Saturday, September 29, 2018

COFFEE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES: National Coffee Day

Today is National Coffee Day. So many ways to celebrate, especially if you add Chocolate. You can always have a Cafe Mocha, Chocolate Coffee Fudge, Chocolate Clouds in your Coffee, Irish Coffee Chocolate Cake, Irish Coffee Truffles, or pick up some Chocolate Covered Coffee Beans. Chocolate goes great coffee!

In honor of the day, I thought I'd re-post one of my favorite recipes for Coffee Chocolate Chip Cookies. Everyone loves chocolate chip cookies. What I love about Chocolate Chip Cookies are the infinite varieties.

As I've mentioned before, your final product is only as good as your ingredients. Use the very best Chocolate, Espresso (or Coffee) Beans, Vanilla, Flour, Butter and other ingredients! This recipe calls for a baking stone. You can use a pizza stone. If you don't have one, you can make these Coffee Chocolate Chip Cookies the traditional way. The stone helps makes them gooey on the inside and crispy on the outside. I've adapted this recipe from ehow.com.

COFFEE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES 

Ingredients
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 fresh large eggs (room temperature)
2 cups brown sugar
6 Tbsp granulated sugar
5 tsp real vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sea salt
3 - 1/2 cups flour
4 tsp ground espresso beans (or finely ground coffee beans). Try this recipe with ground chocolate covered Coffee beans. Gives it just a bit more chocolate!
16 oz dark chocolate (65-75% cacao) chopped (or dark chocolate chips)
Baking Stone

Directions
Toss butter in microwave for 20 seconds to SOFTEN not melt the butter. (or leave out in advance, so it's already softened)
Cream butter and sugars together until fluffy. Mixture should be well blended but firm.
Add 2 eggs. Beat. Add Vanilla. Mix well. Set aside.
Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into another bowl. Add ground coffee or ground espresso beans.
Add dry ingredients to wet mixture, beating in a little at a time. Fold in chocolate pieces (or chips). Possible to add walnuts, if you want them. I didn't put them in the ingredients above, but I always like chopped walnuts in my chocolate chip cookies.
Put cookie dough in refrigerator for 2 hours to firm up. Put wax paper on top to prevent drying.
Preheat oven to 350. Put hot stone in Oven.
Take hot stone out of oven. Drop cookie balls (use a small scoop or form balls) onto stone, smashing with fork after dropping. Put back in oven on stone.
Bake for about 8 minutes. Depends on your oven, of course.
Transfer with spatula to wire rack.
Hint: Check the first one. If the cookies fall apart or aren't cooked all the way, give them another minute.

Friday, September 28, 2018

STRAWBERRY CREAM PIE WITH OREO COOKIE CRUST: National Strawberry Cream Pie Day

Today is Strawberry Cream Pie Day. What a terrific day to celebrate. Strawberries are still fresh in the market, and this Strawberry Cream Pie with Chocolate Oreo Crust is easy and delicious. There are lots of recipes out there, but try this one and let me know what you think. I've adapted this recipe from allrecipes.com, and of course, I've added a Chocolate Crust--and for this pie an Oreo Crust.

Strawberry Cream Pie with Oreo Cookie Crust

Crust
25 Oreo cookies
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Directions
Crush cookies or whirl in food processor. Stir cookie crumbs and melted butter together.
Press crumbs into bottom and upsides of 9" pie plate. Bake for 8 minutes at 350. Cool before filling.

Filling
1 quart strawberries, sliced
1 (13.5 ounce) container strawberry glaze  (you can make your own by boiling down strawberry jam with a little water and straining)
1 (4 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup heavy whipping cream

Directions
Stir strawberries with glaze in bowl and place in refrigerator to chill.
Stir cream cheese, confectioners' sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla extract together in bowl.
Beat cream in separate bowl with electric mixer until it just begins to thicken. Add cream cheese mixture and continue beating until thick.
Pour cream mixture into baked pie crust. Top with strawberry mixture.
Chill for 1 hour before serving.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

CHOCOLATE MILK & CHOCOLATE MILK COCKTAILS: National Chocolate Milk Day

Today is National Chocolate Milk Day. Everyone knows that chocolate milk is a sweetened, chocolate-flavored milk drink that can be purchased pre-mixed or made at home. But there are lots of ways to make chocolate milk, and lots of different ingredients can be added to give it a special flavor. As always, remember it's the quality of the chocolate that will make a big difference -- and the milk: 2%, whole, etc.

So to celebrate the day, I have Three Chocolate Milk recipes and Two Chocolate Milk Cocktail Recipes! Take your choice!

***
As always, use the very best chocolate. Basically you make a chocolate syrup first, then add the milk.

1. Chocolate Milk

11 ounces milk
1 ounce water
1-1/2 teaspoons cocoa
2 tablespoons sugar

Put sugar, cocoa, and water in microwavable 12 oz glass.
Microwave for 30 seconds or until sugar and cocoa dissolve.
Add cold milk and stir.

***
Want something a little more unusual? Sunset (1994) had a wonderful Ultimate Chocolate Milk Recipe (Nicaraguan Chocolate Milk). This is not a classic, but it might soon be for you. Preparation takes some time, so you won't be drinking this today.

2. Nicaraguan Chocolate Milk (Orchata de cacao)

1-1/2 cups long-grain white rice
2 cups (about 2/3 lb) cocoa beans
4 cups water
3 cinnamon sticks (each about 3 in.), broken into 1-inch pieces
8 cups whole, low-fat, or nonfat milk
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla
1 cup sugar
Ice (optional)

Place rice in bowl, cover with cool water, and let stand to soften somewhat, up to 24 hours; drain.
Place cocoa beans in 9-inch metal baking dish. Bake in 500 degree oven 5 minutes. Shake beans. Continue to bake until beans smoke and some skins have split, 5 to 8 minutes longer.
In blender, place half rice, cocoa beans, water, and cinnamon. Whirl until ingredients are very finely pureed. Place large, fine strainer over a bowl; pour cocoa mixture into strainer and stir to extract liquid. Discard residue. Repeat with remaining rice, cocoa, water, and cinnamon.

Rinse strainer, then line with a double thickness of damp cheesecloth. Pour cocoa liquid through strainer into bowl, stirring to extract all liquid; discard residue.

To cocoa liquid, add milk, vanilla, and sugar; stir until sugar dissolves. Serve plain or over ice. If making ahead, chill, covered, up to 3 days. Stir to serve Makes about 10 1/2 cups, 10 servings.

3. Salted Chocolate Milk

Several years ago, I paid homage to one of my favorite TV sitcoms, Modern Family. In one episode, Manny is studying with a girl he has a crush on. She comes to his house and Manny's doting Columbian Mama Gloria (Sofia Vergara) makes the kids chocolate milk. The young girl with whom Manny is smitten says that they always add salt to chocolate milk at her home. Gloria, threatened by another 'woman' in Manny's life, says she doesn't like it that way.  Of course, when she tries it without the two in the room, she really loves it.

I've posted lots of reviews and recipes that call for salt and chocolate. Salt gives chocolate a certain pop, and I think you'll find it very refreshing in chocolate milk. Just don't add too much. A pinch will do.

The Modern Family Chocolate Milk with Salt Showdown:
Gloria: So how is it going?
Manny: Great, Kelly's moving her stuff into my notebook.
Gloria: This is sudden.
Kelly: It just felt right. Oh, you know what you should do, put a pinch of salt in the chocolate milk, it really brings out the flavor.
Gloria: Salt is for the popcorn.
Manny: Sounds good.
Gloria: You wouldn't like it.
Kelly: Maybe we should let Manny decide.
Gloria: Okay, here's the salt. We'll see what he likes.
Manny tries both:
Manny: Wow! It's great! Try it, Mom.
Gloria: I don't care for it.

Her best line of the episode, defeated and with her accent, she tells the camera and the viewers, "It was delicious."

So moving from the youngsters to the oldsters, here are two very easy cocktail recipes for Adult Chocolate Milk Cocktails!

1. Chocolate Milk Cocktail

Glass of Chocolate Milk
Couple Splashes Kahlua
2 or 3 ice cubes

Add Kahlua to chocolate milk and add ice

2. Chocolate Milk Cocktail

1/2 shot Kahlua
1/2 shot milk
Dash of Amaretto

Put the milk in the bottom, pour the liqueur on top and add dash of amaretto. Do not mix.
Serve in a tumbler. 

 

Cartoon of the Day: Pumpkin Spice


Wednesday, September 26, 2018

KEY LIME PIE WITH CHOCOLATE GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST: National Key Lime Pie Day

Key Lime Pie is one of my favorite pies. There seem to be several different Key Lime Pie Days (September 23, 26, and June 15). You pick... or have this easy delicious pie whenever you want. I'm going with September 26 for the purposes of this blog!

Several years ago when I visited the Florida Keys, I tasted over 25 different key lime pies. I judged them (for myself) on tartness, firmness, sweetness (too sweet is unacceptable), whipped cream vs. meringue, and more. It was a hard job, but someone had to do it. FYI: Key Lime Pie is the official pie of the Florida Keys.

I've made different variations of key lime pies, and, as I always say, you can never have too many recipes. Variety is what it's all about. One ingredient that is essential is using real key limes.

I buy key limes at my market. Key Limes are definitely different from 'regular' limes. Key limes are smaller, about the size of a ping-pong ball. They are round, think-skinned, and contain very few seeds. They're juicier than other limes, too. Green key limes are actually immature fruits. They ripen to yellow as they mature. I buy them green, probably because that's they way they sell them in my market. Just an FYI: bottled Key Lime juice is sometimes used in Key Lime Pies. This juice is not always made from key limes. Find fresh key limes, if you can. It will make a huge difference.

Key limes are also known as Mexican limes and West Indies limes. Cultivated for thousands of years in the Indo-Malayan region, this variety made its way to North Africa and the Near East via Arabian traders, and then carried on to Palestine and Mediterranean Europe by the Crusaders. Columbus is credited with bringing the Key lime to Hispaniola (Haiti), where it was carried on by Spanish settlers to Florida. Key Limes are found in in South Florida, particularly the Florida Keys, hence the current common name of Key Lime. Due to hurricane-depleted soils, locals switched from pineapple commercial crops to limes in 1906, and business boomed until a hurricane once again reared and wiped out the lime groves, never to be restored. Sadly, even if they had been, they would be gone again after Hurricane Irma. Most Key limes now come from Mexico.

And FYI: Key Lime Pies are yellow..not green (unless you add food coloring--ugh!).  And, some people top Key Lime Pie with Meringue.. some with whipped cream!

Key Lime Pie with Chocolate Graham Cracker Crust

Ingredients

Crust
1 1/2 cups crushed chocolate graham crackers
3 Tbsp sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted
Spray pan with non stick spray.

Filling
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
3 egg yolks
2/3 cup fresh squeezed Key Lime juice
1 Tbsp grated Key Lime zest

Directions

Crust
Mix together crumbs and sugar in bowl, add butter, and mix well. Press into bottom and up sides of  9-inch pie pan. Make it tight.
Bake 350 F for 8 minutes.
Allow to cool on a wire rack.

Filling
Beat egg yolks and grated Key Lime zest for about 5 minutes until fluffy.
Add sweetened condensed milk and beat for 4 more minutes.
Reduce speed and beat in lime juice until combined.
Pour into prepared chocolate graham cracker crust.
Bake at 350 for 15 minutes (until firm in center)
Remove from oven and cool on wire rack.
Cover and chill for 2 hours.
Top with Whipped Cream or Meringue (whichever you prefer)

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Harvest Moon Pumpkin Brownies

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

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

HARVEST MOON PUMPKIN BROWNIES

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

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

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

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

Monday, September 24, 2018

CHOCOLATE CHERRIES JUBILEE CAKE & SAUCE: National Cherries Jubilee Day

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

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

CHOCOLATE CHERRIES JUBILEE CAKE!

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

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

Vanilla ice cream

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

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

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

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


CHOCOLATE CHERRIES JUBILEE

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

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

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

Sunday, September 23, 2018

ICE CREAM CONE DAY: History & Recipe

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

HISTORY OF THE ICE CREAM CONE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ICE CREAM CONE RECIPE 

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

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

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Cartoon of the Day: Marshmallows


WHITE CHOCOLATE CHEESECAKE: White Chocolate Day!

Today is White Chocolate Day. The USDA does not consider white chocolate as chocolate.White chocolate doesn't contain any cocoa solids (chocolate liquor) and does not have 'chocolate' flavor. But I believe it's chocolate, and I like the unique creamy flavor good white chocolate does have--of course that depends on the brand and that varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. (see below)


White chocolate contains cocoa butter, a product of the cocoa bean used to make chocolate. White chocolate used in baking and candy making is a blend of milk, cocoa butter, sugar and often vanilla. This is what you'll find in milk chocolate, except without the cocoa. If you are baking with white chocolate, make sure to buy the very best. Cheap white chocolate often has the cocoa butter replaced by vegetable fat. Check the ingredients on the package. It should have a cacao percentage just as other chocolate bars.

Examples of good white chocolate:
E. Guittard has 31% Cacao White Chocolate wafers. Great for baking (and eating)
Green & Black's uses cocoa butter, pressed directly from the crushed cocoa beans. They also use a blend of milk and Bourbon vanilla. Available in 3.5oz bars.
Askinosie has bean to bar white chocolate and uses goat's milk instead of cow's milk. The main ingredient in their white chocolate is 34% natural, non-deodorized cocoa butter. The cocoa butter is pressed in their factory, and they are the first small-batch chocolate maker to do this. After pressing theibeans to create the cocoa butter, they combine them with goat's milk powder and organic cane juice, and then craft it for days in their 85-year old German melanguer, making their white chocolate one of the only single origin white chocolates in the world. It has a very unique buttery/nutty flavor, less sweet than many other white chocolate.
And, there are others!

Because it's comprised mainly of cocoa butter, white chocolate can be used in so many ways. Check past posts for White Chocolate Mashed Potatoes, White Chocolate Brownies, White Chocolate Coffee Cake, White Chocolate Truffles and a host of other white chocolate candies and baked goods.

My favorite White Chocolate Recipe, though, is for White Chocolate Cheesecake! Here's an easy recipe adapted from the Betty Crocker Cookbook. I changed the original graham cracker crust to a Chocolate Cookie Crust (see below)... much better, I think, but then I like chocolate.

WHITE CHOCOLATE CHEESECAKE WITH CHOCOLATE COOKIE CRUST

Ingredients for Filling:
1 cup chopped white chocolate (make sure it's good white chocolate that's made with cocoa butter)
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
16 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 egg yolks
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream

Directions
Move oven rack to lowest position. Heat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease bottom and side of springform pan, 8 x 3 inches.
Prepare Chocolate Cookie Crust (see below). Baking 6-8 minutes and cooling.

Place chopped white chocolate in top of double boiler (or saucepan on top of another saucepan over simmering water). Heat over low heat, stirring frequently, until white chocolate is melted. Remove from saucepan.
Increase oven temperature to 475ºF.
Beat melted white chocolate, 3/4 cup sugar, and flour in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until blended. Beat in cream cheese and egg yolks until smooth. Continue beating, adding eggs one at a time, then add sour cream until blended. Pour batter carefully into crust. Cover pan with aluminum foil.
Bake 20 minutes; remove foil. Reduce oven temperature to 300°F. Bake 1 hour. (If cheesecake browns too quickly, cover loosely with aluminum foil during last 30 minutes of baking.)
Turn off oven and leave cheesecake in oven 15 minutes. Take out and cool on wire rack 15 minutes. Run metal spatula along side of cheesecake to loosen before and after refrigerating. Cover tightly and refrigerate at least 8 hours, but no longer than 5 days. Run metal spatula along side of cheesecake to loosen; remove side of pan. Place cheesecake on serving plate. Refrigerate if you plan to serve later.

I like my cheesecake unadorned, but you can always add berries, whipped cream, or chocolate sauce.

Chocolate Cookie Crust:
Ingredients
30 chocolate wafers (to yield about 1-1/2 cups crumbs)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Directions
Put cookies in food processor; process until finely ground.
Transfer crumbs to mixing bowl; combine crumbs, butter, salt, and vanilla; stir until crumbs are moistened.
Press mixture evenly across the bottom of a 9-inch spring form pan and all the way up the sides of the pan; pack tightly so crust is even and compacted.
Bake in 350° oven for 6-8 minutes or until crisp.
Let cool completely before filling.

Friday, September 21, 2018

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE PECAN COOKIES: National Pecan Cookie Day

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

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

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE PECAN COOKIES

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

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

Thursday, September 20, 2018

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

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

Carolyn Tillery:
Devil’s Food Chocolate Cake 

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

CHOCOLATE RUM BALLS: Talk Like a Pirate Day!

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

CHOCOLATE RUM BALLS

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

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

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Toll House Peanut Butter Golden Brownies: Retro Ad & Recipe

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



Monday, September 17, 2018

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

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

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

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

Chocolate Chip Noodle Kugel

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

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

Sunday, September 16, 2018

CINNAMON SWIRL CHOCOLATE RAISIN BREAD: National Cinnamon Swirl Bread Day

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

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

Cinnamon Swirl Chocolate Raisin Bread

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

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

Saturday, September 15, 2018

GRASSHOPPER PIE: National Creme de Menthe Day

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

Grasshopper Pie is named because for its green color, although modern recipes may omit coloring the pie green. That would be a shame, though, since it's what makes it a classic. This pie was most likely invented in the 1950s in the U.S, and may have been inspired by the "Grasshopper Cocktail" invented at about the same time. Grasshopper Pie is a chiffon pie usually made with a Chocolate Cookie Crust, so you see why it's perfect for DyingforChocolate.com.

Chiffon pies in the 1950s were often a combination of whipping cream, gelatin, sugar, eggs, and flavoring (see vintage recipe at the end of this post). In the case of the Grasshopper Pie, common flavoring used was alcohol in the form of crème de menthe, and sometimes other alcohol like crème de cacao. For non-alcoholic pie, mint flavoring was achieved by using mint extracts instead, though these might still contain a tiny amount of alcohol. Green food coloring gave the pie a light green color.

There are huge differences between classic recipes for Grasshopper Pie and modern ones. Since gelatin can be annoying to work with, many people now prepare the pie by melting marshmallows and blending them with milk or whipping cream, and sometimes cream cheese. Several recipes advocate the use of specific cookies like Oreos in the crust, but I use chocolate wafers.

In the US, Grasshopper Pie tends to be most popular in the South, but other parts of the country enjoy it too. The pie rose in popularity especially up until the 1970s. Many ice cream stores capitalized on the flavor of this pie by producing their own version with mint or mint chocolate chip ice cream and a cookie crust. Some ice cream stores are particularly known for their grasshopper ice-cream pies.

Following are several different recipes for Grasshopper Pie. As I said, this is perfect for Creme de Menthe Day! Let me know if you have a special family recipe. Grasshopper Pie is so Retro!

Simple Grasshopper Mallow Pie  
 from Kraft

Ingredients
1/4 cup green creme de menthe
1 jar (7 oz.) JET-PUFFED Marshmallow Creme
1 pt. (2 cups) whipping cream, whipped
1 OREO Pie Crust (6 oz.)

ADD creme de menthe gradually to marshmallow creme in large bowl, beating with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Gently stir in whipped cream.
POUR into crust.
REFRIGERATE 4 to 6 hours or until chilled. Store leftover pie in refrigerator.

Frozen Grasshopper Pie
from cooks.com

Ingredients
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 rows Oreo cookies (lg. pkg.) crushed (you can also use chocolate wafers)

1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup creme de menthe
1/4 cup white creme de cacao
2 cup (1 pt.) whipping cream, whipped

Directions
Combine crushed Oreos and butter and press in bottom of 9 x 13 inch pan.
In large bowl combine sweetened milk, creme de menthe and creme de cacao.
Fold in whipped cream.
Pour over crust. Cover.
Freeze 6 hours or until firm. Garnish with chocolate curls. Return leftovers to freezer.

Expert Grasshopper Pie  
From Bon Appétit

Ingredients
Crust:
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
22 chocolate wafer cookies
3 Tbsp sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

Filling:
1 cup whole milk
Pinch of salt
3 large egg yolks
2 Tbsp cornstarch
6 ounces good-quality white chocolate (such as Baker’s or Lindt), chopped
2 Tbsp sweet butter
2 Tbsp green crème de menthe
2 Tbsp light crème de cacao
3/4 cup chilled whipping cream
Shaved white and dark chocolates

Directions 
For crust: Spray 9-inch-diameter glass or ceramic pie dish with nonstick spray. Finely grind chocolate cookies and sugar in processor. Blend in butter. Press crumb mixture onto bottom and up sides of prepared dish. Freeze. 

For filling: Combine milk and salt in heavy small saucepan. Bring to simmer. Whisk egg yolks and cornstarch in medium bowl to blend well. Gradually whisk in hot milk mixture. Return mixture to same saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat until mixture thickens, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat. Add white chocolate and butter; whisk until smooth. Transfer custard to large bowl. Whisk in crème de menthe and crème de cacao. Set custard over another large bowl of ice water until cold and thick but not set, stirring often, about 30 minutes.
Whip cream in medium bowl until stiff peaks form. Stir 1/3 of whipped cream into custard. Fold in remaining whipped cream. Pour filling into crust. Freeze at least 5 hours or up to 2 days. Garnish with shaved chocolates.

And one more,  
Vintage Cookbook Recipe for Grasshopper Pie that includes gelatin!

Friday, September 14, 2018

CHOCOLATE MARBLE COFFEE CAKE: Breaking the Fast

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

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

CHOCOLATE MARBLE COFFEE CAKE

INGREDIENTS

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

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


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


DIRECTIONS

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, September 13, 2018

PEANUT BUTTER CHOCOLATE CAKE: National Peanut Day

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



Wednesday, September 12, 2018

IRISH COFFEE CHOCOLATE MILKSHAKE: National Chocolate Milkshake Day

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

Irish Coffee Chocolate Milkshake

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

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

Non-Alcoholic Chocolate Coffee Milkshake

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

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

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

National Chocolate Milkshake Day: 5 Quirky Chocolate Milk Shake Recipes

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a great day!

Monday, September 10, 2018

NATIONAL TV DINNER DAY: History & Retro Ads

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

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

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

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

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





Sunday, September 9, 2018

CHOCOLATE HONEY CAKE for Rosh Hashanah

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

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

Chocolate Honey Cake

Ingredients

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, September 8, 2018

DATE NUT BREAD WITH CHOCOLATE CHIPS: Retro Ad & Recipe

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

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

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

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

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

DATE NUT BREAD WITH CHOCOLATE CHIPS

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

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

Friday, September 7, 2018

HONEY CHOCOLATE BROWNIES: National Honey Month

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

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

HONEY CHOCOLATE BROWNIES

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

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

Thursday, September 6, 2018

CHOCOLATE RUGELACH for Rosh Hashana

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

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

CHOCOLATE RUGELACH 

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

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

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


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

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

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

VANILLA MACADAMIA NUT FUDGE: National Macadamia Nut Day

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

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

VANILLA MACADAMIA NUT FUDGE

Ingredients

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

Directions

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

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

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

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

Sunday, September 2, 2018

TRIPLE FUDGE CAKE FOR LABOR DAY: Retro Party Cookbook Recipe

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

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



Saturday, September 1, 2018

NO-LABOR CHOCOLATE PUDDING CAKE: LABOR DAY

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

NO-LABOR LABOR DAY CHOCOLATE PUDDING CAKE

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

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