Friday, November 24, 2017

Cartoon of the Day: Pie for Breakfast Day!


BLACK FRIDAY CHOCOLATE CAKE!

The Black Friday sales have already begun--in the stores and online, so I thought I'd post this great recipe for Black Friday Cake. You'll be the first in line! It's easy to make and delicious to eat. Don't be put off by the thin batter.. it will work!

Black Friday is traditionally the Friday after Thanksgiving when millions of people in the U.S. start their holiday shopping. There are many stories about the origins of the term Black Friday. In the 1950s, some factory managers referred to the day after Thanksgiving as "Black Friday" because so many workers called in sick. The day, noted one industrial magazine, was "a disease second only to the bubonic plague" in its effects on employees. In the 1960s, police in Philadelphia complained about the congested streets, clogged with motorists and pedestrians out shopping, calling it “Black Friday.” By the mid 1970s, newspapers in and around Philadelphia used it to refer to the start of holiday shopping. But its usage also has negative associations. In the1980s, some enterprising merchants turned it around. They pointed out that there was a "black ink" that showed up on balance sheets as a result of the day. “Black” refers to stores moving from the “red” to the “black,” back when accounting records were kept by hand, and red ink indicated a loss, and black a profit--a short hop to the idea that Black Friday was the day when retailers came out of the red and went into the black by beginning to turn a profit.

As retailers began to realize they could draw big crowds by discounting prices, Black Friday became the day to shop, with lots of bargains. Black Friday is a long day, with stores opening at 5 p.m. the night before or 3 a.m. in the morning on the actual Friday. It's just amazing to me that hordes of people stand in line for items they may or may not need, just because it's a bargain. For those of you who don't want to stand in an actual line, there are plenty of Black Friday sales online. Not to mention Small Store Saturday and CyberMonday.

Planning to be at the stores today? Bring some chocolate to give you energy throughout the day. At home in your jammies shopping online? You'll have plenty of time to make and enjoy this delicious Black Friday Cake! This is an adaptation of the original Hershey's Black Magic Cake.

BLACK FRIDAY CAKE

Ingredients 
1 3/4 cups flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cups DARK cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 cup strong black coffee, cooled
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract

CHOCOLATE FROSTING
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 oz melted very dark or unsweetened chocolate, cooled
3 cups powdered sugar
3 Tbsp milk
2 tsp Madagascar vanilla

Directions
Combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in large mixing bowl or stand mixer.
Add eggs, coffee, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla.
Beat at medium speed for two minutes. Batter is thin.
Pour batter into greased and floured 9x13 pan or two 9 inch cake pans.
Bake at 350 degrees 35-40 minutes for 9x13, or 30 -35 minutes for layer pans.
Combine frosting ingredients and mix with hand or stand mixer.
Spread frosting on cooled cakes.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Quick Turkey Molé: 2 Recipes for Thanksgiving Leftovers

If you have left-over Turkey from Thanksgiving dinner, make Turkey Mole! According to common legend molé was originally created for turkey. At the Convent of Santa Rosa in Puebla, the nuns had to rush to prepare a meal for a visiting archbishop so they killed an old turkey, cooked it, and mixed everything else they had in a sauce to top it. That sauce was the original mole.

So if you have leftover turkey--or fresh turkey you've just made, you will love these two Quick Turkey Mole recipes. I make the first recipe with Taza Chocolate Mexicano (my favorite daily chocolate) or their Chipotle Chili Chocolate Mexicano, but any good chocolate will work!

The first Quick Molé recipe is adapted from Paula Deen's Quick Chicken Mole. Perfect with Turkey. The second recipe is from Grand Velas Riviera Maya in Mexico, a Five Diamond resort.


Quick Turkey Molé

Ingredients
2 Tbsp good quality olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 chipotle peppers, roughly chopped
1 (10-ounce) can chicken broth
2 Tbsp peanut butter
4 ounces Taza Chocolate Mexicano, chopped
Leftover Turkey
Toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds), for garnish

Directions
Heat oil in heavy saute pan over medium heat. Add onion and saute until translucent. Add garlic and spices and continue to saute to toast and develop flavor. Add diced tomatoes, peppers, chipotles, broth, peanut butter, and chocolate. Simmer for 10 minutes. Strain and puree until smooth.

Take left over Turkey and either add to oven friendly sauté pan or put in another pot and then cover with the Molé sauce. Braise in 350 oven for 45 minutes. Garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds.

***

This second recipe is from the Grand Velas Riviera Maya Hotel. I haven't made this one yet, so let me know if you do!

Turkey con Mole Sauce

Ingredients
1 1/4 lbs Turkey Breast
1/4 cup Vegetable Oil
1 1/4 cup Mole Paste
3/4 cup Chicken Broth
1/4 cup Nopal, peeled and cubed  (cactus!)
1/4 cup Tomato, seeded and cut
1/4 cup Onion, diced
2 Tbsp Coriander leaves, finely diced
1/2 cup Lemon Juice
1 large Avocado
2 1/2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
Salt
Pepper

Directions 
(If using fresh turkey): Cut turkey breast into 4 pieces and season with salt and pepper.
In frying pan, add oil over medium-high heat and brown both sides. Remove from pan and finish cooking on  baking sheet at 350 ° F for about 8 minutes. Set aside.  (or use turkey from Thanksgiving's meal)
In pan over medium heat add mole paste. Add chicken broth slowly, bringing to boil and then simmering until you’ve achieved hick consistency. Set aside.
Combine nopal, onion, tomato and coriander in bowl, add 1/4 cup lemon juice and season.
Blend pulp of avocado with remaining lemon juice and season.
Plate some sliced turkey over layer of mole and dress with some drops of mashed avocado and pico de gallo.

Cartoon of the Day: Behind the Scenes at the First Thanksgiving


Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Campfire Fudge Cake: Vintage Thanksgiving Ad with Recipes

I love Retro Ads with recipes, and this is actually more Vintage than Retro since it came out in Good Housekeeping November 1926. However, the recipe for Campfire Fudge Cake is still perfect for Thanksgiving in 2017. And who hasn't had Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows? Campfire Brand! Three recipes in all for your holiday! Campfire Fudge Cake, Campfire Apple Mallows and Sweet Potatoes Southern. Happy Thanksgiving!




Chocolate Pecan Pie Recipe Round-Up

I love a good Pecan Pie at Thanksgiving. Since I add chocolate to just about everything, Chocolate Pecan Pie is one of my favorites.

Here's a Mini Round-up of Recipes for Chocolate Pecan Pie. Be sure and check out the following Chocolate Pecan Pie Recipes before making your decision of which to make for Thanksgiving (or any time!) And, if you don't have a lot of time, I've added two more Easy Chocolate Pecan Pie recipes below.

Chocolate Chunk Pecan Pie for Mardi Gras
Kentucky Derby Chocolate Bourbon Nut Pie
Kentucky Derby Bourbon Chocolate Pie Recipe Round-Up
Fudge Brownie Pecan Pie
Kentucky Chocolate-Nut Pie Mix in a Jar  
Chocolate Pecan Torte
Frozen Chocolate Pecan Pie 
Chocolate Pecan Pie Truffles
Chocolate Pecan Pie Fudge

1. EASY CHOCOLATE PECAN PIE 

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups sugar
Dash of Salt
4 Tbsp unsweetened DARK cocoa
2 large eggs
1/2 Tbsp Madagascar vanilla
1/2 can (6 ounces) evaporated milk
4 Tbsp sweet butter
3/4 cup toasted pecan halves
1 unbaked deep dish pie shell (make yourself or prepared--prepared is faster!)

Directions
Mix sugar, salt, and cocoa together.
Whisk together eggs, vanilla, and milk; stir into dry ingredients.
Add melted butter and stir until totally blended.
Sprinkle toasted pecan halves in pie shell.
Pour filling over pecans.
Bake at 350° for 45 to 55 minutes, or until filling is set and center is just slightly jiggly (don't overbake).

2. EASY CHOCOLATE PECAN PIE

Ingredients
1 unbaked pie shell (I like Trader Joe's pie dough, but you can make your own or buy another)
3 eggs
1 cup light or dark corn syrup
1 cup sugar (can be 1/2 brown & 1/2 granulated)
2 Tbsp sweet butter
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla
Pinch of salt
1 1/4 cup Pecans
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips or 4 ounces chopped dark chocolate

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Mix eggs, corn syrup, sugar, butter, salt and vanilla in large bowl using spoon (not in mixer). Fold in pecans and chocolate.
Pour into pie shell.
Bake 50 to 55 minutes or until top is slightly puffy.
Cool completely before serving.



Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Chocolate Pumpkin Toffee Trifle: An Alternative to Pumpkin Pie

Holidays are the perfect time for Trifles. I make a wicked (and easy) Trifle for the Fourth of July with sponge cake, strawberries, blueberries & kirsh. So for Thanksgiving, I thought I'd post this easy and sweet trifle recipe for Chocolate Pumpkin Toffee Trifle that combines pumpkin and chocolate.

What's a TRIFLE? The dictionary defines 'Trifle' as something insignificant, but you'll find that this dessert is anything but insignificant. I'm not trifling with you. This is a fabulous dessert!

Trifles are traditionally made in a large clear deep bowl so you can see all the layers. I have the perfect bowl! The assembled trifle is covered and placed in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours and up to 24 hours so the flavors can mingle. This Chocolate and Pumpkin Trifle is perfect for Thanksgiving since it can feed upwards of 8 guests.

There are many variations, and you can add different things in different layers--and you can vary the size of your layers. You can follow the recipe below with cookies but stack as you please: ex, layer of pumpkin cream, layer of cookies, layer of chocolate cream, etc. This is not a science. Instead of Chocolate Wafers, you can use Chocolate Cake or Brownies or try using left over Chocolate Pumpkin Bundt Cake (as if there is any left over!) or Pumpkin Bread.

CHOCOLATE PUMPKIN TOFFEE TRIFLE

Ingredients
4 ounces dark chocolate (70% cacao), chopped
4 cups heavy cream
2 tsp Madagascar vanilla
1 cup natural pumpkin puree
1/4 tsp pumpkin spice
1- 7.5-ounce jar Marshmallow Fluff
6 small Heath bars, chopped (still have any left over from Halloween?)
1 1/2  9-ounce boxes chocolate wafer cookies (or chocolate cake)

Directions (but when it comes to layering, that's up to you!)
In small saucepan over another saucepan, melt chocolate with 1/2 cup cream over medium-low heat, stirring until smooth. Let cool.
Using electric mixer, whip 2 cups cream with 1 tsp vanilla until stiff.
In medium bowl, whisk together pumpkin, pumpkin spice, and marshmallow cream. Fold in whipped cream in 2 parts; refrigerate.
Add remaining 1-1/2 cups heavy cream to mixer bowl and whip until thickened. With machine on, slowly add the chocolate mixture and the remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla and beat until stiff but not dry.
Spread one-third of chocolate cream in a 4-quart clear glass trifle bowl.
Layer with one-third of the toffee.
Make cookie (or cake) layer--be sure and stand up some cookies along the side of the bowl (it will look pretty)*
Make pumpkin cream layer
Repeat with remaining cookies and more pumpkin cream (depending on how thick you make the layers).
Add chocolate cream layer.
Sprinkle with chopped toffee and cover with chocolate cream.
Cover and refrigerate for 4-24 hours.
To serve, sprinkle with the remaining toffee (or not).

North America's Best Chocolate Truffles!

Never too early to purchase your holiday truffles! Are you making a list and checking it twice? Well, here's a great reference for the Best of North American Truffles. I was so lucky to be a judge at this International Chocolate Salon Truffle tasting. I can't remember when I tasted so many wonderful truffles. Hard decisions had to be made, and I was glad I was only one of the panel. I have my favorites, but thought I'd share this list, so you can start stocking up on stocking stuffers and gifts.

TasteTV and the International Chocolate Salon have selected some of the Top Chocolate Truffles - and the artistry behind them - in North America. These truffles come from the East Coast, the West Coast, the Middle Plains, and Canada. Their colors range from chocolate brown to butterfly incandescent, and some of the packaging is as elaborate as a Tiffany's jewelry box.

If you are looking for some of the best on the continent, take a look at these and the results from our tasting panel's luscious experience.

To see more about the Truffles and the Truffle Awards, as well as rankings in categories such as Taste, Design, and Ingredient Combinations, go to www.TruffleAwards.com or www.artisanchocolateawards.com


4.5 STARS 
flying noir out of country
JARDI chocolates Herbs de Provence
Colleen Heidecker Pure Culinary Orange Theory
Éclat Chocolate Peruvian



4.0 STARS 
CocoVaa Chocolatier Cardamom Pear
JARDI chocolates Passion Fruit Marshmallow
Cochu Chocolatier Margarita
Éclat Chocolate Ginger Caramels
Inspiration Chocolates Aztec Spice
CocoVaa Chocolatier Hazelnut Macchiato
Truffles by Tiffany Rosemary caramel layered on Lavender Honey Ganache
Delysia Chocolatier Truffle Sampler
Cochu Chocolatier Balvenie Scotch Whisky & Prune
Colleen Heidecker Pure Culinary DC Strawberry #12


3.5 STARS 
Inspiration Chocolates Maple Walnut Supreme
Bella Sophia Chocolates Coffee Caramel
Cochu Chocolatier Cherry Gin
SELEUSS Chocolates French Brandy
CocoVaa Chocolatier Sayari Cocoa (planet cocoa)
Romeo Chocolates Raspberry & Rose Water Truffle
JARDI chocolates Coffee Toffee
SELEUSS Chocolates Bourbon Whiskey Maple
Éclat Chocolate Salted Dark Caramel
TinyB chocolate Raspberry Dark Chocolate


3.0 STARS 
Romeo Chocolates Espresso Crunch Truffle
Inspiration Chocolates Cherry Jubilee
TinyB Chocolate Mint Dark Chocolate
SELEUSS Chocolates Matcha Green Tea
Chip in a Bottle LLC Black Cherry Dark Chocolate
Chip in a Bottle LLC Thai Coconut Caramel with Nougat
GerDan Chocolates Tamarind Rainforest
Rainy Day Chocolate Rainy Day Chocolate

Chocolate Gingerbread Cake: National Gingerbread Day

According to The Nibble today is National Gingerbread Day, but June 5 is also designated as National Gingerbread Day. I think today is more in keeping with Gingerbread Day. (Just an FYI, December 12 is Gingerbread House Day). I associate Gingerbread with Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the Fall/Winter season in general. That being said, I hate to miss posting a chocolate holiday recipe, so I know you'll like this recipe for "Chocolate Gingerbread" from 1919 Crisco Advertisement.

I grew up with Crisco, and I still use it in many recipes. Crisco was introduced by Procter & Gamble in 1911 to provide an economical alternative to animal fats and butter. Crisco was the first solidified shortening product made entirely of vegetable oil. This was the result of hydrogenation, a new process that produced shortening that would stay in solid form year-round, regardless of temperature.

I love that the Crisco Cookbook in this Advertisement was only 25 cents (or 10 cents in stamps)! Check out this recipe for Chocolate Gingerbread Cake. Gingerbread season is almost upon us. Get Baking!



Monday, November 20, 2017

Spicy Chocolate Turkey Rubs: Barbecued Turkey for Thanksgiving

I live in Northern California, and we barbecue turkey all year round, so it's not surprising that we also barbecue the turkey for Thanksgiving. I love the smokiness and flavor that the barbecue brings to the bird. Barbecuing the turkey also leaves the ovens free for all those side dishes and pies.

Several years ago we started barbecuing our turkeys with spicy chocolate rubs. Here are two great recipes. We've made some adaptations, but the first recipe for Spicy Chocolate Rub Recipe is adapted from  The BBQ Report. Just combine everything in the Cuisinart until finely ground and pat on turkey. Very easy!

This recipe is for chicken, so if you're planning a 20 lb. turkey, you'll need to increase the amounts.

1. SPICY CHOCOLATE RUB

Ingredients
1 cup natural unsweetened DARK cocoa powder
1/4 cup kosher salt
2 tsp dried red pepper flakes, chopped fine
1/2 tsp ground cloves
2 Tbsp granulated sugar

**
Want to get a little more sophisticated with the Rub? Kunde Family Estates (great wines to accompany your turkey) has a recipe for BBQ Turkey with Ancho Chile/Chocolate Rub. This recipe includes brining the turkey first. If you buy a kosher turkey it will already be brined. This recipe is for a 12-16 pound turkey, so if yours is bigger than that, you'll need to adjust the measurements.

2. ANCHO CHILE CHOCOLATE RUB

Ingredients
3 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp chile powder
1 Tbsp unsweetened DARK cocoa powder
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp chipotle chile powder
2 tbsp softened butter

Directions

In small bowl, combine all dry rub ingredients. Mix well. In another small bowl, mash butter together with 2 Tbsp rub – set aside.

Place turkey in large roasting pan. With fingers, gently loosen the skin over breast meat and insert butter/rub under skin; gently rub over breast meat. Rub the outside of bird well with olive oil; then sprinkle generously inside and out with rub. Loosely pack  cavity with lemon and orange slices. Tie drumsticks together with kitchen string. Place in refrigerator and let sit; uncovered, 5 – 6 hours, or until ready to cook.

When ready to cook, prepare grill. If using charcoal grill, prepare for indirect cooking. For gas grills, heat to medium high. Put turkey in roasting pan on grill; add 2 cups water; cover. Turn all gas setting to low. Grill-roast turkey, basting with pan juices and rotating pan 180 degrees every hour, for 3 hours. (If using charcoal grill, add briquettes or mesquite every hour to maintain an even temperature). After 3 hours, insert instant-read thermometer in fleshy part of inner thigh to check for doneness. Thigh meat should register 175° F and the juices should run clear when thigh is pierced. If not done, cover and continue to cook; checking every 20 minutes for doneness.

When done, transfer turkey to heated platter, cover loosely with foil and allow to sit for 20 minutes before carving.

Does Chocolate have a place at your Thanksgiving Table this year?

Cartoon of the Day: Beyond the Pumpkin Latte


Sunday, November 19, 2017

Chocolate-Glazed Maple Spice Cake

I'm not usually a maple spice cake person, but this Chocolate-Glazed Maple Spice Cake is terrific. My neighbor Chris Gold recently made it and brought over a huge piece. Chris usually makes new recipes several times until she feels she gets it right, and there were several versions of this recipe to try. Here's the final version that she tweaked from the original recipe she found in Family Circle. Here's the link to the original recipe. Chris's recipe is below. This cake would be great to serve at Thanksgiving dinner or have ready for the post-Thanksgiving feast! It's a touch of Fall!

CHOCOLATE-GLAZED MAPLE SPICE CAKE

Ingredients
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup solid vegetable shortening
1 cup packed dark-brown sugar
3/4 cup maple syrup
3 eggs
1 teaspoon imitation maple flavor
3/4 cup milk

Filling: 
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon imitation maple flavor
1 1/2 - 2 cups confectioners' sugar

Frosting: 
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 heaping Tbsp unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp vanilla

Whole walnuts, to garnish

Directions 
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat three 8 x 2-inch round layer-cake pans with shortening; dust with flour, discarding excess.

Cake: 
Whisk flour, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, and salt in bowl.
Beat shortening in second bowl until smooth and creamy. Beat in sugar and maple syrup. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each. Add maple flavor; beat until smooth. On low speed, beat in half of the flour mixture, then milk, then remaining flour mixture.
Spread batter in prepared pans, dividing evenly.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 to 28 minutes, until golden brown. Cool in pans on rack 10 minutes. Remove cakes directly to rack to cool completely.

Filling: 
Beat cream cheese, butter, and maple flavor in bowl until smooth. Add sugar; beat until good spreading consistency.
Place cake layer on serving dish. Top with 1-1/4 cups filling. Place second cake layer on top, then remaining 1-1/4 cups filling. Top with third layer.

Frosting: 
In saucepan, heat cream just to a simmer. Pour over chocolate and cocoal in small bowl; whisk until smooth. Add vanilla and stir. Cool 5 minutes, until thicker but still pourable. Pour over cake, spreading to allow some to dribble down sides. Top with walnuts.

Refrigerate 15 minutes before serving.

Note 
For sparkly walnuts, brush with corn syrup; dust with gold sanding sugar, available at: countrykitchensa.com. 

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Cartoon of the Day: Thanksgiving Pie-Ku

I love RhymeswithOrange:


Turkey Cakes and Turkey Cake Pans: Happy Thanksgiving

I've made a lot of Birthday and Holiday cakes in odd shapes, mostly without the use of wonderfully 'shaped' cake pans. Yes, Jonas, you might remember the Crab you wanted for your birthday one year, although I'm not sure why you wanted a crab. Wish I could find the photo. Lots of cutting up and piecing together with icing, but also lots of fun.

Thought it might  be fun to post some more specialty cake pans. Most of these are readily available at local shops and on Amazon and eBay. If you don't want to use a Turkey Cake Pan, you can always make your own cake and cut it and shape it and frost it to resemble a turkey! See the links below to some fabulous photos of "Turkey Cakes" with directions and recipes. Who says you can't have cake to end the Thanksgiving meal?

TURKEY CAKE PANS

NordicWare Platinum Collection 3D Turkey Cake Pan

Check out Baking Bites finished Turkey Cake using the Nordicware 3-D Turkey Cake Pan 

CK Products Turkey Pantastic Plastic Cake Pan
Chicago Metallic Silicone Turkey Cakelet Pan with stencils
You can also make muffins in this pan and use them for place settings!



Wilton Thanksgiving Turkey Cake Pan 
(1979/Retired-but available on Amazon and eBay)


Want to make your own Turkey Cake? Chocolate, of course! Scroll down to see the Coolest Homemade Thanksgiving Cake Ideas on Coolest-Birthday-Cakes.com


Disney Family Fun has a great recipe for Turkey Cake and how to make it. The Body of the Cake is yellow cake with the 'drumsticks' a spice cake. I would do the drumsticks in chocolate cake for the dark meat, but then I'm all about chocolate.  Here's a link to this Turkey Cake Recipe.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Chocolate Pecan Pie Truffles for Thanksgiving

Here's a great recipe for Pecan Pie Truffles in case you don't have time to make a Pecan Pie for Thanksgiving. Recipe adapted from 2012 issue of Southern Living for Kentucky Derby Truffles! These are so easy to make and are delicious! They also make a great gift to take to your Thanksgiving dinner host. As always, use the very best ingredients for the best flavor!

CHOCOLATE PECAN PIE TRUFFLES

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

Directions
Combine first 3 ingredients in large glass bowl. Cook cream and bourbon in small saucepan over medium heat 3 to 4 minutes or until mixture is hot but not boiling. (Mixture will steam, and bubbles will form around edge of pan.) Pour cream mixture over chocolate. Let stand 1 minute.

Stir chocolate mixture until melted and smooth. (If mixture doesn't melt completely, microwave on HIGH 30 seconds.) Stir in crushed cookies. Cover and chill 3 hours or until firm.

Shape into 1-inch balls (about 2 tsp per ball). Roll in chopped pecans. Place on wax or parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Chill 1 hour. Store in airtight container in refrigerator up to 5 days.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Chocolate Pumpkin Marble Bundt Cake for Thanksgiving

Want an alternative to pumpkin pie this Thanksgiving? Why not celebrate with this fabulous Chocolate Pumpkin Marble Bundt Cake? You can serve it at Thanksgiving Dinner or the next morning for breakfast. It tastes great toasted with fresh butter or cream cheese. Bundt cakes always look pretty, too! Be sure to scroll down for the recipe for Chocolate Pumpkin Marble Bundt Cake.

According to NordicWare, the original makers of the Bundt Pan, "If there is a kitchen in the home, there is a Bundt pan." Even if there's not, I think my kitchen makes up the difference. I have all kinds of bundt pans. I find the shapes so versatile and fun. Bundt cakes always look so special. I'm always buying unique bundt pans at the Flea Market or White Elephant Sale.

Here are some Nordic Ware Pumpkin Bundt Pans for Thanksgiving:

Nordic Ware: Great Pumpkin Bundt Pan
Love this go-to recipe from Sunset Magazine (Charity Ferreira: 2003) for Chocolate Pumpkin Marble Bundt Cake. This marbled bundt cake features two separate batters: chocolate and pumpkin. The original recipe calls for a chocolate glaze, but that's optional. The cake is rich enough as it is. I rarely glaze a Bundt Cake.

CHOCOLATE PUMPKIN MARBLE BUNDT CAKE

Ingredients:
1-1/2 cups (3/4 lb) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 cups sugar
6 large eggs
2 tsp Madagascar vanilla
1 1/4 cups canned pumpkin (I use an all natural canned pumpkin but Libby's works well, too)
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
3/4 cup Dutch-processed unsweetened cocoa
2/3 cup buttermilk

Directions
In large bowl, with mixer on medium speed, beat butter and sugar until well blended. Add eggs, one at time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Scrape half mixture into another bowl.

To make pumpkin batter:
Beat pumpkin into half butter mixture until well blended.
In another bowl, stir together 1 3/4 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture and beat on low speed or fold in with flexible spatula just until blended.

To make chocolate batter:
In another bowl, mix remaining 1 cup flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and cocoa. Add flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk to the other half of the butter mixture (starting and ending with flour mixture), beating after each addition just until blended.

Spoon half pumpkin batter into buttered and floured 12-cup bundt-cake pan. Drop half chocolate batter by spoonfuls over (but not entirely covering) pumpkin batter. Repeat to spoon remaining pumpkin and chocolate batters into pan. Gently run blade of butter knife around center of pan several times, then draw knife across width of pan in 10 to 12 places to swirl batters.

Bake in 350° regular or 325° convection oven until wood skewer inserted into center of cake comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 55 to 60 minutes. Let cake cool 10 minutes in pan, then invert onto rack, lift off pan, and cool cake completely.
Nordic Ware: Turkey Bundt Pan

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Chocolate Pumpkin Bread Pudding for Thanksgiving!

I love Chocolate Pumpkin Bread Pudding. It's perfect for Thanksgiving or any time! As an extra bonus it's dairy and egg free, so you'll feel you've indulged, but you won't have...at least not all that much. Recipe is from Chloe Coscarelli and appeared in the NYT in 2010. I have posted other Chocolate Pumpkin Bread Pudding recipes, all of which include a thick sauce. This recipe is much lighter.

Chocolate Pumpkin Bread Pudding

Ingredients 
1 cup coconut milk
1 15-ounce can organic pumpkin
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cloves
10 cups cubed day-old bread of your choice (about 10 to 12 slices of sandwich bread, depending on the thickness of slices)
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips (Guittard and Ghirardelli are nondairy)
2 Tbsp brown sugar
Powdered sugar for dusting (optional)

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 14 4-ounce ramekins (single-serving ceramic dishes) or a 9-by-13-by-2-inch baking dish.
In blender, process coconut milk, pumpkin, brown sugar, salt, and spices until smooth.
In large bowl, toss bread cubes with pumpkin mixture and chocolate chips until each bread cube is coated.

If using ramekins:
Evenly sprinkle about 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar into the bottom of each greased ramekin. Fill each ramekin to the top with the mixture and lightly press it down with the back of a spoon.

If using 9-by-13 baking dish:
Fill baking dish with mixture and lightly press down with back of spoon. Evenly sprinkle about 2 tablespoons brown sugar over the top of the bread pudding. The brown sugar will help the pudding to caramelize on the edges.
(Steps 1 through 3 can be done up to three days in advance; store covered in the refrigerator.)
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until top is lightly browned.

If using ramekins:
Let pudding cool a few minutes, then carve around edges with knife to loosen and unmold.
Garnish with powdered sugar if desired and serve warm.

If using  9-by-13 baking dish:
Let pudding cool a few minutes before serving. Cut into portions, then garnish with powdered sugar if desired and serve warm.

The pudding can be baked right before serving or earlier that day and then reheated for 8 to 10 more minutes right before serving.

San Francisco Fall Holiday Chocolate Salon

SAN FRANCISCO FALL HOLIDAY CHOCOLATE SALON

Sunday, November 19, 2017, 10:00am-5:00pm
San Francisco County Fair Building Auditorium
Golden Gate Park
1199 9th Ave at Lincoln Way
San Francisco, CA 94122

Discover, taste and savor the finest in artisan, gourmet and premium chocolates & confections for the Season and the Holidays friends 

Chocolate lovers, en garde!

The Holiday and Seasonal chocolate show for the San Francisco Bay Area takes place at the Fall Holiday CHOCOLATE SALON.

Chocolate aficionados, fanatics, lovers and addicts can taste & experience the finest in artisan, gourmet & premium chocolate in one of the world's great culinary regions.

The Fall Holiday CHOCOLATE SALON participants include over 28 chocolatiers, confectioners, and other culinary artisans.

An intimate setting, the Fall Chocolate Salon is the perfect place to find the perfect gift, while tasting and savoring the chocolate lovers experience.

 

PRESENTATIONS AND DEMOS

Salon highlights feature chocolate tasting, demonstrations, chef & author talks, plus a Chocolate Movie screening of “Semisweet:Life in Chocolate".


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Monday, November 13, 2017

German Chocolate Brownie Pecan Tarts

Here's a great Retro recipe for Mini-German Chocolate Brownie Pecan Tarts --perfect for Thanksgiving--that originally appeared in Woman's Day in 1965. Use the very best chocolate and other ingredients for updated flavors!

German Chocolate Brownie Pecan Tarts

Ingredients
2 refrigerated rolled pie crusts
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
6 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
4 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate  (I use very dark chocolate and cut down on the sugar)
1 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 cup pecans
1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut
8 tart pans with removable bottoms

Directions 
Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
Place tart pan upside down on piece of paper and draw circle 1 inch larger than the pan; cut out.
Roll each pie crust into 12 1/2-inch circle. Using stencil, cut 4 rounds from each crust, chilling and re-rolling scraps as necessary. Fit rounds into  bottom and up sides of tart pans. Cut away any overhanging dough and place pans on baking sheet. Using fork, prick bottoms of crusts, and bake until just cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, in medium bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder. Cut 6 tablespoons butter into small pieces and place in microwave-safe bowl. Add chocolate and microwave on high for 1 minute, then stir. Repeat at 30-second intervals until melted and smooth. Let cool for 5 minutes.

Using electric mixer, beat sugar, 2 eggs, and 1 teaspoon vanilla on high in large bowl until pale, about 3 minutes. Beat in chocolate mixture. Reduce speed to medium and add flour mixture, mixing just to combine.

Divide mixture among the tart shells. In medium microwave-safe bowl, melt remaining tablespoon butter. Whisk in corn syrup, brown sugar, salt, remaining 2 eggs, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Stir in  pecans and coconut. Spoon mixture over brownie batter and bake until brownie is cooked and pecan filling is just set, 25 to 30 minutes.

Let tarts cool 10 minutes, then remove from the pans and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Cartoon of the Day: The Coffee Cake


Hot Fudge Sundae Cake: National Sundae Day!

Yesterday was National Sundae Day! For me, there is only one sundae--a hot fudge sundae!

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 many variations 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.

Other origin stories for the sundae focus on the novelty or inventiveness of the treat or the name of the originator, and make no mention of legal pressures.

You don't really need a recipe for a hot fudge sundae. I gave the ingredients above. However, like anything else, it's all about the quality of the ingredients. 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.

Following is a 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 tablespoons DARK unsweetened cocoa
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon 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
Heat oven to 350ºF.
Mix flour, granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons cocoa, baking powder, and salt in ungreased square pan, 9x9x2 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.

Rather have Hot Fudge Sundae Cupcakes? Check out Joy the Baker's recipe and photos.

Want Hot Fudge Sundae Macarons? Barbara Bakes has the perfect recipe!

Cake photo: Betty Crocker

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Wartime Chocolate Cake: Veterans Day

Today is Veterans Day (aka Remembrance Day, Armistice Day). My father was a decorated Veteran of WWII, so today I'm posting a recipe from that era. Times were hard during the War, on the battlefield and on the Homefront. This recipe is for Wartime Chocolate Cake. I think it was slightly easier to get sugar and cocoa in the U.S. than other countries, although I've seen several versions of War Time Chocolate Cake in various British war time cookbooks. Milk and eggs were rationed, too, so this cake, which is quite spongy, does without.

During the Second World War, you couldn't just walk into a store and buy as much sugar or butter as you wanted. You were only allowed to buy a small amount (even if you could afford more) because these items were rationed. The government introduced rationing because certain items were in short supply.

Some things were scarce because they were needed to supply the military - gas, oil, metal, meat and other foods. Some things were scarce because they normally were imported from countries with whom we were at war or because they had to be brought in by ship from foreign places. Sugar and coffee were very scarce. Coca-Cola even stopped production during the war because sugar in great quantities was not available.

Everyone was given a ration book that contained ration stamps for different items. Grocers and other business people would post what your ration stamps could buy that week, but it was up to the individual to decide how to spend the stamps and possibly save up the items for a cake like this.

Support our Veterans!

WARTIME CHOCOLATE CAKE

Ingredients:
1-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon white vinegar
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup cold water

Directions:
In large mixing bowl, mix flour, sugar, cocoa, soda, and salt.
Make three wells in the flour mixture. In one put vanilla; in another the vinegar, and in the third the oil. Pour the cold water over the mixture and stir until moistened.
Pour into 8 x 8-inch pan.
Bake at 350°F. oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until it springs back when touched lightly.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Greek Yogurt Chocolate Bundt Cake: Greek Yogurt Day!

Today is Greek Yogurt Day. Greek Yogurt is great in baking because it gives a bit of a tangy taste to cakes, muffins, and breads. I often substitute Greek Yogurt for sour cream in recipes. You'll love this Greek Yogurt Chocolate Bundt Cake.

Greek Yogurt is not necessarily from Greece. Greek yogurt refers to a yogurt making process. It's different from regular yogurt in that the whey is strained off in the process. Consequently it contains less sugar, fewer carbs, and a lot more protein. Real old fashioned Greek yogurt is made with goat's milk, while much American Greek-style yogurt is made from cow's milk. You can try either in the following recipe. As always, choose a good quality Greek yogurt, as you would a good cocoa.

Greek Yogurt Chocolate Bundt Cake

Ingredients
1 cup unsalted butter, plus more for bundt pan
1 cup water
1/3 cup DARK cocoa powder
1 tsp salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp instant espresso powder
1  3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
2 large eggs
1/2 cup plain Greek Yogurt
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
Optional: Confectioners Sugar for sprinkling

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 10- or 12-cup Bundt pan.
Put butter, water, cocoa powder, espresso powder, and salt in small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until butter has just melted and mixture is combined. Set aside.
Whisk together flour, sugar, and baking soda in large mixing bowl. Add half butter mixture and whisk to combine. Add remaining butter mixture, and whisk until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, whisking well after each addition. Whisk in Greek yogurt and vanilla.
Pour batter into prepared pan and spread evenly.
Bake 40 to 45 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
Cool cake in pan for 15 minutes.
Invert cake onto wire rack and cool completely.
Optional: Sprinkle with confectioners sugar.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Cappuccino Cheesecake with Oreo Crust: National Cappuccino Day

Today is National Cappuccino Day. I'm not a regular coffee drinker, but that doesn't keep me from having a mocha every once in awhile. Chocolate and coffee go so well together, and I often add coffee or espresso to brownies, cakes, and cookies. So in honor of the holiday, here's a recipe adapted from Philadelphia Cream Cheese for Cappuccino Cheesecake. The actual cheesecake does not contain chocolate, but with an oreo crust, you'll get your 'jolt' of chocolate!

CAPPUCCINO CHEESECAKE WITH OREO CRUST

Ingredients
16 ounces Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 Tbsp milk
2 Tbsp Instant Coffee (I use Starbucks VIA ready brew)
1 Oreo Pie Crust - see below

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Beat cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add eggs; mix just until blended.
Microwave milk in small microwaveable bowl on high 15 seconds. Add coffee granules; stir until dissolved.
Add to batter; mix well.
Pour into crust.
Bake 40 minutes or until center is almost set.  (do not overbake)
Refrigerate several hours or overnight.  

Oreo Pie Crust
Ingredients
24 Oreos (or Trader Joe's JoeJoes)
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

Directions
In medium-sized bowl or food processor, add Oreo cookies and blend until texture of coarse meal or crumbs. Add melted butter and blend until combined. Put ground crumb mixture into 9 - or 10 - inch deep-dish pie pan and press evenly on bottom and up sides  (about 1/8 inch around).
Refrigerate crust for hour+ before adding filling to prevent crumbling when you serve.

National Cappuccino Day: Cappuccino Chocolate Truffle Pie

Today is National Cappuccino Day, and here's an awesome Cappuccino Creme Chocolate Truffle Pie to celebrate.This recipe is adapted from the Hershey's Kitchens.

CAPPUCCINO CHOCOLATE TRUFFLE PIE

Ingredients
1/2 cup DARK Cocoa
1/3 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
1 cup Chopped Dark Chocolate (70-85% cacao)
2 eggs, slightly beaten
9-inch baked pastry crust (prepared or make your own)
CAPPUCCINO CREME (wait until ready to serve): In mixer, combine 1 cup (1/2 pint) whipping cream, 1-1/2 teaspoons powdered espresso, 2 teaspoons DARK Cocoa and 3 tablespoons powdered sugar; beat until stiff. About 2 cups.

Directions
Heat oven to 350°F.
Melt butter over low heat. Stir in cocoa and sugar. Add sweetened condensed milk, chocolate and eggs; stir until smooth. Remove from heat. Pour into crust.
Bake 25 to 30 minutes - until center is almost set. Cool completely.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Just before serving, prepare and top with Cappuccino Cream.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Chocolate Meringue Cookies: Guest Post by Bobbi Mumm

My mystery and chocolate worlds collide again! I guess lots of mystery readers and writers love chocolate! Today I welcome back Bobbi Mumm who answers the age old question of what to do with all those egg whites! Bobbi is a married mother of four children, a university administrator, and an occasional mystery writer. She’s excited to be going to China next month for two weeks and is expecting dynamite writing inspiration.

Bobbi Mumm:
Chocolate Meringue Cookies 

Every few months, after making puddings or custards, I find myself with unused egg whites. I’m not fond of scrambled egg whites so I tend to use them in baking. My family loves these cookies. They have a chewy, chocolatey centre that makes them irresistible. I also appreciate them for the fact that they are gentle on the waistline.
How do you like to use egg whites?

CHOCOLATE MERINGUE COOKIES

Ingredients 
• 3 large egg whites (at room temperature)
• ¼ tsp cream of tartar
• ¼ tsp salt
• 1 cup sugar
• 3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
• 3 tbsp semisweet chocolate chips

Instructions 
1. Preheat oven to 250F.
2. Beat egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt at high speed of a mixer until soft peaks form. Add sugar, 1 tbsp at a time, beating until stiff peaks form.
3. Sift cocoa over egg white mixture; fold in. Fold in chocolate chips. Don’t worry if you can still see some cocoa powder.
4. Cover 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Drop batter by teaspoonfuls (they're small!) onto prepared baking sheets. They can be close together as they will not spread much with baking.
5. Bake at 275F for 45 minutes. Use two large baking sheets and bake them all at once.
6. Yield: 40-45 small cookies.