Thursday, November 30, 2017

NO BAKE CHOCOLATE MOUSSE PIE: National Mousse Day!

Today is National Mousse Day. Of course for me it's always chocolate mousse. Chocolate Mousse is easy to make and simple to enjoy! I came across this recipe for No Bake Chocolate Mousse Pie a few years ago. What a great way to enhance chocolate mousse -- add more chocolate! The cookie crust made with Italian wafer sandwich cookies is fab and adds some zip, but you can also make a regular chocolate cookie crust if you don't have any Italian sandwich cookies! You can also make an oreo cookie crust. This recipe is adapted from Fine Cooking, a great resource for recipes.

NO BAKE CHOCOLATE MOUSSE PIE

Ingredients
1 ounce unsalted butter, melted; more for the pan
8 ounces Italian chocolate wafer sandwich cookies (Quadratini) (if you don't have these you can use Famous Chocolate Wafers or Oreos)
9 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped (about 1-1/2 cups); more for garnish
1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch kosher salt
3-3/4 cups heavy cream

Directions
Butter 9-inch springform pan.
Grind cookies in food processor until they resemble wet sand, 20 to 30 seconds; you will have about 1-3/4 cups. Transfer to small bowl and mix in butter. Spread crumbs in pan, cover with plastic wrap, and press evenly into bottom. Refrigerate.

Combine chocolate, 1/2 tsp of vanilla, and salt in large bowl. In small saucepan, bring 3/4 cup of cream to barely a simmer. Pour cream over chocolate, let sit for 1 minute, then whisk until smooth. Cover and refrigerate for about 30 minutes to cool.

Beat 1-1/2 cups of cream in medium bowl with electric mixer on medium-high speed to stiff peaks, about 2 minutes. Whisk chocolate mixture to loosen, and fold into whipped cream with large silicone spatula until no streaks remain.

Carefully peel plastic wrap off crust and scrape mousse into pan, gently spreading to edges. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours.

Just before serving, beat remaining 1-1/2 cups cream and 1 tsp vanilla in medium bowl to medium-stiff peaks. Run knife around pie to loosen edges and then remove side of pan. Slide spatula under crust and transfer pie to serving plate. Mound whipped cream over mousse and top with chocolate curls, shards, or shavings.

To serve, dip knife into hot water and dry before slicing.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Cartoon of the Day: Cowboy Coffee


Best Chocolate in the U.S.: National Chocolates Day

You all know that every day is Chocolates Day, but today is one of several designated "Chocolate" food holidays. To celebrate, I thought I'd refer you to this article that came out in Food & Wine the other day: Best Chocolate in the U.S. F&W's editors reveal their picks for the best chocolate in the country. I've had chocolate from most of the shops, but I was pleased to find a few I still need to try. Also glad to see some San Francisco chocolatiers!  

This list will also help you choose some great chocolates as holiday gifts!

What are your favorite chocolates? Make a comment below. Read the entire article HERE.

Some of the picks:


François Payard

Third-generation chocolatier and genius pastry chef François Payard creates outstanding homemade chocolate confections, superb fluffy macarons and beautiful cakes at his elegant bakeries in New York City, Las Vegas, Japan and Korea. payard.com

 

See's Candies

The flagship store of this classic American chocolate company opened in 1921 in Los Angeles. Today there are more than 200 locations across the country offering delicious chocolate candies filled with nuts, marzipan and nougat. F&W’s Kate Krader gets nostalgic for See’s Milk Bordeaux ($24.50), candy filled with brown sugar cream and topped with crispy chocolate puffed rice. sees.com


Recchiuti Confections

San Francisco chocolatier Michael Recchiuti creates market-driven confections like chocolate-dipped pear slices flavored with Key lime juice, and homey chocolate desserts such as Quadruple Chocolate Brownies. F&W editors also love Recchiuti’s dark chocolate-covered burnt caramel almonds and the seasonal peppermint patties. recchiuti.com


Vosges Haut-Chocolat

Owner and chocolate visionary Katrina Markoff flavors chocolates with unexpected ingredients (curry powder, bee pollen) and packs them in boldly designed boxes. Markoff is also a pioneer of the bacon-and-chocolate trend and now has glamorous boutiques in Chicago, New York, Las Vegas and Los Angeles. vosgeschocolate.com

 

Christopher Elbow Artisanal Chocolates

Pastry chef Christopher Elbow worked at the American Restaurant in Kansas City, Missouri, until the demand for his chocolate petits fours convinced him to launch his own candy business in 2003. His beautiful hand-painted chocolates come in creative flavors like bananas Foster and caramel apple. Elbow also makes fantastic chocolate bars, including the favorite among F&W editors, No. 6 Dark Rocks, made with dark chocolate and popping candy. elbowchocolates.com


Read the rest of the article, here.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

S'MORES FRENCH TOAST: National French Toast Day!

Today is National French Toast Day!  

French toast is an old dish. In fact, it's not actually French at all. It predates the founding of France. According to the Apicius, a collection of recipes from the early 5th century AD, the dish we now know as the French toast existed as early as the age of the Roman Empire. In their style of French toast, called Pan Dulcis, Romans would soak bread in milk (and sometimes also egg) mixture, then fry it in oil or butter.

In the 15th century English court of Henry V, a version of the French toast called "pain perdu" or "lost bread" was the culinary rage. Then, it was called "lost" bread because the recipe called for soaking hard or stale bread in a mixture of milk and egg, then frying it. Pain perdu is what the French call French toast today. So, if the French did not invent the modern French toast, who did? According to legend, it was an Albany, New York, innkeeper named Joseph French who created the dish in 1724, and advertised it as "French Toast." Maybe. Whatever, it's delicious.

I've post several 'chocolate' French toast recipes over the years, but for today's food holiday, I thought I'd post an easy recipe for S'mores French Toast. I love s'mores. The good news? You don't have to be in the woods to make this great S'mores French Toast. You can make this on the stovetop. It's a great brunch treat. There are many versions of this recipe, but I tend to like the marshmallows and chocolate within the bread. Some people like marshmallows on top. Some people use Marshmallow Fluff. Hope you come up with your own version!

S'MORES FRENCH TOAST

Ingredients 
6 slices Brioche (or any good egg bread)
4 eggs lightly beaten
1 1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
2 cup graham cracker crumbs
unsalted butter
7 large marshmallows cut in half
4 full-size Hershey bars broken into rectangles
Fudge sauce

Directions
In shallow bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, vanilla, and salt.
Dip bread into egg mixture, coating each side.
Press both sides of bread into graham cracker crumbs.
Melt about 1/2 tablespoon of butter on griddle (or skillet) for each slice of bread.
Cook until brown and crispy, then turn over, adding more butter to pan first.
While still hot, for each serving, stack 3 slices of french toast, layering marshmallows and chocolate in between.
Repeat with second stack.
Drizzle with chocolate sauce (some people add maple syrup, but I don't)

Monday, November 27, 2017

Cartoon of the Day: Cats are like Chocolates


CHOCOLATE BAVARIAN CREAM PIE with OREO COOKIE CRUST: Bavarian Cream Pie Day

Today is National Bavarian Cream Pie Day. Here's a great Retro Ad from 1968 for Bavarian Pudding. But since this is Bavarian Cream Pie Day, I'm posting a much better recipe for Chocolate Bavarian Cream Pie with an Oreo Crust! Be sure and scroll down for the recipe!


***
CHOCOLATE BAVARIAN CREAM PIE WITH OREO COOKIE CRUST

 Ingredients
 2 ounces dark chocolate (85% cacao)
 2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup hot whole milk
1 Tbsp gelatin
1/4 cup cold water
1 pint whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla
Pinch of salt

Oreo Pie Crust
24 Oreo Cookies
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

Put cookies in food processor and pulse until crumbs.
Add melted butter and blend until combined.
Put crumb mixture in 9" pie pan and press on bottom and up sides (evenly)
Refrigerate crust for an hour before adding filling.

Filling
Soak gelatin in cold water.
Melt chocolate in double boiler (or saucepan over saucepan) over simmering water.
Add sugar, salt, and hot milk. Stir.
Add gelatin to chocolate mixture.
Remove from heat and cool until mixture begins to thicken.
Beat with hand mixer until very light.
Fold in whipped cream.
Add vanilla.
Pour Chocolate Bavarian Cream mixture into Oreo Cookie Pie Crust.
Place in refrigerator to cool.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

MASHED POTATO CHOCOLATE CAKE: Leftovers

If you're like me, you'll have a lot of Thanksgiving Leftovers. I posted 2 recipes yesterday for Turkey Mole to use with leftover turkey, but here's another great recipe for those delicious leftover mashed potatoes. This Mashed Potato Chocolate Cake recipe is easy and absolutely fabulous. WARNING: This recipe won't work if you seasoned your potatoes with herbs or garlic. Mashed potatoes with butter or cream or cream cheese will work perfectly.

In case you want to make this as its own dish (not using leftovers), try this recipe for White Chocolate Mashed Potatoes.

I've never met a potato I didn't like!

MASHED POTATO CHOCOLATE CAKE

Ingredients
4 ounces dark chocolate (65-75% cacao)
1 cup unsalted butter
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 cup mashed potatoes
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp Madagascar or Mexican vanilla extract
2 cups cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 ounces dark chocolate chopped into chunks (or chocolate chips)

Directions
Melt chocolate with vanilla; cool slightly.
Sift together flour, baking powder, soda, and salt.
In another bowl, cream together butter and sugar and beat in eggs, one by one.
Add chocolate and mashed potatoes.
Beat in dry ingredients alternately with buttermilk.
Fold in dark chocolate chips or chunks.
Pour into greased 13x9 x 2 inch pan (or Bundt Pan) and bake in preheated 350 degree oven for approximately 40 minutes. 

CRISCO MARBLE CAKE: Retro Ad & Recipe for National Cake Day!

I know you'll like this Retro Recipe for Crisco's Marble Cake.
"Now easier than ever to bake.. this lighter, richer Crisco Cake"


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.

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.