Wednesday, October 17, 2018

CANDY CORN BROWNIES: Happy Halloween!

I love Candy Corn. It just screams Halloween. According to the National Confectioners Association, 20 million pounds (9000 tons) of candy corn are sold annually. Want to try making your own Candy Corn? Jessie Oleson (aka Cakespy) has a great recipe for Homemade Candy Corn. You will definitely taste the difference.

There are so many ways to incorporate Candy Corn with Chocolate. Here's an easy recipe for Candy Corn Brownies. In a rush? Use a brownie mix and just when pulling brownies out of the oven, pour candies over the top. Push down lightly so they sink into the soft brownies.

CANDY CORN BROWNIES

Ingredients
1/2 lb unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1-1/2 cup Dark Cocoa
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup flour
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup dark chocolate, chopped into small chunks
Lots of Candy Corn

Directions 
Preheat oven to 350.
Butter 9 x 9 pan.
Beat butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla in bowl.
Stir in flour, cocoa, and salt.
Fold in chopped chocolate pieces.
Pour into prepared baking pan.
Sprinkle candy corn pieces evenly over top (alternatively, you can wait until brownies are baked and place candy corn pieces into top of baked brownies 2 minutes after taking out of oven).
Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

MAKE YOUR OWN CHOCOLATE LIQUEUR: National Liqueur Day

Today is National Liqueur Day! I often make Chocolate Liqueur Truffles. They're so easy to make, and you can change the liqueurs whenever you'd like. But sometimes I make my own chocolate liqueur. It's simple, and you should try it. Of course you can always buy Chocolate Liqueur, and I'll have to admit that Godiva has an awesome dark Chocolate Liqueur. You might also want to try Mozart Black Chocolate.

But if you want to make your own, try one of the following two recipes for Making Your Own Chocolate Liqueur.

As always, use the best cacao nibs or cocoa, vodka, and vanilla. You won't have the results to taste today, but it will be worth the wait!

How to Make Your Own Chocolate Liqueur

1. Chocolate Liqueur
The recipe is from Serious Eats, one of my favorite sites.

Ingredients
 2/3 cup cacao nibs
1 1/3 cup vodka
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup water
2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Directions
Combine cacao nibs and vodka in sealable glass jar. Shake and let steep for 8 days.
After initial steeping period, bring sugar and water to a boil. Let syrup cool, then add to jar along with vanilla extract. Let steep an additional day.
Strain out nibs through sieve and filter through a coffee filter into bottle or jar. Store in this jar.

II. Chocolate Liqueur
This Recipe from Creative Culinary uses Scharffen Berger Cocoa Powder. 

Ingredients
1/4 cup unsweetened good cocoa powder
1 cup boiling water
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
1 cup vodka

Directions
In bowl, dissolve cocoa powder in boiling water.
In saucepan, bring sugar and water to simmer, stirring until sugar is dissolved.
Add sugar syrup to cocoa syrup.
Strain through fine-mesh sieve into jar with lid.
Add vodka, cover and refrigerate for one week.
To serve, stir well and strain again through fine-mesh sieve.
 
These two recipes should get you started. Want to try some variations? Use less sugar and maybe add almond extract--or use rum instead of vodka. Experiment!

You can drink your Chocolate Liqueur straight, use it in truffles, or make a martini.

Have a wonderful National Liqueur Day. Make it Chocolate!

Monday, October 15, 2018

RED WINE BROWNIES: National Red Wine Day

Of course you can drink a glass of red wine today to celebrate National Red Wine Day, but why not accompany that wine with chocolate as in these fabulous Red Wine Brownies. I've posted lots of wine and port and liqueur brownies, but here's another. You can never have too many brownie recipes! And, you can always make Brownies from Scratch and add the red wine. Here's a recipe for Merlot Brownies from scratch, but if you don't have the time or the ingredients, here's a great easy recipe:

Red Wine Brownies

Ingredients
1 box Ghirardelli dark chocolate brownie Mix
1/4 cup bold Red Wine
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg

Directons
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Grease 8″ x 8″ baking dish.
In large bowl, combine wine, oil, and egg. Mix well. Stir in brownie mix.
Spread batter in prepared pan.
Bake for 45 minutes. Cool completely.
Serve with red wine.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Cartoon of the Day: Gingerbread House


DARK CHOCOLATE CRICKETS, CHOCOLATE CRICKET CHIP COOKIES & MORE: National Chocolate Covered Insect Day

Today is a holiday worthy of Halloween. October 14 is National Chocolate-Covered Insects Day. Last week I was at two different markets and saw these packages of Chocolate Crickets with Amaranth Seeds. Bugs and insects are hitting the big time in specialty food. So if you're not inclined to make Chocolate Cricket Chip Cookies (recipe below), I suggest you pick up a bag. They're handmade in San Francisco and are "toasted, protein packed & crunchy."

Over the years, I've posted several examples of chocolate covered insects: Chocolate Scorpions and other chocolate covered bugs, but I always return to this recipe I found on Weird-Food.com for Chocolate Cricket Chip Cookies. They put the crunch in the cookie. O.K. they're slightly weird, but Frank Price, my partner in crime, spent 3 years in Cote d'Ivoire, and it doesn't seem weird to him at all. Dry-roasted Crickets add protein and crunch. I've seen a different version of these Chocolate Chip Cricket Cookies with whole crickets in them. TMI! Declaration: I've never made these, and I never will. I'm definitely not a bug person. But because it's National Chocolate Covered Insect Day, I thought I'd share the following recipe.

Chocolate Cricket Chip Cookies

Ingredients
2 1/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 12-ounce chocolate chips
1 cup chopped nuts
1/2 cup dry-roasted crickets

Directions
Preheat oven to 375.
In small bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
In large bowl, combine butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla; beat until creamy.
Beat in eggs.
Gradually add flour mixture and Crickets, mix well.
Fold in chocolate chips.
Drop by rounded measuring teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

M&M's PARTY COOKIES: Retro Ad & Recipe for National M&M's Day!

Today is National M&M's Day! Here are 5 fun facts about M&M's:

1. From 1976 to 1985, there were no red M&Ms
2. Blue M&Ms were introduced in 1995.
3. M&Ms were taken along on the first space shuttle voyage in 1982.
4. There are 340 million M&M’s produced daily.
5. And they are GOOD!!!

From Wikipedia:
M&M's are "colorful button-shaped chocolates", each of which has the letter "m" printed in lower case on one side, surrounding a filling which varies depending upon the variety of M&M's. 

The original candy had a milk chocolate filling which, upon introducing other variations, was branded as the "plain" variety. "Peanut" M&M's, which feature a peanut coated in milk chocolate, and finally a candy shell, were the first variation to be introduced, and they remain a regular variety. Numerous other variations have been introduced, some of which are regular widespread varieties (such as "peanut butter", "almond", "pretzel", "crispy", "dark chocolate", and "caramel") while others are limited in duration or geographic availability. 

M&M's is the flagship product of the Mars Wrigley Confectionery division of Mars, Incorporated. The candy originated in the United States in 1941,[2] and are sold in over 100 countries, since 2003.[1] More than 400 million individual M&M's are produced every day in the United States.[3][4] They are produced in different colors, some of which have changed over the years. The candy-coated chocolate concept was inspired by a method used to allow soldiers to carry chocolate in warm climates without having it melt. The company's longest-lasting slogan reflects this: "Melts in your mouth, not in your hand." 

So to celebrate M&Ms Day here are two retro ads from 1963 (Color Cookies) and 1964 (Party Cookies). Same recipe just renaming the cookies.

PARTY COOKIES aka COLOR COOKIES
Easy color cookie recipe with m&m’s! Happiest new cookie idea in years! Only Crisco and m&m’s Plain Chocolate Candies offer you this delicious new cookie. Kids really go for crisp, fun-to-eat “Color Cookies.”

Ingredients:
1/2 cup Crisco
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon water
1 egg
1 cup + 2 tablespoons sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup M&M’s Plain Chocolate Candies

Directions
Blend Crisco and sugars. Beat in vanilla, water and egg. Sift remaining dry ingredients together and add to the sugar and egg mixture. Mix well. Stir in M&M’s Plain Chocolate Candies.
Drop from teaspoon onto ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.
Makes about 3 dozen 2 1/2 in cookies.
For additional color, press extra M&M’s Plain Chocolate Candies into cookies before baking. Some candies crack slightly in baking, adding texture and interest to the cookies.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

MAGIC COOKIE BARS: Retro Ad & Recipe

I love old Retro Ads with recipes. Here's a great one from Borden's Eagle Brand for Magic Cookie Bars. These are great for school lunches, after school treats, or just about any time. You can add chocolate chips, coconut, nuts, mini-marshmallow, or M&Ms. These are quick and easy. As always, use the very best chocolate!






Wednesday, October 10, 2018

CHOCOLATE ANGEL FOOD CAKE: Angel Food Cake Day

Today is National Angel Food Cake Day. Well, just in case you were worried that there would be no chocolate, I have to post my go-to recipe for Chocolate Angel Food Cake. Recipe from Martha Stewart! This cake is light and airy and delicious... truly angelic!

Angel food cake is a cake made with a lot of egg whites and usually no shortening or leavening agent. It has the consistency of a sponge cake.

From WhatsCookingAmerica.net comes this piece of information: Angel Food Cake is also known as ice cream cake (a Pennsylvania Dutch wedding cake). And, because there are an abundance of cake molds in southeastern PA, one of the major producer of cake molds, angel food cake may have originated there in the 1800s. Some other historians think that the first angel food cakes were baked by African slaves in the South because making this cake required a strong beating arm and lots of labor to whip the air into the whites (pre-egg-beaters 1865). Angel Food cakes are also a traditional African-American favorite at funerals. You decide, but whatever the origin, you'll love this cake!

CHOCOLATE ANGEL FOOD CAKE

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups sugar
Scant 1 cup cake flour (not self-rising)
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 ounce dark chocolate, grated (about 1/2 cup)
12 large egg whites
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp pure almond extract

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place oven rack in center.
Sift together onto piece of parchment paper: 3/4 cup sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Add grated chocolate; set aside.

In bowl of electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. With machine running, add remaining 3/4 cup sugar in slow steady stream, beating until fully incorporated and stiff glossy peaks form. Add vanilla and almond extracts; beat to combine.

Remove from mixer. Gradually add flour mixture, gently but thoroughly, folding into egg-white mixture until fully combined. Pour into nonstick angel food cake pan. Tap pan on counter to remove air bubbles. Bake until cake springs back when depressed with finger, 30 to 35 minutes.
Cool, inverted, 1 hour before removing pan.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

BLUE CHEESE TRUFFLES: National Moldy Cheese Day

October 9 is Moldy Cheese Day. Don't you just love the name Moldy Cheese Day? Perfect for October! For me, Moldy Cheese means Blue Cheese. O.K. I know there are a lot of other moldy cheeses out there, but give me a good Stilton or Gorgonzola any day. So in honor of Moldy Cheese Day, I'm making Blue Cheese Truffles. Simple and delicious.

Scroll down for an easy recipe for Blue Cheese Truffles (I'd call them Moldy Cheese Truffles, but I fear no one will eat them).

No time or inclination to make your own? There are several Chocolate companies that offer fabulous Smokey Blue Cheese Truffles. I really like Lillie Belle Farms from Southern Oregon. I've tasted them at the San Francisco International Chocolate Salon, and they're delicious. Organic milk chocolate, Rogue Creamery's smoked blue cheese and toasted almonds. It's an awesome combination.

My other favorite blue cheese truffles are Bissinger's Chocolate-Covered Point Reyes Original Blue Cheese Wine Grape. They're a great combination of sweet and savory. I'm a sucker for chocolate and cheese, and local Point Reyes Original Blue is one of my favorite blues. Add a wine grape to that, and I'm in heaven.
 
But, of course, you can make your own Blue Cheese (Moldy Cheese) Truffles! This recipe is adapted from Harold McGee's Cookbook On Food and Cooking. Remember that the taste will change depending on the chocolate and cheese you choose!


BLUE CHEESE TRUFFLES

FILLING
2 ounces Blue Cheese, room temperature
1 Tbsp superfine sugar
2 ounces Dark chocolate (70% cacao), finely chopped

COATING
6 ounces dark chocolate (70% cacao), finely chopped

Make sure the cheese is at room temperature.

In mixing bowl, combine cheese and sugar and mix until sugar dissolves.
Melt filling chocolate in top of a double boiler (or saucepan over saucepan) over simmering water.

Use 2 ounces for blue cheese fillings. Make sure cheese is at room temperature and very soft. If it is too firm, microwave very briefly to soften.

Combine melted chocolate, superfine sugar, and cheese and work together with a wooden spoon or flexible spatula until the mixture is homogeneous. (This may be easier if you add a few drops of water or a little butter.) If mixture is too soft to shape, refrigerate 15 to 20 minutes.

Roll portions of mixture into 1/2-inch balls and refrigerate 15 to 20 minutes.
Melt and temper coating chocolate. Dip cheese balls in tempered chocolate, letting excess drain off. Allow to set at room temperature. Keep in cool place and serve on same day.

Note: Cheese will resume fermentation if left at room temperature, so this is one case where truffles should be refrigerated if kept for more than a day. Place on a sheet or tray and wrap snugly in waxed paper, then plastic wrap, before refrigerating. Allow to warm to room temperature before unwrapping.

Monday, October 8, 2018

CHOCOLATE FLUFFERNUTTER SANDWICH: National Fluffernutter Day

Today is National Fluffernutter DayFluffernutter sandwiches must contain Marshmallow Fluff. I always have a jar in my pantry.

Marshmallow Fluff is not just any marshmallow crème. Fluff has been manufactured by Durkee-Mower of Lynn, Massachusetts since 1920, and is the preferred brand of the northeast.

This gooey, spreadable, marshmallow-infused confection is used in countless recipes and found in a variety of baked goods—from whoopie pies and Rice Krispies Treats to chocolate fudge and beyond.

And in the beyond lies the best concoction of all: the Fluffernutter sandwich—a classic New England treat made with white bread, peanut butter, and, Fluff.

History of Marshmallow Fluff:

A sweet marshmallow-like spread called Marshmallow Creme was invented in 1917 by Archibald Query in Somerville, Massachusetts. In 1913 during World War I, Emma and Amory Curtis of Melrose, Massachusetts invented Snowflake Marshmallow Creme and published a recipe for a peanut butter and marshmallow creme sandwich, which is the earliest known example of a Fluffernutter. Query sold his recipe for Marshmallow Creme to Durkee-Mower, Inc in 1920, who renamed it Marshmallow Fluff. Over 100 years later they continue to sell it under that name today.

It was in 1960 that the term Fluffernutter was created by an advertising agency for Durkee-Mower in an attempt to effectively market the peanut butter and marshmallow sandwich. See the 1960s ad and jingle explaining the recipe below. How Retro!

So if the Fluffernutter sandwich is a classic New England treat made with white bread, peanut butter, and Marshmallow Fluff, it can only be better if you add chocolate. And, for me, press the sandwich in a panini press!

Chocolate Fluffernutter Sandwich:

Chopped dark chocolate, Marshmallow Fluff, Chunky peanut butter, soft good white bread - pressed hot in a panini press!

Have a Chocolate Fluffernutter Sandwich today!

Sunday, October 7, 2018

STARBUCKS OREO FRAPPUCCINO: National Frappé Day!

Today is Frappé Day. Most of us have a frappé of one kind or another in our lifetime.

A frappé is an iced beverage that has been shaken, blended or beaten to produce a foamy cold blended drink, often with whipped cream and toppings. Ice can be added before or after beating the coffee and adding other ingredients such as sugar, milk, vanilla and sweet sauces. It really depends on what you are shaking or blending it in - a shaker, frappe maker, or blender. According to one source, an ice-crushing blender is better than a shaker for blending a frappe. Traditionally frappés are made with coffee, but you can make other frappé drinks with tea, juice or hot chocolate.
The word Frappé comes from the French word Frapper - which means to slap, knock, or beat. Cold coffee drinks named "café frappé" go back to the 19th century.

Which leads me to the Italian term: Frappuccino. In the last few years, I've had numerous types of Frappuccinos at Starbucks, most with chocolate. So here's a recipe for Starbucks' Oreo Frappuccino I found on StarbucksSecretMenu.net There are several 'Starbucks" secret menu recipes that you can order at Starbucks (you may need to know the recipe), but you can also make this at home. As always use the very best chocolate.

Starbucks Oreo Frappucino

Ingredients
8 ounces whole milk
1 cup ice
2 scoops vanilla bean ice cream
2 Tbsp semisweet chocolate chips
1 Tbsp mocha syrup or chocolate syrup
1 Oreo
Whipped cream, for garnish
Crushed Oreos, for garnish

Directions
In a blender add milk, ice, vanilla bean ice cream, chocolate chips, mocha syrup, and an Oreo.
Blend until smooth. Pour into a glass, and garnish with whipped cream and crushed Oreos.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

MAD HATTER CHOCOLATE CHIP SCONES: Mad Hatter Day!

Today is Mad Hatter Day! What better way to celebrate than with Mad Hatter Chocolate Chip Scones at a Mad Hatter Tea Party?

The unofficial Mad Hatter holiday was created in 1986 in Boulder Colorado by a group of computer technicians who were inspired by the Mad Hatter and his antics in Alice in Wonderland. In the book, the Mad Hatter is an eccentric milliner for whom time is forever stuck at a tea party with his friend the March Hare.

The date for the holiday was chosen because of how John Tenniel illustrated the Hatter in Alice in Wonderland. The English illustrator who was also a political cartoonist depicted the Hatter wearing a hat with a piece of paper that has 10/6 written on it. The 10/6 refers to the cost of a hat – 10 shillings and 6 pence. The creators of the holiday who are from the United States where the date is written in the month/day (mm/dd) format took this to set the date for the holiday on October 6 (10/6). For those who write the date in the day/ month (dd/mm) format, the holiday would fall on June 10.

Planning to host a Mad Hatter Tea Party? Then be sure and serve Chocolate Chip Scones (not that the Mad Hatter offered Alice anything at all!). Add some clotted cream and jam, don your hat, and you're good to go!   

MAD HATTER CHOCOLATE CHIP SCONES

Ingredients
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
1/2 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
3 Tbsp orange juice (without pulp)

Directions
Preheat oven to 400. Spray baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
In large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. With pastry blender or large fork, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in chocolate chips. Mix in orange juice to form dough.
Turn out dough on floured surface. Pat or roll into 9 inch circle about 1/2 inch thick.
With 2 -1/2 inch fluted biscuit cutter, cut out 12 scones, pushing dough scraps together for last few, if necessary.
Transfer scones to baking sheet.
Bake in preheated oven until golden brown, about 12 minutes.
Move to wire racks to cool.
Serve with clotted cream and jam!

Cartoon of the Day: Cats


Friday, October 5, 2018

BABY RUTH COOKIES: Retro Ad & Recipe

I love Baby Ruth Candy Bars. Baby Ruth is a candy bar made of peanuts, caramel, and chocolate-flavored nougat covered in compound chocolate. For today's post, how about making a batch of Baby Ruth Cookies? This Retro Ad recommends them!

Polly wants a cookie made with Baby Ruth Candy!

BABY RUTH COOKIES

Ingredients
2 (1 cup) sticks butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups flour
5 Baby Ruth candy bars, cut up

Directions
Cream together softened butter and sugar. Beat in eggs. Add soda, salt, vanilla, and flour. Fold in chopped candy bars. Drop teaspoon size dough on un-greased baking sheet 1 1/2 inches apart.
Bake 10 to 12 minutes at 350 degrees.
Makes about 6 dozen cookies.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

BLACK RUSSIAN TRUFFLES: National Vodka Day

Today is National Vodka Day. There are some wonderful Chocolate Vodkas out there. You can always make yourself a Chocolate Vodka Martini or a Chocolate Vodka Cake, but I'm a huge fan of Truffles. I've posted this recipe before, but it's worth a second post! You'll love these Black Russian Truffles.

A Black Russian is a cocktail made with vodka and coffee liqueur (three parts vodka to two parts coffee liqueur, or five parts vodka to two parts coffee liqueur). I love Kahlua, so that would be my coffee liqueur of choice in the following recipe.

BLACK RUSSIAN TRUFFLES

Ingredients
8 ounces DARK (60-75% cacao) chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 1/2 tablespoons Kahlua
1 1/2 tablespoons Vodka
1 1/2 cups DARK cocoa  (or espresso powder or toasted walnuts)

Directions:
Melt chocolate in double boiler or in saucepan on top of another saucepan over simmering water.
Heat cream and butter together in microwave or in pot (don't scorch). Remove from heat and pour over melted chocolate. Using rubber spatula, stir chocolate and cream/butter mixture gently until smooth.
Add Kahlua and vodka. Stir until blended.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 2 hours to overnight.
Shape chocolate into 1-inch balls using melon baller or small ice cream scoop or two spoons.
Roll in cocoa (or pulverized espresso beans or toasted walnuts)
Store in airtight container in refrigerator.
Serve at room temperature.

Happy VODKA Day!

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

DARK CHOCOLATE PUMPKIN SEED SEA SALT BARK

Today is National Pumpkin Seed Day! I jumped the gun yesterday and posted a savory recipe for Pumpkin Seed Cocoa Nib Brittle. That's a great recipe to use in salads, but this recipe for Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Seed Sea Salt Bark for today's Pumpkin Seed holiday treats pumpkin seeds in a sweet way--chocolate with a sea salt finish.

Pumpkin seeds like chocolate are heart healthy, immune boosters, and great for brain power, among other health benefits!

DARK CHOCOLATE PUMPKIN SEED SEA SALT BARK

Ingredients 
Canola oil cooking spray
1-2 cups dark chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds  (raw or toasted-I prefer toasted)
1 tsp sea salt

Directions
Coat 9 x12 inch rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray, and line with parchment, leaving overhang on ends.
Melt chocolate in double boiler or heatproof bowl over saucepan of simmering water, stirring.
If chocolate is too thick, add canola oil as needed to thin.
Pour melted chocolate onto baking sheet, and spread in even layer with spatula.
Immediately sprinkle pumpkin seeds then sea salt over chocolate.
Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
Peel off parchment and break bark into pieces.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Cartoon of the Day: Latte


PUMPKIN SEED COCOA NIB BRITTLE

I love this recipe for Pumpkin Seed Cocoa Nib Brittle. It's so easy to make, and it's a great snack. FYI: This is not a sweet chocolate brittle. I always say you should check different chocolate sites for recipes and news, and I'm glad I did. I found this recipe several years ago on the Scharffen Berger site. It's from Arnon Oren, of Oren's Kitchen, Berkeley. Arnon recommends serving this crushed and sprinkled over a salad of endive, roasted beets, and goat cheese. Of course, you can always just crack it and eat it! This is a great recipe for October!

Pumpkin Seed Cocoa Nib Brittle

Ingredients
1/4 cup SCHARFFEN BERGER Cacao Nibs
1/4 cup hulled raw pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
Pinch of cayenne pepper

Directions
Coarsely chop nibs and strain through small strainer. Removing dustier pieces will make clearer brittle.
Toast pumpkin seeds in small skillet over medium heat, shaking often, until they begin to pop, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove seeds from skillet, and set aside.
Line baking sheet with Silpat or brush with butter.
In medium saucepan, combine sugar, water, and cream of tartar, and bring to simmer over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Lower heat to medium low, cover, and let simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove pan lid and brush any sugar crystals from sides of pan with wet pastry brush. Continue simmering for 3 to 5 minutes, or until syrup begins to color. Watch closely, because caramel can quickly burn. Test color of caramel by drizzling a few drops on white plate. When color is medium to dark amber, remove pan from heat and stir in nibs, pumpkin seeds, and cayenne.
Working quickly, pour mixture onto prepared pan and spread as thin as possible with heatproof spatula or wooden spoon. Allow brittle to cool completely, then break into small pieces.

Monday, October 1, 2018

CHOCOLATE CHIP PUMPKIN SPICE QUICK BREAD: National Pumpkin Spice Day

Today is National Pumpkin Spice Day. Pumpkin Spice is definitely a flavor associated with Fall and pumpkin pies and quick breads. This Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Spice Quick Bread is an easy and great way to celebrate the day--and the season! Pumpkin spice (sometimes called pumpkin pie spice) is available in the market, but you can also make your own (scroll down for recipe). If you do, remember to use the freshest spices to create your Pumpkin Spice.

The following recipe for Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Spice Quick Bread is from the Land O Lakes website. Want to 'spice' up your presentation? Use a NordicWare Pumpkin Loaf Pan.

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Spice Quick Bread

Ingredients
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup mashed cooked pumpkin (or 1 cup canned pumpkin)
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 large Eggs
2 teaspoons pumpkin spice**
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cups mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions
Heat oven to 350°F. Grease 9x5-inch loaf pan; set aside.
Combine all ingredients in bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until well mixed.
Stir in chocolate chips so evenly distributed.
Spoon batter into prepared pan.
Bake 45-55 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool 10 minutes; remove from pan.
Cool completely.

**Make your own Pumpkin Spice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves