Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Harvest Moon Pumpkin Brownies

I love the Harvest Moon. Don't you? Last night the sky was clear, and the moon was bright, big, and round! Here's a recipe to celebrate the Harvest Moon. I call these Harvest Moon Pumpkin Brownies. I adapted the recipe from Libby's Pumpkin. These Brownies are great to celebrate the Harvest Moon, Halloween, Thanksgiving, or as after school treats!

Note: These brownies are more cakelike than chewy. With that in mind, enjoy!

HARVEST MOON PUMPKIN BROWNIES

Ingredients
Nonstick cooking spray
1/2 cup LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
2 large egg whites
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp DARK unsweetened Cocoa
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup broken dark chocolate chunks (or chocolate chips)

Directions
Preheat Oven to 350° F. Spray 8- or 9-inch-square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Combine pumpkin, sugar, egg, egg whites, and oil in large mixer bowl. Beat with electric mixer on medium speed until blended. Add flour, baking powder, cocoa, cinnamon, allspice, salt, and nutmeg.
Beat on low speed until batter is smooth. Stir in morsels. Spread evenly into prepared pan.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until wooden pick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack. Cut into 2-inch squares.

Here's a link to another Pumpkin Brownie Recipe on The District Chocoholic that also uses Libby's Pumpkin.

Do you have a favorite Pumpkin Brownie Recipe? Leave a comment and link!

Monday, September 24, 2018

CHOCOLATE CHERRIES JUBILEE CAKE & SAUCE: National Cherries Jubilee Day

Today is National Cherries Jubilee Day! What a great day to celebrate! Cherries Jubilee was created by Chef August Escoffier in honor of Queen Victoria's Jubilee celebration. Cherries were her favorite fruit. The original recipe only featured cherries poached in syrup and warmed with brandy that was set afire just prior to serving.

Here are two recipes - one for Chocolate Cherries Jubilee Cake and one for Chocolate Cherries Jubilee. The cake is moist and scrumptious. You can also pour the Cherries Jubilee sauce over your own favorite chocolate cake!

CHOCOLATE CHERRIES JUBILEE CAKE!

Cake:
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1- 1/2 cups cake flour or 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1- 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided use
1/2 cup unsweetened DARK cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup Canola oil
2 large eggs, separated
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Cherry Sauce:
1 (16 or 17-ounces) can pitted dark sweet cherries, drained (reserve 3/4 cup liquid)
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 Tbsp Kirsch or Cherry Brandy
1 Tbsp cornstarch
Dash salt

Vanilla ice cream

Directions
Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan.

For Cake:
Stir baking soda into buttermilk in medium bowl until dissolved; set aside.
In large bowl, stir together flour, 1 cup sugar, cocoa, and salt. Add oil, buttermilk mixture, egg yolks, and vanilla and beat until smooth.
In small bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form; gradually add remaining 1/2 cup sugar, beating until stiff peaks form.
Gently fold egg whites into chocolate batter. Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until cake springs back when touched lightly in center. Cool in pan.

For Cherry Sauce:
In medium saucepan, stir together reserved cherry liquid, cherry liqueur, sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and add cherries and orange peel.

Serve cake with a scoop of ice cream and Cherry Sauce spooned over the top.


CHOCOLATE CHERRIES JUBILEE

Ingredients
1/2 cup dark cherry preserves (I love Bonne Maman)
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
3 Tbsp Cognac or Kirsh

1 pint chocolate chocolate chip ice cream
Toasted sliced almonds (optional)

Directions
Melt preserves in heavy small saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently. Mix in cinnamon and Cognac.
Scoop ice cream into bowls. Spoon sauce over (you can ignite it for special effects and then pour :-). Sprinkle with almonds (optional)

Sunday, September 23, 2018

ICE CREAM CONE DAY: History & Recipe

Yesterday was National Ice Cream Cone Day. In honor of the day, I had an ice cream cone of Screaming Mimi's Mimi's Mud..my favorite Sebastopol chocolate ice cream. I chose a sugar cone, but Frank had a double waffle cone. Both were great. So here's a bit of history about ice cream cones from the International Dairy Foods Association. As I've mentioned many times on this blog, you can find all kinds of food history and recipes at Food Association sites.

HISTORY OF THE ICE CREAM CONE

The first ice cream cone was produced in 1896 by Italo Marchiony. Marchiony, who emigrated from Italy in the late 1800s, invented his ice cream cone in New York City. He was granted a patent in December 1903.

Although Marchiony is credited with the invention of the cone, a similar creation was independently introduced at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair by Ernest A. Hamwi, a Syrian concessionaire. Hamwi was selling a crisp, waffle-like pastry -- zalabis -- in a booth right next to an ice cream vendor. Because of ice cream's popularity, the vendor ran out of dishes. Hamwi saw an easy solution to the ice cream vendor's problem: he quickly rolled one of his wafer-like waffles in the shape of a cone, or cornucopia, and gave it to the ice cream vendor. The cone cooled in a few seconds, the vendor put some ice cream in it, the customers were happy and the cone was on its way to becoming the great American institution that it is today.

St. Louis, a foundry town, quickly capitalized on the cone's success. Enterprising people invented special baking equipment for making the World's Fair cornucopia cones.

Stephen Sullivan of Sullivan, Missouri, was one of the first known independent operators in the ice cream cone business. In 1906, Sullivan served ice cream cones (or cornucopias, as they were still called) at the Modern Woodmen of America Frisco Log Rolling in Sullivan, Missouri.

At the same time, Hamwi was busy with the Cornucopia Waffle Company. In 1910, he founded the Missouri Cone Company, later known as the Western Cone Company.

As the modern ice cream cone developed, two distinct types of cones emerged. The rolled cone was a waffle, baked in a round shape and rolled (first by hand, later mechanically) as soon as it came off the griddle. In a few seconds, it hardened in the form of a crisp cone. The second type of cone was molded either by pouring batter into a shell, inserting a core on which the cone was baked, and then removing the core; or pouring the batter into a mold, baking it and then splitting the mold so the cone could be removed with little difficulty.

In the 1920s, the cone business expanded. Cone production in 1924 reached a record 245 million. Slight changes in automatic machinery have led to the ice cream cone we know today. Now, millions of rolled cones are turned out on machines that are capable of producing about 150,000 cones every 24 hours.

ICE CREAM CONE RECIPE 

Ingredients
2 eggs
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
3 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons vegetable oil, or as needed

Directions
Whisk together eggs and sugar in a large bowl until frothy. Whisk in butter, milk, and vanilla. Gradually whisk in flour and salt until smooth. Batter should be thin; you can stir in more milk if needed.
Heat small skillet or griddle over medium heat. Brush pan lightly with oil. Pour about 1/4 cup of batter onto skillet and turn to spread out batter into thin circle. When underside is golden brown, flip over and cook until golden on other side. Remove from pan and form into cone while it's hot, squeezing end to seal. Place on wire rack to cool and harden completely.
Repeat with remaining batter.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Cartoon of the Day: Marshmallows


WHITE CHOCOLATE CHEESECAKE: White Chocolate Day!

Today is White Chocolate Day. The USDA does not consider white chocolate as chocolate.White chocolate doesn't contain any cocoa solids (chocolate liquor) and does not have 'chocolate' flavor. But I believe it's chocolate, and I like the unique creamy flavor good white chocolate does have--of course that 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 baking with 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 chocolate bars.

Examples of good white chocolate:
E. Guittard has 31% Cacao White Chocolate wafers. Great for baking (and eating)
Green & Black's 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.
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 theibeans 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.
And, there are others!

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 tablespoons 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. Take out and 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 berries, whipped cream, or chocolate sauce.

Chocolate Cookie Crust:
Ingredients
30 chocolate wafers (to yield about 1-1/2 cups crumbs)
5 tablespoons 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.

Friday, September 21, 2018

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE PECAN COOKIES: National Pecan Cookie Day

Pecans and chocolate are a true marriage made in heaven! I've posted recipes for Chocolate Pecan Sandies, definitely a pecan cookie, but I thought I'd post a different one to celebrate National Pecan Cookie Day!

This recipe is adapted from Woman's Day, April 1, 2006.  As always, I suggest you use the very best ingredients. I use crumbled toffee in the recipe, and I use 15 ounces of 75% chocolate in place of the original 2 10-oz milk chocolate bars. Also used DARK cocoa. And, an FYI, there are over 1000 varieties of pecans. Whichever you choose, you'll go nuts for this recipe!

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE PECAN COOKIES

Ingredients
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2⁄3 cup packed light brown sugar
2⁄3 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
3⁄4 tsp baking soda
3⁄4 tsp salt
2 1⁄3 cups all-purpose flour
2⁄3 cup unsweetened DARK cocoa powder
10 oz English toffee bits
1-1⁄2 cups coarsely chopped pecans
15-oz dark chocolate (65-75% cacao), chopped coarsely (or dark chocolate chips)

Directions
Heat oven to 375°F. Have baking sheets ready.
Beat butter, sugars, and vanilla in large bowl with mixer on medium speed 1 to 2 minutes until fluffy. Beat in eggs, baking soda, and salt until combined. Add flour and beat on low speed until blended.
Stir in cocoa powder,  English toffee bits, pecans and chocolate.
Drop rounded tablespoons dough about 1 1⁄2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.
Bake 8 to 9 minutes until edges are golden brown.
Cool on sheet 1 to 2 minutes before removing to wire rack to cool completely.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

DEVIL'S FOOD CHOCOLATE CAKE: Guest post by Carolyn Tillery

I was perusing Facebook the other day and came across a fabulous photo of Devil's Food Chocolate Cake on my friend Carolyn Tillery's profile page! Carolyn Tillery is definitely the hostess with the mostess. Her cakes are legendary, her china and pottery fabulous, and personally she's a delight. I had to ask her for the recipe. I especially love that this cake has 3 layers.. Makes it so much more interesting! And, did I mention that Carolyn is the author of the Galveston Island and The Captain Maggie Hayes Mysteries? She's also Vice-Chair of Bouchercon 2019 in Dallas, TX. I love when my mystery and chocolate worlds collide.

Carolyn Tillery:
Devil’s Food Chocolate Cake 

I’m one of those bakers who measures everything out ahead of time. I really enjoy the process of baking, so filling all those little bowls with carefully measured ingredients makes me happy. I found this chocolate cake recipe–torn from a magazine–among my thick file of them, and was delighted with the results. The cake is extremely moist and rich. I recommend it be served with vanilla ice cream.

For the Cake 
1 cup butter, softened
3 cups packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup baking cocoa 3 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 1/3 cups sour cream
1 1/3 cups boiling water

For the Frosting
½ cup butter, cubed
3 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
3 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
5 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 cup (8oz) sour cream
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350˚. Grease and flour (I use Baker’s Joy) three 9-inch round baking pans.
2. In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. In another bowl, whisk flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with sour cream, beating well after each addition. Carefully mix in water until blended.
3. Transfer to prepared pans. Bake 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.
4. For frosting, in a metal bowl over simmering water, melt butter and chocolates; stir until smooth. Cool slightly.
5. In a large bowl, combine confections’ sugar, sour cream and vanilla. Add chocolate mixture; beat until smooth. Spread frosting between layers and over top and sides of cake. Refrigerate leftovers.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

CHOCOLATE RUM BALLS: Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Today is Talk Like a Pirate Day! Arrggh! So in honor of the day, make Chocolate Rum Balls. Every Pirate's favorite treat! Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of Rum!

CHOCOLATE RUM BALLS

Ingredients
1 cup chopped dark chocolate
1/2 cup plus 1/3 cup powdered sugar, divided
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1/2 cup dark rum
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 cups vanilla wafers, crushed
1 cup crushed walnuts
1/4 cup DARK cocoa powder

Directions
Melt chocolate in double boiler or saucepan over saucepan over simmering water.
Sift 1/2 cup of powdered sugar over melted chocolate. Add corn syrup, rum, and salt. Whisk until sugar dissolves, rum is incorporated, and mixture is smooth. Add crushed wafers and walnuts. Stir with spatula or wooden spoon until incorporated. It will be crumbly.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour or overnight.
To shape rum balls, put cocoa powder and remaining 1/3 cup of powdered sugar in separate bowls and keep nearby.
Use spoon or melon baller to scoop cooled mixture and roll into 1-inch ball. Mixture will be crumbly and hard but will come together in your hands.
Coat rum ball with powdered sugar or cocoa powder and repeat with rest of the mixture.
Store in airtight container in refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Rum balls improve in flavor as days go by.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Toll House Peanut Butter Golden Brownies: Retro Ad & Recipe

I love Retro Ads with Recipes. You'll love this one from Nestle for Toll House Peanut Butter Golden Brownies. Great for Fall. As I always say, you can never have too many Brownie Recipes. Be sure and use the very best ingredients for the best 2018 results!



Monday, September 17, 2018

CHOCOLATE CHIP NOODLE KUGEL: Breaking of the Fast or Any Time!

Since the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, starts tomorrow night, I thought I'd post a recipe you can easily make for the Breaking of the Fast. I love this Noodle Kugel with Chocolate Chips.

A bit of  history on Kugel. Kugel a traditional Ashkenazic Jewish dessert or side dish. Kugel is Yiddish for ball, but it is sometimes translated as pudding or casserole, and related to the German Gugelhupf. The first Kugel were plain -- made from bread and flour, and salty rather than sweet. About 800 years ago, the flavor and popularity changed when cooks in Germany replaced bread mixtures with noodles or farfel. Eventually eggs were incorporated. The addition of cottage cheese and milk created a custard-like consistency which is common for today's dishes. In the 17th century, sugar was introduced, which gave the option of serving kugel as a side dish or dessert. In Poland, Jewish women sprinkled raisins and cinnamon into recipes. Hungarians took the dessert concept further with a hefty helping of sugar and some sour cream.

Today many people add corn flakes, graham cracker crumbs, ground gingersnaps or caramelized sugar on top. Some people layer the dish with sliced pineapples or apricot jam. So it's not surprising that I like a Chocolate Chip Kugel! Enjoy this for the Breaking of the Fast or any time!

Chocolate Chip Noodle Kugel

Ingredients:
12 oz pkg medium wide noodles boiled & drained
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
8 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 pint (16 oz) cottage cheese (large curd)
2 cups sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup chocolate chips

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350.
Butter sides and bottom of 9 x 13 Pyrex or another Pan.
Beat together eggs and sugar. Add cottage cheese, sour cream, melted butter, and vanilla and mix with wooden spoon.
Fold in noodles and chocolate chips.
Pour mixture into buttered pan.
Bake at 350°F for 40-60 minutes until just set.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

CINNAMON SWIRL CHOCOLATE RAISIN BREAD: National Cinnamon Swirl Bread Day

I love bread..probably more than cake. I used to make all my own bread, but in the past 20+ years my home town of Berkeley, CA, has been the epicenter of food, and, for me, bread! I have so many fabulous bakeries within a mile of my house that I no longer bake bread. However, since today is National Cinnamon Swirl Bread Day, I thought I'd post a recipe for Cinnamon Swirl Chocolate Raisin Bread!

My favorite recipe is from Zabar's website! No surprise there! Recipe by Tiffany Ludwig with a few adaptations. As always, use the very best chocolate and cinnamon.

Cinnamon Swirl Chocolate Raisin Bread

Ingredients 
1 cup warm milk
4 Tbsp brown sugar
1 packet instant yeast (2 1/4 tsp) 
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 eggs
3 1/2 cups white all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup raisins
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp cinnamon
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup dark chocolate chunks (or chips)

Directions
Combine warm milk, 4 Tbsp brown sugar and yeast, stir and wait 10 minutes.
In bowl of stand mixer whisk yeast mixture, eggs, and melted butter. Add flour and salt all at once and with dough hook attachment combine on low speed. To this loose dough add raisins and continue to knead on medium /low for 10 minutes. Don't worry if raisins drop out of the dough, they will eventually combine with the dough. If dough nudges up over the hook pause machine and push dough back down. If dough is very dry, add water; if too sticky, add flour, but only a bit.
You can also mix and knead by hand for 10 minutes. 
Remove hook and let dough rest in bowl, covered in plastic wrap, for at least an hour. It will double in size.
Filling Ingredients
In small bowl, combine brown sugar, cinnamon, and melted butter to make paste.
Prepare 5x9" loaf pan with butter and line bottom and sides with parchment paper.
Flour counter top and stretch dough to form rectangle approximately 8"x18".
Spread filling over entire dough and sprinkle on chocolate chunks.
From short end, roll up dough tightly all the way across.
Place dough in prepared loaf pan, seam side down.
Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 45 min.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Bake 45-50 minutes, until internal temperature reads 190 degrees.
Remove from oven, loosen ends with knife and lifting the parchment (if used) remove bread from pan.
Allow to fully cool on a rack before slicing.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

GRASSHOPPER PIE: National Creme de Menthe Day

Today is National Creme de Menthe Day! Celebrate with Grasshopper Pie!

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 Creme de Menthe 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!

Friday, September 14, 2018

CHOCOLATE MARBLE COFFEE CAKE: Breaking the Fast

Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is the most important holiday in the Jewish calendar. This holiday involves fasting, but at the end of the holiday there's a Breaking of the Fast that usually involves a big feast. Chocolate Marble Coffee Cake is perfect for the Breaking of the Fast. The following recipe includes butter and sour cream, so if you're bringing something for the Breaking of the Fast, check to see if your hosts are Kosher and whether or not they're planning a meat or dairy meal. Everyone else, this is a fabulous chocolate marble coffee cake for just about any time! It even tastes great sliced and toasted for breakfast!

This recipe is adapted from Carole Walter's recipe for Chocolate Ripple Coffee Cake in Fine Cooking, October 29, 2008. You're going to love it! It's one of my favorite go-to recipes! I'll bet you have most of the ingredients in your pantry and fridge. This coffee cake also freezes well.

CHOCOLATE MARBLE COFFEE CAKE

INGREDIENTS

For the cake:
3 cups sifted cake flour
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1-1/4 cups unsalted butter, slightly softened
1-1/2 cups superfine sugar
4 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups sour cream

For the filling:
1/2 cup toasted pecans
6 oz coarsely chopped dark chocolate (64-75% cacao)
3 Tbsp granulated sugar
3 Tbsp light brown sugar
3 Tbsp Dutch-processed or natural cocoa powder  (Tip: Natural vs Dutch-processed


For the streusel topping:
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
2 Tbsp light brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp table salt  


DIRECTIONS

Position rack in center of oven -- 350ºF.
Butter and flour 10-inch tube pan with removable bottom.

Make topping: In 2-quart saucepan, heat butter over medium heat until almost melted. Remove from heat and cool to tepid. In medium bowl, combine flour, pecans, both sugars, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt, and stir with fork. Add flour mixture to butter and stir until evenly moistened and crumbly.

Make filling: In food processor, pulse pecans, chopped chocolate, both sugars, and cocoa until chocolate is finely chopped, 12 to 14 pulses. Set aside 1/2 cup of mixture as additional topping.

Make cake: In medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add sugar slowly, beating until combined. Scrape bowl. Beat in eggs one at a time, blending each one completely before adding each. Scrape bowl and blend in vanilla. On low speed, alternate adding dry ingredients and sour cream, adding flour in four parts and sour cream in three parts, beginning and ending with flour, and scraping  bowl as needed.

Layer and marble batter and filling: Spoon 2 cups of batter into prepared pan. Smooth with back of big spoon, spreading batter to side of pan first and then to center. Sprinkle 1/2 cup filling evenly over batter. Cover filling with about 2 cups batter, dropping chunks around pan and smoothing with spoon. Sprinkle another 1/2 cup filling evenly over batter and cover with 2 more cups batter. Layer on another 1/2 cup filling and then remaining batter. (four layers of batter and three layers of filling.) Insert table knife 1 inch from side of pan straight into  batter going almost to bottom. Run knife around pan two times, without lifting up blade, spacing circles about 1 inch apart. Smooth top with the back of spoon.

Top and bake the cake: Take a handful of streusel crumbs and squeeze firmly to form a large mass. Break up mass into smaller clumps, distributing streusel evenly over batter. Repeat with remaining streusel. Clump reserved chocolate filling mixture together with your hands and sprinkle over streusel. Press both toppings lightly into surface of cake. Bake until top of cake is golden brown,  sides are beginning to pull away from pan, and skewer inserted into center of cake comes out clean, 70 to 75 minutes. Transfer to wire rack and let cool for an hour before removing from pan.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

PEANUT BUTTER CHOCOLATE CAKE: National Peanut Day

Happy Peanut Day! Here's a great Wartime Rationing Ad for Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake to celebrate the day! This recipe is still great today!



Wednesday, September 12, 2018

IRISH COFFEE CHOCOLATE MILKSHAKE: National Chocolate Milkshake Day

Yesterday I posted 5 Quirky Chocolate Milkshake Recipes in honor of today's holiday, National Chocolate Milkshake Day, but here's one more: Irish Coffee Chocolate Milkshake. Love this adult version of a Chocolate Coffee Milkshake. Don't want alcohol in your drink? Scroll down for an easy non-alcoholic Chocolate Coffee Milkshake.

Irish Coffee Chocolate Milkshake

Ingredients
4 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
6 scoops coffee ice cream
2 Tbsp milk
1 ounce Irish Whisky

Directions
Peel chocolate to have some shavings to garnish milkshake.
Combine ice cream, milk, and whisky in blender. Process until smooth
Stir in chopped chocolate.
Garnish with chocolate curls.

Non-Alcoholic Chocolate Coffee Milkshake

Ingredients
1-1/2 cup chocolate ice cream
1/4 cup strong coffee or espresso (already made)
1/4 cup milk
Pinch cocoa powder

Directions
Put all ingredients except cocoa in blender. Blend on high until smooth and frothy. Pour into glasses. Sprinkle with cocoa.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

National Chocolate Milkshake Day: 5 Quirky Chocolate Milk Shake Recipes

Tomorrow is National Chocolate Milkshake Day, so I thought I'd get a jump on the holiday with the following unique chocolate milkshake recipes.

The easiest way to celebrate is to mix a little Milk with Chocolate Ice Cream and Chocolate Syrup and put it in the blender. Or you can mix Milk with Vanilla Ice cream and Chocolate syrup and blend. Measurements are up to you, but I have a few quasi-measurements below for Special Chocolate Milkshakes. 

If you're absolutely Dying for Chocolate, use 1 cup chocolate ice cream, 1/4 cup chocolate syrup, and 1/2 cup chocolate milk. Mix in Blender.

A Chocolate Malted Milkshake is a variation on your traditional chocolate milkshake. Add a Tbsp of malted milk powder to milk, chocolate syrup, and chocolate ice cream, and blend.

Like bananas? Make a Chocolate Banana Milk Shake: 1 cup milk, 1 scoop banana ice-cream, 1 scoop chocolate ice cream, 1/2 ripened banana, and some chocolate syrup, and blend.

And, if you really want to be daring, celebrate with a Chocolate Peanut Butter Milkshake. Blend 1 cup creamy peanut butter, 1/2 cup chocolate syrup, 1/4 cup milk, 12 cubes ice. Blend until smooth. (Ice cubes instead of ice-cream).

Have a great day!

Monday, September 10, 2018

NATIONAL TV DINNER DAY: History & Retro Ads

I shouldn't be surprised, but I was, to find out that there is a TV Dinner Day on the Food Holiday list.  TV Dinners became popular in the 1950s. After a busy day, families would put frozen dinners (they were individually packaged) in the oven, and out would come a full meal of 2 to 4 courses. Traditionally these were eaten on TV trays in front of the TV where the family would sit on the sofa or chairs and watch their favorite TV shows together.

This was not the case in my family. We ate as a family, fresh food prepared by my grandmother, mother, one of my aunts, or the help. Yes, we had help. Dinner time was when the family gathered and discussed school, work, politics, art, music. We were not allowed to watch TV during dinner. Perish the Thought! Oh how I envied the children in the ads and commercials. I was a TV junkie. Still am. I must reveal, though, that I have never eaten a TV Dinner. Never. They wouldn't have been in our freezer, even if someone 'dropped by' as it says in one of the ads below. The food on our table was always expandable to accommodate the numerous people who might and did stop in at dinner time. My grandmother was good at stretching everything. She didn't have to rely on a frozen prepackaged dinner.

The term TV dinner is a trademark originally used for a brand of packaged meal developed in 1953 by C.A. Swanson & Sons (the name in full was TV Brand Frozen Dinner). The original Swanson's TV Dinner came in an aluminum tray and was heated in the oven. It was an individual portion. TV dinners required very little preparation and contained all the elements for a single-serving meal. A TV dinner usually consisted of a cut of meat, usually beef or chicken; a vegetable, such as peas, carrots, corn, or potatoes; and sometimes a dessert.

Because this is a chocolate blog, I want to let you know that occasionally TV Dinners had a brownie  or chocolate pudding for dessert. More likely they didn't.

So in honor of TV Dinner Day, here are several Retro Ads. Always fun to see. Be sure to scroll down and watch the Retro TV Ad!





Sunday, September 9, 2018

CHOCOLATE HONEY CAKE for Rosh Hashanah

Here's a wonderful recipe for Chocolate Honey Cake. Honey Cake is a great treat to celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, that begins tonight. Honey is a traditional food that symbolizes a Sweet New Year. Add Chocolate, and the year is bound to be even sweeter!

This recipe is adapted from Nigella Lawson's Chocolate Honey Cake aka Honey Bee Cake. She decorates her Chocolate Honey Cake with the most adorable marzipan bees, but I've never got quite that involved. Too bad, because they're really beautiful. FYI: Honey cake doesn't have to be dry and heavy. This cake is incredibly moist! As I've mentioned before, though, your final product will be different depending on the type and brand of chocolate and the type of honey you use.

Chocolate Honey Cake

Ingredients

Cake:
4 ounces dark chocolate (50-65% cacao), chopped
1 1/3 cups soft light brown sugar
2 sticks soft unsalted butter
1/2 cup local honey
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp DARK cocoa
1 cup boiling water

Sticky Honey Glaze:
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup honey
6 ounces dark chocolate (60-75% cacao), finely chopped
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp confectioners sugar

Directions:
Have all ingredients at room temperature.
Melt chocolate from cake part of ingredients list in large bowl, either in microwave or bowl over pan of simmering water. Set aside to cool slightly.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, and butter and line 9-inch springform pan.
Beat together sugar and softened butter until airy and creamy, and then add honey.
Add 1 of eggs, beating in with tablespoon of flour, and then second egg with another tablespoon of flour.
Fold in melted chocolate, and then remaining flour and baking soda.
Add cocoa pushed through tea strainer to ensure no lumps, and last of all, beat in the boiling water.
Mix everything together well to make smooth batter and pour into prepared springform pan.
Bake for up to 1 -1/2 hours, checking cake after 45 minutes. If it's getting too dark, cover top lightly with aluminum foil and keep checking every 15 minutes.
10. Let cake cool completely in pan on rack.

Glaze: 
To make glaze, bring water and honey to boil in pot, then turn off the heat and add finely chopped chocolate, swirling around to melt in hot liquid.
Leave for few minutes, then whisk together.
Add sugar through sieve and whisk again until smooth.

Putting it together:
Choose plate or stand, and cut 4 strips of parchment paper and form square outline on plate. Reason: So when you put cake on it and ice it, icing won't run all over the plate (you can always cut the excess off later).
Unclip  springform pan and set thoroughly cooled cake on prepared plate.
Pour glaze over cold chocolate honey cake. It might dribble a bit down the edges, but don't worry too much about it. Glaze stays tacky for some time (which is what gives it its melting goeyness) so ice in time for glaze to harden a little, at least an hour before you want to serve it.

Nigella Lawson decorates this great cake with marzipan bees. For the recipe for them, and for her exact recipe, go HERE.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

DATE NUT BREAD WITH CHOCOLATE CHIPS: Retro Ad & Recipe

Dromedary Date Nut Bread (in a can) had a Jingle Contest in 1940 to win nylon hose, and there were winners. Here's both the Advertisement and the Ad with the winners!
***
Today is Date Nut Bread Day. Has this wonderful quick bread fallen out of favor? I think not. It's a great bread to smother with cream cheese.. or the more richer marscapone. Date Nut Bread makes fabulous sandwiches. It's also great toasted and smeared with sweet butter. Add some chocolate chips or chunks to the recipe, and it belongs on this blog!

This wonderful advertisement from 1940 not only reflects the popularity of this quick bread in the U.S., but it's an historical testament to nylon hose and prepared foods at that time. Want to sell a product in the 1940s? Appeal to women. To win a pair of nylons, all you needed to do was finish the jingle. 1000 lucky women won nylons.

In 1939  DuPont introduced nylon stockings at the New York World's Fair, whose theme was the "World of Tomorrow." DuPont then went into full scale production, and "by May 1940, nylon hose was a huge success and women lined up at stores across the county to obtain the precious goods." Just an FYI, nylon went to war in 1942  to be used  as parachutes and tents (as silk had been before nylon) and became in short supply.

Dromedary Date Nut Bread in a Can is no longer in production, but isn't the concept and advertisement fabulous. I used to bake a lot of quick breads in a can, but they didn't come already baked in a can, right on the shelves. FYI: Dromedary Date-Nut Bread in a can did not contain chocolate.

Dromedary Dates, which were also sold at the market, had a recipe on the back of the package for Date-Nut Bread. Here's a recipe that's pretty close to the original Dromedary Date-Nut Bread Recipe -- with the addition of Chocolate Chips. If you want your finished Date Nut Bread to look similar to the ad above, bake the date-nut breads in 4 soup cans!

DATE NUT BREAD WITH CHOCOLATE CHIPS

Ingredients
3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 cup chopped pitted dates (Dromedary chopped dates from the original recipe- one package-8 ounces-equals 2 cups)
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 Tbsp oil  (or 3 tbsp melted butter-original recipe mentions margarine, but I don't use margarine)
3/4 cup boiling water
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup sifted flour, unbleached
1/2 cup dark chopped chocolate chips

Directions
Preheat oven to 350.
With fork, mix walnuts, dates, soda, and salt in bowl.
Add oil and boiling water. Let stand 20 minutes.
With fork, beat eggs slightly, add vanilla.
Stir in sugar and sifted flour.
Mix in date mixture.
Fold in chocolate chips.
Do Not Overmix.
Place in greased 9x5x3 inch loaf pan (or coffee can or 4 soup cans).
Bake at 350 for 1 hour until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool in pan 10 minutes.
Move to wire rack to finish cooling.

Friday, September 7, 2018

HONEY CHOCOLATE BROWNIES: National Honey Month

September is National Honey Month. I'm a huge fan of HONEY, so feel free to make this Honey Chocolate Brownie recipe this month or any month of the year. And since Rosh Hashana starts on Sunday night, this is a great way to celebrate a sweet New Year.

This Honey Chocolate Brownie recipe won the 2000 Huron County Fair Blue Ribbon. I've adapted it slightly. Just as different cocoa will change the taste of these brownies, so will the honey. Try these brownies with different honey and chocolate combinations. I get most of my honey from my favorite local beekeepers.

HONEY CHOCOLATE BROWNIES

Ingredients
1 cup softened unsalted butter
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups honey
1 cup flour
3 eggs beaten
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1/3 cup DARK cocoa

Directions
In mixer, beat butter until creamy.
Slowly add honey, mixing constantly.
Add eggs, vanilla, and salt.
Add cocoa.
Add flour.
Fold in nuts.
Make sure the batter is mixed completely.
Pour batter into greased 9x13x2 inch. deep pan and bake at 350 for 30 to 35 minutes.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

CHOCOLATE RUGELACH for Rosh Hashana

Rosh Hashana starts Sunday night, so I thought I should start posting some chocolate recipes to help you usher in the Jewish New Year. I adore Rugelach, and I must admit, I usually buy them at the bakery, but sometimes you just want to make your own. Rugelach are made with a cream-cheese dough that is wrapped around a filling. Sometimes the filling is nuts or jam, but, of course, for me it's always chocolate!

This recipe for Chocolate Rugelach is adapted from Giora Shimoni on Kosherfood.com. She calls them Israeli Chocolate Rugelach, because she says Americans tend to fill their chocolate rugelach with mini-chocolate chips, while Israelis make their own filling. Since I always have chocolate around, I make my own filling. This is a go-to recipe. It's easy -- 25 minutes to make and 25 minutes to bake! Be sure to scroll down for Giora's tips on rugelach making. Even if you're not celebrating Rosh Hashana, you'll love these pastries for breakfast or brunch or with morning coffee. Yum!

CHOCOLATE RUGELACH 

DOUGH:
7 ounces unsalted butter
8 ounces cream cheese
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour

CHOCOLATE FILLING:
1 tablespoon DARK cocoa
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup grated bittersweet chocolate  (65-75% cacoa, fair-trade chocolate)
butter, melted

TOPPING:
1 egg
1/8 cup sugar  (if you don't add cinnamon, use 1/4 cup sugar)
1/8 cup cinnamon (optional)


PREPARATION
In mixing bowl, cream butter and cream cheese together. Add sugar and vanilla, and mix until smooth. Add flour and mix lightly. Refrigerate dough for an hour or more.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Divide  dough into four balls. On floured surface, using floured rolling pin, roll one ball out into circle until about 1/8 inch thick.
In small bowl, mix first four filling ingredients together (cocoa, cinnamon, sugar, grated chocolate). Spread some melted butter on the center of the circle. Sprinkle the chocolate mixture on top.
Cut pastry into pie-shaped wedges. For bite-size and nice looking rugelach, thick end of wedge should be about 1 to 1 1/2 inch wide.
Start at wide edge of wedge and roll dough up toward point.
Line cookie sheet with parchment paper. Place each pastry, seam side down, on  paper.
Brush each pastry with the egg and sugar/cinnamon.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden.
  
And here are some great tips from Gloria for making perfect rugelach

TIPS:
1. Using too much filling leads to messy looking rugelach.
2. A pizza cutter makes it easier to cut the dough into pie-shaped wedges.
3. If you don't want to use parchment paper, you can spray the cookie sheets with non-stick spray.
4. After rolling dough up and placing on parchment paper, you can stick them in your freezer. When you need fresh rugelach, take them right from the freezer into the oven and add a few minutes to the baking time.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

VANILLA MACADAMIA NUT FUDGE: National Macadamia Nut Day

Today is National Macadamia Nut Day, so here's a great recipe for Vanilla Macadamia Nut Fudge.

This recipe comes from the Nestle Toll House site. I've adapted it using real vanilla extract and Guittard White Chocolate. Make sure you're using 'real' white chocolate and not the fake stuff!

VANILLA MACADAMIA NUT FUDGE

Ingredients

Unsalted Butter
2 1/2 cups sugar
2/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 cups White Chocolate chips or 2 cups chopped white chocolate (make sure they're 'real')
1 jar (7 oz) marshmallow crème (marshmallow fluff)
3/4 cup macadamia nuts, chopped (must be fresh)*
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp coconut extract

Directions

LINE 9-inch-square baking pan with foil, extending foil over edges of pan. Grease foil with butter. Butter sides of 3-quart heavy-duty saucepan.

COMBINE sugar, coconut milk, and 1/2 cup butter in prepared saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until mixture boils. Clip candy thermometer to side of pan, making sure bottom of thermometer doesn't touch bottom of pan. Reduce heat to medium-low. Continue boiling at moderate, steady rate without stirring, until thermometer registers 238° F, softball stage (about 15 minutes). Adjust heat as necessary to maintain a steady boil. Remove from heat.

STIR in white chocolate until melted and smooth. Stir in marshmallow crème, nuts, vanilla, and coconut extracts until well combined. Transfer mixture to prepared baking pan; cool for 3 to 4 hours or until firm.

LIFT from pan; remove foil. Cut into 48 pieces. Store tightly covered.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

TRIPLE FUDGE CAKE FOR LABOR DAY: Retro Party Cookbook Recipe

Happy Labor Day! Instead of posting chocolate barbecue rub recipes today, I thought I'd post this Retro Recipe for Labor Day Triple Fudge Cake from Betty Crocker's Party Book, copyright 1960. The Party Book is all about being a good 'hostess' with fun, if somewhat dated, recipes for most holidays: "More than 500 recipes, menus and how-to-do-it tips for festive occasions the year 'round."

So to celebrate Labor Day, make this simple Labor Day Triple Fudge Cake, virtually labor-free.



Saturday, September 1, 2018

NO-LABOR CHOCOLATE PUDDING CAKE: LABOR DAY

I saw this Labor Day recipe from the Portland Monthly a few years ago. I've posted variations on Chocolate Pudding Cake before, but this is a slightly different recipe, and, as you know from reading this blog, I can never have too many recipes. This is a great No-Labor Labor Day Dessert. Decadent and delicious. Make this recipe with the kids. It's a great chemistry lesson -- dry ingredients, water, oven..and a molten treat! You probably have all the ingredients in your pantry and frig. Serve with whipped cream, ice cream, and/or fruit and nuts.

NO-LABOR LABOR DAY CHOCOLATE PUDDING CAKE

Ingredients
1 cup flour (sifting optional)
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
1 egg
2 Tbsp oil (vegetable or corn oil are fine)
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa
1 1/4 - 1 1/2 cups boiling water

Directions
Sift dry ingredients together. Mix milk, egg, and oil together in a large bowl. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients in big bowl. Stir until smooth. Add vanilla to bowl. Pour mixture into baking dish (1 1/2 - 2 quart casserole dish). Mix together additional dry ingredients (brown and white sugars and cocoa) and pour on top of everything already in baking dish. Pour boiling water on top of whole concoction. (No stirring!) Bake at 350 degrees F. for about 45-50 minutes.

Friday, August 31, 2018

CHOCOLATE CHIP ORANGE SCONES: AFTERNOON TEA

Summer Afternoon (Tea in the Garden): Theo van Rysselberghe, 1901
There are few hours in life more agreeable
Than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.
--Henry James

As a tea drinker, I can definitely confirm that I love a cuppa and a scone around 4  p.m. So for today's post, I want to celebrate the Birthday of Anna Bedford, Creator of Afternoon Tea. Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford and lady-in-waiting to Queen Victoria, who inadvertently invented Afternoon Tea in 1840. At that time, the main meal of the day shifted from midday (luncheon) to evening. English high society didn’t dine until 8 p.m. Anna needed something to tide her over, so she ordered tea with brown bread to be brought to her room around 4 p.m. Initially this meal was brought surreptiously, but after awhile she began to invite her friends, and “afternoon tea” expanded, both in what was served and the number of friends who partook. When Anna Bedford returned to London, she continued her afternoon teas, and soon Afternoon Tea became the rage of the elite. In addition to brown bread and small sandwiches, there were sweets and special “tea cakes.” The custom spread and tea rooms and tea gardens opened to serve tea to all classes. 

Afternoon Tea is not the same as high tea. Afternoon Tea is a lighter meal, and scones are almost always served. I love clotted cream with my scones, and luckily, fresh clotted cream is readily available at my market. I enjoy 'plain' scones, but these Orange Scones with Chocolate Chips are yummy! Make some for your afternoon tea today!

Chocolate Chip Orange Scones

Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup white sugar
Victorian postcard: Afternoon Tea
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and grated (keep cold until ready)
1 -1/3 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup miniature dark chocolate chips
3 tablespoons orange juice (1 large orange and zest from 2 oranges)

Directions
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Spray baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray or smear with butter.
In large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
With pastry blender or large fork, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. You can also do this with your hands.
Put in freezer for 5 minutes.
Take out of freezer and add cream, chocolate chips, orange juice and orange zest.
Mix together.
Turn out dough on floured surface. Pat or roll into 9 inch circle about 3/4 inch thick.
With 2 1/2 inch fluted biscuit cutter, cut out about 12 scones, pushing dough scraps together for last few, if necessary.
Transfer scones to baking sheet.
Bake in preheated oven until golden-brown, about 10-12 minutes.
Remove from oven and cool on wire rack.

Serve with clotted cream and jam.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

TOASTED MARSHMALLOW FLOURLESS CHOCOLATE CAKE: National Toasted Marshmallow Day

Today is National Toasted Marshmallow Day, and, of course, you can make S'mores--and all the variations thereof. Here's a link to a S'mores Round-up on National S'mores Day that I posted a few years ago. I've added lots of other Smores recipes since then.. but it's a start.

But how about something other than Smores? Something easy and great for the Gluten-Free Folks? The following Flourless Chocolate Cake with Toasted Marshmallow Topping is fabulous!

You can use your favorite flourless chocolate cake recipe or try this easy Flourless Chocolate Cake recipe. For the Marshmallows, I recommend using high quality marshmallows or making your own. If you only have 'regular' marshmallows, that will work, too.

Toasted Marshmallow Flourless Chocolate Cake

Ingredients 
8 ounces dark chocolate 70-75% cacoa
1 cup unsalted butter
1-1/2 cup sugar
6 large eggs (room temperature)
3/4 cup unsweetened DARK cocoa
25 marshmallows 

Directions
Preheat oven to 375°F
Butter 10-inch spring form round baking pan. Line bottom with buttered wax paper.
Break chocolate into pieces.
In double boiler or metal bowl over saucepan of simmering water, melt chocolate with butter, stirring, until smooth.
Remove top of double boiler or bowl from heat and whisk sugar into chocolate mixture.
Add eggs and whisk well.
Sift cocoa over chocolate mixture and whisk until just combined.
Pour batter into pan and bake in middle of oven 35-40 minutes, or until top has formed thin crust and toothpick comes out moist but not wet.
Cool cake in pan on a rack 10 minutes.
Remove springform sides. Leave cake on bottom of pan.
Put cake (still on springform base) on cookie sheet.
Top with marshmallows while still warm (leave an inch free around edge - they spread).
Put cake back in oven at 375 for 5 minutes--until marshmallows are 'toasted'
Remove from oven.
If they're not toasted enough, use mini-torch (one of my favorite kitchen tools) to toast.
Cool on rack.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

LEMON CURD BROWNIES: National Lemon Juice Day

Today is National Lemon Juice Day. I have several lemon trees, including three prolific Meyer lemon trees that are perfect for making lemon curd. I love this recipe for Lemon Curd to use in Lemon Curd Brownies and other great recipes.

A few years ago after my Mother passed away, while going through her correspondence, I came across a note and recipe from an English friend of hers who wrote, "As promised here's the recipe and a little supply of my lemon curd for you." Unfortunately, the lemon curd was not in the cupboard or refrigerator. My mother loved lemon, and I do, too, especially with chocolate.

Since then I've been making Lemon Curd Brownies using "Elaine's Lemon Curd" recipe. Here's the recipe from "Elaine's" note. Be sure and scroll down for the Lemon Curd Brownie Recipe! Of course, you can always use store bought Lemon Curd, but try making your own. It's easy and delicious, and you can adjust the recipe as you see fit!

LEMON CURD


LEMON CURD BROWNIES

This recipe is very loosely adapted from Coffee & Quinoa. Go there for fabulous photos!

Ingredients 
4 ounces dark chocolate
3/4 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups dark chocolate, chopped into chunks  (or chocolate chips)
1 cup lemon curd

Directions
Preheat oven to 350.
Line 9 x 9 baking pan with parchment and grease with cooking spray or butter.
Melt chocolate and butter in top of double boiler, or in saucepan over another saucepan over simmering water. Take off stove. Stir in sugar. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in flour and salt. Fold in chocolate chunks.
Spread 2/3 of batter into baking pan. Spread lemon curd on top. Put remaining batter on top, spreading to cover lemon curd completely.
Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out with crumbs.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

BANANA LOVERS DAY: Chiquita Banana, Banana Bread Recipes, Carmen Miranda & More!

I've always loved Chiquita Bananas, especially the logo with Chiquita and her Fruit Hat that was popularized by Carmen Miranda. There was something so foreign and exotic about Chiquita -- and Carmen Miranda.  I was so taken by all the Carmen Miranda Hollywood productions that when I was in Rio several years ago, I made a pilgrimage to Carmen Miranda's home on Avendida Rui Barbosa. Very fun! Loved the memorabilia.

So in honor of Carmen Miranda and to celebrate yesterday's food holiday, National Banana Lovers Day, I'm reposting two recipes for Banana Bread. These are from Chiquita Bananas. I added chocolate chips to both of the following recipes because I love chocolate and bananas. You can also add nuts. And, the second recipe is gluten free! Be sure to scroll down to see the video of Carmen Miranda in the "Tutti Frutti Hat." Here's the 1940s "Chiquita Banana" song!

THE CHIQUITA BANANA SONG



Best Chiquita Banana Bread
adapted from Chiquita Bananas

Ingredients
4 whole Chiquita Bananas
1 cup All-purpose flour
1 cup Unprocessed wheat bran
1 1/2 tsp Baking soda
1/2 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Brown sugar
3/4 cup Chocolate chips
1 cup unsalted Butter, soft
2 whole Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1/2 cup Walnuts
1 Tbsp Local Honey

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease large 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.
Whip 2 Chiquita Bananas and sugars until mix is creamy (about 3 minutes).
Add butter, eggs, and vanilla and whip until smooth.
Mix in all dry ingredients until blended.
Fold in walnuts and Chocolate Chips.
Slice two Chiquita Bananas and toss with honey until Chiquita Bananas are well coated.
Pour mix in loaf pan and place honey coated bananas on top.
Bake in oven for 60 minutes.
Let cool for 5 minutes then place plate on top of pan and flip pan upside down so loaf falls onto plate.

Gluten Free Banana Bread 
with Chocolate Chips
adapted from Chiquita Banana Bread, recipe idea Alisa Bennett

Ingredients
3 large Chiquita bananas
3 large Eggs
1/4 cup Coconut oil (melted)
1 Tbsp Vanilla extract
2 cups Almond meal
2 Tbsp Coconut flour
1 tsp Baking soda
1/4 tsp Salt
1/2 cup chopped Walnuts
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Instructions
Puree egg, oil, vanilla, and bananas in blender.
In separate bowl, blend dry ingredients.
Add banana and egg mixture to dry ingredients and mix well.
Fold in chopped walnuts and chocolate chips.
Pour batter into a greased loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees F for 50-55 minutes.

"THE LADY IN THE TUTTI-FRUTTI HAT" from Busby Berkeley's Welcome to Banana Island

Monday, August 27, 2018

CHOCOLATE MINT POTS DE CREME: National Pots de Creme Day

Today is National Pots de Creme Day! Pots de Creme is a lot like pudding, only much more intense. I love Chocolate Pots de Creme, but this recipe is even more fun because it's made with chocolate mint. I grow Chocolate Mint in my garden. It's very easy to grow, although it can become invasive, as with most mints. Keep it in a pot by the kitchen door, and you'll be a happy camper. There are so many uses.

A few years ago Sunset Magazine (July 2011), one of my favorite magazines for design, food and gardening, had an entire article on Chocolate Mint. Be sure and read the article in Sunset with recipes for Grilled Lamb with chocolate mint salsa, and Moroccan Chocolate Mint Tea. Don't expect the mint to taste as intense as a piece of chocolate. The chocolate part is very, very subtle, but the mint is strong and different from the usual mint, and if you're not growing it in your garden, you might find it at the market.

So for Pots de Creme Day, here's Sunset's Recipe for Chocolate Mint Pots de Creme. You can make this ahead.

CHOCOLATE MINT POTS DE CREME

One of the hints from Sunset is to add all cream instead of half milk and half cream. It definitely makes it so much richer! I've adapted the recipe below. If you really love chocolate (you're reading this blog, so you must!), add a bit more chocolate on top!

Ingredients
4 cups heavy cream
3 ounces (3 big handfuls) chocolate mint sprigs, plus leaves for garnish
1 cup sugar
8 large egg yolks
Sweetened whipped cream
3/4 cup dark chocolate shavings

Directions
Heat together cream and mint in a medium pot over medium heat until mixture starts to simmer. Remove from heat, cover, and let steep about 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 300°. Set 8 ramekins (4 oz. each) in large roasting pan or baking dish.
Reheat cream mixture to a simmer; strain into medium bowl. Whisk together sugar and yolks in large bowl. Slowly add cream to yolk mixture, whisking constantly.
Pour mixture into ramekins, dividing evenly. Fill pan with hot water until it reaches halfway up sides of ramekins.
Cover pan with foil and bake until custards are set and jiggle only slightly in center, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit in hot water 30 minutes. Transfer ramekins to baking sheet, cover, and chill at least 2 hours and up to 3 days.
Serve with whipped cream, fresh mint leaves, and chocolate shavings.