Thursday, August 16, 2018

MOCHA RUM CAKE: National Rum Day

Today is National Rum Day! I love this holiday. Feel free to celebrate with your favorite Rum Drink or have a piece of Bacardi Rum Cake. But, since this is a Chocolate Blog, make this easy and terrific Mocha Rum Cake. Argh, Matey!

Mocha Rum Cake!

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1⁄2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3⁄4 lb bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 1⁄2 cups unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1⁄3 cup dark rum
2 cups strong brewed full-bodied coffee
2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs, beaten lightly
1 1⁄2 tsp vanilla extract
confectioners' sugar, for dusting
Sweetened whipped cream
Cocoa powder, for dusting 

Preheat oven to 300°F
Butter 12-cup bundt pan. Dust with cocoa powder, knocking out excess.
In bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt.
In large metal bowl set over saucepan of simmering water, melt chocolate and butter, stirring until smooth.
Remove chocolate from heat and stir in rum, coffee, and granulated sugar.
With electric mixer, beat in flour, 1/2 cup at a time, scraping down sides, and beat in eggs and vanilla until batter is combined well.
Pour batter into the prepared pan.
Bake cake in middle of oven until tester comes out clean, about 1 hour and 40 minutes.
Let cake cool completely in pan on rack, then turn out onto rack.
Dust cake with confectioners' sugar and serve with whipped cream.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JULIA! Julia's Child's Chocolate Mousse

Happy Birthday, Julia Child!  

Julia Child was born on August 15, 1912. She has inspired millions of amateur cooks and professional chefs with her skills, easy kitchen spirit (how can we forget the chicken?), and passion for learning, since her first cooking program aired on public television in 1963.

Julia Child revolutionized American cuisine through her French cooking school, award-winning cookbooks, and world-renowned television programs by presenting an approachable version of sophisticated French cooking to her eager audience for four decades.

Child began with a sincere passion for good food and the pleasures of cooking, studying in France in the '50s with chef/friend Simone Beck. With the help of Louisette Bertolle, another dedicated food lover, they created a cooking school called L'Ecole des Trois Gourmandes and later, in 1961, completed their groundbreaking cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

Her book and television show that followed made the mysteries of fancy French cuisine approachable, introducing gourmet ingredients, demonstrating culinary techniques, and most importantly, encouraging everyday "home chefs" to practice cooking as art, not to dread it as a chore.

Julia Child passed away on August 12, 2004. Today would have been her 106st birthday. So in honor of the day, here's her recipe for Chocolate Mousse or Mousse a la Chocolate! Be sure and scroll to watch the video at the end from her TV series The French Cook.

Julia Child's Chocolate Mousse

6 ounces (170g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
6 ounces (170g) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup (60ml) dark-brewed coffee
4 large eggs, separated
2/3 cup (170g), plus 1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons (30ml) dark rum
1 tablespoon (15ml) water pinch of salt

1. Heat a saucepan one-third full with hot water, and in a bowl set on top, melt together the chocolate, butter and coffee, stirring over the barely simmering water, until smooth. Remove from heat.
2. Fill a large bowl with ice water and set aside.
3. In a bowl large enough to nest securely on the saucepan of simmering water, whisk the yolks of the eggs with the 2/3 cup of sugar, rum, and water for about 3 minutes until the mixture is thick, like runny mayonnaise. (You can also use a handheld electric mixer.)
3. Remove from heat and place the bowl of whipped egg yolks within the bowl of ice water and beat until cool and thick, as shown in the photo above. Then fold the chocolate mixture into the egg yolks.
4. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with the salt until frothy. Continue to beat until they start to hold their shape. Whip in the tablespoon of sugar and continue to beat until thick and shiny, but not completely stiff, then the vanilla.
5. Fold one-third of the beaten egg whites into the chocolate mixture, then fold in the remainder of the whites just until incorporated, but don't overdo it or the mousse will lose volume.
6. Transfer the mousse to a serving bowl or divide into serving dishes, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, until firm.

Not clear enough? Watch Julia Child make this on The French Chef

Tuesday, August 14, 2018


Today is National Creamsicle Day.

What exactly is a Creamsicle? Well a Creamsicle is a frozen dessert with a vanilla ice cream core and a fruit sherbet coating. The classic Creamsicle flavor combination is orange and vanilla. Officially, the term “Creamsicle” is a registered brand name owned by Unilever, and similar products cannot be labeled as Creamsicles. However, the original Creamsicle® is such a perennial best-seller that the term is often used generically, and the branding rights may eventually be lost due to trademark dilution. 

So to honor the holiday--and to add chocolate-- make these Orange Creamsicle Truffles. Love this easy recipe.

FYI: You can also substitute lemon juice and zest, and you have another winner--but it won't be a Creamsicle!


1/4 cup unsalted butter
Zest of 1/2 orange
3 Tbsp heavy cream
1 cup 'real' white chocolate chopped (Guittard) or white chocolate chips
1/2 tsp orange extract
1/4 cup powdered sugar

Put white chocolate in mixing bowl, set aside.
Melt butter with orange zest in small saucepan. Stir in cream and scald mixture.
Pour hot cream mixture through mesh sieve over white chocolate and using rubber spatula press zest against sieve to release orange oils into mixture. Allow mixture to rest 1 minute, add orange extract to white chocolate mixture then stir until smooth.
Cover mixture and refrigerate 2 hours or until firm enough to handle.
Scoop mixture out with small cookie scoop or teaspoon and form into balls.
Roll balls in powdered sugar.
Freeze truffles 20 minutes before eating.

Monday, August 13, 2018

S'mores Apples: Gravenstein Apples

I'm a big fan of Gravenstein Apples. We have nine trees, but this year our abundant fruit was harvested methodically by a squirrel. Luckily, we were able to buy a flat in Sebastopol this past weekend.

Gravenstein Apples have been a large part of the history of Sonoma County since the late 1800s when Nathaniel Griffith with the advice of Luther Burbank cultivated the Gravenstein Apple for commercial use. Nathaniel Griffith was born in Iowa in 1850 and at 24 moved West. He came to California in 1883 and bought 78 acres on Laguna Road. Griffith experimented with many kinds of apples but settled on the Gravenstein. The Gravenstein reportedly originated in Germany in the gardens of the Duke Augustenberg, Castle Graefenstein, Schleswig-Holstein.

Gravenstein apple trees once covered acres of Sonoma County, but much of it has been replaced with grape vineyards. The fruit has been declared a Heritage food, giving the apples a much needed boost in the marketplace. The trees were discovered in 1797 but didn’t really become popular until the late 1800s when Nathaniel Griffith began to cultivate them for commercial use. Over time, the variety’s use spread in the western U.S., but it was also a favorite in Nova Scotia, Canada and other cool-temperate areas.

Gravensteins are a late summer treat not to be missed. 

S'mores Gravenstein Apples

6 large Gravenstein Apples (don't have Gravensteins in your area? Use Granny Smith apples)
6 strong pointed bamboo sticks (or Wilton Caramel Apple Branch sticks)
1 (10.5-oz) bag miniature marshmallows
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
12 ounces chocolate, chopped  (or chocolate chips)
1 cup ground graham crackers

Wash and dry apples. Remove stems and skewer each apple with stick; set aside.
Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
Melt butter in saucepan and cook over low heat until melted. Add marshmallows and stir until melted.
Dip each apple in melted marshmallows mixture and transfer to prepared baking sheet. Place in fridge.
In meantime, melt chocolate. Put chocolate in saucepan over saucepan over simmering water. Stir until smooth.
Put ground graham crackers in bowl. Remove apples from fridge and dip apple into melted chocolate (about 2/3 way up) rotating to coat evenly.
Immediately dip chocolate-covered apple into ground graham crackers, and coat on all sides.
Repeat for all apples.
Put apples back on lined baking sheet. Refrigerate for 20 to 30 minutes.

Tip: Twist off apple stem. If skewer is blunt, sharpen with kitchen knife on on end (make diagonal cut). Push firmly into apple.  If juice leaks out, blot with paper towel before dipping.

Want to get fancy? Serve on a bed of chocolate chips, crushed grahams, and mini-marshmallows.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

CHOCOLATE RASPBERRY TART: National Raspberry Tart Day

Today is Raspberry Tart Day, not to be confused with Raspberry Cream Pie Day! For that holiday I posted a recipe for Black Bottom Raspberry Cream Pie! I favor Driscoll's Berries, especially since I can find them in the market year round. I live in California, so that's pretty easy. Driscoll's Berries are always sweet and fresh. I love raspberries!

So in honor of the day, here's a recipe for a Chocolate Raspberry Tarte (or Tart)! This recipe is adapted from the Art and Soul of Baking cookbook. Of course, I make a chocolate crust! The crust in this recipe is not the usual one I make from chocolate cookie wafers. This one is made using cocoa powder, and you'll taste the difference. Of course, use only the best ingredients -- the very best cocoa. The original recipe calls for making 15 tiny tartlettes, but you can also make one big tart (or a pie, if you only have a pie pan). A tart is usually made in a shallow fluted pan, usually with a removal bottom -- a tart pan. Tarts rarely have an upper crust.

For the jam at the end, I use Bonne Maman Raspberry Preserves, one of my favorites. Of course, if you make your own raspberry or strawberry jam, you'll wan to use that!


4 ounces unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
1 cup all purpose flour
2 1/2 Tbsp unsweetened DARK cocoa powder
3/4 cup raspberry jam (or strawberry)
4 ounces dark chocolate (65-75% cacao), chopped
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
6 ounces fresh raspberries
1/2 tsp water
powdered sugar

Beat butter and sugar on medium speed for 3 minutes until smooth and creamy. Use spatula to scrape down bowl and beat another minute if there are lumps of butter. Add egg yolk, beat well, and scrape down sides.
Add flour and cocoa powder. Beat on low speed until dough comes together (but still has small to medium clumps) and looks moist with dark uniform color. Scrape down bowl. Use spatula to incorporate anything not mixed in.
Put dough in tart pan with removable bottom (or pie pan, if that's all you have). Press dough evenly along bottom and up sides of pan. (as with any pie dough, if it isn't working for you, stick it in the fridge for 15-20 minutes)
Use knife to cut off dough that is above top of pan (save left over dough for repairs). Put dough filled tart pan in fridge for 30 minutes. 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack in lower third. Place dough filled pan on cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and use any leftover dough to repair cracks. Bake another 8 minutes.
Remove tart pan to cooling rack and use rounded side of a spoon to press center down and make more room for filling. Let cool completely (in fridge, if you have to).
Put aside Tbsp of jam in small bowl. Spoon rest of jam to cover bottom of tart crust.
Put chocolate in heatproof bowl. Put heavy cream in small saucepan. Heat cream until it just starts to boil, then pour over chocolate. Begin whisking to blend completely and melt all chocolate. Pour ganache into crust.
Refrigerate tart for 1 hour or until filling is firm. Remove from fridge and arrange raspberries on top of tart.
Mix reserved Tbsp of jam with 1/2 tsp of water and heat in microwave for about 15 seconds. Brush jam mixture onto tops of arranged raspberries (just a little to make them shiny).
Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.
Optional: Sift with powdered sugar before serving.

Friday, August 10, 2018

S'MORES ICE CREAM PIE: National S'mores Day

Today is National S'mores Day. Frozen chocolate ice cream is always great, but this recipe, my favorite by far for S'mores Ice Cream Pie, uses Rocky Road ice-cream, but you can always use chocolate. I originally found this recipe on the Taste of Home website. I've tried other S'mores Ice Cream Pie Recipes, but this is really the best one! It's easy and delicious.

S'mores Ice Cream Pie

2/3 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 Tablespoons sugar
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2-1/2 cups Rocky Road ice cream (or Chocolate), softened 
2/3 cup marshmallow creme
3/4 cup miniature marshmallows

In small bowl, combine cracker crumbs and sugar; stir in butter. Press onto bottom and up sides of 7-inch pie plate coated with cooking spray. Bake at 325° for 7-9 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack.
Carefully spread ice cream into crust; freeze until firm. Spread marshmallow creme over ice cream. Top with marshmallows; gently press into creme. Cover and freeze for 4 hours or overnight.
Just before serving, use a mini-torch and flash-burn a bit--or broil 6 in. from the heat for 1-2 minutes or until marshmallows are golden brown.

Photo: Taste of Home

Thursday, August 9, 2018

S'MORES TRUFFLES: National S'mores Day

Summer is S'mores time, and as much as I love S'mores on the Grill, sometimes I like to plan ahead and make a different version of S'mores. So here's a very easy recipe for S'mores Truffles for tomorrow's National S'mores Day. I found this recipe on Original recipe from CenterCutCook. There were lots of other recipes, but this is so easy and delicious. As always, the quality of your chocolate will make a difference. I use dark chocolate from different purveyors, but then I always have extra chocolate around. I love to change it  up.

S'mores Truffles

10 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 to 1 - 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
30-35 mini marshmallows

Pour heavy cream into sauce pan over medium heat. Heat heavy cream until scalded. Remove heavy cream from stove right before it starts to boil. Pour it into large bowl. To bowl of heavy cream, add chocolate chips (or chopped chocolate) and allow to sit for a few minutes, so the warm cream can melt the chocolate.
Use whisk to combine chocolate into heavy cream. Whisk until well combined. Place mixture in refrigerator for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Pour graham cracker crumbs into shallow dish.
When chocolate mixture has thickened to pudding consistency, begin forming truffles. Use 1 tablespoon scoop (cookie dough scoop or melon baller) to create each truffle. Press mini marshmallow into center of each truffle, then use hands to cover marshmallow with chocolate. This is a messy process.
Drop truffle into pan of graham cracker crumbs, and completely coat truffle. After you’ve coated all truffles, repeat process so each truffle has been coated twice with graham cracker crumbs.
Put truffles on parchment covered tray.
Put truffle tray in refrigerator for about 30 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

FROZEN CUSTARD DAY: History, Retro Signs & Ads, Recipe

Today is National Frozen Custard Day. Frozen custard has always meant soft serve ice cream to me -- the kind that comes swirling out of a metal dispenser. Frozen Custard was never a substitute for ice cream, though, it was just different.

So today, in honor of the holiday, I thought I'd post some Retro Ads and Signs for Tastee Freez & Dairy Queen. And, if you scroll down there's a recipe for Cheater Chocolate Frozen Custard.

The big question is what's the difference between ice cream and frozen custard? Ice cream is made from milk, cream, or a combination of the two, while frozen custard is made from milk, cream, and egg yolks. Also, while the machine used to make ice cream churns air into it to make it have a light mouthfeel, frozen custard is produced in a machine that barely incorporates air into it, which makes it denser.

History of Frozen Custard

From eHow:

The Dairy Queen Story 
According to the book The Cone with the Curl on Top, a history of Dairy Queen, J.F. McCullough and his son, Alex, opened an ice cream shop in 1927 in Davenport, Illinois. In the early 1930s, they moved to an ice cream factory in Green River, Illinois, and decided to find out if customers preferred ice cream before it was completely frozen, which was how they liked it best. The colder ice cream had less flavor than the softer version, they felt. After an experimental, all-you-can-eat sale in Kankanee, Illinois, where they found the softer ice cream was a success, they bought a machine from a street vendor in Chicago in 1939, had a machine company tweak the design, and sold their frozen custard exclusively to a store run by Sherb Noble in Joliet, Illinois, in 1940. They nicknamed the store Dairy Queen. They bought a second store in 1941, and a third that spring.

Carvel's Story 
According to National Geographic and The Nibble magazine, Carvel's sold ice cream on the street in New York. After a flat tire in Hartsdale, New York, caused his ice cream to begin to melt, he sold the partially melted product as a new treat---and his customers loved it. He opened Carvel Frozen Custard in Hartsdale in 1934 and began to build a series of frozen custard shops along highways. He built a soft-serve machine in 1939.

The McCulloughs continued to improve the design of their soft-serve machine and expand their business. Carvel continued to expand its chain aggressively, too, as did another competitor, Tastee-Freez. By 1956, soft-serve ice cream consumption was increasing 25 percent every year, according to the U.S. Department of agriculture.

That same year, Tastee-Freez had 1500 stores, and Carvel had 500.

Carvel was a true innovator: he was the first to offer “buy one, get one free”; the first to franchise an ice cream store; and his patented glass building was copied by McDonald’s. Dairy Queen opened its first soft-serve ice cream store in Joliet, Illinois in 1940. Carvel’s Flying Saucer sandwich was introduced in 1951. 

technique adapted from John T. Edge's The Truck Food via Oprah 
Makes one quart

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 Tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups chocolate ice cream, softened

Using a handheld electric mixer, whisk cream in a large bowl until soft peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes. Add sugar and vanilla and continue whisking to make stiff peaks, about 30 seconds more.
Using a rubber spatula, stir in ice cream until well combined.
Transfer mixture to a large, resealable freezer bag and freeze until semi-firm (like frozen custard), 4 to 6 hours.
When ready to serve, remove ice cream from freezer and, if needed, knead bag until uniformly soft, about 30 seconds. (Cover bag with a towel to protect your hands from the cold.)
Snip off a corner of the bag to pipe ice cream into a cone, or simply scoop and serve.

Dairy Queen Cones

Tuesday, August 7, 2018


Today is Raspberries & Cream Day. Here's a great recipe for Raspberries & Cream White Chocolate Bundt Cake to celebrate. The recipe calls for raspberry jam, but feel free to add some chopped raspberries to the jam. Also, you may want to make your own white cake.


1 package white cake mix
1 - 5 ounce instant white chocolate pudding
1 cup sour cream
4 large eggs
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup oil
1 1/2 cup white chocolate chips (Guittard) chopped into smaller pieces
1 cup raspberry jam (Bonne Mamma)

Grease and flour bundt pan. Preheat oven to 350-degrees.
Beat together first six ingredients. Fold in white chocolate chips. Fill prepared bundt pan with half batter. Spoon half of raspberry jam in small, separated spoonfuls over batter (so it looks like separate clumps of filling over top). Using knife swirl filling through cake. Swirl until there are lots of tiny swirls.
Pour remaining batter in evenly and spoon in remaining jam, repeating "swirling" process above. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 mins. (do "knife test" to determine doneness). If knife does not come out clean, keep placing back in the oven for 3-5 min at a time until it does. Remove from oven.
Let cool for 20 mins. Remove from pan. Let cool.

You can frost this with a cream cheese frosting, but I usually leave my Bundt Cakes bare.

Monday, August 6, 2018


Today is National Root Beer Float Day. Just an FYI: A&W Root Beer is giving away small Root Beer Floats today, so you might want to get over to an A&W today and check your local news for other places giving out Root Beer Floats.

So what exactly is a Root Beer Float? A root beer float is made from Root Beer and vanilla ice cream. To make a 'traditional' root beer float, add the root beer to a tall chilled glass, leaving a bit of room in top. Then slowly add a scoop of vanilla ice cream to the glass. Drizzle a small amount or root beer on top, and it will turn to foam. You might want to put a plate under the glass, because when the ice cream begins 'to float', it often bubbles over! Sometimes people just mix the two together, but I like the float-y way. A Root Beer Float is traditionally made with vanilla ice cream, but you can also make a Root Beer Float with Chocolate Ice Cream--it would be called either a brown cow or a black cow, depending on where you live. Each region in the U.S. has its own names. No surprise there!

But maybe you want to do something even more special than making an ice cream float to celebrate the day, but still maintain the root beer float flavor. And, you want to include lots of chocolate. I'm a huge fan of bundt cakes. They're easy and pretty! Well, then this recipe from the BrownEyedBaker is perfect. There's chocolate in both the Bundt Cake and the Frosting. Personally I rarely frost my bundt cakes, and I feel this cake has the flavor of the root beer float, but if you're all about frosting, make the frosting and ice the cake! Actually the frosting, itself, tastes like a root beer float! Lick the bowl!

Root Beer Float Chocolate Bundt Cake

2 cups root beer (not diet root beer)
1 cup DARK unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spray10-inch Bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray, or butter pan and dust with flour, shaking out excess flour; set aside.
In medium saucepan, heat root beer, cocoa powder, and butter over medium heat until butter melts. Add sugars and whisk until dissolved. Remove from heat and cool.
In medium bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, and salt together.
In small bowl, whisk eggs until just beaten, then whisk into cooled cocoa mixture until just combined. Fold flour mixture into cocoa mixture. Do not overbeat. Lumpy is fine!
Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 35 to 40 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking, until sharp knife inserted into cake comes out clean. Transfer pan to wire rack to cool. Loosen sides of cake from pan and turn onto rack.

Root Beer Float Fudge Frosting

2 ounces dark chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup root beer
2/3 cup DARK unsweetened cocoa powder
2 -1/2 cups powdered sugar

Put all ingredients in food processor. Pulse in short bursts until frosting is shiny and satiny, scraping sides of food processor a few times. (You can always use hand mixer or standing mixer)
After cake cools, use spatula to spread frosting over cake in a thick layer. Let frosting set before serving.

Friday, August 3, 2018


If you read my blog, you know I'm immersed in both the chocolate and mystery worlds. Chocolate is at the heart of many true crimes, but for the Chocolate Tasting for my local Sisters in Crime chapter, I decided to focus on fictional Chocolate Crime. This list is just a sampling. Be sure and let me know if I've forgotten any titles.

Many of the mysteries on this list also include recipes, and several of the authors have cookbooks of their own. You can never have too many chocolate recipes. Enjoy your chocolate reading. I'm always Dying for Chocolate. Bon Appetit!


Aarons, Kathy: Death is Like a Box of Chocolates; Behind Chocolate Bars

Adler, David: The Chocolate Fudge Mystery

Alexander, Ellie: Fudge and Jury

Barker, Constance: Death by Chocolate Sundae

Beck, Jessica: Drop Dead Chocolate; Cocoa Crush; Cherry Filled Charges; Boston Cream Bribery;  Devil’s Food Defense; and more.

Bell, Cindy: Christmas Chocolates and Crime

Bell, Maymee (aka Tonya Kappes): Cake and Punishment; Batter Off Dead

Berneathy, Sally: Death by Chocolate; Chocolate Mousse Attack

Berkeley, Anthony:  The Poisoned Chocolates Case

Best, Morgana: Murder Sweetly Served

Bradford, Laura: Éclair and Present Danger

Brady, Jacklyn (aka Sherry Lewis): A Sheetcake Named Desire

Burdette, Lucy: Murder with Ganache

Carl, JoAnna: The Chocolate Cat Caper; The Chocolate Bridal Bash, The Chocolate Mouse Trap;  Crime de Cocoa; Chocolate to Die For; The Chocolate Falcon Fraud; and more.

Carter, Sammi: Chocolate Dipped Death

Cates, Bailey: Charms and Chocolate Chips

Child, Laura: The Jasmine Moon Murder

Chocolats, Agatha: Thirteen Chocolates

Coco, Nancy: All Fudged Up; Oh, Fudge

Cole, Lyndsey: Easter Buried Eggs

Cormier, Robert: The Chocolate War

Coyle, Cleo: Dead Cold Brew; Dead to the Last Drop; Once Upon a Grind; Holiday Buzz;  and more

Davidson, Diane Mott: Dying for Chocolate

Davis, Krista: The Diva Steals a Chocolate Kiss

Davis, Kyra: Obsession, Deceit, and Really Dark Chocolate

DeSmet, Christine: First-Degree Fudge; Hot Fudge Frame-Up; Five-Alarm Fudge

Eichler, Selma: Murder Can Stunt Your Growth

Fairbanks, Nancy (aka Nancy Herndon): Chocolate Quake

Fluke, Joanne: Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder; Christmas Caramel Murder; Fudge Cupcake Murder; Red Velvet Cupcake Murder; and more.

Frost, Agatha: Chocolate Cake and Chaos

Gardner, A: Chocolate Macaroons and a Dead Groom

Gerber, Daryl Wood: A Deadly Éclair; A Souffle of Suspicion

Graves, Sarah: Death by Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake; Death by Chocolate Malted Milkshake

Green, Jillian: Double Fudge Murder; Sugarcoated Lies; Guilty Confections

Hanna, H.Y.: Witch Chocolate Fudge; Bewitched by Chocolate; Dark, Witch & Creamy; Bonbons and Broomsticks; Witch Summer Nights Cream’ Blood, Sweets and Tears

Haven, Heather: The Chocolate Kiss-Off

Hickey, Cynthia: Chocolate-Covered Crime

Hodge, Sibel: Chocolate, Lies, and Murder

Hollis, Lee: Death of a Chocoholic

Keene, Carolyn: The Chocolate-Covered Contest (Nancy Drew)

Klein, Libby:  Midnight Snacks are Murder

London, Colette: The Semi-Sweet Hereafter; Criminal Confections; Dead and Ganache

McKinlay, Jenn: Dark Chocolate Demise

Meier, Leslie: Chocolate Covered Murder

McKevett, G.A.: Death by Chocolate

Patra, C.S.: Wrapped in Death and Chocolate

Penrose, Andrea: Sweet Revenge; The Cocoa Conspiracy

Salonen, Debra: Montana Secret Santa

Shelton, Connie: Sweet Masterpiece

Snopek, Roxanne: The Chocolate Cure; The Chocolate Comeback

Stilton, Thea: Thea Stilton and the Chocolate Sabotage (Children’s)

St James, Dorothy: Asking for Truffle

Swanson, Denise: Murder of a Chocolate-Covered Cherry

Warner, Gertrude Chandler: The Chocolate Sundae Mystery (The Boxcar Children)

Weiss, Kirsten: Bleeding Tarts

West, Anisa Claire: Chocolate Covered Crimes

Youngblood, I. Seymour: Death by Chocolate



Today is National Watermelon Day, and here's a quick and easy way to combine watermelon and chocolate. Talk about a healthy treat--and only 80 calories per serving! Of course, you'll want more than one serving. I always do. The trick here, for me, is to freeze the watermelon wedges before dipping. Also, use a really good dark chocolate, not chocolate chips, so the chocolate will adhere to the fruit. And, I love to sprinkle these with sea salt for that extra taste!


8 ounces dark chocolate, chopped (not chocolate chips)
5 lb seedless watermelon, cut into 1" wedges
Sea salt

Cut watermelon into wedges. Place on baking sheet or plate and put in freezer for 30 minutes.
Melt chocolate in double boiler or saucepan over saucepan over simmering water.
Dip tops of frozen watermelon wedges into melted chocolate.
Shake off excess and sprinkle chocolate with sea salt.
Put on wax paper or parchment to set.
Serve immediately or put back in freezer (or refrigerator).

Thursday, August 2, 2018

BROWNIE ICE CREAM SANDWICHES: National Ice Cream Sandwich Day

I've subscribed to Sunset Magazine forever. I love this 'Western' magazine for its home and travel tips and, of course, for the recipes! Over the years the recipes have changed from using heavy ingredients to producing lighter, healthier fare. Chocolate has been a constant, and the writers and editors at Sunset are always discovering new and delicious combinations.

So, since today is National Ice Cream Sandwich Day, I thought I'd post this fabulous twist on the ice cream sandwich from Sunset -- Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches. You can even freeze these for up to a week. If you plan to make brownies anyway, this is a great way to elevate them!

Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches


6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup unsalted butter
2 cups packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 cup flour
1/2 cup Dutch-processed unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp salt

1 pint ice cream, softened (any flavor you like--I love Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia, but vanilla is great, too)

Preheat oven to 350°.
In medium pot, bring 1 inch water to simmer. Put chocolate and butter in a medium metal bowl and set bowl over pot, being careful not to let bottom of bowl touch water. Heat until chocolate is almost completely melted, then add sugar and eggs and mix thoroughly. Sift together flour, cocoa, and salt, then add to chocolate mixture, stirring well. Pour batter into a greased 10- by 15-in. baking pan. Bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Let cool completely.

Invert brownie sheet onto work surface and cut into 1 1/2-inch squares; arrange on pan.
Freeze brownies 30 minutes.
During last 10 minutes, remove ice cream from freezer to soften.

Working in batches, scoop 1 heaping Tbsp ice cream onto half of brownie squares. Set remaining squares, shiny side up, on top of ice cream and press gently.

Freeze until firm, at least 2 hours. Straighten tops of brownies and trim oozing ice cream with paring knife if you like. Freeze, covered, up to 1 week.

Photo: Sunset Magazine, Annabelle Breakey; Styling: Karen Shinto

Wednesday, August 1, 2018


Today is National Raspberry Cream Pie Day, and what's a raspberry pie without chocolate? So for this recipe, the cream portion of the pie is Chocolate Pudding!

This recipe is from Bon Appetit (July 2004) aka Epicurious for Black Bottom Raspberry Cream Pie. The "black bottom" is a layer of chocolate pudding.. and as a bonus there's a chocolate cookie crust. I'm all about chocolate. Be sure and chill the pie overnight before adding the topping.

As far as berries go, any great organic raspberry works. I love Driscoll's raspberries because they're always good. This is raspberry season, so pick up a few pints today and make this incredible pie to celebrate National Raspberry Cream Pie Day! No time to make this delicious pie? Dance the Black Bottom! See video below.

FYI: This recipe is also a great black bottom 'anything' recipe: bananas and other fruit go very well with it, too.

Black Bottom Raspberry Cream Pie 

Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1 3/4 cups crushed chocolate wafer cookies (about 30 cookies from one 9-ounce package)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)
2 Tbsp cornstarch
2 1/2 cups whole milk, divided
2 large egg yolks
1 large egg
4 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 Tbsp unsalted butter

3 1/2-pint containers raspberries
1 cup chilled whipping cream
2 Tbsp powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

For crust:
Spray 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish with nonstick spray. 
Blend cookie crumbs, butter, and sugar in medium bowl. 
Press mixture evenly over bottom and up sides (not on rim) of prepared dish.
Chill crust 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake crust until set, about 10 minutes, then cool.

For filling:
Combine sugar, cocoa, and cornstarch in heavy medium saucepan; whisk to blend well. 
Gradually add 1/4 cup milk, whisking until cornstarch dissolves. 
Whisk in remaining 2 1/4 cups milk, then egg yolks and egg. 
Stir over medium-high heat until pudding thickens and boils, about 8 minutes. 
Remove from heat. 
Add chocolate and butter; whisk until melted and smooth. 
Spread pudding in prepared crust. Press plastic wrap onto pudding to cover and chill pie overnight.

For topping:
Peel plastic wrap off pie. 
Cover chocolate layer with raspberries, pointed side up, pressing lightly into chocolate to adhere (some berries will be left over). 
Beat cream, sugar, and vanilla in medium bowl until peaks form; spread over berries on pie. 
Arrange remaining berries atop cream. 
Chill pie at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours.

And, the dance sensation that started it all: The Black Bottom.  In this video, the Varsity Drag title is in error. The Black Bottom replaced "The Charleston" as the next most popular dance of the 1920's. Released June 28, 1926. Written by Buddy De Sylva, Lew Brown and Ray Henderson.  Black bottom dancing was for the young and energetic. This song and style of dancing were popular in the1920's.