Friday, September 30, 2016

Chocolate Honey Brownies: National Honey Month

It's the final day of September, and I can't let it pass away without mentioning that September is National Honey Month. I'm a huge fan of HONEY, so feel free to make this Chocolate Honey Brownie recipe any time of the year. And, with Rosh Hashana starting this Sunday night, it's the perfect way to celebrate a sweet New Year.

This Honey Chocolate Brownies recipe won the 2000 Huron County Fair Blue Ribbon. I've adapted it slightly. Just as different cocoa will change the taste of these brownies, so will the honey. Try these brownies with different honey and chocolate combinations. I buy local honey from my favorite beekeepers.

HONEY CHOCOLATE BROWNIES

Ingredients
1 cup softened sweet butter
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups honey
1 cup flour
3 eggs beaten
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 tsp Madagascar Vanilla extract
1/3 cup DARK cocoa

Directions
In mixer, beat butter until creamy.
Slowly add honey, mixing constantly.
Add eggs, vanilla, and salt.
Add cocoa.
Add flour.
Fold in nuts.
Make sure the batter is mixed completely.
Pour batter into greased 9x13x2 inch. deep pan and bake at 350 for 30 to 35 minutes.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Real Coffee Truffles: National Coffee Day!

Today is National Coffee Day, and although I posted recipe for Coffee Chocolate Chip Cookies for the holiday, I thought I'd post a 'pure' coffee recipe as well. These Real Coffee Chocolate Truffles are fabulous, and unlike other espresso and coffee truffle recipes I've posted in the past, these do not use brewed coffee or instant--this recipe uses fresh ground coffee beans! You can also use different coatings for these truffles, such as chopped nuts or powdered sugar, but I prefer my truffles covered in unsweetened cocoa!

Real Coffee Truffles

Ingredients
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
8 ounces DARK chocolate, 70% cacao
2 Tbsp finely ground coffee beans
2 Tbsp sweet butter, room temperature
2 Tbsp Kahlua, room temperature
1/2 cup unsweetened DARK cocoa powder

Directions
In double boiler or a saucepan over a saucepan, bring cream to a simmer.
Add chopped chocolate slowly, whisking constantly until mixture is thick and smooth.
Whisk in ground coffee beans.
Whisk in butter until melted.
Slowly whisk in Kahlua.
Remove mixture from heat and pour into shallow baking dish.
Put baking dish in refrigerator overnight or in freezer until the chocolate has hardened.
Scoop chocolate from baking dish, roll into ball with hands and roll in cocoa powder.
Set on parchment paper on baking sheet.
Repeat.
Cover and refrigerate truffles until firm.

Coffee Chocolate Chip Cookies: National Coffee Day

Today is National Coffee Day. So many ways to celebrate, especially if you add Chocolate. You can always have a Cafe Mocha, Chocolate Coffee Fudge, Chocolate Clouds in your Coffee, Irish Coffee Chocolate Cake, Irish Coffee Truffles, or pick up some Chocolate Covered Coffee Beans. Chocolate goes great coffee!

In honor of the day, I thought I'd re-post one of my favorite recipes for Coffee Chocolate Chip Cookies. Everyone loves chocolate chip cookies. What I love about Chocolate Chip Cookies are the infinite varieties.

As I've mentioned before, your final product is only as good as your ingredients. Use the very best Chocolate, Espresso (or Coffee) Beans, Vanilla, Flour, Butter and other ingredients! This recipe calls for a baking stone. You can use a pizza stone. If you don't have one, you can make these Coffee Chocolate Chip Cookies the traditional way. The stone helps makes them gooey on the inside and crispy on the outside. I've adapted this recipe from ehow.com.

COFFEE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES 

Ingredients
1 cup Sweet Butter, softened
2 fresh Large eggs (room temperature)
2 cup Brown Sugar
6 Tbsp Granulated Sugar
5 tsp Madagascar Vanilla Extract
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Sea Salt
3- 1/2 cups flour
4 tsp Ground Espresso Beans (or finely ground coffee beans). Try this recipe with ground chocolate covered Coffee beans. Gives it just a bit more chocolate!
16 oz Dark chocolate (65-85% cacao) chopped (or dark chocolate chips)
Baking Stone

Directions
Toss butter in microwave for 20 seconds to SOFTEN not melt the butter. (or leave out in advance, so it's already softened)
Cream butter and sugars together until fluffy. Mixture should be well blended but firm.
Add 2 eggs. Beat. Add Vanilla. Mix well. Set aside.
Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into another bowl. Add ground coffee or ground espresso beans.
Add dry ingredients to wet mixture, beating in a little at a time. Fold in chocolate pieces (or chips). Possible to add walnuts, if you want them. I didn't put them in the ingredients above, but I always like chopped walnuts in my chocolate chip cookies.
Put Cookie Dough in refrigerator for 2 hours to firm up. Put wax paper on top to prevent drying.
Preheat oven to 350. Put hot stone in Oven.
Take hot stone out of oven. Drop cookie balls (use a small scoop or form balls) onto stone, smashing with fork after dropping. Put back in oven on stone.
Bake for about 8 minutes. Depends on your oven, of course.
Transfer with spatula to Wire Rack.
Hint: Check the first one. If the cookies fall apart or aren't cooked all the way, give them another minute.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Strawberry Cream Pie with Oreo Cookie Crust

Today is Strawberry Cream Pie Day. What a terrific day to celebrate. Strawberries are still fresh in the market, and this Strawberry Cream Pie with Chocolate Oreo Crust is easy and delicious. There are lots of recipes out there, but try this one and let me know what you think. I've adapted this recipe from allrecipes.com, and of course, I've added a Chocolate Crust--and for this pie an Oreo Crust.

Strawberry Cream Pie with Oreo Cookie Crust

Crust
25 Oreo cookies
5 Tbsp sweet butter, melted

Directions
Crush cookies or whirl in food processor.  Stir cookie crumbs and melted butter together.
Press crumbs into bottom and upsides of 9" pie plate. Bake for 8 minutes at 350. Cool before filling.
Filling
1 quart strawberries, sliced
1 (13.5 ounce) container strawberry glaze  (you can make your own by boiling down strawberry jam with a little water and straining)
1 (4 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
1 cup heavy whipping cream

Directions
Stir strawberries with glaze in bowl and place in refrigerator to chill.
Stir cream cheese, confectioners' sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla extract together in bowl.
Beat cream in separate bowl with electric mixer until it just begins to thicken. Add cream cheese mixture and continue beating until thick.
Pour cream mixture into baked pie crust. Top with strawberry mixture.
Chill for 1 hour before serving.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Chocolate Milk and Chocolate Milk Cocktails

Today is National Chocolate Milk Day. Everyone knows that chocolate milk is a sweetened, chocolate-flavored milk drink that can be purchased pre-mixed or made at home. But there are lots of ways to make chocolate milk, and lots of different ingredients can be added to give it a special flavor. As always, remember it's the quality of the chocolate that will make a big difference-- and the milk: 2%, whole, etc.

So to celebrate the day, I have Three Chocolate Milk recipes and Two Chocolate Milk Cocktail Recipes! Take your choice!

***
As always, use the very best chocolate. Basically you make a chocolate syrup first, then add the milk.

1. Chocolate Milk

11 ounces milk
1 ounce water
1-1/2 teaspoons cocoa
2 tablespoons sugar

Put sugar, cocoa, and water in microwavable 12 oz glass.
Microwave for 30 seconds or until sugar and cocoa dissolve.
Add cold milk and stir.

***
Want something a little more unusual? Sunset (1994) had a wonderful Ultimate Chocolate Milk Recipe (Nicaraguan Chocolate Milk). This is not a classic, but it might soon be for you. Preparation takes some time, so you won't be drinking this today.

2. Nicaraguan Chocolate Milk (Orchata de cacao)

1-1/2 cups long-grain white rice
2 cups (about 2/3 lb) cocoa beans
4 cups water
3 cinnamon sticks (each about 3 in.), broken into 1-inch pieces
8 cups whole, low-fat, or nonfat milk
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla
1 cup sugar
Ice (optional)

Place rice in bowl, cover with cool water, and let stand to soften somewhat, up to 24 hours; drain.
Place cocoa beans in 9-inch metal baking dish. Bake in 500 degree oven 5 minutes. Shake beans. Continue to bake until beans smoke and some skins have split, 5 to 8 minutes longer.
In blender, place half rice, cocoa beans, water, and cinnamon. Whirl until ingredients are very finely pureed. Place large, fine strainer over a bowl; pour cocoa mixture into strainer and stir to extract liquid. Discard residue. Repeat with remaining rice, cocoa, water, and cinnamon.

Rinse strainer, then line with a double thickness of damp cheesecloth. Pour cocoa liquid through strainer into bowl, stirring to extract all liquid; discard residue.

To cocoa liquid, add milk, vanilla, and sugar; stir until sugar dissolves. Serve plain or over ice. If making ahead, chill, covered, up to 3 days. Stir to serve Makes about 10 1/2 cups, 10 servings.

3. Salted Chocolate Milk

Several years ago, I paid homage to one of my favorite TV sitcoms, Modern Family. In one episode, Manny is studying with a girl he has a crush on. She comes to his house and Manny's doting Columbian Mama Gloria (Sofia Vergara) makes the kids chocolate milk. The young girl with whom Manny is smitten says that they always add salt to chocolate milk at her home. Gloria, threatened by another 'woman' in Manny's life, says she doesn't like it that way.  Of course, when she tries it without the two in the room, she really loves it.

I've posted lots of reviews and recipes that call for salt and chocolate. Salt gives chocolate a certain pop, and I think you'll find it very refreshing in chocolate milk. Just don't add too much. A pinch will do.

The Modern Family Chocolate Milk with Salt Showdown:
Gloria: So how is it going?
Manny: Great, Kelly's moving her stuff into my notebook.
Gloria: This is sudden.
Kelly: It just felt right. Oh, you know what you should do, put a pinch of salt in the chocolate milk, it really brings out the flavor.
Gloria: Salt is for the popcorn.
Manny: Sounds good.
Gloria: You wouldn't like it.
Kelly: Maybe we should let Manny decide.
Gloria: Okay, here's the salt. We'll see what he likes.
Manny tries both:
Manny: Wow! It's great! Try it, Mom.
Gloria: I don't care for it.

Her best line of the episode, defeated and with her accent, she tells the camera and the viewers, "It was delicious."

So moving from the youngsters to the oldsters, here are two very easy cocktail recipes for Adult Chocolate Milk Cocktails!

1. Chocolate Milk Cocktail

Glass of Chocolate Milk
Couple Splashes Kahlua
2 or 3 ice cubes

Add Kahlua to chocolate milk and add ice

2. Chocolate Milk Cocktail

1/2 shot Kahlua
1/2 shot milk
Dash of Amaretto

Put the milk in the bottom, pour the liqueur on top and add dash of amaretto. Do not mix.
Serve in a tumbler. 

 

Monday, September 26, 2016

Key Lime Pie with Chocolate Crust

Key Lime Pie is one of my favorite pies. There seem to be several different Key Lime Pie Days (September 23, 26, and June 15). You pick... or have this easy delicious pie whenever you want. I'm going with September 26 for the purposes of this blog!

One year when I visited the Florida Keys, I tasted over 25 different key lime pies. I judged them (for myself) on tartness, firmness, sweetness (too sweet is unacceptable), whipped cream, meringue, and more. It was a hard job, but someone had to do it. I've made different variations of key lime pies, and, as I always say, you can never have too many recipes. Variety is what it's all about. One ingredient that will is essential is using real key limes.

I buy key limes at my market. Key Limes are definitely different from 'regular' limes. Key limes are smaller, about the size of a ping-pong ball. They are round, think-skinned, and contain very few seeds. They're juicier than other limes, too. Green key limes are actually immature fruits. They ripen to yellow as they mature. I buy them green, probably because that's they way they sell them in my market. Just an FYI: bottled Key Lime juice is sometimes used in Key Lime Pies. This juice is not always made from key limes. Find fresh key limes, if you can. It will make a huge difference.

Key limes are also known as Mexican limes and West Indies limes. Cultivated for thousands of years in the Indo-Malayan region, this variety made its way to North Africa and the Near East via Arabian traders, and then carried on to Palestine and Mediterranean Europe by the Crusaders. Columbus is credited with bringing the Key lime to Hispaniola (Haiti), where it was carried on by Spanish settlers to Florida. Key Limes  in South Florida, particularly the Florida Keys, hence the current common name of Key Lime. Due to hurricane-depleted soils, locals switched from pineapple commercial crops to limes in 1906, and business boomed until a hurricane once again reared and wiped out the lime groves, never to be restored. Today, most Key limes come from Mexico.

And FYI: Key Lime Pies are yellow..not green (unless you add food coloring--ugh!).  And, some people top Key Lime Pie with Meringue.. some with whipped cream!

Key Lime Pie with Chocolate Crust

Ingredients

Crust
1 1/2 cups crushed chocolate graham crackers
3 Tbsp sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted
Spray pan with non stick spray.

Filling
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
3 egg yolks
2/3 cup fresh squeezed Key Lime juice
1 Tbsp grated Key Lime zest

Directions

Crust
Mix together crumbs and sugar in bowl, add butter and mix well. Press into bottom and up sides of  9-inch pie pan. Make it tight.
Bake 350F for 8 minutes.
Allow to cool on a wire rack.

Filling
Beat egg yolks and grated Key Lime zest (peel) for about 5 minutes until fluffy.
Add sweetened condesnse milk and beat for 4 more minues.
Reduce speed and beat in lime juice until combined.
Pour into prepared chocolate crust.
Bake at 350 for 15 minutes (until firm in center)
Remove from oven and cool on wirerack.
Cover and chill for 2 hours.
Top with Whipped Cream

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Chocolate Cherries Jubilee

Today is Cherries Jubilee Day. There are so many variations on this very special dessert, but here's an easy Chocolate Cherries Jubilee recipe adapted only slightly from Epicurious. Of course, if you want to be showy with this dessert, add the Cognac to the sauce and heat without stirring it in. Light with a match and spoon the flaming sauce over the ice cream!

CHOCOLATE CHERRIES JUBILEE

Ingredients
1/2 cup cherry preserves (I use Bonne Maman Cherry Preserves)
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons Cognac
1 pint chocolate chocolate chip ice cream
Toasted sliced almonds

Directions
Melt preserves in heavy small saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently (alternatively, try with Chukar Cherries Jubilee Dessert Sauce).
Mix in cinnamon and Cognac.
Scoop ice cream into bowls.
Spoon sauce over.
Sprinkle with almonds.

Friday, September 23, 2016

White Chocolate Chunk Macadamia Nut Cookies

Today is White Chocolate Day. By definition, white chocolate is not actually chocolate.White chocolate doesn't contain any cocoa solids (chocolate liquor) and does not have 'chocolate' flavor. But I like the unique creamy flavor that good white chocolate does have -- of course it depends on the brand and that varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. (see below) 

White chocolate contains cocoa butter, a product of the cocoa bean used to make chocolate. White chocolate that's used in baking and candy making is a blend of milk, cocoa butter, sugar and often vanilla. The same ingredients you'll find in milk chocolate, except without the cocoa. If you are going to bake with white chocolate, make sure to buy the very best. Cheap white chocolate often has the cocoa butter replaced by vegetable fat. Check the ingredients on the package. It should have a cacao percentage just as good dark and milk chocolate bars do.

Examples of good white chocolate:
E. Guittard has 31% Cacao White Chocolate wafers. Great for baking (and eating).
Green & Black's White Chocolate uses cocoa butter, pressed directly from the crushed cocoa beans. They also use a blend of milk and Bourbon vanilla. Available in 3.5 oz bars.
Divine makes an awesome White Chocolate Bar. All natural without coloring or preservatives. 
Askinosie has a bean to bar white chocolate and uses goat's milk instead of cow's milk. The main ingredient in their white chocolate is 34% natural, non-deodorized cocoa butter. The cocoa butter is pressed in their factory, and they are the first small-batch chocolate maker to do this. After pressing the beans to create the cocoa butter, they combine them with goat's milk powder and organic cane juice, and then craft it for days in their 85-year old German melanguer, making their white chocolate one of the only single origin white chocolates in the world. It has a very unique buttery/nutty flavor, less sweet than many other white chocolate.
Merckens chocolate makes a great 2 pound bar, terrific for baking (or eating). Available through King Arthur Flour
Trader Joe's has good (and inexpensive) white chocolate for baking, as well as terrific white chocolate chips.

***
Because it's comprised mainly of cocoa butter, white chocolate can be used in so many ways. Check past posts for White Chocolate Mashed Potatoes,  White Chocolate Coffee Cake, White Chocolate Truffles and a host of other white chocolate candies and baked goods.

WHITE CHOCOLATE CHUNK MACADAMIA NUT COOKIES

Ingredients
2 1⁄4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1⁄4 tsp salt
1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1⁄2 cup white sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup sweet butter, softened
2 large eggs
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup coarsely chopped macadamia nuts
1 1⁄2 cups white chocolate, chopped

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°F.
In medium bowl combine flour, soda and salt. Mix well, set aside.
In large bowl with mixer blend sugars and salt at medium speed. Add butter and mix to until it forms grainy paste, scraping down sides of bowl. Add eggs and vanilla, and beat at medium speed until fully combined. Add flour mixture on low speed until just combined. Fold in macadamia nuts, and white chocolate chunks (chopped white chocolate). Do not overmix. 
Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake for 10-12 minutes or until edges begin to brown.
Move immediately to cooling rack.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Chocolate Butterscotch Pudding Mug Cake

Today is National Butterscotch Pudding Day, and of course, it's even better with Chocolate. You can make Butterscotch Pudding from scratch or you can use a Box Mix. Add some chocolate chips.

Want to make something more fun to celebrate the day? Try this adaptation from Rachael Ray's Chocolate Butterscotch Pudding Mug Cake. It's a different Cake in a Mug recipe. Under five minutes in the microwave! Adapted from Stacey J. Miller's 101 Recipes for Microwave Mug Cakes!

Chocolate Butterscotch Pudding Mug Cake

Ingredients
1 egg
3 Tbsp milk
3 Tbsp Canola oil
1/8 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
1/8 tsp baking powder
4 Tbsp light brown sugar
2 Tbsp instant butterscotch pudding powder
4 Tbsp all purpose flour
2 Tbsp dark bittersweet chocolate chips
  
Optional Frosting:
1 box of prepared butterscotch pudding mixed with store bought chocolate frosting

Directions
Prepare mug by coating inside lightly with cooking spray. Pour all dry ingredients into bowl.
Beat egg first with spoon and mix in other liquid ingredients.
Add dry ingredients and chocolate chips and mix until you’ve removed all lumps.
Pour batter into mug (don't fill more than halfway) and smooth top with spoon.
Thump mug firmly on tabletop six times to remove excess air bubbles.
Place mug on top of microwaveable small plate or saucer.
Bake for 3-4 minutes. Check for doneness by inserting a toothpick in middle of microwave mug cake and removing toothpick. If toothpick is dry, mug cake is done.
Wait two minutes then run butter knife along inside of mug and tip cake into plate.
Position mug cake so slightly rounded top is on top.  

Optional: Frost whole chocolate chip butterscotch microwave mug cake with prepared butterscotch pudding chocolate frosting. I prefer to dust with a little powdered sugar. The cake is already pretty rich!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Fall Equinox Chocolate Applesauce Bundt Cake

Photo: Judie Siddall
We're coming up on the Fall Equinox, and Fall is all about harvest, and, for me, apples. I've posted this recipe before, but it's perfect for Fall. It's my favorite recipe for Applesauce Cake. It's a Chocolate Applesauce Cake, of course. This recipe is adapted from Kristin Donnelly and was in Food and Wine in 2007. I love that it's a one bowl cake, and when you bake it in a bundt pan, it's pretty, as well as easy. Applesauce cakes are usually spice cakes, so this recipe may remind you of the holidays. Nevertheless, it's great all year round!

I used to make my own applesauce from my Gravenstein apple trees, but over the last few years, Topper and Rosie, my golden retrievers, have 'retrieved' the apples before they were quite ripe. Some years, I pick up a flat or bushel along the road in Sebastopol in Sonoma county, famous for its Gravenstein Apples. But I also buy my applesauce from Trader Joe's. They sell First Press Gravenstein applesauce. How great is that? Of course, you can always use your favorite applesauce in this recipe.

I add chocolate chunks instead of chocolate chips, but use what you have and what you like. I always have good chocolate around, so I tend to chop it up and use it in cakes and cookies. It changes things up in terms of taste! Also, always make sure your spices are fresh.

CHOCOLATE APPLESAUCE BUNDT CAKE

Ingredients
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 cups unsweetened applesauce  (applesauce from Gravenstein apples- my favorite!)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 stick sweet butter, melted
10 ounces dark chocolate, chopped, or a 12-ounce bag semisweet-chocolate chips
Powdered sugar, for dusting
Optional: Crème fraîche or whipped cream, for serving

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°. Butter and flour 12-cup Bundt pan.
In large bowl, whisk flour with granulated sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, cardamom, salt, cloves, and pepper. Whisk in applesauce, eggs, oil and melted butter. Fold in chocolate chunks or chips.
Scrape batter into prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out with a few crumbs attached.
Transfer pan to a rack and let cool for 10 minutes, then invert onto rack and cool completely, about 20 minutes. Sift powdered sugar over cake, slice and serve with crème fraîche or whipped cream--or plain.
This cake also tastes great toasted for breakfast with sweet butter or cream cheese!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Mud Cake, Mississippi Mud Cake, & More!

What's a Mud Cake? I have many recipes for them, and I've made several, but I hadn't really thought about what exactly it is. Mud Cake is relative newcomer to the cake scene, seeming to have popped up somewhere in the 1970s when it was all the rage! The first mud cakes came from Brownies and Fudge, and originally contained marshmallow (or at least a marshmallow topping). Other derivatives of this cake are the Mississippi Mud Pie and Dirt Cake. A mud cake is a very dense, tight crumbed cake. It's made by mixing liquids into dry ingredients. You melt chocolate, butter, and other liquids in a saucepan, then add flour, cocoa, etc. Of course, like anything else, there are always variations. Here's one that adds Rum. There's another below that adds Bourbon.



MUD CAKE II
(from Epicurious)

Ingredients
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
3 ounces fine-quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 1/2 cups strong brewed coffee
5 Tbsp bourbon (preferably 80 proof)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

Directions
Preheat oven to 275°F.
Butter 2 (7-8 inch) springform pans and line bottom of each with a round of wax paper. Butter paper and dust pans with flour, knocking out excess. Wrap bottom and 1 inch up side on outside of each springform pan with foil (to catch drips).
Melt chocolates and butter with coffee in a 4-quart saucepan over moderately low heat, stirring constantly until smooth. Remove from heat and cool 10 minutes.
Beat in bourbon, eggs, and vanilla.
Sift in flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt and stir until batter is smooth (batter will be thin).
Divide batter between springform pans (about 3 cups batter in each).
Bake cakes in middle of oven 1 to 1 1/4 hours, or until a tester inserted in centers comes out with crumbs adhering. Remove from oven and cool in pans on racks 20 minutes. Run a thin knife around edge of each pan, then remove sides. When cool, remove pan bottoms and wax paper.

MUD CAKE III
Sometimes a Mud Cake is made as a sheet cake.. sometimes just a small single cake.  Here's an easy recipe from Real Simple

Ingredients
7 Tbsp unsalted butter, cubed, plus more for the pan
6 Tbsp all-purpose flour, plus 
more for the pan
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1/4 tsp fine salt
3 large eggs, separated
2/3 cup granulated sugar, divided
Whipped cream, for serving

Directions 
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and line 8-inch round cake pan or springform pan with parchment. Butter parchment and dust lightly with flour.
Melt butter and chocolate in microwave in 1-minute increments, on half power, stirring every minute, until shiny and smooth. Stir in salt and 
set aside.
Whisk together egg yolks and 4 tablespoons of sugar until thick and creamy.
Mix egg whites in separate, clean bowl with electric mixer on high until foamy. Gradually add  remaining sugar, tablespoon at time, whipping continuously until whites are thick and glossy and hold soft peak, 3 to 5 minutes. Fold egg yolk mixture into 
chocolate. Add 1/3 of chocolate mixture to egg whites and fold in gently, until marbled. Taking care to keep the batter light and airy, fold in flour in 2 parts, alternating with remaining chocolate, until evenly combined.
Spoon batter into pan and 
bake until crispy on top and  toothpick inserted in center comes out almost clean, 25 to 30 minutes.
Cut into 
wedges and serve slightly warm with whipped cream.

MISSISSIPPI MUD CAKE
Here's a classic Mississippi Mud Cake from Paula Deen

Ingredients
2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup cocoa 1/4 cup water
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 bag miniature marshmallows

Icing
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons cocoa
6 tablespoons milk
1 (1-pound) box confectioners' sugar
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 13 by 9-inch baking pan.
Combine sugar, salt, and flour in large mixing bowl.
Bring butter, oil, cocoa, and 1/4 cup water to boil in saucepan. Add to flour mixture.
Beat together eggs, baking soda, buttermilk, and vanilla. Add to chocolate mixture, mix well, and pour into prepared pan.
Bake for 25 minutes.
While  cake is baking, make ticing by melting butter in cocoa and milk over low heat. Bring mixture to boil, then remove from heat. Stir in confectioners' sugar. Slowly mix in  nuts and vanilla.
Take cake from oven, and when it cools a bit, cover with miniature marshmallows.
Pour warm icing over cake and  marshmallows.
Cool cake before serving.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Chocolate Pralines: New Orleans Praline recipes!

I'm just back from Bouchercon, the World Mystery Convention, that was held this year in New Orleans. What a Party! Thanks to everyone who helped make this one of the best Bouchercons ever!

Many of you know, my 'other' world is all about mysteries, so I took this opportunity to spend some time away from the convention to sample pralines in New Orleans. I know it's tough, but someone has to do it.

What I found were many variations of Pralines, so I'm posting several recipes, for you to make at home. Of course, if you're in the Big Easy, you'll want to sample, as I did, and buy a few different kinds. Each of the following recipes has its virtues, and none has any vices. I, of course, add Chocolate to my Pralines. No big surprise there! So all three recipes feature chocolate and nuts!

PRALINE:
1) a confection of nuts and sugar: as in almonds cooked in boiling sugar until brown and crisp
2) a patty of creamy brown sugar and pecan meats

If you associate Pralines with the South, you'd be right! The original praline was a sweet confection made of almonds and some sort of creamy sugary caramelized coating. Lots of stories about how the Praline came to New Orleans and the South. One is that Pralines were first concocted in the home of 17th century French diplomat Cesar du Plessis Praslin by one of his chefs. The name "Praslin" eventually evolved into "praline." I don't buy that story since they were already popular in Europe in a slightly different version. Another story is that pralines were brought over from France by the Ursuline nuns, who settled in New Orleans in 1727. This makes sense since Pralines were already in the French tradition. Almonds were in short supply, so cooks began substituting the nuts of the native Louisiana pecan trees, thus the modern pecan pralines were born. Praline pecans were known as individual pecans covered in the sugary coating. The new pecan pralines quickly spread throughout New Orleans and became a common confection in the area.

Pralinières were women who used to sell pralines on the streets of the French Quarter in New Orleans during the mid-to-late 19th century, providing a unique entrepreneurial opportunity to les gens de couleur libres (free people of color). Not only was being a pralinière a source of income, it was a means of providing for oneself without any strings attached. This was a rare situation for economically less-fortunate, but resourceful women of that time period, who were often employed as indentured servants or forced by need and without choice into plaçage, as kept-women of wealthy businessmen. (Read more about Praline Sellers of Old New Orleans here)

Because New Orleans was a thriving port, people from all over the world came through, and the praline spread with them. Many people are unaware of the candy’s historical origin, and the praline is thought of as a southern confection not necessarily specific to New Orleans. Some believe the pecan praline is a Texan candy, whereas others assume it came from Savannah. The pronunciation of the candy is a bit of a point of contention as well. In New Orleans and along the Gulf Coast, where there are many communities settled by the French, the pronunciation is prah-leen, with the long aaah sound, which is closer to that of the candy’s namesake du Plessis-Praslin. Other regions of the country, including parts of Texas, Georgia, and New England have anglicized the term and pronounce it pray-leen. Other terms for pralines include pecan pralines, pecan candy, plarines and pecan patties.

Whatever you call it, you're going to love these recipes for Chocolate Pralines. They're simple to make. The first recipe doesn't call for a candy thermometer, but get one ready for the next two recipes. Candy thermometers are easy to work with, and if for some reason you don't have one, you can always use the water test.

This first recipe is adapted from Sunset Magazine.

CHOCOLATE PRALINES I


Ingredients
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1 tsp vegetable oil
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp corn syrup
1 1/2 tsp milk
1 1/2 tsp unsweetened DARK cocoa

Directions
Place almonds in 9-inch pie pan. Bake in 300° regular or convection oven, shaking pan once, until nuts are golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Coat 12-inch square of foil lightly with vegetable oil (about 1 teaspoon).
In 8- to 10-inch frying pan over medium-high heat, combine sugar, butter, corn syrup, and milk. Stir occasionally until mixture is bubbly and golden, about 5 minutes. Add cocoa and stir until smooth, then stir in toasted almonds. Pour mixture onto oiled foil and spread about 1/4 inch thick. Let cool until solid, about 10 minutes. Break praline into 6 to 8 large chunks.

CHOCOLATE PRALINES II

Ingredients
4 oz semi-sweet chocolate (50-65% cacao)
1 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed firmly
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sweet butter
1 cup pecan pieces

Directions
In heavy saucepan combine the sugar and cream.
Heat to 240 degrees (115 C) on candy thermometer (stirring constantly).
Remove from heat, stir in butter and chocolate.
Cool mixture to 110 degrees F (43 C).
Stir in pecans.
Drop by teaspoonfuls onto wax paper and allow to cool and harden.

Want a kick with your Chocolate Pralines?  Homesick Texan has a terrific recipe for Mexican Chocolate Pralines.  Here's her recipe, but be sure and read her post about her first attempts.. and to see her sensational photos. Yes, bacon can become an ingredient!

Mexican Chocolate Pralines 
(adapted from Aprovecho)

Ingredients:
1 disc of Mexican hot chocolate (Ibarra)
2 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate
2 cups pecans, 1 cup chopped and 1 cup whole
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup milk
6 Tbsp butter
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp fresh orange zest or 1 tsp dried orange zest
1/4 tsp Cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions
In oven set at 350 degrees, roast pecans for 10 minutes.
In large pot, melt together on medium heat chocolates, sugars, pecans, milk, butter, cinnamon, orange zest, Cayenne and sea salt, stirring occasionally. Place candy thermometer in pot to monitor heat. When it reaches 235 degrees, remove from fire and add vanilla and stir pot for two minutes. There should be bit of shine to the candy but candy will be a bit more thick.
Scoop pralines onto parchment paper. (If too stiff, add warm water to mixture.) Let cool for an hour and remove. They will still be a bit shiny but will lose that shine after a few hours. 

Note from Homesick Texan: If you want to add bacon to these, fry up four slices, crumble them and stir into praline when you add the vanilla.

These are unbelievably fabulous!!!!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Creme de Menthe Day: Grasshopper Pie -- 4 Recipes

Yesterday was Creme de Menthe Day,
and it's never too late to celebrate this holiday with Grasshopper Pie!

Grasshopper Pie is named because for its green color, although modern recipes may omit coloring the pie green. That would be a shame, though, since it's what makes it a classic. This pie was most likely invented in the 1950s in the U.S, and may have been inspired by the "Grasshopper Cocktail" invented at about the same time. Grasshopper Pie is a chiffon pie usually made with a Chocolate Cookie Crust, so you see why it's perfect for DyingforChocolate.com.

Chiffon pies in the 1950s were often a combination of whipping cream, gelatin, sugar, eggs, and flavoring (see vintage recipe at the end of this post). In the case of the Grasshopper Pie, common flavoring used was alcohol in the form of crème de menthe, and sometimes other alcohol like crème de cacao. For non-alcoholic pie, mint flavoring was achieved by using mint extracts instead, though these might still contain a tiny amount of alcohol. Green food coloring gave the pie a light green color.

There are huge differences between classic recipes for Grasshopper Pie and modern ones. Since gelatin can be annoying to work with, many people now prepare the pie by melting marshmallows and blending them with milk or whipping cream, and sometimes cream cheese. Several recipes advocate the use of specific cookies like Oreos in the crust, but I use chocolate wafers.

In the US, Grasshopper Pie tends to be most popular in the South, but other parts of the country enjoy it too. The pie rose in popularity especially up until the 1970s. Many ice cream stores capitalized on the flavor of this pie by producing their own version with mint or mint chocolate chip ice cream and a cookie crust. Some ice cream stores are particularly known for their grasshopper ice-cream pies.

Following are several different recipes for Grasshopper Pie. As I said, this is perfect for Creme de Menthe Day! Let me know if you have a special family recipe. Grasshopper Pie is so Retro!

Simple Grasshopper Mallow Pie  
 from Kraft

Ingredients
1/4 cup green creme de menthe
1 jar (7 oz.) JET-PUFFED Marshmallow Creme
1 pt. (2 cups) whipping cream, whipped
1 OREO Pie Crust (6 oz.)

ADD creme de menthe gradually to marshmallow creme in large bowl, beating with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Gently stir in whipped cream.
POUR into crust.
REFRIGERATE 4 to 6 hours or until chilled. Store leftover pie in refrigerator.

Frozen Grasshopper Pie
from cooks.com

Ingredients
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 rows Oreo cookies (lg. pkg.) crushed (you can also use chocolate wafers)

1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup creme de menthe
1/4 cup white creme de cacao
2 cup (1 pt.) whipping cream, whipped

Directions
Combine crushed Oreos and butter and press in bottom of 9 x 13 inch pan.
In large bowl combine sweetened milk, creme de menthe and creme de cacao.
Fold in whipped cream.
Pour over crust. Cover.
Freeze 6 hours or until firm. Garnish with chocolate curls. Return leftovers to freezer.

Expert Grasshopper Pie  
From Bon Appétit

Ingredients
Crust:
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
22 chocolate wafer cookies
3 Tbsp sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

Filling:
1 cup whole milk
Pinch of salt
3 large egg yolks
2 Tbsp cornstarch
6 ounces good-quality white chocolate (such as Baker’s or Lindt), chopped
2 Tbsp sweet butter
2 Tbsp green crème de menthe
2 Tbsp light crème de cacao
3/4 cup chilled whipping cream
Shaved white and dark chocolates

Directions 
For crust: Spray 9-inch-diameter glass or ceramic pie dish with nonstick spray. Finely grind chocolate cookies and sugar in processor. Blend in butter. Press crumb mixture onto bottom and up sides of prepared dish. Freeze. 

For filling: Combine milk and salt in heavy small saucepan. Bring to simmer. Whisk egg yolks and cornstarch in medium bowl to blend well. Gradually whisk in hot milk mixture. Return mixture to same saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat until mixture thickens, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat. Add white chocolate and butter; whisk until smooth. Transfer custard to large bowl. Whisk in crème de menthe and crème de cacao. Set custard over another large bowl of ice water until cold and thick but not set, stirring often, about 30 minutes.
Whip cream in medium bowl until stiff peaks form. Stir 1/3 of whipped cream into custard. Fold in remaining whipped cream. Pour filling into crust. Freeze at least 5 hours or up to 2 days. Garnish with shaved chocolates.

And one more,  
Vintage Cookbook Recipe for Grasshopper Pie that includes gelatin!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Frozen Reese's Peanut Butter Cups: Frozen Reese's Banana Pops

If you're like me, you love Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. The combination of milk chocolate and rich sweet peanut butter can't be beat! I consider Reese's Peanut Butter Cups a comfort food.

I love this Retro Ad for Frozen Reese's Peanut Butter cups. Want to take it a step further? Following is a great recipe for Frozen Reese's Banana Pops from Melissa Roberts on Real Simple. Freezing Reese's is a treat in itself!



Frozen Reese's Banana Pops

1. Halve 2 bananas crosswise. Insert a wooden stick into each piece; freeze the bananas and 4 Snack Size Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (21 grams each) for 2 hours.
2. Chop the frozen candy. Coat the frozen bananas in 6 ounces melted chocolate; sprinkle with the candy. Freeze on a parchment-lined plate until firm.

OMG! You'll love these!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bundt Cake

Today is National Peanut Day! What a great day to celebrate, unless of course you have a peanut allergy. I don't, and I hope you don't either because this Chocolate Peanut Butter Bundt Cake is terrific. I found this recipe on the NordicWare site. I love Bundt Cakes because their shape is always so pretty. Makes them look special. So it's no surprise that NordicWare, famous for their bundt pans, would have such a great recipe. Let me know what you think! As always, use the very best ingredients--and a great Bundt Pan.

CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER BUNDT CAKE

Ingredients 
3/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons Madagascar vanilla
2 eggs, room temperature
1 2/3 cups flour
3/4 cup DARK cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
 3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup sour cream
6 oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips
7 tablespoons heavy cream
1 cup creamy peanut butter
3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour pan; set aside.
In large bowl, combine butter, sugar and brown sugar; beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Stir in vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
In medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. On low speed, add flour mixture to butter mixture in three additions, alternating with buttermilk and beginning and ending with flour. Add sour cream. Beat on medium speed 1 minute, scraping bowl often. Fold in chopped chocolate.
Spoon batter into prepared pan.

Peanut Butter Filling: 
In medium bowl, combine peanut butter and powdered sugar; mix well. Spoon over batter, making sure filling does not touch sides of pan. Bake for 50-55 minutes, until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool in pan 25 minutes. Invert cake onto cooling rack to cool completely.

(Optional) I never glaze my bundt cakes. They're sweet enough as they are..
Glaze: 
In medium saucepan, combine chocolate chips and whipping cream. Cook on low heat, stirring constantly, until smooth and melted.
Remove from heat and cool slightly.
Place cake on serving platter and spoon glaze over cake.
Garnish with chocolate curls and peanuts.
Serve with whipped cream if desired. About 12 servings.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Chocolate Milkshake Day: 5 Different Chocolate Milkshakes

Today is National Milk Shake Day.

The easiest way to celebrate is to mix a little Milk with Chocolate Ice Cream and Chocolate Syrup and put it 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, September 11, 2016

Cocoa Peanut Logs: Retro Ad & Recipe

I loved Rice Krispies when I was a kid. They really did go snap, crackle, and pop when you added milk! Mine came in a 10 pack of cereals. My favorite was Sugar Smacks, but Kellogg's Rice Krispies were #2. My mother's rule was that if you wanted the Variety Pack, you had to eat them all. The small individually boxed cereals came in cardboard boxes that you opened and poured the milk directly into (another 50s 'time saver').  Alas, there weren't any chocolate cereals in the pack. Kellogg's Cocoa Krispies had not hit the market. When it did come out, it was a natural that there would be recipes similar to Rice Krispie Treats.

So here's a "Chocolate" Retro Ad & Recipe for Cocoa Peanut Logs! Enjoy!




Saturday, September 10, 2016

TV Dinner Day: Retro Ads

I shouldn't be surprised, but I was, to find out that there is a TV Dinner Day on the Food Holiday list.  TV Dinners became popular in the 1950s. After a busy day, families would put frozen dinners (they were individually packaged) in the oven, and out would come a full meal of 2 to 4 courses. Traditionally these were eaten on TV trays in front of the TV where the family would sit on the sofa or chairs and watch their favorite TV shows together.

This was not the case in my family. We ate as a family, fresh food prepared by my grandmother, mother, one of my aunts, or the help. Yes, we had help. Dinner time was when the family gathered and discussed school, work, politics, art, music. We were not allowed to watch TV. Perish the Thought! Oh how I envied the children in the ads and commercials. I was a TV junkie. Still am. I must reveal, though, that I have never eaten a TV Dinner. Never. They wouldn't have been in our freezer, even if someone 'dropped by' as it says in one of the ads below. The food on our table was always expandable to accommodate the numerous people who did stop in at dinner time. My grandmother was good at stretching everything. She didn't have to rely on a frozen prepackaged dinner.

The term TV dinner is a trademark originally used for a brand of packaged meal developed in 1953 by C.A. Swanson & Sons (the name in full was TV Brand Frozen Dinner). The original Swanson's TV Dinner came in an aluminum tray and was heated in an oven. It was an individual portion. TV dinners required very little preparation and contained all the elements for a single-serving meal. A TV dinner usually consisted of a cut of meat, usually beef or chicken; a vegetable, such as peas, carrots, corn, or potatoes; and sometimes a dessert.

Because this is a chocolate blog, I want to let you know that occasionally TV Dinners had a brownie  or chocolate pudding for dessert. More likely they didn't.

So in honor of TV Dinner Day, here are several Retro Ads. Always fun to see. Be sure to scroll down and watch the Retro TV Ad!





Friday, September 9, 2016

Teddy Bear Triple Chocolate Scones

Today is National Teddy Bear Day. You may not think that's a food holiday, but when I was little I always had teddy bear tea parties, and I always served them scones. My grandparents were married in London, and I got my love of tea with milk and sugar -- and tea with scones and clotted cream from them. So for today's Teddy Bear Day, here's a recipe for Triple Chocolate Scones. Of course you might want to add some honey on your scones. Bears love honey!

Teddy Bear 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 chocolate 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 baking section of the market). (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.

Tip: 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.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Dromedary Date Nut Bread in a Can: Vintage Ad & Recipe

Dromedary Date Nut Bread (in a can) had a Jingle Contest in 1940 to win nylon hose, and there were winners. Here's both the Advertisement and the Ad with the winners!
***
Today is Date Nut Bread Day. Has this wonderful quick bread fallen out of favor? I think not. It's a great bread to smother with cream cheese.. or the more richer marscapone. Date Nut Bread makes fabulous sandwiches. It's also great toasted and smeared with sweet butter. Add some chocolate chips or chunks to the recipe, and it belongs on this blog!

This wonderful advertisement from 1940 not only reflects the popularity of this quick bread in the U.S., but it's an historical testament to nylon hose and prepared foods at that time. Want to sell a product in the 1940s? Appeal to women. To win a pair of nylons, all you needed to do was finish the jingle. 1000 lucky women won nylons.

In 1939  DuPont introduced nylon stockings at the New York World's Fair, whose theme was the "World of Tomorrow." DuPont then went into full scale production, and "by May 1940, nylon hose was a huge success and women lined up at stores across the county to obtain the precious goods."  Just an FYI, nylon went to war in 1942  to be used  as parachutes and tents (as silk had been before nylon) and became in short supply.

Dromedary Date Nut Bread in a Can is no longer in production, but isn't the concept and advertisement fabulous. I used to bake a lot of quick breads in a can, but they didn't come already baked in a can, right on the shelves. FYI: Dromedary Date-Nut Bread in a can did not contain chocolate.

Dromedary Dates, which were also sold at the market, had a recipe on the back of the package for Date-Nut Bread. Here's a recipe that's pretty close to the original Dromedary Date-Nut Bread Recipe -- with the addition of Chocolate Chips. If you want your finished Date Nut Bread to look similar to the ad above, bake the date-nut breads in 4 soup cans!

DROMEDARY DATE-NUT BREAD WITH CHOCOLATE CHIPS

Ingredients
3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 cup chopped pitted dates (Dromedary chopped dates from the original recipe- one package-8 ounces-equals 2 cups)
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 Tbsp oil  (or 3 tbsp melted butter-original recipe mentions margarine, but I don't use margarine)
3/4 cup boiling water
2 eggs
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup sifted flour, unbleached
1/2 cup dark chopped chocolate chips

Directions
Preheat oven to 350.
With fork, mix walnuts, dates, soda and salt in bowl.
Add oil and boiling water. Let stand 20 minutes.
With fork, beat eggs slightly, add vanilla.
Stir in sugar and sifted flour.
Mix in date mixture.
Fold in chocolate chips.
Do Not Overmix.
Place in greased 9x5x3 inch loaf pan (or a coffee can or 4 soup cans).
Bake at 350 for 1 hour until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool in pan 10 minutes.
Move to wire rack to finish cooling. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Chocolate Stout Truffles: Beer Lovers Day

Today is National Beer Lovers Day. I like a good chocolate stout, and I'm lucky enough to live in an area with several microbreweries that produce Chocolate Stout. Chocolate Stout adds a bit of creaminess that enhances the taste of these beer truffles

CHOCOLATE STOUT TRUFFLES

Ingredients
1/2 cup Chocolate Stout, reduced by half
12 oz. dark chocolate (65-75% cacao), chopped
2 Tbsp sweet butter
1 cup heavy cream
Cocoa powder (Dutch process) or ground espresso

Directions
Reduce stout (texture should be thick enough to lightly coat a spoon).
Stir in butter and heavy cream and bring to simmer. As soon as bubbles start forming, pour over chopped chocolate.
Whisk to blend and put in refrigerator (covered with plastic wrap) until ganache is set, at least 3 hours.
Remove ganache from refrigerator, and using melon baller or spoon, scoop out ganache and roll into balls. You can also finish off by hand.
Place each ganache ball on parchment paper and put back in refrigerator for about an hour to harden.
Roll ganache balls in cocoa powder or ground espresso.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

No Churn Coffee Ice Cream with Chocolate Chips

Today is National Coffee Ice Cream Day. I'm not really a coffee drinker, but I do like coffee ice cream. And what could be better than Coffee Ice Cream with Chocolate Chips? Don't have an ice cream maker? No worries. Here's another of those vintage recipes for ice cream without churning. 

No Churn Coffee Ice Cream with Chocolate Chips!

Ingredients
1 can (14 ounce) sweetened condensed milk
1 Tbsp Madagascar vanilla extract
1/2 cup strong cold coffee
2 cups cold heavy cream
1/3 cup chocolate chips

Directions
In medium bowl, stir together condensed milk, vanilla, coffee, and chocolate chips.
In separate bowl of standing mixer, whip cream until soft peaks form.
Whisk one third of whipped cream into coffee mixture.
Fold remaining whipped cream into coffee mixture until incorporated.
Pour into 9×5-inch loaf pan, cover with plastic wrap, and freeze until firm -- about 6 hours or overnight.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Labor Day Chocolate Ricotta Icebox Cake

Chocolate Ricotta Icebox Cake is perfect for Labor Day. Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart (2006), this Icebox Cake is great to make for a cookout. It's egg-less, so no worries about raw eggs in this dessert. Let your refrigerator do the baking! This cake is labor and egg free!

Love this Retro Refrigerator Ad from the 30s. I imagine your 'icebox' is a bit more up-to-date.

Chocolate Ricotta Icebox Cake

Ingredients
14 ounces dark chocolate (55-70% cacoa) - do not use chocolate chips
30 ounces part-skim ricotta cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup heavy cream
9 ounces chocolate wafers

Directions

Prepare pan:
Line 9″ springform pan with plastic wrap (or waxpaper) so that it completely covers bottom and sides of pan. Allow 4″ overhang over the sides of the pan (you'll fold this over the top the cake as it chills).

Make Chocolate Ricotta Mixture:
Break 12 ounces of chocolate into pieces.
Place in heatproof medium bowl set over pan of simmering water. Cook, stirring occasionally, until chocolate has melted, 8 to 10 minutes.
In food processor, blend ricotta until very smooth, about 1 minute, scraping down sides of bowl.
Add warm chocolate; blend until smooth.
In large bowl, beat cream until stiff peaks form.
With a rubber spatula, gently fold in chocolate-ricotta mixture.

Assemble cake:
Arrange half the cookies in an overlapping pattern to cover bottom of pan. Spoon half the chocolate-ricotta mixture on top of cookies; smooth top. Cover with remaining cookies; top with remaining chocolate-ricotta mixture, and smooth top.
Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate at least 6 hours and up to 2 days.
Before serving, using a vegetable peeler, shave remaining 2 ounces chocolate over top of cake (or just eat the two ounces of chocolate)

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe Round-Up

Today is Chocolate Chip Cookie Day on the food calendar. I think you can never have too many Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipes, so here's an updated Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe Round-up from DyingforChocolate.com! Perfect for Chocolate Chip Cookie Day! Do you have a favorite? Post a link in comments.

CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE RECIPE ROUND-UP!

Vanishing Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sesame Chocolate Chip Cookies 

Bourbon Bacon Chocolate Chunk 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, September 3, 2016

Bourbon Bacon Chocolate Chunk Cookies: International Bacon Day

Bourbon Bacon Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Today is International Bacon Day! Here's an easy recipe for Bourbon Bacon Chocolate Chunk Cookies to Celebrate! These cookies contain all the food groups! How can you go wrong with bourbon, bacon and chocolate?

Maker’s Mark has a website that gives fans more of the content and information highlighting the culinary versatility of Maker’s Mark. The site features a section of recipes, selected by chef, Lee Anne Wong. She explains, “My goal in compiling this recipe collection for Maker's Mark was to show the versatility of their handcrafted whisky behind the bar and inspire people to incorporate bourbon into food in ways they may have never thought to. From soups and appetizers to entrees and desserts, I've included it all.” The collection includes appetizers, desserts, entrees, sides and soups, all created by a variety of world renowned chefs and restaurants. Contributors include David Mechlowicz, Director of Food and Beverage at Food Network; Daniel Holzman, Chef & Owner of The Meatball Shop; Antonia Lofaso, Executive Chef and Top Chef Masters Finalist and many more.

Bourbon Bacon Chocolate Chunk Cookies
by Lee Anne Wong, Editor and Culinary Director, Maker's Mark® Virtual Recipe Cookbook

This is one of my signature recipes, with two of my favorite things, bacon and bourbon, accented by chunks of rich, dark chocolate. The smoky, saltiness of the bacon pairs perfectly with the sweetness of the bourbon, chocolate and vanilla flavors. Honestly, these cookies will win you friends and admirers. No joke.

Ingredients
3 Tbsp Maker's Mark® Bourbon
3/4 pound bacon, 1/4-inch dice*
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup sweet butter, softened
1/2 cup reserved bacon fat, chilled
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
2 large eggs
8 ounces dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces**

Directions
In large sauté pan, cook out diced bacon until bacon pieces are golden and crisp. Remove bacon pieces from fat and drain on paper towel. Strain fat through fine sieve and measure out 1/2 cup of bacon fat and chill bacon fat until it congeals and sets.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, chilled bacon fat, granulated sugar, light and dark brown sugars, vanilla and Maker's Mark® Bourbon in large mixer bowl until well combined. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition; gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in cooked bacon pieces and chopped chocolate bits.

Drop by rounded tablespoon onto parchment-lined baking sheets at least 3 inches apart.
Bake in oven for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown.
Let stand for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.
Keep in dry, airtight container for up to 5 days.

* A fattier sliced bacon is preferred, as lean bacon and turkey bacon will not work for this recipe. ** Use a dark chocolate with 65% cocoa or higher. Anything from a 65%-85% chocolate will work well.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Chocolate Coconut-Crust Ice Cream Pie: Retro Ad & Recipe

Today is World Coconut Day, so here's a great and easy recipe for No-Bake Chocolate Coconut Crust Ice Cream Pie. It's another of those great Retro Baker's Ads with recipes. This one is from 1953. Love that "It's a dream with cherry vanilla ice cream!" That's a blast from the past. Today I usually use Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia--love the extra chocolate chunks! This ice cream pie is also great with Chunky Monkey ice cream. Bananas, coconut and chocolate.. what's not to like?

This Chocolate Coconut-Crust Ice Cream Pie is perfect for the Labor Day weekend.



No-Labor Labor Day Chocolate Pudding Cake

I saw this Labor Day recipe from the Portland Monthly a few years ago. I've posted variations on Chocolate Pudding Cake before, but this is a slightly different recipe, and, as you know from reading this blog, I can never have too many recipes. This is a great No-Labor Labor Day Dessert. Decadent and delicious. Make this recipe with the kids. It's a great chemistry lesson--dry ingredients, water, oven..and a molten treat! You probably have all the ingredients in your pantry and frig. Serve with whipped cream, ice cream, and/or fruit and nuts.

NO-LABOR LABOR DAY CHOCOLATE PUDDING CAKE

Ingredients
1 cup flour (sifting optional)
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
1 egg
2 Tbsp oil (vegetable or corn oil are fine)
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa
1 1/4 - 1 1/2 cups boiling water

Directions
Sift dry ingredients together. Mix milk, egg, and oil together in a large bowl. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients in big bowl. Stir until smooth. Add vanilla to bowl. Pour mixture into baking dish (1 1/2 - 2 quart casserole dish). Mix together additional dry ingredients (brown and white sugars and cocoa) and pour on top of everything already in baking dish. Pour boiling water on top of whole concoction. (No stirring!) Bake at 350 degrees F. for about 45-50 minutes.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Chocolate and Migraines: Good News


For those of you who suffer with migraines or know someone who does, there's good news! Researchers from Missouri State University say an animal study shows that dietary supplements of cocoa might repress inflammatory responses in the brain linked to migraines.

I'm not surprised by this. Chocolate and red wine seem to be too food items that people think trigger migraines. However, whenever I get a migraine, I eat chocolate or drink red wine (if it's afternoon.. I still can't get past that) or drink a coke. It works for me.

This study on the benefits of chocolate and migraines was presented at the International Headache Society's 14th Congress in Philadelphia several years ago. Basically the result shows that consuming a diet enriched with 10 percent cocoa increased levels of anti-inflammatory compounds in the brain, as well as repressing levels of pro-inflammatory processes.

Considering that 36 million Americans have migraines, this is definitely good news.
Read more here.

So throw off the myth that chocolate causes migraines. It might be more about what's in the chocolate: how much sugar, milk, or additives. A different study showed that chocolate contains tyramine and phenylethylamine, and although that can trigger migraines, they are found in such low concentrations that it's very rare that chocolate alone can bring on a migraine.

Here's a list of Food Triggers according to Health.com. Before you blame the chocolate, check to see if you didn't have some cheese or raisins or bacon at the same meal.

Food triggers
Here's a partial list of major food triggers, according to the National Headache Foundation.

* Ripened cheeses (such as cheddar, Emmentaler, Stilton, Brie, and Camembert)
* Chocolate
* Marinated, pickled, or fermented food
* Foods that contain nitrites or nitrates (bacon, hot dogs) or MSG (soy sauce, meat tenderizers, seasoned salt)
* Sour cream
* Nuts, peanut butter
* Sourdough bread
* Broad beans, lima beans, fava beans, snow peas
* Figs, raisins, papayas, avocados, red plums
* Citrus fruits
* Excessive amounts (more than 2 cups total) of caffeinated beverages such as tea, coffee, or cola
* Alcohol (including red wine and beer)

My migraine cures are listed as migraine causes. So wrong--at least for me!

Chocolate is so good for you in so many ways!