Friday, November 30, 2018

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Chocolate Marshmallow Dreidels for Chanukah

Hanukkah starts Sunday night, and these fabulous Chocolate Marshmallow Dreidels are perfect for the holiday. Easy to make and delicious to eat!

A Dreidel is a four-sided spinning top with a Hebrew letter on each side. During Chanukah (Hanukah, Hanukkah), children play a game that involves spinning the dreidel and betting on which Hebrew letter will show when the dreidel stops spinning. Children usually play for a pot of 'gelt' -- chocolate coins covered in gold colored foil.

You won't be spinning these tops unless you want chocolate all over the floor, but making these Chocolate Marshmallow Dreidels is a fun activity to do with children.

This recipe is adapted from Martha Stewart's recipe for Chocolate Marshmallow Dreidels. If you want to take it up a notch, make your own marshmallows or buy some high end marshmallows made with natural ingredients such as those from Recchiuti. I usually use whatever dark chocolate I have, but you can use any good dark chocolate. For the white chocolate I use Green & Black's White Chocolate that's made with Madagascar vanilla. I also use Paul Newman's Own Organic pretzel sticks. They are a little long, so I snap them in half. Or, you can just use a short lollipop stick.

Apologies for the poor calligraphy. Practice makes perfect, and I'm very out of practice. :-)

CHOCOLATE COVERED MARSHMALLOW DREIDELS

Ingredients
12 chocolate kisses (I use Hershey's Kisses)
8 ounces melted dark chocolate
12 marshmallows (homemade or whatever you have)
12 thin pretzel sticks (I use Newman's Own)
2 ounces melted white chocolate (I use Green & Black)

Directions 
Dip bottom of chocolate kiss in melted semisweet chocolate. Press onto marshmallow; transfer to parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat to make 12 dreidels. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.

Cut small slit in bottom of each marshmallow or just one thin pretzel stick into the marshmallow. Dip dreidels in dark chocolate, and return to baking sheet. Refrigerate until set, about 15 minutes.

Fill plastic bag (or pastry bag) with melted white chocolate; cut a tiny opening in corner, and pipe Hebrew letters onto 3 sides of each dreidel. I used a pastry bag with a tip, but I should have practiced a bit first so I wouldn't have any drips.

Refrigerate at least 5 minutes or up to 8 hours before serving.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

CHOCOLATE CRINKLES: Guest post by Judy Clemens

The Holidays are right around the corner! Let the Cookie Recipes begin! And what cookie tastes most like the holidays than Chocolate Crinkles? Today I welcome back my mystery writing friend Judy Clemens aka JC Lane. J.C. Lane is the author of the thriller Tag, You’re Dead. Judy also writes mysteries as Judy Clemens, including the Stella Crown series and the Grim Reaper mysteries

Judy Clemens:
Chocolate Crinkles

When I was in kindergarten I lived with my family in Evanston, Illinois, while my father went to school for his doctorate in organ performance. We lived in student housing and I walked with my brother, then in fourth grade, to the local public school. My teacher, Mrs. McKnight, was a formidable presence, and I remember more than once hiding my face while she yelled at the class. On my birthday, however, my mom sent Chocolate Crinkles to school with me, and Mrs. McKnight loved them so much she asked me to bring her the recipe. After that, our relationship became one I wasn’t quite as afraid to pursue.

This recipe – my favorite cookie – comes from Betty Crocker’s Cooky Book, first published in 1962. I now have the book, snatched from my mother’s library when she was downsizing for a move. I have used the recipe many times for gifts, my family’s dining pleasure, and post-season soccer games, when my daughter had friends calling dibs to sit beside her so they could have a cookie when our team scored (a Bluffton High School boys’ team tradition). This year, although my son graduated and I’m no longer responsible for taking cookies, another mom asked me for the recipe, and other fans remembered with fondness eating Chocolate Crinkles at last year’s district games.

May you enjoy these as much as I always have, and bring deliciousness to those around you!

CHOCOLATE CRINKLES

Ingredients
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 squares (4 ounces) unsweetened chocolate, melted
2 cup granulated sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup confectioners sugar

Directions
Mix oil, chocolate, and granulated sugar. Blend in one egg at a time until well mixed. Add vanilla. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir into chocolate mixture. CHILL SEVERAL HOURS OR OVERNIGHT.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Drop rounded tablespoons of dough into confectioners’ sugar. Roll in sugar, shape into balls. Place about 2” apart on greased baking sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes.  
Do not overbake!

Makes about 3 1/2 dozen cookies.

Monday, November 26, 2018

MOONLIGHT CHOCOLATE CAKE: National Cake Day

Today is National Cake Day. What a great day to celebrate! I've posted over 300 variations on chocolate cake here on DyingforChocolate! So many choices. But, since there was a full moon last night, I thought I'd post this Swan's Down 1952 Retro Ad & Recipe for Moonlight Chocolate Cake. This is a rich Chocolate Cake with a Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting. Yum! The recipe calls for 3 squares of Baker's unsweetened chocolate, but I use a good quality dark chocolate and cut down on the sugar. You'll love this cake!




Sunday, November 25, 2018

CHOCOLATE PARFAIT CAKE Retro Ad: National Parfait Day!

Happy Parfait Day! Here's a great 1964 Retro Ad from Betty Crocker for Chocolate Parfait Cake and Frosting Mixes. 

"Only from Betty Crocker. Light chocolate angel food builds to a cloud of white, finishes in a fluff of frosting laced with chocolate syrup. Sublime party dessert."





Cartoon of the Day: Chocolate Cake


Saturday, November 24, 2018

ESPRESSO TRUFFLES: National Espresso Day

Yesterday was National Espresso Day. I'm always looking for an easy way to combine the food of the day with chocolate, and what could be easier than Chocolate Espresso Truffles. Following are two recipes. The first is a very easy recipe. The second comes from RealSimple.com. The results are different, so you might want to try both and compare.

Espresso Truffles I

For Ganache:
8.5 ounces of Dark Chocolate (70% or so)
1/2 cup heavy Cream
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tsp finely ground Espresso

For Coating:
Cocoa powder

Directions
Grate or chop chocolate
Heat cream just until boiling. Add espresso and mix well.
Pour cream over chocolate and using double-boiler method, melt chocolate. (Place pan with chocolate and cream over simmering water,  stirring until  chocolate is melted).
Add vanilla extract to melted chocolate and mix well until smooth. Cover and chill for several hours or overnight.
Remove from refrigerator. Place cocoa on plate.
Using small cookie scooper or two spoons scoop chocolate. Roll into a ball using hands.
Roll chocolate balls in cocoa, thoroughly coating truffle. Place truffle on parchment lined tray.
Serve at room temperature or refrigerate for later use.

From Real Simple:

Espresso Truffles II

Ingredients
20 ounces semisweet chocolate, cut into small pieces (or semisweet chocolate chips)
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 cup heavy cream
3 Tbsp finely ground espresso coffee
1 cup confectioners' sugar or shredded coconut

Directions
Make filling:
Place 8 ounces chocolate pieces and butter in large bowl. In small saucepan over low heat, bring cream to simmer. Remove from heat and pour half cream into bowl. As chocolate melts, slowly whisk mixture together until smooth. Then gradually add remaining cream until completely incorporated and  ganache is thick and shiny. Whisk in coffee.

Form truffles:
Pour ganache into 2-inch-deep baking pan, spread evenly, and place in freezer for 30 minutes or until set ( should have consistency of fudge). Using  melonballer or small spoon, form rounds and place on baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper. Let truffles harden in freezer for about 15 minutes. After removing from freezer, roll truffles between hands into marble-size spheres, squeezing slightly (try to do this quickly, otherwise they'll become too soft).

Make coating: 
Let truffles rest in freezer while you make chocolate glaze. Place remaining chocolate pieces in large bowl over saucepan of simmering water and stir occasionally, until chocolate is completely melted. Remove from heat and let cool at room temperature, stirring occasionally, until chocolate starts to set at edge of bowl. Drop truffles into melted chocolate and retrieve with fork, allowing any excess chocolate to drip off. Garnish immediately or leave truffles plain and proceed to next step.

Garnish:
For coconut garnish, roll freshly coated truffles in shallow dish of shredded coconut. For confectioners' sugar garnish, set freshly coated truffles on plate and sift sugar over them. Turn truffles and sift again to cover completely.

Storage: 
Place truffles on lined baking sheet and allow to set in refrigerator for 5 minutes. Truffles will keep for about 2 weeks, chilled or at room temperature, when stored in tightly sealed container.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Cartoon of the Day: Eat-Pie-For-Breakfast-Day


BLACK FRIDAY CHOCOLATE CAKE

The Black Friday sales have already begun--in the stores and online, but in honor of the 'real' day, I thought I'd post this recipe for Black Friday Cake. You'll be the first in line! It's easy to make and delicious to eat. Don't be put off by the thin batter.. it will work!

Black Friday is traditionally the Friday after Thanksgiving when millions of people in the U.S. start their holiday shopping. There are many stories about the origins of the term Black Friday. In the 1950s, some factory managers referred to the day after Thanksgiving as "Black Friday" because so many workers called in sick. The day, noted one industrial magazine, was "a disease second only to the bubonic plague" in its effects on employees. In the 1960s, police in Philadelphia complained about the congested streets, clogged with motorists and pedestrians out shopping, calling it “Black Friday.” By the mid 1970s, newspapers in and around Philadelphia used it to refer to the start of holiday shopping. But its usage also has negative associations. In the 1980s, some enterprising merchants turned it around. They pointed out that there was a "black ink" that showed up on balance sheets as a result of the day. “Black” refers to stores moving from the “red” to the “black,” back when accounting records were kept by hand, and red ink indicated a loss, and black a profit--a short hop to the idea that Black Friday was the day when retailers came out of the red and went into the black by beginning to turn a profit.

As retailers began to realize they could draw big crowds by discounting prices, Black Friday became the day to shop, with lots of bargains. Black Friday is a long day, with stores opening at 5 p.m. the night before or 3 a.m. in the morning on the actual Friday. It's just amazing to me that hordes of people stand in line for items they may or may not need, just because it's a bargain. For those of you who don't want to stand in an actual line, there are plenty of Black Friday sales online. Not to mention Small Store Saturday and CyberMonday.

Planning to be at the stores today? Bring some chocolate to give you energy throughout the day. At home in your jammies shopping online? You'll have plenty of time to make and enjoy this delicious Black Friday Cake! This is an adaptation of the original Hershey's Black Magic Cake.

BLACK FRIDAY CHOCOLATE CAKE

Ingredients 
1 3/4 cups flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cups DARK cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 cup strong black coffee, cooled
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract

CHOCOLATE FROSTING
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 oz melted very dark or unsweetened chocolate, cooled
3 cups powdered sugar
3 Tbsp milk
2 tsp vanilla

Directions
Combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in large mixing bowl or stand mixer.
Add eggs, coffee, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla.
Beat at medium speed for two minutes. Batter is thin.
Pour batter into greased and floured 9x13 pan or two 9 inch cake pans.
Bake at 350 degrees 35-40 minutes for 9x13, or 30 -35 minutes for layer pans.
Combine frosting ingredients and mix with hand or stand mixer.
Spread frosting on cooled cakes.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Turkey Molé: 2 Recipes for Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey

If you have left-over Turkey from Thanksgiving dinner, make a Turkey Mole! According to common legend molé was originally created for turkey. At the Convent of Santa Rosa in Puebla, the nuns had to rush to prepare a meal for a visiting archbishop so they killed an old turkey, cooked it, and mixed everything else they had in a sauce to top it. That sauce was the original mole.

So if you have leftover turkey--or fresh turkey you've just made, you will love these two Quick Turkey Mole recipes. I make the first recipe with Taza Chocolate Mexicano (my favorite daily chocolate) or their Chipotle Chili Chocolate Mexicano, but any good chocolate will work!

The first Quick Molé recipe is adapted from Paula Deen's Quick Chicken Mole. Perfect with Turkey. The second recipe is from Grand Velas Riviera Maya in Mexico, a Five Diamond resort.


Quick Turkey Molé

Ingredients
2 Tbsp good quality olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 chipotle peppers, roughly chopped
1 (10-ounce) can chicken broth
2 Tbsp peanut butter
4 ounces Taza Chocolate Mexicano, chopped
Leftover Turkey
Toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds), for garnish

Directions
Heat oil in heavy saute pan over medium heat. Add onion and saute until translucent. Add garlic and spices and continue to saute to toast and develop flavor. Add diced tomatoes, peppers, chipotles, broth, peanut butter, and chocolate. Simmer for 10 minutes. Strain and puree until smooth.

Take left over Turkey and either add to oven friendly sauté pan or put in another pot and then cover with the Molé sauce. Braise in 350 oven for 45 minutes. Garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds.

***
This second recipe is from the Grand Velas Riviera Maya Hotel. I haven't made this one yet, so let me know if you do!

Turkey con Mole Sauce

Ingredients
1 1/4 lbs Turkey Breast
1/4 cup Vegetable Oil
1 1/4 cup Mole Paste
3/4 cup Chicken Broth
1/4 cup Nopal, peeled and cubed  (cactus!)
1/4 cup Tomato, seeded and cut
1/4 cup Onion, diced
2 Tbsp Coriander leaves, finely diced
1/2 cup Lemon Juice
1 large Avocado
2 1/2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
Salt
Pepper

Directions 
(If using fresh turkey): Cut turkey breast into 4 pieces and season with salt and pepper.
In frying pan, add oil over medium-high heat and brown both sides. Remove from pan and finish cooking on  baking sheet at 350 ° F for about 8 minutes. Set aside.  (or use turkey from Thanksgiving's meal)
In pan over medium heat add mole paste. Add chicken broth slowly, bringing to boil and then simmering until you’ve achieved hick consistency. Set aside.
Combine nopal, onion, tomato and coriander in bowl, add 1/4 cup lemon juice and season.
Blend pulp of avocado with remaining lemon juice and season.
Plate some sliced turkey over layer of mole and dress with some drops of mashed avocado and pico de gallo.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

CHOCOLATE PUMPKIN MARBLE BUNDT CAKE: Thanksgiving Bundt Pans & Recipe

Want an alternative to pumpkin pie this Thanksgiving? Why not celebrate with this fabulous Chocolate Pumpkin Marble Bundt Cake? You can serve it at Thanksgiving Dinner or the next morning for breakfast. It tastes great toasted with fresh butter or cream cheese. Bundt cakes always look pretty, too! Be sure to scroll down for the recipe for Chocolate Pumpkin Marble Bundt Cake.

According to NordicWare, the original makers of the Bundt Pan, "If there is a kitchen in the home, there is a Bundt pan." Even if there's not, I think my kitchen makes up the difference. I have all kinds of bundt pans. I find the shapes so versatile and fun. Bundt cakes always look so special. I'm always buying unique bundt pans at the Flea Market or White Elephant Sale.

Here are some Nordic Ware Pumpkin Bundt Pans for Thanksgiving:

Nordic Ware: Great Pumpkin Bundt Pan
Love this go-to recipe from Sunset Magazine (Charity Ferreira: 2003) for Chocolate Pumpkin Marble Bundt Cake. This marbled bundt cake features two separate batters: chocolate and pumpkin. The original recipe calls for a chocolate glaze, but that's optional. The cake is rich enough as it is. I rarely glaze a Bundt Cake.

CHOCOLATE PUMPKIN MARBLE BUNDT CAKE

Ingredients:
1-1/2 cups (3/4 lb) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 cups sugar
6 large eggs
2 tsp Madagascar vanilla
1 1/4 cups canned pumpkin (I use an all natural canned pumpkin but Libby's works well, too)
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
3/4 cup Dutch-processed unsweetened cocoa
2/3 cup buttermilk

Directions
In large bowl, with mixer on medium speed, beat butter and sugar until well blended. Add eggs, one at time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Scrape half mixture into another bowl.

To make pumpkin batter:
Beat pumpkin into half butter mixture until well blended.
In another bowl, stir together 1 3/4 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture and beat on low speed or fold in with flexible spatula just until blended.

To make chocolate batter:
In another bowl, mix remaining 1 cup flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and cocoa. Add flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk to the other half of the butter mixture (starting and ending with flour mixture), beating after each addition just until blended.

Spoon half pumpkin batter into buttered and floured 12-cup bundt-cake pan. Drop half chocolate batter by spoonfuls over (but not entirely covering) pumpkin batter. Repeat to spoon remaining pumpkin and chocolate batters into pan. Gently run blade of butter knife around center of pan several times, then draw knife across width of pan in 10 to 12 places to swirl batters.

Bake in 350° regular or 325° convection oven until wood skewer inserted into center of cake comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 55 to 60 minutes. Let cake cool 10 minutes in pan, then invert onto rack, lift off pan, and cool cake completely.
Nordic Ware: Turkey Bundt Pan

THANKSGIVING CHOCOLATE CAKE: Special Occasion Frosting: Retro Ad & Recipe

Who says you can't have Chocolate Cake on Thanksgiving? This Baker Chocolate Ad from the 1950s features a pilgrim and a recipe for CHOCOLATE HOLIDAY CAKE with SPECIAL-OCCASION FROSTING. Recipe is for frosting only, but you can make your favorite chocolate cake!


SPECIAL-OCCASION FROSTING!

Ingredients
3 squares Baker’s Unsweetened Chocolate
1 1/2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons hot water
1 egg
4 tablespoons softened butter

Directions
Melt chocolate in double boiler. Remove from boiling water; add sugar and water and blend. Add egg and beat well. Then add butter, a tablespoon at a time, beating thoroughly after each amount.

This recipe makes 1 1/2 cups frosting, or enough to cover tops and sides of two 8- or 9-inch layers, or top and sides of 8x8x2-inch cake (generously), or top and sides of 10x10x2-inch cake.

NOTE: For a more generous frosting, double above recipe.

"For almost 200 years the Walter Baker folks have been developing quality chocolate products. No wonder good cooks say: Any chocolate food worth making is worth making with Walter Baker’s Premium No. 1 Chocolate."

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

CHOCOLATE PECAN PIE TRUFFLES: Thanksgiving

No time to make a Pecan Pie for Thanksgiving? Make these easy Pecan Pie Truffles. Great for dessert or as a gift for your host! Recipe adapted from 2012 issue of Southern Living for Kentucky Derby Truffles! As always, use the very best ingredients for the best flavor!

CHOCOLATE PECAN PIE TRUFFLES

Ingredients
12 ounces dark chocolate (70-85% cacao), chopped
1 -1/2 Tbsp unsalted cold butter, cubed
2 tsp vanilla extract
9 Tbsp heavy cream
1/4 cup good Kentucky Bourbon
1 (5.3 ounce) package pure butter shortbread cookies, crushed (I use Walker's)
2 cups finely chopped roasted, salted pecans

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

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

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

Cartoon of the Day: Beyond the Pumpkin Latte


Monday, November 19, 2018

CHOCOLATE PUMPKIN BREAD PUDDING: Thanksgiving

I love Chocolate Pumpkin Bread Pudding. It's perfect for Thanksgiving or any time! As an extra bonus it's dairy and egg free, so you'll feel you've indulged, but you won't have...at least not all that much. Recipe is from Chloe Coscarelli and appeared in the NYT in 2010. I have posted other Chocolate Pumpkin Bread Pudding recipes, all of which include a thick sauce. This recipe is much lighter.

Chocolate Pumpkin Bread Pudding

Ingredients 
1 cup coconut milk
1 15-ounce can organic pumpkin
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cloves
10 cups cubed day-old bread of your choice (about 10 to 12 slices of sandwich bread, depending on the thickness of slices)
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips (or a good dark chocolate, chopped)
2 Tbsp brown sugar
Powdered sugar for dusting (optional)

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 14 4-ounce ramekins (single-serving ceramic dishes) or a 9-by-13-by-2-inch baking dish.
In blender, process coconut milk, pumpkin, brown sugar, salt, and spices until smooth.
In large bowl, toss bread cubes with pumpkin mixture and chocolate chips until each bread cube is coated.

If using ramekins:
Evenly sprinkle about 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar into the bottom of each greased ramekin. Fill each ramekin to the top with the mixture and lightly press it down with the back of a spoon.

If using 9-by-13 baking dish:
Fill baking dish with mixture and lightly press down with back of spoon. Evenly sprinkle about 2 tablespoons brown sugar over the top of the bread pudding. The brown sugar will help the pudding to caramelize on the edges.
(Steps 1 through 3 can be done up to three days in advance; store covered in the refrigerator.)
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until top is lightly browned.

If using ramekins:
Let pudding cool a few minutes, then carve around edges with knife to loosen and unmold.
Garnish with powdered sugar if desired and serve warm.

If using  9-by-13 baking dish:
Let pudding cool a few minutes before serving. Cut into portions, then garnish with powdered sugar if desired and serve warm.

The pudding can be baked right before serving or earlier that day and then reheated for 8 to 10 more minutes right before serving.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

MICKEY MOUSE CHOCOLATE COOKIES: Happy Birthday, Mickey Mouse!

Happy Birthday, Mickey Mouse! Making his debut on November 18, 1928, today's holiday commemorates the birth of Mickey Mouse. In 1927 Walt Disney first sketched a floppy eared bunny while under contract to Universal Studios. The events that unraveled brought us Mickey Mouse on November 18, 1928.

From National Day Calendar:

Mickey Mouse came under the roller coaster events of Oswald’s success and Universal’s disappointing contract negotiations. Disney Bros. Studio took their leave of both the studio and Oswald and set to work creating a character who would go on to lead the company into the future.

From a rabbit named Oswald to a mouse named Mortimer, eventually, the squeaky-voiced rodent was dubbed Mickey. He flopped in two animated short films without any success. Then on November 18, 1928, Mickey’s star was born. The first animation synchronized to music and sound effects, Steamboat Willie premiered in New York.

Within a year, a Mickey Mouse Club popped up in Salem, Oregon. This particular club offered admission as a fundraiser for the Salvation Army with a donation of either a potato or a small toy and a penny. According to a December 22, 1929, Statesman Journal (Salem, Oregon) article, $12 and three truckloads of potatoes and toys collected by eager new members.

Remember, the stock market crashed just 20 days before Mickey Mouse was born. That a cute little mouse could bring smiles to the faces of children at an uncertain time really isn’t such a surprise.
Generally, new members joined the club by completing an admission form obtained from a local merchant and attending meetings held during matinees at local movie houses. The price of admission often was reduced for good deeds and report cards. By the end of 1930, the Mickey Mouse Clubs had spread across the country.

In 1935, animator Fred Moore gave Mickey a new look that enabled a more fluid movement to the animation. A makeover in 1935 by animator Fred Moore gave Mickey the look we are familiar with today. The big eyes, white gloves, and the pert little nose. More lovable than ever before, he propelled himself even further into the hearts of children everywhere.

There are so many ways to celebrate, but here's an easy and delicious one for Mickey Mouse Chocolate Cookies from Disney Family Recipes. You'll need a Mickey Mouse Cookie Cutter (I have several).

MICKEY MOUSE CHOCOLATE COOKIES

Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 ¼ cups sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ sticks of butter, softened
Parchment paper


Mickey Mouse Shaped Cookie Cutter 

For the Chocolate Icing: 
3 cups confectioners sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 to 6 tablespoons water
¼ cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

Helpful Tip 
If your dough is too sticky even after you’ve chilled it, work more flour into the dough while your roll it out. To add the white icing stripes, make extra icing without the cocoa powder and use a fork or whisk to dribble white icing over the chocolate iced cookies. 

Directions 
Whip butter in mixer until pale and fluffy. Add sugar, baking soda, salt, vanilla, egg, and whip until blended. Add flour ½ a cup at a time while continuing to mix. Add cocoa powder slowly until fully mixed into the dough. Halvedough and wrap each half in parchment paper. Chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Take first half of dough and roll it out between parchment paper until ¼ – ½ inch thick. Use Mickey Mouse cookie cutter to cut out Mickey shapes. Place Mickey cookies on parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake for 14 minutes. Continue to roll and cut out the dough until all dough has been cut and baked. Set cookies aside on parchment paper to cool.

Sift together confectioners sugar and Dutch-process cocoa powder into a bowl. Add lemon juice and vanilla. Add water 1 tablespoon at a time while whisking. Stop adding water when icing is thick but spreadable. Fill sandwich bag with chocolate icing and cut off bottom corner. Pipe icing onto cookies, using knife to evenly spread icing over surface.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

DARK CHOCOLATE TART CHERRY LEVAIN: National Bread Day

Today is National Bread Day, so in honor of National Bread Day here's an updated post that includes a great recipe for Dark Chocolate Tart Cherry Levain as well as links to other recipes for other Chocolate Bread!
 
I used to love to bake bread, but I haven't done as much recently, probably because I live in the San Francisco Bay area. We have so many fabulous bakeries, that sometimes it's just easier to buy bread.

One bread that I really liked to bake that is especially appropriate to this blog is Chocolate Cherry Sourdough. I still haven't been able to locate my recipe, but I have found several recipes on The Fresh Loaf, a great site for "News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts."

JMonkey's Blog February 11, 2007 had a great recipe for Chocolate Cherry Sourdough Bread. Terrific photos and instructions. This recipe seems very close to the one I used to use. There are a few comments I'm unclear on, so my recommendation is to do what you usually do. I bake in a gas oven. I have three ovens: convection, gas, and electric, but for baking, I like the gas oven. I have an old O'Keefe & Merritt that I've refurbished, so it's pretty accurate on temperature.

This recipe for Chocolate Cherry Sourdough Bread elicited a lot of discussion on The Fresh Loaf, and I found another recipe, this time for a Dark Chocolate Tart Cherry Levain posted by unbreadman, December 2, 2007. These recipes complement each other, so have a look at both before you decide to try one.

Dark Chocolate Tart Cherry Levain

Ingredients 
1 1/2 lbs Bread Flour (Golden Buffalo)
1 lb 2 ounces water
1/2 ounce salt
Small amount of refreshed sourdough culture (adjust depending on taste/rising time preference)
8 ounces dark chocolate, broken into small bits
12 ounces dried tart cherries (I've used both Chukars and Trader Joe's)

Directions
Soak cherries for at least 30 minutes to remove any added sugar and prevent burning
Mix flour, salt, and water until fully hydrated, let sit for 30 minutes (can do while cherries soak)
Cut up levain, add to dough with cherries, mix until fully distributed, knead to develop gluten, but be gentle so as not to destroy cherry integrity.
Bulk ferment until approx 1.5x volume increase, folding once* halfway through.
*During fold, add chocolate bits in between each fold over. JMonkey's blog illustrates this well.
Very gently shape loaf, trying not to puncture future crust. While it's not tragic if it does happen, if there's a leak, chocolate can leak out and burn, and it might make you a little sad. But you'll be fine! It's okay!
Bake on preheated stone with steam at 400-425F.
LET COOL BEFORE CUTTING. Molten Chocolate is very hot! It will burn, so it is imperative that you resist the nearly irresistible urge to eat this bread.


Friday, November 16, 2018

PUMPKIN PIE TRUFFLES: Thanksgiving

See's Pumpkin Pie Truffles
Pumpkin Pie Truffles would be great after Thanksgiving feast or as a hostess gift (how retro is that?) or for yourself. Luckily you have the choice of buying or making them. They're easy to make, but I am also quite fond of  See's Candies Pumpkin Pie Truffle. Other premium Pumpkin Truffles are delicate with a combination of burnt caramel (Socola Chocolates Pumpkin Burnt Caramel Chocolate Truffles) or smooth 'unrobed' Pumpkin Spice Milk Chocolate Truffles from Neo Cocoa. Check out your local chocolatier for seasonal Pumpkin Truffles or scroll down for some favorites at the end of this post. Get your order in quickly, though, before they run out.
***
I always have 'natural' pumpkin in the cupboard. Besides using it for pies, truffles and cakes, it's great for doggie upset stomachs. I also have Libby's pumpkin puree because I grew up with it, and sometimes it's just what I want. I'm not much for making my own pumpkin puree.

Truffles are simple to make. The following recipe is from FoodNetwork for Easy Pumpkin Truffles. They are just that--easy and delicious. But in case you want to experiment, I've added links to other Pumpkin Truffle and Pumpkin Pie Truffle recipes.

Easy Pumpkin Truffles

Ingredients
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground gloves
2 cups cream
1 pound dark chocolate, finely chopped
1 ounce unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup Grand Marnier
6 ounces melted dark chocolate
3 ounces cocoa powder

Directions
In medium saucepan over low heat, combine pumpkin, brown sugar, and spices. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes, or until mixture reduces by half and pumpkin looks dry. Set aside.
In medium saucepan over high heat, add cream. When cream boils, take off heat.
In heatproof medium bowl, add chocolate and hot cream. Let mixture sit for minute, then slowly begin to stir, starting in center of bowl and working outwards.
Once chocolate and cream are evenly mixed, add pumpkin mixture and whisk to combine.
Add butter (and liqueur, if using) and whisk.

Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled.
On parchment-lined cookie sheet, scoop mixture into small balls using melon baller.
Place in refrigerator for 1 hour, or until chilled.
Remove truffles from refrigerator and dip each in melted chocolate.
Roll in cocoa powder and serve. 

Other fun Pumpkin Truffle Recipes to check out:

Pumpkin Pie Truffles from Cake, Batter, and Bowl: Robed in orange white chocolate with insides of dark chocolate pumpkin ganache. Love the walnut half as a pumpkin stem.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Truffles from The Yummy Mummy: White chocolate, gingersnaps, cream cheese and more. What's not to love?

Pumpkin Pie Truffles from Shugarysweets: Pumpkin-y centers robed in white chocolate.

Pumpkin Truffles from Cara's Cravings. Yum!

Pumpkin Spice Truffles from Elizabeth LaBau at about.com (these look like little pumpkins!)

Pumpkin Pie Oreo Truffles from WillBakefor Books

No time to make Truffles? Try these fabulous Pumpkin Truffles:

Socola: Pumpkin Burnt Caramel Chocolate Truffles: A rich blend of pumpkin pie spices, burnt caramel, Hawaiian sea salt and a splash of brandy.

Neo Cocoa: Pumpkin Spice Milk Chocolate Truffles. Infused with classic blend of spices traditionally used in making pumpkin pie. I love these smooth ganache shell-less truffles.

Coco Delice Pumpkin Spice Chocolates: Made with a ganache of white chocolate, pumpkin puree, and seasonal spices, enrobed in dark chocolate.

Godiva: Pumpkin Patch Truffles filled with creamy pumpkin-spice ganache and enrobed in milk chocolate.

See's Pumpkin Pie Truffles: Sweet spicy flavors of cinnamon and allspice combine with the rich mellowness of real pumpkin in these one-of-a-kind Truffles. Enrobed in See's traditional milk chocolate.

Seattle Chocolates Pumpkin Spice Truffles.

Godiva. Pumpkin Spice Truffle

What's your favorite?

Thursday, November 15, 2018

CHOCOLATE BOURBON PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE: Thanksgiving


I always think that alcohol escalates chocolate, so I was thrilled when I found this recipe a few years ago in People Magazine. The original recipe for this Chocolate Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake is from Betty Crocker. The recipe is a Triple Threat: chocolate, bourbon, cheesecake. Wow! Perfect for Thanksgiving.

Chocolate Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake 

Crust
2 cups gingersnap cookie crumbs (35 to 40 cookies)
1/4 cup butter, melted

Cheesecake 
4 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 eggs
4 Tbsp bourbon
1/2 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
1 1/2 tsp aromatic bitters
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted  (or chopped dark chocolate)

Toppings  (I consider topping optional..it's great without, but if you want to)

1/2 cup caramel topping (I have used Recchiuti)
2 tsp bourbon 
Dash aromatic bitters 
Toasted pecans (optional) 

Directions
Heat oven to 300ºF. Grease 9-inch springform pan with shortening or cooking spray. Wrap outside bottom and side of pan with foil to prevent leaking. In small bowl, mix crust ingredients. Press mixture into bottom and one inch up side of pan. Bake eight to 10 minutes or until set. Cool for five minutes.

In large bowl, beat cream cheese with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth and creamy; do not overbeat. On low speed, gradually beat in sugar, then flour and then eggs (one at a time), just until blended. Remove half of cream cheese mixture (about 3 cups) into another large bowl; reserve.

Into remaining cream cheese mixture, stir 2 Tbsp bourbon, pumpkin, 1 1/2 tsp bitters, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg with whisk until smooth. Spoon over crust into pan. Into reserved 3 cups of filling, stir 2 Tbsp bourbon, vanilla, and melted chocolate. Pour mixture over pumpkin layer directly in middle of pan. (This will create layers so that each slice includes some of each flavor.)

To minimize cracking, place shallow pan half-full of hot water on lower oven rack. Bake cheesecake 80 to 90 minutes minutes, or until edges are set but center of cheesecake still jiggles slightly when moved.

Turn oven off, and open oven door at least four inches. Leave cheesecake in oven 30 minutes longer. Remove from oven; place on cooling rack. Without releasing side of pan, run your knife around edge of the pan to loosen cheesecake. Cool in pan on cooling rack for 30 minutes. Cover loosely; refrigerate at least six hours but no longer than 24 hours.

To release: Run knife around side of pan to loosen cheesecake again; carefully remove side of pan. Put cheesecake on serving plate.

I considered adding the rich topping, but I don't top this already rich cheesecake. Here's the original recipe in case you want it. Stir together caramel topping, 2 tsp bourbon and dash of bitters. To serve, drizzle with caramel and sprinkle with pecans. Cover and refrigerate any remaining cheesecake. 

Photo: Betty Crocker

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

FROZEN CHOCOLATE PECAN PIE: Guest Post by Emily Stashower

Today I welcome back Emily Stashower, a friend who shares my love of gardening, photography and chocolate! Emily is an amateur nature enthusiast, blogger and mother of twins. After a career in healthcare and numerous community organizations, her current endeavor, her blog www.rootsinreality.com, was started on a lark to combine a love of gardening, writing, photography, nature and an inability to meet deadlines. The blog notes that "sometimes an empty nest is just a nest without a bird. Other times, it's a middle aged suburban woman rediscovering interests and cultivating passions."

Emily Stashower:

This chocolate pecan pie dates back to when I was young and just married (1985). I loved having one or two in the freezer for the friends who stopped by so we could easily make an "on the spot" dinner. It keeps for months.

FROZEN CHOCOLATE PECAN PIE

Crust:
2 Cups finely chopped pecans - toasted
5 Tablespoons + 1 teaspoon firmly packed brown sugar
5 Tablespoons butter chilled, cut into small pieces 
2 teaspoons dark rum (or any other preferred liquor)

Make crust by blending all crust ingredients until mixture holds together. Press into the bottom and sides of a 9 inch pie plate - freeze one hour before filling

Filling:
6 ounces semisweet chocolate
1/2 teaspoon instant coffee
4 eggs at room temperature
1 Tablespoon dark rum
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 & 1/2 Cups whipping cream
Shaved chocolate for top

Directions
Make filling by melting the chocolate with coffee over double boiler. Remove from heat and whisk in eggs, rum, and vanilla until smooth. Cool 5 minutes. Whip 1 Cup of the cream until stiff. Gently fold into chocolate mixture, blending completely. Pour into the crust and freeze.

About an hour before serving transfer the pie from freezer to refrigerator. Whip remaining 1/2 Cup cream and dollop over pie. Sprinkle with shave chocolate.

Incredibly easy, delicious pecan pie.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

FUDGY CHOCOLATE COOKIE BARS: Retro Ad & Recipe

Here's another great Retro Ad & Recipe. You've probably made something like this before, but this Retro magazine Ad has the recipe. You can always substitute other chocolate chips and different cocoa--and I always use butter (original recipe uses margarine or butter). These are delicious.



FUDGY CHOCOLATE COOKIE BARS

Ingredients
1 3/4 cups unsifted flour
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa
1 cup cold butter
1 (12-ounce) package HERSHEY’S Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
1 (14-ounce) can EAGLE BRAND Sweetened Condensed Milk (NOT evaporated milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped nuts

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°. In medium bowl, combine flour, sugar and cocoa; cut in butter until crumbly (mixture will be dry). Press firmly on bottom of 13×9-inch baking pan. Bake 15 minutes. Meanwhile, in medium saucepan, over medium heat, melt 1 cup chips with sweetened condensed milk and vanilla. Pour evenly over prepared crust. Top with nuts and remaining 1 cup chips; press down firmly. Bake 20 minutes or until set. Cool. Chill if desired. Cut into bars. Store tightly covered.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Sheet Cake: Guest Post by Judy Clemens

My mystery and chocolate worlds collide again. Today I welcome back Judy Clemens aka JC Lane. J.C. Lane is the author of the thriller Tag, You’re Dead. Judy also writes mysteries as Judy Clemens, including the Stella Crown series and the Grim Reaper mysteries

JUDY CLEMENS:
CHOCOLATE-PEANUT BUTTER SHEET CAKE

Chocolate and peanut butter are a popular combination in my family, whether it’s chocolate ice cream with peanut butter cup pieces, chocolate cookies with peanut butter in the middle, or a chocolate peanut butter banana milkshake we’ve been making since the kids were little. I cut this recipe out of a magazine years ago and re-discovered it while doing some kitchen renovations this year. The cake tastes as amazing as it looks – moist and dense – and the frosting is heavenly. The chopped-up crunchiness of the peanuts tops it all off.

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Sheet Cake

Ingredients

Cake
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup water
1/2 cup butter, cubed
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup baking cocoa
3 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tsp vanilla

Frosting
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup milk
1/2 tesp vanilla
1/2 cup chopped peanuts

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13 x 9 baking pan.
In a large bowl, whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt.
In a small bowl, combine water, butter, peanut butter, and cocoa; bring just to a boil, stirring occasionally. (I heated mine in the microwave. You could heat it on the stove if you prefer.) Add to flour mixture, stirring just until moistened.
In a small bowl, whisk eggs, sour cream, and vanilla until blended; add to flour mixture, whisking until smooth. Transfer to prepared pan.
Bake 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Prepare frosting while cake is baking.
In a large bowl, beat the confectioners’ sugar, peanut butter, milk, and vanilla until smooth. Add more milk, if necessary, to get it to spreading consistency.

Remove cake from oven; place on a wire rack. Immediately spread with frosting and sprinkle with peanuts. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 11, 2018

WWII & Chocolate: Veterans Day

It's Veterans Day, and the perfect time to link to this great article on Chocolate Bars in the Second World War by Sean Jacobson on the Smithsonian website. I've also posted some chocolate ads from the time.




HOT FUDGE SUNDAE CAKE: National Sundae Day

Today is National Sundae Day! For me, there is only one sundae--a hot fudge sundae!

The classic Hot Fudge Sundae is a creation of vanilla ice cream, hot chocolate sauce ("hot fudge"), whipped cream, nuts, and a single maraschino cherry on top. A Hot Fudge Sundae can be made with any flavor of ice cream, but vanilla is preferred!

There are many variations about the origins of the Hot Fudge Sundae. According to Wikipedia, a frequent theme is that the dish arose in contravention to so-called blue laws against Sunday consumption of either ice cream or ice cream soda (the latter invented by Robert M. Green in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1874). The religious laws are said to have led druggists to produce a substitute for these popular treats for consumption on Sunday. According to this theory of the name's origin, the spelling was changed to sundae to avoid offending religious conventions. Since I grew up in Philadelphia, I remember the Blue Laws, although at that time they pertained to alcohol and not ice cream.

In support of this idea, Peter Bird wrote in The First Food Empire: A History of J. Lyons and Co. (2000) that the name 'sundae' was adopted as a result of Illinois state's early prohibition of ice cream consumption on Sundays, because ice cream with a topping that obscured the main product was not deemed to be ice cream. However, according to documentation published by the Evanston, Illinois Public Library, it was the drinking of soda, not the eating of ice cream, that was outlawed on Sundays in Illinois.

Other origin stories for the sundae focus on the novelty or inventiveness of the treat or the name of the originator, and make no mention of legal pressures.

You don't really need a recipe for a hot fudge sundae. I gave the ingredients above. However, like anything else, it's all about the quality of the ingredients. Hot Fudge Sundae Cake is a great variation on this traditional treat, and it can be made in a pan in the oven or in a Slow Cooker. See recipe HERE.

Following is a recipe adapted from Betty Crocker for Hot Fudge Sundae Cake in a pan. It's an easy one bowl/pan recipe. What's especially delicious about this cake is that as the cake bakes it separates into a chocolate cake and a dark fudgy sauce. Now that's what Hot Fudge Sundaes are all about! Add the ice cream and you're all set.

Hot Fudge Sundae Cake

Ingredients
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons DARK unsweetened cocoa
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon Madagascar vanilla
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened DARK cocoa
1 3/4 cups very hot water
Vanilla Ice cream

Directions
Heat oven to 350ºF.
Mix flour, granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons cocoa, baking powder, and salt in ungreased square pan, 9x9x2 inches. Mix in milk, oil, and vanilla with fork until smooth. Stir in nuts. Spread in pan.
Sprinkle brown sugar and 1/4 cup cocoa over batter. Pour water over batter.
Bake about 40 minutes or until top is dry.
Spoon warm cake into dessert dishes. Top with ice cream. Spoon sauce from pan onto each serving.

Rather have Hot Fudge Sundae Cupcakes? Check out Joy the Baker's recipe and photos.

Want Hot Fudge Sundae Macarons? Barbara Bakes has the perfect recipe!

Cake photo: Betty Crocker

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Veterans Day Toll House Cookies: Vintage Ad & Recipe

This Vintage Nestle Ad for Toll House Cookies in Good Housekeeping 1943 seems appropriate for Veterans Day. Toll House Cookies: "Make up a batch of those golden-brown, crunchy Toll House Cookie and send to that soldier boy of yours.' And these are still terrific cookies for the Veteran in your life, as well as our men and women still in in service. Recipe below.


Friday, November 9, 2018

FALL HOLIDAY SAN FRANCISCO CHOCOLATE SALON: November 18

Chocolate Lovers, mark your calendars! The 2018 Annual Fall Holiday Chocolate Salon returns to San Francisco on November 18 in the San Francisco County Fair Building Auditorium venue!

FALL CHOCOLATE SALON participants include over 25 chocolatiers, confectioners, and other culinary artisans. An intimate setting, the Fall Chocolate Salon is the perfect place to find the perfect gift, while tasting and savoring the chocolate lovers experience.

The upcoming 2018 Fall Holiday Salon features a curated selection of chocolate, culinary and other artisans and innovators.

Already Confirmed for the November 18th Fall Holiday CHOCOLATE SALON in San Francisco:  
Amano Artisan 
Chocolate Kids 
Cooking for Life 
Kindred Cooks 
Z. Cioccolato 
Raphio 
Chocolate Fairytale Brownies 
The Cocoa Exchange 
Michael's Chocolates 
K+M Extravirgin Chocolate 
Kokak Chocolates 
Stone Hill Chocolate 
Socola Chocolatier 
3D Candies 
Be A Gourmet 
SWEET55 
flying noir 
CocoTutti Chocolates 
Goufrais 
Rainy Day Chocolate 
Brittle California 
Snowflake Treats 
Farm Fresh To You 
Heavenly Taste Toffee 
Endorfin 
BASEL B 
Cru Chocolate

Advance Tickets may sell out. 90% of Tickets are already gone.  

RSVP HERE.

Cartoon of the Day: Pirates of the Carob Bean