Tuesday, December 18, 2018

HOLIDAY CHOCOLATE BUTTER COOKIES: Retro Ad & Recipe

For me, it's all about the butter. If you're baking this holiday season, you'll want to choose the very best butter for your cookies. I use a variety of butters -- mostly from France, Ireland, Vermont, and Wisconsin. I always use unsalted butter, too. Look for a future post about butter, but in the meantime, here's a great easy Retro Ad & Recipe for holiday chocolate butter cookies from Land O Lakes. This is a very versatile chocolate cookie recipe.





Ice Cream Yule Log aka Bûche de Noël for the Winter Solstice

The Winter Solstice is almost upon us, and what could be more fitting that a Yule Log aka Bûche de Noël. And yes, this Ice Cream Yule Log can also be served for Christmas. We all know about the cross-over traditions of winter holidays.

The tradition of the Yule Log spans millennia and actually precedes Christianity. Peasants used to burn a yule log on the Winter Solstice in December to keep evil spirits away, which they presumed might come because of the prolonged darkness at the Winter Solstice.

As Christianity grew, the yule log became more commonly associated with Christmas celebrations and Christianity adopted the Yule log tradition. For centuries, Christians cut their own yule logs at Christmas time or they would try to find a yule log to burn. During the 1700s and 1800s, it was a regular Christmas tradition for men to go out in search of a yule log. Many European countries had traditions surrounding the Yule log, but a Yule log was burned either in the days preceding Christmas or on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

For the purposes of this blog, the expression"Yule log" has also come to refer to a log-shaped Christmas cake or"Bûche de Noël." Last week, I posted a list of bakeries and patisseries in the San Francisco Bay Area where you can purchase a Bûche de Noël for your holiday celebration.

Here's a simple recipe adapted from the Breyers Ice cream site for a Buche de Noel aka Yule Log Ice Cream Cake. You can always change the ice cream to a flavor you like best. Personally I think chocolate looks the best! How easy is this?

And, if making an Ice Cream Yule Log is too much trouble, Trader Joe's has a new ice cream flavor this season: 
Bûche de Noël (Yule Log) Ice Cream is a classic, custard-flavored ice cream with pieces of decadent chocolate cake and a rich, cocoa swirl. You’ll get the elements of a classic Bûche de Noël cake in each bite. Pair it with a traditional Bûche de Noël, and you'll be in heaven! A pint is only $2.99.

OK., but still if you'd like to make an easy ice cream Bûche de Noël, here's a great recipe!

ICE CREAM YULE LOG aka BUCHE DE NOEL

1 box (16 oz.) angel food cake mix or Duncan Hines Chocolate Cake mix (guess which one I use?)
1 Tbsp confectioners sugar PLUS extra for garnish
1 container (1.5 qt.) Chocolate or Chocolate Chip Ice Cream (original recipe uses Strawberry)
3 large marshmallows
6 mini marshmallows
Unsweetened DARK cocoa powder
1 can (16 ounces) chocolate frosting
Fresh mint sprigs
Cranberries
Ground cocoa nibs

Directions
Preheat oven to 350° Line 15-1/2 x 10-1/2-inch jelly-roll pan with parchment paper; set aside.
Prepare cake mix according to package; pour into prepared pan. Bake 22 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. On wire rack, cool 15 minutes.
Run metal spatula around edges of cake to loosen; sift 1 Tbsp sugar onto cake. Invert onto clean kitchen towel; remove parchment paper.
Starting at short end of cake, roll up tightly, jelly-roll style, folding towel into cake; refrigerate 30 minutes or until chilled.
On cutting board, unroll cake. With scissors, cut carton from softened (leave out for 10 minutes) Ice Cream (or if you're using another brand of ice-cream, let it soften until you can spread it). Arrange Ice Cream on its side, then cut crosswise into 8 slices. Arrange slices on cake leaving 1-1/2-inch border at one end of cake; pressing to form an even layer. Roll cake up tightly, using towel to help roll cake; freeze 3 hours or overnight. Freeze serving platter 30 minutes before serving.
Meanwhile, for ''mushrooms'', with scissors, snip large marshmallows in half crosswise; press mini marshmallows onto sticky side of large marshmallows. Sift cocoa powder over mushrooms; set aside.
On cutting board, remove towel from cake. With serrated knife, slice 1-1/2-inch diagonal piece off one end of cake. On chilled serving platter, arrange large ''log.'' Place diagonal slice against side of ''log'' to form ''branch.''
Frost "log" and "branch" with chocolate frosting, leaving ends unfrosted. Drag fork across frosting to create "bark"; press on "mushrooms." Return to freezer to firm up.
To serve, garnish with cranberries and mint and sprinkle with additional confectioners sugar. Serve on a bed of ground up cocoa nibs!

TIP: The frosting will cover any cracks you may get in the cake when rolling.

Photo: Breyer's with strawberry ice cream (Use chocolate instead!)

Monday, December 17, 2018

CHOCOLATE MAPLE SYRUP: National Maple Syrup Day

Today is National Maple Syrup Day.

When I was young, my family traveled to Canada, Maine, and Vermont for fishing trips (my father was a fresh water fisherman). One of my fond memories was seeing the taps in the maple trees in the woods.  So magical for me.. a city kid. They were just like beer taps (or for me, they probably looked like soda fountain taps). Tapping the trees for maple syrup was always the highlight of these trips. This experience broadened the school history lesson about the early settlers and Maple Syrup. Of course the indigenous people tapped the trees first, but that wasn't part of our lesson. 

An individual maple tree can be tapped one to three times per year (depending on how big the diameter of its trunk is), producing up to 13 gallons of sap per one to two month harvesting season. Maple trees keep the starch inside  their roots and trunk before winter sets in which is then later converted to sugar that appears in the tree's sap in  winter and early spring.

It is the starchy sugar that makes maple syrup so characteristically sweet. In order to turn sap into sugar, it's heated and boiled to evaporate the excess water, with the concentrated syrup remaining. Sugar shacks were set up for this process, and those were also available for viewing in small Vermont and Canadian towns. I imagine they still are.

Want to know more about the history of Maple Syrup? Read "Tapping into the history of maple syrup" at Chronically Vintage.

What to do with maple syrup? Well, growing up, maple syrup at our house came in a little crock and was only used to pour over waffles and pancakes. But Maple Syrup is actually a great item to have in your pantry and can be used in lots of ways. Maple syrup is a healthy alternative to sugar in baked goods and desserts.

Conversion tips:
Substitute an equal amount of maple syrup for sugar.
For each cup of syrup, reduce the quantity of liquid ingredients in the recipe (water, milk, juice) by about a quarter of a cup.
Maple syrup can also serve as a one-to-one substitution for other liquid sweeteners, such as honey, molasses and corn syrup.

And, with the holidays coming up, here's a great recipe for Chocolate Maple Syrup.. for yourself or to give as a gift.

CHOCOLATE MAPLE SYRUP

Ingredients
1-1/2 cups pure maple syrup
4 Tbsp unsweetened DARK cocoa powder
1/4 cup unsalted butter, chopped
Pinch of salt

Directions
Heat maple syrup in small sturdy saucepan over moderate heat until hot.
Whisk in cocoa powder, butter, and pinch of salt. Turn down to simmer and whisk for a minute.
Serve syrup warm.
Syrup keeps, covered and chilled, 1 week.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

M&Ms CHRISTMAS PARTY COOKIES: Retro Ad & Recipe

Who doesn't love M&Ms? I know I do. Here's a very easy recipe for Holiday Cookies. Use plain M&Ms or just the Red & Green ones. The Ad on the right with recipe is pure Retro!

"Six dozen ways to keep your children happy this holiday season. 
Fun for the kids, fun for you. Party Cookies are easy to make. And so bright and festive for the holidays."

M&Ms Christmas Party Cookies 

Ingredients
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup shortening
2 eggs
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2-1/4 cups Robin Hood all-purpose flour  (or what you usually use)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1-12 cups m&ms plain chocolate candies (or just the Xmas red & green ones)

Directions
CREAM sugars, shortening, eggs and vanilla thoroughly.
SPOON Robin Hood Flour (not sifted) into dry measuring cup. Level off and pour measured flour onto waxed paper.
ADD soda and salt to Robin Hood Flour (not sifted). Stir to blend.
ADD blended dry ingredients to creamed mixture. Mix well.
STIR IN 1/2 cup m&ms Plain Chocolate Candies. Reserve remaining candies for decorating. DROP by teaspoonfuls or shape dough into 1-inch balls and place on ungreased baking sheet.
BAKE at 375 degrees F for 10-12 minutes.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

SNOWMEN CUPCAKES: National Cupcake Day

Today is National Cupcake Day, and since Christmas is right around the corner, I thought I'd post this graphic for Snowmen Cupcakes. I have no idea where I found this, but I saved it. Love to give credit to whomever posted this cute cupcake collage!




DARK CHOCOLATE EGGNOG TRUFFLES

Eggnog is definitely a beverage of the season, so if you have some around, here's a great recipe! You can never have enough truffles during the holidays! Buy the best eggnog you can--or make your own! I love Dark Chocolate Eggnog Truffles! These make wonderful gifts, too!

Dark Chocolate Eggnog Truffles

Ingredients
3/4 cup eggnog
11 ounces dark chocolate 65%+ cacao, chopped
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
2 Tbsp superfine sugar
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Directions
Heat eggnog over medium heat almost to boiling point, whisking constantly. Do not boil.
Immediately remove pan from heat, turn heat to low. Add chocolate and butter to eggnog. Stir until chocolate is completely melted, returning to low heat if necessary.
Pour mixture into mixing bowl and beat with electric mixer at high speed for 5 minutes. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until mixture is firm but pliable.
In small bowl, mix superfine sugar with nutmeg and cinnamon; set aside. (you can also add cocoa)
Take 1 teaspoon of chocolate mixture and roll into ball, then roll in sugar mixture.
Place truffle in foil cup or on waxed paper tray (I don't use cups but they look festive if you do). Repeat.
Store truffles in airtight container in refrigerator.

Don't have time to make Eggnog Truffles? 
Starbucks sells Eggnog Latte Truffles. 
Godiva has them in their 12 piece Truffle Holiday Box.
Check with your local chocolatier!

Friday, December 14, 2018

1958 BOOK OF COOKIES: Cookie Tips & Recipe for Chocolate Fudge Slices

I have so many cookbooks, but I love my 'retro' pamphlets filled with fun chocolate cookie, candy and cake recipes. So today I'm adding more Cookie Tips, this time from Good Housekeeping's Book of Cookies (1958). I'm also posting the recipe from the Book of Cookies for Fudge Slices. Gotta love the illustrations in this book--and the cookie dough splatters! I pick up most of these cookbooks and pamphlets at garage sales and flea markets, but I've also had some for years that have come down to me from family members. So get Baking for the Holidays!





UNIQUE GINGERBREAD COOKIE CUTTERS & CHOCOLATE GINGERBREAD COOKIE RECIPE

Are you ready for the holidays? Any Gingerbread boys & girls in your cookie mix? I love Gingerbread Boys & Girls, and I these cookie cutters for traditional and not so traditional Gingerbread People are great! Be sure and scroll down for a Recipe for awesome Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies.

Yoga Cookie Cutters Set I: Lotus Group from Patti Paige Baked Ideas

Yoga Cookie Cutters Set 2: Down Dog from Patti Paige Baked Ideas

GingerDead Men Cookie Cutters:

NinjaBread Men:
Fred ABC Cookies Cutters: Which part do you eat first?

And some Vintage Gingerbread Boy Cookie Cutters






Chocolate Gingerbread Cookie Recipe
Recipe from Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito - Food & Wine Magazine

COOKIES

Ingredients
3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/3 cup unsweetened DARK cocoa powder
1 Tbsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 Tbsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup solid vegetable shortening (Crisco)
1/2 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1/2 cup molasses
2 ounces dark chocolate (65-85% cacao), melted and cooled

Directions
In medium bowl, whisk flour with cocoa powder, ground ginger, ground cinnamon, ground cloves, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In bowl of standing electric mixer fitted with paddle, beat softened butter with shortening at medium speed until mixture is smooth, about 30 seconds. Add brown sugar and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes.
Add egg to cookie batter and beat until incorporated. Beat in molasses and then melted chocolate. Add flour mixture in 3 batches, beating between additions. Divide dough into 3 equal parts. Shape each part into disk, then wrap each one in plastic wrap and refrigerate cookie dough until chilled, about 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 350°. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. On lightly floured work surface, roll out 1 disk of dough 1/4 inch thick. Using 4- to 5-inch cookie cutters, cut dough into shapes and transfer to prepared baking sheets. Reroll dough scraps and cut out more cookies.
Bake cookies for about 7 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking until tops are dry. Let cookies cool in pans for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Repeat process with remaining dough.

ICING
You can make Royal Icing or try this Recipe for Mascarpone Filling that doubles as Decorating Icing. Put it in a bag and pipe! Or use Wilton Decorating Icing in tubes.

Decorate your cookies. Let stand until icing dries, about 30 minutes.

Make Ahead: Chocolate-gingerbread cookies can be kept in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

RETRO HOLIDAY FUDGE RECIPES

I have two of these "Holiday"Retro Cookbooks. One is for Cookies and one is for Candies. One of my readers said she always thought these cookbooks were Swedish because her family had them (she is of Swedish heritage) .. and because of the illustrations. Anyone know? These books and recipes are perfect for the Holidays. Today I'm posting Fudge Recipes from Holiday Candies, published by Peter Pauper Press (1954). Be sure and try all the Fudge recipes. Perfect to make, take, or mail!




Cartoon of the Day: Gingerbread House


Wednesday, December 12, 2018

15 UNIQUE COCOA RECIPES for National Cocoa Day!

Today is National Cocoa Day,  and it's blustery outside. This is a great day for a good cup of Cocoa. I always post on National Cocoa Day, and this is an updated post with some new recipes. Cocoa or Hot Chocolate, whatever you call it, it's great--all year round!

A few years ago,  I posted several brands of cocoa that I enjoy, plus links and recipes. You'll definitely want to take a look. And, remember, using the best ingredients will result in the best cocoa/hot chocolate!

Want to know the difference between Natural and Dutch Process Cocoa? Click HERE.

Following are variations on classic Cocoa/Hot Chocolate. Some recipes are for one, some for four, and some for a crowd. Some use cocoa powder, others use chocolate bars, some use both, but all are delicious. If you have a favorite cocoa recipe, comment below with a link!


Peppermint Hot Cocoa

Ingredients
1 cup milk
1/2 cup cream
1 Tbsp vanilla
3/4 cup granulated sugar
8 ounces 70-80% cacao chocolate, chopped
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp peppermint oil

Directions: Add milk, cream, vanilla, and sugar to pot and place over medium heat. When milk mixture is hot, add chopped chocolate and stir constantly. Continue stirring, adding remaining ingredients. When mixture is starting to simmer, take off heat and serve.

Eggnog Hot Cocoa
What would the holidays be without eggnog? Try this and let me know what you think!

Ingredients:
1 egg
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup water
3 Tbsp unsweetened Dark Cocoa powder
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

Directions: In blender or processor,  combine egg, milk, water, cocoa, and nutmeg, blend until well mixed. Transfer mixture to top of  double boiler. Hear stirring occasionally, until mixture is steaming. Do not boil.

Argentinian Hot Cocoa

Ingredients:
4 cups whole milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp Madagascar or Mexican Vanilla
4 ounces good quality dark chocolate, broken into 1 ounce pieces

Directions: Heat milk, sugar, and vanilla in pan until almost boiled. Remove from heat and divide  into 4 mugs. Immediately, put piece of chocolate in each mug. It will melt and have a fabulous taste.

Mexican Hot Chocolate

Ingredients:
2 tsp good-quality ground DARK cocoa
1 tsp sugar, plus extra to taste
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground almonds. You can add more if you want a thicker texture.
1 cup milk

Directions: Mix all ingredients, except milk, together in empty, clean glass jar. Shake until completely combined. Heat  milk in a pan and add chocolate mix. Bring to boil and reduce  heat. Simmer for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly; use small whisk to froth milk. Serve hot.

Mexican Hot Chocolate II

Ingredients
5  ounces dark Mexican Chocolate
2 Tbsp honey
1/4 cup hot water
Pinch of salt
1 tsp instant coffee
2 cups whole milk
1 egg (optional)
1/4 tsp Mexican vanilla extract
1 dried red chile pepper, smashed
Ground cinnamon for sprinkling

Directions: In saucepan over medium-low heat, add Mexican chocolate, honey, hot water, salt, coffee, and chile pepper. Heat, stirring constantly, until mixture just begins to boil; reduce heat to low and let simmer, stirring constantly, for another minute. Carefully stir in milk and let sit over low heat until chocolate is too warm to touch. In bowl, beat egg until frothy. Add vanilla extract and beat in well. Pour hot chocolate mixture over the frothed egg and beat for about 15 seconds. (until you have about foam on top) Pour into mugs. Sprinkle mugs with ground cinnamon and shaved chocolate.

Honey Hot Cocoa  

The flavor of your cocoa will change with the variety of honey. Try lavender honey, sage, wildflower.

Ingredients
4 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
4 Tbsp honey
4 cups milk

Directions: Combine ingredients in medium-size sauce pan. Heat over low heat, stirring occasionally until hot.

Hot Cocoa with Brown Sugar

Ingredients:
4 oz unsweetened chocolate
1/3 cup water
4 cups hot milk
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
dash of salt

Preparation: In double boiler (or saucepan over a saucepan), melt chocolate and water together. Slowly mix in milk, sugar, and salt. Whisk until chocolate is smooth and blended.

Parisian Warm Chocolate
I'm not sure where I found this recipe, but it works! Anything French works! Lots of varieties on this. Experiment!

Ingredients:
1 cup whole milk
1/3 heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
6 oz chocolate- 65-75% cacao, chopped

Directions: Simmer milk, cream, and sugar together until just boiling. Stir in chocolate until melted. Don't let it boil. Serve warm in mugs.

Spicy White Hot Cocoa

Ingredients
4 cups milk
7 ounces good white chocolate (Guittard, Ghirardelli, Green & Black), chopped
1 egg, beaten
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Directions: Put white chocolate in medium metal bowl or saucepan over another saucepan of  simmering water, or in top part of double boiler. Melt chocolate, stirring occasionally until smooth. Stir in cayenne pepper and cinnamon. Whisk in egg until smooth. Gradually whisk in one cup of milk until completely incorporated (2-3 minutes). Gradually whisk in remaining milk, and heat until hot, but not simmering. Put in mugs and sprinkle with cinnamon or chocolate.

Peppermint White Chocolate Cocoa

Ingredients:
8 ounces white chocolate, chopped
3 1/2 cups whole milk
6 hard peppermint candies, crushed fine
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
2/3 cup whipping cream

Directions: Beat chilled cream with crushed mints until stiff peaks form. Refrigerate for about 1 hour. Heat milk to simmer, them mix in chocolate, whisking until chocolate is melted and smooth. Add mint extract and stir through. Pour into mugs and top with minty whipped cream.

Candy Cane Cocoa   
variation on recipe from Sean Paajanen at About.com

Ingredients:
4 cups whole milk
3 ounces 60-85% cacao chocolate, chopped
4 red and white striped peppermint candies crushed
4 small red and white striped candy canes
whipped cream

Directions: In sauce pan bring milk to simmer. Add chocolate and crushed candies. Whisk until smooth. Divide hot cocoa between mugs and garnish with whipped cream and serve with candy cane stirring stick.

Brandied Hot Cocoa

Ingredients 
4 cups milk
4 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
2 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp chili powder
5 Tbsp brandy
6 Tbsp whipped cream
4 tsp unsweetened DARK cocoa powder, sifted

Directions 
In saucepan, bring milk just to boil. Remove from heat.
Put chocolate in small saucepan and add 2 Tbsp hot milk. Stir over low heat until chocolate has melted, then stir chocolate mixture back into hot milk.
Add and stir in sugar. Stir in brandy and pour into four heatproof glasses.
Top each with whipped cream and sprinkle with sifted cocoa.

Kahlua Hot Cocoa

Ingredients
1/2 ounce semisweet chocolate
3/4 cup whole milk
1/2 cup coffee
2 Tbsp cocoa
1/2 tsp Madagascar vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp Kahlua

Directions
Melt chocolate in saucepan over another saucepan over simmering water.
Once melted, add all other ingredients except Kahlua.
Raise heat to medium high, whisking constantly, until mixture is smooth and just starting to bubble (2-3 minutes).
Remove from heat, stir in Kahlua.
Pour into mug and serve.
Add marshmallows or whipped cream as you see fit.

English Toffee Cocoa

Ingredients
4 cups milk
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
8 ounces dark chocolate (70% cacao), chopped
1 tsp Madegascar vanilla extract
1/4 cup English toffee, crushed
Whipped cream
Unsweetened cocoa powder

Directions
Combine milk, water, and sugar in saucepan and sttir over medium heat until just boiling.
Remove from heat, and stir in chocolate and vanilla.
Beat with whisk until chocolate is melted and mixture is frothy.
Pour hot chocolate into 2 big mugs.
Top with whipped cream and crushed English toffee. Sprinkle with cocoa powder.

Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate

Ingredients:
4 cups whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup Dark Cocoa (I like Ghiradelli)
1/3 cup water
1 tsp Madagascar Vanilla
2 tsp Sea Salt
2 Tbsp Hazelnut Syrup (or Toffee Nut Syrup from Starbucks)
2 Tbsp Caramel Sauce, Caramel Drizzle
Whipped Cream (or Reddi Whip)

Directions
Mix Sugar, Cocoa, and 1 tsp Salt. Add water and boil for 1 minute. Add milk and heat until warm. Mix in Vanilla, Hazelnut Syrup and Caramel Sauce Pour into coffee cup and top with whipped cream, caramel drizzle, and sea salt  

About the photo: This Vintage Advertisement for Cadbury Cocoa is special to me. My sister, Judie Siddall, is the President of the Transferware Collectors Club and sells antique blue and white transferware (pottery), similar to what is pictured in this advertisement, although, her wares are much older. She can be found at Merlin Antiques. She also blogs at Dishy News.

CRUSHED PEPPERMINT CHEESECAKE

This is one of my favorite recipes for the holidays. It's Sunset's recipe for Crushed Peppermint Cheesecake! Cheesecake is one of my favorite foods, and I have several spring pans. This recipe is quite versatile, and you can leave off the Crushed Peppermint and peppermint oil for a traditional cheesecake, but I love peppermint and chocolate, especially during the holidays, and when you add butter, cream cheese, and sour cream..well what's not to like? This is a wonderful Holiday Dessert!

CRUSHED PEPPERMINT CHEESECAKE

Ingredients
12 ounces creme-filled chocolate sandwich cookies, (Oreos or Trader Joe's Candy Cane Joe Joes) broken into pieces
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1- 1/2 pounds cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup sour cream
4 eggs
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup coarsely crushed peppermint candy

Directions
Place cookies in heavy zip-lock plastic bag and crush with rolling pin. Pour into buttered 9-inch round springform pan and pour melted butter over crumbs; mix to coat, then press evenly over bottom and about 1/2 inch up sides of pan. Bake in 300° oven until crust is slightly darker and looks a bit dry, about 10 minutes (leave oven on).

Meanwhile, in bowl, with mixer on medium speed, beat cream cheese and sugar until well blended. Beat in sour cream. Add eggs one at a time, beating to blend after each addition. Beat in flour, vanilla, peppermint extract, and salt until smooth. Pour cream cheese mixture into pan over baked crust.

Bake until edges are just golden and center jiggles slightly when pan is gently shaken, about 1 hour. Run knife around edge of pan rim. Place pan on wire rack and cool cheesecake completely in pan. Cover and chill until cold, at least 4 hours or up to 2 days. Run knife around rim again, then release rim. If any liquid has pooled on surface of cheesecake, blot dry gently with paper towel.

Decorate top of cake with crushed peppermint candy, pressing it in gently with hands.

Photo: Christina Schmidhofer

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

CANDY CANE CHOCOLATE COVERED MARSHMALLOW POPS & CANDY CANE HISTORY

With the holidays coming up, here's a recipe for festive Candy Cane Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Pops. These chocolate covered marshmallows, and these Candy Cane Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Pops are easy and delicious and always a hit during the holidays. Everyone loves Food on a Stick! I used to use small candy cane for the handles (see photo below), but I find the sticks are much more manageable on somany levels.

This holiday treat is a variation on S'mores on a Stick. All you do differently is use crushed candy cane pieces in place of the graham cracker crumbs. You can also use homemade marshmallows or good quality marshmallows, but I used packaged Marshmallows, as they always hit the spot for me!

CANDY CANE CHOCOLATE COVERED MARSHMALLOW POPS

Directions
Melt good quality dark chocolate in saucepan on top of another saucepan over simmering water. Remove from stove.
Crush candy canes and put in shallow bowl.
Put lollipop stick in marshmallow and dip and swirl marshmallow in melted chocolate.
Sprinkle chocolate (using spoon) with crushed candy cane bits.
If chocolate gets thick while dipping, put back on stove, heat a bit, and whisk.
Put finished Candy Cane Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Pops on parchment lined cookie sheet.
Repeat.
When you've dipped them all, put them in the refrigerator to firm up.
Bring them to room temperature before serving.
I put the Marshmallow Pops in Bonne Maman jam jars wrapped in a bit of red and white twine. Mason jars are great, too!

History of the Candy Cane from About.com:

During the 17th century, Europeans adopted Christmas trees as part of Christmas celebrations, and they often made cookies and sugar stick candy as decorations. The first historical reference to the familiar cane shape goes back to 1670, when the choirmaster at the Cologne Cathedral in Germany, bent the sugar sticks into canes to represent a shepherd's staff. The all white candy canes were given out to children during the nativity services. This tradition of handing out candy canes during Christmas services spread throughout Europe and later to America.

The first historical reference to the candy cane being in America goes back to 1847, when German immigrant August Imgard decorated the Christmas tree in his Wooster, Ohio home with candy canes.

About fifty years later the first red-and-white striped candy canes appeared. No one knows who exactly invented the stripes, but Christmas cards prior to the year 1900 showed only all white candy canes. Christmas cards after 1900 showed illustrations of striped candy canes. Around the same time, candy-makers added peppermint and wintergreen flavors to their candy canes and those flavors then became the traditional favorites.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Chocolate Guinness Christmas Cake

Who says Guinness is just for St Patrick's Day? Guinness has a long history as a Christmas baking ingredient -- from truffles to cupcakes to brownies to cake! I've posted several Guinness Cake recipes, but here's a new one for this year's holiday. As always use the very best ingredients. Decorate this fabulous chocolate cake with holiday designs or mistletoe (don't eat the mistletoe). Save the recipe for St. Paddy's Day!

CHOCOLATE GUINNESS CHRISTMAS CAKE

Ingredients 

Cake 
3 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 cups unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups Guinness
1 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups lightly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup sour cream

Ganache 
16 oz dark chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup Guinness
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, diced

Cake 
With rack in middle position, preheat oven to 350°F. Line two 8-inch springform pans with parchment paper. Butter and flour sides.
In  bowl, combine flour and baking soda. Set aside.
In saucepan over medium heat, melt butter with beer and cocoa powder, stirring with whisk. Let cool. In large bowl, combine brown sugar, sugar and salt. With whisk, add lukewarm butter mixture alternately with dry ingredients and eggs. Add sour cream and stir until mixture is smooth.
Divide batter between pans and bake for about 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center of each cake comes out clean. Turn out cakes and let cool.

Ganache 
Place chocolate in bowl. Set aside. In saucepan, bring beer, cream and syrup to a boil. Remove from heat and pour over chocolate. Let stand for 1 minute. With whisk, gently stir mixture until chocolate has completely melted. Add butter and stir until smooth. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until ganache is spreadable but not too thick. If needed, microwave a few seconds at a time and stir until spreadable.
Cut and discard rounded tops of each cake.
Spread one-quarter of ganache onto one layer. Top with second cake layer and frost with remaining ganache.
Decorate with holiday designs or mistletoe (don't eat the mistletoe-it's poisonous).

Where to buy a Bûche de Noël in the San Francisco Bay Area

A Bûche de Noël is the perfect centerpiece for any holiday meal -- Christmas, Christmas Eve, or the Winter Solstice. Not everyone has the time, skills, or patience to make a Bûche de Noël (aka Yule Log) for the holidays, but there are lots of places you can buy a Bûche de Noël. Of course, you'll want to get your order in soon.

If I were in Paris, I would probably have an impossible decision of where to buy only one Bûche de Noël since almost every patisserie makes a Buche de Noel. Sadly, yet again I won't be spending the holidays in Paris, but if you are, here are two outstanding places: There are beautiful Bûches de Noël by Pierre Hermes (Paris). One of the Bûche de Noël is a Chuao Chocolate Buche with Cherry Accents and another is a Buche with chocolate and caramel. Alexis Mabille has created a couture Bûche de Noël for Chocolaterie Angelina. Mabille put his stamp on the traditional yule log with the pastry chef Sebastian Bauer, opting for a heart of creamy chestnuts, candied apple and a confit of yuzu and lime surrounded by milk-chocolate ganache and crisp pecans. Mabille’s bûche is not a log, but a "Cocoa" Chanel bag: quilted and studded with edible silver buttons, topped with Mabille’s signature silver bow. And, almost every patisserie has its own version.

But, since I'm located in the San Francisco Bay Area, I thought I'd post several (but definitely not all) bakeries in the area that make Buches de Noel. I decided not to list all the flavors, but check with the bakeries. Get your orders in now in time for the holidays.

Bûches de Noël: San Francisco Bay Area

Tartine (SF) (Genoise filled with espresso buttercream, meringue mushrooms, pistachio moss, Valrhona chocolate Glaze)
La Farine, (Rockridge, Dimond, Fruitvale)
b. patisserie, (SF): 4: Chocolate Coffee Caramel, Coconut/Passion Fruit//Pineapple//Mango, Smore and Vanilla with Red fruits.
Bi-Rite (SF): TCHO Chocolate Buche de Noel
Miette (SF, Marin, East Bay): Traditional
Craftsman and Wolves (SF- 2 locations): Coffee, Hazelnut, Yogurt & Caramel
La Boulangerie (San Francisco) 
Bouchon (Napa). Two sizes of traditional Buche
La Bedaine (Berkeley): Three flavors
Sweet Things (Tiburon & SF)
Fleur de Cocoa (Los Gatos)
Douce France (Palo Alto)
Tout Sweet Patisserie (San Francisco and Palo Alto)
Cafe Madeleine (San Francisco)
Arizmendi Bakery (Oakland, San Francisco)
Masse's Pastries (Berkeley)
Sweet Bar Bakery (Oakland)
Fournee Bakery (Berkeley) - my local bakery!
Sweet Adeline Bakeshop (Berkeley)
Gerhard Michler Fine European Desserts (San Francisco)
Moonside Bakery (Half Moon Bay)
La Bedaine (Berkeley)
La Parisienne (Oakland)
Chantal Guillon (San Francisco-check locations)
PanotiQ (Bay Area)
Le Marais (San Francisco)
Thorough Bread & Pastry (San Francisco)
Marla Bakery (San Francisco)
Noe Valley Bakery (San Francisco)
Mademoiselle Colette (Menlo Park)
Fleur de Cocoa (Los Gatos)
Douce France (Palo Alto)

Sadly, Ici in Berkeley that made awesome ice cream Bûches de Noël has shut their doors abruptly earlier this month. They were advertising their Buches de Noel, but alas, this will not be. Just a heads up.

Most fine bakeries and patisseries make Bûche de Noël for the holidays. Check out your local. Get your order in soon. Williams Sonoma is also selling a wonderful Buche de Noel that you can order by December 18 to receive by Christmas.

And lastly, if you don't want a whole Bûche de Noël, several restaurants have Bûche de Noël by the slice on their dessert menus. Check with your favorite French restaurant or bistro.

Cartoon of the Day: Cookies


Sunday, December 9, 2018

Saturday, December 8, 2018

BROWNIE RECIPE ROUND-UP: 90+ Recipes for National Brownie Day


Today is National Brownie Day. I've posted many Brownie recipes over the years, including my favorite, my Aunt Sylvia's Brownies. I can never have enough brownie recipes. There are so many variations. In addition to 'special' brownies, the flavor of your brownies will change depending on the chocolate or cocoa you use. As always use the very best ingredients.

Do you have a favorite brownie recipe? Make a comment below with a link. Love to share!

The History of Brownies: Chicago Magazine says the recipe is credited to Bertha Palmer, wife of the Palmer House's original owner. Apparently the organizers of the World Columbian Exposition of 1893 asked her and the hotel to make a delicious and transportable dessert. Here's a link to that original Palmer House Brownie recipe.

Whatever the origins, Brownies have come a long way. Here's a Round-up of 90+ Brownie Recipes I've posted here on DyingforChocolate.com over the years. I'm sure I didn't catch them all, but it's an updated list. Several recipes are Gluten-Free.

And, to start, here's a link to Tips for Making the Best Brownies.

2018 Brownie Recipe Round-Up: 
Links to 90+ Brownie Recipes

Aunt Sylvia's Brownies

Double Chocolate Brownies  

Triple Chocolate Olive Oil Brownies

Peanut Butter Brownies 

Elsie's Fudgy Mocha Brownies 

Merlot Brownies 

Peppermint Bark Brownies

Paleo Espresso Brownies

One Bowl Oreo Brownies 

Guittard's Best Brownies

Toll House Peanut Butter Golden Brownies

TV Dinner Buttermilk Brownies 

Red, White, & Blue Star Brownies

Zucchini Brownies  

Earth Day Brownies 

White Chocolate Candy Corn Brownies

Cherry Port Heart-Shaped Brownies

Super Moon Blue Cheese Brownies 

Double Chocolate Olive Oil Brownies

Extra Nutty Peanut Butter Fudge Brownies

Guy Fawkes Night: Bonfire Brownies

Super Blue Moon Eclipse Brownies

Peanut Butter Toffee Cheesecake Brownies

White Chocolate Brownies

Lemon Curd Brownies 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies

Best Ever Gluten Free Brownies 

Easter Egg Brownies 

Peanut Butter & Jelly Brownies

Milky Way Brownies

The Big Bad Wolf's Brownies

Gluten Free Chocolate & Peanut Butter Chip Brownies

Peanut Butter Marbled Brownies

White Chocolate Brownies with Macadamia Nuts 

Full Moon Brownies

Fudgy Mocha Brownies

Cream Cheese Brownies

Chocolate Cream Cheese Brownies

Guinness Stout Brownies

Kahlua Brownies

Creme de Menthe Brownies

Blood Moon Eclipse Brownies

Pumpkin Chocolate Brownies

Strawberry Extra-Chocolately Brownies

Ghirardelli Gluten-Free Brownies

S'mores Brownies from a Mix

S'mores Brownies from Scratch

S'mores Brownies

Gravenstein Apple Chocolate Brownies

Cocoanut Golden-Brownies

Chocolate Walnut Brownies

Gold Rush Brownies  

Ghirardelli Gluten-Free Brownies

Nutella Brownie Muffins 

Champagne Brownies

Sea Salt Caramel Brownies: 2 Recipes

Brownie Ice Box Cookies: Retro Ad & Recipe

Cherry Cheesecake Brownies

Honey Chocolate Brownies

Double Chocolate Cream Cheese Brownies 

Chocolate Raspberry Beer Brownies

Better Bacon Brownies

Congo Squares

Cashew Caramel Brownies 

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies

Eggnog Brownies

Scotch Brownies

Tequila Brownies 

Brandy Alexander Brownies

Bourbon Cream Cheese Brownies

Chewy Pistachio Brownies 

Double Chocolate Fresh Cherry Brownies

Cocoanut Golden-Brownies

Red Wine Brownies 

Scharffen Berger Mother's Day Brownies

Glad's Brownies

Chocolate Merlot Mustard Brownies 

Mounds of Brownies: Chocolate Revelations

Candy Corn Brownies

Halloween Oreo Brownies

Halloween Brownies

Harvest Moon Pumpkin Brownies

Peanut Butter Brownie Cupcakes 

Pumpkin Chocolate Brownies

Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches

Passover Flourless Brownies (4 recipes)

Dutch Process Cocoa Brownies

Spinach Carrot Brownies: Eat Your Veggies!

Peanut Butter Toffee Cheesecake Brownies

Judy Hogan's Healthy Brownies

Brownies in a Mug

Brownie Mini Ice Cream Sandwiches

Miss Piggy's Ben & Jerry's Chocolate Brownies 

"Mounds" of Brownies

Mexican Spicy Brownies

Brownie Bites with Cherry Jubilee Sauce 

Pudding Brownies

Brownies in a Jar

Decadent Quadruple Chocolate Brownie Pie

Retro Chocolate Brownie Pie

Chocolate Pecan Brownie Fudge Cake

German Chocolate Brownie Pecan Tarts

Friday, December 7, 2018

MISTLETOE CHOCOLATE CAKE: Retro Ad & Recipe

Here's a great Retro Ad and Recipe from Swans Down Cake Flour for Mistletoe Chocolate Cake. Decorate with the green mistletoe design as given in the recipe or put some 'real' mistletoe on top, but don't eat it! Mistletoe is poisonous. Mistletoe kisses for a Happy Holiday!




Thursday, December 6, 2018

CHOCOLATE PEPPERMINT FUDGE aka CANDY CANE FUDGE


Nothing say the Holidays quite like Candy Canes, so why not combine Candy Canes with another holiday favorite -- Fudge. I love this Chocolate Peppermint Fudge aka Candy Cane Fudge. Fudge can be sent to far-flung friends and family, given as a gift, or enjoyed by the family during the holidays! Fudge is so versatile and easy to make.

Candy Cane Fudge aka Chocolate Peppermint Fudge

Ingredients
18 ounces dark chocolate  (60-75% cacao), chopped
1-14 ounce can  sweetened condensed milk
Dash of salt
1 tsp peppermint extract
4 peppermint candy canes, crushed

Directions
Line 9" pan with wax paper.
Melt chocolate with sweetened condensed milk and salt in heavy saucepan over another saucepan with simmering water (or in top of double boiler). Stir until melted.
Remove from heat; stir in peppermint extract, and half the crushed candy canes.
Spread evenly in prepared pan. Top with the rest of candy cane crumbs.
Chill 2 hours or until firm.
Remove from pan by lifting edges of wax paper.
Cut into squares.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

RICH CHOCOLATE REINDEER COOKIES

Yesterday was Cookie Day, and I posted Tips for Making the Very Best Cookies. I can never have enough cookies--or cookie recipes. As much as I love Chocolate Chip cookies, Rich Dark Chocolate Cookies are my favorite. I love a good crisp chocolate cookie with a rich chocolate-y taste. As always that is achieved by using an excellent quality chocolate or cocoa and a perfect recipe.

I saw this recipe in the New York Times a few years ago as the cover story of The Holiday Issue, and I realized I'd made this recipe in the past. And, since the holidays are coming up, I advise you to get out your holiday cookie cutters for this cookie. Reindeer Cookie Cutters are my favorite, and I have several because my last name is Rudolph! For the red noses on chocolate cookies, use a bit of red icing. You can make it, or buy a can or mix at the store. These cookies can be decorated, but why mess with a good thing? I like my cookies unadulterated. If you do decorate these cookies, use royal icing. Of course, you can use other shaped cookie cutters, such as Santa, Stars, Christmas Trees. Get creative with your cutters!

This recipe was sent to The New York Times several years ago by Mari Pfeiffer, a reader in California; it’s from the cookbook “Great Cookies,” published in 2003 by Carole Walter. The cookies have the great flavors of cocoa powder, unsweetened chocolate, and espresso powder.

RICH CHOCOLATE REINDEER COOKIES

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp sifted Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
8 Tbsp unsalted butter, slightly softened
1 cup superfine sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp instant espresso powder, dissolved in 1/2 tsp boiling water
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted in double boiler (I use 90% cacao from Guittard and cut back a bit on sugar)
Optional: Royal icing, for decorating

Directions
Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In large bowl of standing mixer, beat butter on medium speed until creamy and light in color, about 3 minutes. Add sugar in steady stream, continuing to beat for 2 minutes. Add egg, vanilla, and espresso mixture. Continue beating, scraping down sides of bowl as needed, then mix in melted chocolate.

Reduce speed to low. Add dry ingredients in two batches, mixing just enough to combine after each addition. Divide dough in two and form into two flattened disks. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 2 hours.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats. Roll out chilled dough between 2 sheets of parchment or wax paper until it's 3/16-inch thick. Cut into shapes, using cookie cutters of different sizes to use as much dough as possible. (The dough will not be as good if it is rolled out a second time.) Transfer cookies to baking sheets, 1/2 inch apart.

Bake for 9 to 11 minutes, rotating sheets once to ensure even baking, or until cookies look set on top and have slight sheen. Remove from oven and wait 2 minutes before transferring cookies to wire racks to cool.  

Frost with royal icing, if desired.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

HOW TO PACK AND SHIP COOKIES FOR THE HOLIDAYS

Today is National Cookie Day. I will be posting many Cookie Recipes throughout the month. Yesterday I posted Tips for Making the Very Best Cookies.

Since it's early in the month, you might be wanting some Tips on Packing and Shipping Cookies for the holidays. If you're sending cookies to friends and family here and overseas (military), you'll want to get started. I've put together a few helpful hints, and I welcome any other tips that have worked for you. There are many ways to actually send cookies--USPS, FedEx, UPS.

Tips on how to Pack Cookies to Ship.

Starting with the right type of cookie is the key.

Cookies to avoid:
Fragile, buttery cookies that could end up as crumbs.
Cookies with jam or cream-filled centers.
Cookies that will be smudged or broken if stacked together.

Cookies to include:
(Drop Cookies) Chocolate Chip or ( Bar Cookies), Biscotti, Gingersnaps, Sugar Cookies, Shortbread or Oatmeal.

Always Double-Box your cookies.
You can use plastic containers or a a sturdy carton or box to hold cookie containers. Always add packing materials around the first container. More on that below.

Now for the actual cookie box.
I'm partial to decorative tins. I pick them up at the flea market, garage sales, and the White Elephant Sale. They're pretty and useful. However, you may want to use locking plastic containers which create a good seal every time. Alternatively, you can use a shoebox or a coffee can. Either must be clean and 'scent' free.

Be sure and line the container with parchment paper or crumpled wax paper.

I probably don't need to remind you, but you should wrap different types of cookies separately, so the flavors and textures don't 'leak'. Crisp cookies get soggy next to soft ones. You can use plastic wrap between layers--and over the top.

Even better is to cushion each cookie. Wrap them in pairs or individually in plastic wrap or small plastic bags. Then put them in ziploc bags. Stack them in your container vertically or horizontally, packing tightly to avoid them moving, but not too tightly that you crush them.

Here's a great tip to keep your cookies fresh and moist. Add some marshmallows to the tin--loosely not in plastic.

If you're not using plastic sealed boxes, put plastic wrap over the top of the box before you close the lid, letting it drape over, to create an airtight seal. If you're using a tin, tape around the lid to add to the seal.

Before putting your container of cookies in the shipping box, put packing materials around for cushioning. Use a heavyweight cardboard shipping box, if you can. Bubble wrap or crumpled newspaper or foam peanuts are great for cushioning. Add at least 2 inches on each side of your cookie gift box write fragile and perishable on all sides of the box.

Send overnight if you can, so they don't end up sitting in a warehouse. If not, be sure and mail early in the week, so they don't end up in the warehouse for extra days.

What cookies are you sending? Any packing and shipping tips to add?

Monday, December 3, 2018

TIPS FOR MAKING THE VERY BEST COOKIES!

Happy Cookie Week! The Holidays are all about Cookie Making, and I've seen some wonderful new recipes and decorating techniques this season. Be sure and do a few searches to expand your Cookie Repertoire! You can never have too many cookie recipes!

Here are a few Cookie Making Tips. Love to hear any tips you have.

COOKIE MAKING TIPS

1. For me the most important 'rule' (this is not a tip, it's a rule) is to make sure you Chill the Dough. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP. Put the dough in the refrigerator for a few hours or put it in the freezer for 10 minutes. While you're working, if the dough becomes soft, just pop it back in the freezer for a few minutes.

2. Use the Correct Ingredients. If you haven't made the recipe before, follow it exactly and measure the ingredients carefully. You can experiment on your next attempts.

3. Up for debate: Some say that you should always roll out your dough between sheets of Wax Paper, not Parchment, because wax paper peels easily off the top of the dough. If you do this, you can then cut out the cookies, and they'll peel right off the bottom sheet. And, yet, some people swear by parchment. Give them both a try and see what you think.

3. Add Salt and Leavening to Butter and Sugar Mixture. If you really want your salt and leavening well distributed throughout the dough, beat it in with the butter and sugar.

4. Fats are major to the spread of a cookie. Generally speaking, fat equals flat, crispy cookies while less fat equals higher, cake-like cookies. Speaking of fats: Whipped spreads are not good for baking. Use butter, margarine, or shortening (Crisco). I mostly use unsalted butter, and I add salt as an ingredient.

5. Sugars: White sugar makes a crisper cookie than brown sugar or honey. Cookies made from brown sugar absorb moisture after baking, so they stay chewy. Most chocolate chip cookie recipes contain both brown and white sugars.

How to keep brown sugar soft? Put a marshmallow or a piece of white bread in the container. The white bread won’t get moldy nor will the marshmallow, and you’ll always have soft brown sugar. I like marshmallow better .. maybe it's just aesthetics.

6. Mixing: Proper mixing is important. Some recipes have a creaming step in which the fat and sugars are beaten together until light-colored and fluffy. Other cookies require a sandy texture, so the fat is cut into the flour. Over-mixing can incorporate too much air into the dough, resulting in flat, overly spread-out cookies. Follow the recipe instructions.

7. Temperature: Unless specified, ingredients should be at room temperature before mixing. Yes, Virginia, take the butter out the night before. For cut cookies, chill the cookie dough before baking. The cookies will hold their shape better. For drop cookies, you can keep them at room temperature before baking; the spoonfuls of dough will spread and flatten out.

8. Equipment and Baking: Not surprising to anyone who bakes, different baking sheets and ovens produce different results. I use rimmed baking sheets (jellyroll pans) for cookies rather than thin flat sheet pans, although some people swear by flat unrimmed cookie sheets. Instead of greasing each baking sheet, I use parchment for easy cookie removal and clean-up. Some of my friends use a silipat liner, but I don't.

9. Use fresh ingredients. I always replace baking soda, flour, spices, and baking powder at the beginning of the cookie making holiday season. This goes for chocolate, too, of course! You're working hard on these cookies, and you want the very best ingredients.

10. Making a big batch of cookies? Be sure and cool the cookie sheet before baking another batch. Otherwise your dough might melt, and you'll have weird looking cookies.

11. Be sure and cool cookies on a wire rack. Don't skip this step or the bottoms might become soggy. And, definitely cool completely before storing them.
However, my friend Patti swears by using brown paper grocery bags instead of wire racks. She says the cookies come out well, and the paper absorbs any greasiness.

Love to hear other tips! Please comment!

Sunday, December 2, 2018

CHOCOLATE SUFGANIYOT FOR HANUKKAH

Chanukah (Hannukah, Hanukah) starts tonight. Chanukkah is the Jewish Holiday of Lights that celebrates the rededication of the Temple after the Maccabees defeated the Syrian army in 165 BC and forced them out of Jerusalem. There was only enough oil for one day to rededicate the eternal flame, but the oil burned for eight days and nights. A miracle! So Hanukkah is celebrated for 8 days.

One of the special foods at Chanukah time is Sufganiyot (singular: sufganiyah): deep fried donut balls stuffed with jelly, or custard (for this blog that would be chocolate custard) and topped with sugar. Of course, you can also stuff them with dark chocolate! I didn't grow up with this tradition, but any food that's fried and stuffed with chocolate cream is good in my book. Sufganiyot are really an Israeli tradition, but they've gained popularity in the U.S. 

I've posted recipes in the past for Sufganiyot, but here's a new recipe that my late friend B.K. Stevens wrote in 2016 for DyingforChocolate. Bonnie's actual donut is chocolate. B.K. Stevens was a mystery author. My mystery and chocolate worlds collided again.


B.K. Stevens:

I know you've posted chocolate sufganiyot recipes before; I don't know if you've posted this one. It's very simple (no yeast), and the sufganiyot themselves are chocolate, rather than the filling. Unfortunately, I don't remember where I found the recipe--we've had it in our family cookbook for many years. I served these at a holiday party the other day, and people really seemed to enjoy them.

Sufganiyot 
(Israeli Jelly Doughnuts—for Hanukkah) 

Ingredients
vegetable oil
1 cup granulated sugar, plus more for coating sufganiyot after frying
2 eggs plus
1 egg yolk
3 1/2 cups flour (recipe says unbleached, but we’ve used regular)
1/4 cup cocoa
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk strawberry jelly (not jam or preserves) •

Directions
Combine 1/4 cup oil, 1 cup sugar, eggs, and egg yolk in bowl and mix with an electric mixer until fluffy.
Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Stir into oil mixture alternately with buttermilk. Heat 2 to 3 inches oil in heavy, deep skillet to 340 degrees.
Drop batter by tablespoons (we use a small cookie scoop) into hot oil and cook in batches until doughnuts are evenly fried, about 2 or 3 minutes per side. Do not crowd pan.
Drain on paper towels. Roll in remaining sugar.
Fill with strawberry jelly. (We use an inexpensive plastic condiment container, with the tip cut off halfway down to make it easier to get the jelly out.)
Makes about 24 sufganiyot.