Sunday, January 31, 2016

Cartoon of the Day: Food Aisle Transition


From Rhymes with Orange

Brandy Alexander Cheesecake: Brandy Alexander Day

Brideshead Revisited: Brandy Alexander
Today is Brandy Alexander Day. A Brandy Alexander is a cocktail made with brandy, chocolate liqueur, and cream. There are many rumors about its origins. Some sources say it was created at the time of the London wedding of Princess Mary and Viscount Lascelles in 1922. Drama critic and Algonquin Round Table member Alexander Woollcott claimed that it was named after him. Other sources say it was named after the Russian Tsar Alexander. According to historian Barry Popik, Troy Alexander, a bartender at Rector's, a New York City restaurant, created the drink in order to serve a white drink at a dinner celebrating Phoebe Snow, a character in a popular advertising campaign in the early 20th century.

I've posted many recipes for Brandy Alexanders--cocktails, brownies and Brandy Alexander Pie, but today I'm posting a recipe for Brandy Alexander Cheesecake. Be sure to scroll down. And for the TV addicts out there, here's a list of the Brandy Alexander as it appeared on different TV series.

The Brandy Alexander on Television (from Wikipedia)

The character Raj Koothrappali orders a brandy Alexander in "The Hofstadter Isotope" episode of The Big Bang Theory, after being mocked for ordering first a grasshopper and then a chocolate Martini.
In season one episode nine of Cheers, while Carla is in charge of the bar, she is asked to make a brandy Alexander.
In the Fantasy Island episode entitled "Anniversary", Cap Truman (Jim Backus) rushes outside with his butler to greet Tom (Ronny Cox) and Toni Elgin (Lucie Arnaz) with brandy Alexanders, just as he had done eight years before, the day before their wedding.
In season one episode eleven of Mad Men, Peggy Olson expresses disappointment with her Brandy Alexander while on a blind date.
The drink was included as the Cocktail Moment on the 29 March 2013 episode of The Rachel Maddow Show.
Lance White's hypnotist friend in "Nice Guys Finish Dead", an episode of The Rockford Files, is named after the drink.
 In the pilot episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Mary Richards asks for a brandy Alexander at her first job interview.
In season four episode twenty-three of Chuck, "Big Mike" orders a Brandy Alexander at a wedding rehearsal dinner.
In episode one of Brideshead Revisited, Anthony Blanche orders four Brandy Alexanders in a bar: two for himself and two for Charles Ryder.
In season one episode three of Dilbert, Lena Olsen asks Dilbert to make a "Triple Brandy Alexander with an Easter Island sunset chaser" as a way of keeping him occupied while she searches his house.
In season three, episode 16 of Three's Company, a woman orders a brandy Alexander from Mr Roper. He responds, "You don't want to drink that junk. Try some bourbon. It's fresh."
In season four, episode five of American Horror Story, the Strongman Del (Michael Chiklis) orders two Brandy Alexanders at a gay bar for his paramour Andy (played by Matt Bomer).
In the Season 2 episode of Lou Grant, called "Schools", Lou asks the bartender for a "malt." When the bartender admits to not knowing how to make a malt, Lou asks, "Do you know how to make a brandy Alexander? Just leave out the brandy and give us the Alexander!"
In the TV movies "A Town Without Christmas" and "When Angels Come to Town", the Brandy Alexander is the preferred drink of the angel Max (Peter Falk).

Brandy Alexander Cheesecake
recipe adapted from Southern Living

Ingredients
1 (10-ounce) box chocolate graham crackers, crushed (about 2 1/4 cups)
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 Tbsp sugar, divided
4 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 Tbsp cornstarch
4 large eggs, at room temperature
4 Tbsp Brandy, divided 4 tablespoons Kahlua, divided (you can use Creme de Cacao instead)
1 (16 ounces) container sour cream
Optional: Garnishes: blackberries, currants, raspberries, strawberries

Directions
Preheat oven to 325°. Stir together crushed graham crackers, butter, and 1 Tbsp sugar. Press mixture on bottom and halfway up sides of 9-inch springform pan. Freeze 10 minutes.
Beat cream cheese, 1 1/4 cups sugar, and cornstarch at medium speed with electric mixer 2 to 3 minutes or until smooth. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating at low speed just until yellow disappears after each addition. Add 3 Tbsp brandy and 3 Tbsp Kahlua, and beat just until blended. Pour into prepared crust.
Bake at 325° for 1 hour or just until center is almost set.
During last 2 minutes of baking, stir together sour cream and remaining 1 Tbsp sugar, 1 Tbsp brandy, and 1 Tbsp Kahlua (or crème de cacao).
Spread sour cream mixture over cheesecake. Bake at 325° for 8 more minutes.
Remove cheesecake from oven; gently run a knife along outer edge of cheesecake, and cool completely in pan on a wire rack (about 1 1/2 hours).
Cover and chill 8 to 24 hours.
Remove sides of springform pan, and place cheesecake on serving plate.
Garnish, if desired.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Julia Child, the French Chef, Croissants Video

Today is National Croissant Day! Yesterday I posted a short review of Trader Joe's Chocolate Croissants. They're great, quick, and easy. But maybe you want to make your own croissants? Who better to go to then the French Chef, Julia Child! Here's a video of her Croissant Episode, Season 3, Episode 20 (1966?)


Friday, January 29, 2016

Trader Joe's Chocolate Croissants: Croissant Day

Tomorrow is National Croissant Day. There's nothing quite like waking up to a flaky buttery croissant. I have my favorite sources for croissants. I love the ones at the Fournee Bakery in Berkeley (close to my home), and, of course, the many cafes and bakeries in Paris.

But maybe you just want to wake up to fresh croissants tomorrow morning to celebrate the day.  Trader Joe's Chocolate Croissants to the rescue. These are some of the best frozen croissants you'll ever taste. The 'proof' is in the pudding, as they say, and these croissants are proofed (allowed to rise) overnight before they're baked for 20 minutes the following morning. The heavenly smell will take over your kitchen. Perfect for the weekend or National Croissant Day.

And, the price can't be beat--about $5 for 4! In the San Francisco Bay Area, Chef Jean-Yves Charon from Galaxy Bakery is the genius behind Trader Joe's Chocolate Croissants. Rumor has it that Williams Sonoma gets their frozen croissants from the same source. So, Trader Joe's represents a huge savings in cost.

O.K., these "Croissants" are really Pain au Chocolat, as anyone can see by the shape, so feel free to imagine yourself at a sidewalk cafe in Paris when eating these! The croissants are incredibly flaky and buttery, so light and airy, and the Callebaut chocolate is rich and delicious. Since there are four to a box, and each croissant contains 18 grams of fat, you might want to offer a few to family or friends. If you don't care what they'll do to your waistline or thighs, indulge. They're terrific!

This is one product that outshines most home baked croissants. Yes, you can make your own Chocolate Croissants, but these are so good, why bother?

You'll find TJ's Chocolate Croissants in the freezer section.

Cartoon of the Day: The Gingerbread House

From Rhymes with Orange:




Thursday, January 28, 2016

Blueberry White Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Today is Blueberry Pancake Day. I've posted many recipes for Blueberry Chocolate Chip Pancakes, but for today's holiday I would suggest using White Chocolate Chips. My favorite white chocolate chips are from Guittard.

BLUEBERRY WHITE CHOCOLATE CHIP PANCAKES

Ingredients
1 large egg
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup buttermilk
1 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp canola oil
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup wild blueberries (fresh or frozen--I love Trader Joe's Frozen Wild Blueberries)
1/2 cup white chocolate chips (Guittard)

Directions
Preheat your griddle on the stove on medium or medium-low.
Crack egg into bowl of stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Beat on medium until light yellow and frothy, about 2 minutes. Add flour, buttermilk, sugar, oil, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to mixer. Beat on low until just combined.
Fold blueberries and white chocolate chips into batter.
Drop batter in rounds (about 1/4 cup per pancake) onto hot griddle and cook, flipping once, until golden brown on both sides.

https://www.guittard.com/our-chocolate/detail/choc-au-lait-baking-chips

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Downton Abbey: Mrs Crawley's Chocolate Chip Scones

Here's a simple recipe to make for your Downton Abbey viewing: Mrs Crawley's Chocolate Chip Scones. These are easy to make and delicious. They're perfect for Isobel Crawley, a distant relative of the family, who is always slightly uncomfortable with the more luxurious lifestyle of her relatives, to serve, even to the Dowager Duchess.

DOWNTON ABBEY: 
MRS CRAWLEY'S CHOCOLATE CHIP SCONES

Ingredients
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
1/2 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
3 Tbsp orange juice (without pulp)

Directions
Preheat oven to 400. Spray baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
In large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. With pastry blender or  large fork, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in chocolate chips. Mix in orange juice to form dough.
Turn out dough on floured surface. Pat or roll into 9 inch circle about 1/2 inch thick.
With 2 -1/2 inch fluted biscuit cutter, cut out 12 scones, pushing dough scraps together for last few, if necessary.
Transfer scones to baking sheet.
Bake in preheated oven until golden brown, about 12 minutes.
Move to wire racks to cool.
Serve with clotted cream and jam!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Chewy Pistachio Brownies: National Pistachio Day

Today is National Pistachio Day! I love that green nut and used to eat them by the bucketful as a kid. Chocolate and Pistachios are a great match! I've posted many recipes in the past, but for today's holiday I think this recipe for Chewy Pistachio Brownies is top notch. I always say that Associations and Food sites have great recipes. This recipe is adapted from the American Pistachio Growers website. You can never have enough Brownie recipes, and pistachios are a great alternative to walnuts. Totally different flavor!

Fun Pistachio Facts 
Pistachios are one of the oldest flowering nut trees, and are one of the only two nuts mentioned in the Bible (Genesis 43:11). Humans have eaten pistachio nuts for at least 9,000 years.
In the first century A.D., Emperor Vitellius introduced Rome to the pistachio. Apicius, Rome's Julia Child of the first century, includes pistachios in his classical cookbook.
The Queen of Sheba loved pistachios. she demanded that the entire region’s pistachio harvest be set aside for her.
The Pistachio is known as the 'smiling nut" in Iran and the happy nut in China.
Pistachios owe their green and purple hue to antioxidants.
Pistachios are a good source of protein, fiber, magnesium, thiamin, and phosphorous. Pistachios are an excellent source of vitamin B6, copper, and manganese.
Almost 90% of the fat found in pistachios is the healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fats.
Pistachios are good for the heart.

Chewy Pistachio Brownies 

Ingredients
1/2 cup Cocoa
1 cup Sugar
3/4 cup Flour
1/2 teaspoon Baking powder
1 cup Semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup Shelled natural American pistachios, chopped
6 tablespoons Butter, melted
1 Large Egg

Directions
In mixing bowl, combine cocoa, sugar, flour, baking powder, chocolate chips, and 1/2 cup chopped pistachios. Add melted butter, egg, and milk. Mix just until ingredients are blended. Scrape batter into oiled 9-inch square baking pan.
Bake in preheated 350° F. oven, 23 to 25 minutes or until center is baked. Do not overbake. 

Monday, January 25, 2016

IRISH COFFEE CHOCOLATE MOUSSE: Irish Coffee Day

Today is National Irish Coffee Day! Irish Coffee was invented at the Buena Vista Cafe, right here in San Francisco.

On my first day in California I was lucky to hitch a ride with a visiting dignitary. The day's tour of San Francisco included the hills of San Francisco, Sonoma County, the Renaissance Fair, Sausalito, Fisherman's Wharf, the Palace of Fine Arts, Cliff House, the Golden Gate Bridge and a stop at the Buena Vista Cafe for an Irish Coffee. I saw more of the San Francisco Bay Area on that one day than I did during the next ten years.

Irish Coffee at the Buena Vista Cafe is a very San Francisco tradition. The drink was invented there in 1952. The recipe was a collaborative effort between Jack Koeppler, the Buena Vista’s owner, and Stanton Delaplane, a well-known international travel writer and San Francisco Chronicle columnist.

The official story of Irish Coffee tells of the perseverance and repeated attempts of Koeppler & Delaplane and even a trip to Shannon Airport, where a forerunner of Koeppler’s vision was served. The whipped cream posed a problem, but the input of a prominent dairy farmer turned Mayor of San Francisco, solved the problem: age the cream for 48 hours and froth it to a precise consistency so it would float on top of the hot coffee, to Koeppler’s specifications.


So if you're in San Francisco today, it's a big day at the Buena Vista. Stop by and raise a glass!

But this is a Chocolate Blog, so once again I wanted to post a recipe that includes Chocolate and the day's 'food' holiday.

Irish Coffee Chocolate Mousse

Ingredients
4 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
1 cup heavy cream
1-1/2 tsp instant espresso powder
4 tsp whiskey
2 eggs
2 Tbsp plus 4 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions
Put Chocolate, 1/3 cup of cream, and 1/4 teaspoon of espresso powder in heatproof bowl. Put bowl in skillet of barely simmering water. Stir frequently until chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Remove bowl from skillet, stir in whiskey, and set aside.
In heatproof medium bowl, whisk eggs with 1 tablespoon water and 2 tablespoons of sugar until well blended.
Put bowl in skillet and whisk eggs constantly (to prevent from scrambling) over barely simmering water until they register 160 degrees F. on instant-read thermometer.
Remove bowl from skillet and beat at high speed with electric mixer until eggs have texture like softly whipped cream, 3 to 4 minutes.
Fold one quarter of eggs into chocolate.
Scrape chocolate mixture over remaining whipped eggs and continue to fold just until evenly incorporated.
Divide mousse into ramekins. Chill at least 1 hour, or until set, before serving.

Serve with Bailey's Irish Cream
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 Tbsp Baileys Irish Cream

Whip heavy cream to soft peaks. Add Baileys Irish Cream and whisk until combined.
Spoon small amount of whipped cream onto the top of each mousse ramekin.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Snow Cap Cookies

Another 'snow' recipe today! These go great with a nice hot cup of cocoa! Snow Cap Cookies aka Chocolate Crinkles. Perfect to reflect winter, and in this case the Blizzard.

SNOW CAP COOKIES

Ingredients
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate, melted, cooled
2 cups granulated sugar
2 tsp Madagascar vanilla
4 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Directions
In large bowl, mix oil, chocolate, granulated sugar, and vanilla. Stir in eggs, one at a time. Stir in flour, baking powder, and salt. Cover; Refrigerate at least 3 hours.
Heat oven to 350°F. Grease cookie sheet with shortening or cooking spray.
Roll dough into teaspoon size balls (they don't have to be perfect), then drop into bowl of powdered sugar and roll around to cover. Place about 2 inches apart on cookie sheets.
Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until almost no imprint remains when touched lightly in center. Immediately remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Snowballs: Retro Ad & Recipe

So Blizzard Jonas hit the East Coast. It may be too early to get out there and start throwing snowballs, but I thought this Retro Ad & Recipe for Snowballs is great for today. The Swift'ning Ad calls these cupcakes, but I grew up calling them Snowballs.

Swiftn'ing, by the way, was a lard-based product, developed by Swift & Company during the 1940s. It was marketed as an all purpose shortening and contained a mixture of both animal and vegetable fats.





Friday, January 22, 2016

Speakeasy Chocolate Stout Truffles

It's San Francisco Beer Week, and I hope to get to several of the incredible events that are going to take place. I posted about two Chocolate and Beer events earlier, but what if you're not in San Francisco? How can you celebrate? Well, you can make some Chocolate Stout Truffles, of course. I decided to make these with Speakeasy's Black Hand, a Chocolate Milk Stout, and Guittard Chocolate, two local companies. Excellent flavor with lots of chocolate notes. But, of course, you can use your favorite dark beer or stout, and your favorite chocolate (62% cacao or higher).

SPEAKEASY CHOCOLATE STOUT TRUFFLES 

Ingredients
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped (Guittard)
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 1/2 Tbsp Stout beer (Speakeasy's Black Hand)
1/2 tsp Madagascar vanilla
Dash of salt
2 tsp unsalted butter, cubed and softened
Unsweetened cocoa powder, for dusting

Directions
In saucepan over low heat, bring cream just to a boil and pour half over chocolate. Set aside 2 minutes. Using wooden spoon, gradually stir cream into chocolate (it should begin to look shiny and smooth). When completely smooth, bring remaining cream back up to a simmer, pour over chocolate, set aside another 2 minutes, then stir in as before. When chocolate and milk are completely combined, stir in stout, vanilla, and salt. Stir in butter last.
Pour ganache into 8-by-8-inch baking dish and set aside at room temperature 30 minutes.
Refrigerate ganache 30 minutes more, or until cold but still maleable.
Using melon baller or teaspoon, make rough ball-shapes of ganache and transfer to baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate 15 minutes.
Dust hands with cocoa powder, and coat rough-hewn shapes in remaining cocoa powder, or roll into more perfect balls and coat. Transfer truffles a few at time to small sieve and shake to remove excess cocoa. Transfer to airtight container and refrigerate.
Remove truffles from refrigerator 15 minutes before serving, re-rolling in a bit more cocoa powder.
Truffles keep, refrigerated, up to 2 weeks.

San Francisco Beer Week: Chocolate & Beer Events

San Francisco Beer Week is upon us. January 22-January 31. San Francisco is home to over 100 breweries who produce some of the best beer in the U.S. I recently attended a launch for Beer Week, and I tasted a lot of Chocolate Beers and Chocolate Ales, as well as beers that have definitely chocolate notes. I liked them all. Since I often pair chocolate with beer for tastings, I thought I'd mention a few events coming up, as well as some special Chocolate Ales. They're going to be lots of other Beer Events, too, all over the Bay Area in Bars, Breweries, restaurants, movie theatres, and even the Pinball Museum. San Francisco knows how to throw a party!

The San Francisco Brewers Guild organizes SF Beer Week, and people come from all over the world. This great festival is usually held in February (so mark your calendar for next year), but because San Francisco is hosting the Super Bowl, SF Beer Week was moved up. Brewers traditionally release their new beers during Beer Week, and I certainly tasted a lot of them at the press launch. Fabulous. Here's a short-list of fun ones.

CHOCOLATE AND BEER EVENTS:

January 23:  Chocolate Making and Beer Pairing for Charity! TCHO Chocolate Company, Pete Slosberg (Pete's Wicked Ale and Cocoa Pete's, and Thirsty Bear Brewing Co. team up for a chocolate making and beer pairing evening. Learn to make your own unique chocolates. Specialty cask conditioned Panda Bear Ale (brewed with TCHO organic coca nibs and more), and other organic ThirstyBear and SF Brewers Guild collaboration brews and taste chocolates while making your own. Proceeds benefit the Institute of Myeloma & Bone Cancer Research. ThirstyBear, 661 Howard, San Francisco. 6-9 p.m. SOLD OUT.

January 26: Chocolate & Beer Pairing. Dandelion Chocolate and Speakeasy. This is a 5-part beer and chocolate pairing featuring Dandelion Chocolate's single origin bars, paired with unique brews from Speakeasy Ales & Lagers.  Note: Speakeasy uses Dandelion chocolate nibs in their Black Hand. No tickets necessary for the event, just visit the Tap Room to purchase a flight of beer & chocolate. Flights available starting at 1 p.m. until they run out. Speakeasy Tap Room, 1195 Evans Avenue, San Francisco.

January 28. Chocolate & Beer Pairing Dandelion Chocolate and Anchor Brewing.  San Francisco's oldest brfewery and Dandelion's single origin chocolate. Pairing features new and limited-release brews from Anchor Brewing and a special selection of chocolates to compare and contrast with the beer. Chocolate making demo, too. Free. 6-9 p.m. The Chapel, 777 Valencia Street.

One of my favorite Chocolate Beers is Speakeasy's Black Hand. It's made with TCHO Ghanaian Roasted Cacao Nibs. It's a chocolate milk stout that's full-bodied and creamy, with chocolate notes. I also love the brewery graphics.. but then I'm a mystery person.



Thursday, January 21, 2016

Coconut Chia Seed Chocolate Pudding

Coconut was one of the big trends I spotted this year at the San Francisco Winter Fancy Food Show. I was planning on posting about Chia Seeds and Chocolate, and this Coconut Chia Seed Chocolate Pudding includes coconut, so here you go. Recipe from Nicky at Little Family Adventure, and reprinted with permission from ChosenFoods. This is a healthy, delicious treat for breakfast or evening!

O.K. you may be wondering what exactly Chia Seeds are. Chia seeds are one of nature’s rare, perfect, superfoods. Coveted by ancient Aztec warriors, chia seeds are said to deliver incredible energy, life giving nutrients and essential fatty acids. There are many health benefits of chia seeds including that they are a complete vegan source of protein, have 50% more omega-3 than flax seeds, and 5g of filling fiber per serving. Chia seeds are great in both sweet and savory dishes; they can be sprinkled on top of yogurt or salad, added to smoothies, baked into bread, used as a natural thickener for soups and sauces, and even used to replace eggs and oil in baked dishes. It's a very versatile food.  Learn more about Chia Seeds at ChosenFoods.

COCONUT CHIA SEED CHOCOLATE PUDDING

Ingredients: 
1 cup coconut milk
3 Tbsp cocoa powder
3 Tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
3 Tbsp coconut, shredded or flake
4 Tbsp Chosen Foods Chia Seeds

Directions:
In blender or food processor, combine coconut milk, cocoa, maple syrup, vanilla, and dried coconut. Blend until well combined. Add Chosen Foods chia seeds to blender and pulse to combine.
Pour into 2 pint sized containers. Sprinkle with shredded or flaked coconut.
Refrigerate overnight or until pudding reaches the desired consistency!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Mascarpone and Cocoa Swirl Bars


I love fresh butter, and lately I've been using butter from Vermont Creamery on my toast, in my cooking, and in my baking. It has such a good rich flavor. Vermont Creamery produces a European-style Cultured Butter. The cream, from their co-op of 500 family farms in Northeast Vermont, is churned in small batches becoming a rich European-style butter with 86% butterfat content and a unique farm-fresh taste.

Because I like their butter so much, I checked out their website. This recipe for Mascarpone and Cocoa Swirl Bars is wonderful and so easy. You'll love these bars.

MASCARPONE AND COCOA SWIRL BARS

Ingredients
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
3 tablespoons hot water
1 teaspoon canola oil
1/2 cup Vermont Creamery Cultured Butter, melted 1
 cup brown sugar, packed
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
 8 ounces Vermont Creamery Mascarpone cheese, softened
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking soda

Directions
Preheat oven to 350º F. Butter an 8x8 pan, line with parchment, and butter parchment. In  small bowl whisk together cocoa powder, hot water, and oil until smooth paste forms and set aside.
Whisk together melted butter and brown sugar in bowl. Whisk in egg and vanilla. Add mascarpone cheese and stir until combined. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and mix until smooth. Pour about 3/4 the batter into prepared pan.
Add cocoa mixture to the batter remaining in the bowl and stir until thoroughly combined. Dollop cocoa batter evenly over top of mascarpone batter and gently swirl together with toothpick.
Bake for 25–30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely, slice, and serve. Store any remaining bars in the refrigerator.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Downton Abbey: Lady Edith's Marble Chocolate Tea Bread

I love a good Marbled Chocolate Tea Bread aka Chocolate Swirl. The Victorians called it Marbled Cake because the feathery swirls of chocolate are revealed when the cake (made of two batters) is sliced to make a pattern similar to Italian marble. Don't you just love food trivia?

I like to think that Lady Edith would have a slice of this wonderful Marbled Chocolate Tea Bread on her tea break while editing The Sketch. This is not a fancy cake, but it's absolutely delicious. The marbling elevates it.

DOWNTON ABBEY:  
LADY EDITH'S MARBLE CHOCOLATE TEA BREAD

Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
3⁄4 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
1 large egg white
1⁄4 cup canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Directions
Heat oven to 350 degrees F; coat 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan with nonstick spray and flour lightly.
Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in large bowl. Whisk buttermilk, eggs, egg white, oil, and vanilla in medium bowl; stir into flour mixture just until blended. Melt chocolate in top of double boiler or pot over another pot with simmering water. Stir in 1 1/3 cups batter.
Working quickly (chocolate batter will become firm and hard to swirl if standing too long), pour some of white batter over bottom of pan, then dollop with chocolate batter. Fill pan by alternating dollops of white and chocolate batter.
Pull knife through batter to swirl (quickly, don't retread).
Bake 50 minutes to one hour or until pick inserted in center comes out clean. DO NOT OVERBAKE.
Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes.
Remove from pan; put cake right side up on rack to cool.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Chevre Chocolate Truffles: We all Love Goats!

I spent the day yesterday at the Fancy Food Show in San Francisco. Chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate. Oh yes, there were other foods, but chocolate was definitely on the menu. Over the next week or so, I'll be letting you know what's new, posting recipes featuring some of the new products, reviewing the products, and lmore! I'm back to the show today, so I thought I'd post one easy recipe for you.

I'm a huge fan of Cypress Grove Chevre. They have a great variety of goat cheeses from Humboldt Fog to Bermuda Triangle to Sgt. Pepper to Purple Haze, and everything in between. Their displays each year at the Fancy Food Show are spectacular, and this year's was the best ever. Who wouldn't want a beautiful cake made of cheese wheels?

The following recipe for Goat Cheese Chocolate Truffles will work well with any Chevre, so you can use whatever is available to you. Make sure it's fresh. This specific goat cheese truffle recipe (I've posted others) really highlights the chevre, so mix is up and try other goat cheeses to see what you like best. I use Humboldt Fog which has a very distinct taste, so you might want to make your first batch with a more mild chevre. Humboldt Fog has a subtle, tangy flavor and distinctive layer of edible vegetable ash. Of course, different chocolate will also make a difference in flavor. Enjoy!

Chevre Chocolate Truffles

Ingredients
6 1/2 ounces bittersweet dark chocolate, chopped
7 ounces fresh Cypress Grove Humboldt Fog chevre, room temperature  (or a Chevre of your choosing)
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder, for rolling

Directions
Melt chocolate in top of double boiler or metal pot over another pot over simmering water.  Mix chevre and sugar in medium-size bowl. Stir in melted chocolate and mix until  smooth.
Refrigerate an hour to overnight.
When ready to make truffles, roll heaping teaspoons of refrigerated mixture into small balls, then roll balls in cocoa powder.
Chill on sheet pan until ready to serve or keep 3 to 4 days in refrigerator.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Hot Buttered Rum Cocoa: Hot Buttered Rum Day

Today is National Hot Buttered Rum Day. It's pretty blustery and wet out there, so this is the perfect drink to celebrate the day!

The recipe for Hot Buttered Rum Cocoa is from the Wisconsin Cheese Board. So many Food associations have great recipes. Be sure and check them out.

If you don't have time to make Hot Buttered Rum Cocoa, you can always celebrate this food holiday with Seattle Chocolates' Hot Buttered Rum Milk Chocolate Truffle Bar. Fabulous! This bar is buttery, smooth with a light hint of rum and toffee crunch in milk chocolate.

Hot Buttered Rum Cocoa

Ingredients
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 cup dark rum
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup cocoa
4 cups milk

Directions
Combine butter, brown sugar, and seasonings in small bowl, mixing until well-blended. Drop six spoonfuls onto plastic wrap-lined plate; chill while preparing beverage, then form into balls.
Combine rum, sugar and cocoa in 2 quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat until mixture boils, stirring constantly. Simmer 1 minute; add milk. Cook until heated through; do not boil.
Pour into six coffee cups; place one butter ball in each cup.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Oreo Cheesecake

Yesterday I saw a huge transport truck with Oreo cookies emblazoned all over it. 6' tall Oreos. So in honor of this sighting, I thought I'd post a recipe for Oreo Cheesecake. This recipe combines two of my favorite food groups! Oreos and Cheesecake. O.K., a little liberty there on actual food groups. But, the great thing about this recipe is it's quick and easy. No bake! Recipe modified from Philadelphia Cream Cheese at Kraft.


OREO CHEESECAKE

Crust
2 cups Oreo crumbs (about 20 Oreos)
1/4 cup butter, melted

Filling 
24 oz (three 8-oz packages) cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
8 ounces cool whip (or homemade whipped cream)
1 1/2 cups Oreo crumbs (about 16 Oreos)
7-10 Oreos, chopped, optional additional

Crust
Combine 20 Oreo crumbs with melted butter.
Press into bottom and halfway up sides of 9 inch springform pan.
Set in refrigerator to firm.

Cheesecake
Mix cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla in large bowl until smooth and combined.
Stir in Cool Whip (or homemade whipped cream).
Add rest of Oreo crumbs and chopped Oreos and gently mix until well combined.
Pour filling into crust and smooth top.
Top with additional Oreo crumbs.
Refrigerate for about 4 hours or until firm.


Friday, January 15, 2016

Chocolate Strawberry Ice Cream Heart Sandwiches

Photo: MarthaStewart.com
Today is Strawberry Ice Cream Day. This is a little odd coming in the middle of a cold January, but ice cream is available all year round, so why not? I chose a recipe for today's holiday that will also be great for Valentine's Day, so be sure and bookmark it. Recipe is from Martha Stewart. Her recipe calls for homemade vanilla, which is really lovely, but if you don't have time for that, you can always use whatever vanilla you have. I will be doing a post on vanilla in the near future. I have lots of heart shaped cookie cutters, but you can use and cookie-cutter shape you'd like for these ice cream sandwiches. I especially like strawberry ice cream that has bits of strawberry in it. Much richer and luscious.

CHOCOLATE STRAWBERRY ICE CREAM HEART SANDWICHES

Ingredients 
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
12 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
1 -1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 Tbsp milk 2 to 2 1/2 pints strawberry ice cream, softened

Directions
In medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt, and set aside.
In bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter, vanilla, and sugar. Add eggs and milk, and mix until combined. Add reserved flour mixture, and mix on low speed until incorporated, scraping sides of bowl at least once.
Divide dough in half, and shape each half into flat disk. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap, and chill until firm, about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll dough out on floured surface, sliding offset spatula under the dough to release every few turns of rolling pin. Roll dough to 1/8 inch thick.
Cut dough using variety of heart-shape cookie cutters 2 1/2 to 3 inches in diameter, making sure each cookie has a match to make a sandwich.
Place hearts on parchment-lined baking sheet; chill until firm, about 30 minutes.
Remove from refrigerator; use fork to prick the cookies all over with holes. Bake until just firm, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool on baking sheet; transfer to a wire rack.
With underside of half cookies face up, spoon softened strawberry ice cream about 1/2 inch thick to cover one side. Place matching cookie on top of ice cream, top side facing out. Transfer immediately to freezer to harden; repeat with remaining cookies and ice cream. Serve directly from freezer.
Sandwiches can be kept stored in an airtight container in the freezer for 3 to 4 days.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Downton Abbey Dowager Duchess Triple Chocolate Scones

Last week I posted several recipes for Scones that might have been served at Downton Abbey or taken on visits to the tenant farmers. Today I'm posting a recipe for Dowager Duchess Triple Chocolate Scones. Of course these go very well with a heaping helping of Clotted Cream.

Dowager Duchess Triple Chocolate Scones 

Ingredients
1-3/4 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla
6 Tbsp. butter  (cold)
7-8 Tbsp whole milk  (cold)
1/2 cup chocolate chips
3 Tbsp chopped dark chocolate
Sugar Crystals 

Directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Sift together dry ingredients in large bowl (not the chocolatae chips or chocolate).
Add chocolate chips and dark chocolate.
Cut butter into dry ingredients until size of peas.
Put vanilla into small bowl and add milk. Pour most of milk mixture into dry mix and stir to moisten. Dough should be moist enough to form a soft ball, but not sticky. If needed, additional milk can be added 1-2 teaspoons at time.
Turn dough onto lightly floured cutting board and press out with hand to approximately 1/2 inch thickness. (makes 10-12 scones or 8-12 wedges)
Do not over-knead dough. Use as little flour as possible to keep dough from sticking to  board.
Cut into desired shapes and place on lightly greased baking sheet.
Lightly brush tops with milk (or not).
Sprinkle with sugar crystals (you can get this at King Arthur Flour or in the market in the baking section).
(If using a biscuit cutter or glass, dip the cutting edge in flour first)
Bake for 10-15 minutes depending on size. Start checking at 9 minutes. Do not overbake!
Sprinkle again with large sugar crystals while scones are still hot for visual appeal.

Scones are like biscuits. To get a tender, flaky scone, dough should be handled as little as possible, and you should always use cold butter and cold milk.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Lemon Chocolate Chip Pound Cake: Great Lemon Pans

I  have lots of Meyer lemons, and I'm always looking for new recipes. I love citrus and chocolate, and I think you'll like this recipe for Lemon Chocolate Chip Pound Cake. And, if you want to 'look' fancy, you can make these pound cakes in one of these three Nordic Ware pans. The pans will create a luscious loaf (loaves) with 3-D citrus or citrus fruit blossoms. Amazing! If you want to decorate, just add a simple glaze or sprinkling of confectioners sugar to define the design. Pans are made of cast-aluminum. Great for baking! Available at Williams Sonoma, Amazon, and other baking supply places.

NordicWare Mini Citrus Cakelet Pan

 Nordic Ware Citrus Loaf Pan

Nordic Ware Citrus Blossom Loaf Pan

Lemon Chocolate Chip Pound Cake

Ingredients
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 Tbsp grated lemon peel (lemon zest)
1/2 cups buttermilk
1 cup dark chocolate chips (use mini-chips if you're making the small pans)
1 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

Directions
Preheat oven to 350° F.  Butter and flour any of above pans (or regular 9 x 5 x 3 loaf pan).
Sift dry ingredients (not including chocolate chips).
In large bowl, cream butter, sugar, and lemon zest in mixer. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and lemon juice mix until blended. Gradually (on low) beat in flour mixture alternately with buttermilk.
Stir in chocolate chips.
Pour into prepared pan.
Bake for 50 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in cake comes out clean.
Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes.
Let stand for 5 minutes. Invert onto plate.

Glaze or sprinkle with powder sugar, if desired.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Chocolate Crown Lollipops: Guest post by Deborah Lacy

Do you have a Princess Party planned? These Chocolate Crown Lollipops are perfect for favors and decoration! I love when my mystery and chocolate worlds collide. Deborah Lacy is a 'mystery' friend, but we also share a love of chocolate. Deborah Lacy runs a blog called Mystery Playground, about all things mystery and having fun.

Deborah Lacy:
Chocolate Crown Lollipops

My nieces (ages 4 and 6) love to pretend that they are princesses. So when they invited me to their double royal birthday party, I thought it would be fun to try to make chocolate crown lollipops for their guests. It turned out to be a simple and fun project.

 Here’s what you need to get started:
• Ghirardelli chocolate melts (regular chocolate chips will only work if you temper them. I used this shortcut. If you want to temper the chocolate, you can find directions here.)
• A food safe mold (you can get these on Etsy.com, Michaels and JoAnns)
• Lollipop sticks (available at Michaels or JoAnns)
• A microwave cup to melt the chips in, I use the Wilton Candy Melting Cups. You can also use a double boiler to melt the chocolate if you like.
• A Microwave
• Mini plastic bags with ties (I get these at Michaels)
• Ribbon to make it look pretty

Step One: Ready your mold, chocolate, and sticks. You're going to have to work quickly to get the lollipops done before the chocolate starts to set, so you don't want to be looking around the kitchen for your tools.

Step Two: Put about 1.5 cups of chocolate melts into your container. Any more and you might have trouble melting it. Any less and you won't have enough for pops. Put the chocolate in the microwave for 30 seconds. Take it out and stir. It won't be fully melted yet. Put it back in for 15 seconds increments removing and stirring each time until melted. Don't put it in for longer, because if the chocolate burns, you can't save it. It seems like everyone has to learn this one the hard way.

Step Three: Spoon the chocolate into the mold. You'll have to gently finesse the chocolate with a fork to get it to the edges. Whip any excess away with a damp paper towel.

Step Four: Add your lollipop stick and twirl it around so it's covered in chocolate. This will ensure that the chocolate stays attached to the stick.

Step Five: Let the chocolate harden. This step will take about 5 minutes in the fridge, and about twenty out on the counter.

Step Six: Using a knife slowly trim any excess chocolate from the lollipop and wrap. I used cellophane bags from Michaels with a little twisty. Then I tied big bows to add to the majesty. The girls and their friends loved these lollipops.



Monday, January 11, 2016

National Milk Day: A Variety of Chocolate Milk Shakes

Today is National Milk Day, and what could be more for the celebration than a Chocolate Milk Shake.

The easiest way to celebrate is to mix a little Milk with Chocolate Ice cream and Chocolate syrup and mix it up in the blender. Or you can mix Milk with Vanilla Ice cream and Chocolate syrup and blend. Measurements are up to you, but I have a few quasi-measurements below for Special Chocolate Milkshakes. 

If you're absolutely Dying for Chocolate, use 1 cup chocolate ice cream, 1/4 cup chocolate syrup and 1/2 cup chocolate milk. Mix in Blender.

A Chocolate Malted Milk Shake is a variation on your traditional chocolate milkshake. Add a Tbsp of malted milk powder to milk, chocolate syrup and chocolate ice cream and blend.

Like bananas? Make a Chocolate Banana Milk Shake: 1 cup milk, 1 scoop banana ice-cream, 1 scoop chocolate ice cream, 1/2 ripened banana and some chocolate syrup, and blend.

And, if you really want to be daring, celebrate with a Chocolate Peanut Butter Milkshake. Blend 1 cup creamy peanut butter, 1/2 cup chocolate syrup, 1/4 cup milk, 12 cubes ice. Blend until smooth. (Ice cubes instead of ice-cream).

Have a great day!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Daisy's Chocolate Cherry Pecan Scones in a Jar

Going to a Downtown Abbey party? I've been posting Downton Abbey Scone recipes this past week. Here's a recipe for Chocolate Cherry Pecan Scones in a Jar that you can take with you as a gift. Daisy would have made the scones and taken them with her when visiting the sick or poor. You don't have to. Take Chocolate Cherry Pecan Scones in a Jar. Recipe adapted from WholeFoodsMarket.com

DAISY'S CHOCOLATE CHERRY PECAN SCONES IN A JAR

Ingredients
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1 cup toasted pecans, finely chopped
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (or chopped chocolate)
1/2 cup dried cherries

Directions
In large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pecans. Carefully transfer to large mason jar, gently patting bottom of the jar with palm of hand to settle dry ingredients and create more room in jar.
Place cherries in sealable plastic bag and fit inside top of jar before closing.
Place chocolate chips in sealable plastic bag and fit inside top of jar before closing.
Tie a raffia or twine ribbon around the top of jar.

Add Note that Reads:

1 Jar Dried Cherry Pecan Scone Mix
12 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
1 tsp sugar

Preheat oven to 375°F.
Remove bags of cherries and chocolate chips from jar and set aside.
Place remaining contents of jar in large bowl and whisk until blended. Cut in butter with fingers, two knives, or a pastry cutter until coarse crumbs form. Add cherries and chocolate chips and toss to combine. Fold in 3/4 cup buttermilk, mixing just until dough comes together.
Turn out onto lightly floured surface. Dust hands with flour and knead dough a few times until ingredients are well incorporated.

For large scones, pat dough into 8-inch circle, about 1-inch thick. Cut into 8 wedges and place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

For small scones, divide dough evenly into 2 balls and pat each into 6-inch circle, about 3/4-inch thick. Cut each circle into 6 wedges and place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Brush scones with remaining 2 tablespoons buttermilk and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake until golden, about 20 minutes for small scones or about 22 minutes for larger scones.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Friday, January 8, 2016

Downton Abbey Maple Bacon Chocolate Chip Scones

Downton Abbey's Final Season, Episode 2, that airs Sunday night, takes place at the Annual Village Stock Show. Pigs feature prominently, so I thought it would be a good time to post a recipe for Maple Bacon Chocolate Chip Scones. Some maple bacon scone recipes call for a glaze, but I prefer my scones not so sweet. I can always add clotted cream and jam. You can change up this recipe by using your favorite chocolate and by substituting candied bacon. This is a great breakfast scone with coffee or tea or an evening scone with a dark stout.

The following recipe is adapted from the Bacon Today website. If you're into bacon, you'll want to check out the site for Bacon Recipes, Bacon Shop, Bacon News, and more.

MAPLE BACON CHOCOLATE CHIP SCONES

3 cups flour (plus extra for work area)
Photo: Bacon Today
1/3 cup white sugar
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 Tbsp maple syrup
3/4 cup chocolate chips (semi-sweet, milk, or dark)
1/2 cup bacon bits (you can also used candied bacon bits)
1 cup buttermilk or sour milk
*to make sour milk, simply combine 1 Tbsp white vinegar for every cup of milk, then let sit for 15 minutes

Directions
Preheat oven to 425° F.
Combine flour, sugar, cream of tartar, baking soda, and baking power in medium bowl. Add soft butter and cut with pastry blade or by crossing 2 knives. When mixture resembles fine crumbs, add in chocolate chips and bacon bits. Combine until chips and bits are coated in flour mixture.
Add sour milk and maple syrup. Mix well.
Turn mixture onto  floured working surface. Knead dough, adding enough extra flour to make slightly stiff dough. Shape into rectangle, about 3/4 inch thick. Cut dough into squares, then cut each square into triangles.
Place triangles on parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes, until lightly browned.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Cotton Candy Hot Chocolate: Cotton Candy Day

Today is Cotton Candy Day. I have never made Cotton Candy, and growing up we bought it fresh from the spinner at Faires, the Circus, and the Amusement Park. Now, you can buy it already made and packaged at the candy store or supermarket. You can also make your own using a Cotton Candy home machine available on Amazon and elsewhere.  Cotton Candy comes in all kinds of bright colors -- pink, blue, yellow and more. It even comes in a chocolate flavor. I've seen a lot of recipes for cotton candy truffles and cotton candy fudge, but they all use even more artificial flavors and colorings than the cotton candy itself has. So I'm posting a simpler recipe for Cotton Candy Hot Chocolate. The cotton candy is used as you would use marshmallows--on top of the cocoa. The cotton candy also acts as the sugar for your cocoa, so you can reduce the sugar in your hot chocolate recipe. This would be a great recipe for Valentine's Day. Just add some sugar heart candy! Original recipe and suggestion from Stepable.  Of course you can always just make your own cocoa your own way and top with Cotton Candy, but I always like to have an alternate cocoa recipe.

Where did Cotton Candy originate?
From Foodtimeline.org

Most people think the origin of cotton candy (also known as spun sugar" "fairy floss" or "candy floss") is a simple documented fact. It's not. There are several stories recounting the invention of cotton candy. All are interesting. None are definitive. Most accounts credit the invention of cotton candy to enterprising American businessmen at the turn of the 20th century. The 1904 Louisiana Exposition in St. Louis is often cited as the place where cotton candy was introduction to the American people. The truth? Spun sugar was known long before this time. Mid-18th century master confectioners in Europe and America hand crafted spun sugar nests as Easter decorations and webs of silver and gold spun sugar for elaborate dessert presentations. At that time, spun sugar was an expensive, labor-intensive endeavor and was not generally available to the average person. The invention of modern machines changed all that.



COTTON CANDY HOT CHOCOLATE

Ingredients 
1-1/2 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
1-1/2 ounces unsweetened cocoa
3/4 tablespoon cornstarch (or flour)
1 tablespoon sugar
1-1/2 cups milk
Cotton candy

Directions
In saucepan over low-medium heat, combine cocoa powder, chocolate, cornstarch, and sugar with small whisk. With a little bit of milk, whisk chocolate to avoid lumps. Add milk gradually while whisking continuously. Turn off heat when hot chocolate thickens and reaches consistency you like. If it's too thick, add more milk. Serve hot with cotton candy on top. The cotton candy serves as the sugar so  amount can be adjusted.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

S'more Scones aka Cora Crawley, Countess of Grantham, S'more Scones

With Downton Abbey airing on MASTERPIECE PBS in the U.S. over the next few months, I thought I'd post 'some more' scone recipes. There's nothing quite like a scone and a cuppa when viewing an episode. The other day I posted a recipe for Downton Abbey Chocolate Cherry Scones. OMG, they're great. But since I'm in the U.S., I thought these S'mores Scones would be a marriage of the two continents. I'm calling them Cora Crawley, Countess of Grantham, S'more Scones. After all, the Countess is American.

I've tried several different S'more Scone recipes, but I really think that What's Gaby Cooking is one of the best. These scones are not too sweet, hold together well, and have a subtle S'mores taste. Recipe follows with just small adaptations.

S'more Scones
aka Cora Crawley, Countess of Grantham, S'more Scones

Ingredients 
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 1/4 cup graham crackers, pulverized
1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup mini-marshmallows
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups heavy cream

Directions
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
In large bowl, combine flour, graham cracker crumbs, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Mix together with fork. Fold in marshmallows and chocolate chips and mix together. Add heavy cream to dry mixture and combine together with fork until everything just begins to holdstogether. Using hands, form large mounds out of dough, about 1/4 cup of dough for each scone. Place scones onto parchment lined baking sheet and refrigerate for 45 minutes before baking. Place into preheated oven and bake for 13-15 minutes until fully baked. Remove and let cool slightly before serving. Serve with whipped or clotted cream and jam.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Chocolate Whipped Cream: Dark, Milk, & White

Another day, another food holiday. Today is National Whipped Cream Day. I've posted many recipes that call for whipped cream including chocolate whipped cream for National Cream Puff Day. Today I have three recipes for Chocolate Whipped Cream--milk, dark, and white.

Chocolate Whip Cream is terrific to add to desserts, fill cream puffs, and so many other innovative uses. It's easy to make and delicious. You can use it as an icing or filling (tarts, pies, etc). You can use it with just about anything you would use regular whipped cream for, including Strawberry Short Cake!

The first recipe for Milk Chocolate Whipped Cream is from Martha Stewart. Martha uses chocolate whipped cream for the filling of chocolate sandwich cookies. Fabulous!  I love these Chocolate Sandwich Cookies with Chocolate Whipped Cream, and you can use any chocolate cookie recipe!

The second Chocolate Whipped Cream Recipe uses a lot more chocolate, and it's dark chocolate. Which chocolate you choose depends on what you like and what you need!

The third chocolate whipped cream is from the Queen of Chocolate, Alice Medrich. It's for White Chocolate Whipped Cream. Of course, she has great recipes for Dark and Milk chocolate, so check out her recipes online and in her many chocolate cookbooks.

The Retro Advertisement is for Reddi Wip! Don't use a can if you have the ingredients and time to make your own. It's so much better!
Photo: Martha Stewart

1. CHOCOLATE WHIPPED CREAM (from Martha Stewart)

Ingredients
4 ounces milk chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 cups heavy cream
3 Tbsp sugar

Directions
1. Place chocolate in medium bowl; set aside.
2. Heat sugar and 1 cup cream in small saucepan over medium heat. Cook until sugar has dissolved.
3. Pour cream mixture over chocolate; stir until chocolate has melted. Let cool.
4. Transfer chocolate mixture to electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Add remaining cup heavy cream and beat on medium speed until thick and fluffy.

How easy is that?

2. DARK CHOCOLATE WHIPPED CREAM (from Sherry Yard)

I really love this recipe from Sherry Yard for Chocolate Whipped Cream. It's definitely more of a rich whipped ganache, but then isn't that what it's all about? Sherry Yard was the executive pastry chef at Wolfgang Puck's Spago in Beverly Hills and shared this recipe on Cookin' with Good Morning America (December 25, 2003). It's also in in her book Secrets of Baking: Simple Techniques for Sophisticated Desserts.

Ingredients
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2 cups heavy cream
1 Tbsp sugar

Directions
1. Using serrated knife, finely chop the chocolate into 1/4 inch pieces and place in medium heatproof bowl.
2. Bring cream and sugar to boil in small saucepan over medium heat. Immediately pour hot cream over chopped chocolate. Tap bowl on counter to settle  chocolate into cream, then let sit for 1 minute.
Using rubber spatula, slowly stir in circular motion, starting from center of bowl and working out to sides. Stir until all chocolate is melted, about 2 minutes.
3. Pour ganache into medium container, cover, and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight. It should be consistency of peanut butter.
4. Once ganache has chilled, transfer to large bowl. Using balloon whisk, whip ganache by hand until it just reaches soft peaks, about 2 minutes. Be sure to lift whisk out of cream with each pass to bring in as much air as possible. Do not overwhip. Don't worry if cream doesn't seem firm enough. It will have consistency of mustard but will solidify more after it sets in the refrigerator. You can also use a hand mixer.
5. Use this cream immediately to fill pastries, tarts, and cakes. After dessert is filled, refrigerate for about 1 hour to set the Chocolate Whipped Cream.

3. White Chocolate Whipped Cream from Alice Medrich

Ingredients
4 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped
3/4 cup heavy cream
3 Tbsp water
A pinch or two of salt (optional)

Directions
Put chocolate in medium bowl.
Bring cream and water to simmer in saucepan and pour over chocolate. Let stand for 30 seconds, then stir well.
Let stand for 15 minutes to finish melting chocolate, then stir again until every last bit of chocolate is melted into cream. Let cool. Taste and add salt, if desired.
Cover and refrigerate for at least several hours, or until completely chilled.
To serve, whip the cream with electric mixer until it holds a shape.
Use immediately or refrigerate until needed.

And, as always, your final product will only be as good as your ingredients. Use the best. Here's one of my favorite whipping creams!



Monday, January 4, 2016

Downton Abbey Chocolate Cherry Scones

I love Downton Abbey, and you probably do, too. It's one of the most watched PBS  (or any!) productions in years. Here's a great recipe that I'm sure Mrs. Patmore and Daisy could easily have mixed up for the staff or family. Make a batch for your Downton Abbey viewing party. Serve with clotted cream and black cherry jam!

Be sure and scroll down to watch the video of Mrs Patmore.

DOWNTON ABBEY CHOCOLATE CHERRY SCONES
Recipe adapted from Southern Living

Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup whipping cream, divided
1/4 cup dried cherries, coarsely chopped
3 ounces dark chocolate, chopped

Directions
Preheat oven to 450°.

Stir together first 4 ingredients in large bowl. Cut butter into flour mixture with pastry blender until crumbly and mixture resembles small peas. Freeze 5 minutes. Add 3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp cream, dried cherries, and chocolate, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened.

Turn dough out onto wax paper; gently press or pat dough into 7-inch round (mixture will be crumbly). Cut round into 8 wedges. Place wedges 2 inches apart on a lightly greased baking sheet. Brush tops of wedges with remaining 2 Tbs. cream just until moistened.

Bake at 450° for 13 to 15 minutes or until golden.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Whipped Instant Candy: French Chocolate Squares

I love Retro Ads & Recipes. Carnation had lots of ads with recipes in the 50s and 60s.Since this is a chocolate blog, be sure and check out the recipe for French Chocolate Squares.