Monday, May 21, 2018

STRAWBERRIES & CREAM ICE CREAM PIE: National Strawberry & Cream Day

Today is Strawberries & Cream Day! One way to celebrate would be to stuff strawberries with whipped cream and dip in chocolate. Yum! But here's another way to celebrate the day -- Strawberries & Cream Ice Cream Pie with Chocolate Crust. This would be perfect for your Memorial Day dessert.

Strawberries & Cream Ice Cream Pie with Chocolate Cookie Crust

Ingredients
1 Chocolate Crust
3 cups Strawberry ice cream or Ben & Jerry's Strawberries & Cream ice cream, softened

Whipped Cream
1 cup Sliced fresh Strawberries

Chocolate Cookie Crust
Ingredients
30 Chocolate wafers
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
Pinch of salt

Directions for Cookie Crust
Whirl cookies in food processor until finely ground.
Put crumbs in mixing bowl and add butter and salt until crumbs are moistened.
Press mixture across bottom of 8-inch pie plate and up sides. Pack tightly.
Bake in 350 degree oven for 6 minutes.
Cool before filling.

Directions for Pie
Be sure and cool crust before adding ice cream
Spread ice cream evenly over crust.
Smooth top.
Put pie in freezer until solid (or until ready to serve - for up to 3 days)
Before serving, top with whipped cream and fresh sliced strawberries.




Saturday, May 19, 2018

DEVIL'S FOOD CAKE vs CHOCOLATE CAKE: National Devil's Food Cake Day!

People always ask what's the difference between Devil's Food Cake and Chocolate Cake. It's a good question, and there are many different interpretations. Some recipes use cocoa, some melted chocolate, some add coffee or hot liquid, and some increase the baking soda. And, since it's National Devil's Food Cake Day, here are some answers.


According to Wikipedia:

Because of differing recipes and changing ingredient availability over the course of the twentieth century, it is difficult to precisely qualify what distinguishes Devil's food from the more standard chocolate cake. The traditional Devil's food cake is made with shredded beets much the way a carrot cake is made with carrots. The beets add moisture and sweetness to the cake, helping it to be very rich. The red of the beets slightly colors the cake red and due to the richness of the cake it became known as the Devil's food. 

O.k. That's a beet cake or a 'natural' red velvet cake, and I make a good one, but it's not a Devil's Food Cake in my opinion.  

Devil's food cake is generally more moist and airy than other chocolate cakes, and often uses cocoa as opposed to chocolate for the flavor as well as coffee. The lack of melted chocolate and the addition of coffee is typically what distinguishes a Devil's food cake from a chocolate cake, though some recipes call for all, resulting in an even richer chocolate flavor. The use of hot, or boiling water as the cake's main liquid, rather than milk, is also a common difference. 

Devil's food cake is sometimes distinguished from other chocolate cakes by the use of additional baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) which raises the pH level and makes the cake a deeper and darker mahogany color. Devil's food cake incorporates butter (or a substitute), egg whites, flour (while some chocolate cakes are flourless) and less egg than other chocolate cakes. Devil's food cake was introduced in the United States in the early 20th century with the recipe in print as early as 1905. 

A similar cake, the red velvet cake, is closely linked to a Devil's food cake, and in some turn of the century cookbooks the two names may have been interchangeable. Most red velvet cakes today use red food coloring, but even without it, the reaction of acidic vinegar and buttermilk tends to better reveal the red anthocyanin in the cocoa. When used in cakes, acid causes reddening of cocoa powder when baked, and before more alkaline "Dutch Processed" cocoa was widely available, the red color would have been more pronounced. This natural tinting may have been the source for the name "Red Velvet" as well as "Devil's Food" and a long list of similar names for chocolate cakes.

I'm partial to Devil's Food Cake.

Here are several mid-century recipes. Sorry about the light print on the first cookbook.

I've posted many Devil's Food Cake recipes in the past, but today I have four mid-century recipes.

The first recipe is for Cocoa Devil's Food Cake from How To Get the Most Out of Your Sunbeam Mixmaster (1950). I posted a "Mix-Easy" Devil's Food Cake for Mother's Day a few years ago, and you might want to look at that one, too. It's pretty much the same as the following recipe. The following page in the Sunbeam Mixmaster cookbook pamphlet is great for today's post since there's a Chocolate Cake recipe next to the Devil's Food Cake recipe.


This same cookbook has a recipe for Black Devil's Food Cake, so now we have Cocoa Devil's Food Cake, Black Devil's Food Cake, and a Red Devil's Food Cake. As you see, the following Black Devil's Food cake is made with cocoa and with the addition of strong hot coffee or boiling water.


The Red Devil's Food Cake is a variation on the Chocolate Fudge Cake on the same page, and to save space, they didn't reprint the entire recipe! It's a very small pamphlet. The baking soda is increased, but otherwise it's the same cake. This recipe is from the Recipes for your Hamilton Beach Mixer-17 Delicious New Cakes (1947). Don't you just love that someone wrote good next to the recipe? It's the same recipe I posted (but from a different pamphlet) on Devil's Food Cake Day for Mother's Day. 


And one more Red Devil's Food Cake from the same mid-century period. This one is from Kate Smith Chooses her 55 Favorite Ann Pillsbury CAKE RECIPES.


Enough Devil's Food Cake recipes? Never! Have a look at Martha Washington's Devil's Food Cake from Capitol Hill Cooks: Recipes from the White House by Linda Bauer. It's a great Buttermilk Devil's Food Cake!

So what's the difference between Devil's Food Cake and Chocolate Cake? You decide.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

ELDERFLOWER LEMON BUNDT CAKE for the Royal Wedding

Unless you're living in the back of beyond, you're aware of the Royal Wedding this weekend of Prince Harry and American Meghan Markle. The wedding couple are departing from tradition and not having a fruitcake for their wedding cake. Good for them. Alas, it's not chocolate either. Nevertheless, I'm all for lemon. They have chosen a lemon elderflower cake. I've seen recipes all over the Internet for this multi-layer cake. One of my friends has made it several times, tweaking it each time so she has it right for her wedding celebration here in the States. When Prince William got married, I posted his groom's cake which was a chocolate biscuit cake, a favorite of his grandmother, the Queen, too. Alas, I have not seen anything posted about Harry's groom's cake.

I'm not one for layer cakes, so after much searching I found great recipes on My Recipes and The Queen of Scones's blog for an Elderflower Lemon Bundt Cake. If you've never visited these sites, you must! I chose the Queen of Scone's adapted recipe. I love it because 1) it's a bundt cake and I love Bundts 2) it's easy! Two of my favorite things. You'll want to go to the original recipe site for photos and tips.

Just an FYI: I used Meyer lemons in this recipe. I have several Meyer Lemon trees in my yard, and I love the distinctive taste!

ELDERFLOWER LEMON BUNDT CAKE

Ingredients 

Bundt Cake
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
3 cups sugar (or caster sugar if you have it)
5 large eggs room temperature
2 Tbsp elderflower syrup (or liqueur)
1 Tbsp Lemon zest from 2 lemons
3 cups all purpose flour

Lemon Elderflower Glaze
1/2 cup powdered sugar (more as needed)
2 Tbsp elderflower syrup
2 - 3 tsp lemon juice  (more if needed)

Elderflower Lemon Cream
2 cups heavy whipping cream
4 Tbsp elderflower syrup  (more as desired)
1 teaspoon clear Vanilla (not vanilla bean)
3 - 4 tsp Lemon zest, freshly zested
1/2 cup powdered sugar  (more if desired)
Dried Elderflowers
1 or 2 lemons, freshly zested
(Add fresh lemon zest and dried Elderflowers just before serving)

Directions

Bundt Cake
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Prepare Bundt pan with oil and flour.
Beat butter on medium speed with stand mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar, and beat until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.
Stir in liqueur and zest. Add flour and Elderflower syrup alternately to butter mixture, beginning and ending with flour, beating on low speed just until blended after each addition.
Pour batter into a prepared 10-inch Bundt pan.
Bake for 60 minutes: Tent with non-stick aluminum foil after 45 - 50 minutes to prevent excessive browning, if necessary.
Cool in pan on a wire rack 15 minutes; invert cake onto rack, and cool completely, about 30 minutes.

Lemon Elderflower Glaze
Add glaze ingredients together. Mix icing sugar, syrup, and lemon juice together in bowl until reaching desired consistency. If glaze is too thin, add more icing sugar. If too thick, add  few more drops of lemon juice or Syrup.
Spoon Lemon-Elderflower Glaze over cake.

Now to top it off, you must make Lemon Elderflower Cream!

Lemon Elderflower Cream
Add all ingredients but sugar to very clean, preferably chilled mixing bowl. Whisk with stand mixer {fitted with whisk attachment} or use handheld mixer until Cream starts to hold stiff peaks. Add sugar to taste and continue whisking to achieve desired peaks.

Before serving, sprinkle a bit of lemon zest and dried Elderflowers on top of Elderflower Cream. It's a wedding, after all!


Wednesday, May 16, 2018

CHOCOLATE CHERRY COBBLER: National Cherry Cobbler Day

Today is National Cherry Cobbler Day and fresh cherries are just starting to hit the market, so today I'm posting a recipe for a fresh cherry cobbler and a second recipe that uses natural cherry pie filling in case you don't have fresh cherries available in your area. I love Chukar Cherries Sour Cherry Fruit Filling--whole and tangy Montmorency cherries. Red and delicious!

You might be asking what exactly is a Cobbler? Cobblers traditionally have a biscuit topping on the fresh fruit. The biscuits are usually dropped onto the fruit in small rounds, giving it the appearance of a cobbled road and hence the name Cobbler.  

Happy National Cherry Cobbler Day... and as I always say, everything tastes better with Chocolate!

USING FRESH CHERRIES:

1. CHOCOLATE CHERRY COBBLER WITH FRESH CHERRIES

Ingredients
6 cups tart red cherries, pitted
1-1/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup water
4 tsp cornstarch
3/4 cup dark chocolate, chopped

Topping:
1 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 egg, beaten
3 tablespoons milk 

Directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
In saucepan combine filling ingredients and cook, stirring until bubbling and thickened. Pour into an 8-inch square baking dish. Cool. After cooled, sprinkle chopped chocolate.
In bowl, stir together flour, sugars, baking powder, and cinnamon. Cut in butter until crumbly.
Mix together egg and milk. Add to flour mixture and stir with fork just until combined.
Drop topping by tablespoonfuls onto filling.
Bake for 25 minutes until browned and bubbly.

USING PIE FILLING:

2. CHOCOLATE CHERRY COBBLER WITH CHERRY PIE FILLING

Ingredients
18 ounces Chukar's Sour Cherry Fruit Filling
1/2 cup sugar
1-1/2 Tbsp flour
1 cup dark chocolate (60-75% cacao), chopped

Topping
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened (I use Kerrygold)

Directions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Mix cherries, sugar and flour. Spread evenly in 11 x 7 baking dish.
Sprinkle chocolate over top.

For topping
Mix together flour, sugars and pinch of salt.
Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly.
Sprinkle topping over cherry filling.
Bake cobbler until filling bubbles and topping is golden brown.
About 40 to 45 minutes.



Tuesday, May 15, 2018

CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE PIE: Chocolate Chip Day

Today is National Chocolate Chip Day. Obviously I've blogged many different Chocolate Chip Recipes from cookies to ice cream to truffles to pound cake to cheesecake to pancakes...and a lot more. I usually throw chocolate chips in most of my recipes. It's almost always appropriate because you can never have enough chocolate!

My favorite cookies are Chocolate Chip. No surprise there! So for National Chocolate Chip Day, here's a very easy recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie! You can add a cup of walnuts if you're a walnut chocolate chip cookie person. This is a gooey pie, but if you want it to be firmer, just let it set for awhile. It's a one crust pie, but you'll love the way the 'cookie dough' makes its own 'crust' on top. I like ice cream or whipped cream with this pie.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie

Ingredients
1 unbaked 9" pie shell (I use frozen Trader Joe's pie crust. Defrost first)
2 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar (packed)
1 cup unsalted butter, melted but cooled
1 cup CHOCOLATE CHIPS  (Here's where you can get creative. What kind of chocolate chips do you like?)
1 cup chopped walnuts-optional

Directions
Preheat oven to 325.
In large bowl, beat eggs until foamy.
Beat in flour, sugar, and brown sugar until well blended.
Blend in melted butter.
Stir in chocolate chips (and nuts if you're using them).
Pour into pie shell.
Bake for 60 minutes.

You can serve this warm with ice cream or whipped cream... or just eat it plain!

Monday, May 14, 2018

CHOCOLATE BUTTERMILK BISCUITS: National Buttermilk Biscuit Day

Today is Buttermilk Biscuit Day. American biscuits are nothing like British Biscuits which are cookies. No, our biscuits are more like scones, only fluffier. Buttermilk Biscuits are great with breakfast and gravy and chicken or just about anytime. I love biscuits.

I couldn't pass up this great Retro Space Age Ad for Puffin Biscuits. I think Sterling Cooper (Mad Men) could easily have created this ad. I, of course, suggest you make your biscuits from scratch, and they truly will be "So Light they almost fly"...

Following is a recipe for Chocolate Buttermilk Biscuits (see below).

First, though, a few biscuit making tips from the Bisquick site. These apply if you use Bisquick or if you make your biscuits from scratch.

BISCUIT MAKING TIPS

1. Leave an inch or two space around the biscuits on the cookie sheet. They'll heat more evenly and cook better.
2. In a pinch, a straight-sided plastic glass can also substitute for a rolling pin.
3. For crunchy top, skip kneading and rolling and drop biscuit-sized spoonfuls directly onto baking sheet.
4. Loosen freshly baked biscuits from tray with spatula so they don't stick.
5. Count to ten; kneading biscuit dough too much can make biscuits tough.
6. If you don't have a biscuit cutter, either use a knife to cut squares or cut rounds with upside-down drinking glass. A little flour or extra Bisquick on the knife or glass will help keep things from sticking.

CHOCOLATE BUTTERMILK BISCUITS

This recipe is great served with whipped cream and strawberries! Or just grind some Trader Joe's Chocolate Coffee Bean Sugar --or some Cinnamon Sugar-- over them just after you brush with the melted butter. Yum! Another variation: add chocolate chips to the dough.

Ingredients
2 cups of Flour
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
5 Tbsp DARK cocoa powder
4 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
8 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, cubed
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp cold buttermilk (no buttermilk?add a tsp of vinegar to whole milk)
2 Tbsp melted butter for top of biscuits

Directions
Preheat oven to 450
In food processor: Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Pulse. Add cubed butter. Pulse until butter combines to create grainy mixture.
Put contents of food processor in bowl. Make well in center and pour in chilled buttermilk. Mix to form sticky dough. Place dough on well floured surface. Fold dough a few time. DO NOT OVERWORK.
Roll out dough with floured rolling pin to one inch thickness.
Using biscuit cutter, cut out biscuits in straight up and down motion. Do not twist when cutting out the biscuits. Hint: Twisting will seal sides of biscuits preventing biscuits from rising and consequently make for tough, flat biscuits.
Put cut out biscuits on parchment paper lined baking sheet so that they are close but not touching.
Once all of biscuits are on baking sheet, bake for 10-12 minutes in center of oven until golden brown. Brush with melted butter.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

MOM AND APPLE PIE: Chocolate Apple Pie for Mother's Day & National Apple Pie Day!

Today is National Apple Pie Day, and this is the perfect post for Mother's Day, too. It's all about "Mom and Apple Pie," and this Chocolate Apple Pie is "as American as Mom and Apple Pie." But what's the origin of these catch phrases? What's the meaning of as American as Mom and Apple Pie

From Wikipedia: 
Although apple pies have been eaten since long before the European colonization of the Americas, "as American as apple pie" is a saying in the United States, meaning "typically American". In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, apple pie became a symbol of American prosperity and national pride. A newspaper article published in 1902 declared that “No pie-eating people can be permanently vanquished.” The dish was also commemorated in the phrase "for Mom and apple pie" - supposedly the stock answer of American soldiers in World War II, whenever journalists asked why they were going to war.

My grandmother made an awesome Apple Pie. I've written about it before. It did not contain chocolate, and she made it in a huge rectangular pan that was big enough to feed a crowd since there were always lots of family at our house. She made Apple Pie because it was American, and when she came to these shores, she became an American! My Bubbe was born in Ukraine, married in London, and settled in Philadelphia, the cradle of liberty. She took her new citizenship to heart, and she baked her special apple pie for every Friday night dinner. She did it because she saw herself as a true American. So Celebrate Mom (and Grandmom) and Apple Pie with this easy Chocolate Apple Pie Recipe!

CHOCOLATE APPLE PIE

Ingredients
Pastry for a double-crust 9-inch pie, unbaked
8-10 tart apples (peeled, cored and sliced thinly--number of apples depends on their size)--Gravensteins aren't available this time of year, but they're my favorite, especially for pies!
1/3 cup sugar
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 cup 65-75% dark chocolate fair-trade organic, chopped into smallish pieces

Directions
Apples: peel, core, and slice thinly.
Combine cinnamon & sugar = cinnamon sugar. (you may need a tiny bit more). I've also used the chocolate cinnamon sugar from Trader Joe's
Place 1 layer apple slices on bottom crust. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons cinnamon sugar. Repeat twice.
Spread chopped chocolate pieces over top.
Using remaining apples, make 3 more apple/cinnamon sugar layers.
Top with 2nd crust and seal edges. Make cut on the top--or prick with fork in a few places.
Bake in preheated 450 F oven for 15 minutes (until golden).
Lower heat to 350F and continue baking for another 25-30 minutes, or until apples are tender.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

HISTORY & 3 RECIPES FOR NUTTY FUDGE: National Nutty Fudge Day


Another holiday, another recipe. Today is National Nutty Fudge Day. My Aunt Annie made the best fudge in the world, but now that I know more about candy nomenclature, I think she actually made truffles. They were dark chocolate balls rolled in cocoa. I'll always remember her truffles as fudge.

However, I had my first taste of the 'real' fudge down the shore in Atlantic City. Fudge was sold along with Salt Water Taffy at many of the Boardwalk candy shops. Yum!

History of Fudge: Fudge was supposedly invented in the U.S.in the late 1880s. Historians believe the first batch of fudge resulted from a bungled batch of caramels, as in "Oh, Fudge" I don't think so...

According to Wikipedia, the main component of Fudge was similar to the traditional recipe for Scots Tablet found in The Household Book of the Lady Grisell Baillie (1692-1733). The term 'fudge' is often used in the UK for a soft variant of the tablet recipe.

One of the first documented examples of American fudge (containing chocolate!) was found in a letter written by Emelyn Batersby Hartridge, a Vassar College student, who wrote that a friend's cousin made fudge in Baltimore in 1886 and sold it for 40 cents a pound. Hartridge asked for the fudge recipe, and in 1888 made 30 pounds of the fudge for the Vassar Senior Auction. In The Candy Book (Alice Bradley, 1929) an entire chapter is devoted to fudge.

Fudge is a crystalline candy, which means that, unlike lollipops, caramels, and taffy, crystal formation is the key to making great fudge. Tiny microcrystals of sugar in fudge give fudge its firm but smooth texture. The secret to successful fudge is getting these crystals to form at just the right time. Fudge is one of the rare exceptions to the rule that sugar crystals are not desirable in candy. Tiny microcrystals in fudge are what give it its firm texture. When the crystals are small enough, they don’t feel grainy on your tongue, but smooth.

While you ultimately want crystals to form, it's important that they don't form too early. Now it gets tricky! The key to successful, nongrainy fudge is in the cooling, not the cooking. If you disturb the cooling fudge during this cooling phase you increase the potential for larger crystals (seed crystals) of sugar to form too early and thus a grainy fudge results.

O.K. this is too much for me to take in, not being a candy maker. So how to make fudge relatively easy? Here are three recipes.

1. Easy Million Dollar Fudge 
Adapted from Stephanie in All Recipes

Ingredients
4 - 1/2 cups white sugar
1 pinch salt
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
2 cups chopped nuts
1 (12 ounce) package semisweet chocolate chips (or good quality dark chocolate, chopped)
12 (1 ounce) squares German sweet chocolate
2 cups marshmallow creme

Directions
Butter two 9 x 9 inch baking pans and set aside.
Place chocolate chips, German chocolate, marshmallow creme, and nuts into a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
In 4 quart saucepan, combine sugar, salt, butter, and evaporated milk. Stir over low heat until sugar dissolves. Bring to boil, and cook for 6 minutes.
Pour boiling syrup over ingredients in bowl, beat until all chocolate is melted. Pour into prepared pans. Let stand a few hours before cutting.

2. Foolproof Dark Chocolate Fudge Recipe

Ingredients
3 cups semisweet chocolate chips (or dark chocolate, chopped)
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
Pinch of salt
1 cup chopped walnuts
1-1/2 tsp vanilla

Directions
In heavy saucepan over low heat, melt chocolate chips with sweetened condensed milk and salt. Remove from heat; stir in walnuts and vanilla.
Spread evenly into aluminum foil lined 8 or 9 inch square pan.
Chill 2 hours or until firm.
Turn fudge onto cutting board; peel off foil and cut into squares.

3. Nutty Chocolate Fudge
Alton Brown had a great show on the Food Network on making fudge, so I thought I should include one of his recipes for nutty chocolate fudge (slightly adapted)

Ingredients
2- 3/4 cups sugar
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, plus more for greasing pan
1 cup half-and-half
1 Tbsp corn syrup
1 Tbsp Madagascar vanilla extract
1 cup chopped, roasted nuts

Directions
Grease 8 by 8-inch pan with butter.
In heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine sugar, chocolate, 1-1/2 Tbsp  butter, half-and-half, and corn syrup. Over medium heat, stir with a wooden spoon until sugar is dissolved and chocolate is melted.
Increase heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and boil for 3 minutes.
Remove cover and attach candy thermometer to pot. Cook until thermometer reads 234 degrees F.
Remove from heat and add remaining butter. Do not stir.
Let mixture cool for 10 minutes or until it drops to 130 degrees F.
Add vanilla and nuts and mix until well-blended and shiny texture becomes matte.
Pour into prepared pan.
Let sit in cool dry area until firm.
Cut into 1-inch pieces.

And, there are websites that are just devoted to fudge. Fudge-Recipes.net and Fudge-Recipes.com and Fudge Recipe Collection. In addition there are many, many other nutty chocolate fudge recipes on various food blogs, including this one!

Have a Nutty Fudge Day!

Friday, May 11, 2018

MOTHER'S DAY CHOCOLATE CAKE: Retro Ad & Recipe

I adore Retro Advertisements, and this one is particularly close to my heart. My mother had a Sunbeam Mixmaster. So many cookies, cakes, and brownies were made with that Mixmaster. I don't have my mother's Sunbeam Mixmaster, but I have my Mother-in-Law's -- the same model with all the attachments. I use my Kitchenaid Mixer mostly, but I love the functionality of that old Mixmaster War Horse. It still works, and I'll bet my mother-in-law got it in the early 50s.

So, for Mother's Day, here's a Sunbeam Mixmaster Mother's Day Advertisement from Life Magazine, May 1, 1950, complete with Chocolate Cake recipe. What are you making for Mother's Day?





Thursday, May 10, 2018

Retro Carnation's "Easy-Does-It" Cookbook: First-Prize Buttermilk Fudge Cake Recipe

I love old cookbooks. Last weekend at the Alameda Flea Market, I found a tiny cookbook,  Carnation's Easy-Does-It Cookbook, by Mary Blake (1958). It's filled with helpful tips and recipes. Some are a bit dated, and the assumption is that the "little woman's in the kitchen," but it's a real blast from the past. Be sure and scroll down for an easy recipe for First-Prize Buttermilk Fudge Cake!


And here's the recipe for First-Prize Buttermilk Fudge Cake.




Tuesday, May 8, 2018

DIY CHOCOLATE FACIALS: The Perfect Mother's Day Gift!

Here's a personal and unique Mother's Day Gift! A Chocolate Facial for Mom! Mix up one of these recipes -- the Perfect Mother's Day gift. Be sure to make a second batch for yourself!

We all know Chocolate is good for the heart, blood pressure, and a lot more. When I was growing up, we were told that chocolate was bad for the skin. That it actually caused acne. This is not true. Chocolate is full of antioxidants that actually give the skin extra protection against free radicals and can nourish the skin. The following masks can increase hydration, support skin's defense against UV damage, decrease roughness, and actually improve blood flow. Give one or all of them a try.

Pros of Chocolate Face Mask: The skin becomes glowing and soft. The skin becomes firm and smooth. Even if the mask goes into your mouth, no problem; it tastes yummy. The final Chocolate Face Mask even has an alternative fudge recipe.

So here are 5 D-I-Y Chocolate Face Mask Recipes! They're all simple to make. Let me know which is your favorite.

1. Chocolate Mask from Household Magic: Daily Tips

Mix together a heaping Tbsp of unsweetened cocoa powder with heavy cream to form a paste.
Apply to clean, dry skin and leave paste on for 15 minutes.
Wipe off mask with washcloth.
Rinse face with lukewarm water and pat dry.

2. Chocolate Yogurt Honey Mask from Flavor Fiesta

Ingredients:
1 tsp cocoa powder
1 tsp yogurt
1 tsp honey

Directions:
Blend cocoa powder with honey and yogurt. Cocoa powder can be difficult to blend, so be patient with this step. Keep mixing until mixture looks like melted chocolate.
Clean your face with lukewarm water. Dab dry and then apply the mask evenly all over your face except the eye and lip areas. Relax for 15-20 minutes and let the mask do it’s magic.
Wash off with lukewarm water and dab dry.
Apply moisturizer.

3. Chocolate Brown Sugar Sea Salt Mask from WikiHow

Ingredients
2 bars of dark chocolate, chopped
2/3 cup of milk
Sea salt
3 Tbsp Brown Sugar

Directions
Heat dark chocolate in double boiler for about 3 minutes.
Mix sea salt, brown sugar, and 2/3 of a cup milk in a bowl.
Remove melted chocolate from heat.
Mix melted chocolate with salt/milk mixture.
Allow to cool.
Apply to face while cool but not hardened.
Leave on until it hardens.
Wash or chip off with mild cleanser and warm water.
Add moisturizer when done.

4. Chocolate Oatmeal Honey Mask from Skin Care and Remedies

Ingredients
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup organic honey
2 Tbsp of heavy cream (or sour cream)
3 tsp oatmeal powder

Directions
Mix all ingredients until mass in consistent.
Apply to face, gently massaging so oatmeal can start exfoliating the dead skin cell layer.
Leave on for about 15-20 minutes
Rinse off with lukewarm water.

The following recipe is one of my favorites because it's so versatile.. with a tiny bit of tweaking, you can make fudge! How cool is that?

Chocolate Avocado, Honey, Oatmeal Face Mask (or Fudge)  
 from Meghan Telpner-Making Love in the Kitchen

Ingredients
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup organic honey
2 Tbsp smashed avocado
3 tsp oatmeal powder (leave this out if making soft fudge, leave in if you want a harder texture)

Directions: Face Mask
Mix all ingredients until mass is consistent.
Apply on face, gently massaging so oatmeal can start exfoliating the dead skin cell layer.
Leave on for 15-20 minutes.
Rinse off with lukewarm water.

Instructions: Fudge
Mix all ingredients (except oatmeal) until mass is consistent.
Spread in small pyrex dish or into individual ramikens.
Allow to set in refrigerator for at least two hours.



Monday, May 7, 2018

Cocoa Spiced Salmon for Mother's Day!

My Mother circa 1942
Confession: My mother was not a chocoholic. So for Mother's Day that always precluded giving her Truffles or Chocolates or baking anything chocolate specifically for her. However, my mother would have eaten salmon every day if she had had the opportunity. So here is an easy recipe adapted from Peggy Trowbridge Filippone on about.com for Cocoa Spiced Salmon.

I love cocoa/chocolate rubs, and this one helps seal in the flavor of the salmon. We do a lot of grilling at our house, and this is perfect for Mother's Day.. or any day! If you don't have a grill, you can broil. If you do, give it 10 minutes tops!

Here's a chocolate menu for you for Mother's Day: Cocoa Spiced Salmon with a green salad made with blueberries, cocoa nibs, blue cheese and spiced walnuts. I use a Strawberry vinaigrette. You can also make a Flourless Chocolate Cake for dessert and maybe some Chocolate Dipped Strawberries.

Mother's Day Cocoa Spiced Salmon

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive oil
1 Tbsp dark brown sugar
1/4 tsp dry mustard
Dash of ground cinnamon
1 tsp sweet Hungarian paprika
1/2 tsp DARK cocoa powder
2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1-1/2 tsp kosher salt
1-1/2 pounds salmon filet

Mustard Sauce (optional)
1/4 cup dry mustard
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp hot water

Directions:

We cook on a Weber, but if you have a gas grill, fire to medium-high heat.
Pour and distribute 1 teaspoon olive oil over bottom of shallow aluminum pan. (Alternatively, you can  form a tray out of a double layer of heavy foil. Be sure to put it on a cookie sheet for stability.)

Whisk together sugar, dry mustard, cinnamon, paprika, cocoa powder, chili powder, cumin, pepper, and salt.

Coat both sides of the salmon filet with remaining olive oil.
Place in grill pan skin-side down.
Sprinkle generously with cocoa spice mixture and pat down.
(You may have some spice mix left over. Store in a glass jar in a cool, dark place up to 6 months.)

The recipe says to grill salmon about 10 minutes per inch of thickness, until salmon flakes easily with a fork. Do not overcook or it will become dry. We cook our salmon for a much shorter period of time, but then we don't have the same control on the heat on the Weber.

Mustard Sauce: Optional
Whisk together dry mustard, sugar, and hot water until smooth. 
Serve as a condiment with Cocoa Spiced Salmon.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

CHOCOLATE CREPES SUZETTE: Crepes Suzette Day!

Today is National Crepes Suzette Day. Ooh-la-la! What could be more French than Crepes Suzette?

To add a chocolate element, you can add chocolate sauce to your traditional crepes suzette, but even better, make Chocolate Crepes?

History of Crepes Suzette from What's Cooking America?

Probably the most famous crepe dish in the world. In a restaurant, a crepe suzette is often prepared in a chafing dish in full view of the guests. They are served hot with a sauce of sugar, orange juice, and liqueur (usually Grand Marnier). Brandy is poured over the crepes and then lit. The dish was created out of a mistake made by a fourteen year-old assistant waiter Henri Carpentier (1880-1961) in 1895 at the Maitre at Monte Carlo's Café de Paris. He was preparing a dessert for the Prince of Wales, the future King Edward VII (1841-1910) of England. 


According to Henri Charpentier, in own words from Life A La Henri – Being The Memories of Henri Charpentier:


“It was quite by accident as I worked in front of a chafing dish that the cordials caught fire. I thought I was ruined. The Prince and his friends were waiting. How could I begin all over? I tasted it. It was, I thought, the most delicious melody of sweet flavors I had every tasted. I still think so. That accident of the flame was precisely what was needed to bring all those various instruments into one harmony of taste . . . He ate the pancakes with a fork; but he used a spoon to capture the remaining syrup. He asked me the name of that which he had eaten with so much relish. I told him it was to be called Crepes Princesse. He recognized that the pancake controlled the gender and that this was a compliment designed for him; but he protested with mock ferocity that there was a lady present. She was alert and rose to her feet and holding her little shirt wide with her hands she made him a curtsey. ‘Will you,’ said His Majesty, ‘change Crepes Princesse to Crepes Suzette?’ Thus was born and baptized this confection, one taste of which, I really believe, would reform a cannibal into a civilized gentleman. The next day I received a present from the Prince, a jeweled ring, a panama hat and a cane.”

CHOCOLATE CREPES SUZETTE


For the Crepes: 

Ingredients
2 cups milk
2 eggs
2 1/2 Tbsp melted unsalted butter
2 ounces dark chocolate, melted
1-1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup DARK cocoa
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions

Melt butter and chocolate together, mixing to combine and smooth out  chocolate. 
In large bowl, combine milk and eggs. 
In separate, smaller bowl, combine dry ingredients.
Whisk together milk and eggs with dry ingredients, continue whisking as you incorporate butter and chocolate mixture.
Cover and refrigerate at least an hour, or overnight. Be sure to re-whisk batter before you cook  crepes.

To Cook Crepes:
Butter hot skillet (small or medium, not large) or crepe pan, then wipe out excess butter with paper towel so it's dry-ish. Pour in small amount of crepe batter and tilt pan as needed so batter spreads and covers bottom of pan. As edges begin to turn up, flip crepe with a spatula for few seconds to cook other side.


SAUCE & FINAL PREPARATION

Ingredients
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup sugar
Juice of 6 oranges (with zest from one)
3 Tbsp Cointreau
3 Tbsp Cognac
12 dark chocolate crepes
Grated chocolate for garnish

Directions
Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat. Stir in sugar, zest, juice, and liqueur. Stirring constantly, reduce sauce to 2/3 cup. Carefully add each cooked crepe to  pan—one at a time—and coat with sauce.
Fold each crepe into quarters, and arrange on plate (3 per plate if you're serving four)
Sprinkle crepes with orange zest and grated chocolate chocolate.

Only if you're really careful: flambé sauce: reserve two tablespoons and add three more tablespoons of Cognac. Stir together and remove the pan from heat. Ignite with match and pour flaming sauce over crepes.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

MINT JULEP TRUFFLES for the Kentucky Derby!

I have two recipes for Mint Julep Truffles to help you celebrate the Kentucky Derby. Too late to make these today? Well, they are perfect for the Triple Crown, too! The Mint Julep has been the official drink of the Kentucky Derby, since 1938. Why not step it up a notch and add chocolate? I'm all about easy, and the two recipes below are just that!

Mint Juleps are traditionally served in pewter or silver julep cups. I always love an opportunity to buy unique tableware. You can serve the truffles in mint julep cups!

Read more about the history of the Mint Julep at whatscooking america.

1. MINT JULEP TRUFFLES

Ingredients
7 ounces DARK (60-75% cacao) chocolate, chopped
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 Tbsp minced fresh mint leaves
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 Tbsp good quality bourbon
Cocoa

Directions
Put chopped chocolate in bowl and set aside.
Heat heavy cream and mint leaves in small saucepan. Bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and pour over chocolate. Stir in butter and bourbon; whisk until chocolate is melted and smooth.
Cover chocolate mixture with plastic wrap (press wrap onto surface of chocolate) and chill for two hours, or until firm.

To Form Truffles:
Put cocoa in shallow bowl.
Using a melon baller or teaspoon, scoop out balls of chilled chocolate. Form into balls quickly between your palms.
Roll balls in cocoa to coat.

II. Mint Julep Truffles 
(recipe from Food Network)

Ingredients 
6 ounces good-quality semisweet chocolate (not chocolate chips), coarsely chopped
2 ounces good-quality milk chocolate (not chocolate chips), coarsely chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
3 to 4 tsp bourbon
1/2 tsp pure peppermint extract
1/3 cup sugar
2 packed Tbsp fresh mint leaves

Directions 
Put chopped semisweet and milk chocolate in medium bowl. Bring heavy cream and butter to  simmer in small saucepan. Pour cream mixture over chocolate, completely covering it, and let sit for 5 minutes. Stir with spatula until chocolate is completely melted, smooth and glossy. (If chocolate doesn't melt completely, microwave the mixture on high in 15-second increments, stirring in between, until fully melted.)
Fold in bourbon and peppermint extract until incorporated. Mixture will look separated at first, but keep stirring until uniform.
Set bowl over larger bowl of ice water, and let mixture chill for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until  thickened a bit and it's become homogeneous. Pour mixture into shallow 2-quart baking dish or 9-inch pie plate. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until set, about 3 hours.
Meanwhile, process sugar mint in food processor for 1 minute until mint is finely chopped and dispersed, scraping down bowl with spatula halfway through. (The mint sugar can be refrigerated in an airtight container for 2 to 3 days.)
Scoop tablespoon-sized balls of chocolate mixture, and roll them between hands to shape them, working quickly-- balls melt fast.
Put them on plate or rimmed baking sheet, and refrigerate for 10 minutes.
Put mint sugar in shallow dish, and drop balls in few at time, shaking dish to coat on all sides; transfer truffles to platter, shaking off excess, and refrigerate until ready to serve them.

(Once truffles have been coated, they must be served that day. Uncoated, they can be stored overnight in refrigerator in airtight container or covered with plastic wrap, then coated the day they're served.)

Friday, May 4, 2018

CINCO DE MAYO CHOCOLATE MENU: Molés & Tamales

Cinco de Mayo and Chocolate! So many great recipes and such a natural combination. Cinco de Mayo (The Fifth of May) is a Mexican holiday celebrating the victory of the Mexican army over the French at the Battle of Puebla, May 5, 1862. Puebla's signature dish is Molé Poblano--a Chocolate spicy stew--the national dish of Mexico. It's not sweet, even with the chocolate, since there are groundnuts, seeds, bitter chocolate and spices. There are so many varieties. Below are a few variations. Want to go the easiest route? Try Mole paste with Mexican Ibarra chocolate. You'll still want to add some chicken broth and tomato juice and maybe some peanut butter, but it's quick-- or you can try one of these recipes:

MOLES

Chicken Mole, my favorite Mexican chocolate main dish, can be very complicated to make. Here's an easy recipe adapted from Paula Deen for a quick Chicken Mole. o.k. it's not all that quick, but faster than the traditional recipes.

Quick Chicken Molé

Ingredients
2 tablespoons good quality olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 chipotle peppers, roughly chopped
1 (10-ounce) can chicken broth
2 tablespoons peanut butter
2 ounces Taza Chocolate Mexicano, chopped
1 (5-pound) chicken, cut into 8 pieces
Toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds), for garnish
White rice, for serving

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Heat oil in saute pan over medium heat. Add onion and saute until translucent. Add garlic and spices and continue to saute to toast and develop flavor. Add diced tomatoes, peppers, chipotles, broth, peanut butter, and chocolate. Simmer for 10 minutes. Strain and puree until smooth.
Sear the chicken in heavy bottomed hot saute pan over medium-high heat until browned on both sides. Add to casserole dish, cover with sauce and braise the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Garnish with pepitas and serve with white rice.

You can also use this mole dish with Enchiladas!

The following recipe is from Kendall Jackson. Pair a Kendall-Jackson Grand Reserve Malbec with this. 
 
Chicken Mole Poblano with Animal Crackers

Ingredients

For chicken:
1 whole chicken
3 quarts water
1/2 onion
3 garlic cloves
2 bay leaves
2 Tbsp kosher salt
1 Tbsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp oregano

Place all ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 1 hour or until chicken is done. Strain and reserve the liquid and chicken.

For mole sauce:
4 Tbsp rice oil (or other neutral flavored oil)
8 dried mulato chilies, stems and seeds removed
4 dried pasilla chilies, stems and seeds removed
4 dried ancho chilies, stems and seeds removed
2 dried cascabel or chipotle chilies, stems and seeds removed
12 almonds
1/4 cup peanuts
3 garlic cloves
1/4 large onion
1/2 plantain, diced
12 animal crackers
5 raisins
3 whole black peppercorns
2 cloves
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
5 cups reserved chicken stock
2 slices bacon
1/2 bar (1-1/2 ounces) Mexican chocolate (Ibarra)

Directions
In large heavy bottomed pan over medium heat, add oil and sauté the chilies for approximately 3 minutes. Stir chilies constantly, being careful not to burn them. Using slotted spoon, remove chilies and reserve.

Add almonds and peanuts and cook for 2 minutes or until golden brown. Add garlic, onions, and plantains and cook until golden brown, approximately 3 minutes. Add animal crackers and cook for 2 minutes or until golden brown.

Add raisins, peppercorns, cloves, and cinnamon and cook until aromatic. Remove from heat and place in blender, add chilies, 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds, and chicken stock. Purée until the sauce is smooth consistency.

In small pan, cook bacon until fat has rendered. Remove bacon and all but 1 tablespoon of fat from pan (bacon can be eaten or reserved for another use). Add chocolate to pan. Once chocolate has dissolved, cook for 2 minutes or until aromatic. Add bacon fat and chocolate mixture to purée and stir to combine.

To serve: Slice chicken onto platter and cover with mole sauce. Garnish with remaining sesame seeds. Serve with Mexican rice and tortillas on the side.

The extra mole sauce can be frozen for up to 2 months.
***
Here's a completely different mole recipe--this time for WHITE Chocolate Mole with Animal Crackers. Recipe from Judy Walker in the Arizona Republic a few years ago.

White Chocolate Molé with Animal Crackers

Ingredients:
1/2 cup unsalted peanuts
1/4 cup sliced blanched almonds
1/4 cup walnuts
2 cups water
1 cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
2 whole cloves
1 fresh poblano chile, seeded and chopped
2 fresh serrano chiles, seeded and chopped
1 small clove garlic
1/2 white Spanish onion, cut into chunks
5 animal crackers, toasted
1/4 cup sweet butter
1/2 cup chopped white chocolate
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread peanuts, almonds, and walnuts on a jelly-roll pan. Toast in oven, shaking pan occasionally, until nuts are slightly colored and fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes.

In blender, combine nuts, water, cinnamon stick, and cloves; blend until nuts are very finely ground. Strain through medium-mesh sieve over bowl, pressing on solids with back of ladle or rubber spatula to release liquid. Reserve liquid and discard solids.

In blender, combine chiles, garlic, onion, and nut liquid. Add animal crackers; puree until smooth. Strain through medium-mesh sieve over bowl, pressing on solids with back of ladle or rubber spatula to release liquid. Discard solids.

In large saucepan, heat butter. Stir in nut-chile liquid. Simmer, uncovered, over medium heat, scraping bottom of pan occasionally with rubber spatula, until mixture is consistency of thick pea soup, about 15 minutes.

Stir in chocolate, salt, and pepper until chocolate is melted. Use immediately.

Note: The mole without the chocolate can be made ahead and refrigerated, tightly covered, for up to a week. To serve, heat in a saucepan and stir in the chocolate.

**
Here’s another “Main Dish”—I know it’s really a dessert, but they’re tamales, after all, so I’m counting them as a main dish. This recipe for Chocolate Tamales for Cinco de Mayo is from Diana's Recipe Book. The tamales are easy to make and delicious.

CHOCOLATE TAMALES

Ingredients
1 cup milk
1 pound DARK chocolate, 70-85% cacao, chopped
1 pound butter
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 pounds corn flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
24 corn husks

Directions
Preheat oven to 350.
Boil milk and add chocolate. Stir constantly until chocolate is completely melted. Add butter and sugar. Mix until smooth. Set aside to cool.
Mix corn flour and baking powder together in bowl. Slowly add chocolate mixture and mix by hand for 10 minutes.
Grease 2 (12 cup) muffin pans and line with corn husks. Fill with chocolate tamale mixture and bake for 20 minutes.


Thursday, May 3, 2018

KENTUCKY DERBY CHOCOLATE BOURBON NUT PIE aka DERBY PIE

Over the past few years, I've posted several chocolate recipes that are perfect for Kentucky Derby Parties. I have more than one recipe for Derby Pie, the traditional chocolate, nut, bourbon pie, so here's a re-post of the three most popular --plus a Pie in a Jar to take to your Kentucky Derby party!

Kentucky Bourbon Chocolate Walnut Pie has been served at the annual Derby Horse Race for over 50 years. It was a special recipe that was first made at the Melrose Inn in Prospect, Kentucky. * Note: You can't legally call it a "Derby Pie" recipe. The name "Derby Pie" is trademarked, and the owners of the name are very aggressive protecting the name "Derby Pie." DyingforChocolate.com is not a commercial site, but to be safe,  I'm calling it Kentucky Derby Chocolate Nut Pie. Similar Pies to the one above are sometimes called Brownie Pie or Tollhouse Pie, but it's really Derby Pie. There have been many modifications over the years, but the most important ingredient is Kentucky Bourbon.

I'd love to hear about your favorite Kentucky Derby Pie. Do you use Pecans or Walnuts? How much chocolate? What kind? How much Bourbon? What kind?

1. Kentucky Derby Chocolate Pecan Pie

Ingredients
1 pie crust (homemade or store bought)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup light corn syrup
4 large eggs
1-1/2 tsp Madagascar vanilla
1/4 cup Kentucky Bourbon
3/4 cup chocolate chips
1-1/4 cup toasted pecans or walnuts, shelled and chopped in half

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Roll crust out.
In large mixing bowl, on medium speed with whisk attachment, whip butter, sugars, corn syrup, eggs, vanilla and bourbon together until frothy.
Remove bowl from mixer, and fold in chocolate chips and pecans or walnuts. Blend well.
Pour into prepared pie crust and bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes or until set.
Serve warm or cool completely before serving with whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

2. Kentucky Bourbon Chocolate Walnut Pie

Ingredients
1/2 cup flour
1 cup sugar (1/2 brown/1/2 white)
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup melted butter
2-4 Tbsp Kentucky bourbon (it's a matter of taste)
1 cup chopped English walnuts (you can vary this by using pecans)
1-1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (or chopped dark chocolate)
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
dash of salt
1 - 9 " deep-dish pie shell (pre-made crust or make your own)

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Mix flour and sugar.
Add eggs and melted butter; mix to combine.
Stir in bourbon, walnuts, chocolate chips, vanilla, and salt.
Pour mixture into unbaked piecrust.
Bake for 35-40 minutes.
Pie should be chewy but not runny. 

Another variation: don't add the chocolate chips to the mix: Arrange them on the bottom of the unbaked pie shell. Pour over chocolate chips and bake.

***
Several years ago my friend Janet Appel sent me this recipe. Leave it to someone from Kentucky to make the 'real' thing. I miss Janet. She was the quintessential Kentucky belle.

3. Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Pie
(Originally called Derby Pie)
FROM ENTERTAINING THE LOUISVILLE WAY-QUEEN’S DAUGHTERS 1969

Ingredients
1 stick melted butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup white corn syrup
4 eggs beaten
1 Tbsp Wild Turkey Bourbon
1 cup whole pecans
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1- 9 or 10 inch unbaked pie shell

Directions
Mix above ingredients and pour into pie shell.
Bake for 45 to 50 minutes until fairly firm at 350 degrees.
Let cool and set up before serving.
Garnish with sweetened whipped cream.

Note from Janet Appel: We soak the pecans in bourbon over night and use a jigger of bourbon. We still add the tablespoon of bourbon to the mixture. White corn syrup is Karo.

***
No time to bake? Going to a Kentucky Derby Party? You can assemble and take this Kentucky Derby Pie Mix in a Jar! 

For this recipe, I substitute Bourbon for the vanilla in the directions. You can always write vanilla (or Bourbon optional) on your recipe gift card.

4. Kentucky Derby Pie in a Jar!

Ingredients:
1 cup granulated sugar (or use half brown and half granulated)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup coursely chopped pecans or walnuts
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt

Directions:
Pour sugar into lightweight food storage bag. Tie bag and cut off some of the excess and fit bag into bottom of a 1 quart wide-mouth canning jar.
Pour in half of nuts, then put in layer of chocolate chips, and then add remaining nuts.
Into food storage bag, add flour and pinch of salt.
Tie with twine or ribbon and cut off excess plastic bag end, if necessary.
Fit into the top of jar and screw on top.

Directions for gift tag or label:

Kentucky Derby Pie in a Jar!
Here's what to add:

Ingredients:
1 9-inch pastry shell, unbaked
4 ounces melted sweet butter
2 large eggs
1 tsp Bourbon

Directions:
Preheat oven to 325°.
Remove bag of flour from jar; set aside.
Pour nuts and chocolate chips into pie shell, spreading evenly.
In small mixing bowl, whisk 2 eggs.
Remove sugar bag and empty sugar and flour bags into bowl, stirring to blend well.
Whisk in 1 tsp Bourbon or splash more (or vanilla) and 4 ounces melted butter. Blend well.
Pour batter evenly over nuts and chocolate chips.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until nicely browned.
Chill thoroughly before cutting.
Serve with whipped cream.

If you're a mystery fan, you'll want to read my list of Kentucky Derby Mysteries on my other blog, MysteryFanfare because we all know there's always murder and mayhem at the races.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Cartoon of the Day: Truffles

Cartoon of the Day: Truffles. Happy Truffle Day!


KENTUCKY DERBY CHOCOLATE BOURBON PECAN PIE TRUFFLES: National Truffle Day

Today is National Truffle Day. I've posted over 150 truffle recipes over the past 9 years, but since the Kentucky Derby is coming up this weekend, I thought today would be perfect to post a recipe for Kentucky Derby Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie Truffles. These are so easy to make and are delicious! They are perfect to take to your Kentucky Derby viewing party--or the real thing! Don't forget your hat!


The Kentucky Derby aka “The Run for the Roses” or “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports,” is a 1.25 mile race for three-year-old thoroughbred horses. The Kentucky Derby draws an average of 150,000 visitors each year, including residents, tourists, celebrities, presidents, and even members of royal families. The first Kentucky Derby race took place in 1875. Close to 10,000 people watched as 15 thoroughbred horses ran what was then a 1.5 mile course. In 1876, the length of the race was changed to 1.25 miles. By the early 1900s, owners of winning Kentucky Derby horses started sending their winners to run in the Preakness Stakes in Maryland and the Belmont Stakes in New York. In 1930, sportswriter Charles Hatton coined the term “Triple Crown” in reference to the same horses running the three races consecutively. This year will be the 144th running of the race!

KENTUCKY DERBY CHOCOLATE BOURBON PECAN PIE TRUFFLES

Ingredients
12 ounces dark chocolate (70-75% cacao), chopped
1 -1/2 Tbsp unsalted cold butter, cubed
2 tsp vanilla extract
9 Tbsp heavy cream
1/4 cup good Kentucky Bourbon
1 (5.3 ounce) package pure butter shortbread cookies, crushed (I use Walker's)
2 cups finely chopped roasted, salted pecans

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

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

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

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

MAY DAY: Queen of the May Chocolate Cake & Maypole Parfaits

I love May Day with its Maypole, Morris Dancing, and other traditions.  My school always celebrated with a brightly colored Maypole and dancing. Here I am many years later, and I still love everything about May Day. It's one of my favorite holidays.

Check out my list of May Day Crime Fiction and Morris Dancing Mysteries on Mystery Fanfare.

This Retro Baker's Chocolate Advertisement above fills that void of chocolate treats with these recipes in Ladies Home Journal for Queen of the May Chocolate Cake and Maypole Parfaits. Today is also Parfait Day, so this Vintage Ad has you covered.

FYI: I was never the May Queen, although I did dance around the Maypole.

Be sure to scroll down for a history of May Day, Queen of the May, and Alfred Lord Tennyson's poem "The May Queen"



From Wikipedia:

The May Queen or Queen of May is a term which has two distinct but related meanings, as a mythical figure and as a personification of the holiday, and of Springtime.

Today the May Queen is a girl who must ride or walk at the front of a parade for May Day celebrations. She wears a white gown to symbolize purity and usually a tiara or crown. Her duty is to begin the May Day celebrations. She is generally crowned by flowers and makes a speech before the dancing begins. Certain age groups dance round a Maypole celebrating youth and the spring time.
Sir James George Frazer found in the figure of the May Queen, a relic of tree worship:
According to popular British folklore, the tradition once had a sinister twist, in that the May Queen was put to death once the festivities were over. The veracity of this belief is difficult to establish, but while in truth it might just be an example of anti-pagan propaganda, frequent associations between May Day rituals, the occult and human sacrifice are still to be found in popular culture today. The Wicker Man, a cult horror film starring Christopher Lee, is a prominent example of these associations.


The May Queen
 by Alfred Lord Tennyson

You must wake and call me early, call me early, mother dear;
To-morrow 'ill be the happiest time of all the glad New-year;
Of all the glad New-year, mother, the maddest merriest day;
For I'm to be Queen o' the May, mother, I'm to be Queen o' the May.

There's many a black, black eye, they say, but none so bright as mine;
There's Margaret and Mary, there's Kate and Caroline:
But none so fair as little Alice in all the land they say,
So I'm to be Queen o' the May, mother, I'm to be Queen o' the May.

I sleep so sound all night, mother, that I shall never wake,
If you do not call me loud when the day begins to break:
But I must gather knots of flowers, and buds and garlands gay,
For I'm to be Queen o' the May, mother, I'm to be Queen o' the May.

As I came up the valley whom think ye should I see,
But Robin leaning on the bridge beneath the hazel-tree?
He thought of that sharp look, mother, I gave him yesterday,--
But I'm to be Queen o' the May, mother, I'm to be Queen o' the May.

He thought I was a ghost, mother, for I was all in white,
And I ran by him without speaking, like a flash of light.
They call me cruel-hearted, but I care not what they say,
For I'm to be Queen o' the May, mother, I'm to be Queen o' the May.

They say he's dying all for love, but that can never be:
They say his heart is breaking, mother--what is that to me?
There's many a bolder lad 'ill woo me any summer day,
And I'm to be Queen o' the May, mother, I'm to be Queen o' the May.

Little Effie shall go with me to-morrow to the green,
And you'll be there, too, mother, to see me made the Queen;
For the shepherd lads on every side 'ill come from far away,
And I'm to be Queen o' the May, mother, I'm to be Queen o' the May.

The honeysuckle round the porch has wov'n its wavy bowers,
And by the meadow-trenches blow the faint sweet cuckoo-flowers;
And the wild marsh-marigold shines like fire in swamps and hollows gray,
And I'm to be Queen o' the May, mother, I'm to be Queen o' the May.

The night-winds come and go, mother, upon the meadow-grass,
And the happy stars above them seem to brighten as they pass;
There will not be a drop of rain the whole of the live-long day,
And I'm to be Queen o' the May, mother, I'm to be Queen o' the May.

All the valley, mother, 'ill be fresh and green and still,
And the cowslip and the crowfoot are over all the hill,
And the rivulet in the flowery dale 'ill merrily glance and play,
For I'm to be Queen o' the May, mother, I'm to be Queen o' the May.

So you must wake and call me early, call me early, mother dear,
To-morrow 'ill be the happiest time of all the glad New-year:
To-morrow 'ill be of all the year the maddest merriest day,
For I'm to be Queen o' the May, mother, I'm to be Queen o' the May.


Monday, April 30, 2018

OATMEAL RAISIN WALNUT CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES: Oatmeal Cookie Day/ Raisin Day!

Today celebrates two holidays: Oatmeal Cookie Day and Raisin Day. Put the two holidays together, add chocolate Chips, and make these delicious Oatmeal Raisin Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies.

OATMEAL RAISIN WALNUT CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup ground walnuts (can grind in blender)
1 cup old fashioned oats
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup raisins

Directions
In small bowl mix flour, baking soda, and cinnamon.
In large mixing bowl beat butter, and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla.
At low speed, beat in flour mixture until blended.
Fold in ground walnuts, oats, chocolate chips (or pieces) and raisins.
Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350.
Grease 2 baking sheets.
Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place balls 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Flatten each cookie slightly
Bake cookies until lightly browned around the edges, 10 to 12 minutes.
Transfer to flattened brown paper bags or wire racks to cool.

Tip: Dough also freezes well. Freeze dough balls on a cookie sheet and then put them in a ziploc bag in the freezer until ready to bake!

CHOCOLATE RAISIN BUNDT CAKE: National Raisin Day!

Here's an easy and delicious recipe for Chocolate Raisin Bundt Cake. This cake is perfect for National Raisin Day, today's food holiday. I adapted this recipe from Cooks.com, but you'll find variations on the Internet. As always, experiment. The following recipe uses a German Chocolate cake mix, but you can always use your own recipe and add raisins.

Chocolate Raisin Bundt Cake

Ingredients
1 package German Chocolate basic bundt cake mix
3 eggs
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sour cream
1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup raisins

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease bottom only of 9 x 13 inch pan.
In large bowl, blend Packet 1 (cake mix) and next 4 ingredients until moistened. Beat 2 minutes at medium speed (portable mixer use highest speed). Fold in raisins. Pour into prepared pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on cooling rack.


Saturday, April 28, 2018

CHOCOLATE BLUEBERRY PIE: National Blueberry Day



Today is National Blueberry Pie Day! My market always has fresh blueberries, but if yours doesn't, you can always substitute fresh frozen wild blueberries. I love the ones from Trader Joe's. Or you can save this recipe for the summertime when there are fresh local blueberries in your market!

You're probably used to strawberries and chocolate and raspberries with chocolate. I've posted plenty of blueberry and chocolate recipes for scones and muffins and chocolate covered blueberries. This recipe for Chocolate Blueberry Pie is so easy, especially if you use pre-made pie crusts! Don't use the ones in the shells. I like pie crusts from Trader Joe's. I keep them in the freezer, so I'm always ready!

Illustrations for this post are from the 1959 children's classic The Blueberry Pie Elf by Jane Thayre, illustrated by Seymour Fleishman.

CHOCOLATE BLUEBERRY PIE

Ingredients
6 cups blueberries
1/2 cup sugar
3 1/2 ounces DARK chocolate, chopped
Juice of half a lemon  (I use Meyer lemons from my tree)
2 pre-made pie dough crusts (I use Trader Joe's pie crusts--but you can always make your own)
Butter

Directions 
Preheat oven to 350.
Line 9 inch pie plate with one of crusts.
In large bowl, smash some of blueberries with fork (leave most whole).
Sprinkle sugar and lemon juice over blueberries. Let sit 10 minutes.
If mixture is too watery remove some of liquid.
Mix in chocolate and pour mixture into prepared pie pan.
Top with remaining crust and pinch crusts together, make a few slits.
Brush top crust with butter.
Bake 60 - 65 minutes or until golden.
Let sit 15+ minutes before serving.