Tuesday, May 31, 2016

National Macaroon Day: Add Chocolate

Today is National Macaroon Day. Now I know that macaroons are not really the same thing as the "French" macarons, but the word has the same root.

The words both come from the Italian maccarone or maccherone which is derived from ammaccare, meaning crush or beat -- referencing almond paste as the principle ingredient. Most macaroon recipes contain egg whites, almonds or nuts. Sometimes coconut--and definitely sugar! I grew up with macaroons that were mainly coconut.

The 'French' macaron is a sweet meringue-based confection filled with ganache, buttercream or jam and is between two 'cookies'. It's smooth and domed. Lots of flavors, including, of course, chocolate! Although French, there has been much debate about its origins. Larousse Gastronomique cites the macaron as being created in 1791 in a convent near Cormery. Some have traced its French debut back to the arrival of Catherine de' Medici's Italian pastry chefs whom she brought with her in 1533 upon marrying Henry II of France.

In the 1830s, macarons were served two-by-two with the addition of jams, liqueurs, and spices. The macaron as it is known today was called the "Gerbet" or the "Paris macaron" and was created in the early 20th Century by Pierre Desfontaines of the French pâtisserie Ladurée, composed of two almond meringue discs filled with a layer of buttercream, jam, or ganache filling.

But for today's post, I thought I'd focus on MACAROONS, since it's National Macaroon Day!

First, you should know that there is an Almond & Macaroon Museum  in Montmorillon, France. This museum pays homage to the generations of craftsmen who built the reputation of Montmorillon, Cité of Macaroons.  The Museum reveals the history of the macaroon, from the culture of the almond tree (and the multiple uses of almonds), to the arrival of the macaroon in France.

There are informative panels, interactive terminals, and machines and old instruments used in the kitchen. At the end of the exhibition, a film summarizes the broad outlines of the visit, and dwells on the arrival of the Macaroon of Montmorillon, and on the creation of Rannou-Métivier House. The visit culminates in the opportunity for tasting in the Winter Garden of the museum.

And, a few recipes to help you celebrate the day! Stay posted for Macaron recipes another day!

CHOCOLATE MACAROONS

Ingredients
1 1/3 (8 ounces) cups dark (70%) chocolate, chopped, divided
2 large egg whites
pinch of salt
1/4-1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups sweetened fresh flaked coconut

Directions
Preheat oven to 325°F. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Place 1 cup chocolate in microwave-safe bowl; microwave on low setting at 10-second intervals until chocolate is melted, stirring occasionally (or melt in a double boiler). Cool just to room temperature.

Using electric mixer, beat egg whites and salt in medium bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar, then vanilla, beating until whites are thick and glossy. Fold in melted chocolate and coconut, then remaining 1/3 cup chocolate (broken into small pieces the size of mini-chips).

Drop batter by heaping teaspoonfuls onto prepared sheets, spacing 1-1/2 inches apart.
Bake cookies 10 minutes. Reverse sheets. Bake until tops are dry and cracked and tester inserted into centers comes out with moist crumbs attached, about 10 minutes longer.

Cool cookies on sheets on racks.

Three More Chocolate Macaroon Recipes:

CLEO COYLE'S MOCHA DIPPED RUM MACAROONS

CHOCOLATE CHIP MACAROONS

SCOTTISH MACAROON BARS FROM CATRIONA MCPHERSON
And for those of you who like to drink your Chocolate Macaroons, here's a great: 

Chocolate Macaroon Martini

6 ounces vodka
1 ounce chocolate-flavored liqueur
1 ounce Amaretto
orange twist

Combine liquid ingredients in cocktail shaker with cracked ice and shake well.
Strain into chilled martini glass and garnish with orange twist.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Chocolate Savory Barbecue Sauces: Memorial Day

When I was growing up barbecues at my house were mostly on holidays: Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day. My Dad would don his Westinghouse apron and hat and fire up the grill. I still have my Dad's apron, but not the chef's hat. Very nostalgic--and retro. Wish he were still with us. I miss him every day. He'd love these barbecue sauces and this list of Barbecue Crime Fiction.

If you're planning a Memorial Day barbecue today, you'll want to check your stock of dark chocolate. I've posted several chocolate barbecue sauces and chocolate rubs before, but here are two more. Both use Hershey's products-- #1 Hershey's Special Dark Syrup and #2 Scharffen Berger Dark Chocolate, but you can use what you have and enjoy best!

The first recipe is from The BBQ Report. I use a different Dark Chocolate Sauce from an artisan chocolate company, but you can always use Hershey's. The flavors will be different, but both would be good. Season your meat with some cocoa powder (unsweetened) for double chocolate goodness.

#1 CHOCOLATE BARBECUE SAUCE

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups ketchup
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup Hershey’s Special Dark syrup (or another)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp salt
1/2 tbsp cracked black pepper
1 tsp paprika
1 tbsp prepared mustard
1/2 tsp hot sauce

Directions
In sauce pan saute onions and garlic in olive oil, cooking until tender.
Stir in lemon juice, salt, pepper, paprika, and hot sauce.
Simmer for 5 to 6 minutes and reduce heat.
Stir in ketchup, vinegar, and Hershey’s Syrup.
Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.

#2 CHOCOLATE BARBECUE SAUCE

From the Hershey's Website comes this amazing and much more complex Chocolate Barbecue Sauce recipe, utilizing Scharffen Berger 82% dark chocolate (Scharffen Berger is owned by Hershey's). Recipe adapted from Chef Ken Gladysz at the Hotel Hershey.

Ingredients
1 tablespoon sweet butter, soft
4 each garlic cloves, minced
1/2 Spanish onion, diced small
2 each Roma tomatoes, stem removed, diced small
1 1/2 oz. dark brown sugar
4 teaspoons ancho chili powder
4 oz. apple cider vinegar
8 oz. barbeque sauce
14 oz. vegetable stock
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
3 oz. SCHARFFEN BERGER 82% dark chocolate
2 tablespoons cilantro, fresh, chopped
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper, freshly ground

Directions
Melt butter in small sauce pan over medium heat.
Add garlic and onion, sauté 5 minutes until golden brown.
Add tomatoes, stir, and sauté an additional 5 minutes.
Add sugar and chili powder, mix well, and cook for 5 minutes.
Add vinegar, reduce for 5 minutes, mixture should have a paste consistency.
Add sauce, stock, cumin, cinnamon, cloves, salt and pepper. Mix well.
Bring to a boil and reduce to a slow simmer for 30 minutes.
Add SCHARFFEN BERGER chocolate and cilantro; allow to simmer for 5 minutes.
Remove sauce from heat and let stand for 10 minutes.
Puree sauce, transfer to a clean container and cool.
For best results, refrigerate for 12 hours before using.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Skillet S'mores: S'mores Indoors

I seem to be on a S'mores roll, but with Memorial Day tomorrow, I can't think of anything more fun! here's a great idea for S'mores Indoors--or you can make this is a heavy Skillet on the grill--Skillet S'mores. Either way, Skillet S'mores are almost like a dip. It's a great and easy dessert for the holiday--or any time.

Skillet S'mores

Ingredients 
Marshmallows  (cut in half)
2 bags Chocolate Chips
1 box Graham Crackers 

Instructions 
Preheat oven to 350*F
In 9" ovenproof skillet, put chocolate chips in even layer across bottom.
Put marshmallow halves on top so all chocolate chips are covered.
Bake in oven for 10 minutes, until chocolate has melted and marshmallows are starting to toast.
Do Not over bake!
Serve with graham crackers for dipping.


Saturday, May 28, 2016

Patriotic Red, White, & Blue Chocolate Cookies for Memorial Day

Here's another easy dessert for Memorial Day --  Patriotic Chocolate Cookies! You probably have everything in your pantry already--well, maybe not the Red, White, and Blue Holiday M&M Mix, but you can pick up a bag at the market, Target, the baking store, or on-line. This is an easy recipe that makes a big impact. So colorful!

PATRIOTIC RED, WHITE, & BLUE CHOCOLATE COOKIES FOR MEMORIAL DAY

Ingredients
1 cup butter, unsalted
3/4 cup granulated Sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup Brown Sugar (packed)
2 1/4 cups Flour
2/3 cup unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda
2 large Eggs
1 tsp Madagascar Vanilla
1 Bag Red, White, & Blue M&Ms Holiday Mix

Directions
Mix together dry ingredients and set aside. Cream together butter and both sugars. Mix in eggs and vanilla. Add in dry ingredients, 1 cup at time.
Add 3/4 of bag of Red White and Blue Holiday Mix M&M’s to chocolate cookie dough.
Take spoonful of cookie dough and roll into ball. Press some Red White and Blue M&M’s onto cookie dough ball.
Bake cookies in 350 degree oven for 9-11 minutes.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Red White & Blue Star Brownies for Memorial Day

Photo: Betty Crocker
Love this recipe from Betty Crocker. I've made it a bunch of times. You can always substitute your own brownie recipe or another brand of brownie mix, but here's the original easy recipe.

If you don't have Betty Crocker Decorating Decors stars or icing (or you think it would be too sweet), use Red, White, & Blue Holiday M&Ms. Just press them gently into the batter before baking. These are perfect for Memorial Day!

Red White & Blue Start Brownies

Ingredients 
1 box (1 lb 2.4 oz) Betty Crocker™ Original Supreme Premium brownie mix
Water, vegetable oil and egg called for on brownie mix box
1/2 cup Betty Crocker™ Whipped fluffy white frosting (from 12-oz container)
Betty Crocker™ Decorating Decors stars

Directions 
Heat oven to 350°F. Line 9-inch square pan with foil so foil extends about 2 inches over sides of pan. Spray foil with cooking spray. Make and bake brownies as directed on box. Cool completely, about 1 1/2 hours.
Remove brownies from pan by lifting foil; peel foil from sides of brownies. Using 2 1/2-inch star-shaped cookie cutter, cut brownies. Squeeze frosting on star-shaped brownies. Sprinkle with decors.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Dark Chocolate Cherry Ganache Bars: Cherry Dessert Day

Today is Cherry Dessert Day. Of course, for me, that means Chocolate and Cherry! These Dark Chocolate Cherry Ganache Bars are perfect for today's holiday or for the Memorial Day Weekend. Make them ahead, so you can enjoy the barbecue--or save the recipe for another time! This easy recipe is adapted slightly from Melissa Clark at the New York Times. I use Bon Maman Cherry Preserves. I like the slightly tangy flavor.

DARK CHOCOLATE CHERRY GANACHE BARS

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4  cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
12 Tbsp cold unsalted butter
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
2 Tbsp cherry jam (whichever you like--I prefer Bonne Maman Dark Cherry Preserves)
12 ounces dark chocolate (62 percent or higher), chopped
2/3 cup heavy cream
3 Tbsp Kirsch
1/2 tsp fleur de sel, for sprinkling

Directions
In food processor, pulse together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, and fine sea salt. Pulse in butter and vanilla until mixture just comes together into a smooth mass.
Line 8-inch square baking pan with parchment or wax paper. Press dough into pan. Prick all over with fork. Chill for at least 20 minutes and up to 3 days.
Heat oven to 325 degrees. Bake shortbread until firm to  touch and just beginning to pull away from sides, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool in  pan for 20 minutes on wire rack.
Brush jam over shortbread’s surface and let cool thoroughly.
Place chocolate in heatproof bowl. In saucepan, bring the cream to a simmer. Pour over  chocolate and whisk until smooth. Whisk in Kirsch. Spread over shortbread. Sprinkle fleur de sel on.
Cool to room temperature; cover and chill until firm. Slice and serve.

S'mores Fudge for Memorial Day

I just love S'mores! There are so many great ways to eat --and drink--your S'mores, so for Memorial Day why not make some S'mores Fudge.

The first printed S’mores recipe appeared in 1927 in the Girl Scout handbook called, Tramping and Trailing with the Girl Scouts. Folklore tells us the name “S’mores” came about because everyone who tasted one asked for “some more.”

The first recipe below actually has three distinct layers...and it sure tastes like fudge. One caveat: This fudge is sweet, but then we're talking S'mores, aren't we? The second recipe is quicker to make (and eat) and the ingredients are all mixed together. Whichever you make, you won't be disappointed!

Have a great Memorial Day Weekend!

1. S'MORES FUDGE

Ingredients

Graham Cracker Crust
4 sheets of graham crackers
1/4 cup of sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp melted butter

Chocolate Fudge Layer
1-1/2 cups milk chocolate, chopped (or milk chocolate chips)
1/2 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
1/2 can of sweetened condensed milk

Marshmallow Layer
1 cup 'real' white chocolate chips
1/2 cup marshmallow fluff
1/2 can sweetened condensed milk

Directions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Line 8 by 8 square pan with aluminum foil, with extra foil hanging over (to help lift out later).
Crush graham crackers and mix in melted butter and sugar.
Pour into aluminum foil lined pan and push down with glass cup to make even layer.
Bake for 15 minutes or until edges are golden brown.
Melt chocolate in small saucepan over medium low heat.
Remove from heat and add half can of sweetened condensed milk and vanilla.
When smooth, pour immediately over graham cracker crust.
Melt white chocolate in small saucepan over medium low heat and add in marshmallow fluff and rest of sweetened condensed milk. Stir until smooth and consistent. Pour over chocolate layer.
Refrigerate overnight.
Next day, lift fudge out of pan using aluminum foil.
Carefully remove foil and carefully cut into squares.

2. EASY S'MORES FUDGE

Ingredients
1-12 ounce bag milk chocolate chips or 12 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
5 regular sized graham crackers, broken into small pieces
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 Tbsp butter
1 cup mini-marshmallows

Directions
In small saucepan, melt chocolate, butter and sweetened condensed milk. Remove from heat. Cool slightly.
Add graham crackers until combined.
Fold in marshmallows.
Pour into greased 8x8 inch baking pan.
Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Cut into squares.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Cooking with Mickey & Friends: Banana Boats

The weather promises to be warm and beautiful for the Memorial Day Holiday weekend, so I thought I'd post this fun recipe for King Louie's Banana Boats from one of my 'Theme" Cookbooks: Cooking with Mickey and Friends by Pat Baird. You'll "go ape" over these. Perfect for the Barbecue -- or oven. They're fun to make with the kids.

Since we barbecue all year round, I often make these on the grill, but you can just as easily follow the directions and make them in the toaster oven.

And, as Mickey reminds us, Bananas are a good source of potassium and carbohydrates. Use a good dark chocolate (broken up) or high quality dark chocolate chips, and you're adding antioxidants. You can make your own marshmallows, too, or not :-) You'll love King Louie's Banana Boats. You'll want to make more than one!



Memorial Day Chocolate Ancho Chile Rub

Continuing with the Memorial Day theme, here's an easy recipe for Chocolate Ancho Chile Rub. Use this on Brisket or Flank Steak--or whatever! Fabulous.

CHOCOLATE ANCHO  CHILE RUB

Ingredients
1 Cup Cocoa Powder (Scharffen Berger)
1/2 Cup Ancho Chile, ground
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Kosher Salt
1/4 Cup Black Pepper, freshly ground
1/4 Cup Cumin, ground

Directions
In medium size bowl, add all ingredients and mix with whisk, until you have uniform mixture.
Put in quart size jar and seal until ready to use on brisket (or other meats).  Or take the jar to the barbecue as a gift for the chef!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Chocolate Red Wine Bundt Cake

Today is National Wine Day. Thought you needed a special day for wine? Here's a link to the American History Museum and an explanation of National Wine Day. Today is the 40th Anniversary of National Wine Day, and it all started with a Paris Tasting. 

I've posted many Chocolate and Wine recipes, but this is a favorite. You're going to love this perfect Chocolate Red Wine Bundt Cake!

The taste will improve with good quality dry red wines (I like Zinfandels) and the quality of the cocoa!

Want to decorate this cake for the upcoming Memorial Day Holiday? Fill the center with whipped cream and top with strawberries and blueberries.

CHOCOLATE RED WINE BUNDT CAKE

Ingredients
2 cups flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
1-1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sweet butter, softened
1-3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1-1/4 cup dry red wine
Powdered sugar, for dusting

Directions 
Preheat oven to 350°
Butter and flour 12-cup bundt pan.
In bowl, whisk flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. In large bowl, using hand-held electric mixer, beat butter and sugar together until fluffy, about 4 minutes.
Add eggs, one at time, and beat until incorporated. Add vanilla and beat about 2 more minutes.
Work in two batches, alternately fold in dry ingredients and wine, until just incorporated.
Scrape batter into prepared pan, and bake for 45 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Let cake cool in pan 10 minutes, then turn out onto rack; let cool completely.
Dust cake with confectioner's sugar.

Chocolate and Wine: A Great Pairing

Monday, May 23, 2016

S'mores Blondie Pie

Memorial Day is coming up, and I'll be posting a great Memorial Day Weekend recipe every day this week.

For your Memorial Day celebration, maybe you plan on making S'mores on the Grill or the campfire. But, just maybe, you want to make your Memorial Day S'mores ahead, so you can enjoy the party! This S'mores Blondie Pie tastes like Summer. It's an easy dessert recipe from Hershey's Kitchens. And, as much as I love high-end chocolate, when it comes to S'mores, I prefer Hershey's!

S'mores Blondie Pie

Ingredients
6 HERSHEY'S Milk Chocolate Bars (1.55 oz. each), divided
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 teaspoon baking powder
1-1/2 cups marshmallow creme (marshmallow fluff)
1/4 teaspoon shortening (do not use margarine, butter, spread or oil)

Directions
Heat oven to 350°F. Grease 9-inch pie plate. Unwrap chocolate bars; break into pieces.
Beat butter and sugar until blended in medium bowl. Add egg; beat until light and fluffy. Stir in flour, graham cracker crumbs, and baking powder; beat until well blended.
Press half of dough onto bottom and up sides of pie plate. Spread marshmallow creme over bottom of crust. Set aside 1 tablespoon chocolate bar pieces; sprinkle remaining pieces evenly over marshmallow creme.
Form remaining dough into ball; place on sheet of waxed paper. With fingers, flatten and shape into 9-inch circle. Pick up waxed paper, supporting dough with hands. Flip dough onto pie surface; peel off waxed paper. Pinch edges of dough together and form crust edge.
Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Melt remaining chocolate bar pieces with shortening; drizzle over top of pie.
Optional: torch some mini-marshmallows and put them on top of the pie!

To serve, microwave slices at HIGH (100%) 15 to 20 seconds or until slightly warm and marshmallow starts to melt.

TURKISH TAFFY: National Taffy Day

Today is National Taffy Day. I haven't made taffy since I was a child, and then it was with my Aunt Annie. She was an inspiration for all things foodie, woodsy, gardening, and crafty, so this was a natural. She'd gather all the cousins, and we would make and pull taffy.

At the same time, I wasn't adverse to store bought taffy. It was a treat, really. There was a penny candy store I used to stop at after lunch (yes, we went home for lunch at my first elementary school) and buy a penny or two worth of candy. One of my favorites, and I think it may have cost a nickel, was Bonomo's Chocolate Turkish Taffy. My favorite was Banana, but I also liked CHOCOLATE. You can buy Bonomo's Turkish Taffy online, although the price is more like a dollar. Times change.

Invented in Coney Island in the 1940s by Victor Bonomo, Bonomo's Turkish Taffy is a mixture of corn syrup and egg whites that are cooked, then baked. It's a hard taffy-like bar that you hit on the surface and eat the smaller broken pieces--or if you're like me--you just suck the whole thing into a sticky mess.  

FYI: Bonomo's Turkish Taffy is neither Turkish nor Taffy, but a kind of nougat, although Bonomo was a Sephardic Jew who traced his ancestry to Turkey. Bonomo died in 1999 at his home in Bal Harbour at the age of 100. He sold the company 40 years ago. It changed hands a few times becoming part of Tootsie Roll Industries of Chicago, which stopped making the candy in 1989, but it was revived in 2010 and is now available in vanilla, chocolate, strawberry and banana. This is truly a retro candy! Read more of the history at Old Time Candy.

So without a chocolate taffy recipe of my own, I went to Alton Brown on the Food Network, of course. Knew he'd have one. Love to hear if you make this one---or if you have a taffy recipe of your own.

CHOCOLATE TAFFY

Ingredients
2 cups sugar
2/3 cup Dutch process cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon water
1 tsp white vinegar
1 1/2 Tbsp butter, plus additional for greasing pan and hands

Directions
In heavy medium saucepan, combine sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Stir until thoroughly combined. Add corn syrup, water, and vinegar to pan and place over medium heat. Stir until sugar and cocoa dissolve, raise heat to high and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to low, clip candy thermometer to side of pan and cook until mixture reaches 260 degrees F. Remove pan from heat, add the butter and stir. Butter edges of sheet pan, line with silicone baking sheet and pour on taffy. Allow to cool until you are able to handle it.

Once you are able to handle the taffy, don vinyl gloves, butter them, and begin to fold taffy in thirds using the silicone mat. Pick up taffy and begin to pull folding the taffy back on itself repeatedly twisting as you go. Taffy is done when it lightens in color, takes on a sheen, and becomes too hard to pull. Roll into log, cut into fourths, roll each fourth into a 1-inch wide log, and cut into 1-inch pieces. Making sure to keep pieces separated or they will stick to each other. Wrap individual pieces of candy in waxed paper. Store in airtight container 3 to 5 days.

And, for your viewing pleasure, a Bonomo Turkish Taffy TV Ad from the 1950s


Saturday, May 21, 2016

Double Chocolate Olive Oil Brownies

Olive Oil is a great substitute for butter or vegetable oil in your brownies. If you planned to use vegetable oil anyway, olive oil won't change the texture of the brownies. And, if you use a fresh fruity olive oil, you'll be able to taste the olive oil which is a great complement to the chocolate in the brownies. Olive oil also gives the brownies a bit of a peppery note. If you want to be close to the taste of classic brownies, use a mild olive oil. Please, please, don't use the olive oil that's been sitting in your pantry for three months and that might be rancid.  

Olive oil might be healthier than butter, but don't kid yourself. There's a lot of chocolate and sugar in  these brownies, so don't substitute olive oil for health reasons. One more thing, I add fleur de sel to the finish these brownies because I love salt and chocolate! It's optional, as would be adding chocolate chips to the batter (just a thought) for Triple Chocolate Olive Oil Brownies. And, as always, use the very best ingredients.

Double Chocolate Olive Oil Brownies

Ingredients 
3/4 cup mild or fruity olive oil, plus more for oiling the pan
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
fleur de sel

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 9-by-13-inch baking pan with foil, leaving 2-inch overhang on   2 sides. Oil foil (don't include overhang).
Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, and salt in medium bowl. Melt chocolate with oil in medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently. Let cool slightly. Stir in sugar and eggs. Add flour mixture, and stir to combine.
Pour batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle fleur de sel evenly on top of batter. (not too much)
Bake until toothpick comes out with just a few crumbs -- 30 to 35 minutes.
Cool brownies completely in pan on cooling rack. Use foil overhang to help lift them out of pan. Cut into squares.

Friday, May 20, 2016

S'MORES PANCAKES

With the weekend coming up and Memorial Day next week, I couldn't help thinking about S'mores! S'mores just shout Summer! So why not get a head start and make this variation on a theme-- S'mores Pancakes -- for your weekend brunch. Original recipe adapted from Pastry Affair (a great blog you must check out the other recipes) I've tried other recipes for S'mores Pancakes, but I always come back to this one.. especially for the Marshmallow Syrup. No time to make syrup? Just top the pancakes with some Marshmallow Fluff!

S'mores Pancakes

Ingredients
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup crushed graham crackers
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups milk
1 large egg, beaten
3 ounces dark chocolate, chopped or 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions
In large bowl, whisk together flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder, and salt. Stir in milk, beaten egg, and chopped chocolate or chocolate chips, mixing until incorporated.
Pour 1/4 cup of batter onto heated griddle and cook each side until lightly browned.

Marshmallow Syrup 

Ingredients
1 cup (about 7 ounces) marshmallow fluff
2 tablespoons warm water

Directions
In medium bowl, stir together marshmallow fluff and water until smooth. If syrup is too thick, thin with more water. If desired, warm in microwave for 10-20 seconds (marshmallows will expand, so be prepared for this).
Drizzle syrup on pancakes and serve immediately.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Devil's Food Chocolate Cake: How to be a Cake Genius

On Mother's Day I posted a Mother's Day Sunbeam Mixmaster Ad and recipe for Chocolate Cake. The Mother in that Retro advertisement looked more like my grandmother. It got me searching, and I found this Sunbeam Mixmaster Pamplet from May 28, 1945 (below) with a recipe for Mix Easy Devil's Food Chocolate Cake. The woman in the pamphlet looks more like my Mother. Don't you think? (see photo below)

And, since today is National Devil's Food Cake Day, this Sunbeam Mixmaster recipe is perfect! This handy dandy little cake pamphlet has a great cover -- How to be a Cake Genius with your Sunbeam Mixmaster. Pretty fabulous, don't you think?

So here's a great recipe for Devil's Food Chocolate Cake.

May 28, 1945

My Mother c. 1942



Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Chocolate Marshmallow Pudding: Sunset 1938 Kitchen Cabinet Cook Book

I'm a huge fan of Sunset and Sunset publications, including Sunset Magazine, Sunset Cookbooks and Sunset Gardening books. So when I found this 1938 cookbook, Sunset's New Kitchen Cabinet Cook Book at the Flea Market a few weeks ago, I snapped it up. What a treasure trove. Love, love, love the illustrations!

Here's the intro to the Cook Book:

ABOUT THIS BOOK

Now, for the first time, SUNSET'S NEW KITCHEN CABINET COOK BOOK gives you all of the recipes published over a period of nearly 10 years--from February, 1929, to June, 1938!  Selected from among more than 25,000 recipes contributed by SUNSET readers, they will be found extremely reliable and practical, with a real Western "home flavor" not to be found elsewhere. Each recipe is twice-tested-first by the contributor and again by SUNSET'S own home economists. We hope that you'll like this book so well that you'll use it constantly and tell your friends and neighbors about it.

I'll be posting various recipes over the next few months, but thought I'd start with this smashing recipe for Chocolate Marshmallow Pudding. It's a very easy recipe. I love the term ground chocolate which is not quite the same as cocoa. It pops up a lot in recipes from the 30s and 40s.

Another thing about this page in the book that caught my eye is the Coffee Butter Frosting. It's a great chocolate frosting. Coffee is always a great counterpoint to chocolate. And, the recipe is by J.R. of Berkeley. Me? Well, it wouldn't have been me in 1938. LOL!


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Chocolate Cherry Cobbler: Cherry Cobbler Day

Today is National Cherry Cobbler Day and fresh cherries are just starting to hit the market, so today I'm posting a recipe for a fresh cherry cobbler and a recipe that uses natural cherry pie filling in case you don't have fresh cherries available. I love Chukar Cherries Sour Cherry Fruit Filling--whole and tangy Montmorency cherries. Red and delicious!

You might be asking what exactly is a Cobbler? Cobblers usually have a biscuit topping on the fresh fruit. The biscuits are usually dropped onto the fruit in small rounds, giving it the appearance of a cobbled road and hence the name Cobbler.  

Happy National Cherry Cobbler Day... and as I always say, everything tastes better with Chocolate!

USING FRESH CHERRIES:

1. CHOCOLATE CHERRY COBBLER WITH FRESH CHERRIES

Ingredients
6 cups tart red cherries, pitted
1-1/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup water
4 tsp cornstarch
3/4 cup dark chocolate, chopped

Topping:
1 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 Tbsp butter
1 egg, beaten
3 tablespoons milk 

Directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
In saucepan combine filling ingredients and cook, stirring until bubbling and thickened. Pour into an 8-inch square baking dish. Cool.  After cooled, sprinkle chopped chocolate.
In bowl, stir together flour, sugars, baking powder, and cinnamon. Cut in butter until crumbly.
Mix together egg and milk. Add to flour mixture and stir with fork just until combined.
Drop topping by tablespoonfuls onto filling.
Bake for 25 minutes until browned and bubbly.

using pie fruit filling
 
2. CHOCOLATE CHERRY COBBLER WITH CHERRY PIE FILLING

Ingredients
18 ounces Chukar's Sour Cherry Fruit Filling
1/2 cup sugar
1-1/2 Tbsp flour
1 cup dark chocolate (60-75% cacao), chopped

Topping
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup sweet butter, softened (I use Kerrygold)

Directions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Mix cherries, sugar and flour. Spread evenly in 11 x 7 baking dish.
Sprinkle chocolate over top.

For topping
Mix together flour, sugars and pinch of salt.
Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly.
Sprinkle topping over cherry filling.
Bake cobbler until filling bubbles and topping is golden brown.
About 40 to 45 minutes.



Monday, May 16, 2016

How to Pair Chocolate with Fruit

Dipping fruits in chocolate is a greatidea (well, anything dipped in chocolate is). Not only do you get your fruit intake for the day, but you also satisfy your sweet tooth!  But it isn't as simple as you may think. Certain fruits pair well with certain chocolates and it can get a bit confusing.

That's why Shari's Berries decided to make the experience a bit easier by creating a Fruit and Chocolate Pairing Guide. It features 24 fruits combined with either white, dark, or milk chocolate and provides topping suggestions for each. Have you ever tried white chocolate dipped oranges with pecans? Or honeydew with dark chocolate and a hint of mint? Then what are you waiting for? Your taste buds will thank you.

Thanks, Shari's Berries for this awesome chart and introduction!


Sunday, May 15, 2016

Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe Round-Up: Chocolate Chip Day

Today is Chocolate Chip Day on the food calendar. And, because my first reaction is Chocolate Chip Cookies, here's an updated Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe Round-up from DyingforChocolate.com! Perfect for Chocolate Chip Day!

CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE RECIPE ROUND-UP!

Vanishing Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sesame Chocolate Chip Cookies 

M&M Chocolate Chip Party Cookies

Rainy Day Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies

Bittersweet Chocolate Chip Cookies with Sea Salt

Shortbread Chocolate Chip Cookies

Crisco Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies: 2 Recipes

Chocolate Chip Cookies Secret Ingredient: Lemon Juice

Sea Salt and Thyme Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Toll House Cookies: Vintage Ad & Original Recipe

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Macadamia Cookies

Gooey Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Retro Chocolate Chip Cookies Ad & Recipe

Coffee Chocolate Chip Cookies

Red & Green M&Ms "Chocolate Chip" Cookies

Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk/Chocolate Chip Cookies: National Oatmeal Day

Chocolate Cricket Chip Cookies

Honey Chocolate Chip Cookies: Baking with Honey Tips

Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookies: National Zucchini Day

Double Tree Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sea Salt & Thyme Chocolate Chip Cookies

Hilary Clinton's Chocolate Chip Cookies

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Oatmeal Raisin Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies in a Jar

Chocolate Chip Cookies in a Jar

Rosemary Chocolate Chip Cookies

Toll House Stars and Stripes Cookies

Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Chocolate Buttermilk Biscuits: Buttermilk Biscuit Day

Today is Buttermilk Biscuit Day. American biscuits are nothing like British Biscuits which are cookies. No, our biscuits are more like scones, only fluffier.  Buttermilk Biscuits are great with breakfast and gravy and chicken or just about anytime. I love biscuits.

I couldn't pass up this great Retro Space Age Ad for Puffin Biscuits. I think Sterling Cooper (Mad Men) could easily have created this ad. I, of course, suggest you make your biscuits from scratch, and they truly will be "So Light they almost fly"...

Following is a recipe for Chocolate Buttermilk Biscuits (see below).

First, though, a few biscuit making tips from the Bisquick site. These apply if you use Bisquick or if you make your biscuits from scratch.

BISCUIT MAKING TIPS

1. Leave an inch or two space around the biscuits on the cookie sheet. They'll heat more evenly and cook better.
2. In a pinch, a straight-sided plastic glass can also substitute for a rolling pin.
3. For crunchy top, skip kneading and rolling and drop biscuit-sized spoonfuls directly onto baking sheet.
4. Loosen freshly baked biscuits from tray with spatula so they don't stick.
5. Count to ten; kneading biscuit dough too much can make biscuits tough.
6. If you don't have a biscuit cutter, either use a knife to cut squares or cut rounds with upside-down drinking glass. A little flour or extra Bisquick on the knife or glass will help keep things from sticking.

CHOCOLATE BUTTERMILK BISCUITS

This recipe is great served with whipped cream and strawberries! Or just grind some Trader Joe's Chocolate Coffee Bean Sugar --or some Cinnamon Sugar-- over them just after you brush with the melted butter. Yum! Another variation: add chocolate chips or chunks of chocolate to the dough.

Ingredients
2 cups of Flour
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
5 Tbsp DARK cocoa powder
4 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
8 Tbsp cold butter, cubed
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp cold buttermilk (no buttermilk? add a tsp of vinegar to whole milk)
2 Tbsp melted butter for top of biscuits

Directions
Preheat oven to 450
In food processor: Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Pulse. Add cubed butter. Pulse until butter combines to create grainy mixture.
Put contents of food processor in bowl. Make well in center and pour in chilled buttermilk. Mix to form sticky dough. Place dough on well floured surface. Fold dough a few time. DO NOT OVERWORK.
Roll out dough with floured rolling pin to one inch thickness.
Using biscuit cutter, cut out biscuits in straight up and down motion. Do not twist when cutting out the biscuits. Hint: Twisting will seal sides of biscuits preventing biscuits from rising and making for tough, flat biscuits.
Put cut out biscuits on parchment paper lined baking sheet so that they are close but not touching.
Once all of biscuits are on baking sheet, bake for 10-12 minutes in center of oven until golden brown. Brush with melted butter.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Apple Pie Day! Chocolate Apple Pie

One of my favorite children's books by Alison Murray
Today is National Apple Pie Day, and it's only fitting that it comes a few days after Mother's Day. This Chocolate Apple Pie is "as American as Mom and Apple Pie." But what's the origin of this catch phrase?

 From Wikipedia: 
Although apple pies have been eaten since long before the European colonization of the Americas, "as American as apple pie" is a saying in the United States, meaning "typically American". In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, apple pie became a symbol of American prosperity and national pride. A newspaper article published in 1902 declared that “No pie-eating people can be permanently vanquished.” The dish was also commemorated in the phrase "for Mom and apple pie" - supposedly the stock answer of American soldiers in World War II, whenever journalists asked why they were going to war.

My Grandmother made an awesome apple pie. I've written about this pie before. It did not contain chocolate. She made it in a huge rectangular pan. She made it because it was "American," and when she came to these shores, she became an American! My grandmother was born in Ukraine (then part of Russia), married in London, and settled in Philadelphia, the Cradle of Liberty. She took her new citizenship to heart, and she baked apple pie for her family every Friday. She did it because she saw herself as a true American. 

CHOCOLATE APPLE PIE

Ingredients
Pastry for a double-crust 9-inch pie, unbaked
8-10 tart apples (peeled, cored and sliced thinly--number of apples depends on their size)--Gravensteins aren't available this time of year, but they're my favorite, especially for pies!
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1 cup 70-85% dark chocolate fair-trade organic, chopped

Directions
1. Apples: peel, core, and slice thinly.
2. Combine cinnamon & sugar = cinnamon sugar. (you may need a tiny bit more). I've also used the chocolate cinnamon sugar from Trader Joe's
2. Place 1 layer apple slices on bottom crust. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons cinnamon sugar. Repeat twice.
3 Spread chopped chocolate pieces over top.
4. Using remaining apples, make 3 more apple/cinnamon sugar layers.
5. Top with 2nd crust and seal edges. Make cut on top--or prick with fork in a few places.
6. Bake in preheated 450 F oven for 15 minutes (until golden).
7. Lower heat to 350F and continue baking for another 25-30 minutes, or until apples are tender.

Ghirardelli Vintage Advertising Card for Rocky Road, Milk Chocolate Sundae Sauce, & Milk Chocolate Icing

I was at the Flea Market a few weeks ago and came across this Vintage Advertising Card for Ghirardelli Milk Chocolate. I'm not sure if it was included in a packet of Chocolate or just an advertising piece. The quantity says 14 ounce net wt., so I'm thinking with a large Baking Bar? I love that the card says "Gear-Ar-Delly"... always good to pronounce this San Francisco landmark correctly. No indication of date, but 'table cream' is a clue. I would think 1930s, based on other recipes from that period.




Thursday, May 12, 2016

Elsie's Double Chocolate Nutty Fudge: Nutty Fudge Day

Today, May 12,  is Nutty Fudge Day. Fudge is a 'traditional' home-made chocolate candy. Here's a great Retro Recipe from Elsie the Cow for Double Chocolate Nutty Fudge.


Double Chocolate Nutty Fudge

Ingredients
2 cups (12 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 (11 1/2 oz.) package milk chocolate chips
1 (14 oz.) can Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk (not evaporated milk)
2 Tbsp cream or milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup chopped walnuts

Directions
In saucepan, over low heat, melt semi-sweet chocolate chips with 2/3 cup Eagle Brand, 1 Tbsp cream and 1 tsp vanilla. Remove from heat; stir in 1/2 cup walnuts. Spread evenly into foil-lined 9-inch square pan.
In another saucepan, over low heat, melt milk chocolate chips with remaining Eagle Brand, 1 Tbsp cream and 1 tsp vanilla. Remove from heat; stir in remaining walnuts. Spread over fudge in pan.
Chill 2 hours, or until firm.
Turn fudge onto cutting board; peel off foil and cut into squares.
Store loosley covered at room temperature.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Cocoa Genentics: Guest post by Michael Niemann

My worlds of mystery and chocolate collide yet again. Today I welcome Michael Niemann. Michael Niemann is the author of the Valentin Vermeulen thrillers. In his spare time, he teaches International and African Studies at Southern Oregon University, including a class on cocoa and chocolate.

Michael Niemann: 
Cocoa Genentics 

People who know their way around chocolate are mostly familiar with the traditional classification of cocoa beans, criollo—the best of the best, forastero—cheap, bulk cocoa, and trinitario—a hybrid between the two. Recent genetic research shows that these distinctions aren’t correct. What does that mean for us chocolate lovers?

The original classifications date back to Spanish colonial rule in Latin America. It took a while before the Spaniards developed a taste for the cocoa drink favored by the Aztecs and other indigenous peoples. At first they abhorred the bitter taste. But they figured out that adding sugar and vanilla turned the vile drink into something more suitable to their tastes. Before long, the women of the Spanish elite couldn’t make it through a Sunday mass without their drink. Even the threat of excommunication wouldn’t end their habit. It was easier to have the bishop poisoned, with a chocolate drink, of course. Once drink was brought to Europe and demand for cocoa beans went through the roof.

The traditional Mexican growing areas in Soconusco and Tabasco couldn’t keep up with the demand and Spanish merchants went in search for more sources of cocoa beans. The found them along the northern shores of South America, especially Venezuela and Ecuador. But that cocoa was different from the cocoa grown in Mexico and deemed to be of inferior quality, hence the name forastero (foreigner) as opposed to criollo (native).

But Forastero beans were more plentiful and, after the Portuguese introduced the cocoa tree in Africa, quickly became the dominant bean. Today, about 90% of all cocoa grown is classified as forastero and only 2-3% as criollo. The remainder is the hybrid trinitario.
That’s where things stood until a team of researchers lead by Juan C. Motamayor, extracted DNA from 1,241 different trees. The processed the samples and found that rather than three types of trees, the clusters they found suggested ten types. Localization of the origin of individuals analyzed; colors indicate the inferred genetic cluster to which they belong. 

What does that mean for us chocolate lovers? For one, the notion—criollo = good, forastero = bad—may have been merely a reaction of the Spaniard to the different qualities of the cocoa they got from South America. Since then beans from a variety of sources are made into excellent chocolate. Ecuadoran Arriba beans (also known as Nacional) are famous among connoisseurs and the Amelonado bean which was exported from Brazil to West Africa is the mainstay of a lot of great chocolate. Sure, a lot of poor chocolate is made from cheap beans, but that has more to do with the quality of the growing and processing of the bean than with the bean itself.

There is something else, that’s even more important. Having ten types rather than three offers plant breeders a far better array of option when it comes to developing new strains. Why do we need new strains of cocoa trees? Because the growing conditions for cocoa have changed dramatically.

Over the past century, the best cocoa always grew on freshly cleared forest land. Replanting those farms always led to lower yields which pushed cocoa growers deeper and deeper into the forests. Well, today, there are few forests left. Add to that global warming and the cocoa tree is under siege. A more complex classification scheme allows for new mating patterns which could lead to trees better adapted to the changing condition. And that is something all chocolate lovers can get behind.

Sources: First picture (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tres_variedades_de_cacao.jpg)
Map and article: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0003311

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Dark Chocolate Crispy Rice Bars: Guest Post by Madeleine Butler

Photo: Madeleine Butler
Playwright Madeleine Butler brought these fabulous Dark Chocolate Crispy Rice Bars to a Literary Salon at my home a few weeks ago. I knew I had to have the recipe--and I knew she'd want to share it with all of you! You'll love these! Thanks, Madeleine!

MADELEINE BUTLER:

Winter, summer, spring, or fall, nothing says “comfort” like the melding of sweet, softened marshmallow with the crackle of rice cereal formed into large, chewy bars. This childhood treat is even better when it grows up to include bittersweet chocolate, both mixed into the marshmallow and drizzled over the top.

Dark Chocolate Crispy Rice Bars 

Ingredients
12 Tbsp butter, plus more for the pan
2 bags (10 oz) mini marshmallows
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa
6 oz bittersweet chocolate (divided)
10 cups crisp rice cereal

Directions
1. Butter a 9x13-inch baking pan. Line the pan with a long piece of parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on the short sides. Butter the paper.
2. In a large saucepan, combine the butter, marshmallows, and cocoa. Melt this mixture over medium heat, stirring frequently. When it is smooth and fully blended, add 2 ounces of the bittersweet chocolate, broken in pieces. Stir until the chocolate is melted and fully incorporated. Stir in the rice cereal.
3. Press the rice mixture into the prepared pan. Melt the remaining 4 ounces of chocolate over low heat in a double boiler, or use a microwave. Drizzle over the rice mixture and even out gaps with a spatula as needed. (The intent is for the coating to be uneven, not smooth like icing).
4. Let cool until the drizzled chocolate has firmed up. Cut into bars.
5. To store, keep in an airtight container at room temperature

Monday, May 9, 2016

Butterscotch Brownies: Add the Scotch

May 9 is yet another esoteric Food Holiday: Butterscotch Brownie Day! Butterscotch Brownies, as good as they are, do not include chocolate, so it's not really a holiday I usually celebrate. So I've changed it up a bit, while still keeping with the spirit of the day. Here's my take on Butterscotch Brownie Day: Butter "Scotch" Brownies. Add Scotch to the batter, and you're good to go.  

I've posted Bourbon Brownies, and I've posted recipes for St. Patrick's Day Irish Whiskey brownies, so it's only natural to make these brownies with Scotch for Butterscotch Brownie Day. Hey, there's butter in the recipe! 

The following recipe is adapted from DrinkoftheWeek's recipe for Whiskey Brownies. So get out your kilt and do a highland fling!

This recipe, of course, can be made without the Scotch — but why would you want to do that?

BUTTER 'SCOTCH' BROWNIES!

Ingredients
3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter
2 Tbsp water
2 eggs
6 ounces dark fair-trade 65-70% chocolate, chopped
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla
1/2 cup Scotch (yeah, it's pretty boozy!)


Directions
Preheat oven to 350 and grease 9-inch pan. Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt in bowl and set aside. In saucepan, combine sugar, butter, and water. Cook on low heat until boiling gently. Stir in chopped chocolate, vanilla. Then beat in eggs, one at a time. Now add flour mixture and stir well. Pour mix into pan and bake for 30 minutes. After brownies have cooled, sprinkle Scotch on top and let it soak in.

The recipe at DrinkoftheWeek has an excellent chocolate icing, but for today's holiday, I thought I'd go all the way with the "Scotch" Brownie theme, so here's a recipe for a Scotch infused icing. 

Scotch infused Icing
 

Ingredients
1-1/2 ounces unsweetened or very dark chocolate1/4 cup sweet butter
2 cups powdered sugar
3 Tbsp half-and-half
1 Tbsp good Scotch
1/2 teaspoon Madagascar vanilla extract

Directions

In top of double boiler (or saucepan on top of saucepan with simmering water), melt chocolate with butter. Combine rest of ingredients in bowl and with electric mixer, beat in melted chocolate and butter. Beat until smooth. Mixture will be runny, but stiffens as it cools. Frost cooled brownies.

How's that for Butter "Scotch" Brownies?

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Mother's Day Chocolate Cake: Retro Sunbeam Mixmaster Ad & Recipe

I adore Retro Advertisements, and this one is particularly close to my heart. My mother had a Sunbeam Mixmaster. So many cookies, cakes and brownies were made with that Mixmaster. I don't have my mother's Sunbeam Mixmaster, but I have my Mother-in-Law's -- the same model with all the attachments. I use my Kitchenaid Mixer mostly, but I love the functionality of that old Mixmaster War Horse. It still works, and I'll bet my mother-in-law got it in the early 50s.

So, for Mother's Day, here's a Sunbeam Mixmaster Mother's Day Advertisement from Life Magazine, May 1, 1950, complete with Chocolate Cake recipe. What are you making for Mother's Day?





Saturday, May 7, 2016

Kentucky Derby Bourbon Truffles

Today is the 142nd Kentucky Derby. I know you're going to have a Mint Julep with your Derby Pie. Here's an easy recipe for Kentucky Derby Bourbon Truffles. Who doesn't love chocolate and bourbon!

This recipe for DERBY TRUFFLES is adapted from  Southern Living. How appropriate!

KENTUCKY DERBY BOURBON TRUFFLES

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

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 at HIGH 30 seconds.) Stir in crushed cookies. Cover and chill 3 hours or until firm. (Mixture can be prepared and chilled up to 2 days ahead.)
Shape mixture into 1-inch balls (about 2 tsp per ball). Roll in chopped pecans. Place on wax paper-lined baking sheets.
Chill 1 hour.


Friday, May 6, 2016

Kentucky Derby Chocolate Bourbon Pie: Recipe Round-Up

Over the past few years, I've posted several chocolate recipes that are perfect for Kentucky Derby Parties. I have more than one recipe for Derby Pie, the traditional chocolate, nut, bourbon pie, so here's a repost of the three most popular --plus a Pie in a Jar to take to your Kentucky Derby party!

Kentucky Bourbon Chocolate Walnut Pie has been served at the annual Derby Horse Race for over 50 years. It was a special recipe that was first made at the Melrose Inn in Prospect, Kentucky. * Note: You can't legally call it a "Derby Pie" recipe. The name "Derby Pie" is trademarked, and the owners of the name are very aggressive protecting the name "Derby Pie." DyingforChocolate.com is not a commercial site, so I'm calling it Derby Pie, but with variations in the complete name. Similar Pies to the one above are sometimes called Brownie Pie or Tollhouse Pie, but it's really Derby Pie. There have been many modifications over the years, but the most important ingredient is Kentucky Bourbon.

I'd love to hear about your favorite Kentucky Derby Pie. Do you use Pecans or Walnuts? How much chocolate? What kind? How much bourbon? What kind?

1. Kentucky Derby Chocolate Pecan Pie

Ingredients
1 pie crust (homemade or store bought)
1/2 cup sweet butter, melted
1/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup light corn syrup
4 large eggs
1-1/2 tsp Madagascar vanilla
1/4 cup bourbon
3/4 cup chocolate chips
1-1/4 cup toasted pecans or walnuts, shelled and chopped in half

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Roll crust out.
In large mixing bowl, on medium speed with whisk attachment, whip butter, sugars, corn syrup, eggs, vanilla and bourbon together until frothy.
Remove bowl from mixer, and fold in chocolate chips and pecans or walnuts. Blend well.
Pour into prepared pie crust and bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes or until set.
Serve warm or cool completely before serving with whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

2. Kentucky Bourbon Chocolate Walnut Pie

Ingredients
1/2 cup flour
1 cup sugar (1/2 brown/1/2 white)
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup melted butter
2-4 Tbsp Kentucky bourbon (it's a matter of taste)
1 cup chopped English walnuts (you can vary this by using pecans)
1-1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (or chopped dark chocolate)
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
dash of salt
1 - 9 " deep-dish pie shell (pre-made crust or make your own)

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Mix flour and sugar.
Add eggs and melted butter; mix to combine.
Stir in bourbon, walnuts, chocolate chips, vanilla, and salt.
Pour mixture into unbaked piecrust.
Bake for 35-40 minutes.
Pie should be chewy but not runny. 
Another variation: don't add the chocolate chips to the mix: Arrange them on the bottom of the unbaked pie shell. Pour over chocolate chips and bake.

***
And, my friend Janet Appel sent her favorite recipe a few years ago. Leave it to someone from Kentucky to make the 'real' thing.

3. Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Pie
(Originally called Derby Pie)
FROM ENTERTAINING THE LOUISVILLE WAY-QUEEN’S DAUGHTERS 1969

Ingredients
1 stick melted butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup white corn syrup
4 eggs beaten
1 Tbsp Wild Turkey Bourbon
1 cup whole pecans
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1- 9 or 10 inch unbaked pie shell

Directions
Mix above ingredients and pour into pie shell.
Bake for 45 to 50 minutes until fairly firm at 350 degrees.
Let cool and set up before serving.
Garnish with sweetened whipped cream.

Note from Janet Appel: We soak the pecans in bourbon over night and use a jigger of bourbon. We still add the tablespoon of bourbon to the mixture. White corn syrup is Karo.

***
No time to bake? Going to a Kentucky Derby Party? You can assemble and take this Kentucky Derby Pie Mix in a Jar! 

For this recipe, I substitute Bourbon for the vanilla in the directions. You can always write vanilla (or Bourbon optional) on your recipe gift card.

4. Kentucky Derby Pie in a Jar!

Ingredients:
1 cup granulated sugar (or use half brown and half granulated)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup coursely chopped pecans or walnuts
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt

Directions:
Pour sugar into lightweight food storage bag. Tie bag and cut off some of the excess and fit bag into bottom of a 1 quart wide-mouth canning jar.
Pour in half of nuts, then put in layer of chocolate chips, and then add remaining nuts.
Into food storage bag, add flour and pinch of salt.
Tie with twine or ribbon and cut off excess plastic bag end, if necessary.
Fit into the top of jar and screw on top.

Directions for gift tag or label:

Kentucky Derby Pie in a Jar!

1 9-inch pastry shell, unbaked
4 ounces melted sweet butter
2 large eggs
1 tsp Bourbon

Preheat oven to 325°.
Remove bag of flour from jar; set aside.
Pour nuts and chocolate chips into pie shell, spreading evenly.
In small mixing bowl, whisk 2 eggs.
Remove sugar bag and empty sugar and flour bags into bowl, stirring to blend well.
Whisk in 1 tsp Bourbon or splash more (or vanilla) and 4 ounces melted butter. Blend well.
Pour batter evenly over nuts and chocolate chips.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until nicely browned.
Chill thoroughly before cutting.
Serve with whipped cream.

If you're a mystery fan, you'll want to read my list of Kentucky Derby Mysteries on my other blog, MysteryFanfare because we all know there's always murder and mayhem related to horse races.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Three Chocolate "Mexican" Truffle Recipes for Cinco de Mayo

Today is Cinco de Mayo, so I'm posting three recipes for "Mexican" Truffles.

The first is a recipe for Tequila Truffles that I've posted before. I love this one, and you really can taste the Tequila. I sometimes roll Tequila Truffles (the ganache part) in cocoa....or dip them in dark chocolate and sprinkle with course sea salt. Either way works. The second recipe is for Mexican Chocolate Truffles and the third is for Spicy Mexican Truffles. Try all three!

1. Tequila Truffles 
This recipe is adapted from Divine Chocolate. I probably didn't need 100 or more truffles as in the original recipe :-) I must admit that I'm a bit haphazard in measurements when I make these. I adhere to my grandmothers's "a pinch of this, a pinch of that" method. I daresay, though, that my grandmother would never have made Tequila Truffles.

Ingredients:
14 oz white chocolate, chopped into small chunks
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 tsp white tequila
1 tsp grated lime zest
Drop of fresh lemon juice and drop of fresh lime juice or 1/4 tsp each of lime and lemon oil (natural) 

Coating
1 - 1 1/4 lbs. dark chocolate (70% cacao) for dipping, chopped into small chunks
Coarse sea salt

Ganache Directions
1. Line shallow baking pan with saran wrap or any plastic wrap, overlapping 2 or more sheets as needed, leaving generous overhang on two sides (enough to cover the ganache once it is in the pan).
2. Place white chocolate in food processor and process to crumb consistency. Add tequila, zest, and juice or oils.
3. Bring cream to boil in small pan. With food processor on, pour cream through feed tube, processing fortotal of 20-30 seconds, until mixture is perfectly smooth. Scrape ganache into plastic wrap-lined pan and let cool at room temperature, without stirring.
4. Once ganache is cool, fold plastic wrap over it and let sit at room temperature for several hours, preferably overnight, until firm enough to scoop. You can always refrigerate, but the texture of the truffles won’t be quite as silky. Once the ganache has set, chilling won’t hurt it.
5. To shape  truffles, use melon baller to form balls with hands from the ganache. If needed, smooth the surface with hands. (I do both)
6. Place centers (ganache balls) slightly apart on tray lined with parchment or wax paper. Let stand at room temperature, uncovered, until surface is dry and slightly crusted, at least 2 hours, preferably longer.

Coating Directions
1. Temper dark chocolate by melting about 75% of chocolate either in double boiler or in microwave until it reaches about 100°F. Add remaining 25% of solid chocolate to bowl and mix until all melts and temperature reaches about 90°F. Dip truffles one at time (I use the two fork method I've posted before) in melted chocolate, let excess drip off, and place on tray lined with parchment or wax paper.
2. Sprinkle with a little bit of sea salt before chocolate begins to harden. Continue with remaining truffles, but if dark chocolate becomes to cool, reheat a bit until it gets back up to about 90°F.
3. Let sit at room temperature. Store truffles in a covered container at cool room temperature for up to 10 days.

2. Mexican Chocolate Truffles 
 recipe adapted from Elizabeth LaBau on About.com

Although it doesn’t use actual Mexican chocolate (although you could), this easy chocolate truffle recipe has cinnamon, almonds, and coffee for a sweet spiced Mexican chocolate taste. Unlike most truffle recipes, the chocolate is not melted but remains in small chunks. For this reason, it’s important to chop the chocolate very fine so that it’s evenly incorporated throughout the candy.

Ingredients:
4 ounces dark chocolate (60-75% cacao, very finely chopped
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/3 cup almond paste
1 Tbsp strong coffee
1/2 Tbsp sweet butter, melted
1/4 cup DARK cocoa powder
 tsp cinnamon

Directions:
1. In large bowl, combine chopped chocolate, sugar, almond paste, coffee and melted butter. Stir with wooden spoon until comes together and forms smooth paste.
2. Combine cocoa powder and cinnamon in shallow bowl or pie tin.
3. Using teaspoon, scoop up small balls of the truffle mixture and roll it into ball in between your hands. Roll ttruffle in cocoa-cinnamon mixture, and place it on baking sheet or plate.
4. Repeat with remaining truffle mixture and cocoa powder. Refrigerate truffles for 2 hours before serving. If you are making these ahead of time, transfer chilled truffles to airtight container in the refrigerator so they don’t get too dry or absorb other odors. Take out and leave at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving.

3. Spicy Mexican Truffles

Ingredients
1/3 cup heavy cream
6 Tbsp sweet butter, chopped
2 cups Dark Chocolate (60-85% cacao), chopped
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 Tbsp ground cardamom
1/2 Tbsp orange peels
Pinch of Salt

Directions
In saucepan bring cream to simmer.
Add butter and stir until melted.
Add chocolate.
Stir until completely melted and smooth.
Stir in cayenne, cardamom, orange peels and salt.
Remove from heat and pour into shallow bowl.
Cool, cover and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours.
Using melon baller or hands, roll mixture into small balls.
Roll each ball in cocoa.