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

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

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

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.

This Recipe from Creative Culinary uses Scharffen Berger Cocoa Powder. 

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

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


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

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

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 

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 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

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

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.

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)

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!

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.

This recipe is adapted slightly from Elizabeth LaBau at

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)

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


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


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

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


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.

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.

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.

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

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

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)

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

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

Double Layer Chocolate Pumpkin Mousse Pie


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


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!   


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)

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!


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

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

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

Chocolate Infused Certified Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Queen Creek Olive Mill

Nudo Extra Virgin Chocolate Olive Oil

(great story from Jason Gibb on Fathom)

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

Chocolate Olive Oil
Recipe from Colavita Olive Oil

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

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

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)

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.



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

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


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.

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.

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

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

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.