Monday, December 31, 2018

CHAMPAGNE TRUFFLES: National Champagne Day

It should be no surprise that December 31 is National Champagne Day, as it's the Perfect Food Holiday for New Year's Eve. I've done many wine/champagne chocolate pairing events with my company TeamBuilding Unlimited, and we often begin with a trivia quizz. How many bubbles in a bottle of champagne? 49 million to 250 million! Now, that's a lot of bubbles.

You won't have any bubbles in these Champagne Truffles for New Year's Eve, but you will taste the Champagne.. and the Cognac. This is my favorite Champagne Truffle recipe. This recipe uses more champagne than most Champagne Truffle recipes, and the Cognac adds zip. If you're in a pinch, you can use a different type of sugar or cocoa to coat the truffles. The sanding sugar, though, gives it a festive New Year's Eve appearance!

No time to make these? Here's a link to Champagne Truffles you can buy to ring in the new year!

Martha Stewart's Champagne Truffles
Makes about 3 dozen

Ingredients
1/2 cup heavy cream
8 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup plus 1 Tablespoon Champagne
1 tablespoon Cognac
Coarse sanding sugar, for rolling

Directions
Bring cream to boil in small saucepan over medium-high heat. Immediately pour hot cream over chocolate in medium bowl; stir until smooth. Stir in Champagne and Cognac. Refrigerate until chocolate mixture is firm enough to roll into balls, about 1 hour. (or more!!)
Using small melon baller or ice-cream scoop, form 1-inch balls. Roll each ball in coarse sanding sugar and transfer to rimmed baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate truffles at least 30 minutes or up to 3 days before serving.

You can also use unsweetened cocoa or confectioner's sugar if you don't have sanding sugar. This recipe was in Martha Stewart's wedding section, so the sparkly white sugar looks great for weddings and holidays, but cocoa tastes just as good.. just different.

What Is Sanding Sugar?
Sanding sugar is large crystal sugar used as edible decoration that will not dissolve when subjected to heat. Also called pearl sugar or decorating sugar, sanding sugar adds "sparkle" to cookies, baked goods and candies. The sparkling affect is achieved because the sugar crystal grains are large and reflect light. You can order Sanding Sugar online or buy it in cake decorating departments.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

NEW YEAR RESOLUTION CAKE: Chocolate Clock Cake

Have you made any New Year's Resolutions? This Retro advertisement from 1952 begins, "Here's a resolution you can make from this minute on..." This Ad is 67 years old.. but the recipe, if not the Dexo, is still fun. I love this Chocolate Clock Cake! Perfect for the New Year's Eve Count Down!

FYI: Dexo was a brand of hydrogenated vegetable shortening similar to Crisco: "Blendable, dependable and thrifty."


And in case you want to know more about Dexo, check out this 1940s Ad:



Saturday, December 29, 2018

CHAMPAGNE BROWNIES: Ring in the New Year

Happy New Year! What better way to ring in the New Year than with Champagne Brownies! 

CHAMPAGNE BROWNIES

Ingredients 
16 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
12 Tbsp unsalted butter, cubed, plus extra for buttering pan
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/4 cup flour
1 cup champagne

Directions
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter 9 x 9 inch baking pan and line with parchment paper (leave extra overhanging edges for easy removal).
Melt chocolate and butter in saucepan over saucepan over simmering water (or double boiler).
Beat salt, vanilla, eggs, and sugar into melted chocolate and beat thoroughly to incorporate.
Add flour and mix just until blended.
Add champagne and continue mixing batter until it becomes shiny and pulls away from sides of bowl. (2-3 minutes on high for a stand mixer.)
Turn into prepared pan and bake 45-50 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Want to be festive? Cut these brownies into stars or decorate with edible gold...

Serve with your favorite Champagne!

Friday, December 28, 2018

HOMEMADE OH HENRY! BARS: National Chocolate Candy Day

Today is National Chocolate Candy Day, and one of my all time favorite candy bars is an Oh Henry! Bar.

So what exactly is an Oh Henry! Bar?  

From Wikipedia:
Oh Henry! is a chocolate bar containing peanuts, caramel, and fudge coated in chocolate. It was first introduced in 1920, by the Williamson Candy Company of Chicago, Illinois. According to legend, Oh Henry! was originally named after a boy who frequented the Williamson company, flirting with the girls who made the candy. The name is also said to be a homage to American writer, O. Henry. However, there is no definitive explanation as to the exact origin of the name.

Another theory is that the candy bar was invented by a man named Tom Henry of Arkansas City, Kansas. Tom Henry ran a candy company called the Peerless candy factory, and in 1919 he started making the Tom Henry candy bar. He sold the candy bar to Williamson Candy Company in 1920 where they later changed the name to "Oh Henry!". Henry's family now runs a candy factory in Dexter, Kansas that sells "momma henry" bars, which are nearly identical to the original candy bar.

In 1923, an employee of Williamson, John Glossinger, announced that he was going to make the Oh Henry! bar a national best seller. Company officials said it was impossible and denied him the funds for an advertising campaign. Glossinger went into the streets and pasted stickers saying merely "Oh Henry!" on automobile bumpers. People became curious as to what an Oh Henry! was and sales for the bar rose quickly.

1926 Oh Henry! Advertisement
Nestlé acquired the United States rights to the brand in 1984, and continues to produce the bar. In Canada, the bar is currently sold by The Hershey Company and manufactured at their Smiths Falls, Ontario facilities. Because of Canada's different chocolate standards, the Canadian "Oh Henry!" is not considered a "chocolate bar" and is labelled instead as a "candy bar." In fact, unlike the American version, which labels the bar as "milk chocolate," the Canadian version makes no mention of chocolate on the front of the wrapper. Hershey sells Oh Henry! bars made in Canada on a very limited basis in the United States as Rally bars, using the trademark of a Hershey product introduced in the 1970s and later discontinued.

Want to make your own Oh Henry! Bars? Here are three different recipes. Funny, but several of them include oats. I'm partial to #III because it doesn't include oatmeal, but that's just me. The first two recipes do seem to really capture the flavor.

I. Oh Henry! Candy Bars

Ingredients
4 cups oatmeal
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup butter (melted)
1 cup chocolate chips
3/4 cup peanut butter

Directions
Mix together oatmeal, brown sugar, white sugar and melted butter.
Press into greased 9x13 pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Melt chocolate chips and peanut butter.
Spread over baked bars.
Put in fridge so frosting hardens completely.

II. Oh Henry! Candy Bars 

Ingredients
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter
1/2 cup white Karo syrup
2 cups oatmeal

Directions
Melt butter, sugar and syrup.
Add oatmeal.
Press in well buttered 9 x 13 inch pan. Bake 12 minutes at 350 degrees.

Melt:
1 c. crunchy peanut butter
1 (6 oz.) chocolate chips

Cool bottom layer and spread mixture over the top.
Refrigerate.
Cut in squares.

III. Oh Henry! Candy Bars (my favorite recipe)

Part One
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup water
3/4 cup peanut butter

Directions:
Combine over heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved.
Cook until it reaches the hard boil stage (265 degrees).
Let cool
Add peanut butter.
Stir, then shape into rolls 3/4 inch thick and 1 inch long.
Set aside.

Part Two
1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 pounds peanuts, chopped fine
8 oz. dark chocolate, chopped

Directions:
Cook corn syrup and sugar together until it reaches the hard boil stage (265 degrees).
Dip candy from first mixture into second mixture, then roll in peanuts while still hot.

Melt dark chocolate and dip rolls into melted chocolate
Place on parchment paper.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

CHOCOLATE FRUITCAKE: National Fruitcake Day

December 27 is National Fruitcake Day, but it seems a bit late for a Fruitcake recipe. So maybe you'll bookmark this recipe for next year...or make this Chocolate Fruitcake for another holiday?

If you're like me, you're saying Fruitcake?  Why bother? It's just an over-inebriated rock hard cake with artificial fruits that gets passed around the family kind of like a white elephant gift? Well, it doesn't have to be. There are actually some wonderful recipes for Chocolate Fruitcake. Aha, your eyes and tastebuds have already picked up.

Of course, I'm all about easy, so here's an easy recipe for Chocolate Fruitcake. One caveat, you won't be able to eat this today. Fruitcake really does need to ferment a bit. Following is a recipe for Chocolate Fruitcake adapted from Diana Rattray at Southern Food. This recipe originally called for candied red and green cherries, but I really don't like those. I use dried cranberries or dried cherries or dried apricots (or a mix), lots of nuts, and different alcohol. This is quite a versatile recipe. The original recipe didn't use booze, but what's a fruitcake without alcohol? Another recipe for Chocolate Fruitcake that I really like is David Lebovitz's Chocolate-Cherry Fruitcake.

Either way, if you like chocolate, you'll find this chocolate twist on an old holiday standard quite to your liking!

Chocolate Fruitcake

Ingredients:
1 cup unsalted butter
6 ounces dark chocolate (65-75% cacao, fair-trade), chopped
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup dried cherries, chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
1-1/2 cups combination of walnuts and pecans, chopped
1/2 cup rum, whiskey, or amaretto.. (or whatever you like)

Directions:
A day ahead, plump the dried fruits by tossing them in 1/2 cup of amaretto,  rum or whiskey (or whatever alcohol you like!), cover for later use in the cake.

To Make Cake:
Melt butter and chocolate in large heavy saucepan over low heat, stirring often. Remove from heat, and cool for 15 minutes.
Stir in sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, stirring well after each addition. Add flour and salt, stirring until blended. Stir in chopped boozy fruits and chopped nuts. Spoon mixture into 4 greased and floured 5 x 3 x 2-inch loaf pans.
Bake at 350° for 35 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes
Poke lots of small holes in cakes with skewer. Pour 3 Tbsp liquor (see above) onto each cake. Let cool for another 10-15 minutes or so.
Remove from pans, and cool on wire racks.
Wrap in plastic and store for up to 7 days.

If you're making these Fruitcakes ahead, you can brush with more liquor every day. Don't freeze if you're adding alcohol.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

BOXING DAY PEAR AND CHOCOLATE TRIFLE

Photo: BBC GoodFood
Being an Anglophile, I often came across references to Boxing Day in books I was reading. What exactly is Boxing Day? Without any 'real' boxing day experience, when I was younger, I thought it was the day after Christmas when you boxed up all your ornaments and returned them to the attic. I also thought Boxing Day was the day that you boxed up your presents and returned them to the stores where they were purchased. I was so wrong.

According to Wikipedia, Boxing Day is traditionally the day following Christmas when wealthy people and homeowners in the United Kingdom would give a box containing a gift to their servants. It's now a National Bank Holiday. Read more on my other blog: Mystery Fanfare, where I also have a list of Boxing Day mysteries.

Here's a lovely British recipe to celebrate Boxing Day: Pear and Chocolate Trifle. What could be better for Boxing Day than a trifle? This recipe is from John Torode in BBC Good Food Magazine. I've adjusted the measurements for American Cooking. If you're just too tired to bake another thing after the holidays, a shortcut would be to use leftover Chocolate Cake in the trifle.

BOXING DAY PEAR AND CHOCOLATE TRIFLE

FOR THE CHOCOLATE CAKE LAYER
7 ounces dark chocolate, broken into chunks
1 cup sweet butter
2 cups superfine (if you don't have golden caster) sugar
5 large eggs, separated

FOR THE POACHED PEARS
6 firm pears, peeled
1 vanilla pod, split

FOR THE MASCARPONE LAYER
2 large egg yolks
4 tbsp golden caster sugar
5 ounces marsala
2 - 9 ounce tubs mascarpone

TO FINISH
3.5 ounces dark chocolate, grated
5 tbsp very strong coffee (or espresso)

1. For the cake, melt the chocolate and butter together, then cool. Meanwhile, heat oven to 300F  and butter and line the base and sides of a 9" springform tin with parchment paper.

2. Whisk the sugar and egg yolks until very pale and thick, about 5 mins. Fold in the chocolate mix using a large metal spoon. Put the egg whites and a pinch of salt into another bowl and, with clean beaters, whisk until you have medium peaks. Fold this gently but thoroughly into the chocolate mix with your metal spoon, then spoon into the tin and bake for 1½ hrs until risen all over. Insert a skewer into the middle of the tin to test; it should come out with just a few damp crumbs but no wet mix. The cake will sink once it cools. Can be frozen up to 1 month ahead.

3. While the cake cooks, put the pears, vanilla pod and 4 cups water into a saucepan. Weigh the pears down under the surface with a small plate, then simmer for 20 mins, covered, until tender. Leave to cool in the liquid if you have time. Cut each pear into 6 long slices, then remove the stalk and the core. Can be cooked up to a week ahead and kept chilled in some of their poaching liquid.

4. For the mascarpone layer, half-fill a medium saucepan with water, then bring to a simmer. Put the yolks, sugar and 6 tbsp of the Marsala into a large bowl, sit it over the just-simmering water, then whisk for 5 mins until the mixture is thick and holds a trail for a few secs. Put the mascarpone into a bowl, beat with 2 tbsp more Marsala to loosen, then whisk in the egg mix in 2 batches, until smooth, thick and light. Can be made ahead and kept in the fridge. Keep no longer than 2 days in total.

5. You're now ready to assemble the trifle. Cut the cake in half - it will be squidgy, so don't worry if it breaks up. Spoon some of the mascarpone layer into the bottom of a dish, then top with a few pears and a sprinkling of grated chocolate. Put half of the cake on top, then sprinkle with a little of the remaining Marsala and coffee. Spoon more of the mascarpone over, then top with more pears and more chocolate. Top this with the next piece of cake, spoon over more Marsala and coffee, then spoon the remaining mascarpone mix over the top. Finish with the remaining pears. Chill for at least 2 hrs, or up to 2 days. When ready to serve, scatter with the last of the grated chocolate.

WHAT TO DO WITH LEFTOVER CANDY CANES: National Candy Cane Day

December 26 is Boxing Day, but it's also Candy Cane Day. Do you have a lot of candy canes left over? Are they still hanging on the tree? Grab a few and make one of these easy recipes! Chocolate and Candy Canes -- a great post-holiday treat!

History of the Candy Cane: 

During the 17th century, Europeans adopted Christmas trees as part of Christmas celebrations, and they often made cookies and sugar stick candy as decorations. The first historical reference to the familiar cane shape goes back to 1670, when the choirmaster at the Cologne Cathedral in Germany, bent the sugar sticks into canes to represent a shepherd's staff. The all white candy canes were given out to children during the nativity services. This tradition of handing out candy canes during Christmas services spread throughout Europe and later to America.

The first historical reference to the candy cane in America goes back to 1847, when German immigrant August Imgard decorated the Christmas tree in his Wooster, Ohio home with candy canes.

About fifty years later the first red-and-white striped candy canes appeared. No one knows who exactly invented the stripes, but Christmas cards prior to the year 1900 showed only all white candy canes. Christmas cards after 1900 showed illustrations of striped candy canes. Around the same time, candy-makers added peppermint and wintergreen flavors to their candy canes and those flavors then became the traditional favorites.

1. Hot Chocolate with Candy Canes! Use the candy cane as a stirrer. It will eventually melt and flavor your hot chocolate, coffee, or tea. Of course, a chocolate dipped candy cane is even better!

2. Candy Cane Chocolate Marshmallows. Dip marshmallows in melted dark chocolate and roll in crushed Candy Canes.

3. Candy Cane Truffles

4. Candy Cane Fudge

5. Chocolate Candy Cane Cookies

6. Chocolate Candy Cane Bark

7. Chocolate Covered Candy Canes

8. Chocolate Candy Cane Cheesecake

9. Chocolate Candy Cane Trifle

10. Peppermint Stick Cake:

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

FIGGY PUDDING: History, Recipe for Chocolate Figgy Pudding & Cat/Figgy Pudding Vintage Christmas Cards

"Now! Bring us some figgy pudding and bring some out here!"

How long have you been singing this Christmas Carol? Have you ever had Figgy Pudding aka Christmas Pudding? And what, exactly is it?

One other question, can you add chocolate? Yes! Scroll down for Ghirardelli's recipe for Chocolate Figgy Pudding.

Figgy Pudding is pretty much exactly what it sounds like -- a pudding/cake with figs in it. The reason that it's in such high demand, though, has more to do with its inedible ingredients. Coins, rings and other trinkets were often hidden in the Christmas pudding and each supposedly predicted the recipient's fortune for the coming year. For example, if you found a coin, you would become wealthy. If you found a ring, you'd get married ... and so on. Think of it as an Old English fortune cookie.

From WiseGeek.com:


It's amazing what a brief mention in one Victorian-era Christmas carol can do for an obscure little dessert called figgy pudding. Every year, thousands of people around the world become curious about the dessert mentioned in the secular English carol "We Wish You a Merry Christmas." Apparently, the party-goers mentioned in the lyrics refuse to leave until they get some of this pudding from their host. This must be some seriously good pudding.

In actuality, figgy pudding is more of a cake than a pudding. There have been recipes for it since the 15th century, although its popularity as a Christmas dessert probably reached its peak during the late 19th century. Several factors have significantly hampered the wholesale expansion of the figgy pudding industry, including an interminably long cooking time, an exotic ingredients list and a cringe-inducing dependency on saturated fats for texture.
There are numerous recipes for this pudding, from a traditional steamed version similar to modern bread pudding to a pastry-covered blend of figs, dates, fruits and spices. Nearly all recipes call for three or four hours of steaming. This is accomplished by placing a metal bowl with the pudding mixture into a larger bowl partially filled with boiling water. The indirect heat generated by the boiling water cooks the dessert evenly and slowly. This is equivalent to using a bain marie water bath for individual ramekins filled with batter.

Ghirardelli Chocolate Figgy Pudding


Ingredients
3 eggs
1-1/2 cups brown sugar
4 cups soft bread crumbs
1 cup finely chopped suet (I use unsalted butter)
2 tablespoons flour
1-1/2 cups chopped dried figs
3/4 cup Ghirardelli's Ground Chocolate
1/2 cup hot milk
3/4 tsp salt

Directions:
Beat eggs, add sugar, bread crumbs, suet, figs (dredged with flour), chocolate mixed with hot milk, and salt, stir thoroughly.
Steam three hours in a greased mold.
Serve hot with a hard sauce.

Hard sauce: Great recipe at The Pioneer Woman

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 24, 2018

CHOCOLATE EGGNOG: Recipes & History of Egg Nog: National Eggnog Day

Today is National Eggnog Day. How perfect? Eggnog evokes the holiday spirit, and Chocolate Eggnog... well how delicious can you get? There are so many variations... Following are three great recipes. FYI: this wonderful rich drink can be spelled as one word or two: egg nog or eggnog, so I'm going to change it up in the recipes below.

The History of Eggnog From Wikipedia:

The origins, etymology, and the ingredients used to make the original eggnog drink are debated. Eggnog may have originated in East Anglia, England; or it may have simply developed from posset, a medieval European beverage made with hot milk.

The "nog" part of its name may come from the word noggin, a Middle English term for a small, carved wooden mug used to serve alcohol. However, the British drink was also called an Egg Flip (from the practice of "flipping" (rapidly pouring) the mixture between two pitchers to mix it).

Another story is that the term derived from egg and grog, a common Colonial term used for the drink made with rum. Eventually, that term was shortened to egg'n'grog, then eggnog. One very early example: Isaac Weld, Junior, in his book Travels Through the States of North America and the Provinces of Upper and Lower Canada, during the years 1795, 1796, and 1797 (published in 1800) wrote: "The American travellers, before they pursued their journey, took a hearty draught each, according to custom, of egg-nog, a mixture composed of new milk, eggs, rum, and sugar, beat up together;..."

In Britain, the drink was popular mainly among the aristocracy. Those who could get milk and eggs mixed it with brandy, Madeira or sherry to make a drink similar to modern alcoholic egg nog. The drink is described in Cold Comfort Farm as a Hell's Angel, made with an egg, two ounces of brandy, a teaspoonful of cream, and some chips of ice, where it is served as breakfast.

Eggnog crossed the Atlantic to the English colonies during the 18th century. Since brandy and wine were heavily taxed, rum from the Triangular Trade with the Caribbean was a cost-effective substitute. The inexpensive liquor, coupled with plentiful farm and dairy products, helped the drink become very popular in America. When the supply of rum to the newly-founded United States was reduced as a consequence of the American Revolutionary War, Americans turned to domestic whiskey, and eventually bourbon in particular, as a substitute.

The Eggnog Riot occurred at the United States Military Academy on 23–25 December 1826. Whiskey was smuggled into the barracks to make eggnog for a Christmas Day party. The incident resulted in the court-martialing of twenty cadets and one enlisted soldier.

Chocolate Eggnog
 from Woodhouse Chocolate via The Nibble

Ingredients
6 eggs
1/4 cup sugar
Dash of salt
3 cups whole milk
6 ounces of quality dark chocolate, chopped
2/3 cup cold heavy cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp freshly-ground nutmeg
1/2 cup Bourbon
Whipped cream
Fresh-grated nutmeg for garnish

Directions
Place chopped chocolate in medium mixing bowl and set aside. Also have at the ready the heavy cream in measuring cup or pitcher.
In second medium-size bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar and salt. Whisk in milk, then pour mixture into saucepan.
Heat egg mixture over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until it reaches 160°F. Be careful to heat gently and remove from heat as soon as the mixture reaches 160°, or eggs will curdle.
Pour about 1/2 cup of hot egg/milk mixture over chocolate and pour rest back into bowl in which you whisked it in. Immediately, stir cold cream into the egg/milk mixture in bowl (not chocolate bowl). With small whisk, start whisking in center of chocolate mixture, working in small, circular motions to emulsify chocolate.
When you have smooth, homogenous mixture, gradually add rest of egg/milk mixture.
Whisk in vanilla, nutmeg, and Bourbon.
Chill for several hours, preferably overnight, to mellow flavors.
Serve cold, with dollop of whipped cream and sprinkling of grated nutmeg.

Spicy Mexican Chocolate Eggnog 
from Martha Stewart

Ingredients
2 quarts whole milk, plus more if needed
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/2 tsp coarse salt
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped and pod reserved
4 cinnamon sticks
12 egg yolks
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
3 ounces milk chocolate, melted
2 cups heavy cream
1 1/4 cups brandy
Whole nutmeg, for garnish
Cayenne pepper, for sprinkling

Directions
Heat 2 quarts milk, sugar, salt, vanilla seeds and pod, and cinnamon sticks inlarge pot over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves and mixture is heated through. Remove from heat. Let stand for 30 minutes.
Prepare ice-water bath. Whisk yolks in medium bowl until pale, about 2 minutes. Whisk 1 cup of milk mixture into yolks in slow, steady stream. Whisk yolk mixture into remaining milk mixture. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until mixture registers 180 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 6 minutes. (Do not boil.)
Remove pot from heat, add melted bittersweet and milk chocolates, and stir until incorporated. Discard vanilla pod and cinnamon sticks.
Pour mixture into a large bowl set in ice-water bath, and let cool, stirring often.
Whisk cream until soft peaks form. Pour cooled eggnog into large serving bowl, and add brandy (Add more milk to eggnog if necessary to reach desired consistency.)
Top with whipped cream. Grate nutmeg over top, and sprinkle sparingly with cayenne.
Serve immediately

Easy White Chocolate Egg Nog 
from Sandra Lee, Food Network

Ingredients 
1 quart egg nog
1/2 cup white rum
1/2 cup white chocolate liqueur
1 cup whipped topping
Grated white chocolate, for garnish
Pumpkin pie spice, for garnish

Directions
In punch bowl, combine eggnog, rum, and white chocolate liqueur.
When ready to serve, whisk egg nog to make it frothy and pour mixture into cups.
Place 1 heaping tablespoon of whipped topping into each cup.
Garnish each with grated white chocolate and sprinkling of pumpkin pie spice.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Peanut Butter Kisses aka Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies: The Perfect Holiday Cookie

There's still time to make these fabulous and easy Peanut Blossom Cookies (aka Peanut Butter Kisses). Such a wonderful Retro Cookie for the Holidays!

PEANUT BLOSSOM COOKIES aka PEANUT BUTTER KISSES

Ingredients
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup butter or margarine
1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
3-1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 10-ounce packages Hershey's Kisses

Directions
Cream sugars, butter, and peanut butter. Beat in eggs, milk, and vanilla. Sift together flour, soda, and salt; stir into egg mixture. Shape into balls; roll in additional granulated sugar. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in 375 F oven for 10 to 12 minutes. Immediately press a chocolate candy into each.
Makes 7 dozen.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

CHRISTMAS SCONES

Scones are the perfect pastry for the holiday! There are so many varieties, but being that we're in the holiday season, I thought I'd post a great recipe for Christmas Scones.

A scone is the perfect accompaniment to a cup of tea, and I imagine you'll need lots of cuppas during the upcoming holidays. I serve my scones with clotted cream and jam, but then my grandmother spent many years in England, and we adopted some of the British ways of eating and drinking.

Scones like biscuits are made from flour, leavening, a little salt, some fat, milk, and a bit of sugar. As in making biscuits, you cut the fat into the dry ingredients, add liquid, roll, and bake.. But that's where the similarity ends. The texture of a scone is completely different from that of a biscuit. Scones are denser, drier, and more crumbly. They usually contain less butter, too. One other main difference is that in the making of scones, you uses your hands to massage the butter into the dry ingredients. This will help create the proper texture.

This recipe for Scones is originally from Epicurious. You can change up the nuts and fruits for different seasons, but here's one especially for the Winter holidays.

CHRISTMAS SCONES

Ingredients
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice, divided
3 cups all purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 Tbsp finely grated lemon peel
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup chilled unsalted butter, diced
1 cup dried sweetened cranberries (I use Trader Joe's unsweetened)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1/2 cup (or more) chilled half and half, divided

Directions
Position rack in top third of oven; preheat to 375°F.
Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
Whisk 2 Tbsp sugar and 1 Tbsp lemon juice in bowl for glaze.
In large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, lemon peel, salt, and 1 cup sugar. Add chilled butter; using fingertips, rub in until coarse meal forms. Mix in cranberries and walnuts. Add 1/2 cup half and half and 1 Tbsp lemon juice. Toss with fork until dough comes together in moist clumps, adding more half and half if dough is dry.
Gather dough into ball; divide in half. Press out each half on floured surface to 6-inch-diameter (1-inch-high) round. Cut each round into 6 wedges.
Transfer to baking sheet; brush with glaze.
Bake scones until golden and tester comes out clean, about 18 minutes.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Bûche de Noël aka Yule Log: Winter Solstice & Christmas

With the Winter Solstice and Christmas holidays upon us, I thought I'd post a recipe for Bûche de Noël aka Yule Log. Recently I posted a recipe for an Ice Cream Yule Log aka Buche de Noel, but this recipe is for a traditional Bûche de Noël. I've made various recipes for Bûche de Noël, but I really like the one. Bûche de Noël is the traditional dessert served at the Solstice and during the Christmas holidays in many countries. Basically it looks like a log ready for the fire, hence the Yule Log.

The traditional Bûche de Noël is made from a Genoise (see recipe below) filled and frosted with buttercream. The Bûche de Noël is often iced to look like a piece of the branch has broken off. Sometimes there are fresh berries and meringue or marzipan mushrooms. The Bûche de Noël is one of my favorite holiday desserts. The log represents the hearth--the center of the house, and this yule log (Bûche de Noël) will be the center of your holiday table.

Bûche de Noël aka Yule Log
(recipe adapted from allrecipes.com)

Ingredients
2 cups heavy cream (cold)
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 egg yolks (eggs at room temperature)
1/2 cup white sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
 6 egg whites (room temp)
1/4 cup white sugar
Confectioners Sugar for Dusting
Meringue Mushrooms (see recipe below)

Directions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Line 10x15 inch greased jellyroll pan with greased (sprayed) parchment paper. In large bowl, whip cream, 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, 1/2 cup cocoa, and 1 teaspoon vanilla until thick and stiff. Refrigerate.

In large bowl, use electric mixer to beat egg yolks with 1/2 cup sugar until thick and pale (about 5 minutes). Blend in 1/3 cup cocoa, 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla, and salt. In large glass bowl, using clean beaters, whip egg whites to soft peaks. Gradually add 1/4 cup sugar, and beat until whites form very stiff peaks. Immediately fold yolk mixture into whites. Spread batter evenly into the prepared pan.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes in preheated oven, or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Dust heavily clean dishtowel with lots of confectioners' sugar. Run a knife around the edge of pan, and turn warm cake out onto silicone baking mat (or towel, but the mat works better!). Remove and discard parchment paper. Let cool before rolling. Starting at short edge of cake, roll cake up with towel. Use the towel as the rolling agent. Cool for 30 minutes. Unroll cake, and spread filling to within 1 inch of the edge. Roll cake up with filling inside. Place seam side down onto serving plate. Ice with remaining filling. Run tines across to simulate bark. Refrigerate until serving. Dust with confectioners' sugar before serving.

Add meringue mushrooms before serving (do not refrigerate the mushrooms) or use some 'real' holly leaves with

MERINGUE MUSHROOMS
(recipe-Southern Living-1999)

Ingredients 
3 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup superfine sugar
1/2 cup (3 ounces) semisweet chocolate morsels, melted
2 teaspoons cocoa

Directions
Combine first 5 ingredients; beat at high speed with electric mixer until foamy. Add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form and sugar dissolves (2 to 4 minutes).
Spoon mixture into decorating bag fitted with large round tip. Pipe 32 (1 1/4-inch-wide) mounds to resemble mushroom caps and 32 (1-inch-tall) columns to resemble stems onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
Bake at 200° for 1 1/2 hours; turn oven off. Let meringues stand in closed oven 2 hours.
Spread thin layer of melted chocolate on flat side of caps. Trim rounded end of stems to make them flat; press stems against chocolate to attach them to caps. Sprinkle meringues lightly with cocoa.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Cartoon of the Day: Icing


CANDY CANE TRUFFLES: Two Easy Recipes

Candy Canes shout Christmas to me. I love chocolate and peppermint! You'll love these Candy Cane Truffles! What's better than homemade truffles? Here are two easy recipes for Candy Cane Truffles for gifts or to have around the house! And, if one recipe is good, two is better! Find the one you like best!. As always, use the very best chocolate.

1. CANDY CANE TRUFFLES 

Ingredients
4 ounces soft cream cheese
2 cup confectioners (powdered) sugar
1 cup dark chocolate, chopped
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
1/3 cup crushed candy canes

Directions
Beat cream cheese and powdered sugar together until smooth.
Melt chopped chocolate in top of double boiler or saucepan over a saucepan over simmering water.
Add chocolate and peppermint extract to cream cheese mixture and beat until smooth and combined. Cover and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes.
Scoop chocolate with melon baller or two spoons and hand roll into balls.
Roll balls in crushed candy canes.

And, here's a second Candy Cane Truffle recipe that I really love. It's from Hungry Girl por Vida. What's cool about it, besides the fact that the Truffles are delicious, is that it's made into little cubes rather than balls. Perfect for dropping into a hot cup of milk or cocoa

2. CANDY CANE TRUFFLES
 
Ingredients
4 ounces heavy cream
8 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
3 candy canes, crushed

Directions
Line small loaf pan with parchment, set aside.
Put chocolate in medium bowl and set aside.
Heat cream in small saucepan over medium-low heat to scald (just before it boils, there will be little bubbles around the edges of the pan).
Pour hot cream over chocolate and cover for about 5 minutes.
Remove cover and stir until smooth.
Stir in vanilla and peppermint extracts until combined.
Pour chocolate mixture into loaf pan and smooth top. Sprinkle with candy cane pieces and allow to cool to room temperature.
Chill in refrigerator until firm, 30-60 minutes.
Remove from pan and cut into cubes.

Cubes can be added to hot milk to make Cocoa or eat as you would truffles..or give as a gift to friends!

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

WHITE CHOCOLATE MOCHA from Cleo Coyle’s Coffeehouse Mysteries

Today I welcome back mystery author, coffee maven, and baker Cleo Coyle. I love when my mystery and chocolate worlds collide. Here's a fabulous recipe from Cleo for White Chocolate Mocha. Perfect for the holidays!

CLEO COYLE:
White Chocolate Mocha from Cleo Coyle’s Coffeehouse Mysteries 

This heavenly drink is a winter favorite at many American coffeehouses—so, of course, we put it on the menu of our beloved fictional Village Blend. Perfect for a snowy night, it tastes like a rich, warm, coffee-infused milkshake. Marc and I originally shared this recipe several years ago with readers of our Coffeehouse Mystery Holiday Grind. Today we’re delighted to share it here on Janet’s wonderful blog.

For those of you who are new to our work, my husband and I write two mystery series for Penguin Random House. Our long-running Coffeehouse Mysteries, set in New York’s Greenwich Village, revolves around the life of coffeehouse manager cum amateur sleuth Clare Cosi, a single mom with single-minded determination to help the people in her community, even when it means assisting the NYPD in tracking down perpetrators of perplexing crimes.

When Clare isn’t mothering her staff of quirky baristas or dealing with her elegant (and slightly eccentric) octogenarian employer, she’s coming up with tasty recipes like this one for her landmark shop. We hope you enjoy it—along with Clare’s latest case, Shot in the Dark, a Library Journal Mystery Pick of the Month and national bestseller.

Watch for our 18th Coffeehouse Mystery, releasing next year in hardcover from Penguin Random House.

Cleo Coyle’s White Chocolate Mocha

To download this recipe in a free PDF, click here.  

Makes one serving

Ingredients:

1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup good quality white chocolate, chopped
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1–2 shots (1/4 cup) hot espresso or double-strength coffee*
Whipped cream (optional)
White chocolate curls**

Step 1: Combine milk and white chocolate in a heatproof bowl and place over a saucepan about one-third full of boiling water. (The water level should be under the bowl and not touching it.) Stir constantly until chocolate is melted.

Step 2: Whip in the vanilla using a whisk, hand blender, or electric mixer. Continue to whip about a minute until the warm mixture is loosely frothy.

Step 3: Pour the espresso into a large mug. Add the steamed white chocolate milk and stir to blend the flavors. You can top with whipped cream and white chocolate shavings, but it’s just as delicious without.

*Note on coffee: For double-strength coffee, simply make a strong version of your regular cup. For instance, in a drip coffee maker, instead of using 1½ to 2 tablespoons of ground coffee for every six ounces of water, use 3 to 4 tablespoons.

**Note on curls: To create chocolate curls, start with a block of room temperature chocolate. Using a vegetable peeler, scrape the block and you'll see curls of chocolate peel away. Happy holidays, everyone!

--Cleo 

CLEO COYLE is a pseudonym for Alice Alfonsi, writing in collaboration with her husband, Marc Cerasini. Both are New York Times bestselling authors of the long-running Coffeehouse Mysteries. Alice and Marc are also authors of popular adult and children’s fiction and non-fiction, as well as media tie-in writers, who have penned properties for Lucasfilm, NBC, Fox, Disney, Imagine, and MGM. They live and work in New York City, where they write independently and together, including the Haunted Bookshop Mysteries, which was recently honored with a “Best Book of 2018” selection by Suspense Magazine. To learn more about their books and see more of their recipes, visit them online at www.CoffeehouseMystery.com
 

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

HOLIDAY CHOCOLATE BUTTER COOKIES: Retro Ad & Recipe

For me, it's all about the butter. If you're baking this holiday season, you'll want to choose the very best butter for your cookies. I use a variety of butters -- mostly from France, Ireland, Vermont, and Wisconsin. I always use unsalted butter, too. Look for a future post about butter, but in the meantime, here's a great easy Retro Ad & Recipe for holiday chocolate butter cookies from Land O Lakes. This is a very versatile chocolate cookie recipe.





Ice Cream Yule Log aka Bûche de Noël for the Winter Solstice

The Winter Solstice is almost upon us, and what could be more fitting that a Yule Log aka Bûche de Noël. And yes, this Ice Cream Yule Log can also be served for Christmas. We all know about the cross-over traditions of winter holidays.

The tradition of the Yule Log spans millennia and actually precedes Christianity. Peasants used to burn a yule log on the Winter Solstice in December to keep evil spirits away, which they presumed might come because of the prolonged darkness at the Winter Solstice.

As Christianity grew, the yule log became more commonly associated with Christmas celebrations and Christianity adopted the Yule log tradition. For centuries, Christians cut their own yule logs at Christmas time or they would try to find a yule log to burn. During the 1700s and 1800s, it was a regular Christmas tradition for men to go out in search of a yule log. Many European countries had traditions surrounding the Yule log, but a Yule log was burned either in the days preceding Christmas or on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

For the purposes of this blog, the expression"Yule log" has also come to refer to a log-shaped Christmas cake or"Bûche de Noël." Last week, I posted a list of bakeries and patisseries in the San Francisco Bay Area where you can purchase a Bûche de Noël for your holiday celebration.

Here's a simple recipe adapted from the Breyers Ice cream site for a Buche de Noel aka Yule Log Ice Cream Cake. You can always change the ice cream to a flavor you like best. Personally I think chocolate looks the best! How easy is this?

And, if making an Ice Cream Yule Log is too much trouble, Trader Joe's has a new ice cream flavor this season: 
Bûche de Noël (Yule Log) Ice Cream is a classic, custard-flavored ice cream with pieces of decadent chocolate cake and a rich, cocoa swirl. You’ll get the elements of a classic Bûche de Noël cake in each bite. Pair it with a traditional Bûche de Noël, and you'll be in heaven! A pint is only $2.99.

OK., but still if you'd like to make an easy ice cream Bûche de Noël, here's a great recipe!

ICE CREAM YULE LOG aka BUCHE DE NOEL

1 box (16 oz.) angel food cake mix or Duncan Hines Chocolate Cake mix (guess which one I use?)
1 Tbsp confectioners sugar PLUS extra for garnish
1 container (1.5 qt.) Chocolate or Chocolate Chip Ice Cream (original recipe uses Strawberry)
3 large marshmallows
6 mini marshmallows
Unsweetened DARK cocoa powder
1 can (16 ounces) chocolate frosting
Fresh mint sprigs
Cranberries
Ground cocoa nibs

Directions
Preheat oven to 350° Line 15-1/2 x 10-1/2-inch jelly-roll pan with parchment paper; set aside.
Prepare cake mix according to package; pour into prepared pan. Bake 22 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. On wire rack, cool 15 minutes.
Run metal spatula around edges of cake to loosen; sift 1 Tbsp sugar onto cake. Invert onto clean kitchen towel; remove parchment paper.
Starting at short end of cake, roll up tightly, jelly-roll style, folding towel into cake; refrigerate 30 minutes or until chilled.
On cutting board, unroll cake. With scissors, cut carton from softened (leave out for 10 minutes) Ice Cream (or if you're using another brand of ice-cream, let it soften until you can spread it). Arrange Ice Cream on its side, then cut crosswise into 8 slices. Arrange slices on cake leaving 1-1/2-inch border at one end of cake; pressing to form an even layer. Roll cake up tightly, using towel to help roll cake; freeze 3 hours or overnight. Freeze serving platter 30 minutes before serving.
Meanwhile, for ''mushrooms'', with scissors, snip large marshmallows in half crosswise; press mini marshmallows onto sticky side of large marshmallows. Sift cocoa powder over mushrooms; set aside.
On cutting board, remove towel from cake. With serrated knife, slice 1-1/2-inch diagonal piece off one end of cake. On chilled serving platter, arrange large ''log.'' Place diagonal slice against side of ''log'' to form ''branch.''
Frost "log" and "branch" with chocolate frosting, leaving ends unfrosted. Drag fork across frosting to create "bark"; press on "mushrooms." Return to freezer to firm up.
To serve, garnish with cranberries and mint and sprinkle with additional confectioners sugar. Serve on a bed of ground up cocoa nibs!

TIP: The frosting will cover any cracks you may get in the cake when rolling.

Photo: Breyer's with strawberry ice cream (Use chocolate instead!)

Monday, December 17, 2018

CHOCOLATE MAPLE SYRUP: National Maple Syrup Day

Today is National Maple Syrup Day.

When I was young, my family traveled to Canada, Maine, and Vermont for fishing trips (my father was a fresh water fisherman). One of my fond memories was seeing the taps in the maple trees in the woods.  So magical for me.. a city kid. They were just like beer taps (or for me, they probably looked like soda fountain taps). Tapping the trees for maple syrup was always the highlight of these trips. This experience broadened the school history lesson about the early settlers and Maple Syrup. Of course the indigenous people tapped the trees first, but that wasn't part of our lesson. 

An individual maple tree can be tapped one to three times per year (depending on how big the diameter of its trunk is), producing up to 13 gallons of sap per one to two month harvesting season. Maple trees keep the starch inside  their roots and trunk before winter sets in which is then later converted to sugar that appears in the tree's sap in  winter and early spring.

It is the starchy sugar that makes maple syrup so characteristically sweet. In order to turn sap into sugar, it's heated and boiled to evaporate the excess water, with the concentrated syrup remaining. Sugar shacks were set up for this process, and those were also available for viewing in small Vermont and Canadian towns. I imagine they still are.

Want to know more about the history of Maple Syrup? Read "Tapping into the history of maple syrup" at Chronically Vintage.

What to do with maple syrup? Well, growing up, maple syrup at our house came in a little crock and was only used to pour over waffles and pancakes. But Maple Syrup is actually a great item to have in your pantry and can be used in lots of ways. Maple syrup is a healthy alternative to sugar in baked goods and desserts.

Conversion tips:
Substitute an equal amount of maple syrup for sugar.
For each cup of syrup, reduce the quantity of liquid ingredients in the recipe (water, milk, juice) by about a quarter of a cup.
Maple syrup can also serve as a one-to-one substitution for other liquid sweeteners, such as honey, molasses and corn syrup.

And, with the holidays coming up, here's a great recipe for Chocolate Maple Syrup.. for yourself or to give as a gift.

CHOCOLATE MAPLE SYRUP

Ingredients
1-1/2 cups pure maple syrup
4 Tbsp unsweetened DARK cocoa powder
1/4 cup unsalted butter, chopped
Pinch of salt

Directions
Heat maple syrup in small sturdy saucepan over moderate heat until hot.
Whisk in cocoa powder, butter, and pinch of salt. Turn down to simmer and whisk for a minute.
Serve syrup warm.
Syrup keeps, covered and chilled, 1 week.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

M&Ms CHRISTMAS PARTY COOKIES: Retro Ad & Recipe

Who doesn't love M&Ms? I know I do. Here's a very easy recipe for Holiday Cookies. Use plain M&Ms or just the Red & Green ones. The Ad on the right with recipe is pure Retro!

"Six dozen ways to keep your children happy this holiday season. 
Fun for the kids, fun for you. Party Cookies are easy to make. And so bright and festive for the holidays."

M&Ms Christmas Party Cookies 

Ingredients
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup shortening
2 eggs
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2-1/4 cups Robin Hood all-purpose flour  (or what you usually use)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1-12 cups m&ms plain chocolate candies (or just the Xmas red & green ones)

Directions
CREAM sugars, shortening, eggs and vanilla thoroughly.
SPOON Robin Hood Flour (not sifted) into dry measuring cup. Level off and pour measured flour onto waxed paper.
ADD soda and salt to Robin Hood Flour (not sifted). Stir to blend.
ADD blended dry ingredients to creamed mixture. Mix well.
STIR IN 1/2 cup m&ms Plain Chocolate Candies. Reserve remaining candies for decorating. DROP by teaspoonfuls or shape dough into 1-inch balls and place on ungreased baking sheet.
BAKE at 375 degrees F for 10-12 minutes.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

SNOWMEN CUPCAKES: National Cupcake Day

Today is National Cupcake Day, and since Christmas is right around the corner, I thought I'd post this graphic for Snowmen Cupcakes. I have no idea where I found this, but I saved it. Love to give credit to whomever posted this cute cupcake collage!




DARK CHOCOLATE EGGNOG TRUFFLES

Eggnog is definitely a beverage of the season, so if you have some around, here's a great recipe! You can never have enough truffles during the holidays! Buy the best eggnog you can--or make your own! I love Dark Chocolate Eggnog Truffles! These make wonderful gifts, too!

Dark Chocolate Eggnog Truffles

Ingredients
3/4 cup eggnog
11 ounces dark chocolate 65%+ cacao, chopped
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
2 Tbsp superfine sugar
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Directions
Heat eggnog over medium heat almost to boiling point, whisking constantly. Do not boil.
Immediately remove pan from heat, turn heat to low. Add chocolate and butter to eggnog. Stir until chocolate is completely melted, returning to low heat if necessary.
Pour mixture into mixing bowl and beat with electric mixer at high speed for 5 minutes. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until mixture is firm but pliable.
In small bowl, mix superfine sugar with nutmeg and cinnamon; set aside. (you can also add cocoa)
Take 1 teaspoon of chocolate mixture and roll into ball, then roll in sugar mixture.
Place truffle in foil cup or on waxed paper tray (I don't use cups but they look festive if you do). Repeat.
Store truffles in airtight container in refrigerator.

Don't have time to make Eggnog Truffles? 
Starbucks sells Eggnog Latte Truffles. 
Godiva has them in their 12 piece Truffle Holiday Box.
Check with your local chocolatier!

Friday, December 14, 2018

1958 BOOK OF COOKIES: Cookie Tips & Recipe for Chocolate Fudge Slices

I have so many cookbooks, but I love my 'retro' pamphlets filled with fun chocolate cookie, candy and cake recipes. So today I'm adding more Cookie Tips, this time from Good Housekeeping's Book of Cookies (1958). I'm also posting the recipe from the Book of Cookies for Fudge Slices. Gotta love the illustrations in this book--and the cookie dough splatters! I pick up most of these cookbooks and pamphlets at garage sales and flea markets, but I've also had some for years that have come down to me from family members. So get Baking for the Holidays!





UNIQUE GINGERBREAD COOKIE CUTTERS & CHOCOLATE GINGERBREAD COOKIE RECIPE

Are you ready for the holidays? Any Gingerbread boys & girls in your cookie mix? I love Gingerbread Boys & Girls, and I these cookie cutters for traditional and not so traditional Gingerbread People are great! Be sure and scroll down for a Recipe for awesome Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies.

Yoga Cookie Cutters Set I: Lotus Group from Patti Paige Baked Ideas

Yoga Cookie Cutters Set 2: Down Dog from Patti Paige Baked Ideas

GingerDead Men Cookie Cutters:

NinjaBread Men:
Fred ABC Cookies Cutters: Which part do you eat first?

And some Vintage Gingerbread Boy Cookie Cutters






Chocolate Gingerbread Cookie Recipe
Recipe from Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito - Food & Wine Magazine

COOKIES

Ingredients
3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/3 cup unsweetened DARK cocoa powder
1 Tbsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 Tbsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup solid vegetable shortening (Crisco)
1/2 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1/2 cup molasses
2 ounces dark chocolate (65-85% cacao), melted and cooled

Directions
In medium bowl, whisk flour with cocoa powder, ground ginger, ground cinnamon, ground cloves, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In bowl of standing electric mixer fitted with paddle, beat softened butter with shortening at medium speed until mixture is smooth, about 30 seconds. Add brown sugar and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes.
Add egg to cookie batter and beat until incorporated. Beat in molasses and then melted chocolate. Add flour mixture in 3 batches, beating between additions. Divide dough into 3 equal parts. Shape each part into disk, then wrap each one in plastic wrap and refrigerate cookie dough until chilled, about 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 350°. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. On lightly floured work surface, roll out 1 disk of dough 1/4 inch thick. Using 4- to 5-inch cookie cutters, cut dough into shapes and transfer to prepared baking sheets. Reroll dough scraps and cut out more cookies.
Bake cookies for about 7 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking until tops are dry. Let cookies cool in pans for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Repeat process with remaining dough.

ICING
You can make Royal Icing or try this Recipe for Mascarpone Filling that doubles as Decorating Icing. Put it in a bag and pipe! Or use Wilton Decorating Icing in tubes.

Decorate your cookies. Let stand until icing dries, about 30 minutes.

Make Ahead: Chocolate-gingerbread cookies can be kept in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

RETRO HOLIDAY FUDGE RECIPES

I have two of these "Holiday"Retro Cookbooks. One is for Cookies and one is for Candies. One of my readers said she always thought these cookbooks were Swedish because her family had them (she is of Swedish heritage) .. and because of the illustrations. Anyone know? These books and recipes are perfect for the Holidays. Today I'm posting Fudge Recipes from Holiday Candies, published by Peter Pauper Press (1954). Be sure and try all the Fudge recipes. Perfect to make, take, or mail!