Thursday, November 14, 2019

6TH ANNUAL TRUFFLE ARTISTRY AWARDS: International Chocolate Salon

6th Annual Truffle Artistry Awards:

Was so sorry to miss judging the Annual Truffle Artistry Awards this year. So glad I am able to announce the results. 

***

The International Chocolate Salon Awards for the 6th Annual CHOCOLATE TRUFFLE ARTISTRY AWARDS are based on the combined total number of votes received by each entrant from the Judging Panel. The Judging Panel consists of National and Regional Magazines, Newspaper and Blog Editors, plus Topic Experts, Local Chefs and Food Gurus.

The award winners below have the honor of being able to display and use the Official Award Winner title and award logos.


STAR RATINGS

4.5 STARS

  • Bella Sophia Chocolates Yuzu Chiffon
  • St. Croix Chocolate Co. Fall flavors collection
  • St. Croix Chocolate Co. Koi Inyodo (Japanese yin and yang duo)

4.0 STARS

  • BON CHOCOLATIER Creative truffle
  • Baetz Chocolates Simply Sakskatoon
  • Beth's Chocolate Limesicle
  • Michael's Chocolates Bourbon Caramel Pecan
  • flying noir the teaer box
  • SELEUSS Chocolates Coffee & Chicory

3.5 STARS

  • Beth's Chocolate Crème de Cassis
  • SELEUSS Chocolates Porter 75% Dark Chocolate Truffle
  • Baetz Chocolates Sublime Espresso Lime
  • Craft-Chocolate Craft-Chocolate with Wright & Brown's Rye Whiskey
  • SELEUSS Chocolates Peaches and Cream
  • Beth's Chocolate Spiced Honey Orange

3.0 STARS

  • Chocolatier Gjeruldsen Truffle artistry / « Passion Fruit»
  • Delysia Chocolatier Fig baklava chocolate truffle
  • Delysia Chocolatier History of Chocolate truffle collection
  • ian scott confections Smokebomb (Islay whisky, Lapsang souchon tea and milk chocolate)
  • Banyan Tree Chocolate Rosie
  • Banyan Tree Chocolate Be Still My Heart
  • Panache Chocolatier Caramel Apple Brandy
  • Panache Chocolatier Ruby Sugar Plum
  • Shokolate Haven Holiday Plum in Dark Chocolate

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

MARSHMALLOW FUDGE CAKE: Vintage Thanksgiving Ad & Recipe

I love Vintage Ads with recipes. This one came out in Good Housekeeping November 1926. The recipe for Campfire Fudge Cake is still perfect for Thanksgiving in 2019. And who hasn't had Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows? Campfire Brand! Three recipes in all for your holiday! Marshmallow Fudge Cake, Campfire Apple Mallows, and Sweet Potatoes Southern. Happy Thanksgiving!




Tuesday, November 12, 2019

TOLLHOUSE CHOCOLATE CHIP PIE: Retro Ad & Recipe

Let's face it, there's nothing like Tollhouse Cookies aka Chocolate Chip Cookies. Well here's a wonderful Retro Recipe & Ad for Tollhouse Pie from Nestle circa 1985. The top of the pie is crispy like a crispy chocolate chip cookie, and the inside reminds me slightly of cookie dough. The marriage of two great tastes. This would be a great alternative pie for Thanksgiving!


TOLLHOUSE CHOCOLATE CHIP PIE

Ingredients
1 unbaked 9-inch (4-cup volume) deep-dish pie shell *
2 large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup (6 oz.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels (or whatever chocolate chips you like best)
1 cup chopped nuts
Sweetened whipped cream or ice cream (optional)

Directions
PREHEAT oven to 325° F.
BEAT eggs in large mixer bowl on high speed until foamy. Beat in flour, granulated sugar and brown sugar. Beat in butter. Stir in morsels and nuts. Spoon into pie shell.
BAKE for 55 to 60 minutes or until knife inserted halfway between edge and center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack. Serve warm with whipped cream, if desired.

* If using frozen pie shell, use deep-dish style, thawed completely. Bake on baking sheet; increase baking time slightly.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

VINTAGE WWII TOLL HOUSE COOKIES AD & RECIPE: Veterans Day

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.' These are still terrific cookies for the Veteran in your life, as well as our men and women still in in service. Recipe below.


Saturday, November 9, 2019

GREEK YOGURT CHOCOLATE BUNDT CAKE: National Greek Yogurt Day

Today is Greek Yogurt Day. Greek Yogurt is great in baking because it gives a bit of a tangy flavor to cakes, muffins, and breads. I often substitute Greek Yogurt for sour cream in recipes. You'll love this Greek Yogurt Chocolate Bundt Cake.

Greek Yogurt is not necessarily from Greece. Greek yogurt refers to a yogurt making process. It differs from regular yogurt in that the whey is strained off in the process. Consequently it contains less sugar, fewer carbs, and a lot more protein. Real old fashioned Greek yogurt is made with goat's milk, while much American Greek-style yogurt is made from cow's milk. You can try either in the following recipe. As always, choose a good quality Greek yogurt, as you would a good cocoa.

Greek Yogurt Chocolate Bundt Cake

Ingredients
1 cup unsalted butter, plus more for bundt pan
1 cup water
1/3 cup DARK cocoa powder
1 tsp salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp instant espresso powder
1  3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
2 large eggs
1/2 cup plain Greek Yogurt
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
Optional: Confectioners Sugar for sprinkling

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 10- or 12-cup Bundt pan.
Put butter, water, cocoa powder, espresso powder, and salt in small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until butter has just melted and mixture is combined. Set aside.
Whisk together flour, sugar, and baking soda in large mixing bowl. Add half butter mixture and whisk to combine. Add remaining butter mixture, and whisk until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, whisking well after each addition. Whisk in Greek yogurt and vanilla.
Pour batter into prepared pan and spread evenly.
Bake 40 to 45 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
Cool cake in pan for 15 minutes.
Invert cake onto wire rack and cool completely.
Optional: Sprinkle with confectioners sugar.

Friday, November 8, 2019

WARTIME CHOCOLATE CAKE: Veteran's Day

Today is Veterans Day (aka Remembrance Day, Armistice Day). My father was a decorated Veteran of WWII, so today I'm posting a recipe from that era. Times were hard during the War, on the battlefield, and on the Homefront. This recipe is for Wartime Chocolate Cake. I think it was slightly easier to get sugar and cocoa in the U.S. than other countries, although I've seen several versions of War Time Chocolate Cake in various British war time cookbooks. Milk and eggs were rationed, too, so this cake, which is quite spongy, does without.

During the Second World War, you couldn't just walk into a store and buy as much sugar or butter as you wanted. You were only allowed to buy a small amount (even if you could afford more) because these items were rationed. The government introduced rationing because certain items were in short supply.

Some things were scarce because they were needed to supply the military - gas, oil, metal, meat and other foods. Some things were scarce because they normally were imported from countries with whom we were at war or because they had to be brought in by ship from foreign places. Sugar and coffee were very scarce. Coca-Cola even stopped production during the war because sugar in great quantities was not available.

Everyone was given a ration book that contained ration stamps for different items. Grocers and other business people would post what your ration stamps could buy that week, but it was up to the individual to decide how to spend the stamps and possibly save up the items for a cake like this.

Support our Veterans!

WARTIME CHOCOLATE CAKE

Ingredients:
1-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon white vinegar
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup cold water

Directions:
In large mixing bowl, mix flour, sugar, cocoa, soda, and salt.
Make three wells in the flour mixture. In one put vanilla; in another the vinegar, and in the third the oil. Pour the cold water over the mixture and stir until moistened.
Pour into 8 x 8-inch pan.
Bake at 350°F. oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until it springs back when touched lightly.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

BITTERSWEET CHOCOLATE ALMOND BARK: National Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day

As I've said many times before, every day is Chocolate Day for me, but today is National Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day. In this age of high end organic, fair trade, single origin chocolate, bittersweet seems to cover a broad range of chocolate. So bittersweet as defined below leaves one open to enjoying all kinds of chocolate today--along with almonds.

According to Wikipedia, bittersweet chocolate is chocolate liquor (unsweetened chocolate) to which some sugar (typically a third), more cocoa butter, vanilla and sometimes lecithin has been added. It has less sugar and more liquor than semisweet chocolate, but the two are interchangeable in baking. Bittersweet and semisweet chocolates are sometimes referred to as 'couverture' (chocolate that contains at least 32 percent cocoa butter); many brands now print on the package the percentage of cocoa (as chocolate liquor and added cocoa butter) contained. The rule is that the higher the percentage of cocoa, the less sweet the chocolate will be. The American FDA classifies chocolate as either "bittersweet" or "semisweet" that contain at least 35% cacao (either cacao solids or butter from the cacao beans).

In honor of Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day, I'm going to have a bittersweet chocolate bar with almonds. So many great bars out there including Green & Black, Dandelion, Seattle Chocolates, Valor, Ghirardelli, Alter Eco --and even Hershey's.

BITTERSWEET CHOCOLATE ALMOND BARK

Ingredients
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1 cup toasted almonds (in the oven), coarsely chopped  (some people like them whole/your choice)
Sea salt

Directions
Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Melt chocolate until smooth in top of double boiler or saucepan placed over another saucepan with simmering water.
Set aside 6 Tbsp almonds
Stir remaining almonds into melted chocolate.
Pour mixture onto cookie sheet. Spread to 1/2 inch thickness.
Sprinkle remaining almond pieces over mixture. Sprinkle sparingly with sea salt.
Tap pan on counter until bark is desired thickness.
Refrigerate for 6 hours or until firm.
Break into pieces.
Store in an airtight container in cool, dry place.

How easy is that?

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Chocolate Cinnnamon Nachos: National Nachos Day!

Today is National Nachos Day. Nachos are a Tex-Mex dish from northern Mexico. Nachos are usually comprised of tortilla chips covered with melted cheese and jalapeno peppers and served as a snack. Sometimes Nachos are served with salsa or guacamole. But this is a Chocolate Blog, so to celebrate today's holiday, make
Chocolate Cinnamon Nachos! This recipe is very slightly adapted from Taste of Home. So easy, too.

Chocolate Cinnamon Nachos

Ingredients
6 flour tortillas (8 inches)
7 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted, divided
6 Tbsp sugar, divided
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate (or very dark chocolate), chopped
1/2 tsp Mexican vanilla extract
(Optional)1/2 cup chopped pecans

Directions
Brush both sides of tortillas with 4 Tbsp butter. Combine 2 Tbsp sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over one side of each tortilla.
Stack tortillas, sugared side up; cut into 12 wedges.
Arrange in single layer on baking sheets.
Bake at 350° for 12-14 minutes or until crisp.
Meanwhile, in heavy saucepan, combine cream, brown sugar, and remaining butter and sugar. Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Cook and stir for 5 minutes or until slightly thickened.
Remove from heat; stir in chocolate and vanilla. Cool slightly.
Arrange half of tortilla wedges on large serving platter.
Drizzle with half of chocolate sauce.
Optional:  Sprinkle with half of the pecans.  (I don't)
Repeat layers.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Guy Fawkes Night Chocolate Sparklers

Remember remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.

Guy Fawkes Night, aka Bonfire Night, is an annual celebration, primarily in Great Britain, traditionally held on the evening of November 5. Festivities are centered on the use of fireworks and the lighting of bonfires. Historically, the celebrations mark the anniversary of the failed Gunpowder Plot of November 5, 1605. Guy Fawkes Night originates from the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, a failed conspiracy by a group of provincial English Catholics to assassinate the Protestant King James I of England and replace him with a Catholic head of state. The survival of the king was first celebrated on 5 November 1605, after Guy Fawkes, left in charge of the gunpowder placed underneath the House of Lords, was discovered and arrested. During the Celebration, an effigy or "guy" representing Fawkes is ritually burnt on the bonfire.

Here's a fun an easy recipe to make with the children, even if you don't celebrate the holiday! You can always save this recipe and make it for Fourth of July with Red, White, and Blue Sprinkles.

Guy Fawkes Night Chocolate Sparklers

Ingredients
Chocolate Fingers
Confectioners Sugar
Multi-colored Sprinkles or Sugar Popping candy

Directions
Pour Sprinkles or popping candy on a plate.
Dip end of chocolate finger in hot water--just a little to melt slightly.
Roll end of chocolate finger in sparkles and coat end. Transfer to parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat until all fingers are coated. Set for a few hours.

What are Chocolate Fingers? Well, Cadbury makes a chocolate biscuit called Chocolate Fingers. I found them on Amazon, but if you don't have these, look for a similar chocolate shape (KitKat). You can also dip pretzels in chocolate ganache (melted) and dip in sprinkles.

National Donut Appreciation Day: Retro Donut Ads

Today is National Donut Appreciation Day. This is not the same holiday as Doughnut Day that falls on the first Friday in June. So in honor of the holiday, and I do appreciate a good donut, I'm posting several Retro Ads from the 40s, 50s and 60s for Donuts! Scroll down for a Crisco Sugar Donut recipe from the Crisco Cookbook.



Sunday, November 3, 2019

DAGWOOD'S CHOCOLATE SANDWICHES: National Sandwich Day

What is more fitting than Dagwood's Chocolate Sandwich for National Sandwich Day. I believe that Dagwood probably would have added lots of other ingredients such as bananas and peanut butter, and that would be great, but how can you go wrong with chocolate, butter, and bread?

I've posted several Chocolate Sandwiches over the years,  so today I turn to my "Tie-In" Cookbook collection and specifically Blondie's Cook Book for today's recipe. Dagwood is the iconic King of Sandwiches. My Dad used to make Dagwood Sandwiches... they were sandwiches that contained every thing but the 'kitchen sink'. FYI: My father never added chocolate.

Dagwood Bumstead, in case you don't know, is one of the main characters in comic artist Chic Young's long-running comic strip Blondie. He first appeared in the U.S. sometime prior to February 1933.

What's Cooking America defines the Dagwood Sandwich as a multi-layered sandwich with a variety of fillings. The term is used to denote a sandwich put together so as to attain such a tremendous size and infinite variety of contents as to stun the imagination, sight, and stomach of all but the original maker. Dagwood sandwiches is a term so well-known that it's in the Webster's New World Dictionary.

According to the creator of the comic strip, Murat Bernard “Chic” Young (1901-1973), the only thing that Dagwood could prepare in the kitchen was a mountainous pile of dissimilar leftovers precariously arranged between two slices of bread. Dagwood became known for his huge sandwiches he created on evening forays to the refrigerator. The comic strip is produced today under the direction of the creator's son, Dean Young, the strip has continued to keep up with the times.

Blondie's Cook Book: Chic Young's Classic Cook Book with New Comic Art Selections by His Son Dean Young (Gramercy Books, New York 1947, 1996)

This Comic says it all:


CHOCOLATE SANDWICHES RECIPE: Not sure how many sandwiches (or layers) this is supposed to make, but that's a lot of sugar, even if the chocolate is probably sugarless. I've never followed this recipe, so I'm thinking the amount of sugar might be a mistake.



Saturday, November 2, 2019

WHAT TO DO WITH LEFTOVER HALLOWEEN CANDY

When I was growing up Halloween was my favorite holiday of the year. I'd choose what I'd want to be early and make sure my seamstress grandmother had time to complete it. I never wanted store-bought costumes. I had to have an original. I would design it, and my Bubby would sew it, and I'd be there every step of the way watching her and learning sewing techniques.

On Halloween night, all the children on my block were out. We had no safety worries. We knew every single house on the street would have a treat, almost always candy. There was always the disappointing small box of raisins, but that was o.k. After we moved to the suburbs, the ante went up, and we received whole candy bars and more expensive loot.

Needless to say, there was always a lot of candy left over. I mean, how much could one child eat? We weren't allowed to keep our stash in our rooms (the reason given by my mother -- to protect against bugs and mice), so all the candy was relegated to the kitchen. My sister and I noticed it being depleted, but usually too late. Most of it found its way into my doctor father's waiting room. Other kids who didn't walk those mean streets, knocking on doors, and yelling 'trick or treat' benefited from the fruit of our labors.

Now as an adult, I buy candy for trick or treaters. Every year that candy sits in a bowl by the door -- unloved, uncalled for. We don't get a lot of Trick or Treaters where I live. Maybe it's the times; maybe it's the hills. Several years ago, I started buying only candy that I liked. Who wants to be stuck with candy you'll never eat? So there's usually a lot of leftover candy at my house. I'm sure there is at yours, too, particularly if you have very few goblins and ghosts and superheroes who made the Halloween pilgrimage. Here are several ways to turn that left over candy into culinary delights or needed donations.


1. Use chopped Candy Corn or chopped Candy Bars in place of chocolate chips in cookies or brownies. (or use both as in this recipe for Candy Corn & Chocolate Chip Cookies from Christina Tosi at NYC's Momfuku)

2. Use Candy and Candy Bars as toppings for ice cream sundaes or over yoghurt.

3. Freeze the candy for another time when you get the munchies.

4. Make homemade flavored vodka. It needs some time to infuse, but experiment with different flavors.

5.  Make Trail Mix with chopped chocolate candy, raisins, peanuts and any other soft chewy candy.

6. Mix up a batch of biscuits and fold in some chopped Tootsie Tolls or Peanut Butter Cups.  

7. Add chopped candy corn to candied yams.

8. Make a Cookie Dough Pizza.  
Betty Crocker recipe: Mix 1 pouch of peanut butter cookie mix with 1/3 cup vegetable oil and an egg until soft dough forms. Press dough into ungreased 12-inch pizza pan. Sprinkle with your choice of toppings such as candy corn, candy bar pieces and nuts. Bake 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Sprinkle 1 cup miniature marshmallows on top. Bake for another 10-15 minutes until marshmallows are lightly browned and cookie is set at edge. Cool completely in pan.

9. Pudding/Candy Parfait: Layer instant pudding with candy.

10. Use the candy to decorate your Holiday Gingerbread House.

11. Keep some in the car or your purse for emergencies (probably not chocolate which melts).

12. Donate: Nursing homes, doctor's offices, women and family shelters will take wrapped candy. Check first. There's a real need, especially after all the disasters this year.

13: Donate: Operation Gratitude ships candy to U.S. troops in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Middle East for Christmas time. (chocolate is more perishable)

14. DonateRonald McDonald House will accept donations of wrapped Halloween Candy in many locations. Check first.

15. Make a Candy Massacre Pie (recipe from Cakespy).

16. Blend Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cups with soy and rice wine vinegar and serve as a Satay over rice and stir-fried veggies.

17. Here's a new one to me, and it's to die for. Almond Joy Candied Bacon.

And three more recipes in case you haven't baked enough for Halloween:

1. BUTTERFINGER CAKE

Ingredients
1 angel food cake, crumbled
1/2 cup unsalted butter
4 egg yolks
2 cups confectioners sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
16 ounces Cool Whip, thawed slightly
8 large Butterfinger candy bars

Directions
Freeze Butterfinger candy bars in wrappers for at least two hours.
Crush bars (while in wrappers) using rolling pin.
Cream butter, egg yolks, sugar and vanilla and add Cool Whip.
In a 9 x 13 inch pan layer half of angel food cake; layer half of Cool Whip mixture; then layer of half of crushed candy bars; repeat. Keep refrigerated.

IF YOU WANT TO OMIT EGG YOLKS, SUBSTITUTE A SMALL PACKAGE OF INSTANT VANILLA PUDDING MIXED ACCORDING TO DIRECTIONS.

II. MILKY WAY BAR CAKE
Adapted from M&M/MARS. You can substitute other candy in place of Milky Way Bars... depending on what you have left over.

Ingredients
1 to 2 Tbsp vegetable shortening
1/4 cup finely chopped nuts
15 bite-size (mini) Milky Way bars
1 cup low-fat buttermilk, plain yogurt or sour cream, divided
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
4 eggs

GLAZE
5 bite-size Milky Way bars
2 Tbsp sweet butter
2 tsp water

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 12-cup Bundt pan or 10-inch tube pan with shortening. Sprinkle coated pan with nuts; set aside.
In heavy medium saucepan over low heat, melt candy bars with 1/4 cup of buttermilk, stirring often until mixture is smooth.
In medium mixing bowl, combine flour, salt and baking soda. In large mixing bowl, beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Blend in vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Add flour mixture alternately with remaining 3/4 cup of buttermilk, mixing just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Then, blend in melted candy bar mixture until thoroughly incorporated.
Spoon  batter into prepared Bundt pan. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from toven and cool 10 minutes. Invert onto wire rack and cool completely.

To Prepare Glaze: Melt candy bars with the butter and water until mixture is smooth. Drizzle glaze over cooled cake.

3. CRAZY HALLOWEEN BLONDIES
recipe from TasteofHome

Ingredients
1 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 cups packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup chopped pecans, divided
2/3 cup milk chocolate M&M's, divided
2/3 cup chopped candy corn, divided
2/3 cup coarsely chopped miniature pretzels, divided
2/3 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips, divided
2/3 cup butterscotch chips, divided
1 jar (12 ounces) hot caramel ice cream topping

Directions 
Preheat oven to 375°.
Line13 x 9 inch baking pan with parchment paper, letting ends extend up sides; grease paper. In large bowl, beat melted butter and brown sugar until blended. Beat in eggs and vanilla.
In large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and salt; gradually add to brown sugar mixture, mixing well. Stir in half of pecans, M&M's, candy corn, pretzels, chocolate chips, and butterscotch chips. Spread into prepared pan.
Bake 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.
Spread caramel topping over bars; sprinkle with remaining pecans, M&M's, candy corn, pretzels, chocolate chips and butterscotch chips.
Lifting with parchment paper, remove from pan. Cut into bars.
***
Still want to make something? Cakespy suggests Deep Frying your Halloween Candy... be still my heart. Literally!

Thursday, October 31, 2019

RETRO HALLOWEEN CANDY ADS!

Every year I post Retro Halloween Chocolate Ads. Trick or Treat! What's your favorite?











HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

HAUNTED SKULL DARK CHOCOLATE CAKES

I love Nordicware pans. So creative in shapes and sizes. Not surprisingly the Skull Cakepans are favorites. I particularly like the Skull Cakelette Pan...and Nordicware has a great recipe for Haunted Skull Dark Chocolate Cakes on its website that works well with this pan! Dark Chocolate Skull Cakes are perfect for Halloween!

HAUNTED SKULL DARK CHOCOLATE CAKES

Ingredients 

For cakeletes: 
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cake flour
1 cup extra-dark cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon orange extract
1/2 teaspoon Fiori di Sicila
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon black food color, if desired

Chocolate Glaze:
3.5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup heavy cream

Directions
Preheat oven to 325°F. 
Prepare Skull Cakelet pan with baking spray or brush with butter and dust with cocoa.
Whisk flours, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt together.
In separate bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix butter and sugars together until creamy and lightened, about 2-3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each. Add extracts. Put mixer on low speed and add buttermilk alternately with  dry ingredients in 4 additions. Mix until smooth. Add black food color to desired shade if using.
Fill pan no more than 3/4 full in each well. Tap pan on top of a cutting board covered with heavy kitchen towel to evenly distribute batter and eliminate air bubbles from batter.
Bake for 30-35 minutes.
Allow cakelets to cool in pan 5-8 minutes before inverting onto cooling rack. Repeat with remaining batter.

***

Prepare glaze by adding chocolate to heat-proof bowl. Warm cream until just beginning to steam and pour over chocolate, stirring with spatula to incorporate while chocolate melts. When all chocolate has melted, pour over cooled cakeletes.
Garnish as desired with candy decorations or decorating sprinkles.
Makes 12 cakes.


Monday, October 28, 2019

HALLOWEEN OREO BROWNIES!

I love seasonal Oreos, and Halloween Oreos are so much fun! You can use them in lots of ways including as a cookie crust for your favorite Pumpkin Cheesecake or in the following two recipes for Halloween Oreo Brownies...or just eat them straight from the bag! Orange and black, the colors of Halloween! 

1. Easy Halloween Oreo Brownies
I use the Ghirardelli Double Chocolate Brownie Mix and crumble about 15 cookies into the mix.

2. Halloween Oreo Brownies
This recipe is no-fail and delicious. It's a double recipe, so be sure you have a lot of goblins around to eat these up! As always use the very best ingredients.

Ingredients
1 lb sweet butter
1 lb semisweet chocolate chips
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate -- chopped
6 eggs
3 Tbsp instant coffee granules
2 Tbsp Madagascar vanilla
2-1/4 cups sugar
1-1/4 cup flour -- divided
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
50 Halloween Oreos  (4 cups chopped)

Directions
Arrange rack in middle of oven and preheat to 350.
Butter and flour 11 1/2" x 17 1/4" x 1" baking pan. (or make in two 9x9 pans)
In heatproof medium bowl set over saucepan of simmering water, heat butter, chocolate chips and unsweetened chocolate until melted and smooth. Allow to cool slightly.
In large bowl, whisk eggs, coffee, vanilla and sugar. Blend chocolate mixture into egg mixture; cool to room temperature.
In medium bowl, sift together one cup flour, baking powder and salt. Add flour mixture to chocolate mixture.
In small bowl, stir Oreos and remaining 1/4 cup flour. Add Oreo mixture to chocolate mixture. Pour batter into baking pan and smooth top with a rubber spatula.
Bake 35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean; do not overbake.
Allow to cool. Refrigerate, tightly wrapped, until cold; cut into squares.

Adapted from Cooking Light and "O" Magazine recipe by Ina Garten

Saturday, October 26, 2019

CHOCOLATE PUMPKIN COCKTAILS: National Pumpkin Day

Today is National Pumpkin Day. I've been posting a lot of pumpkin recipes for Halloween, mostly for baked goods. But since there are so many pumpkin liqueurs on the market at this time of year, I thought I'd post some Chocolate Pumpkin Cocktails.

It's my opinion that pumpkin needs chocolate, so I put together three recipes for Chocolate Pumpkin Cocktail recipes for Halloween. These can be served all through the Fall, as well as today for National Pumpkin Day! The first two recipes call for Pumpkin Liqueur, but the last one uses other liqueurs and some pumpkin spice.

CHOCOLATE PUMPKIN COCKTAIL

3 ounces Pumpkin Liqueur
Chocolate (melted)

Shake pumpkin liqueur with ice in cocktail shaker.
Strain into chilled cocktail glass.
Slowly add melted chocolate to glass.

WHITE CHOCOLATE PUMPKIN MARTINI

Godiva White Chocolate Liqueur
2 ounces Vanilla Vodka
1/2 ounces Pumpkin Liqueur
1 tsp whipped cream

Pour white chocolate liqueur, vodka, and pumpkin liqueur into shaker filled with ice.
Shake. Pour into martini glass. Optional: Add whipped cream.

CHOCOLATE PUMPKIN MARTINI

3/4 ounce Vanilla Vodka
1/2 ounce Bailey's
1/2 ounce Kahlua
1/2 ounce Crème de Cacao
1/4 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
Pinch cayenne pepper
Ice cubes

In cocktail shaker, combine Vanilla Vodka, Bailey's, Kahlua & Crème de Cacao, Pumpkin Pie Spice, and cayenne pepper. Add ice; cover and shake until very cold. Strain into chilled martini glass.

Friday, October 25, 2019

PUMPKIN CHOCOLATE CHIP MUFFINS: National Pumpkin Day

Tomorrow is National Pumpkin Day, but why not get a jump on the holiday! October is all about Pumpkins. Here's an easy recipe for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins from allrecipes.com.

I use a natural pumpkin puree that I always have in the pantry for doggie stomach upsets (pumpkin is good for dogs), but you can use Libby's if that's what you have..or pumpkin puree you make yourself if you've already started carving your pumpkins.

As always, use the best chocolate chips--and make sure your oil is fresh. These Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins are a great way to start the day on a brisk morning!


Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Ingredients
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips 

Directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Grease and flour muffin pan or use paper liners.
Mix sugar, oil, eggs. Add pumpkin and water.
In separate bowl mix together the baking flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices, and salt.
Add wet mixture and stir in chocolate chips.
Fill muffin cups 2/3 full with batter.
Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

HALLOWEEN PEEPS CHOCOLATE MOUSSE IN A JAR!

O.K. you know I'm a sucker for PEEPS. They may not be the healthiest of treats for Halloween, but I love that PEEPS are made for different holidays. So many shapes and flavors.  Here's one of my favorite recipes for Halloween: PEEPS Chocolate Mousse in a Jar. This was developed by LovefromtheOven for PEEPS. So easy and pretty! You can top these Chocolate Mousse Dessert Jars with the PEEPS of your choice, but aren't these Halloween chicks perfect?

PEEPS CHOCOLATE MOUSSE IN A JAR!
from PEEPS recipes

Ingredients
One package of PEEPS Chocolate Flavored Mousse Cats
PEEPS of your choice for garnish
Two 8 oz containers of whipped topping
One cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
One Tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup chocolate cookie crumbs (I like Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers)
Four ramekins, cups or jars for serving (large mouth if you want to put a PEEP on top!

Directions
In microwave safe bowl (or in pan over simmering water) combine chocolate chips, butter and two PEEPS Chocolate Flavored Mousse Cats. 
Microwave on 50% power for 30 seconds, remove to stir. Continue to microwave in 15 second increments until chocolate ship and PEEPS have melted. Stir to combine. The mixture will be very thick. Allow mixture to cool for five minutes.
In large bowl, combine 8oz container of whipped topping and melted chocolate mix. Mix with electric mixer on low until well combined. Set aside.
In ramekins, cups or jars, sprinkle 1/4 cup of cookie crumbs on bottom of container. Gently spoon 1/4 of chocolate mousse mixture into each container, on top of cookie crumbs.
Top with additional whipped topping.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Just before serving top each mousse cup with a Marshmallow PEEP of your choice.

Other Halloween PEEPS.

What are you making with PEEPS?

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

BOSTON CREAM PIE: National Boston Cream Pie Day!

Today is National Boston Cream Pie Day. Boston Cream Pie is a round cake that is split and filled with a custard or cream filling and frosted with chocolate. Not exactly your standard pie, but it's been around since 1855 or 1856 (two different sources with different dates).

According to Wikipedia, Boston Cream Pies were created by French Chef M. Sanzian at Boston's Parker House Hotel, opened in 1855. This pudding/cake combination comprises two layers of sponge cake filled with vanilla custard or crème pâtissière. The cake was topped with a chocolate glaze (such as ganache) and sometimes confectioner's sugar or a cherry. The cherry and sugar topping is rarely used any more.

The real question is why this is called a pie? It's a cake, after all -- two layers of yellow cake filled with custard and topped with chocolate frosting. Suggestions on why it's called pie are welcome. And here's an esoteric fact: Boston cream pie is the official desert of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. 

This Retro Ad (3/29/68) from Jello-O Pudding has a quick and easy recipe for Boston Cream Pie. I really prefer making the cake, filling, and ganache from scratch. You know I'm a sucker for good chocolate which for me will make or break the taste of a good Boston Cream Pie. However, if you don't have time, I've posted the Jell-O Pudding Boston Cream Pie recipe below.

I. BOSTON CREAM PIE FROM SCRATCH

Ingredients
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sifted cake flour
2/3 cup sugar
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup cooking oil
2 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla
2 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
Pastry cream, recipe follows
Ganache, recipe follows

Pastry Cream Filling
2 cups milk
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped out
6 egg yolks
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 Tbsp unsalted butter

Ganache
8 ounces good quality semisweet chocolate
1 cup heavy cream, boiling

Directions

Cake
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In medium mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Make well in center of flour mixture. Add milk, oil, egg yolks, and vanilla. Beat with electric mixer on low to medium speed until combined. Beat additional 3 minutes on high speed and set aside.

In large mixing bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar on medium to high speed until soft peaks form. Pour egg yolk mixture over egg white mixture and fold in. Gently pour batter into 9-inch greased pie pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched. Invert pan onto wire rack. Cool completely.

Pastry Cream Filling
In medium saucepan, heat milk and vanilla bean to boil over medium heat. Immediately turn off heat and set aside to infuse for 10 to 15 minutes. In bowl, whisk egg yolks and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add cornstarch and whisk vigorously until no lumps remain. Whisk in 1/4 cup of the hot milk mixture until incorporated. Whisk in remaining hot milk mixture, reserving empty saucepan.

Pour mixture through strainer back into saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until thickened and slowly boiling. Remove from heat and stir in  butter. Let cool slightly. Cover with plastic wrap, lightly pressing  plastic against surface to prevent skin from forming. Chill at least 2 hours or until ready to serve. (Custard can be made up to 24 hours in advance. Refrigerate until 1 hour before using.)

Ganache
In medium bowl, pour boiling cream over chopped chocolate and stir until melted.

To assemble pie
Remove cake from pan. Cut cake in half horizontally. Place bottom layer on serving plate or board, and spread with pastry cream. Top with second cake layer. Pour chocolate ganache over and down sides of cake. Store in refrigerator.

II. Jell-O Pudding Boston Cream Pie