Tuesday, October 17, 2017

CHOCOLATE PASTA RECIPES: NATIONAL PASTA DAY

Today is National Pasta Day, and I hope you're out there having some great pasta dishes at your favorite restaurant or cooking up a storm in the kitchen. I used to make my own pasta a lot, but not so much anymore. There are so many fresh pasta vendors in my neighborhood. However, since it is National Pasta Day, I thought I'd post a few recipes for Chocolate Pasta.
 

Chocolate Pasta

Ingredients
1 3/4 cup Flour
1/4 cup Cocoa powder
2 Egg
4 Tbsp Water

Directions
Mix flour and cocoa well. Mound on work surface or in large bowl. Make deep well in center of mound and break the eggs into it. Beat eggs in twith fork, adding about 2 Tbsp water. Using circular motion, draw flour and cocoa into center. Toss in another Tbsp of Water. Stir with fork until all flour is moistened. Add more water as needed. Finish mixing by hand. Pat dough into ball. Clean off work surface, and flour it. Knead dough for about 10 minutes, or until dough becomes silky and elastic. Cover dough and let rest for half hour. Roll out 1/4 of dough at time. A machine makes this easy. Allow pasta to dry a little before cooking. Makes 4 to 5 cups of cooked pasta---plenty for dessert.

You can always buy some great dark chocolate pasta. There are many brands. My market sells fresh chocolate pasta!

Here are two recipes from Pappardelle (they make great Dark Chocolate Pasta)

Dark Chocolate Pasta with Chocolate Sauce

Ingredients
1 pound Pappardelle’s Dark Chocolate Pasta
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (or chopped dark chocolate)
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 1/2 cups evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions
Cook pasta in pot of rapidly boiling salted water until al dente (about 8-10 minutes). Drain and rinse with cool water.
Melt chocolate chips and butter together in small saucepan. Add powdered sugar and milk. Stir constantly and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low simmer. Cook for 8 minutes, continuing to stir constantly. Add vanilla.
In serving dishes, add pasta, top with chocolate sauce. Garnish with favorite topping.

Chocolate Noodle Kugel

Ingredients
1 pound Pappardelle’s Dark Chocolate Noodles (these really are quite good)
1 stick butter, cut into pieces
1 cup whole milk
5 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt
1 pound container of sour cream
1 pound container of small curd cottage cheese

Topping:
2 cups cornflakes, coarsely crushed
2 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp butter, cut into pieces

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 13 x 9 inch baking dish (lasagna style pan).
Meanwhile, cook pasta in 6-8 quarts of rapidly boiling salted water until al dente (about 8-10 minutes). Drain, then return to cooking pot and add butter. Toss until noodles are well coated and butter is completely melted.
Whisk together milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt until combined, then whisk in sour cream. Stir in cottage cheese and add to noodles. Spoon gently into baking dish.
For topping, stir together cornflakes, sugar, and cinnamon and sprinkle over noodles. Dot with butter and bake kugel until edges are golden brown, about 40-50 minutes. Let stand before serving.

Have some chocolate pasta recipes? Love to see them.

Monday, October 16, 2017

How to Make Chocolate Liqueur: National Liqueur Day!

Today is National Liqueur Day!

What exactly is liqueur? FYI, it's not liquor. In different places in the U.S. liqueurs may also be called cordials or schnapps. The word liqueur comes from the Latin liquifacere which means to liquefy. A liqueur is an alcoholic beverage made from a distilled spirit flavored with fruit, cream, herbs, spices, flowers --or in the case of this blog--Chocolate--and bottled with added sugar or other sweeteners. Liqueurs are not aged long and are usually sweet.

For National Liqueur Day, here's a recipe for How to Make Chocolate Liqueur. Chocolate liqueur is simple to make, and you should try it. Of course you can always buy Chocolate Liqueur, and I'll have to admit that Godiva has an awesome dark Chocolate Liqueur. You might also want to try Mozart Black Chocolate.

But if you want to make your own, try one of the following two recipes for Making Chocolate Liqueur.

As always, use the best cacao nibs or cocoa, vodka, and vanilla. You won't have the results to taste today, but it will be worth the wait! Great for holiday presents, too!

How to Make Chocolate Liqueur

1. CHOCOLATE LIQUEUR
The recipe is from Serious Eats, one of my favorite sites.

Ingredients
 2/3 cup cacao nibs
1 1/3 cup vodka
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup water
2 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract

Directions
Combine cacao nibs and vodka in sealable glass jar. Shake and let steep for 8 days.
After initial steeping period, bring sugar and water to a boil. Let syrup cool, then add to jar along with vanilla extract. Let steep an additional day.
Strain out nibs through sieve and filter through a coffee filter into bottle or jar. Store in this jar.

II. CHOCOLATE LIQUEUR
This Recipe from Creative Culinary uses Scharffen Berger Cocoa Powder. 

Ingredients
1/4 cup unsweetened good cocoa powder (Scharffen Berger)
1 cup boiling water
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
1 cup vodka

Directions
In bowl, dissolve cocoa powder in boiling water.
In saucepan, bring sugar and water to simmer, stirring until sugar is dissolved.
Add sugar syrup to cocoa syrup.
Strain through fine-mesh sieve into jar with lid.
Add vodka, cover and refrigerate for one week.
To serve, stir well and strain again through fine-mesh sieve.
 
These two recipes should get you started. Want to try some variations? Use less sugar and maybe add almond extract--or use rum instead of vodka. Experiment!

You can drink your Chocolate Liqueur straight, use it to make truffles, or make a martini.

Have a wonderful National Liqueur Day. Make it Chocolate!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

PUMPKIN CHOCOLATE CHIP MUFFINS

The leaves are starting to turn, and pumpkins are everywhere, so for today's post, here's an easy recipe for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins from allrecipes.com.

I use a natural pumpkin puree that I always have in the pantry for doggie stomach upsets (pumpkin is good for dogs), but use Libby's if that's what you have..or pumpkin puree you make yourself if you've already started carving your pumpkins.

As always, use the best chocolate chips--and make sure your oil is fresh. These Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins are a great way to start the day on a brisk morning!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Ingredients
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips 

Directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Grease and flour muffin pan or use paper liners.
Mix sugar, oil, eggs. Add pumpkin and water.
In separate bowl mix together the baking flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices, and salt.
Add wet mixture and stir in chocolate chips.
Fill muffin cups 2/3 full with batter.
Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Cartoon of the Day: Waffling


Chocolate Cricket Chip Cookies: National Chocolate-Covered Insects Day

Today is a holiday worthy of Halloween. October 14 is National Chocolate-Covered Insects Day.

I've posted several examples of chocolate covered insects before: Chocolate Scorpions and other chocolate covered insects, but here's a recipe from Weird-Food.com for Chocolate Cricket Chip Cookies. They put the crunch into the cookie. O.K. it's weird, but Frank spent 3 years in Cote d'Ivoire, and it doesn't seem weird to him at all. Dry-roasted Crickets add protein and crunch. Luckily, I do all the baking at home. I've seen a different version of these Chocolate Chip Cricket Cookies with whole crickets in them. Too much for me! Declaration: I've never made these, and I never will. I'm definitely not a bug person. But because of the holiday, I thought I'd share the following recipe.

Chocolate Cricket Chip Cookies

Ingredients
2 1/4 cup flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1 12-ounce chocolate chips
1 cup chopped nuts
1/2 cup dry-roasted crickets

Directions
Preheat oven to 375.
In small bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
In large bowl, combine butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla; beat until creamy.
Beat in eggs.
Gradually add flour mixture and Crickets, mix well.
Fold in chocolate chips.
Drop by rounded measuring teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes.

Photo: Chocolate Chips not Crickets. I just couldn't.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Halloween Oreo Brownies!

I love seasonal Oreos, and Halloween Oreos are so much fun! You can use them in lots of ways including as a cookie crust for your favorite Pumpkin Cheesecake or in the following two recipes for Halloween Oreo Brownies...or just eat them straight from the bag! Orange and black, the colors of Halloween! 

1. Easy Halloween Oreo Brownies
I use the Ghirardelli Double Chocolate Brownie Mix and crumble about 15 cookies into the mix.

2. Halloween Oreo Brownies
This recipe is no-fail and delicious. It's a double recipe, so be sure you have a lot of goblins around to eat these up! As always use the very best ingredients.

Ingredients
1 lb sweet butter
1 lb semisweet chocolate chips
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate -- chopped
6 eggs
3 Tbsp instant coffee granules
2 Tbsp Madagascar vanilla
2-1/4 cups sugar
1-1/4 cup flour -- divided
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
50 Halloween Oreos  (4 cups chopped)

Directions
Arrange rack in middle of oven and preheat to 350.
Butter and flour 11 1/2" x 17 1/4" x 1" baking pan. (or make in two 9x9 pans)
In heatproof medium bowl set over saucepan of simmering water, heat butter, chocolate chips and unsweetened chocolate until melted and smooth. Allow to cool slightly.
In large bowl, whisk eggs, coffee, vanilla and sugar. Blend chocolate mixture into egg mixture; cool to room temperature.
In medium bowl, sift together one cup flour, baking powder and salt. Add flour mixture to chocolate mixture.
In small bowl, stir Oreos and remaining 1/4 cup flour. Add Oreo mixture to chocolate mixture. Pour batter into baking pan and smooth top with a rubber spatula.
Bake 35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean; do not overbake.
Allow to cool. Refrigerate, tightly wrapped, until cold; cut into squares.

Adapted from Cooking Light and "O" Magazine recipe by Ina Garten

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Score a Touchdown! Home-Made Tootsie Rolls!

It's officially Fall here.. hot and breezy. This is very different from where I grew up when Fall meant a sharp change in the weather to cool and even cold. Autumn back East was all about Football Games, new clothes, new classes, and Halloween.

This Vintage Tootsie Roll Advertisement reminded me of those days, so for today's post I thought I'd post a recipe for Home-made Tootsie Rolls. I've tried several different recipes, and you might want to search the web for others. Paula Deen has one that has orange extract in it, but the following recipe is my favorite. Home-made  are perfect for Halloween! You can wrap them individually in orange wrappers!

Note:
This recipe makes 80 -100 tootsie rolls, but you can roll them out bigger and cut them longer. Remember the 5 cent Tootsie Roll?

As always the brand of chocolate will make a difference. You also might want to substitute 1/2 cup DARK cocoa powder for the unsweetened chocolate. In that case, sift with the dry milk.

Powdered milk, by the way, is not instant milk powder, it's dehydrated milk. Hope you can find it.

I also sift the flour. Not sure if it's necessary, but old habits die hard.

HOME-MADE TOOTSIE ROLLS
This recipe is adapted slightly from Elizabeth LaBau at About.com

Ingredients:
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup light corn syrup
2 tbsp softened unsalted butter
3/4 cup powdered milk (not instant.. see note above)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 cups powdered sugar (sifted)

Directions
Melt chocolate in large microwave-safe bowl or in double boiler over simmering water.
Once chocolate is melted and smooth, stir in corn syrup and butter, stirring until butter is melted. Stir in powdered milk and vanilla extract.
Add cup of powdered sugar and stir until incorporated. Once that sugar is mixed in, add second cup of powdered sugar, and stir to mix. Dough will be getting stiff and it might be difficult to stir more powdered sugar into candy.
Dust work surface with powdered sugar and knead the candy until smooth. If still very soft, knead in more powdered sugar until firm but not dry or crumbly. You might need up to 3 cups of powdered sugar total.
Once Tootsie Roll candy is smooth and firm but supple in texture, break off palm-sized piece and roll into long, thin rope. Using sharp knife, cut it into small pieces and place on baking sheet. Repeat until you have formed all of Tootsie Roll dough into small pieces. Depending on size of rolls, you should get 80-100 pieces.
Refrigerate tray of Tootsie Rolls until they firm up, about 1 hour.

Store Tootsie Rolls in an airtight container in refrigerator for up to two weeks.
You can wrap them individually in waxed paper if they start to stick together because of condensation from refrigerator. Bring Tootsie Rolls to room temperature before serving.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

WHITE CHOCOLATE ANGEL FOOD CAKE: National Angel Food Cake Day!

Today is Angel Food Cake Day. I'm more of a Devil's Food Cake person, but here's a White Chocolate recipe for White Chocolate Angel Food Cake from Godiva Chocolate.  Although I am posting a Retro Ad for Angel Food Cake, the recipe below is all from scratch!

White Chocolate Angel Food Cake with Whipped Cream and Fresh Berries

Ingredients

Cake
1 1/2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 cup sifted cake flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups egg whites, at room temperature (about 11 to 12 large eggs)
1 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 bars (1.5 ounces each) Godiva Ivory Chocolate, grated or finely chopped

Whipped Cream:
2 cups heavy cream, chilled
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Berries:
1 cup fresh red raspberries
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup fresh strawberries, sliced
1/2 cup fresh blackberries
White chocolate curls 

Directions

Cake
Position oven rack in lower third of oven. Heat oven to 350°F.
Sift together confectioners’ sugar, cake flour, and salt onto sheet of waxed paper.
Put egg whites in clean, dry bowl of electric mixer. Beat egg whites at medium-low speed until frothy. Add cream of tartar and beat at medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add granulated sugar in steady stream, beating just until whites are thick and form slightly stiff peaks. (Do not over-beat)
Gently fold in 1/3 of sifted dry ingredients over whites just until dry ingredients are moistened. Fold in remaining dry ingredients with vanilla and grated white chocolate in two additional batches.
Gently pour batter into ungreased 10" angel food or tube pan, spreading evenly. Tap gently on counter to remove any air bubbles. Bake 35 minutes or until top is firm and springs back when lightly touched. Invert pan on a large bottle (such as wine bottle or olive oil bottle) and cool completely.
To remove cake from pan, run long knife or thin metal spatula around outside edge of cake and gently remove side portion of pan. Then, run knife around inside of center tube, loosen bottom of cake with long knife or thin metal spatula and remove cake from remaining portion of pan. Place on cake plate; cover with plastic wrap if not serving immediately.

Whipped Cream:
Combine heavy cream and granulated sugar in a medium, chilled bowl. Beat at medium speed with electric mixer until soft peaks form; whisk in vanilla.
Place sweetened whipping cream in refrigerator until ready to serve cake, up to 2 hours.
Combine berries in a medium bowl and toss lightly.

Assembly:
Cut cake with serrated knife using a sawing motion. Serve with sweetened whipped cream and berry mixture. Garnish with white chocolate curls.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Columbus Day Chocolate Cherry Biscotti

Columbus Day is still a big deal in San Francisco, even though it's celebrated as Indigenous Peoples Day in neighboring cities. Columbus Day originated as a celebration of Italian-American heritage and was first held in San Francisco on October 12, 1869. It's still celebrated that way. In 1892 President Benjamin Harrison, 400 years after Columbus' first journey, gave a public statement in memory of the 'New World' being 'discovered.' In 1905 Colorado was the first State to recognize an official 'Columbus Day'. From 1921 Columbus Day was observed each year. President Franklin Roosevelt in 1937 declared October 12 as 'Columbus Day', but in 1971, Congress proclaimed Columbus Day a national holiday the 2nd Monday of October.

Of course, there's a Columbus Chocolate Connection. Although people tend to associate chocolate with European culture, the confection’s roots are actually a whole lot deeper in the Americas. The trees that grow the cacao beans actually originated in the tropical regions of the Americas. Chocolate didn’t find its way to Europe until Christopher Columbus brought the cacao bean back to Spain from his “New World” adventure. 

So today for Columbus Day, an Italian-American celebration, I'm posting one of my favorite recipes for Chocolate Cherry Biscotti.
 
CHOCOLATE CHERRY BISCOTTI


I originally found this recipe on the Internet in several places, but I've adapted it a bit. I don't like candied cherries, so I use dried cherries. My favorite are from Chukar Cherries. You can't go wrong with Biscotti on Columbus Day or any day. No time to cook? Pick up some Biscotti at your local Italian Bakery.

INGREDIENTS
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp almond extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup chopped dried cherries (original recipe uses candied cherries, but I prefer Chukar Cherries)
1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease large cookie sheet.
In large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth.
Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in almond extract.
Combine flour and baking powder; stir into creamed mixture until just blended.
Fold in dried cherries and mini chocolate chips.
With lightly floured hands, shape dough into two 10 inch long loaves.
Place rolls 5 inches apart on prepared cookie sheet; flatten each to 3 inch width.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until set and light golden brown.
Cool 10 minutes.
Using serrated knife, cut loaves diagonally into 1/2 inch slices.
Arrange slices cut side down on un-greased cookie sheets.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until bottoms begin to brown.
Turn, and bake additional 5 minutes, or until browned and crisp.
Cool completely. Store in tightly covered container. 

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Cartoon of the Day: Diet


Apple Brownies: Apple Month

October is Apple Month! All over the U.S. apples are being harvested, and it's amazing how many varieties there are. In fact, here's Whole Foods guide to apples  and another list from Huffington Post. What's your favorite Apple?

What to do with such bounty? applesauce? apple pie? apple tart? candy apples? So many choices. Well here's one more--Apple Brownies! Apples give moisture and flavor to brownies.

Apple Brownies

Ingredients
2 eggs
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup chopped apples
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup dark chocolate 75-85% cacao, chopped (or chocolate chips)

Directions:
Melt unsweetened chocolate in saucepan.
In mixing bowl, beat eggs and sugar together.
Stir in melted chocolate until thoroughly mixed.
Add sugar, flour, and baking powder.
Stir in apple pieces, nuts, vanilla, and chopped chocolate (or chocolate chips).
Bake in greased 8-inch square pan at 350F for 30 minutes.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Double Layer Chocolate Pumpkin Mousse Pie: Canadian Thanksgiving

Monday is Canadian Thanksgiving, and because I think all holidays should be celebrated  with Chocolate, I'm posting my favorite recipe for Double Layer Chocolate Pumpkin Mousse Pie. Since it's Canadian Thanksgiving, this recipe is from the Dairy Farmers of Canada website Dairy Goodness. Hope my North of the Border friends have a wonderful celebration. And, for those in the U.S., this Pie is fabulous for our Thanksgiving in late November.

I first celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving at a Bouchercon (the World Mystery Convention) that was held several years ago in Toronto. I'll be there this Thanksgiving, too, so it's a win-win celebration! I confess, I didn't realize the first time I was there that there was 'another' Thanksgiving. For me, Thanksgiving was about the Pilgrims, the Rock, the Turkeys. Same foods in Canada, but different date and reasons. So in case you're new to this holiday, here's some information on the origins of Canadian Thanksgiving which is more closely aligned to the traditions of Europe than those of the United States.

The very first Thanksgiving celebration in North America took place in Canada when Martin Frobisher, an explorer from England, arrived in Newfoundland in 1578. He wanted to give thanks for his safe arrival to the New World. That means the first Thanksgiving in Canada was celebrated 43 years before the pilgrims landed in Plymouth, Massachusetts! For a few hundred years, Thanksgiving was celebrated in either late October or early November, before it was declared a Canadian National Holiday in 1879. It was then, that November 6th was set aside as the official Thanksgiving holiday. On January 31, 1957, Canadian Parliament announced that the second Monday in October would be Thanksgiving -- "a day of general thanksgiving to almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed."

Another reason for Canadian Thanksgiving taking place earlier than its U.S. counterpart is that Canada is geographically further north than the United States, causing the Canadian harvest season to arrive earlier than the American harvest season. But what are the differences between Canadian and American Thanksgiving, other than the date? Not much! Both Canadians and Americans celebrate Thanksgiving with parades, family gatherings, pumpkin pie and a whole lot of turkey! (Info from Kidzworld.com)

So here's a fabulous Double Layer Chocolate Pumpkin Pie for the Thanksgiving table.

Double Layer Chocolate Pumpkin Mousse Pie

Ingredients

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

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

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

Directions

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

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

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

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

Garnish with whipped cream and nutmeg before serving.

Photo: Dairy Farmers of Canada

Friday, October 6, 2017

Mad Hatter Day: Mad Hatter Chocolate Chip Scones

Today is Mad Hatter Day! Yes, it's a real holiday, and you know I love holidays. What better way to celebrate than with Mad Hatter Chocolate Chip Scones at a Mad Hatter Tea Party?

The unofficial Mad Hatter holiday was created in 1986 in Boulder Colorado by a group of computer technicians who were inspired by the Hatter and his antics in Alice in Wonderland. In the book, the Hatter is an eccentric milliner for whom time is forever stuck at a tea party with his friend the March Hare.

The date for the holiday was chosen because of how John Tenniel illustrated the Hatter in Alice in Wonderland. The English illustrator who was also a political cartoonist depicted the Hatter wearing a hat with a piece of paper that has 10/6 written on it. The 10/6 refers to the cost of a hat – 10 shillings and 6 pence. The creators of the holiday who are from the United States where the date is written in the month/day (mm/dd) format took this to set the date for the holiday on October 6 (10/6). For those who write the date in the day/ month (dd/mm) format, the holiday would fall on June 10.

Planning to host a Mad Hatter Tea Party? Then be sure and serve Chocolate Chip Scones (not that the Mad Hatter offered Alice anything at all!). Add some clotted cream and jam, don your hat, and you're good to go!   

MAD HATTER CHOCOLATE CHIP SCONES

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

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

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Cartoon of the Day: Cooking Directions


Chocolate Apple Crisp: New & Retro Recipes

Since this is Apple Month, I thought this recipe for Chocolate Apple Crisp would be perfect! What could be better than dark chocolate, great apples, caramel, and nuts! This recipe is from Betty Crocker! I always say, go to the Brands for great recipes. You can always substitute your own topping or the topping in the Retro Ad to the right for that of the Betty Crocker Oatmeal Cookie Mix.. Both recipes are from Betty Crocker. Be sure and add the caramel and chocolate chips!

CHOCOLATE APPLE CRISP

Apple Filling 
8 large Granny Smith apples (or Fuji or Gala, whatever you like best), peeled, cored, and chopped into 1 inch chunks
1 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
12 caramels, unwrapped, chopped

Topping 
1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker™ Oatmeal Cookie Mix
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1/3 cup dark chocolate chips

Directions
Heat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9x13 inch glass baking dish with cooking spay.
Place apples in baking dish and sprinkle with flour and cinnamon. Mix well, making sure all apples are coated. Sprinkle the chopped caramels evenly over the apples.
In large bowl, using fork, mix cookie mix and melted butter until crumbly. Mix in walnuts and chocolate chips. Sprinkle over apple mixture.
Bake uncovered 30 to 40 minutes or until top is golden brown and bubbling.

Here's the other recipe (the ad at top) from Betty Crocker for Apple Crisp. Add the chocolate chips and caramels, if you'd like.


Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Nine Chocolate Vodka Drink Recipes: National Vodka Day!

1966 Retro Smirnoff Ad
October 4 is National Vodka Day. In honor of the holiday, I put together Nine Chocolate Vodka Drink Recipes. There are several good quality chocolate vodkas out there. Try them all.

Chocolate Raspberry Martini 
(A Drink of the Week Original Cocktail)
1 1/2 ounce Stoli Raspberry Vodka
1/2  ounce  Godiva Chocolate Liqueur
Splash Soda

Combine Vodka and Liqueur in a shaker with ice. Shaken and strain into a cocktail glass. Top with a splash of soda. Garnish with a fresh raspberry.

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Daiquiri
3 ounces chocolate Goldenbarr chocolate vodka
1 cup fresh strawberries

Combine ingredients in a blender, and blend well. Pour into chilled daiquiri/margarita glass, garnish with a chocolate covered strawberry, and serve.

Cherry Cordial Recipe
Chocolate Vodka
Cherry Liqueur

Pour in Shot Glass

Chocolate to Die For
6 ounce cream soda
1 1/2 ounce Chocolate Vodka

Pour the chocolate vodka over ice in an old-fashioned glass. Add cream soda and serve.

Fudge Slide
1 ounce Goldenbarr Chocolate Vodka
1 ounce  Kahlua coffee liqueur
1 ounce Bailey's Irish cream

Pour each ingredient into a cocktail shaker half-filled with ice cubes. Shake well, strain into a cocktail glass, and serve.

Chocolate Chocolate Martini
1 1/2 ounce Vincent Van Gogh Dutch Chocolate Vodka
1/2 ounce Creme de Cacao

Pour both ingredients into cocktail shaker with ice cubes. Shake well, strain into cocktail glass and serve. Garnish with grated chocolate. You can also rim the chilled glass with cocoa powder but pour slowly. Even better: Rim chilled glass with chocolate sauce and put in freezer until you're ready to serve the drink!

Desperate Housewife
1 1/2 ounce Players Extreme caramel-infused vodka
1 1/2 ounce white chocolate liqueur

Shake with ice. Strain into cocktail glass. Drizzle with chocolate sauce, and serve.

Starry Night Martini
1 1/2 ounce chocolate Vodka
1 1/2 ounce vanilla Vodka
1 ounce Bailey's Irish cream
1 ounce Kahlua coffee liqueur
1 splash cream

Fill shaker-strainer with ice. Pour chocolate and vanilla vodka into shaker simultaneously for three counts. Pour Bailey's and Kahlua into shaker for two counts. Add splash of cream. Cover shaker, shake, and strain into cocktail glass.

Tootsie Roll Shooter
 (recipe from Three Olives Chocolate Vodka)
2/3 ounce Three Olives Chocolate Vodka
1/3 ounce amaretto
Chocolate Syrup

Pour ingredients into cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well. Strain into shot glass.

Raise a glass to National Vodka Day!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Chocolate Olive Oil: Tuesday Tips

Here's a great Tuesday Tip: How to use and make Chocolate Olive Oil. I often cook with olive oil,  because Chocolate and Olive Oil are such a great pairing. But did you know there's Chocolate Olive Oil? Several artisan olive oil companies make it. It's great to substitute in chocolate recipes that call for olive oil or in salad dressing (and toss in some cocoa nibs) or pour over ice-cream, quick breads, pound cake, pancakes, fruit, or waffles. In baking, it can replace butter and other oils (check measurements) as in chocolate chip cookies, brownies, cupcakes, and bread. It's even good with BBQ to add depth and nuance. I like to dip a good baquette in chocolate olive oil. So many possibilities. Be sure to scroll down for the Double Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe made with Chocolate Olive Oil.

Chocolate Olive Oils

Wild Groves
https://wildgroves.com

Chocolate Infused Certified Extra Virgin Olive Oil
http://www.lucerooliveoil.com/flavor-infused-olive-oil/chocolate-infused-olive-oil.html

Queen Creek Olive Mill
http://queencreekolivemill.com/store/oils/chocolate-olive-oil.html

Nudo Extra Virgin Chocolate Olive Oil 
https://www.nudoadopt.com/

(great story from Jason Gibb on Fathom)

http://fathomaway.com/jason-gibb-searches-for-chocolate-olive-oil/

And, you can make Chocolate Olive Oil yourself. Here's how! 

Chocolate Olive Oil
Recipe from Colavita Olive Oil

Ingredients 
3/4 cup Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil
6 squares Perugina 85% Cocoa Extra Dark Chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp espresso powder

Directions
Position rack in middle position in oven; preheat to 275 degrees F.
Place chopped Perugina chocolate, vanilla extract, and espresso powder in heatproof measuring cup or bowl. Pour olive oil on top. Give everything gentle stir to combine.
Place heatproof bowl on baking sheet, and place in preheated oven.
Leave bowl in oven for 1 hour, stirring mixture every 15 minutes to prevent chocolate sticking to  bottom of vessel.
Remove baking sheet with chocolate olive oil mixture, and place on top of wire rack. It will bubble for a few minutes. Let cool to room temperature. Once cooled, pour mixture into serving bowl (if using immediately) or airtight container (if storing).
Note: There will be some small chocolate bits in bottom of mixture; if these bother you, pour mixture through strainer.
Store mixture in airtight container at room temperature. Some separation may occur after it sits a while, sort of like how natural peanut butter will have oil resting on top. Stir mixture to re-incorporate.

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies made with Chocolate Olive Oil
Recipe from Wild Groves

Ingredients
1 Cup White Flour
1 1/4 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Salt
1/2 Stick Butter Softened
1/2 Cup Chocolate Olive Oil
3/4 Cup Sugar
3/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 Large Eggs
2 Cups Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
1 Cup Walnuts Chopped (optional)

Directions:
Bake at 375 Degrees F ( 9-11 min, or until golden brown)
Mix flour, baking soda and salt in bowl.
Beat chocolate olive oil, butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in larger bowl or mixer until creamy.
Add eggs (one at a time) beating well.
Slowly add in flour mixture.
Stir in chocolate chips, and nuts.
Scoop and put on baking tin.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Black Bottom Pumpkin Pie

Everybody dance The Black Bottom! See video clip below. I love Black Bottom Pie, but this pie is  even more perfect for this time of year with the addition of pumpkin: Black Bottom Pumpkin Pie! And, if you don't make it today, bookmark it for Halloween or Thanksgiving! It's a great twist on a great pie! Who doesn't love a layer of melted chocolate over a buttery crust topped by pumpkin? This recipe is from Epicurious.. and it's easy. I use a ready-made crust from Trader Joe's, but you can make your own--either a regular buttery crust or a graham cracker crust.

BLACK BOTTOM PUMPKIN PIE

INGREDIENTS

BLACK-BOTTOM FILLING 
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
 8 oz good-quality semisweet chocolate, chopped

PUMPKIN FILLING 
3/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch ground cloves
 pinch ground ginger
1 can (15 oz) or 2 cups canned pumpkin (not pumpkin-pie filling)
2 large eggs
1 cup evaporated milk
1/8 tsp vanilla

DIRECTIONS

BLACK-BOTTOM FILLING 
In saucepan over high heat, bring cream and ginger to boil. Immediately remove from heat, cover, and let steep for 30 minutes.
Put chocolate in a mixing bowl. Bring cream and ginger to a boil again, and strain cream into bowl of chocolate (discard ginger). Stir mixture until smooth.

PUMPKIN FILLING 
In mixing bowl, combine sugar, flour, salt, and spices. Whisk in pumpkin and then eggs, one at a time. Stir in evaporated milk and vanilla.

TO ASSEMBLE: 
Place cookie sheet in oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Roll out crust, place in 9-inch metal pie pan, and pour in black-bottom filling.
Freeze for 10 minutes to firm up, then fill remainder of pie shell with pumpkin mixture.
Bake on preheated cookie sheet until crust is golden brown, about 50 minutes.
Cool for at least 2 hours before serving.

Have a piece great pie and dance The Black Bottom!

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Spice Quick Bread

Today is National Pumpkin Spice Day. Pumpkin Spice is definitely a flavor associated with Fall and pumpkin pies and quick breads. This Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Spice Quick Bread is an easy and great way to celebrate the day--and the season! Pumpkin spice (sometimes called pumpkin pie spice) is available in the market, but you can also make your own.** If you do, remember to use the freshest spices to create your Pumpkin Spice. The following recipe for Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Spice Quick Bread is from the Land O Lakes website. Want to 'spice' up your presentation? Use a NordicWare pumpkin loaf pan.

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Spice Quick Bread

Ingredients
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup mashed cooked pumpkin (or 1 cup canned pumpkin)
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 large Eggs
2 teaspoons pumpkin spice**
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cups mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions
Heat oven to 350°F. Grease 9x5-inch loaf pan; set aside.
Combine all ingredients in bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until well mixed.
Stir in chocolate chips so evenly distributed.
Spoon batter into prepared pan.
Bake 45-55 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool 10 minutes; remove from pan.
Cool completely.

**Make your own Pumpkin Spice:
Substitute 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, and 1/4 teaspoon each ground nutmeg and ground cloves.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Moonlight Chocolate Cake: Retro Ad & Recipe

Here's a Swan's Down 1952 Retro Ad & Recipe for Moonlight Chocolate Cake. This is a rich Chocolate Cake with a Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting. Yum! The recipe called for 3 squares of Baker's unsweetened chocolate, but I use a good quality dark chocolate and cut down on the sugar. Either way, you'll love this cake!



Friday, September 29, 2017

National Coffee Day: Truffles, Free Coffee, Facts, and More!

Today is National Coffee Day, and you can have a cup of coffee--or you can make these Real Coffee Chocolate Truffles which 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!

Want Free Coffee today? Here's a list of local places to get a Jolt of Joe. 

And Mental Floss has 16 Quick Coffee Facts. Fun!

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 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.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Elsie's Fudgy Mocha Brownies: National Mocha Day

Tomorrow is National Mocha Day, and here's a great recipe for Elsie's Fudgy Mocha Brownies.

Great places for new recipes are "Brand" sites or Vintage Brand Cookies. I've posted recipes from Hershey's and Baker's and Godiva, as well as various food associations, so today I thought I'd post a recipe from Eagle Brand Condensed Milk (Borden's). I always have condensed milk around for baking. Got to love Elsie the Cow, the Borden's Mascot. Elsie made her debut in 1939, and after 70 years, Elsie still symbolizes trust, quality and freshness for the products Borden creates.

Did you know that Gail Bordon patented his invention for making condensed milk in 1856 and that his company was the first manufacturer of condensed milk? Follow this link to an article from Smithsonian Magazine to learn more about this miraculous food product.

I love this recipe for Fudgy Mocha Brownies. Sometimes I use ground espresso beans instead of coffee granules, and you can substitute a few other things such as DARK cocoa.

ELSIE'S FUDGY MOCHA BROWNIES

Ingredients
No-Stick Cooking Spray
1 1/4 cups All Purpose Flour, divided
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 (14 oz.) can Eagle Brand® Sweetened Condensed Milk
2/3 cup unsweetened DARK cocoa
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 tsp instant coffee granules
1 tablespoon hot water
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
Optional: Pillsbury® Chocolate Frosting (or make your own)

Directions
Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 8 x 8-inch pan with no-stick cooking spray.
Combine 1 cup flour and sugar in medium bowl. Cut in butter with pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Press firmly into prepared pan.
Bake 12 to 15 minutes.
Combine sweetened condensed milk, cocoa, egg, 1/4 cup flour, vanilla, and baking powder in large bowl. Dissolve instant coffee granules in hot water and add. Mix well. Stir in nuts. Spread over baked crust.
Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until center is set.
Cool.
Frost (optional)

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Chocolate Milk: The Ultimate Post-Workout Beverage

Today is National Chocolate Milk Day, so I thought I'd post this  article from NPR on excerise and fitness. If you're reading this post, you're probably sitting too much at your computer. The headline of this article is Stand Up, Walk Around, Even Just for Twenty Minutes.

O.K. I know you'll want to read the entire article, but here's the final paragraph. So pertinent to this blog.

The Ultimate Post-Workout Beverage: Use chocolate milk to replenish sugars after an intense workout. Reynolds calls it an "ideal recovery beverage" because it has the right ratio of carbs and proteins to aid your body's recovery process.

Fitness Magazine also has an article on Chocolate Milk as a Post-Workout Drink. The article explains that chocolate milk after a tough workout can help replenish exhausted muscles and significantly aid exercise recovery. Note, though, that the article goes on to say that it works best for high intensity workouts (and probably not the 20 minute stroll as noted above).

Drinking plain water after exercise replaces sweat losses — and that's it. "Chocolate milk provides carbohydrate replenishment to your muscles — something they can metabolize," said Jason Karp, MS, another researcher for this study. "There's nothing to metabolize in water." 
Stager's assessment of chocolate milk is even simpler. "It's water plus a whole lot more," he said.

So get out there, walk around, stretch (or not!) and drink chocolate milk when you're finished exercising...that's real chocolate milk and not chocolate 'drink'...


Chocolate Milk

Ingredients
11 ounces cold milk
1-1/2 teaspoons Dutch-process cocoa
1/2 tsp sugar or 3/4 tsp honey

Directions
Heat 1/4 cup milk in microwave until steaming (15 seconds)
Add cocoa powder and sugar (or honey) to hot milk. Stir until lumps are gone,
Put mixture into glass and fill with remaining cold milk and stir.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Key Lime Pie Day!

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 vs. meringue, and more. It was a hard job, but someone had to do it. FYI: Key Lime Pie is the official pie of the Florida Keys.

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 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 are found in 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. Sadly, even if they had been, they would be gone again after Hurricane Irma. Most Key limes now 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 350 F 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 condensed milk and beat for 4 more minutes.
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 wire rack.
Cover and chill for 2 hours.
Top with Whipped Cream

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Chocolate Cherries Jubilee Cake: Cherries Jubilee Day

National Cherries Jubilee Day! What a great day to celebrate! Here are two recipes - one for Chocolate Cherries Jubilee Cake and one for Chocolate Cherries Jubilee. The cake is moist and scrumptious. You can also pour the Cherries Jubilee sauce over your own favorite chocolate cake!

CHOCOLATE CHERRIES JUBILEE CAKE!

Cake:
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1- 1/2 cups cake flour or 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1- 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided use
1/2 cup unsweetened DARK cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup Canola oil
2 large eggs, separated
1/2 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract

Cherry Sauce:
1 (16 or 17-ounces) can pitted dark sweet cherries, drained (reserve 3/4 cup liquid)
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 Tbsp Kirsch or Cherry Brandy
1 Tbsp cornstarch
Dash salt

Vanilla ice cream

Directions
Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan.

For Cake:
Stir baking soda into buttermilk in medium bowl until dissolved; set aside.
In large bowl, stir together flour, 1 cup sugar, cocoa, and salt. Add oil, buttermilk mixture, egg yolks, and vanilla and beat until smooth.
In small bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form; gradually add remaining 1/2 cup sugar, beating until stiff peaks form.
Gently fold egg whites into chocolate batter. Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until cake springs back when touched lightly in center. Cool in pan.

For Cherry Sauce:
In medium saucepan, stir together reserved cherry liquid, cherry liqueur, sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and add cherries and orange peel.

Serve cake with a scoop of ice cream and Cherry Sauce spooned over the top.

CHOCOLATE CHERRIES JUBILEE

Ingredients
1/2 cup dark cherry preserves (I love Bonne Maman)
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
3 Tbsp Cognac or Kirsh

1 pint chocolate chocolate chip ice cream
Toasted sliced almonds (optional)

Directions
Melt preserves in heavy small saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently. Mix in cinnamon and Cognac.
Scoop ice cream into bowls. Spoon sauce over (you can ignite it for special effects and then pour :-). Sprinkle with almonds (optional)

Saturday, September 23, 2017

WHITE CHOCOLATE ORANGE POPPY SEED CAKE

Today is National White Chocolate Day. I've never met a chocolate I didn't like, and white chocolate is no exception. I know it's not really chocolate, but I still love the taste. It's just different. White chocolate is a confection of sugar, cocoa butter, and milk solids that has a pale yellow or ivory appearance. The melting point of cocoa butter is high enough to keep white chocolate solid at room temperature, yet low enough to allow white chocolate to melt in the mouth.

I've posted recipes for white chocolate truffles, muffins, cheesecake, brownies, fudge, pancakes, other cakes, and cookies. This is a great recipe for White Chocolate Orange Poppy Seed Cake. You can bake it in a bundt pan, a square pan or a cake pan. This cake is a perfect for a weekend brunch.

Make sure you use 'real' white chocolate in this recipe and not a product that uses vegetable fat instead of cocoa butter. Check the packaging for ingredients.

White Chocolate Orange Poppy Seed Cake

Ingredients
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temp
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 cup sour cream  (you can always substitute plain or Greek yoghurt for a tangy-er taste)
1 cup water
4 ounces white chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup poppy seeds
1 Tbs grated orange rind

Directions
Preheat oven to 325°F.
Grease and lightly flour a 13x9-inch cake or bundt pan.
In mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar together until fluffy.
Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Alternately add flour and baking soda along with the sour cream and water.
Once combined, mix on low until well blended and smooth.
Fold in chopped chocolate, poppy seeds and orange rind.
Pour into prepared pan and bake for 50-60 minutes.
When done, remove and let cool on wire rack.
Remove cake from pan and allow to cool completely. 

Cartoon of the Day: Cooking with Wine


Friday, September 22, 2017

WHITE CHOCOLATE BUNDT CAKE

Today is White Chocolate Day. Not many people, including the FDA, consider white chocolate to be chocolate. It is made with cocoa butter, but combined with sugar and milk, and sometimes vanilla, so I'm including it as chocolate for the purposes of this blog. It doesn't taste like chocolate, but it does taste like 'white' chocolate! I love the flavor. I have two favorite white chocolates for baking: Guittard and Green & Black. What ever you do, don't use the 'white wafers' you get at crafts stores. Be sure you use 'real' white chocolate in this recipe. The cheaper white chocolates have most of the cocoa butter replaced by vegetable fats. Not tasty at all. The amazing Ad in the photo is from Green & Black.

So for today's holiday, here's a recipe for White Chocolate Bundt Cake. You can always drizzle with dark chocolate, if you're so inclined, but I like my Bundt cakes plain.

WHITE CHOCOLATE BUNDT CAKE

Ingredients
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 Tbsp unsalted butter to coat pan
2 cups granulated sugar
2 Tbsp granulated sugar for sugaring pan
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1-1/2 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
5 eggs, room temperature
4 ounces white chocolate, melted, still warm
4 ounces white chocolate chunks or white chocolate chips
1 cup sour cream

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Coat 10- to 12-cup Bundt pan with 1 tablespoon butter, then sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of sugar.
In medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Put remaining 1 cup butter and 2 cups sugar in large bowl and cream with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add vanilla, almond extract, and eggs, one at a time, beating 20 seconds after each addition. Slowly beat in 4 ounces melted white chocolate. Scrape down bowl. Add flour mixture to butter mixture in thirds, alternating with sour cream. Beat 45 seconds after each addition.
Place batter in prepared pan in 3 layers, separating each layer with remaining 4 ounces white chocolate chunks or chips.
Bake in preheated oven 55 to 60 minutes or until done. DON'T OVERBAKE!
Top browns and cake tester inserted into center will come out with a few crumbs on it.
Remove cake to wire rack to cool for 15 minutes, then invert onto wire rack and cool to room temperature.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Honey Chocolate Brownies

September is National Honey Month. I'm a huge fan of HONEY, so feel free to make this Honey Chocolate Brownie recipe this month or any month of the year. And since its Rosh Hashana, this is a great 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 get my local honey from my favorite beekeepers.

HONEY CHOCOLATE BROWNIES

Ingredients
1 cup softened unsalted butter
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups honey
1 cup flour
3 eggs beaten
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 tsp 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.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Chocolate Chip Apple Bundt Cake


I love Fall with its infinite variety of apples.  Here's a great way to make the most of the apple harvest. This fabulous Chocolate Chip Apple Bundt Cake (recipe originally from Sunset Magazine) is a great way to celebrate the Fall Equinox and/or Rosh Hashana. I use tart apples in this recipe because I like the combination of tart and sweet. Try different apple varieties. Also, you can use your favorite dark chocolate instead of chocolate chips. Chop into chips.

Chocolate Chip Apple Bundt Cake

Ingredients 
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups white sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup water
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
2 cups apples - peeled, cored and diced
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (or chocolate chunks)

Directions
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Grease and flour one 9 or 10 inch Bundt Pan.
In large bowl, cream butter with sugar. Beat in eggs. Add water and vanilla.
Stir flour, cocoa, baking soda, ground cinnamon, and ground nutmeg together. Beat this mixture into creamed mixture.
Fold in chopped apples and semisweet chocolate chips (or chocolate chocolate chunks).
Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake at 325 degrees F for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until cake tests done when toothpick is inserted near center. Do not overbake. Start checking at one hour.
Transfer to a rack to cool.

Photo: Sunset Magazine

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Dark Chocolate Covered Pomegranate Seeds for Rosh Hashana

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, starts tomorrow night. I've already posted a recipe for Chocolate Honey Cake for a sweet New Year, but here's another. This time for Chocolate Covered Pomegranate Seeds.

On the second night of Rosh Hashanah,  a "new fruit" is eaten. It's usually a fruit that has recently come into season but that you haven't yet had the opportunity to eat. Traditionally, one says the shehechiyanu blessing thanking God for keeping you and yours alive and bringing you to this season. This ritual reminds everyone to appreciate the fruits of the earth and being alive to enjoy them.

A pomegranate is often the new fruit. In the Bible, the Land of Israel is praised for its pomegranates. It is also said that this fruit contains 613 seeds just as there are 613 mitzvot (commandments). Another reason given for blessing and eating pomegranate on Rosh Hashanah is that one wishes that good deeds in the ensuing year will be as plentiful as the seeds of the pomegranate.

For this recipe for Dark Chocolate Covered Pomegranate Seeds, I buy packages of Pomegranate seeds at Trader Joe's, but you can always go the old fashioned way and buy two whole pomegranates and remove the seeds. For an easy way to deseed pomegranates, see this post. Rich bittersweet dark chocolate goes very well with the tart pomegranate flavor, and the textures meld well. Even if you're not celebrating the Jewish New Year, Chocolate Covered Pomegranate Seeds make a great snack, and you'll enjoy the benefits of both sources of antioxidants. 

DARK CHOCOLATE COVERED POMEGRANATE SEEDS

Ingredients
Pomegranate Seeds
About 7 ounces (depending how many seeds you have) of good quality Dark Bittersweet Chocolate, chopped

Directions
Line cookie sheet with wax or parchment paper.
Melt dark chocolate in double boiler or saucepan on top of saucepan of simmering water. Stir to make sure chocolate doesn't burn.
Add dry pomegranate seeds (so if they've been in the refrigerator make sure to dry them) to melted chocolate and fold gently with rubber spatula until seeds are thoroughly covered.
Spoon clusters of mixture onto wax or parchment paper.
Place wax or parchment papered cookie sheet in refrigerator and let chocolate covered seeds cool for several hours or overnight.
Keep refrigerated. Will last 3-4 days.

No time to cook? 
Trader Joe's sells chocolate covered pomegranate seeds.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Pomegranate Fudge for Rosh Hashana (or any time!)

Here's another chocolate recipe for Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year. Even if you're not celebrating this holiday, you'll want to bookmark this recipe and try it today or another time. This is a very simple recipe, but you'll find it incredibly tasty. I use dark chocolate, but milk chocolate works well, too. I buy my pomegranate seeds at Trader Joe's, but you may want to buy a whole pomegranate and de-seed it. Here's a link to an easy way to do that. As I've mentioned before, use the very best ingredients for the best flavor!

On the second day of Rosh Hashana, it's traditional to eat a fruit you haven't had this season. Pomegranates are often the 'preferred' fruit, because they also symbolize fruitfulness. It's also said to have 613 seeds which corresponds with the 613 commandments of the Torah.

Pomegranate Fudge

Ingredients
23 ounces Chocolate, chopped  (60-65% cacao) or chocolate chips (or milk chocolate, if you prefer)
14 ounces Sweetened Condensed Milk
1/4 cup Pomegranate Molasses
1/2 tsp Sea Salt (fleur de sel)
Seeds of 1 Pomegranate (about a cup or 5 1/3 ounces if you're buying them loose)

Directions
Line pan that is at least 7 x 7 and 2 inches high with parchment paper.
In saucepan over saucepan over simmering water, combine chocolate and condensed milk. Stirring constantly.
Remove from stove and mix in pomegranate molasses. Mix in 1/4 teaspoon sea salt.
Pour fudge into parchment-lined pan, smoothing with spatula.
Spread pomegranate seeds over top of fudge and gently pat into fudge so they stick to fudge as it cools.
Add another 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt over top of fudge.
Put in refrigerator to set.
Remove from refrigerator.
Cut and eat.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Chocolate Honey Cake

Here's a wonderful recipe for Chocolate Honey Cake. Honey Cake is a great treat to celebrate Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, that begins next Wednesday night. Honey is a traditional food that symbolizes a Sweet New Year. Add Chocolate, and the year is bound to be even sweeter!

This recipe is adapted from Nigella Lawson's Chocolate Honey Cake aka Honey Bee Cake. She decorates her Chocolate Honey Cake with the most adorable marzipan bees, but I never get quite that involved. Too bad, because they're really beautiful. FYI: Honey cake doesn't have to be dry and heavy. This cake is incredibly moist! As I've mentioned many times, though, your final product will be different depending on the type and brand of chocolate and the type of honey you use.

Chocolate Honey Cake

Ingredients

Cake:
4 ounces dark chocolate (50-65% cacao), chopped
1 1/3 cups soft light brown sugar
8 ounces unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup local honey
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp DARK cocoa
1 cup boiling water

Sticky Honey Glaze:
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup honey
6 ounces dark chocolate (60-75% cacao), finely chopped
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp confectioners sugar

Directions:
Have all ingredients at room temperature.
Melt chocolate from cake part of ingredients list in large bowl, either in microwave or bowl over pan of simmering water. Set aside to cool slightly.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and line 9-inch springform pan.
Beat together sugar and softened butter until airy and creamy, and then add honey.
Add 1 of eggs, beating in with tablespoon of flour, and then second egg with another tablespoon of flour.
Fold in melted chocolate, and then remaining flour and baking soda.
Add cocoa pushed through tea strainer to ensure no lumps, and last of all, beat in the boiling water.
Mix everything together well to make smooth batter and pour into prepared springform pan.
Bake for up to 1 -1/2 hours, checking cake after 45 minutes. If it's getting too dark, cover top lightly with aluminum foil and keep checking every 15 minutes.
10. Let cake cool completely in pan on rack.

Glaze: 
To make glaze, bring water and honey to boil in pot, then turn off the heat and add finely chopped chocolate, swirling around to melt in hot liquid.
Leave for few minutes, then whisk together.
Add sugar through sieve and whisk again until smooth.

Putting it together:
Choose plate or stand, and cut 4 strips of parchment paper and form square outline on plate. Reason: So when you put cake on it and ice it, icing won't run all over the plate (you can always cut the excess off later).
Unclip  springform pan and set thoroughly cooled cake on prepared plate.
Pour glaze over cold chocolate honey cake. It might dribble a bit down the edges, but don't worry too much about it. Glaze stays tacky for some time (which is what gives it its melting goeyness) so ice in time for glaze to harden a little, at least an hour before you want to serve it.

Nigella Lawson decorates this great cake with marzipan bees. For the recipe for them, and for her exact recipe, go HERE.