Tuesday, July 31, 2018

CHOCOLATE AVOCADO PIE: National Avocado Day

Avocados seem to be popping up everywhere lately. Now, if you're like me, you like guacamole, and you may even favor avocado toast (but not at $15 a serving at your local cafe). Avocados have always in my fruit/vegetable bowl and have been for many, many years. Avocados are very versatile. They contain a lot of fat, so they're great in Chocolate Avocado Mousse, Truffles, and Puddings. And, since today is National Avocado Day, it's perfect to make this pie!

The following is a great Chocolate Avocado Pie because although you can make a chocolate cookie crust, you can also elevate the crust by making it with Oreos. And, if you're glucose intolerant, there's coconut milk instead of cream (you can substitute cream, if you'd prefer). Make sure your coconut milk is the very best and contains only coconut milk and water. Emulsifiers will 'gum' up the works and prevent the fat from separating.

Chocolate Avocado Pie

Ingredients
35 Oreos
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 cans (13.5 oz) full-fat coconut milk (or cream equivalent), chilled overnight
2 Tbsp sugar
7 ounces dark chocolate (70% cacao), chopped
5 ripe avocados
1/2 cup Dark cocoa powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Dash of salt

Directions
In food processor, pulse Oreos into coarse crumbs. Mix with melted butter and press into bottom of pie pan and up the sides. Put in refrigerator.
Being careful not to shake coconut milk cans, remove from refrigerator and open. The thick coconut cream will have separated to the top. Scoop out dense cream, leaving water. Whip coconut cream with electric mixer for a few seconds, until smooth and creamy. Fold in 2 Tbsp sugar and set in refrigerator. (If you're using regular cream, whip it up and add sugar).
Melt chocolate in double boiler.
In food processor add melted chocolate, avocados, cocoa powder, vanilla, and salt. Blend until smooth.
In large bowl, gently fold together avocado chocolate and coconut whipped cream (or regular whipped cream).
Pour into prepared pie crust, cover, and refrigerate for 3 hours to set.

Monday, July 30, 2018

BOOZY TRIPLE CHOCOLATE CHEESECAKE: National Cheesecake Day

I've posted several Chocolate Cheesecake Recipes over the years from Chocolate to Double Chocolate to Triple Chocolate Cheesecake, but here's yet another -- Boozy Triple Chocolate Cheesecake. This recipe is adapted from CookingLight. The original recipe calls for reduced fat cheeses and low-fat sour cream and less sugar than my adaptation.

Boozy Triple Chocolate Cheesecake

Ingredients
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 Tbsp egg white
1 1/3 cups chocolate graham cracker crumbs (about 16 crackers)
Vegetable cooking spray
3 Tbsp dark rum
3 ounces semisweet chocolate
1/4 cup chocolate syrup
16 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp unsweetened cocoa
 Raspberries or Strawberries for decoration

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°.

Crust:
Place first 3 ingredients in bowl; beat on medium speed until blended. Add crumbs; stir well. Firmly press mixture into bottom and 1 inch up sides of an 8-inch springform pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes; let cool on wire rack. 

Filling:
Combine rum and chocolate in top of double boiler (or saucepan over saucepan over simmering water). Cook over simmering water 2 minutes or until chocolate melts, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; add chocolate syrup, stirring until smooth.
Preheat oven to 300°.
Place cream cheese in large bowl; beat at medium speed of a mixer until smooth. Add 1 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons cocoa, vanilla, and salt; beat until smooth. Add rum/chocolate mixture; beat at low speed until well-blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
Pour cheese mixture into prepared pan; bake at 300° for 40 minutes or until almost set.
Combine sour cream, 1 Tbsp, and 2 teaspoons cocoa; stir well. Turn oven off, and spread sour cream mixture over cheesecake. Let cheesecake stand for 45 minutes in oven with door closed.
Remove cheesecake from oven, and let cool to room temperature. Cover and chill at least 8 hours.
Garnish with raspberries or strawberries.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

MILK CHOCOLATE CAKE with MILK CHOCOLATE FROSTING: Milk Chocolate Day!

Today is Milk Chocolate Day! I'm a dark chocolate fan, but every once in awhile I crave a Hershey's milk chocolate bar. So what exactly is Milk Chocolate?

Here's a good explanation from HowStuffWorks.com:

Milk chocolate, the most common eating chocolate in the United States today, actually arrived on the scene fairly late in the history of chocolate.
 
Milk chocolate's development was made possible with the invention of powdered milk by Swiss chemist Henri Nestlé in 1867. Previous attempts at mixing whole (liquid) milk and chocolate liquor didn't turn out well. But in 1879, a Swiss chocolate manufacturer and neighbor of Nestlé by the name of Daniel Peter decided to try combining the newly invented powdered milk with chocolate liquor -- and true milk chocolate was born.

Milk chocolate is made by combining chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, sugar, flavorings, and sweetened condensed or powdered whole milk (which one is used depends on the individual manufacturer's formula and production methods). The sugar and milk are first blended together, then they're mixed with chocolate liquor and flavorings and dried to create a substance called "milk chocolate crumb." Next, additional cocoa butter is blended with the crumb, and the mixture is sent through the standard conching and refining processes.
 
All milk chocolate made in the United States must contain at least 10 percent chocolate liquor and at least 12 percent milk solids. Bars of fine milk chocolate typically have a cacao content of between 30 percent and 45 percent, while less-expensive products may have considerably less. Milk chocolate has a sweeter and far more mellow chocolate flavor than dark chocolate, and since a higher cacao content gives a chocolate bar more "snap," milk chocolate tends to be less crisp than dark chocolate.

***
And here's a great recipe for Milk Chocolate Cake with Milk Chocolate Frosting.  This is essentially a three layer chocolate butter cake. Recipe was developed by Sylvia Thompson -- The Birthday Cake Book (1993).

MILK CHOCOLATE CAKE WITH MILK CHOCOLATE FROSTING

Milk Chocolate Cake

Ingredients
3 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
1/2 Tbsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 Tbsp salt
6 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
1 cup water
1 cup unsalted butter, softened to consistency of mayonnaise
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light-brown sugar, lumps crushed, packed
1 1/2 Tbsp Madagascar vanilla
6 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk or soured milk, room temperature
Milk Chocolate Frosting

Directions
Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in bowl.
In medium heat-proof bowl over barely simmering water, melt chocolate in water, stirring occasionally until perfectly smooth. Remove from heat.
In large mixing bowl, beat butter on medium speed until creamy. Continue beating while sprinkling in granulated and brown sugars, 1 tablespoon at time. Add vanilla and beat until very light. Add eggs one at a time, beating until thoroughly blended after each, then beat until very light and creamy. Blend in chocolate. Add flour in 3 parts by sprinkling over bowl. Alternate with buttermilk in 2 parts. Beat on lowest speed just until each addition disappears. Fold batter with large flexible rubber spatula just until thoroughly blended.
Divide batter into buttered 9-inch round cake pans with bottoms lined with wax paper. Smooth tops, then push batter slightly up against sides. Bake 2 layers on middle oven rack and 1 layer on lower oven rack at 350 degrees. Stagger so top pans are not directly over bottom pan.
Bake until wood pick emerges clean from center of cake, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool in pans on racks 15 minutes. Then turn out onto racks, top sides up, to cool completely.
Up to 6 hours before serving, set thickest layer on platter, bottoms up. Spread with 2/3 cup frosting. Repeat with second layer. Place last layer top side up. Frost top and sides. Keep cool. Do not refrigerate.

Milk Chocolate Frosting 

Ingredients
14 ounces milk chocolate
5 cups powdered sugar, sifted
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa (not Dutch-processed)
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
7 - 8 Tbsp milk
2 Tbsp vanilla

Directions
In medium heat-proof bowl over (not touching) barely simmering water, melt chocolate, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove from heat.
In food processor or mixing bowl, blend sugar and cocoa. Melt butter with 7 Tbsp milk at MEDIUM  in microwave or over low heat.
Add hot butter to sugar with chocolate and vanilla. Process or beat until smooth. Do not overprocess. If too thick, beat in remaining tablespoon hot milk. If too thin, add sugar. Spread at once.

Friday, July 27, 2018

CHOCOLATE SCOTCH WHISKY FUDGE: National Scotch Day

Here's a holiday I can get behind. Today is National Scotch Day. Scotch goes well with many dark chocolates, and I've been to a few Scotch and Chocolate Tastings. Have a look at the Nibble for an Overview of Pairing Chocolate & Scotch.  You can have your own tasting at home.

If you'd rather have your Scotch and Chocolate together in one bite, try this Scotch Whisky Fudge.

CHOCOLATE SCOTCH WHISKY FUDGE

Ingredients 
12 ounce dark chocolate, chopped
1 cup Whiskey
2 (1 lb) boxes powdered sugar
1 cup chopped pecans or 1 cup chopped walnuts

Directions
Melt chocolate in microwave or double broiler, stirring frequently. As soon as chocolate is melted, mix Scotch with powdered sugar in  large bowl and add to melted chocolate, stir well, add nuts.
Turn into 13x9x2-inch pan and cover with plastic wrap. This sets quickly, so cool it long enough to set but still warm enough to cut.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

FULL MOON CHOCOLATE CAKE!


Tomorrow night is the Full Moon. Here's a photo of a full moon a few years ago with its shimmering reflection on San Francisco Bay. I truly live in one of the most beautiful places in the world.

Having posted recipes for the Full Moon Chocolate Cocktail, I thought I'd post a recipe for a simple Chocolate Full Moon Cake. This is a round cake with a thin spreadable icing that actually makes 'craters' as you pour it on top.  

Perfect to celebrate the Full Moon!

CHOCOLATE FULL MOON CAKE

Ingredients
2/3 cup Sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup hot water
1/2 cup unsweetened DARK cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract

Lemon Icing:
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar  (powdered sugar)
2 ounces lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease and line with parchment paper one 8 inch round cake pan.
Mix together sugar and eggs until dissolved. Stir in melted butter.
In separate bowl, slowly add hot water to cocoa and mix until smooth, dissolving cocoa completely.
In third bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder; add to creamed mixture alternately with the cocoa mixture. Blend in vanilla. Pour batter into 8 inch round pan.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean.
Let cake cool then ice with Lemon Moon Icing.

Icing: 
Combine confectioner's sugar with enough lemon juice to make icing spreadable without being runny or stiff (about 1/4 cup). Stir in grated zest.
Spread (or pour if you want lots of lunar irregularities!) icing thinly over top of cake.

Get out there and Howl at the Full Moon!

PATRICK WILLIAMS: R.I.P.

From FilmMusicReporter and Variety:

Patrick Williams (1939-2018)

Patrick Williams, who was best-known for his Emmy-winning television music but who was also a renowned and Grammy-winning big-band jazz leader and arranger, died Wednesday morning of complications from cancer at St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica, Calif. He was 79.

The composer scored numerous features, TV shows, and television movies over a five decade-spanning career. Among his feature film credits are John Water’s 1990 comedy Cry-Baby, the 1992 drama The Cutting Edge, Robert Zemeckis’ Used Cars, Richard Donner’s 1982 film The Toy,  and Richard Lester’s Cuba. He received an Academy Award nomination for his music adaptation for Peter Yates’ 1979 movie Breaking Away. His TV scoring credits include The Streets of San Francisco, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Bob Newhart Show and ColumboWilliams received 4 Emmy Awards (for Lou GrantThe Princess and the Cabbie, 1992’s Jewels and a song for 2000’s Yesterday’s Children) and 22 Emmy nominations. He also was honored with two Grammy Awards (and 19 Grammy nomination) and BMI’s Richard Kirk Award.

HT: J. Kingson Pierce

FULL MOON CHOCOLATE CAKE


Tomorrow night is the Full Moon. Here's a photo of a full moon a few years ago with its shimmering reflection on San Francisco Bay. I truly live in one of the most beautiful places in the world.

Having posted recipes for the Full Moon Chocolate Cocktail, I thought I'd post a recipe for a simple Chocolate Full Moon Cake. This is a round cake with a thin spreadable icing that actually makes 'craters' as you pour it on top.  

Perfect to celebrate the Full Moon!

CHOCOLATE FULL MOON CAKE

Ingredients
2/3 cup Sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup hot water
1/2 cup unsweetened DARK cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract

Lemon Icing:
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar  (powdered sugar)
2 ounces lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease and line with parchment paper one 8 inch round cake pan.
Mix together sugar and eggs until dissolved. Stir in melted butter.
In separate bowl, slowly add hot water to cocoa and mix until smooth, dissolving cocoa completely.
In third bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder; add to creamed mixture alternately with the cocoa mixture. Blend in vanilla. Pour batter into 8 inch round pan.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean.
Let cake cool then ice with Lemon Moon Icing.

Icing: 
Combine confectioner's sugar with enough lemon juice to make icing spreadable without being runny or stiff (about 1/4 cup). Stir in grated zest.
Spread (or pour if you want lots of lunar irregularities!) icing thinly over top of cake.

Get out there and Howl at the Full Moon!

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

1-2-3 HOT FUDGE SAUCE: Hot Fudge Sundae Day!

Today is National Hot Fudge Sundae Day! I really like Hot Fudge Sauce on cold ice cream.

This Retro Ad & Recipe for 1-2-3 Fudge Sauce is from Carnation Evaporated Milk, September 7, 1953. You can follow the recipe, or you can make your own. I just love these vintage ads, don't you? So here's a way to beat the heat! I would use 4 squares, of course.. and probably substitute some excellent artisan chocolate!




Tuesday, July 24, 2018

CHOCOLATE FULL MOON COCKTAIL: National Tequila Day

Today is National Tequila Day (7/24) and Friday is the Full Moon (7/27). Since these two dates are so close together this year, it must be in the stars, and I'm over the moon. So, I decided to post a recipe for a Chocolate Full Moon Cocktail. This is a great drink! Tequila and Chocolate (Creme de Cacao, both dark and clear) go so well in this easy cocktail. Don't let it fool you, though. You'll be howling at the moon, if you drink too many. :-)

Chocolate Full Moon

Ingredients
1 oz Cream
1/2 oz Creme de Cacao
2 oz Tequila
1/2 oz Dark Creme de Cacao

Directions
Pour all ingredients into cocktail shaker with ice and shake.
Strain into cocktail glass.
Garnish with chocolate curls.

Monday, July 23, 2018

CHOCOLATE NOUGAT CAKE: Retro Recipe

Love this Retro Recipe for Betty Crocker's "New Method" Chocolate Nougat Cake.  

Rich, moist, chocolately...with nuts all through.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

PENUCHE FUDGE aka Brown Sugar Fudge, Creamy Praline Fudge & New England Fudge: National Penuche Fudge Day

Today is Penuche Fudge Day. This tasty fudge is sometimes called Penuche Fudge, sometimes Brown Sugar Fudge, Creamy Praline Fudge, New England Fudge, and even Sucre a la Creme (in Canada)! Whatever you call it, it's fabulous.

Historically, Penuche Fudge has been attributed to New England (New England Fudge) as well as some places in the South (Creamy Praline), but there are many variations in nearly every part of the world. Milk is usually boiled down to thick fudge and brown sugar is then added to it to create the distinctive butterscotch taste. The dish is very similar to Mexican Cajeta which is also a kind of sweetened thickened goat’s milk with the same dull brown color of penuche. There are also many Indian versions of the same dish using thickened milk called as peda or milk fudge burfi. The only difference between the different regional variations is the thickness of the eventual dish. Cajeta is liquidy and can be used a as a spread, while penuche is semi-soft like a fudge and pedas or milk burfis are stiffer. But the basic ingredients in the penuche fudge recipe and preparation process are the same. Dulce du leche is another very popular version where condensed milk is thickened with hours of cooking resulting in a thick paste. Different versions of this dish are very popular all over Latin America and France even though they are given different names.

O.K. I meant to mention that there's no chocolate in Penuche Fudge. So if you want Chocolate Fudge, check out my National Fudge Day Recipe Round-Up!

Penuche Fudge

Ingredients
4 cups brown sugar
1 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1-2/3 cups chopped pecans

Directions
Combine brown sugar, cream, and butter in medium saucepan. Stir until dissolved. Heat to between 234 and 240 degrees F.
Remove from heat and stir until mixture loses its gloss (or process in food processor 30 seconds) Quickly stir in vanilla and nuts and spread into 9x9 inch dish.
Chill before cutting into squares.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Easy 4-Ingredient Avocado Truffles

A few days ago I posted a recipe for Zucchini Brownies. In keeping with the healthy veggie and chocolate theme, here's a recipe for Easy 4-Ingredient Avocado Truffles. You'll love the smooth creamy texture of these truffles--and you'll be getting your healthy fats and antioxidants. Basically, you'll be using only four ingredients: dark chocolate, avocado, salt, and cocoa, so these truffles will be low in sugar and high in antioxidants. They're also gluten-free and vegan. And, FYI: you won't taste the avocado, but it will provide the creaminess.

EASY 4-INGREDIENT AVOCADO TRUFFLES

Ingredients
4 ounces 70% dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons pureed avocado
Pinch of sea salt
1/8 unsweetened cocoa powder

Directions
Melt chocolate in double boiler over pot of simmering water. Remove from heat and stir in avocado and salt. Mixture will thicken to frosting-like texture.
Cover and chill bowl until ganache thickens, about 25 minutes. Using melon baller, scoop out small measure of ganache and roll in hands to smooth out into balls. If balls don't form, refrigerate ganache for 30 minutes more.
Put cocoa powder in small bowl, then roll each of truffle balls in cocoa powder to coat.
Store in cool location or in airtight container in the refrigerator.


Friday, July 20, 2018

CHOCOLATE TOOTSIE ROLL POPS: National Lollipop Day

Today is National Lollipop Day. It should come as no surprise that my favorite lollipop when I was growing up was a Chocolate Tootsie Roll Pop.

I loved licking the hard outside to get to the chewy center. At some point, I used to chomp on the lollipop to make that crunchy hard candy shell combine in my mouth with the chewy tootsie roll center.

The Tootsie Roll Pop official website says that the Tootsie Roll Pop was the first lollipop providing an embedded candy "prize." That's exactly what it was...a prize! I can still taste it. Of course I only wanted a chocolate tootsie roll pop because what goes better with chocolate than more chocolate. And, don't forget the sticks. They were always great to chew on even after all traces of 'chocolate' were gone.

History of the Tootsie Roll Pop:  

Tootsie Roll Pops were invented in 1930 by Brandon Perry, an employee of The Sweets Company of America or in another history, by an employee named Luke Weisgram who was experimenting with new products, or in another story an employee named Tom Medric. Doesn't matter! The Chocolate Tootsie Roll Pop was made from putting company's famous Tootsie Rolls into hard candy, and it quickly became one of the best selling lollipops in the world. 

For people with more time on their hands than they should have: A student study at the University of Cambridge concluded that it takes 3481 licks to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop. Another study by Purdue University concluded that it takes an average of 364 licks to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop using a "licking machine", while it takes an average of 252 licks when tried by 20 volunteers. Yet another study by the University of Michigan concluded that it takes 411 licks to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop. A study by junior high students in Swarthmore School concluded that it takes 144 licks to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop. As I mentioned before, I chomp near the end, so I would certainly alter the statistics.

For those who love a mystery, read the history of Leo Hirschfeld: Tootsie Roll Tragedy - and the murky Tootsie Roll history HERE.

And, for those of you who prefer their Tootsie Pops in a Glass, here's a recipe to celebrate the day.

Tootsie Pop Cocktail Recipe 
You'll be amazed at how much this tastes like a tootsie roll!

1 part Kahlua
1 part Root beer
2 drops chocolate syrup

In a highball glass, add Kahlua, then root beer. Stir. Then let chocolate syrup drop. Add tootsie pop (unwrapped) to garnish.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

ZUCCHINI BROWNIES

If you planted zucchini in your garden, you're now probably wondering what to do with all that harvest. Zucchini has a reputation for multiplying beyond one's plan, often hiding underneath the leaves. Yes, you can wrap your zucchini in blankets, put them in a basket, and leave them on the church steps, as I heard Erica Jong and Marge Piercy suggest many years ago, but you'll still have a lot to dispose of. Zucchini and Chocolate.. now there's a great and healthy combination.

I've posted muffin, bread, and cake recipes, but I think this is the first time I've posted a recipe for Zucchini Brownies. You can never go wrong with brownies. I like my brownies, fudgy, so I really like this recipe. You can add frosting on top, too, for more chocolate, but I don't. These brownies are moist and delicious without. This recipe is adapted from www.crazyforcrust.com. You'll want to have a look at her video and definitely read her tip below, especially if you don't want cake-like brownies. And, you might want to make her frosting recipe.

ZUCCHINI BROWNIES

Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup DARK cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups shredded zucchini
3-4 tablespoons water
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional-but I usually add them)

*Note* There are no eggs, and this will seem more like cookie-dough when you're preparing it, but it will work!

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Line 9×13″ baking pan with foil and spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
In medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
Using electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix together oil, sugar, and vanilla until well combined. Add dry ingredients and stir. Fold in zucchini. Let sit forfew minutes so batter can absorb the moisture from the zucchini. If your mixture is still powdery, add up to 5 tablespoons water (start with 1 tablespoon and work up from there, stirring well after each addition). Batter will be very thick but shouldn’t be powdery. (depends on how wet your zucchini is!) Add walnuts. Use your hands to work water in instead of  spoon. Dough is super thick. Do not add too much water! 
Spread in prepared pan.
Bake 25-30 minutes until brownies spring back when gently touched.

*Note* Don't add too much water or your brownies will be cake-like! The batter is thick and needs help spreading in the pan. If batter is liquidy or thin, you will have a more cake-like brownie.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

FAMILY STYLE BAKED ALASKA: Retro Ad & Recipe

This Retro dessert is perfect for the hot days of summer. You can always update the recipe by making your own chocolate cake and your own ice cream, but take a look at this Retro Ad & Recipe from Betty Crocker for Family Style Baked Alaska.



Monday, July 16, 2018

NO-BAKE DOUBLE CHOCOLATE CHERRY TART: National Cherry Day


This No-Bake Double Chocolate Cherry Tart is an all-time showstopper! It's easy and delicious. I usually make it for Valentine's Day, but since today is National Cherry Day, it's perfect! Recipe is from Taza, my go-to chocolate (Taza 70% Mexicano is always in my desk). Cherries are in the markets right now, but if there aren't any fresh ones in your area, you can substitute fresh raspberries or strawberries.

NO-BAKE DOUBLE CHOCOLATE CHERRY TART

Ingredients
30 Oreos or other sandwich cookies
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 pints heavy cream
Taza 60% Dominican Stone Ground Chocolate bars, chopped (plus additional to melt for drizzling if desired)
1 pound cherries, pitted

Directions

Crust:
Process cookies in food processor until fine crumb.
Place in bowl and drizzle melted butter over them, and stir to combine.
Press into 11 inch tart pan and put in refrigerator to cool.

Tart Filling:
Combine heavy cream and chocolate in small saucepan over medium-low heat and stir occasionally until fully incorporated. Allow to cool slightly then pour into crust.
Place pitted cherries on top of tart and let sit for 2 hours or overnight.
Drizzle with additional melted chocolate if desired.

How easy is that?

Photo: Taza Chocolate

Sunday, July 15, 2018

HOMEMADE MAGIC CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM: Retro Ad & Recipe for National Ice Cream Day

Today is National Ice Cream Day. In order to celebrate, I dug into my retro advertising files and found this wonderful Borden's Eagle Brand recipe from August 8, 1941 for Magic Chocolate Ice Cream. I love Elsie the Cow, and I would definitely take her advice to bring "homemade ice cream to the social." Luckily, I have an automatic refrigerator! Gotta love these 'story' ads. "If it's Borden's, it's got to be good." No need for an ice cream machine.






10 ICE CREAM TRICKS FROM BEN & JERRY'S: National Ice Cream Day

Today is Ice Cream Day, but if you're like me, every day is Ice Cream Day. Check out your local ice cream shop for specials and freebies!

Here are some 10 Ice Cream Tricks from Ben & Jerry's, starting with an easy way of making ice cream sandwiches without all the mess:

1. Grab a pint, get a hold of a giant knife, and cut the pint into circular slices. Because you’re obviously a dessert pro, you already have some delicious cookies ready to go. 


2. Have a half pint left in the freezer? You COULD dig in and methodically and dutifully deposit an equal number of scoops in each of your bowls. OR you could take a sturdy knife and cut that pint right down the middle lengthwise. Instant gratification.

Read on for 8 more fabulous Ice Cream Tricks.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

GRAND MARNIER TRUFFLES: Grand Marnier Day

Today is Bastille Day, but it's also Grand Marnier Day, so here's an easy recipe for Grand Marnier Truffles to celebrate both.

Grand Marnier, an orange flavored brandy, has been an icon of authentic French "joie de vivre" for over 150 years. Still owned by the Marnier Lapostolle Family, this acclaimed liqueur has a luxurious taste and still uses the same secret recipe. Grand Marnier is a blend of Cognac, distilled essence of bitter orange, and sugar.

One of the most important ingredients in Grand Marnier is Citrus Bigaradia Oranges. This variety of tropical orange stands apart from the sweet oranges we usually eat as it is bitter and has an intense aroma. Though the Citrus bigaradia is not a particularly rare orange, the way in which the oranges are harvested and then distilled to obtain the orange essence that goes into Grand Marnier® liqueur is very specific. The oranges are handpicked while they are still green -- when they are at their most aromatic. In order to preserve optimal concentration of the aroma of the peels, they are left to dry naturally under the Caribbean sun for several weeks on the Marnier Lapostolle family plantation. Their slow distillation extracts an orange essence that is particularly aromatic.

GRAND MARNIER TRUFFLES

Ingredients
2/3 cup heavy cream
1tsp fresh orange zest
12 ounces dark chocolate (65-75% cacao), chopped
1 Tbsp plus 1-1/2 tsp Grand Marnier
1/3 cup DARK cocoa

Directions
In saucepan over medium heat, bring the heavy cream and orange zest just to a boil.
Remove from heat.
Add chopped chocolate and Grand Marnier and stir until smooth.
Chill chocolate mixture (ganache) until hard enough to roll into balls.
Using two spoons or melon baller, extricate chocolate and roll into ball.
Roll ball in cocoa powder and chill.

This recipe can be doubled.

Experiment with different chocolate -- brands and amount of cacao -- for different flavor.

Friday, July 13, 2018

TRIPLE CHOCOLATE CREPES for Bastille Day

Tomorrow is Bastille Day, and you might want to be ready to make something "French." I have lots of 'French' recipes, but what could be more French than Crepes for Bastille Day? Just as the bricks came tumbling down when the French stormed the Bastille, ice cream and chocolate will tumble from your fork when you cut into these fabulous Triple Chocolate Crepes for the Bastille Day Holiday. Crepes a la Bastille!

CREPES A LA BASTILLE

Crepes
Ingredients
2 cups whole milk
2 eggs
2-1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 ounce dark chocolate (65-75% cacao), melted
1-1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup high quality DARK cocoa 

1/3 cup sugar
pinch of salt


Making the Crepes
Melt butter & chocolate together, mixing to combine and smooth out chocolate. 

In large bowl, combine milk and eggs. 
In separate bowl, combine dry ingredients.
Whisk together milk and eggs with dry ingredients, continue whisking incorporating butter and chocolate mixture.
Cover and refrigerate at least an hour, or overnight. 

Be sure to re-whisk batter before cooking the crepes.

Cooking the Crepes
Butter a hot frying pan (small or medium) or crepe pan, then wipe out excess butter with paper towel so it is sort of dry

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 spatula for few seconds to cook other side.

Chocolate Sauce

Ingredients
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp honey
3 ounces Dark chocolate (65-75% cacao), chopped

Directions
Combine cream and honey in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook 3 minutes or until tiny bubbles form around edge of pan, stirring frequently (do not boil).
Remove from heat. Stir in chocolate until smooth.

Fill Crepes with Dark Chocolate Ice Cream or Chocolate Ganache and Drizzle with Chocolate Sauce.
Viva La France!

Thursday, July 12, 2018

PALEO ESPRESSO BROWNIES: Guest post by Libby Klein

If you follow my blog, you know I love when my mystery and chocolate worlds collide. Well, here's another instance. Today I welcome Libby Klein, author of the Poppy McAlister Mysteries, with a recipe for Paleo Espresso Brownies! The second in her series, Midnight Snacks are Murder, will be out July 31.

Libby Klein:

I have had a long love affair with chocolate. I know the experts say a true chocolate aficionado goes for very dark chocolate, but I love a creamy melty milk chocolate. My favorite form of chocolate is the truffle. Add some boozy filling or praline and I want to swoon. A few years ago, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease where I can’t have gluten or dairy. Well holy mackerel! Just cut off my hand instead! I’ve made a lot of adjustments to my diet, and I was so happy to discover that chocolate is one of the easiest ingredients to work with when going Paleo or Gluten Free. Cocoa powder can magically replace much of the flour in a recipe, and brownies and flourless chocolate cake can be built on the foundation of sugar and eggs. And there are plenty of dairy free chocolate ingredients to work with.

In my Poppy McAllister Mysteries, Poppy also has an autoimmune disease and can’t have gluten or dairy (What a coincidence!) When she’s not wrangling Aunt Ginny or Figaro to keep them out of trouble, she’s baking up Paleo and Gluten Free yummies. This is a gluten free chocolate recipe from Poppy’s kitchen in Midnight Snacks Are Murder, release date July 31 2018. It would be very easy to modify this for cheesecake brownies (if you can have dairy) or Peanut butter Brownies (if you can have peanuts.) Poppy likes to add a shot of espresso to deepen the chocolate flavor. Even though she has her own espresso machine, it still gives her an excuse to go see Gia at La Dolce Vida.

Paleo Espresso Brownies 

 Ingredients:
4 large eggs
1 cup coconut sugar
1 cup honey
*8 ounces melted butter or coconut oil
1 ¼ cups cocoa, sifted
1 scraped vanilla bean
½ cup tapioca starch
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 shot espresso (use 1 teaspoon of coffee extract or ¼ cup coffee if you don’t have espresso)
pinch cayenne
1 pkg allergy friendly chocolate chips (or 1 ½ cups of chopped dark chocolate)

*Use coconut oil if you are a Paleo purist. Refined coconut oil has no taste and won’t influence the flavor of the brownies.

Directions: 
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Butter and flour (or PAM) an 8-inch square pan. (or line the pan with parchment paper)
In a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the eggs at medium speed until fluffy and light yellow. Add sugars and honey. Beat until well combined.
Add remaining ingredients and mix to combine.
Pour the batter into a prepared 8-inch square pan and bake for 45 minutes.
Check for doneness with the tried-and-true toothpick method: a toothpick inserted into the center of the pan should come out clean. When it's done, remove to a rack to cool. Resist the temptation to cut into it until it's mostly cool.

***

Libby Klein graduated Lower Cape May Regional High School sometime in the ’80s. Her classes revolved mostly around the culinary sciences and theater, with the occasional nap in Chemistry. She has worked as a stay at home mom, climbing the ladder up the ranks to the coveted position of Grandma. She also dabbles in the position of Vice President of a technology company which mostly involves bossing other people around, making spreadsheets and taking out the trash. She writes from her Northern Virginia office while trying to keep her cat Figaro off her keyboard Most of her hobbies revolve around eating, and travel, and eating while traveling.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

BLUEBERRY CHOCOLATE CHIP MUFFINS: National Blueberry Muffin Day!

Today is Blueberry Muffin Day, and this month is Blueberry Month, so celebrate! I'm a major blueberry person from way back, even before I knew they were healthy with antioxidants and flavonoids and vitamins. I grew up back East, and when we went to the 'country,' my Aunt Annie used to take us blueberry hunting in the woods. It was great fun. We'd all come back with blue-stained hands and mouths. Those blueberries were small and juicy and sweet as wild blueberries should be. I still crave blueberries. Local blueberries are at the farmers' market right now, and for frozen blueberries, I usually freeze my own, but in a pinch the wild blueberries from Maine at Trader Joe's are very tasty.

For National Blueberry Muffin Day, use fresh blueberries in these muffin recipes. I am partial to plain muffins with blueberries and chocolate chips, so the first recipe is the one I use. But since this is a chocolate blog, I found a recipe for chocolate blueberry muffins, too. I haven't made that one, so let me know what you think if you do.

Here's my recipe for Blueberry Chocolate Chip Muffins. I like my muffins firm with a crusty top and soft inside--and not too sweet. I think you'll like these. I use a 1/2 cup of sugar, but if you want them a little sweeter use 3/4 cup. Don't want your blueberries to sink to the bottom? Dust them with flour before putting them in the batter.

Blueberry Chocolate Chunk Muffins


Ingredients
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup white sugar
pinch of salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup canola oil
1 large egg
1/3 cup whole milk
fresh blueberries (maybe a cup?)
dark chocolate, chopped into chunks (or chocolate chips)

Directions
Preheat oven to 400. Grease your muffin tin or use liners.
Combine flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Make a well in the center.
Put oil into a 1 cup measuring cup; add the egg (already whipped), and enough milk to fill cup to brim. Pour into the well and mix with flour mixture. Do not overmix.
Stir in blueberries and as many of the chocolate chips as you'd like. I like a lot, but you want to also be able to taste the blueberries--and the muffin, itself.
Fill muffin cups right to top.
Bake for 20-25 minutes in preheated oven-- or until done.

So that's my favorite, but for those who want a chocolate muffin with blueberries, here's a recipe from Yankee Magazine. As I mentioned, I haven't tried this yet, but it looks easy and good.

Chocolate Blueberry Muffins

Ingredients
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3 ounces unsweetened or very dark chocolate
1 cup sugar (I'd probably use less)
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 cup buttermilk
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup fresh blueberries
2 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted

Directions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In medium saucepan, melt butter and unsweetened chocolate over medium heat until smooth. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Stir in sugar, egg, buttermilk, and vanilla. In small bowl, combine flour and baking soda. Gently combine with liquid ingredients. Fold in blueberries. Spoon batter into well-greased muffin cups, filling to top. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Transfer muffins to wire rack to cool. Drizzle cooled muffins with semisweet chocolate.

Have a great Blueberry Muffin Day--make it Chocolate!

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

PINA COLADA FUDGE: National Pina Colada Day!

Today is National Piña Colada Day! Definitely a holiday I can get behind. So how to add Chocolate? Easy... Piña Colada Fudge! Here's a simple recipe for Pina Colada Fudge that includes one of my sweet favorites--marshmallow creme (marshmallow fluff). As always, use the very best white chocolate--not the artificial white chocolate disks.

PINA COLADA FUDGE

Ingredients
1 pound chopped white chocolate or white chocolate chips
3/4 cup marshmallow crème or fluff
1 cup shredded coconut, (unsweetened)
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3/4 teaspoon rum (or rum extract)
3/4 teaspoon coconut extract
7 ounces sweetened condensed milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped dried pineapple

Directions
Line 8-by-8-inch pan with aluminum foil, and spray foil with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
In large microwave-safe bowl, melt chocolate in microwave, stirring after every 30 seconds to prevent overheating. Stir until chocolate is smooth and completely free of lumps. Add marshmallow crème, coconut, butter, extracts, sweetened condensed milk, and salt; stir until butter melts and everything is combined. Add chopped pineapple at the end and stir to combine evenly.
Pour fudge into prepared pan, and smooth into even layer.
Allow fudge to set at room temperature overnight, or in refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours.
Once set, lift fudge from pan using foil as handles.
Use sharp knife to cut fudge into 1-inch squares to serve.

***
And to sing along while you make the fudge!

 

Monday, July 9, 2018

CHOCOLATE SUGAR COOKIES: 3 recipes for National Sugar Cookie Day

For me there's nothing quite like a Sugar Cookie, and, if you add Chocolate it's even better! Of course, one can never have too many recipes for this perfect cookie. So today for National Sugar Cookie Day, here are three recipes for Chocolate Sugar Cookies.

1. CHOCOLATE SUGAR COOKIES

Ingredients
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1-1/2 cups plus 2 Tbsp flour
3/4 cup unsweetened DARK cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
14 Tbsp unsalted butter
1-3/4 cups dark brown sugar (packed)
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In shallow bowl, put granulated sugar on plate. Set aside.
In bowl, stir together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and baking powder.
In large bowl, melt 10 Tbsp butter in microwave. Do not overheat; microwave butter until just melted. Stir in remaining 4 Tbsp butter until melted. Allow butter to cool for 10-15 minutes.
Whisk brown sugar, vanilla and salt into melted butter until smooth. Whisk in egg and egg yolk until smooth. Stir in flour mixture until just combined.
Roll dough into balls -- 2 Tbsp for each cookie. Roll balls in white sugar and place on lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheets.
Flatten cookies to 1/4-inch thick.
Sprinkle cookies with more white sugar.
Bake 12-14 minutes. Don't overbake.
Transfer to wire rack to cool.

2. CHOCOLATE SUGAR COOKIES

Ingredients
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
5 ounces unsweetened or very dark Chocolate, chopped
1 cup unsalted butter
1-1/2 cups sugar, divided
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions
Mix flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside. Melt chocolate and butter together in a stainless steel bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (or in a double boiler).
Add 1 cup sugar, egg, and vanilla; mix well.
Stir in flour mixture until well blended.
Refrigerate 15 minutes or until dough is easy to handle.
Heat oven to 375°F.
Shape dough into 1-inch balls; roll in remaining sugar.
Place, 2 inches apart, on baking sheets.
Bake 8 to 10 min. or until centers are set.
Cool on baking sheets 1 minute.
Remove to wire racks; cool completely.

This third cookie recipe is for Chocolate Caramel Sugar Cookies! This easy recipe is adapted from Kraft. Feel free to use Kraft products such as the caramels and Planters Pecans-- or use your favorite caramels and nuts.

3. CHOCOLATE CARAMEL SUGAR COOKIES

Ingredients
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
4 ounces very dark chocolate, chopped
1 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cups sugar, divided
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup chopped Planter Pecans
14 ounces KRAFT caramels
2 Tbsp milk

Directions
Mix flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside. Microwave chocolate and butter in large microwaveable bowl on High for 2 minutes or until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Add 1 cup sugar, egg, and vanilla; mix well. Stir in flour mixture until well blended.
Refrigerate 15 minutes or until dough is easy to handle.
Heat oven to 375°F.
Shape dough into 1-inch balls; roll in 1/2 cup chopped Pecans.
Place, 2 inches apart, on baking sheets. Make indentation in each ball.
Bake 8 to 10 min. or until centers are set.
Microwave 1 package Kraft Caramels with 2 Tbsp milk in microwaveable bowl on High for 3 minutes or until caramels are melted..stirring after 2 minutes.
Spoon into centers of cookies.
(Drizzle with extra melted chocolate, if you feel inclined)
Cool on baking sheets 1 minute.
Remove to wire racks; cool completely.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Velvet Almond Fudge Pie: Retro Ad & Recipe

Today is National Chocolate with Almonds Day, and this Retro Ad and Recipe from Jell-O and Blue Diamond Almonds for Velvet Almond Fudge Pie is the perfect way to celebrate!

Velvet Almond Fudge Pie

"This is an extraordinary pie — incredibly chocolatey, incredibly rich, with the delectable crunch of almonds. What makes this pie so deliciously chocolatey and so extraordinarily rich is the delicious chocolate flavor you bake in with Jell-O brand chocolate fudge flavor pudding and pie filling and chocolate chips. And you bake in the delicious crunch of Blue Diamond almonds, too." 


Ingredients 
1 cup almonds
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 unbaked 8″ pie shell
1 pkg. Jello brand chocolate fudge chocolate pudding pie filling
3/4 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup chocolate chips, melted

Directions
Chop almonds and toast at 350 degrees for 5 minutes. Set aside. Blend together until smooth; pie filling mix, corn syrup, milk, egg and chips. Add almonds and pour into pie shell. Bake at 375 degrees about 45 minutes or until top is firm and begins to crack. Cool at least 4 hours. Garnish with whipped topping, if desired.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

GUITTARD'S BEST BROWNIES: World Chocolate Day

Today is World Chocolate Day. There is great chocolate from all over the world, but I thought I'd feature my favorite baking chocolate--Guittard--which is close to home.

The Guittard Chocolate Company, based in Burlingame, CA, is celebrating 150 years, so it's not surprising that they have developed some fabulous chocolate. They've been crafting chocolate for five generations, using a combination of a time-tested craft, innovative techniques, long-standing relationships and a complete obsession with making a premium chocolate that delivers a spectrum of flavor for a variety of applications.

I often use their cocoa, bars, chips, and wafers, and I really love their Collection Etienne Chocolate. Their 100 precent cacao bars are amazing, but they also make 64 and 70% bars--all fair trade-certified, non-GMO, kosher and whatever else you want on the label. These are also available as wafers. I love this company! So here are two recipes from Guittard for incredible Collection Etienne Brownies. You will marvel at the intense chocolate flavor in both. The first recipe is my favorite, since it's fudgy. The second recipe is more cake-like, but equally fab...just different. Let me know which you prefer.

Incredible Collection Etienne Best Brownies Ever!

Ingredients
6 ounces Guittard Collection Etienne unsweetened chocolate (100-percent cacao), broken into pieces
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 large eggs
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

Directions
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 9-by-9-inch pan with foil, covering bottom and extending up sides.
In double boiler set over hot, not boiling water, melt chocolate and butter, stirring occasionally until smooth. Set aside.
Using electric mixer, beat eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt at high speed for 2 to 3 minutes, until light and creamy. Blend in melted chocolate at low speed, stopping to scrape sides as needed. Add flour just until incorporated.
Spread batter into prepared pan. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until top is puffed and cracked, and toothpick inserted in center test moist. Brownies will set as they cool. Cool before cutting.

Best Cake-Like Collection Etienne Brownies

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups (8 oz) Collection Etienne 74% Cacoa Organic Bittersweet Chocolate Wafers
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups evaporated cane sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
4 large eggs, room temp
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour.

Directions
Preheat oven to 350. Line 8-inch square pan with foil
Melt chocolate and butter in double boiler until smooth and melted.
Transfer to large bowl of electric mixer. Mix in sugar, salt, and vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, blending until smooth and glossy, stopping to scrape sides as needed. Add flour until just incorporated.
Spread into prepared pan. Bake 25-30 minutes or until puffed around edges and cater tests most. Do not overtake. Cool before cutting.

Friday, July 6, 2018

CHOCOLATE SOUFFLE with BRANDY SAUCE: Guest Post by Daryl Wood Gerber

My chocolate and mystery worlds collide again! Today I welcome back mystery author Daryl Wood Gerber. Agatha Award-winning Daryl Wood Gerber writes the French Bistro Mysteries as well as the nationally bestselling Cookbook Nook Mysteries. As Avery Aames, she pens the popular Cheese Shop Mysteries. Daryl also writes stand-alone suspense, which include the titles DAY OF SECRETS and GIRL ON THE RUN. Fun tidbit: as an actress, Daryl appeared in “Murder, She Wrote.” She loves to cook, and she has a frisky Goldendoodle named Sparky who keeps her in line! 

DARYL WOOD GERBER:

Hello, Janet’s fans. Thank you for letting me share a bit about my upcoming book as well as a delicious chocolate soufflé recipe. For those who don’t know me, I’m known for my culinary mysteries—currently, the French Bistro Mysteries. The first, A Deadly Éclair, came out in trade paperback in June. (It debuted in November 2017 in hardcover, e-book and audio). The second in the series, A Soufflé of Suspicion, will be on the shelves July 10.

Here’s a bit about A Soufflé of Suspicion:

The buoyant mood at Bistro Rousseau deflates when Chef Camille’s sister, Renee, turns up dead in the chef’s kitchen, and Mimi Rousseau must tease the real killer out of a mélange of menacing characters. 

Crush Week in Nouvelle Vie is a madhouse—in a good way. Tourists pour into town for the pressing of the Napa Valley’s world-renowned grapes and all the town’s businesses get a nice lift, including Bistro Rousseau and Maison Rousseau. Mimi is raising the ante this year with a Sweet Treats Festival, a wonderland of croissants, cakes, tarts, and soufflés crafted with expert care by the area’s top talents. Chef Camille’s sister Renee is managing the festival with a cast-iron fist, upsetting everyone, including her sister, which is bad for Camille when Renee turns up dead in the chef’s kitchen. Mimi is still building her business, so her first course of action is to whip up answers and catch the unsavory perpetrator before Camille takes a dusting and gets burned.

*

Of course, when I write the recipes for my books (oh, yes, there are recipes included), I do a lot of research. Over the years, I’ve become quite adept at making spinach soufflé and cheese soufflé, but I hadn’t tried my hand at many dessert soufflés. Well, let me tell you, I had a blast cooking and taste testing for this novel. The orange soufflés were quick favorites with my young grandsons. Personally, I’m partial to the salted caramel and chocolate soufflés. There’s something about dessert that makes me smile. I hope this recipe will make you smile, too. Don’t be upset if the soufflé deflates quickly. That’s to be expected. No matter what, the flavor will still be great. Enjoy.

CHOCOLATE SOUFFLE 
Serves 4

Ingredients
1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened (for buttering soufflé dishes)
2 teaspoons granulated sugar (for dusting soufflé dishes)
3 1/2 ounces of semi-sweet baking chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons strong coffee
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup milk
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
2 egg yolks
1/2 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
4 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar

Directions
Gather and measure out all ingredients. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Set a rack at the lower level of the oven.

Coat four 8-ounce soufflé dishes with butter. Dust with sugar and dump out excess sugar. Set aside.

Place the chocolate and coffee in the small pan over the pot of simmering water. Cover and remove from heat, allowing the chocolate to melt while continuing with the recipe.

Measure the cornstarch into a 2-quart saucepan. Whisk in the milk to make a smooth cream. Continue whisking until all milk is added. Add the butter and stir over medium heat until boiling. Boil the mixture, stirring for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and beat for another minute to cool slightly.

Now, one by one, whisk the egg yolks into the hot milk sauce. Then add the melted chocolate mixture. Then mix in the vanilla.

In a large bowl, beat the egg whites and salt in a mixer until soft peaks are formed. Sprinkle in the 1/4 cup of sugar and continue beating until stiff shiny peaks are formed.

Gently fold the chocolate mixture into the egg whites. Pour the soufflé mixture into the prepared soufflé dishes and set on the rack in the lower level of the oven. Turn the temperature down to 375 degrees F.

Bake for 24-28 minutes WITHOUT opening the oven door. Soufflé is still creamy in the center when a skewer comes out slightly coated. It is fully done and will stand up well when the skewer comes out clean. Either way is fine and is merely a matter of preference. (I prefer mine almost, but not quite completely done.)

When you first take the soufflé out of the oven, it will be VERY tall. It will deflate quickly. Don’t take offense. Let cool 10-15 minutes.

If desired, serve with brandy sauce.

BRANDY SAUCE 

Ingredients
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup tightly packed dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons brandy

Combine the butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and cream in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Stir the mixture over low heat until the sugar dissolves, then increase the heat to medium and bring the sauce to a gentle boil. Stir often. Cook 5 more minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the brandy.

Serve immediately, or cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate until needed. To rewarm, microwave the uncovered sauce on low for about 1 minute. 

FOLLOW DARYL ON: 

http://www.mysteryloverskitchen.com
http://facebook.com/darylwoodgerber
http://twitter.com/darylwoodgerber
http://youtube.com/woodgerb1
http://instagram.com/darylwoodgerber
http://pinterest.com/darylwoodgerber
http://goodreads.com/darylwoodgerber
https://www.bookbub.com/authors/daryl-wood-gerber

Thursday, July 5, 2018

CHOCOLATE BANANA CAKE: Retro Ad & Recipe

I adore Chocolate and Bananas, so I was very pleased to find this Retro Ad & Recipe for Chocolate Banana Cake. You can use a chocolate cake mix or make from scratch.. Follow the rest of the directions for the delicious Chocolate Banana Cake with Chocolate Banana Icing!



Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Chocolate Graham Crackers: National Graham Cracker Day!

Tomorrow is National Graham Cracker Day, but I had to post this today on the Fourth of July because of this great WWII Ad with Uncle Sam that features all the 'recommended' National Biscuit Company (Nabisco) crackers, cookies, and biscuits.

I've made chocolate graham cracker crusts, and I've used graham crackers in most of my S'mores recipes, but I've never posted a recipe for Chocolate Graham Crackers. They're easy to make and delicious. My next S'mores will use these. I've seen lots of recipes, but this one from King Arthur Flour is one of the best.

CHOCOLATE GRAHAM CRACKERS

Ingredients
1/2 cup Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
3/4 cup Whole Wheat Flour, Traditional or White Whole Wheat
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa
1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar or glazing sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons cold milk

Directions
Preheat your oven to 325°F. Have two baking sheets and parchment paper to line them at the ready.
In medium-sized bowl, whisk together flours, salt, cocoa, sugar, and baking powder. With pastry blender, two knives, or your fingertips, cut the butter into flour mixture until evenly crumbly.
In separate bowl, combine honey and milk, stirring until honey dissolves. Add liquid to dry ingredients and toss lightly with fork until dough comes together. Add additional milk, if necessary.
Turn dough out onto well-floured surface and fold over gently 10 to 12 times, until smooth.
Divide dough in half.
Work half the dough at a time, keeping remaining dough covered. Transfer one piece of dough to  piece of parchment. Roll into a rectangle a bit larger than 10" x 14"; dough will be about 1/16" thick. Trim edges and prick dough evenly with a dough docker or fork.
Repeat with  remaining dough and parchment. Place rolled-out dough pieces, on their parchment, onto baking sheets. Bake crackers for 15 minutes, or until you begin to smell chocolate. Remove them from the oven, and immediately cut them into rectangles with pizza wheel knife.
Transfer to rack to cool.
Store cooled crackers tightly wrapped for up to a week, or freeze for up to one month.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

FOURTH OF JULY CHOCOLATE COCA COLA CAKE

Last week I posted a recipe for a 7-Up Chocolate Cake. For the Fourth of July, I thought I'd post another 'soda' recipe. This time for Chocolate Coca Cola Cake. Love this Retro Ad for Coke. So, get out your 'Pyrex' dish and bake a Retro Chocolate Coca Cola Cake!

CHOCOLATE COCA-COLA CAKE

Ingredients
2 cups unsifted cake flour
2 cups sugar
2 sticks butter
2 Tbsp cocoa
1 cup Coca-Cola
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt

Directions
Sift together flour and sugar. Heat to boiling point the butter, cocoam and Coca-Cola. Add to flour and sugar mixture. Stir to blend. Add buttermilk, soda, eggs, salt, and vanilla. Stir with spoon until well blended. Pour into greased and floured oblong pan (Pyrex dish). Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Batter will be thin. Ice while hot.

COCA-COLA ICING

1/2 cup butter
6 Tbsp Coca-Cola
1 box confectioners' sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp cocoa

Heat to boiling point--butter, cocoa and Cola-Cola. Add confectioners' sugar and vanilla; stir to blend. Using a fork, make holes in hot cake and pour hot icing over it.

CHOCOLATE-BERRY MERINGUE: Fourth of July!

Love this Chocolate-Berry Meringue from Better Homes & Gardens for Fourth of July. It's light and healthy, and all Red, White, & Blue! Choose your favorite berries or have a medley. The chocolate curls are the finishing touch and look like fireworks!

Chocolate-Berry Meringue 

Ingredients
1 recipe Chocolate Meringue
1 recipe Raspberry Puree
1 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
6 cups fresh blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and/or sliced strawberries
Bittersweet chocolate curls

Directions 
Prepare Meringue and Raspberry Puree.
In chilled bowl beat cream, sugar, and vanilla until soft peaks form; spread onto meringue. Top with berries and chocolate. Drizzle raspberry puree onto plates. Serve meringue wedges atop puree.

Chocolate Meringue 

Ingredients 
6 egg whites
1 cup sugar
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely shredded
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

Directions
Allow egg whites to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cover a very large baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Draw a 10-inch diameter circle on paper, leaving a 1- to 2-inch margin outside the circle; set aside.
In large mixing bowl beat egg whites with electric mixer on medium to high speed until soft peaks form (tips curl). Add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating on high speed until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight) and sugar is dissolved. Gently fold in bittersweet chocolate, unsweetened cocoa powder, and balsamic vinegar. Spread meringue on circle on prepared baking sheet.
Place in oven. Immediately reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees F. Bake for 1 hour.
Remove from oven; cool completely on baking sheet on rack. Carefully remove meringue from parchment; transfer to a serving platter.

Raspberry Puree 

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries
1 tablespoon sugar

Directions 
In blender place fresh raspberries. Cover and blend until pureed; sieve, if desired. Transfer to a small bowl. Stir in sugar.

Photo: Better Homes and Gardens

Monday, July 2, 2018

Fourth of July Strawberry Pie

For me, Fourth of July is all about Strawberries and Whipped Cream.  Here's an easy Fourth of July Strawberry Pie, but of course I want chocolate with that, so I'm making a Chocolate Cookie Crust. Add blueberries to the whipped cream topping, and you'll have stars!

FOURTH OF JULY STRAWBERRY PIE

Chocolate Cookie Crust

25-30 chocolate cookie wafers (I use Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers), 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled. Heat oven to 350°F.  Whirl cookies in food processor until crumbs are fine. Put in medium bowl, add melted butter, and mix until combined. Press crumb mixture into a 9-inch pie plate evenly and firmly on bottom and up sides. Bake at 350 for 10 to 15 minutes. Cool (on wire rack) before filling.

Filling & Topping

Mash 2 cups of strawberries (chunky not macerated) (put aside a cup of sliced strawberries). Place strawberries in small saucepan. Add sugar (to taste-depends on strawberries-about 1/4-1/2 cup), 1/4 cup corn starch, dash of salt, 1 tsp vanilla or 1 Tbsp  lemon juice (or both). Bring to simmer until thickened. Cool completely. Add rest of strawberries (cut up or sliced) and put in baked cooled Chocolate Cookie Crust. Put in fridge for 2 hours to set. Top with whipped cream, big whole strawberries, and blueberries!

Happy Fourth of July!

Sunday, July 1, 2018

CHOCOLATE SANDWICH COOKIES WITH RED, WHITE, & BLUE SPRINKLES for Fourth of July!

I always say you find recipes in the most unusual places. The Old Farmer's Almanac, founded in 1792, is one of those sites. The Farmer's Almanac is no longer just about when to plant and harvest your crops. The site is filled with weather, astronomy, gardening, advice and food tips and recipes. Here's one of my favorites for the Fourth of July. As always use the very best cocoa and butter for the best flavor.

CHOCOLATE SANDWICH COOKIES WITH RED, WHITE, & BLUE SPRINKLES

COOKIES 

Ingredients 
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions
In bowl of stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in egg. Turn off machine and add flour, cocoa, and salt. Beat at low speed until the dough comes together. Turn out onto work surface and knead 2 or 3 times. Flatten into 2 disks, wrap in plastic, and chill at least 30 minutes, or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350F°. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
Roll out first portion of dough to a ⅛-inch thickness. Use 2-inch round biscuit cutter or cookie cutter to cut dough into circles, gathering and rerolling as needed; then transfer to baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough. Bake until firm, about 10 to 12 minutes.
Remove cookies from oven and place on cooling rack.

FILLING

Ingredients 
2-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 to 3 tablespoons water
red, white, and blue sprinkles

Directions
In bowl of stand mixer, combine sugar, shortening, salt, and vanilla. Beat on low speed, then increase to medium. Add water, tablespoon at time, and beat until desired consistency is reached. Frost bottom of one cookie and top with another cookie. Repeat. Roll cookies in sprinkles.

Photo: Farmer's Almanac