Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Mocha Rum Cake: National Rum Day

Today is National Rum Day! I love this holiday. Feel free to celebrate with your favorite Rum Drink or have a piece of Bacardi Rum Cake. But, since this is a Chocolate Blog, make this easy and terrific Mocha Rum Cake. Argh, Matey!

Mocha Rum Cake!

Ingredients
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1⁄2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3⁄4 lb bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 1⁄2 cups unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1⁄3 cup dark rum
2 cups strong brewed full-bodied coffee
2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs, beaten lightly
1 1⁄2 tsp vanilla extract
confectioners' sugar, for dusting
Sweetened whipped cream
Cocoa powder, for dusting 

Directions 
Preheat oven to 300°F
Butter 12-cup bundt pan. Dust with cocoa powder, knocking out excess.
In bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt.
In large metal bowl set over saucepan of simmering water, melt chocolate and butter, stirring until smooth.
Remove chocolate from heat and stir in rum, coffee, and granulated sugar.
With electric mixer, beat in flour, 1/2 cup at a time, scraping down sides, and beat in eggs and vanilla until batter is combined well.
Pour batter into the prepared pan.
Bake cake in middle of oven until tester comes out clean, about 1 hour and 40 minutes.
Let cake cool completely in pan on rack, then turn out onto rack.
Dust cake with confectioners' sugar and serve with whipped cream.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Easy Lemon Meringue Chocolate Pie

Today is National Meringue Pie Day and what could be better than a Lemon Meringue Chocolate Pie. I love lemon and chocolate!  (Photo is from a Vintage ad for "Jello" pie filling, but I use Meyer Lemon Curd for the filling.)

There are so many recipes for Lemon Meringue Pie. You can make your own lemon filling and your own pie shell, but here's a simple and easy recipe that uses Chocolate Ganache (I always have some in the freezer--but you can make fresh), artisan Meyer Lemon Curd from a jar -or make your own (Here's a link to a great recipe for Lemon Curd), and a pre-made pie crust (I use Trader Joe's pie dough). O.K. you'll be making the meringue, but that's o.k. this recipe is fun and fast.

EASY LEMON MERINGUE CHOCOLATE PIE

Use a pre-made 9" pie shell. Prick and bake as directed.
Let Pie Shell Cool.
Add a layer of Chocolate Ganache (see chocolate ganache recipe). Warm it up first, so you can easily spread evenly to the edges.
Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
Warm Lemon Curd (to allow it to spread easily) and then add it to make a layer on top of the chocolate ganache. Spread gently and evenly to the edges--don't mix the two, if possible.
Top with Meringue (see directions below)
Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes.

Meringue Topping:
4 egg whites
Pinch of cream of tartar
2 Tbsp sugar

Whisk together egg whites and cream of tartar in bowl of mixer. Beat whites until peaks form and then gradually add sugar. Keep beating mixture until stiff peaks form-about one to two minutes.
Using a spoon, place spoonfuls of meringue over surface of entire filling. Meringue should cover the filling completely to edge of crust.
Bake for 10 to 15 minutes --until meringue has golden tips.
Remove pie from oven and place on wire rack to cool before slicing.

Happy Lemon Meringue Pie Day!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Orange Creamsicle White Chocolate Chip Cookies

Today is National Creamsicle Day. I haven't had a Creamsicle in years, but I did occasionally buy one from the Good Humor Truck. My cousin Herbie was a Good Humor Man in the summers. I loved to hear the Good Humor bell. We all came running.


What exactly is a Creamsicle? Well a Creamsicle is a frozen dessert with a vanilla ice cream core and a fruit sherbet coating. The classic Creamsicle flavor combination is orange and vanilla. Officially, the term “Creamsicle” is a registered brand name owned by Unilever, and similar products cannot be labeled as Creamsicles. However, the original Creamsicle® is such a perennial best-seller that the term is often used generically, and the branding rights may eventually be lost due to trademark dilution. 

But since this is a chocolate blog, I thought I'd post a recipe for Orange Creamsicle White Chocolate Chip Cookies. These cookies are soft and moist. With the addition of orange zest and orange extract, you'll taste the tartness of the citrus as it combines with the sweetness of the white chocolate chips. These cookies definitely have the flavors of a Creamsicle.

Orange Creamsicle White Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp orange extract
2 Tbsp orange zest
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips

Directions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
In large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and creamy. Beat in egg, vanilla, and orange extract until smooth. Gradually add flour mixture until combined. Stir in orange zest and white chocolate chips.
Drop rounded teaspoonfuls onto parchment lined cookie sheets. Do not flatten cookies.
Put in refrigerator for 30 minutes (do not skip this step). This will prevent spread, and that's important to these cookies which are soft and puffy.
Bake 8 - 10 minutes or until golden brown around edges. Do not overcook! Cookies will be fat.
Cool for several minutes on cookie sheets before transferring to rack to cool completely.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Aunt Sylvia's Brownies

My Aunt Sylvia passed away yesterday, at the age of 96. She was the last of my aunts...the last of that generation. In honor of Aunt Sylvia, I thought I'd repost this entry from 2009. Aunt Sylia was always baking -- brownies, toll house cookies. I loved visiting her. Rest in Peace, Aunt Syl!

***

I was rummaging through old recipes the other day, and I came across an envelope labeled Recipes in my mother's handwriting. There were several hand-written recipes, some in my Mother's writing, some in mine (when I was younger as the penmanship was much better), and some I wasn't sure about. However, in the envelope was the elusive recipe for my Aunt Sylvia's Brownies. I read through the recipe, and it just seems so simple, yet her brownies were always the BEST! Chewy, not cakey, crunchy on the top. Yum.

My Aunt Sylvia lived about 100 miles from us, so visiting was a whole day or overnight affair. I can still see her in her dress, high heels, and apron, pulling these brownies out of the oven in her state of the art 1950s kitchen in her just built mid-century modern ranch house. Shades of Mad Men. The family room and sun room had beautiful knotty pine panelling, the kitchen had dark green (not avocado but dark green) accents, with a glass kitchen table, with wrought iron base and padded wrought iron chairs. Maybe I'm confused on the details of that house on Green Street, but I can still remember the taste of those sensational brownies. They were a real treat!

AUNT SYLVIA'S BROWNIES

1/2 lb. butter (2 sticks)
2 cups sugar
{cream together}
4 eggs
1 cup Flour
2 tsp vanilla
4 sq chocolate (unsweetened) melted
1 cup Walnuts (optional)

There were no directions on how to mix anything together, but I think that was obvious.
The only direction was: Pour in Buttered Pan for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

These are Killer Brownies!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Cooking with Disney: Marble Cheesecake

Here's a Retro Recipe for Marble Cheesecake from the cookbook Cooking with Mickey Around Our World that appeared in The Ladies Home Journal in 1986. According to the article, in 1986, this was one of the "most requested desserts from the chefs at Walt Disney World." It's an easy and delicious recipe. Sweet Temptations, indeed!


Thursday, August 10, 2017

S'mores Truffles: National S'mores Day


Summer is S'mores time, and as much as I love S'mores on the Grill, sometimes I like to plan and make a different version of S'mores ahead of time. Since today is National S'mores Day, I thought I'd post my favorite recipe for S'mores Truffles. I found this one  on food.allwomenstalk.com. Original recipe from CenterCutCook. As always, the quality of your chocolate will make a difference. I use dark chocolate from different purveyors, but then I always have extra chocolate around. I love to change it  up.

S'mores Truffles

Ingredients
10 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 to 1 - 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
30-35 mini marshmallows

Directions
Pour heavy cream into sauce pan over medium heat. Heat heavy cream until scalded. Remove heavy cream from stove right before it starts to boil. Pour into large bowl. Add chocolate chips (or chopped chocolate) to bowl of cream, and allow to sit for a few minutes. The warm cream will begin to melt the chocolate chips (or chopped chocolate).
Use whisk to combine chocolate into heavy cream. Whisk until well combined. Place mixture in refrigerator for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Pour graham cracker crumbs into shallow dish.
When chocolate mixture has thickened to pudding consistency, begin forming truffles. Use 1 tablespoon scoop (cookie dough scoop or melon baller) to create each truffle. Press mini marshmallow into the center of each truffle, then use hands to cover marshmallow with chocolate. This is a messy process.
Drop truffle into pan of graham cracker crumbs, and completely coat truffle. After you’ve coated all truffles, repeat process so each truffle has been coated twice with graham cracker crumbs.
Put truffles in refrigerator for about 30 minutes before serving.

How easy is this?

Photo: CenterCutCook

S'mores Poke Cake: National S'mores Day

Today is National S'mores Day, and if you follow this blog, you know I post 2-3 S'mores recipes a month. I love S'mores. So for today's holiday, I thought I'd post a really easy recipe for S'mores Poke Cake. A poke cake is basically a sheet cake in which you 'poke' holes after baking and then pour in some kind of flavored liquid or filling. In the case of this cake, marshmallow fluff. Easy and fun and delicious!

S'mores Poke Cake

Ingredients 
1-16 ounce chocolate cake mix (for this recipe, more of a milk chocolate cake mix than a dark chocolate)
1- 7 ounce jar Marshmallow Fluff or Marshmallow Creme
1/4 cup whole milk
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1 package graham crackers, crushed  (about 1 - 1/2 cups)

Directions 
Prepare cake according to box's instructions and pour into 9"x13" pan. Bake for 35-37 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
Let cake cool for 15-20 minutes, then use back of wooden spoon (or another utensil) to poke holes (about inch apart) throughout.
Remove lid and packaging from Marshmallow Fluff (or Marshmallow Creme) and microwave for 30 seconds. Add milk and microwave for 30 seconds and stir. Pour over top of cake, filling all holes.
Let sit for 20 minutes to give Marshmallow Fluff time to slowly seep into cake.
Top with another layer of Fluff, then sprinkle with mini chocolate chips and crushed graham cracker pieces.
Refrigerate at least 2 hours to overnight, giving cake time to absorb more of Fluff.
Torch the marshmallow fluff areas lightly before serving (to give it that burnt look) .

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Chocolate Rice Pudding: National Rice Pudding Day!

1899 Chocolate Ad
Today is National Rice Pudding Day, and of course, it's Chocolate Rice Pudding at my house. The following recipes are completely different, so try both and see which you flavor you favor! Remember the final results will only be as good as your ingredients. Use the best! Both can be topped with fresh whipped cream.

I. DARK CHOCOLATE RICE PUDDING

Ingredients
1-1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup half and half
1/3 cup sugar
dash of salt
1 cup uncooked rice
3/4 tsp Madagascar vanilla
3 ounces dark chocolate (75-85% cacao), finely chopped

Directions
Over low heat, bring milk, half and half, sugar, and salt to nearly scalding temperature. Hint: Milk will not simmer, but it will steam when stirred at the near-scalding point.
Add rice to milk and continue cooking over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 20 to 22 minutes, until rice is creamy and slightly soft.
Add vanilla and chopped dark chocolate to hot rice and stir until chocolate melts and becomes part of pudding.
Divide pudding into 4 ramikins or casserole dish and serve warm or chilled.

II. CINNAMON CHOCOLATE RICE PUDDING

Ingredients
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup DARK cocoa
1/4 cup cold milk
1- 1/2 cups hot milk
1 cup hot cooked rice
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla

Directions
Beat eggs slightly.
Combine sugar, salt, cinnamon, & cocoa and slowly beat into eggs.
Stir in cold milk. Add hot milk and rice.
Cook until thickened, stirring constantly.
Stir in vanilla.
Pour into ramikins or put into casserole dish.
Serve warm or cold.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

KAHLUA ZUCCHINI CHOCOLATE CHIP BREAD: National Zucchini Day

Zucchini is one of those vegetables that seems to proliferate when you're not looking. If you don't check under the leaves every day, you'll find yourself with a gigantic marrow! And that not withstanding, even the small ones seem to multiply overnight. So for today's food holiday: National Zucchini Day, here's a wonderful way to use up some of that zucchini bounty. I love this recipe for Kahlua Zucchini Chocolate Chip Bread.

This is, of course, a treat for adults. And, if you're so inclined, you can make your own Kahlua. It will have to sit for a month, so if you want to make this Kahlua Zucchini Chocolate Chip Bread today, use store bought Kahlua. Scroll down for the Homemade Kahlua recipe.

Kahlua Zucchini Chocolate Chip Bread
This recipe makes one loaf, but it can easily be doubled. You can also substitute oil for the butter.  I love quick breads. They're fast and easy, and you only use one bowl!

Ingredients
2 cups flour (all-purpose, but you can use 1 cup whole wheat and 1 cup all purpose)
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup (8 Tbsp) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup Kahlua
1 cup shredded zucchini
3 ounces chocolate chips (or more)

Directions
In medium bowl, sift flour with soda and salt. Set aside.
In large bowl of electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then Kahlua. (Don't worry if it seems curdled). Add dry ingredients and mix on low speed until blended. Stir in zucchini and chocolate chips to distribute evenly.
Pour into greased and floured 8-1/2 × 4 inch loaf pan.
Bake at 350 degrees F, about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until wood pick inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool in pan 10 minutes.
Turn out onto wire rack and cool completely.

***
Homemade Kahlua

Ingredients
4 cups water
4 cups sugar
2 ounces instant coffee
1 vanilla bean
Fifth of vodka or bourbon

Directions
Bring 4 cups water to a boil. Add the 4 cups sugar and cook until dissolved. Add the instant coffee. Simmer slowly - do not boil!
Add vanilla bean and 1/5 vodka or bourbon.
Bottle and cap. Leave for a month or more!

Monday, August 7, 2017

Cartoon of the Day: Cookies


Frozen Custard Day: History, Retro Ads & Signs, Recipes 8/8

Tomorrow is National Frozen Custard Day, so I thought I'd get a head start on the holiday. Frozen custard has always meant soft serve ice cream to me -- the kind that comes swirling out of a metal dispenser. Frozen Custard was never a substitute for ice cream for me. It was just different.

So today, in honor of the holiday, I thought I'd post some Retro Ads and Signs for Tastee Freez & Dairy Queen. And, if you scroll down there's a recipe for Cheater Chocolate Frozen Custard.

The big question is what's the difference between ice cream and frozen custard? Ice cream is made from milk, cream, or a combination of the two, while frozen custard is made from milk, cream, and egg yolks. Also, while the machine used to make ice cream churns air into it to make it have a light mouthfeel, frozen custard is produced in a machine that barely incorporates air into it, which means it's denser.

History of Frozen Custard

From eHow:

The Dairy Queen Story 
According to the book The Cone with the Curl on Top, a history of Dairy Queen, J.F. McCullough and his son, Alex, opened an ice cream shop in 1927 in Davenport, Illinois. In the early 1930s, they moved to an ice cream factory in Green River, Illinois, and decided to find out if customers preferred ice cream before it was completely frozen, which was how they liked it best. The colder ice cream had less flavor than the softer version, they felt. After an experimental, all-you-can-eat sale in Kankanee, Illinois, where they found the softer ice cream was a success, they bought a machine from a street vendor in Chicago in 1939, had a machine company tweak the design, and sold their frozen custard exclusively to a store run by Sherb Noble in Joliet, Illinois, in 1940. They nicknamed the store Dairy Queen. They bought a second store in 1941, and a third that spring.


Carvel's Story 
According to National Geographic and The Nibble magazine, Carvel's sold ice cream on the street in New York. After a flat tire in Hartsdale, New York, caused his ice cream to begin to melt, he sold the partially melted product as a new treat---and his customers loved it. He opened Carvel Frozen Custard in Hartsdale in 1934 and began to build a series of frozen custard shops along highways. He built a soft-serve machine in 1939.

The McCulloughs continued to improve the design of their soft-serve machine and expand their business. Carvel continued to expand its chain aggressively, too, as did another competitor, Tastee-Freez. By 1956, soft-serve ice cream consumption was increasing 25 percent every year, according to the U.S. Department of agriculture.

That same year, Tastee-Freez had 1,500 stores, and Carvel had 500.

Carvel was a true innovator: he was the first to offer “buy one, get one free”; the first to franchise an ice cream store; and his patented glass building was copied by McDonald’s. Dairy Queen opened its first soft-serve ice cream store in Joliet, Illinois in 1940. Carvel’s Flying Saucer sandwich was introduced in 1951. 

CHEATER CHOCOLATE FROZEN CUSTARD
technique adapted from John T. Edge's The Truck Food via Oprah 
Makes one quart

Ingredients 
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups chocolate ice cream, softened

Directions
Using a handheld electric mixer, whisk cream in a large bowl until soft peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes. Add sugar and vanilla and continue whisking to make stiff peaks, about 30 seconds more.
Using a rubber spatula, stir in ice cream until well combined.
Transfer mixture to a large, resealable freezer bag and freeze until semi-firm (like frozen custard), 4 to 6 hours.
When ready to serve, remove ice cream from freezer and, if needed, knead bag until uniformly soft, about 30 seconds. (Cover bag with a towel to protect your hands from the cold.)
Snip off a corner of the bag to pipe ice cream into a cone, or simply scoop and serve.

Dairy Queen Cones

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Brownie Icebox Cookies: Retro Ad & Recipe

Here's a quick Retro Recipe from Betty Crocker for Brownie Icebox Cookies. This Retro Recipe  uses a brownie mix, but you can also make these using your favorite 'from scratch' brownie recipe.


Saturday, August 5, 2017

Colonel Mustard in the Kitchen! Chocolate Merlot Mustard Brownies

Today is National Mustard Day. Not only is there a national holiday, but there's also a National Mustard Museum, the home of the world's largest collection of Mustards and Mustard Memorabilia.

According to the National Mustard Museum website, in 1992, Barry Levenson left his job as an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Wisconsin to open this museum. There are more than 5300 mustards from all 50 states and more than 60 countries. For the collector in me, there's the Gibbons Collection of mustard pots, antique tins & jars and vintage advertisements. Located on Hubbard Avenue in the heart of downtown Middleton, Wisconsin, the National Mustard Museum is open from 10 am to 5 pm, seven days a week — except New Years, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. The online store never sleeps. Middleton neighbors Madison to the west, is only a 45-minute drive from Wisconsin Dells, just 2-1/2 hours from Chicago, and a mere 6,978 kilometers from Dijon, France.


But this is a Chocolate Blog, so why Mustard? Because Chocolate and Mustard go great together! I've posted a Spicy Chocolate Mustard Cookie recipe from Colman's Mustard. Add Merlot, and you're really speaking my language. What a wonderful blend of flavors.

The Napa Mustard Company has a wonderful Noyo Reserve Merlot 'n Chocolate Mustard.
It's great on pretzels and with sandwiches or just spread it on a piece of crunchy sourdough. It's sweet, salty, and tangy!

Hop Kiln, one of my favorite wineries in Sonoma County, makes their own Merlot & Chocolate Mustard. It has a lovely smooth taste. Use as above.

And adapted from a recipe from the National Mustard Museum,  here's a recipe for Chocolate Mustard Brownies created by Marliss Levin for  National Mustard Day celebration several years ago at The Mustard Museum. Mustard actually intensifies the taste of chocolate!


CHOCOLATE MERLOT MUSTARD BROWNIES

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp Chocolate Merlot Mustard
1 tsp fresh ground espresso
1/2 lb unsalted butter
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate or very dark chocolate (85% or higher), chopped
2 cups brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
4 eggs
2 Tbsp Vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips or 1 cup of chunks of dark chocolate
Sifted powdered sugar

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix ground espresso in mustard and set aside.
Melt butter and chocolate together in top of double boiler or a pot on top of another with simmering water. Cool slightly.
Add brown sugar to chocolate mixture. Blend well.
Add flour and mix well.
Add eggs and mix until blended.
Stir in vanilla; add mustard/coffee mixture. Mix until well blended.
Fold in chocolate chips or chunks.
Spread in greased 13" x 9" pan.
Bake 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
Cool and cut into squares.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Chocolate Chip Cookies: Recipe Round-Up

Today is Chocolate Chip Cookie Day. Here's an updated Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe Round-up from DyingforChocolate.com! Perfect for Chocolate Chip Cookie Day! Do you have a favorite recipe? Post a comment and link!

CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE RECIPE ROUND-UP!

Vanishing Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sesame Chocolate Chip Cookies 

M&M Chocolate Chip Party Cookies

Rainy Day Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies

Bittersweet Chocolate Chip Cookies with Sea Salt

Shortbread Chocolate Chip Cookies

Crisco Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies: 2 Recipes

Chocolate Chip Cookies Secret Ingredient: Lemon Juice

Sea Salt and Thyme Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Toll House Cookies: Vintage Ad & Original Recipe

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Macadamia Cookies

Gooey Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Retro Chocolate Chip Cookies Ad & Recipe

Coffee Chocolate Chip Cookies

Red & Green M&Ms "Chocolate Chip" Cookies

Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk/Chocolate Chip Cookies: National Oatmeal Day

Chocolate Cricket Chip Cookies

Oatmeal Raisin Walnut Chocolate 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

Michelle Obama: Mama Kay's White & Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Malted Milk Balls: Malted Milk Ball Ice Cream Pie

If you're like me, you've always wondered about Malted Milk Balls. What are they really?

Lots of companies make them now, but when I was growing up, I only remember one: Hershey's Whoppers Malted Milk Balls. But there are other "old fashioned' brands such as Maltesers.  Maybe they weren't available at my candy store? Ghirardelli  makes Milk Chocolate Malt Balls. (There's also a Kittymalt Hairball remedy that I have, but I won't go there).

Malt balls (interchangeable with malted balls but not moth balls!) are also available in a variety of flavors: There are pumpkin spice malted milk balls, dark chocolate milk balls, mint malted milk balls, cookies and cream malted milk balls, peanut butter malted milk balls and yogurt malted milk balls, and many other varieties.

Want to just have the Malt Ball center only? Nuts on Line sells them for $3.99 a pound. These malt ball center only candies can be enrobed in the very best chocolate. You can do it yourself in the same way you make chocolate covered nuts. Just melt some chocolate and dip. I use two forks to make it easy. Dry them on a parchment lined baking sheet.

But what is a malt ball? wiseGeek (clear answers for common questions) has the answer
Malted milk balls are chocolate-coated candies often sold in milk carton packaging to promote their association with flavored milk and malted milkshakes.

The flavor of malted milk balls is often described as nutty or distinctively hearty, much like a grain cereal. The reason for this unusual flavor is the use of a grain treatment known as malting. Barley grains are allowed to germinate after harvest, which changes the sugar composition of the grain, in the same sense that germinated corn becomes more suitable for distillation. The malted barley grain is carefully dried and ground into a powder for confectionery use.

Want a fabulous use for Malted Milk Balls? Well, besides eating them at the movies? Sunset Magazine had a great recipe a few years ago for Malted Milk Ball Ice Cream Pie. I definitely love using candy in pies and cakes. This ice cream pie has crunchy malted milk balls on the bottom, malt ice cream above it, and a layer of dark chocolate frosting. Add some whipped cream and sprinkle with chopped and whole malted milk balls when you serve, and you're good to go.

MALTED MILK BALL ICE CREAM PIE

Ingredients
3 1/2 cups malted milk balls, divided
Cookie Crust, using chocolate wafers and a 9-in. cheesecake pan with removable sides (I've posted this recipe before)
1 3/4 quarts vanilla ice cream, softened
3 Tbsp Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups malted milk powder (Malted milk powder is made from milk, barley malt, and wheat; don't confuse it with Ovaltine, which has other ingredients added. Find it next to the chocolate milk powder in well-stocked grocery stores)
1 cup whipping cream, divided
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

Preparation
Arrange a tight layer of malted milk balls (3 cups) over crust. Stir ice cream with cocoa powder and malted milk powder until smooth. Spoon into crust, set on plate, and freeze 5 hours.
Heat 1/2 cup cream meanwhile until simmering. Put chocolate in small metal bowl, pour in cream, and let sit until chocolate is melted, about 2 minutes. Stir until smooth. Let cool completely.
Smooth chocolate ganache over top of pie and freeze until set, about 15 minutes.
  
To serve:
Whip remaining 1/2 cup cream and swirl onto pie. Chop some malted milk balls and drop onto pie; add a few whole balls. Remove rim and serve immediately.
 
Tips: 
Let the pie soften for 5 minutes at room temp to make slicing easier.
If you're having trouble free-ing your pie from its pan, set it over  bowl of hot water for a couple of minutes and then slide a thin knife between pan edge and crust. It should pop right out.
Make ahead: Once pie is fully frozen through step 3, it keeps for up to 4 days, double-wrapped in plastic wrap. Top it just before serving.

Photo: Malted Milk Ice Cream Pie: Yunhee Kim; Styling: Karen Shinto

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches: Ice Cream Sandwich Day

I've subscribed to Sunset Magazine forever. I love this 'Western' magazine for its home and travel tips and, of course, for the recipes! Over the years the recipes have changed from using heavy ingredients to producing lighter, healthier fare. Chocolate has been a constant, and the writers and editors at Sunset are always discovering new and delicious combinations.

So, since today is National Ice Cream Sandwich Day, I thought I'd post this fabulous twist on the ice cream sandwich from Sunset -- Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches. You can even freeze these for up to a week. If you plan to make brownies anyway, this is a great way to elevate them!

Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches

Brownies

Ingredients
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup unsalted butter
2 cups packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 cup flour
1/2 cup Dutch-processed unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp salt

1 pint ice cream, softened (any flavor you like--I love Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia, but vanilla is great, too)

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°.
In medium pot, bring 1 inch water to simmer. Put chocolate and butter in medium metal bowl and set bowl over pot, being careful not to let bottom of bowl touch water. Heat until chocolate is almost completely melted, then add sugar and eggs and mix thoroughly. Sift together flour, cocoa, and salt, then add to chocolate mixture, stirring well. Pour batter into a greased 10 x 15 inch baking pan. Bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Let cool completely.
Invert brownie sheet onto work surface and cut into 1 1/2 inch squares; arrange on pan.
Freeze brownies 30 minutes.
During last 10 minutes, remove ice cream from freezer to soften.
Working in batches, scoop 1 heaping Tbsp ice cream onto half of brownie squares. Set remaining squares, shiny side up, on top of ice cream and press gently.
Freeze until firm, at least 2 hours.
Straighten tops of brownies and trim oozing ice cream with paring knife if you like.
Freeze, covered, up to 1 week.

Photo: Sunset Magazine, Annabelle Breakey; Styling: Karen Shinto

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

How to Store Chocolate: Tuesday Tips

Welcome to Tuesday Tips. Today's Tip is on How to Store Chocolate. First off, why are you storing chocolate? If you have truffles or bonbons, eat them as soon as possible. They have a shelf life.

Let's start off with one of the most important concepts. The fresher the chocolate is, the better it will taste. Buy chocolate in amounts you will consume. That being said, sometimes you're given chocolate, or you buy in bulk for baking or candy projects. You might have some left over. So what to do?

The most important thing about storing chocolate is to keep it in a cool, dry place. If you have chocolate bars or chocolate for baking, wrap the chocolate in plastic wrap, ziploc bag, or plastic storage containers and put it in a dark cupboard or pantry. The ideal temperature is between 60-75 degrees. I usually just stack the bars in the pantry, but my pantry stays cool.

Stored improperly, chocolate can develop bloom (a whitish tint on the chocolate). Bloom appears when chocolate becomes too warm, causing the cocoa butter to separate out, or because condensation has taken place, melting sugar in the chocolate's surface. Don't fear, though. If bloom appears, the chocolate will be o.k. for baking, but for eating, it might not have the same mouth-feel.

How to Store different types of chocolate. First off, I have to say that high end artisan chocolate is different from baking chocolate or commercial chocolate. I personally NEVER store any chocolate in the refrigerator or freezer. I remember giving a good friend 10 fabulous artisan chocolate bars as a gift, only to see her toss them in the freezer for later consumption. No bag, no plastic wrap. I fear that by the time she got to them, they weren't very tasty at all. But a gift is a gift, and I knew the recipient would not take my advice on how to store. I had to let it go.

So if you intend to store chocolate, here are more tips and info:

Since Chocolate keeps best between 65 and 75°F, away from direct sunlight, and protected from moisture, storing in a dark pantry or shelves is best. Then consume the chocolate as quickly as possible.

If you do decide to refrigerate or freeze chocolate, make sure to seal the chocolate in an airtight container (Ziploc baggies are great). Start by storing in refrigerator and then move to freezer. Make sure to take out as much air as possible to avoid freezer burn -- and don't leave the chocolate in the fridge/freezer too long. Tip: Always thaw frozen chocolate in the refrigerator. If it goes straight from the freezer to room temperature, condensation will form and alter the appearance and texture.

A wine refrigerator is perfect. You can reset the temperature and keep bloom off the chocolate. Still, keep your chocolate wrapped up.

Going to use it from the regular refrigerator? Allow chilled chocolate to come to room temperature before eating or baking with it. Tip: You might want to wrap it in a dishcloth after taking it from the fridge .. in order to let it reach room temperature a bit slower.
Truffles (or bonbons): OK, I NEVER store truffles in the refrigerator or freezer. I suggest you consume them as quickly as possible. Lots of artisan truffles and bonbons will have a use-by-date. There's a reason for this. Although, some ganache centers are o.k. if frozen; most cream and caramel centers will become grainy when stored in the refrigerator or freezer. If you must put them there, make sure they're wrapped up tightly, and defrost slowly (in refrigerator as above) before eating. 

If you have a lot of chocolate, here are some Ultra-Cool (and efficient) Ways to Store Chocolate from  the Candy Blog. I think you'll love the ideas here. Ice packs and thermoses and more!

What questions or tips do you have about chocolate storage?

Monday, July 31, 2017

Chocolate Raspberry Cake: National Raspberry Cake Day

I love chocolate and raspberries, especially when they're together in a cake. So here's another great recipe for Chocolate Raspberry Cake for National Raspberry Cake Day! It's so easy. Recipe below from BUTTER with a side of BREAD. Main ingredients you need - a chocolate cake mix (I like Duncan Hines) and a bag of frozen raspberries. And, you can make this in a bundt pan, so it's also pretty. You can frost or not. Of course, if you're a purist, here's a link to my all time favorite 'from scratch' Chocolate Raspberry Cake from Martha Stewart. Not only does it use fresh raspberries, but there's a splash of of raspberry liqueur in the recipe! Two choices to celebrate the day!

CHOCOLATE RASPBERRY CAKE 

Ingredients
1 chocolate cake mix
3 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup oil
1 (12 oz) bag frozen raspberries

Directions
Partially thaw raspberries  (set out for 20-30 minutes before making cake).
Mix cake mix, eggs, sour cream, and oil together with electric mixer.
Fold in frozen raspberries (Tip: Use electric mixer for about 5-10 seconds to chop up raspberries a bit but still have some larger pieces of raspberry in cake).
Pour into well-greased Bundt pan and bake at 350 for about 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Let cool 10-15 minutes before inverting pan and placing the cake on plate.

(optional)
CHOCOLATE FROSTING

Ingredients
5 Tbsp butter
1/3 cup milk
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions
In medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.
Add milk and sugar and bring to boil, stirring constantly. Boil for one minute and then remove from heat.
Stir in chocolate chips until completely melted and smooth.
Let set for minute or two to set up a little bit, making it the best consistency to pour/spread on cake.

And, as I mentioned above, you can always make a Chocolate Raspberry Cake from Scratch using fresh raspberries.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Goat Cheese Chocolate Chip Cheesecake: National Cheesecake Day

Today is National Cheesecake Day. I've posted so many Chocolate Cheesecake Recipes over the years, but here's one of my favorites: Goat Cheese Chocolate Chip Cheese Cake. In my area, there are so many wonderful goat cheeses available. As always in any recipe, the quality and taste of your Goat Cheese Chocolate Chip Cheese Cake will vary with the cheese and chocolate you choose, so choose wisely--and experiment. If you're new to goat cheese, start with a mild one. Ask your local cheese purveyor.

Here's the recipe I use for Goat Cheese Chocolate Chip Cheese Cake. I think the recipe was originally from Whole Foods. I'm sure the original recipe didn't use a Chocolate Crust, but I'm all about Chocolate, and this recipe works well with it. I also added Chocolate Chips, because once again, you can never have enough chocolate. I use mini-chocolate chips in cheesecake rather than regular because the bigger chips sometimes sink to the bottom. That's not really a bad thing because it just means your crust will be that much more chocolatey! So you can decide. When you use the mini-chocolate chips, you also see the chips in the cheesecake.

Goat Cheese Chocolate Chip Cheesecake with Chocolate Crust

Crust
1 cup chocolate wafer crumbs (whirl in blender or just crush with rolling pin between two sheets of waxed paper)
1/4 cup melted unsalted butter

Combine crumbs and butter and press into the bottom of a 9” springform pan.

Cheesecake

Ingredients
16 ounces cream cheese, cut into pieces (softened)
12 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled (leave out to soften, and it will be more crumbly)
2 tsp grated lemon zest
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups sugar
4 eggs
about 8 ounces dark mini-chocolate chips (must be mini or they'll sink to the bottom)*

Directions
Preheat oven to 325°F.
Place cream cheese, goat cheese, lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla in large mixing bowl.
Using mixer, beat until just smooth, scraping down sides of the bowl as you go.
In two or three additions, beat in sugar until mixture is creamy.
Add eggs, one at time, beating and scraping down sides of bowl after each addition. Continue to beat until mixture is very smooth.
Fold in mini-chocolate chips.
Pour batter into prepared crust.
Bake about 50-60 minutes.
Place pan on a rack to cool completely in the pan.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.
Run spatula along side to loosen; remove sides of pan.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar

I often add cocoa nibs to my green salads for crunch, but sometimes I want even more 'chocolate'. That's when I use my homemade Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar. Just an FYI: this is not very sweet.  There are several brands you can buy, but it's so easy to make your own.  Here's a simple recipe.

Tip: Use the very best balsamic vinegar you have. If you don't you'll need to reduce 'cheap' balsamic vinegar and mix it with sugar. Skip that step and use the best! As I always say, if you use quality ingredients, you'll have a better finished product. That goes for the cocoa here, too.

This Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar is great on salads, on strawberries, with brie or goat cheese, or over ice cream. You might want to adjust the sugar to your taste.

CHOCOLATE BALSAMIC VINEGAR

Ingredients:
1 cup good quality balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup water
1/3 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup good quality Dutch-processed cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract

In saucepan, dissolve sugar and salt in water over low heat, stirring often. Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to low and add cocoa, stirring until you have a syrup.
Add vanilla and set aside to cool.
Once syrup is cooled,  mix vinegar and chocolate syrup together.
Put in glass container with a tight top or seal.

Use as salad dressing or pour over strawberries, goat cheese, brie, or ice cream.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Milk Chocolate Cake with Milk Chocolate Frosting

Today is Milk Chocolate Day! I'm a dark chocolate fan, but every once in awhile I crave a Hershey's milk chocolate bar. So what exactly is Milk Chocolate?

Here's a good explanation from HowStuffWorks.com:

Milk chocolate, the most common eating chocolate in the United States today, actually arrived on the scene fairly late in the history of chocolate.
Milk chocolate's development was made possible with the invention of powdered milk by Swiss chemist Henri Nestlé in 1867. Previous attempts at mixing whole (liquid) milk and chocolate liquor didn't turn out well. But in 1879, a Swiss chocolate manufacturer and neighbor of Nestlé by the name of Daniel Peter decided to try combining the newly invented powdered milk with chocolate liquor -- and true milk chocolate was born.

Milk chocolate is made by combining chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, sugar, flavorings, and sweetened condensed or powdered whole milk (which one is used depends on the individual manufacturer's formula and production methods). The sugar and milk are first blended together, then they're mixed with chocolate liquor and flavorings and dried to create a substance called "milk chocolate crumb." Next, additional cocoa butter is blended with the crumb, and the mixture is sent through the standard conching and refining processes.
All milk chocolate made in the United States must contain at least 10 percent chocolate liquor and at least 12 percent milk solids. Bars of fine milk chocolate typically have a cacao content of between 30 percent and 45 percent, while less-expensive products may have considerably less. Milk chocolate has a sweeter and far more mellow chocolate flavor than dark chocolate, and since a higher cacao content gives a chocolate bar more "snap," milk chocolate tends to be less crisp than dark chocolate.

***
And here's a great recipe for Milk Chocolate Cake with Milk Chocolate Frosting.  This is essentially a three layer chocolate butter cake . Recipe was developed by Sylvia Thompson -- The Birthday Cake Book (1993).

MILK CHOCOLATE CAKE WITH MILK CHOCOLATE FROSTING

Milk Chocolate Cake

Ingredients
3 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
1/2 Tbsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 Tbsp salt
6 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
1 cup water
1 cup unsalted butter, softened to consistency of mayonnaise
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light-brown sugar, lumps crushed, packed
1 1/2 Tbsp Madagascar vanilla
6 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk or soured milk, room temperature
Milk Chocolate Frosting

Directions
Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in bowl.
In medium heat-proof bowl over barely simmering water, melt chocolate in water, stirring occasionally until perfectly smooth. Remove from heat.
In large mixing bowl, beat butter on medium speed until creamy. Continue beating while sprinkling in granulated and brown sugars, 1 tablespoon at time. Add vanilla and beat until very light. Add eggs one at a time, beating until thoroughly blended after each, then beat until very light and creamy. Blend in chocolate. Add flour in 3 parts by sprinkling over bowl. Alternate with buttermilk in 2 parts. Beat on lowest speed just until each addition disappears. Fold batter with large flexible rubber spatula just until thoroughly blended.
Divide batter into buttered 9-inch round cake pans with bottoms lined with wax paper. Smooth tops, then push batter slightly up against sides. Bake 2 layers on middle oven rack and 1 layer on lower oven rack at 350 degrees. Stagger so top pans are not directly over bottom pan.
Bake until wood pick emerges clean from center of cake, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool in pans on racks 15 minutes. Then turn out onto racks, top sides up, to cool completely.
Up to 6 hours before serving, set thickest layer on platter, bottoms up. Spread with 2/3 cup frosting. Repeat with second layer. Place last layer top side up. Frost top and sides. Keep cool. Do not refrigerate.

Milk Chocolate Frosting 

Ingredients
14 ounces milk chocolate
5 cups powdered sugar, sifted
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa (not Dutch-processed)
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp sweet butter
7 - 8 Tbsp milk
2 Tbsp vanilla

Directions
In medium heat-proof bowl over (not touching) barely simmering water, melt chocolate, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove from heat.
In food processor or mixing bowl, blend sugar and cocoa. Melt butter with 7 Tbsp milk at MEDIUM  in microwave or over low heat.
Add hot butter to sugar with chocolate and vanilla. Process or beat until smooth. Do not overprocess. If too thick, beat in remaining tablespoon hot milk. If too thin, add sugar. Spread at once.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Scotch Brownies for National Scotch Day

You can never have too many Brownie recipes. Being that today is Scotch Day, I thought I'd repost this recipe for Brownies with 'Scotch' as the 'secret' ingredient,  recipe adapted from DrinkoftheWeek.com's Whiskey Brownies. This recipe, of course, can be made without the Scotch — but why would you want to do that? As always, use the very best ingredients--great Scotch, great chocolate!

Scotch Brownies

Ingredients
3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup unsalted butter
2 Tbsp water
2 eggs
6 ounces dark chocolate, chopped (60-75% cacao)
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)
1/2 cup Scotch (yeah, these are pretty boozy!)

Directions
Heat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9" square pan.
In bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
In saucepan combine sugar, butter, and water; cook over low heat to light boil.
Take off heat and add chocolate and vanilla; stir until smooth. Add in egg (one at time), beating well after each addition.
Add flour mixture and nuts (optional); stir well.
Pour mixture into prepared baking pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes.
Cool in pan on rack. After cooled, sprinkle with Scotch. Really let it soak in.
When cooled completely remove from pan and top with Chocolate Glaze.

The recipe at Drink of the Week has an excellent rich chocolate glaze, but I think you might as well go all the way with the "Scotch" Brownie theme, so here's a chocolate frosting for these brownies that is made with Scotch.

Scotch Infused Frosting

Ingredients
1-1/2 ounces unsweetened or very dark (85%-up) chocolate
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 Tbsp half-and-half
1 Tbsp good Scotch
1/2 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract

Directions
In top of double boiler, melt chocolate with butter. Combine rest of ingredients in bowl and with electric mixer, beat in melted chocolate and butter. Beat until smooth. Mixture is runny, but stiffens as it cools. Frost cooled brownies.

or... have a glass of Scotch to celebrate the holiday!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Hot Fudge Sundae Cake and Hot Fudge Sundae Sauce

Yesterday was National Hot Fudge Sundae Day, but it's never too late to enjoy this chocolate treat!


The classic Hot Fudge Sundae is a creation of vanilla ice cream, hot chocolate sauce ("hot fudge"), whipped cream, nuts, and a single maraschino cherry on top. A Hot Fudge Sundae can be made with any flavor of ice cream, but vanilla is preferred!

There are lots of theories about the origins of the Hot Fudge Sundae. According to Wikipedia, a frequent theme is that the dish arose in contravention to so-called blue laws against Sunday consumption of either ice cream or ice cream soda (the latter invented by Robert M. Green in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1874). The religious laws are said to have led druggists to produce a substitute for these popular treats for consumption on Sunday. According to this theory of the name's origin, the spelling was changed to sundae to avoid offending religious conventions. Since I grew up in Philadelphia, I remember the Blue Laws, although at that time they pertained to alcohol and not ice cream.

In support of this idea, Peter Bird wrote in The First Food Empire: A History of J. Lyons and Co. (2000) that the name 'sundae' was adopted as a result of Illinois state's early prohibition of ice cream consumption on Sundays, because ice cream with a topping that obscured the main product was not deemed to be ice cream. However, according to documentation published by the Evanston, Illinois Public Library, it was the drinking of soda, not the eating of ice cream, that was outlawed on Sundays in Illinois.

There are lots of fabulous Fudge Sauces out there from great chocolatiers, but if you want to make your own, here's a delicious recipe for Hot Fudge Sauce! As in most recipes, it's the quality of the ingredients that makes all the difference!

HOT FUDGE SUNDAE SAUCE 

Ingredients
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
6 oz dark chocolate (65-75% cacao), chopped
2 Tbsp unsalted butter  (room temperature)
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla

Directions
Bring cream, corn syrup, sugar, cocoa, salt, and half of chocolate to boil in saucepan over moderate heat, stirring, until chocolate is melted.
Reduce heat and cook at low boil, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes, then remove from heat.
Add butter, vanilla, and remaining chocolate and stir until smooth.
Cool sauce to warm before serving.

Hot Fudge Sundae Cake is a great variation on this traditional treat, and it can be made in a pan in the oven or in a Slow Cooker. See recipe HERE.

Check out the recipe adapted from Betty Crocker for Hot Fudge Sundae Cake in a pan. It's an easy one bowl/pan recipe. What's especially delicious about this cake is that as the cake bakes it separates into a chocolate cake and a dark fudgy sauce. Now that's what Hot Fudge Sundaes are all about! Add the ice cream and you're all set.

HOT FUDGE SUNDAE CAKE

Ingredients
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp DARK unsweetened cocoa
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened DARK cocoa
1 3/4 cups very hot water

Vanilla Ice cream

Directions
Set oven to 350ºF.
Mix flour, granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons cocoa, baking powder,  and salt in ungreased square pan, 9 x 9 x 2 inches. Mix in milk, oil, and vanilla with fork until smooth. Stir in nuts. Spread in pan.
Sprinkle brown sugar and 1/4 cup cocoa over batter. Pour water over batter.
Bake about 40 minutes or until top is dry.
Spoon warm cake into dessert dishes. Top with ice cream. Spoon sauce from pan onto each serving.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Tuesday Tips: Baking with Honey (& Honey Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe)

Hope you're enjoying Tuesday Tips here on DyingforChocolate.com. I've posted several chocolate honey recipes, but I thought it might be good to post some honey tips, particularly when substituting honey for sugar. Of course, you can just find a recipe that uses honey, so you don't need to think about it. But, sometimes, you just want to try a recipe and you prefer using honey. I know I do.

Tuesday Tips:
Baking with Honey

1. Generally you can substitute 2/3 cup honey for each cup of sugar in a recipe, but you'll probably want to reduce the amount of liquid by 1/4 cup for each cup of honey.

2. If you're baking, you'll want to reduce the heat by about 25 degrees to prevent burning.

3. And, here's one you might not know. If you're substituting honey in baking, add 1/2 tsp baking soda for each cup honey used.

From the Empire State Honey Producers comes this recipe (slightly adapted) for Honey Chocolate Chip Cookies

Honey Chocolate Chip Cookies 

Ingredients
1/2 cup local honey
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 egg
1/2 tsp Madagascar vanilla
1-1/2 C flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped or ground walnuts (optional)

Directions
Cream honey and butter together. Add egg and vanilla.
In bowl, sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together. Add to wet honey mixture. Mix.
Fold in nuts and chocolate chips. Stir slightly.
Drop onto cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Tequila Brownies: National Tequila Day

Today is National Tequila Day! Have a shot of Tequila, or, better still, make these fabulous rich Tequila Brownies.


I use Reposado Tequila in this recipe. Reposado, or "rested," Tequila is aged in wood tanks or casks for a minimum of 2 months. The higher-quality Reposados are aged from 3-9 months. Reposado tequila has a robust flavor and is the best-selling in Mexico and can be either 100% agave or mixto. Of course, you can use whatever type of Tequila you have on hand in the following recipe.

TEQUILA BROWNIES

Ingredients
1/2 cup unsalted butter
12 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 - 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup flour
2 Tbsp Reposado tequila
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup walnuts, chopped

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease 8x8x2" square pan. 
Heat butter and chocolate in saucepan over saucepan over simmering flame. Stir until melted.
In bowl, combine cocoa, sugar, flour, tequila, baking powder, salt, and eggs.
Pour in chocolate/butter mixture, mixing just until combined.
Stir in walnuts.
Spread mixture in pan.
Bake 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
Cool before cutting.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Oreo S'mores aka S'moreos

Nabisco has been adding different flavors to their Oreo line-up for years, usually seasonal, around the holidays--Halloween Oreos, Christmas Oreos, Valentine's Day (Red Velvet Oreos), etc. Of course there are Vanilla Oreos, but that seems to defeat the purpose. Some of the flavors work and some don't, but I think you'll find these do!

To the delight of S'mores and Oreo Lovers every where, Nabisco has produced Oreo S'mores. These Oreos are like camping in the woods without the bugs. You can eat them straight out of the bag. The cookie is not chocolate! It's a graham cracker cookie, and instead of the usual creme filling, there's chocolate-marshmallow creme. These cookies are not too sweet, either. They're just right. If you like S'mores, you'll want to try these!

Want to make your own S'moreos? These are a real variation on Traditional S'mores.

S'MOREOS

Ingredients
Double-Stuffed Oreos
Large marshmallows, cut in half
Hershey bar

Directions
Twist Oreo apart so top and bottom are separated. Put filling side up and put 1 Hershey's rectangle on top. Add 1/2 large marshmallow. Top with remaining Oreo half.
Put on microwave safe plate and microwave on high for 15-20 seconds.
If top half of Oreo falls off, just put it back on top after removing from microwave.



Friday, July 21, 2017

Chocolate Creme Brulee´- National Creme Brulee´ Day

Celebrate National Creme Brulee´ Day with Chocolate Creme Brulee. There are a lot of recipes out there, but a really good never fail Recipe for Chocolate Creme Brulee comes from Paula Deen.  I love her recipe because it's easy, contains alcohol (Chocolate Liqueur) and tastes fantastic. Because this recipe calls for egg yolks only, use the extra egg whites to make Chocolate Meringues.

Chocolate Creme Brulee 

Ingredients
1 quart heavy cream
1 cup sugar
1 ounce chocolate liqueur (recommended: Godiva Liqueur)
1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract
2 ounces dark cocoa powder
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate (remember the best quality makes a difference)
11 large egg yolks

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In medium sized saucepan over medium-high heat, add heavy cream, sugar, liqueur, and vanilla. When mixture is warm add cocoa powder and chocolate and whisk until blended.
Place egg yolks in large stainless steel bowl.
Slowly add warm chocolate mixture to eggs a little at time while whisking.
Strain and pour into individual porcelain ramekins.
Place ramekins in a large baking pan.
Pour enough hot water into pan to come half way up sides of ramekins.
Bake until firm in center, about 30 minutes.
Remove ramekins from water bath and let cool completely.
Place in refrigerator for 2 hours.
Dust with sugar and caramelize with propane torch. Serve immediately.

If you've never carmelized sugar with a torch, read The Kitchn on Apartment Therapy. I use a small torch from the hardware store, but you can find torches at kitchen shops and online. It's a fun item to have on hand. You can use it to finish your s'mores, too!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Chocolate Lollipops for National Lollipop Day!

Today is National Lollipop Day! Lollipops are usually made of hardened, flavored sucrose with corn syrup on a stick, but lollipops come in all kinds of sizes, flavors, and textures. The story goes that the first lollipops were invented during the Civil War, but others believe they were already around in the early 1800s. George Smith claimed to the first to invent the modern style lollipop in 1909, and he trademarked the name in 1931. He named them after a racing horse: Lolly Pop! But the name was around  since 1794 and referred to soft, rather than hard candy. That's great because that's the recipe I have for you today!

My favorite lollipop? Tootsie Roll Pops! Last year I posted about Tootsie Roll Pops, including recipes for Tootsie Pop Cocktails! So this year, I'd post about another less traditional lollipop--a Chocolate Lollipop that you can either lick or bite into!

This is an easy recipe to make with the kids or your sweetheart! Adapted from Kraft Recipes, these are actually called Sweetheart Chocolate Lollipops! As always feel free to substitute your own chocolate ingredients.

SWEETHEART CHOCOLATE LOLLIPOPS

Ingredients
4 squares Baker's Unsweetened Chocolate or 4 ounces very dark chocolate
3/4 cup sweet butter
1 3/4 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
4 squares Baker's White Chocolate, melted or 4 ounces white chocolate
Assorted sprinkles

Directions
1. PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Microwave chocolate and butter in large microwaveable bowl on HIGH 2 min. or until butter is melted (or melt in a double boiler). Stir until chocolate is completely melted and mixture is well blended. Add sugar; mix well. Blend in eggs and vanilla. Add flour; mix well. Cover. Refrigerate 1 hour or until dough is stiff.

2. SHAPE dough into 2-inch balls; insert lollipop stick into each ball. Place, 2 inches apart, on greased baking sheets.

3. BAKE 8 minutes or just until set. (Do not overbake.) Let stand on baking sheet 1 minute; transfer to wire racks. Cool completely. Drizzle with white chocolate; decorate with sprinkles (if you feel like it). Let stand until chocolate is firm.

Makes about 30 Lollipops!

A Tip from Kraft: 
How to Melt and Drizzle Chocolate
Coarsely chop white chocolate; place in microwaveable bowl. Microwave on MEDIUM (50%) 2 minutes or until chocolate is almost melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Dip fork into chocolate, then use to drizzle chocolate over pops. Let stand until chocolate is firm.

Photo: Kraft (with chocolate heart sprinkles)

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

National Daiquiri Day: Three Chocolate Daiquiri Recipes

Today is National Daiquiri Day, and how better to celebrate than with Chocolate Daquiris! And, instead of one recipe...here are three recipes with different fruits and flavors. Perfect for the summer.

FYI: A traditional Daiquiri is a cocktail that usually combines rum, citrus (usually lime), and sugar or another sweetener. Add Chocolate, and it's my drink of choice!

Chocolate Daiquiri 

4 parts Light Rum
2 Parts Dark Cacao Liqueur
2 parts lime juice
1 part simple syrup

Fill shaker with ice cubes. Add all ingredients. Shake and strain into chilled daiquiri glass.

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Daiquiri

3 ounces chocolate vodka
1 cup fresh strawberries

Combine ingredients in blender. Blend well. Pour into chilled daiquiri glass. Garnish with chocolate covered strawberry!

Chocolate Banana Daiquiri

2 cups ice
1 banana, chopped in pieces
2 ounces golden (or white) rum
2 ounces creme de banane (this should be on your bar shelf!)
juice of 2 limes
2 Tbsp chocolate syrup

Blend ice and banana and blend on high speed. Then add all other ingredients to blender. Pulse until everything evens out and then blend on high until smooth. Serve in daiquiri or high ball glasses.
OMG.. this is fabulous!!




Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Tuesday Tips: How to Make the Best Brownies

Brownies are just about my favorite chocolate dessert. They're pretty easy to make, and there's lots of versatility. The classic Brownie consists of butter, sugar, chocolate, eggs, and flour. Fudgy Brownies do not usually use baking powder, and melting the butter rather than creaming it will produce a denser, fudgier brownie. Cake-like brownies are, well, cakes! They have less butter and more flour, and usually some baking powder. And you usually cream the sugar with the butter rather than melting with the chocolate. Sometimes cake-like brownies use milk, too.

So what kind of brownies do you like? Fudgy or cake-like? Whatever you like best, be sure and choose the right recipe. Below I have a link to lots of different Brownie recipes. Read through them before you begin to do anything. Choose wisely.

Here are some more Tips for Making the very best Brownies!

Be sure and let the chocolate cool after you melt it. After you take it off the stove, put it aside to cool before you add the eggs and sugar. You don't want to scramble the eggs.

Don't overmix your batter. It can cause a thin crust on top. Also, if you want to improve the texture of the brownies, put the unbaked batter (in the prepared pan) in the refrigerator for a few hours before putting it in the oven.

Always use the right pan. That means really reading the recipe and not substituting a pan that's smaller or larger than called for. If you do, you need to adjust the cooking time for the recipe. Do you know how to do that? I almost always use a 8 x 8 inch pan. If you use a larger pan, you'll have thin dry brownies. If you use a smaller pan than called for, the brownies might be gooey in the center. I use a metal pan. I've found that glass pans cause the edges to overbake.

Be sure and grease the pan. I use butter, but cooking spray or shortening works, too. If you decide to use parchment paper (after greasing the pan) to make it easier to lift the brownies, be sure and have it hang over the sides, and also be sure to grease the parchment.

Don't overcook your brownies. There's nothing worse than dry brownies. If you're doing the toothpick test, be sure there are some crumbs on the toothpick, not totally clean as in "until a toothpick inserted comes out clean." No!! The brownies will continue to cook, so take them out a few minutes earlier. For fudgy brownies, remove the pan when the sides have shrunk slightly away from the edges. Center will be gooey, but the brownies will continue to cook while cooling.

Ah, and here's the final tip. Don't cut the brownies until they're cool. I know this may be  difficult, especially when your whole house smells like chocolate! The brownies will actually taste better if you wait. Believe me...

O.K. Now you're ready to peruse some Brownie Recipes. Here's a link to lots of different Brownie Recipes. Do you have a favorite? Want to post? or Share a link to a recipe? Have a Tip? Make a comment below.

Brownies Recipe Round-Up: 50+ Recipes

Monday, July 17, 2017

Jell-O Pudding Ice Cream: Retro Ad & Recipe

Yesterday was National Ice Cream Day, but I had to post this Retro Ad with Recipe from Jell-O for "Jell-O Pudding Ice Cream". It was part of their 1967 Now, pudding is... campaign.