is National Cappuccino Day! A cappuccino is an Italian coffee drink prepared with espresso, hot milk, and steamed-milk froth. The name cappuccino comes from the Capuchin friars, referring to the color of their habits. All this being said, I always look for a way to add chocolate to every 'food' holiday, and this is a great recipe for National Cappuccino Day!

Because I utilize a lot of Wilton products in my baking from pans to coloring,  I came across this great recipe for Cappuccino Chocolate Chip Muffins on the Wilton Website, and I adapted it just a bit. I like to have chocolate chunks rather than chips in my muffins! I use Wilton's Jumbo Muffin Pans, because if I'm going to have a muffin on National Cappuccino Day, it may as well be a big one!

CAPPUCCINO CHOCOLATE CHUNK MUFFINS

Tools:
Jumbo Muffin Pan
Jumbo Baking Cups

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided (or 65-75% dark chocolate, chopped into chunks)
1/2 cup pecans, chopped and divided
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup instant coffee granules
1/4 cup sweet butter, melted
1 egg

Instructions
Makes: about 6 jumbo muffins

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line jumbo muffin pan with jumbo baking cups.
In large bowl, combine flour, sugar, 1/2 cup broken chocolate chunks,  1/4 cup chopped pecans, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
In small bowl, combine milk and coffee granules; stir until completely dissolved. Add melted butter and egg; mix well.
Add coffee mixture to flour mixture; mix until just moistened (Do not overmix).
Distribute mixture evenly into baking cups.
Sprinkle top of each muffin with reserved chocolate chunks and pecans.
Bake 25 to 28 minutes or until cake tester inserted in center of muffin is clean when removed. Remove from oven; cool muffins in pan 8 minutes.
Remove muffins from pan; cool completely on cooling grid.

Photo: Wilton

Monday, November 7, 2016

Chocolate Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake


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 topping optional..it's great without, but if you want to)

1/2 cup caramel topping (I have used Recchiuti)
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 side 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. 

Photo: Betty Crocker

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Chocolate Cinnamon Nachos

Today is National Nachos Day. Nachos are a Tex-Mex dish from northern Mexico. Nachos are usually tortilla chips covered with melted cheese and jalapeno peppers and served as a snack. Sometimes Nachos served with salsa or guacamole. But this is a Chocolate Blog, so to celebrate today's holiday, make
Chocolate Cinnamon Nachos! This recipe is very slightly adapted from Taste of Home. So easy, too.

Chocolate Cinnamon Nachos

Ingredients
6 flour tortillas (8 inches)
7 tablespoons sweet butter, melted, divided
6 tablespoons sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate (or very dark chocolate), chopped
1/2 teaspoon Mexican vanilla extract
(Optional)1/2 cup chopped pecans

Directions
Brush both sides of tortillas with 4 tablespoons butter. Combine 2 tablespoons sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over one side of each tortilla.
Stack tortillas, sugared side up; cut into 12 wedges.
Arrange in single layer on baking sheets.
Bake at 350° for 12-14 minutes or until crisp.
Meanwhile, in heavy saucepan, combine cream, brown sugar, and remaining butter and sugar. Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Cook and stir for 5 minutes or until slightly thickened.
Remove from heat; stir in chocolate and vanilla. Cool slightly.
Arrange half of tortilla wedges on large serving platter.
Drizzle with half of chocolate sauce
Optional:  Sprinkle with half of the pecans.  (I don't)
Repeat layers.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Guy Fawkes Night Chocolate Sparklers

Remember remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.

Guy Fawkes Night, aka Bonfire Night, is an annual celebration, primarily in Great Britain, traditionally held on the evening of November 5. Festivities are centered on the use of fireworks and the lighting of bonfires. Historically, the celebrations mark the anniversary of the failed Gunpowder Plot of November 5, 1605. Guy Fawkes Night originates from the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, a failed conspiracy by a group of provincial English Catholics to assassinate the Protestant King James I of England and replace him with a Catholic head of state. The survival of the king was first celebrated on 5 November 1605, after Guy Fawkes, left in charge of the gunpowder placed underneath the House of Lords, was discovered and arrested. During the Celebration, an effigy or "guy" representing Fawkes is ritually burnt on the bonfire

Here's a fun an easy recipe to make with the children, even if you don't celebrate the holiday! You can always save this recipe and make it for Fourth of July with Red, White, and Blue Sprinkles.

Guy Fawkes Night Chocolate Sparklers

Ingredients
Chocolate Fingers
Confectioners Sugar
Multi-colored Sprinkles or Sugar Popping candy

Directions
Pour Sprinkles or popping candy on a plate.
Dip end of chocolate finger in hot water--just a little to melt slightly.
Roll end of chocolate finger in sparkles and coat end. Transfer to parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat until all fingers are coated. Set for a few hours.

What are Chocolate Fingers? Well, Cadbury makes a chocolate biscuit called Chocolate Fingers. I found them on Amazon, but if you don't have these, look for a similar chocolate shape (KitKat). You can also dip pretzels in chocolate ganache (melted) and dip in sprinkles.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Homemade Oh Henry! Bars: National Candy Day

Today is National Candy Day, and one of my all time favorite candy bars was an Oh Henry! Bar. Can't really say I've had one recently. Maybe that's because there are so many fabulous chocolate candy companies now, but that's another story.

So what exactly is an Oh Henry! Bar?  

From Wikipedia:

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

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

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

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

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

I. Oh Henry! Candy Bars

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

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

II. Oh Henry! Candy Bars 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Directions:
Cook corn syrup and sugar together until it reaches the hard boil stage (265 degrees).
Dip candy from first mixture into second mixture, then roll in peanuts while still hot.

Melt dark chocolate and dip rolls into melted chocolate
Place on parchment paper.