Wednesday, March 22, 2017

All About White Chocolate & White Chocolate Cheesecake Recipe

I missed posting on White Chocolate Cheesecake Day, however it's never too late to post about White Chocolate! By definition, white chocolate is not actually chocolate. White chocolate doesn't contain any cocoa solids (chocolate liquor) and does not have 'chocolate' flavor. But I like the unique creamy flavor that good white chocolate does have--of course it depends on the brand and that varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. (see below) 

White chocolate contains cocoa butter, a product of the cocoa bean used to make chocolate. White chocolate used in baking and candy making is a blend of milk, cocoa butter, sugar and often vanilla. This is what you'll find in milk chocolate, except without the cocoa. If you are using white chocolate, make sure to buy the very best. Cheap white chocolate often has the cocoa butter replaced by vegetable fat. Check the ingredients on the package. It should have a cacao percentage just as other good chocolate bars do.

Examples of good white chocolate:

E. Guittard has 31% Cacao White Chocolate wafers. Great for baking (and eating).
Green & Black's White Chocolate uses cocoa butter, pressed directly from the crushed cocoa beans. They also use a blend of milk and Bourbon vanilla. Available in 3.5oz bars.
Divine makes an awesome White Chocolate Bar. All natural without coloring or preservatives. 
Askinosie has bean to bar white chocolate and uses goat's milk instead of cow's milk. The main ingredient in their white chocolate is 34% natural, non-deodorized cocoa butter. The cocoa butter is pressed in their factory, and they are the first small-batch chocolate maker to do this. After pressing the beans to create the cocoa butter, they combine them with goat's milk powder and organic cane juice, and then craft it for days in their 85-year old German melanguer, making their white chocolate one of the only single origin white chocolates in the world. It has a very unique buttery/nutty flavor, less sweet than many other white chocolate.
Merckens chocolate makes a great 2 pound bar, terrific for baking (or eating). Available through King Arthur Flour.

***
Because it's comprised mainly of cocoa butter, white chocolate can be used in so many ways. Check past posts for White Chocolate Mashed Potatoes, White Chocolate Brownies, White Chocolate Coffee Cake, White Chocolate Truffles and a host of other white chocolate candies and baked goods.

My favorite White Chocolate Recipe, though, is for White Chocolate Cheesecake! Here's an easy recipe adapted from the Betty Crocker Cookbook. I changed the original graham cracker crust to a Chocolate Cookie Crust (see below)... much better, I think, but then I like chocolate.

WHITE CHOCOLATE CHEESECAKE WITH CHOCOLATE COOKIE CRUST

Ingredients for Filling:
1 cup chopped white chocolate (make sure it's good white chocolate that's made with cocoa butter)
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp flour
16 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 egg yolks
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream

Directions
Move oven rack to lowest position. Heat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease bottom and side of springform pan, 8 x 3 inches.
Prepare Chocolate Cookie Crust (see below). Baking 6-8 minutes and cooling.
Place chopped white chocolate in top of double boiler (or saucepan on top of another saucepan over simmering water). Heat over low heat, stirring frequently, until white chocolate is melted. Remove from saucepan.
Increase oven temperature to 475ºF.
Beat melted white chocolate, 3/4 cup sugar, and flour in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until blended. Beat in cream cheese and egg yolks until smooth. Continue beating, adding eggs one at a time, then add sour cream until blended.
Pour batter carefully into crust. Cover pan with aluminum foil.
Bake 20 minutes; remove foil. Reduce oven temperature to 300°F. Bake 1 hour. (If cheesecake browns too quickly, cover loosely with aluminum foil during last 30 minutes of baking.)
Turn off oven and leave cheesecake in oven 15 minutes.
Cool on wire rack 15 minutes.
Run metal spatula along side of cheesecake to loosen before and after refrigerating.
Cover tightly and refrigerate at least 8 hours, but no longer than 5 days.
Run metal spatula along side of cheesecake to loosen; remove side of pan.
Place cheesecake on serving plate. Refrigerate if you plan to serve later.

I like my cheesecake unadorned, but you can always add fruit or chocolate sauce.

Chocolate Cookie Crust:

Ingredients
30 chocolate wafers (to yield about 1-1/2 cups crumbs)
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Directions
Put cookies in food processor; process until finely ground.
Transfer crumbs to mixing bowl; combine crumbs, butter, salt, and vanilla; stir until crumbs are moistened.
Press mixture evenly across the bottom of a 9-inch spring form pan and all the way up the sides of the pan; pack tightly so crust is even and compacted.
Bake in 350° oven for 6-8 minutes or until crisp.
Let cool completely before filling.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries: California Strawberry Day

Today is California Strawberry Day, and it's a great way to celebrate the start of Spring. I love strawberries, and they go so well with chocolate. I've posted lots of strawberry recipes, but here's an old favorite: Chocolate Dipped Strawberries. So easy. Want to get fancier? You can always stuff strawberries with chocolate cream, marscapone, chocolate chip cookie dough, cheesecake or tiramasu before dipping--and you can drizzle some white chocolate over the finished dipped strawberries.

The Chef pictured in the photo is by Sonoma artist Cynthia Hipkiss. I love her oddball humor, and I have several of her sculptures. I love this Chef, in particular, and he holds a coveted space by my stove (the blue O'Keefe Merritt), and I've had him forever. What's particularly fun about him is what he's holding can be changed. I have a strawberry shortcake, a birthday cake, and a plate of hot dogs with all the trimmings. The smaller food sculptures are attached with velcro. Very clever! Hipkiss's work is carried in several art galleries. Many of her sculptures of women remind me of my aunts from whom I learned many baking tips. Luckily I'm not quite as full-bodied as they were, but then they were great bakers and ate a lot of what they baked!

CHOCOLATE DIPPED STRAWBERRIES

Ingredients
1 quart fresh large fresh strawberries, with tops
1 cup Dark Chocolate 60-65% cacao, chopped
1/2 cup Dark Chocolate 72-85% cacao, chopped
3 Tbsp heavy cream

Directions
Rinse strawberries and dry thoroughly, keeping tops on. In top of double boiler or stainless
steel bowl on top of saucepan over simmering water, combine chocolate and heavy cream. Stir until
chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.
Dip strawberries 1/2 to 3/4 way up in chocolate mixture and place on parchment-lined cookie sheet to allow chocolate to harden.

Hints:
Wash strawberries and pat dry with paper towels; set aside. Make sure strawberries are
completely dry. A drop of water in melted chocolate can cause it to "seize" and turn the
entire mixture into a mess.
How to Fix Seized Chocolate

How to dip:
Grasp stem of strawberry and dip into chocolate, swirling to partially cover with chocolate.
Give the strawberry a small shake as you pull it out of chocolate. When strawberry is
completely out of chocolate, swirl it in quick, clockwise motion to let excess chocolate drip off.
Place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
Repeat with rest of strawberries.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Bailey's Chocolate Trifle for St Patrick's Day

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Here's a great treat to celebrate: Bailey's Chocolate Trifle.

As an aside, Bailey's has produced fun promotional collectibles over the years. I love these Winking "yum" cups, creamers, sugar, cookie jars, egg cups and teapots. You can still find them on eBay and etsy.

Back to recipes: I often clip recipes from newspapers and magazines, only to find them years later, yellowed by age but not necessarily by taste. With the Internet, we're so lucky that these 'one of a kind' recipes are posted. No paper, no fuss. No forgetting where they are.. well, maybe if you're like me and you don't bookmark them right away.  Here's winner Marlene Moore's top recipe from the Mercury (Pottstown, PA) EATS contest. This is perfect for St. Patrick's Day. Bailey's Irish Cream comes in several flavors: Original Irish Cream, Mint Bailey's Irish Cream; Coffee Irish Cream; or Creme Caramel Irish Cream. You can make this trifle using different flavors for completely different tastes! Just an FYI: I usually make trifle in a clear bowl. The layers look beautiful.

Bailey’s Chocolate Trifle
By Marlene Moore

1 (18.25 pk.) Devil’s Food cake mix
1 cup Bailey's Irish Cream
2 (3.4 oz.) instant chocolate pudding mix
3 1/2 cups cold whole milk
3 cups frozen whipped topping, thawed  (possible substitute: fresh whipped cream)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare the cake according to package directions. Bake in a greased 13 x 9 inch pan. Cool 1 hour on a wire rack. Poke holes in the cake about 2 inches apart with a meat fork. Carefully pour the Irish cream over the cake. Refrigerate 1 hour.

In a medium bowl whisk the pudding mix and milk together until smooth. Let stand 2 to 3 minutes, or until soft set. Cut the cake into 1-1/2-inch cubes. Place one-third of the cubes in a trifle bowl. Top with one-third of the pudding and one-third of the whipped topping. Repeat the layers two times. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Makes 14-16 servings

**
Since it's St. Patrick's Day, you might want to read some Crime Fiction set during St. Patrick's Day. Here's a link to a list on my other blog, Mystery Fanfare.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Bailey's Irish Cream Fudge

St. Patrick's Day is right around the corner, so I thought I'd re-post this easy recipe for Bailey's Irish Cream Fudge. This recipe is adapted from Fantasy-Ireland.com. As I've mentioned, you can find some great recipes in some unusual places: Food Associations, Travel Sites, and other product sites.

Bailey's comes in different 'flavors', and your fudge will change flavor, too, when you use Mint Bailey's Irish Cream or Coffee Irish Cream or Creme Caramel Irish Cream. Try them all.


BAILEY'S IRISH CREAM FUDGE

Ingredients:
2-12 oz milk chocolate (35-45% cacao), chopped, or 2-12 oz packages of milk chocolate chips
12 oz dark chocolate (65-85% cacao), chopped or a 12 oz. package semisweet chocolate chips
2-7oz jars of marshmallow creme
2 teaspoons of Madagascar vanilla extract
2/3 cups of Bailey's Irish Cream
2 cups of chopped nuts (optional)
4 1/2 cups of granulated sugar
1-12 oz can of evaporated milk
1/2 pound of sweet Irish butter, softened

Directions:
In very large bowl, combine milk chocolate chips, semisweet chocolate chips, marshmallow cream, vanilla extract, Irish Cream, and nuts (if you are adding them). Set this mixture aside.
Line 10 x 15 baking pan with foil and spread lightly with butter.
In medium saucepan, combine granulated sugar, evaporated milk, and butter. Bring to gentle boil over medium heat and cook slowly, stirring constantly for about 10 minutes.
Pour milk mixture into chocolate chip mixture. Stir slowly by hand to combine. It is very important to do this by hand and NOT use any kind of mixer.
Pour fudge into prepared pan and chill until set.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Pi(e) Day: Green Pie for Today & for St Patrick's Day!

Today is National Pi Day. Since St. Patrick's Day is March 17, I thought I'd post a 'Green Pie' to celebrate both holidays.

Pi Day is an annual celebration commemorating the mathematical constant Pi. Pi has been calculated to over one trillion digits beyond its decimal point. As an irrational and transcendental number, it will continue infinitely without repetition or pattern. Pi Day is observed on March 14 (or 3/14), since 3, 1 and 4 are the three most significant digits of Pi in the decimal form. In 2009, the U.S. House of Representatives supported the designation of Pi Day.

Grasshopper Pie is named because for its green color, although modern recipes may omit coloring the pie green. That would be a shame, though, since it's what makes it a classic. This pie was most likely invented in the 1950s in the U.S, and may have been inspired by the "Grasshopper Cocktail" invented at about the same time. Grasshopper Pie is a chiffon pie usually made with a Chocolate Cookie Crust, so you see why it's perfect for DyingforChocolate.com.

Chiffon pies in the 1950s were often a combination of whipping cream, gelatin, sugar, eggs, and flavoring (see vintage recipe at the end of this post). In the case of the Grasshopper Pie, common flavoring used was alcohol in the form of crème de menthe, and sometimes other alcohol like crème de cacao. For non-alcoholic pie, mint flavoring was achieved by using mint extracts instead, though these might still contain a tiny amount of alcohol. Green food coloring gave the pie a light green color.

There are huge differences between classic recipes for Grasshopper Pie and modern ones. Since gelatin can be  annoying to work with, many people now prepare the pie by melting marshmallows and blending them with milk or whipping cream, and sometimes cream cheese. Several recipes advocate the use of specific cookies like Oreos in the crust, but I use chocolate wafers.

In the US, Grasshopper Pie tends to be most popular in the South, but other parts of the country enjoy it too. The pie rose in popularity especially up until the 1970s. Many ice cream stores capitalized on the flavor of this pie by producing their own version with mint or mint chocolate chip ice cream and a cookie crust. Some ice cream stores are particularly known for their grasshopper ice-cream pies.

Following are several different recipes for Grasshopper Pie. As I said, this is perfect for Pi Day and St. Patrick's Day! Let me know if you have a special family recipe. Grasshopper Pie is so Retro!


Simple Grasshopper Mallow Pie  
 from Kraft

Ingredients
1/4 cup green creme de menthe
1 jar (7 oz.) JET-PUFFED Marshmallow Creme
1 pt. (2 cups) whipping cream, whipped
1 OREO Pie Crust (6 oz.)

ADD creme de menthe gradually to marshmallow creme in large bowl, beating with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Gently stir in whipped cream.
POUR into crust.
REFRIGERATE 4 to 6 hours or until chilled. Store leftover pie in refrigerator.

Frozen Grasshopper Pie
from cooks.com

Ingredients
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 rows Oreo cookies (lg. pkg.) crushed (you can also use chocolate wafers)

1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup creme de menthe
1/4 cup white creme de cacao
2 cup (1 pt.) whipping cream, whipped

Directions
Combine crushed Oreos and butter and press in bottom of 9 x 13 inch pan.
In large bowl combine sweetened milk, creme de menthe and creme de cacao.
Fold in whipped cream.
Pour over crust. Cover.
Freeze 6 hours or until firm. Garnish with chocolate curls. Return leftovers to freezer.

Expert Grasshopper Pie  
From Bon Appétit

Ingredients
Crust:
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
22 chocolate wafer cookies
3 Tbsp sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

Filling:
1 cup whole milk
Pinch of salt
3 large egg yolks
2 Tbsp cornstarch
6 ounces good-quality white chocolate (such as Baker’s or Lindt), chopped
2 Tbsp sweet butter
2 Tbsp green crème de menthe
2 Tbsp light crème de cacao
3/4 cup chilled whipping cream
Shaved white and dark chocolates

Directions 
For crust: Spray 9-inch-diameter glass or ceramic pie dish with nonstick spray. Finely grind chocolate cookies and sugar in processor. Blend in butter. Press crumb mixture onto bottom and up sides of prepared dish. Freeze. 

For filling: Combine milk and salt in heavy small saucepan. Bring to simmer. Whisk egg yolks and cornstarch in medium bowl to blend well. Gradually whisk in hot milk mixture. Return mixture to same saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat until mixture thickens, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat. Add white chocolate and butter; whisk until smooth. Transfer custard to large bowl. Whisk in crème de menthe and crème de cacao. Set custard over another large bowl of ice water until cold and thick but not set, stirring often, about 30 minutes.
Whip cream in medium bowl until stiff peaks form. Stir 1/3 of whipped cream into custard. Fold in remaining whipped cream. Pour filling into crust. Freeze at least 5 hours or up to 2 days. Garnish with shaved chocolates.

And one more,  
Vintage Cookbook Recipe for Grasshopper Pie that includes gelatin!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Chocolate Guinness Truffles

St. Patrick's Day is coming up! Time to bring out the Guinness.

I've posted this easy recipe before. You can really taste the Guinness in these truffles, and Guinness goes well with Chocolate! Hoist a few of these:

CHOCOLATE GUINNESS TRUFFLES

Ingredients
3/4 cup Guinness
1 pound dark chocolate  (65-75% cacao), chopped
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
Cocoa
Optional: chopped nuts

Directions
Melt chocolate in top of a double boiler or saucepan over another saucepan with simmering water.
Gradually stir in cream.
Gradually add Guinness, stirring gently to blend.
Cover and chill overnight.
Shape mixture into 3/4 inch balls, using about a tablespoon for each.
Roll in cocoa (optional: then roll in nuts)

Need some more St. Patrick's Day Chocolate Recipes?

Guinness Chocolate Silk Pie
Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes
Chocolate Irish Soda Bread with Guinness Ice Cream
Bailey's Irish Cream Truffles (made with Kerry Gold Pure Irish Butter)
Bailey's Chocolate Trifle
You Make Me Want to Stout Cupcakes (Scharffen Berger)
Bailey's Irish Cream Fudge

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Irish Potato Candy for St Patrick's Day!

Happy St Patrick's Day! Not sure how many people associate St Patrick's Day and Ireland with the Great Potato Famine anymore, but some must because See's Candies always makes Irish Potatoes for the holiday! This candy might not look great --well they look like potatoes and that's part of the charm-- but they taste great! These potato candies are hand-shaped and robed in milk chocolate. The filling is the same fluffy nougat that is inside See's Divinity Truffle. Yum!! They're only available for a short time, so be sure and buy some this week

Want to make your own Irish Potato Candy for St Patrick's Day? This Potato Candy is made with 'real' potatoes! It's a Philadelphia tradition. I've adapted this recipe from Food52. I use cocoa for rolling, but the cinnamon will work too.. or better yet, what about a blend? I also add toasted pine nuts for eyes!

IRISH POTATO Candy

Ingredients
1 potato (medium)
4 cups confectioners sugar
2 -1/2 cups shredded coconut
2 Tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
cinnamon or cocoa powder for rolling
Optional: Toasted pine nuts for eyes

Directions
Bring medium pot of water to boil and add potato. Lower heat and cook for 30-45 minutes or until potato is fork tender. When cool enough to handle (but still warm), peel potato and mash along with coconut oil, making sure to get it as smooth as possible. Stir in sugar, coconut and vanilla extract until everything is evenly distributed and well combined. Mixture will be soft, but at this point it should be able to hold it's shape, if not add a bit more coconut and/or sugar.
Using small scoop or teaspoon, portion mixture into balls and let them chill for about an hour.
Once candies are firm, pour about 1/4 cup of cinnamon and/or cocoa into medium bowl.
Form chilled balls into potato-like shapes and roll each in cinnamon and/or cocoa, adding more cinnamon or cocoa to the bowl if necessary.
Want to have some 'eyes' on your potatoes? Add some toasted pine nuts
Serve immediately or store well wrapped at room temperature or in the fridge.

Makes about 24-30 'potatoes'.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Milky Way Brownies: National Milky Way Day!


Although I've posted Milky Way recipes in the past, I didn't know there was a Milky Way Day! Milky Way Bars have been around for almost a 100 years, so I shouldn't be surprised. Lots of Milky Way Ads from WWII, but I chose to post this ad for Milky Way Bars from 1930. Very cool!

My friend Donna always had Milky Way bars in her freezer, and I'd stop by her house on the way to school and have one. Her mother never minded! I love frozen Milky Way Bars. When we were older, Donna and I got a ride to high school with a neighbor. While we waited for him, we availed ourselves of the Milky Way bars on his family's coffee table! Maybe this wasn't particularly healthy, but it was a delicious way to start the day!

Now, I buy miniature Milky Way bars to give out at Halloween. We don't get many kids where I live, so I put the 'extras'  (that would be all of them) in the freezer. How to use them up? In Brownies, of course. And, these two recipes for Milky Way Brownies are great! One's for home, and the other's for a crowd!

1. EASY MILKY WAY BROWNIES!

Make your favorite Brownie Mix (I like Ghirardelli), following directions by adding the 1/3 cup vegetable oil, 1 egg, and 1/3 cup water. At 20 minutes into baking (350F), put about 7 ounces of chopped up miniature Milky Way Bars or Milky Way Bites on top. Bake another 20 minutes. Oh yum!

2. MILKY WAY BROWNIES FOR A CROWD!

Have a crowd coming over? Want to make a batch of Milky Way Brownies from scratch? This recipe is the Bees Knees! Love the Vintage Ad above!

Ingredients: 
1 pound sweet butter, cut into pieces
1 pound dark chocolate (70% cacao), chopped
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate (or very dark - 90%), chopped
2 Tbsp instant espresso powder
7 large eggs
2 Tbsp Madagascar vanilla
2 1/4 cups granulated white sugar
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
12 ounces miniature Milky Way bars, chopped
2 Milky Way Bars, sliced

Directions: 
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour 12x18x1-inch pan. Line with foil that hangs over sides (butter the parchment). This makes it easier to get brownies out.
In metal bowl or saucepan over saucepan of simmering water, heat butter and chocolate until melted and smooth; cool slightly.
In large bowl, whisk together eggs, espresso powder, vanilla, and sugar. Stir egg mixture into slightly cooled chocolate mixture. Cool to room temperature.
In medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt, then add to batter. Stir chopped mini Milky Way bars into chocolate mixture. Then pour into prepared baking pan and smooth top with rubber spatula.
Place slices of full-size Milky Way Bar on top of brownie batter.
Bake 25 to 35 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Do not overbake!
Let cool completely, then cover tightly and chill overnight. These are very gooey, so be sure to chill if you want to cut them!


Friday, March 10, 2017

Chocolate Hamentaschen for Purim!

The Holiday of Purim falls this weekend (lunar calendar). The traditional food served during this Jewish holiday is Hamentaschen. They're made to resemble Hamen's (the villain of the story) hat! Traditionally, hamentaschen were filled with prune, apricot, or munn (poppyseed). But what's to say that Hamen's Hat couldn't be made of or filled with chocolate? I must mention that this holiday is about a Jewish woman (Queen Esther) who saves her people. How can you not love a holiday that honors a strong clever woman?

In the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar, on its thirteenth day ... on the day that the enemies of the Jews were expected to prevail over them, it was turned about: the Jews prevailed over their adversaries. - Esther 9:1
And they gained relief on the fourteenth, making it a day of feasting and gladness. - Esther 9:17
[Mordecai instructed them] to observe them as days of feasting and gladness, and sending delicacies to one another, and gifts to the poor. - Esther 9:22

Short summary: The holiday of Purim appears in the Book of Esther. The story is read from the Megillah. So as not to give you the whole 'megillah' here, the story goes that Esther, a beautiful young Jewish woman living in Persia, and her cousin Mordecai, who raised her as a daughter, was taken to the house of Ahasuerus, King of Persia, to become part of Ahasuerus' harem. King Ahasuerus loved Esther and made Esther queen, but the king did not know that Esther was Jewish. The king’s aide, Haman, wanted to kill the Jews. Esther tells the king that Hamen is plotting to have her killed-- well he's plotting to have all the Jews killed. When she tells the King that she is Jewish, the king kills Haman instead and saves the Jews.

During Purim, everyone eats hamantaschen. They are supposed to be modeled after Haman’s three pointed hat. In Israel it's said they're shaped like Hamen's ears (oznei Haman), but I feel better about eating hats than ears. :-), but if you're so inclined here's a great video and recipe for Haman's Ears with Halva Spreads (one features Bittersweet Chocolate Sea Salt Halva spread) from Jamie Geller at Joy of Kosher

So on with the Chocolate!

Following are two great recipes for Chocolate Hamentaschen for Purim. You'll find them quite different, and I suggest you try both. Although the holiday starts this weekend, there's no reason that these great pastries (cookies) can't be made and consumed now (or at another time)!

Victoria Sutton at MyJewishLearning has a really wonderful recipe for Decadent Chocolate Hamantaschen. (Victoria Sutton has a BA from Barnard College, and the Grand Diploma in Classic Pastry Arts from the French Culinary Institute. She works as a freelance chef in New York City.) When I made these I filled them with Nutella. Great addition. So many possibilities. The second recipe has a darker chocolate pastry (I use DARK cocoa), and the hamentaschen are filled with jam (I like Bonne Maman Dark Cherry Preserves). The second recipe is from Emily at Voila! Adventures in the Kitchen with Emily. Another taste treat  is to fill these with peanut butter.  Of course, you can make your own family recipe for Hamentaschen and fill them with chocolate. Any way you make them, have fun! I've added a third link for yet another Purim treat!

Before you begin, here are some TIPS for making good Hamentaschen.

Dough: Be sure and chill your dough. If you're not quick about it, put the dough back in the fridge for a short time. Be sure and refrigerate the dough before rolling it out. Roll out dough between pieces of parchment or wax paper rather than adding more flour, so the final product isn't too dense and doughy.

Tip for shaping: Put a dollop of filling in the middle of each circle. Fold up the sides to make a triangle, folding the last corner under the starting point, so that each side has a corner that folds over and a corner that folds under. Folding in this "pinwheel" style will reduce the likelihood that the last side will fall open while cooking, losing its filling. It also makes a better triangle shape.

I. Decadent Chocolate Hamentaschen
Recipe from Victoria Sutton at MyJewishLearning 

Chocolate Pâte Sucree:
3/4 cup granulated sugar
4 ounces butter, softened
1 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
1 egg
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup DARK cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
3-4 Tablespoons heavy cream

Chocolate Ganache Filling:
8 1/2 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
8 ounces heavy cream
Dash salt
Rum to taste (optional)

Chopped cherries, cranberries, nuts, or toffee (optional)

To prepare sucree: Cream butter, sugar, salt, and almond extract if using until light and fluffy. Add egg and mix until incorporated. Combine flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder. Add to butter mixture in two stages, alternating with the heavy cream. More or less cream might be needed depending on the consistency of the dough. Turn dough out onto plastic wrap, and form a flattened disc. Chill for at least one hour.

To prepare ganache: Over a double boiler, heat cream and chopped chocolate. When chocolate is mostly melted, lightly whisk until ganache is smooth and shiny. Whisk in rum (optional) and salt. Chill for several hours.

To form hamantaschen: Roll chilled chocolate sucree to slightly more than 1/8 inch thick. Using a round cutter or glass rim dipped in flour, cut circles of about 3 inches in diameter. If adding dried fruit or nuts, sprinkle a small amount in the center of the cut discs.

Remove ganache from fridge, and using either a small ice-cream scoop or by hand, form about 1 inch round balls and place in center of sucree circles. Carefully fold in the edges to form a triangular shape, and pinch the corners to seal.  Ensure there are no gaps or tears in the dough, to prevent filling from oozing out during baking.

Bake hamantaschen on greased cookie sheets at 350 F for about 15 minutes, until crust is baked through. Ganache will liquify during baking, but will set as hamantaschen cool. 


This second recipe features a really dark chocolate pastry,  and these hamentaschen are filled with jam. This recipe is adapted from Emily at Voila! Adventures in the Kitchen with Emily. Another great taste treat is to fill these with peanut butter.

II. CHOCOLATE HAMENTASCHEN 
Recipe from Emily at Voila! Adventures in the Kitchen with Emily.

Ingredients
Recipe originally adapted from Coconut and Lime
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 egg
1 teaspoon Madagascar vanilla
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup DARK cocoa
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup of any flavor jam, divided

Directions
Preheat oven to 350. Grease or line with cookie sheet with parchment paper
In large bowl, cream together sugar and butter until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and beat thoroughly.
Add flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt, and mix until thick dough forms. Refrigerate dough for about 10 minutes.
Sprinkle  clean work area with powdered sugar. Roll out dough until about 1/4 inch thick. Cut out 2 to 3 inch rounds. Place on cookie sheets about 2 inches apart.
Spoon 1-2 tsp of jam (or peanut butter) in middle and fold sides to create  triangle shape. Pinch corners and lightly smoosh them down so there isn’t a visible seam. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

III. And, here's a recipe to a third recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookie Stuffed Chocolate Hamentaschen from With love and cupcakes.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Chocolate Chip Cookie Week: Retro Ad & Recipe

This week is Chocolate Chip Cookie Week, and you can never have too many chocolate chip cookie recipes. To celebrate, here's a Crisco Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe from the 1990s.  (Yes, the 90s are Retro!) I will admit, though, that I would use butter in my recipe! Sorry, Crisco, I love you in pie crusts and other baked goods, but not in my cookies. I do really like your Advertisement, though! Don't you feel you could 'almost take a bite out of this recipe'!

1990s Crisco Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients
3/4 cup Butter Flavor Crisco (I use butter)
1-1/4 cups firmly packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp milk
1 Tbsp vanilla
1 egg
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chocolate chips
1 cup pecan pieces

Directions
Heat oven 375˚F.
Cream Butter Flavor Crisco, brown sugar, milk, and vanilla in large bowl. Blend in egg.
Combine flour, salt and baking soda.
Add to creamed mixture, gradually.
Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.
Drop rounded tablespoons (about 2 measuring tablespoons) of dough 3 inches apart on ungreased baking sheet.
Bake at 375˚F. 8 to 10 minutes for chewy cookies, 11 to 13 minutes for crisp cookies.
Cool on baking sheet 2 minutes. Remove to cooling rack.
Makes 3 dozen 3-inch cookies

San Francisco Chocolate Salon and SF Chocolate Week


San Francisco CHOCOLATE SALON 10-Day Countdown|

San Francisco International CHOCOLATE SALON
March 18, 2017
Garden Level, Hotel Kabuki
10:00am - 5:30pm 
www.SFChocolateSalon.com

Chocolate aficionados, fanatics, buyers and journalists can experience the finest in artisan, gourmet & premium chocolate in one of the world's great culinary metropolitan areas. Featuring a delicious selection chosen and curated by the Organizers, the International CHOCOLATE SALON participants include over 40 of master chocolatiers, confectioners, and other culinary artisans. Salon highlights include chocolate tasting, chef & author talks, and ongoing interviews by TasteTV's TASTEABLE CALIFORNIA program.


TasteTV and the International Chocolate Salon are pleased to announce The Original and Premier Artisan Chocolate Show on the West Coast takes place this Spring at the 11th Annual.

San Francisco International CHOCOLATE SALON.
Chocolate aficionados, fanatics, buyers and journalists can experience the finest in artisan, gourmet & premium chocolate in one of the world's great culinary metropolitan areas.

Curated 2017 chocolatiers and artisan culinary partners include:
  
Amano Artisan Chocolate, William Dean Chocolates, Endorfin, Socola Chocolatier, David Bacco Chocolatier, Fookie,  Rainy Day Chocolate, Fera'wyn's Artisan Chocolates, Cowboy Toffee Company, BASEL B INC, Coracao Confections, Alter Eco, R & J Toffees, Kindred Cooks Caramels, CaCoCo, Cadence Chocolates, Flying Noir, Cocotutti, Live a Lot, New Orleans Bill, Be A Gourmet, DAVIDsTEA, Marti Chocolatt, 3D Candies, and MomYvonne's Candy Co., Cru Chocolate, Choquiero Chocolate, The Cocoa Exchange (Dove Signature Chocolate), Rachel Dunn Chocolates, Raphio Chocolate, Mount Aukum Winery, Fine Chocolate Industry Association, Farm Fresh To You, and more.   

Salon highlights include chocolate tasting, chef & author talks, wine tasting and ongoing interviews by TasteTV's Chocolate Television program. (Salon Entry includes all chocolate & confection tastings, demos, etc.).

***

March 9th-17th, SF Chocolate Week is an extension of the SF Chocolate Salon, and a week long celebration of cocoa creations, desserts, drinks, chocolates and confections across the San Francisco Bay Area. For the full schedule, or to participate, visit www.SFChocolateWeek.com 

*SF Chocolate Week Schedule is updated daily. Check back often,


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Triple Chocolate Peanut Clusters: Peanut Cluster Day

Happy Peanut Cluster Day! Seems like we just had another Chocolate Covered Nut Day, but I don't mind celebrating again--this time with Peanuts. This recipe is so easy, and you make it in a Slow Cooker! This recipe is from from the Southern Living Slow Cooker Cookbook (2006). Of course, you can substitute any higher quality chocolate in this recipe! I love that there are three types of chocolate!

TRIPLE CHOCOLATE PEANUT CLUSTERS

Ingredients
1 (16-ounce) jar dry-roasted peanuts
1 (16-ounce) jar unsalted dry-roasted peanuts
18 (2-ounce) chocolate bark coating squares, cut in half
2 cups (12-ounce package) semisweet chocolate morsels
1 (4-ounce) package German chocolate baking squares, broken into pieces
1 (9.75-ounce) can salted whole cashews
1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions
Combine first 5 ingredients in a 3 1/2- or 4-quart slow cooker.
Cover and cook on LOW 2 hours or until melted.
Stir chocolate mixture.
Add cashews and vanilla, stirring well to coat cashews.
Drop nut mixture by heaping tablespoonfuls onto wax paper.
Let stand until firm.
Store in airtight container.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Chocolate Cereals: National Cereal Day!

Today is National Cereal Day! There weren't that many (if any) chocolate cereals when I was a kid, and I doubt my parents (my Dad was a pediatrician) would have allowed them at the breakfast table. But over the years since then, there have been many chocolate cereals. I'm not going to say that Chocolate Cereal is healthy, but since you'll probably add some milk, you'll be getting your calcium. It beats grabbing a candy bar for breakfast, but probably not by much. Nevertheless, since today is National Cereal Day, I thought I'd list some of the Chocolate Cereals that have hit the supermarket shelves over the years. None of these were in the cereal snack packs I had as a kid. Have any favorites? Leave a comment.

So for National Cereal Day, here are some Retro Chocolate Cereals! Be sure and scroll down for a Vintage Recipe for Cocoa Peanut Logs using Kellogg's Cocoa Krispies!

Also, check out my recipe for Chocolate Granola. There are also some healthy chocolate granolas on the market. Or you can make Chocolate Oatmeal with Chocolate Chips.






















And a retro recipe for Cocoa Peanut Logs from the back of the cereal box!




Monday, March 6, 2017

One Bowl Oreo Brownies: National Oreo Day!

Oreo Ad: 1960
Happy Birthday, Oreo! Today is Oreo Day! The Oreo is America's Favorite Cookie! This cookie debuted on March 6, 1912 by the National Biscuit Company (Nabisco, now owned  by Kraft). The original Oreo was packaged as a Trio: the Mother Goose, the Veronese, and the Oreo Biscuit. Oreo was the most popular, and soon was a stand-alone, well as far as cookies go, because you always need milk with Oreos!

In 1921, Nabisco dropped 'Biscuit' from the name and called it 'Oreo Sandwich'. In 1948 it was called the 'Oreo Creme Sandwich' and today it's marketed as the Oreo Chocolate Sandwich Cookie.  Over the years there have been many variations -- Mini Oreos, Double Delight,  Triple stuffed, Lemon-Cream, Chocolate Covered Mint Oreos, Halloween Oreos, Green Tea Oreos--even Oreo O's Cereal made by Post. For a much more complete and terrific history of Oreos go to Months of Edible Celebrations 2008 post. For those who are interested in cookie history, the Hydrox chocolate sandwich cookie predated Oreos by four years. Read more here.

So how do you eat your Oreos? Do you dunk them? Do you open them and lick the filling and then eat the cookies? 

I've posted scads of Oreo-based tasty treats here on DyingforChocolate. But here's an easy recipe for One Bowl Oreo Brownies. you'll love these!

ONE BOWL OREO BROWNIES

Ingredients 
1 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup granulated sugar
1-1/2 cups light brown sugar, packed
1 Tbsp vanilla
4 eggs
1 tsp salt
1- 1/2 cups flour
1 cup DARK cocoa powder
1 cup chocolate chips
25 Oreo cookies, coarsely chopped

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°F
Line 9 x13 pan with foil and spray with nonstick spray. Set aside.
In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment combine butter, sugar, vanilla, and eggs. Mix on medium speed until combined, about 1 minute. Add in salt and cocoa powder and mix on medium until combined, 30 seconds to minute.
Turn mixer to low and add in flour until incorporated.
Stir in chocolate chips.
Spread half of batter into pan.
Top with Oreos and spread remaining batter on top.
Bake 35-40 minutes until center is almost set.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Absinthe Day: Chocolate Absinthe Bundt Cake

Today is National Absinthe Day. Absinthe is a strong herbal liqueur distilled with a large number of herbs like anise, licorice, hyssop, veronica, fennel, lemon balm, angelica and wormwood (the flavor of anise and/or licorice, at least in contemporary forms of the liquor, tends to predominate).  

Wormwood, the one that's gained the most notoriety, is Artemisia absinthum, an herb that grows wild in Europe and has been cultivated in the United States as well. Much of the liquor's legendary effect is due to its extremely high alcohol content, ranging from 50% to 75% (usually around 60%), plus the contribution of the various herbs. It has been assumed by  that the so-called "active ingredient"in absinthe is wormwood, although that is apparently not really the case.

The drink was referred to in France as "La Fée Verte" or The Green Fairy which is a reference to its green color (depending on the brand). The color usually came from the chlorophyll content of the herbs used in the distillation process; however, some disreputable manufacturers added toxic chemicals to produce both the green color and the louche (or clouding) effect that in reputable brands was caused by the precipitation of the essential oils of the herbs. It is quite probable that the bad reputation absinthe developed was due to these low-grade and perhaps quite poisonous version of the real thing.

Absinthe was very popular in fin-de-siècle Paris, with Vincent Van Gogh, Paul Verlaine, Alfred Jarry and Oscar Wilde among its most famous imbibers. And, of course, there was Edgar Allan Poe.

Two good websites about Absinthe: La Fee Verte  & The Wormwood Society.

For this year's holiday, I thought I'd post an easy Chocolate Absinthe Bundt cake recipe. You have to like Absinthe to really enjoy this cake. Always use a name brand absinthe -- Absinthe is an acquired taste. What I like about this recipe is that the absinthe flavor is enhanced by the anise and fennel seed (you can actually use 1/8 tsp each for more flavor). Original recipe from Epicurious.

CHOCOLATE ABSINTHE BUNDT CAKE

Ingredients
1 cup unsalted butter, room temp
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1/2 cup absinthe
2 cups flour
1 cup unsweetened Dark cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground anise or fennel seed
1 cup hot water
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions
Beat butter at medium speed with electric mixer until fluffy. Gradually add sugar, beating well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Add absinthe; beat until blended.
Combine flour and next 5 ingredients; add to sugar mixture alternately with hot water, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed until blended after each addition; stir in flavorings.
Pour batter into greased and floured 9-inch bundt cakepan.
Bake at 300° for 60 minutes. Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan, and cool completely on wire rack.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Milk Chocolate Pecan Pound Cake

Today is National Pound Cake Day. Pound Cake is so versatile. The name Pound Cake comes from the fact that the original pound cakes contained one pound each of butter, sugar, eggs, and flour. Made it easy to remember! No leaveners were used other than the air whipped into the batter. A cake made of one pound of each of butter, sugar, eggs, and flour would have been very large and would have been able to serve multiple families. As years went by, the portions of the ingredients used were adjusted to make a smaller, lighter cake. However, the name of the cake stuck. Pound cakes are generally baked in either a loaf pan or a Bundt pan. They can be iced or dusted with powdered sugar.

I know you're going to love the following recipe for Milk Chocolate Chip Pecan Pound Cake. I left the recipe pretty much as is since I did originally find it on the Hershey's Kitchens website, but, of course, feel free to substitute. It's actually quite awesome with dark chocolate chips, dark cocoa and rich dark chocolate syrup.

Milk Chocolate Chip Pecan Pound Cake 
from the Hershey's Kitchens

Ingredients:
 2 cups (11.5-oz. pkg.) HERSHEY'S Milk Chocolate Chips, divided
1 cup unsalted butter, softened (Margarine in original recipe as option. I don't use margarine)
1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 eggs
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Dash salt
1 cup buttermilk or sour milk*
3/4 cup HERSHEY'S Syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans
Powdered sugar(optional)

Directions:
Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 12-cup fluted tube pan (bundt pan).
Place 1 cup milk chocolate chips in medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at MEDIUM (50%) 1 minute; stir. If necessary, microwave at MEDIUM an additional 15 seconds at a time, stirring after each heating, until chips are melted when stirred.
Beat butter in large bowl until creamy; gradually add granulated sugar, beating on medium speed of mixer until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add melted chocolate; beat until blended.
Stir together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt; add to chocolate mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating until blended. Add syrup and vanilla; beat until blended. Stir in remaining milk chocolate chips and pecans. Spoon batter into prepard pan.
Bake 1 hour and 15 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, Cool 10 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely.

*To sour milk: Use 1 tablespoon white vinegar plus milk to equal 1 cup.


Photo: Hershey's Kitchens