Tuesday, April 30, 2019

OATMEAL RAISIN CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES: National Oatmeal Cookie Day // National Raisin Day

Today we celebrate two food holidays: Oatmeal Cookie Day and Raisin Day. Put the two holidays and their ingredients together, add Chocolate Chips, and make these delicious Oatmeal Raisin Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies.

OATMEAL RAISIN WALNUT CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup ground walnuts (can grind in blender)
1 cup old fashioned oats
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup raisins

Directions
In small bowl mix flour, baking soda, and cinnamon.
In large mixing bowl beat butter, and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla.
At low speed, beat in flour mixture until blended.
Fold in ground walnuts, oats, chocolate chips (or pieces) and raisins.
Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350.
Grease 2 baking sheets.
Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place balls 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Flatten each cookie slightly
Bake cookies until lightly browned around the edges, 10 to 12 minutes.
Transfer to flattened brown paper bags or wire racks to cool.

Tip: Dough also freezes well. Freeze dough balls on a cookie sheet and then put them in a ziploc bag in the freezer until ready to bake!

Monday, April 29, 2019

15 MINUTE CHOCOLATE - BANANA CREAM PIE

I just love older Food Ads with Recipes. Here's a not quite Retro Keebler Ad from 1994 As always, you can make your own ingredients from scratch, butit will take more than 15 minutes! This recipe uses a Chocolate "Ready Crust" from Keebler.

Keebler 15-minute Chocolate-Banana Cream Pie recipe

Ingredients
1 Keebler Ready-Crust Chocolate Pie Crust
1 package (4-serving size) instant vanilla pudding and pie filling
1 envelope (1-1/2 ounces) whipped topping mix
1-1/2 cups cold milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 medium bananas

Directions
ln mixing bowl, combine pie filling mix. whipped topping mix, milk and vanilla on low-speed of electric mixer until blended. Increase speed and beat until very thick, about 3 minutes.
Pour one-third of mixture into crust. Layer slices of banana on top, reserving 1/2 banana for garnish. Pour remaining filling into crust. Chill 2 hours.
Garnish with sliced banana and additional whipped topping, if desired.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

BLUEBERRY CHOCOLATE PIE: National Blueberry Pie Day

I absolutely adore blueberries. When I was young, my Aunt Annie used to take us blueberry picking in the woods. It was such a treat. We'd return to the farm covered in blueberry juice, our mouths and teeth stained with the dark blue liquid. I remember those blueberries as the sweetest I've ever tasted.

Since today is Blueberry Pie Day, I thought I'd post a new recipe for Blueberry-Chocolate Pie, because this is a Chocolate Blog, after all. I've posted other Blueberry Chocolate Pie recipes, but this recipe from Better Homes & Gardens is special because it also features a Cookie Dough Crust. Of course, you can substitute a chocolate cookie crust if you'd like more chocolate. This is a great recipe for Memorial Day and Fourth of July, so be sure and save or bookmark it!

BLUEBERRY CHOCOLATE PIE

Ingredients
1 Recipe Sour Cream Cookie Dough
1 cup semisweet chocolate pieces
1 egg
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 Tbsp all-purpose Flour
1 lemon, juiced
6 cups fresh blueberries

Directions 
Preheat oven to 450°F. Prepare Sour Cream Cookie Dough. Roll half of dough to a 12-inch circle on a well-floured surface. Line 9-inch pie plate with dough. Trim and flute edge. Line with double thickness of foil. Bake for 8 minutes; carefully remove foil. Bake 3 to 4 minutes more or until golden. Remove; Sprinkle with chocolate pieces and set aside.

Reduce oven to 375°F. Roll remaining dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut into star shapes using assorted-size cutters. In small bowl whisk together egg and 1 tablespoon water. Arrange cutouts 2 inches apart on parchment paper-lined cookie sheets. Brush cutouts with egg mixture. Bake for 7 to 9 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Remove and cool on a wire rack.

For filling, in large saucepan stir together the sugar, flour, and lemon juice. Add 4 cups of the blueberries. Cook and stir over medium heat until just thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat. Stir in remaining berries. Pour into crust. Bake for 10 minutes just until berries are heated through, covering edge of pie with foil, if necessary to prevent overbrowning. Remove to a wire rack. Top with cookie cut outs. Cool completely.

Sour Cream Cookie Dough: 
In large mixing bowl beat 1/2 cup butter, softened, with mixer on medium to high for 30 seconds. Add 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1/8 teaspoon baking soda, and a dash of salt; beat until combined. Add 1 egg yolk, 1/4 cup sour cream, and 1 teaspoon vanilla; beat until combined. Beat in 2 cups all-purpose flour. Divide dough in half; wrap and chill, if necessary, until easy to handle.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

UNDER THE SPREADING CHOCOLATE TREE: Happy Arbor Day

Love this Vintage Whitman's Sampler Advertisement. Who wouldn't want to sit "Under the Spreading Chocolate Tree" on Arbor Day!




Friday, April 26, 2019

CHOCOLATE PIE WITH PRETZEL CRUST: National Pretzel Day

Today is National Pretzel Day. You can celebrate in so many ways. Dip pretzels or pretzel sticks in chocolate, or you can make this Chocolate Pie with Pretzel Crust! No time to make the chocolate filling from scratch? Use a Pudding Box Mix.

CHOCOLATE PIE WITH PRETZEL CRUST

Pretzel Crust

Ingredients
12+ ounces pretzels, crushed
3 Tbsp light brown sugar
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted

Directions
Whirl pretzels in blender, so they're very fine. Add sugar and butter. Mix. Press half of mixture into 9-inch pie plate. Bake at 350 for 8 minutes. Cool.

Pour in chocolate filling. Top with remaining pretzel mixture. Chill.

Chocolate Pie Filling

Ingredients
1/2 cup sugar
4 Tbsp cornstarch
2 1⁄2 cups milk
3 ounces dark chocolate (70-75% cacoa), chopped
3 egg yolks, slightly beaten
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Directions
Combine sugar, cornstarch, milk, and chocolate in top of double boiler. Cook over boiling water until mixture thickens, stirring constantly. Cover and cook for 15 minutes. Stir a bit of hot chocolate mixture into egg yolks in order to temper eggs and keep them from curdling. Add tempered yolks to chocolate mixture, stirring constantly and thoroughly. Cool mixture. Add vanilla extract to chocolate and mix thoroughly. Pour chocolate filling into cooled pretzel crust. Top with remaining pretzel mixture. Chill before serving.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

ZUCCHINI CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES: National Zucchini Day

Today is National Zucchini Day. Now, you might be wondering why it's Zucchini Day in April rather than August when the zucchini crop is so abundant. Never fear. Today is one of two Zucchini food holidays. There is another on August 8. Of course, any Zucchini Day holiday will be best celebrated with Chocolate.

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread with Pistachios
Geeky Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

White Chocolate Walnut Zucchini Bread

Chocolate Chunk Zucchini Bread

Chocolate Zucchini Cake


So here in honor of the Zucchini Day holiday, here is my go-to recipe for Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookies!

This recipe is from Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life (2007) by Barbara Kingsolver with Steven L. Hopp and Camille Kingsolver. I've added walnuts, because I like a little crunch.  This book should be a staple on your shelf. It's part memoir, part journalistic investigation. It tells the story of how the family was changed by one year of deliberately eating food produced in the place where they live. Barbara Kingsolver wrote the central narrative; Steven Hopp's sidebars explore various aspects of food-production science and industry; Camille Kingsolver's brief essays offer a nineteen-year-old's perspective on the local-food project, plus nutritional information, meal plans and most importantly for this blog, the recipes. There's also a Zucchini Season Meal Plan in the book. The recipes are all fabulous, and here is the recipe for Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookies. As I mentioned, I added walnuts for extra crunch.

Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup honey
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Combine in large bowl

1 cup white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
Combine in a separate, small bowl and blend into liquid mixture

1 cup finely shredded zucchini
12 oz chocolate chips
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
Stir these into other ingredients, mix well. Drop by spoonful onto greased baking
sheet, and flatten with the back of a spoon. Bake at 350F degrees, 10 to 15 minutes.


How easy is this? And delicious...



Wednesday, April 24, 2019

NATIONAL JELLY BEAN DAY! Make it Chocolate!

Frank Price & Jelly Belly
Yesterday was National Jelly Bean Day, but since it was also Cherry Cheesecake Day, I didn't get to post about Jelly Beans. My favorite jelly beans are Jelly Bellies! I love all the flavors, especially the Jelly Belly Chocolate Covered Jelly Beans. The Jelly Belly Chocolate Dips are gourmet jelly beans covered in dark chocolate. Flavors include Very Cherry, Raspberry, Strawberry, Coconut, and Orange. Jelly Belly Chocolate Dips are gluten-free, gelatin-free and certified OU Dairy Kosher. My favorite is the Very Cherry. Just an FYI, there is no hard candy shell on the actual jelly bean center, so the chocolate covered jelly beans are the same size as regular jelly beans. This chocolate jelly bean has a real chocolate aroma and a nice mouth-feel.

If you want more of a 'plain' chocolate Jelly Bean, try the Chocolate Pudding Jelly Belly.

I love to take young out-of-towners to the Jelly Belly Factory in Fairfield, CA. There you can see jelly bellies being made, tour the art exhibit, stop by the soda fountain, buy jelly bellies, and much more. When I first went to the factory, it was more open and low key. Now it's a bit more sterile and everything is behind glass walls. I'm sure that's better for production, safety, and quality, but I preferred the old way. Kind of like the Hershey Factory tours when I was little. I was sure someone would fall in a vat, and maybe they did. That was pre Willy Wonka.

I don't bake with jelly beans, and, if truth be told, they're not in my pantry. But there's always a time and a place for them, especially on National Jelly Bean Day. So here are some 'recipes' from the Jelly Belly website for combining flavors. Great Fun!

Jelly Belly California Grizzly Painting


Tuesday, April 23, 2019

CHOCOLATE CHERRY CHEESECAKE BUNDT CAKE

Today is National Cherry Cheesecake Day, and to celebrate what could be prettier and easier than a Cherry Cheesecake Chocolate Bundt Cake? This recipe is from TipHero in partnership with Food Network. Originally this was posted for the Christmas holidays, but it's so good, it's perfect any time...AND especially on Cherry Cheesecake Day!

CHOCOLATE CHERRY CHEESECAKE BUNDT CAKE

Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
1-½ cups granulated sugar
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup water
6 oz unsalted butter
1/3 cup cocoa powder, preferably Dutch-processed
1 heaping Tbsp. espresso powder
6 oz bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1-1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
16 jumbo maraschino cherries, drained
3/4 cup cherry pie filling

CHEESECAKE FILLING
2 – 8 oz. packages cream cheese
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 egg

GLAZE 
1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1-2 Tbsp. milk

Directions
Preheat oven to 350℉ / 175℃. Spray 10-12 cup Bundt pan generously with baking spray with flour. Set aside.

CAKE
In large bowl combine the flour, granulated sugar, salt, and baking soda. Whisk until fully blended.
In small saucepan, combine water and 6 oz. butter. Place over medium heat and cook until butter has melted. Add cocoa and espresso powders and whisk until no lumps remain. Add chocolate chips and continue stirring until completely melted and the sauce is smooth. Remove from heat.
Add chocolate sauce to the dry ingredients, then whisk until just combined. Blend in sour cream. Add eggs and vanilla, then mix until fully combined, making sure not to over-mix the batter.

CHEESECAKE FILLING
In a medium bowl with a hand mixer, beat cream cheese, granulated sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add flour and egg and beat until smooth.

ASSEMBLY 
Evenly, pour 1-½ Tbsp. melted butter into the bottom of the prepared Bundt pan. Evenly, sprinkle 2 Tbsp. brown sugar on top of the melted butter. Place 2 maraschino cherries each into the larger grooves of the Bundt pan.

Pour ¾ of the prepared cake batter on top of the cherries. With a large spoon, evenly spoon the cheesecake filling into the center of the batter, not allowing it to touch the sides of the pan. Spoon cherry pie filling on top of the cheesecake filling, again not allowing it to touch the sides of the pan. Pour remaining cake batter over the filling.

Bake 50 – 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool cake on a rack for 10 minutes, then flip cake out of pan and cool completely.

GLAZE ​
Once cake has cooled, prepare the glaze. In a large bowl, combine confectioners’ sugar and milk, whisk until smooth. Drizzle cake with glaze. Allow glaze to set and serve.

FYI: I don't make the glaze. It's sweet enough. It does look pretty, though, so it's your choice.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Cartoon of the Day: The Next Day


POTTED CHOCOLATE DIRT PUDDING: Earth Day

Earth Day! Celebrate with this simple and fun recipe. Make some home-made chocolate pudding or pudding from a box, crush some oreos on top, and stick in a sprig of mint! I use either clay pots (make sure they're clean) or glass mason jars. Use paper cups if that's all you have. Talk about easy! And cute, too! You can swap out mint extract for vanilla if you want chocolate mint pudding! Very versatile.

Celebrate Earth Day! It's the only Earth we have!

Want to make your own chocolate pudding?

Potted Chocolate Dirt Pudding

Ingredients
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
3 Tbsp cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
2-1/4 cups whole milk
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract  (or mint extract)
Oreos
Mint sprigs

Directions
Stir together sugar, cocoa, cornstarch, and salt in medium saucepan; gradually stir in milk.
Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils; boil and stir 1 minute.
Remove from heat; stir in butter and vanilla. Pour into individual pots or jars.
Let cool or refrigerate.
Top with crushed Oreos.
Stick spring of mint into each individual pot.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

WHAT TO DO WITH LEFT-OVER EASTER CHOCOLATE


Today and tomorrow both high end and low end Easter Chocolate is on sale at 50% off. This is the perfect time to scoop up the bargains. But maybe you still have some leftover chocolate at home? Perhaps not the ears of the bunny, but body parts and decimated eggs? Put all that chocolate to tasty use!

If it's still in its wrapping, donate leftover chocolate to homeless shelters -- or if it won't melt, ship overseas to military personnel.

But if your chocolate is in pieces and chunks, here are a few ideas. Leftover chocolate goes great on ice cream or added to brownies and cookies. So many creative ways to re-purpose and re-savor Easter Candy. Feel free to add your own leftover Easter chocolate ideas!

Freeze for Later: Chop up chocolate bunnies and chocolate eggs. Freeze the pieces and use instead of chocolate chips in cookies and other goodies. 

Ice Cream: Melt Easter bunny parts and pour over ice cream. Add some nuts. Or just chop it up and sprinkle on ice cream. Add berries and whipped cream for a great sundae.


Milk Shake: Use any chopped chocolate with two scoops of ice cream and some milk. Blend!

S'Mores: Well they're a natural with Peeps, especially the chocolate covered ones.. but in a pinch add some chocolate bunny, a peep, a graham cracker, and put in the oven or microwave. Add another graham cracker and you're good to go!

Trail Mix: Well, duh... chop up the chocolate and add some dried fruit and nuts. I think a chopped up chocolate coconut egg would be a great addition, too! Put it in a small baggie and go for a hike!

Chocolate Covered Strawberries: Instead of dipping (unless you have a lot of chocolate), drizzle melted chocolate over fresh strawberries.

Candy from Candy: Melt Chocolate Bunnies or Easter eggs in double boiler or microwave. Once  chocolate is hot and smooth, pour into candy molds.

Chocolate Fondue: see my fondue recipes. The Bunny has never tasted so good... Retro treat with Retro Chocolate. Dip leftover PEEPS and fruit.

Hot Chocolate: Melt some chocolate. Add water or milk and heat until perfect. Add some whipped cream (or a PEEP)!

Brownies: I always add some extra chopped chocolate to my brownies, so why not some Chocolate Easter Eggs? Chop and fold into batter. 

Pancakes: Make a batch of pancakes and drop some chocolate in (do it toward the end or the chocolate or chocolate will scorch) or melt some chocolate and use in place of syrup.

Muffins and Waffles: Chop up Chocolate and add to muffins or waffles.

Trifle: Layer chopped Bunnies with leftover cake or brownies, whipped cream, cookie crumbs and anything else that seems yummy to you. I like to make trifles in clear glass containers to see all the layers of delicious chocolate goodness!

Cookies: Do I really need to tell you how to do this? Chop and Drop in your favorite batter!

Cupcakes: Any way you'd use chocolate -- or use an apple corer and fill the centers.

Rice Krispies Treats: Melt chocolate, then stir in Rice Krispies. Spread on a tray. Put in Refrigerator. Cut.

Any other ideas for left-over Easter Chocolate?


S'MORES MARTINIS for NATIONAL PARK WEEK

Celebrate National Park Week 2019 from April 20 to 28! Parks across the country will host a variety of special programs and events. Special days during the week to highlight the different ways you can enjoy your national parks.

So what could be better to toast National Park Week than a S'mores Martini? Here are two recipes for an adult version of S'mores: S'mores Martinis.

Just a bit of history. If you're not familiar with s'mores, they're made by sandwiching a toasted marshmallow and a piece of chocolate in between two graham crackers. The name S'mores (alternatively Smores) comes from the two words "some more," because everyone always want s'more. This American treat was developed by the Girl Scouts in the early part of the 20th century, making use of the newly mass-produced marshmallow. Marshmallows were easy to transport, as were candy bars and graham crackers, and the marshmallows could be toasted over a fire to make a fabulous campfire treat in a situation where other types of sweets would have been difficult to come by. Of course, the quality of the chocolate and marshmallow, and even the graham crackers (if you make your own) will vary, but S'mores aren't about haute cuisine, at least not at my house.

So this week in honor of our National Parks, Drink Your S'mores! Both S'mores Martini recipes make four glasses. First recipe adapted from MyFind. Second recipe adapted from the Evite Blog. Let me know which you like best!

1. S'MORES MARTINI

2 oz Chocolate Vodka
2 oz Bailey’s Irish Cream
2 oz Cream de Cacao
2 oz Vanilla Vodka
2 oz Heavy Cream
Graham Crackers, Crushed
Chocolate Syrup
12 toasted mini marshmallows or 4 large marshmallows (use a kitchen torch or skewer and hold over flame)

Dip rim of 4 martini glasses in chocolate syrup and then into crushed graham crackers. Chill glasses in freezer.
Pour all remaining ingredients except marshmallows into martini shaker filled with ice and shake until well blended. Strain and pour into chilled glasses.
Skewer toasted marshmallows on cocktail stick and place across rim.

2. S'MORES MARTINI

8 oz vodka
2 ozs chocolate liqueur
Graham crackers
Marshmallow creme (Marshmallow Fluff)
Miniature marshmallows

Pour vodka and chocolate liqueur into pitcher and stir. Refrigerate for several hours until mixture is very cold.
Put crushed graham crackers in small bowl.
Lightly coat rims of martini glasses with marshmallow creme (marshmallow fluff).
Dip each glass into bowl of graham cracker crumbs. Shake bowl gently to cover marshmallow creme with crumbs.
Put prepared glasses in freezer.
Skewer and Toast marshmallows over open fire or with kitchen blowtorch.
Pour drink mixture into 4 prepared glasses. Add skewered toasted marshmallows for garnish.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

CHOCOLATE ORANGE HOT CROSS BUNS for Easter

A few years ago Jo Pratt posted this recipe for Chocolate Orange Hot Cross Buns - an Easter Recipe -- on the Mailonline. If you want to make hot cross buns and add chocolate without making a chocolate bun, you can make regular hot cross buns and add chocolate chips instead of raisins. But give this one a try. I've converted the measurements from the U.K. to the U.S. If you want to check out the original recipe with UK measurements, go HERE. Makes 12 buns.


CHOCOLATE ORANGE HOT CROSS BUNS

Ingredients
1/2 cup milk
4 Tbsp superfine sugar (castor sugar)
5 Tbsp unsalted butter
3 1/2 cups white flour
4 tsp dark cocoa powder
1 tsp mixed spice  (combo of allspice, cinnamon, clove, coriander, ginger and nutmeg)
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 Tbsp chopped mixed peel (candied citrus peel)*
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
1 3/4 fast action dried yeast
1/2 cup or 4 ounces dark chocolate, chopped, or chocolate chips
1 egg, beaten
Flour for dusting

For the Crosses and Glaze
1/4 cup white flour
1 Tbsp sunflower oil
2-3 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp orange juice
2 Tbsp caster sugar

Directions
Place milk in saucepan over low heat. Just before it boils, remove from heat and stir in sugar and butter, until dissolved. Add 1/4 cold water and leave to cool down until you can comfortably hold your finger in it for a few seconds.

Sift together flour, cocoa, mixed spice (if you're using it), and salt in large bowl and stir in mixed peel, orange zest, and yeast. Make a well in center and pour in warm milk mixture and beaten egg. Mix together until you have a sticky dough. Add chocolate chips or chopped chocolate, and knead on a floured surface for 8-10 minutes until smooth and elastic.

Place dough in large, lightly oiled bowl, cover with damp tea towel and leave to rise in  warm place for about 1 hour, or until doubled in volume. Punch dough and knead for a couple of minutes. Divide into 12 pieces and shape into buns.

Place on greased baking sheets, leaving enough space between each for rising. Cover with tea towel and leave to rise again until doubled in size – about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 F.

For glaze, mix flour and oil with 2-3 Tbsp water until smooth.

Lightly cut cross in center of each of buns with knife to mark out your crosses. Using piping bag (or  plastic bag with corner snipped off), pipe on crosses. Cook buns for 15-18 minutes until golden and sound hollow when tapped underneath.

Place orange juice and sugar in small pan, and gently heat until sugar dissolves. As soon as  buns are out of oven, brush with glaze and leave to cool slightly on wire rack before serving warm.


Friday, April 19, 2019

EASTER PEEPS: Bunnies & Chicks, Oh My!

"Are You My Mother?"
Of all my childhood Spring Confection memories, PEEPS stand out. My sister and I still buy each other PEEPS around Easter, although she rarely eats the sugary marshmallow-y creatures any more. She buys me purple rabbits; I buy her classic yellow chicks --the original PEEPS. You see where this is going? I'm a purist, but since this is a Chocolate Blog, I've made room in my Easter PEEPS inventory for Chocolate PEEPS.

So, PEEPS: You either love them or hate them. People do all sorts of things with PEEPS, only some of which involve giving them to kids at Easter or eating them straight from the box. For me, it's the elastic quality of the "old" PEEPS that's fun for me--pulling them apart.
Chocolate PEEPS Bunnies off to work in the fields

Chocolate: The ultimate in the ever improving PEEPS. Chocolate-Covered PEEPS are available from the original company in both Dark and Milk chocolate. These are not the small peeps packed together in rows. No, these Chocolate Peeps come in individually wrapped packages, as well as in a three pack. Sadly, in the big ones, the cool sparkly coating of sugar is missing, and I think it would have been a nice buffer between the chocolate and marshmallow to make it stand out from the rest of the chocolate marshmallow candy.

However, the Chocolate Dipped PEEPS do have the sugar. I love the three pack of PEEPS Chocolate Dipped Chicks (both dark and milk chocolate), as well as the Dark and Milk Chocolate PEEPS Chocolate Dipped Mousse Flavored Marshmallow Chicks!

I'm a fan of Chocolate Eggs, and PEEPS has a very fun individually boxed hollow milk chocolate egg with a PEEP chick inside. Maybe it's been around for awhile, but I missed it. LOL!

And, just as an aside, Jacques Torres makes fabulous chocolate, and they sell Chocolate-Covered PEEPS. Their name: Chirp'N'Dales. They are adorable. Also, Asher's Chocolates makes Milk and Dark Chocolate Dipped PEEPS.

Other great uses for PEEPS:

1. Make PEEPS S'Mores, especially with the chocolate covered ones.
2. Plop a Chocolate Covered PEEPS down in your Hot Chocolate or Coffee.
3. Decorate cakes or cupcakes with PEEPS.
4. Create Your Own PEEPS Diorama.
5. Bake PEEPS in your brownies!

Want to make your own Chocolate Covered PEEPS using the original PEEPS?

1. Melt some good dark chocolate or milk chocolate (about 16 oz/depending on how many you plan to make)
2. Remove Peeps from package. I would use Chicks since they're the original, but the other shapes (rabbits, etc) work well.
3. Insert a lollipop stick into the Peep. If you're using the chicks, do it the widest way (maybe this is why they're sideways standing up in the packaged ones--and why bunnies work better). 
4. Dip the Peep into the melted chocolate. Two choices: Either cover the entire Peep or just dip one end as you would strawberries. Be sure and let any excess drip off.
5. Put on wax paper covered plate or cookie sheet and freeze for 20 minutes. 

Question? When is a PEEP, not a PEEP? When it's Chocolate-Covered.

Chocolate Dipped Peeps complete the flock!
 

Cartoon of the Day: Nor'Easter


Thursday, April 18, 2019

18-LAYER NO BAKE MATZO S'MORES CAKE for Passover

Here's an easy and delicious Passover dessert that I make every year. I found this recipe on the back of the Manischewitz Matzo Box. What's really funny is that this is a recipe for a No Bake Matzo S'mores Cake. Right up my alley, with a few tweaks! Nothing you can do about replacing the matzo with graham crackers if you're serving this during Passover. However, you can replace the non-dairy whipped topping with marshmallow creme. There are several kosher varieties, including at least one that's kosher for Passover.

Here are some tips, too! 
First, you can half this recipe. How many people are you feeding, after all?
Second, it's easier to prepare each layer separately before stacking.

18-Layer No Bake Matzo S'mores Cake  
Recipe from Back of Manischewitz Matzo Box 

Ingredients:
21 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted in the microwave
2 tsp ground espresso
16-ounce container frozen non-dairy whipped topping, thawed (or substitute Passover Marshmallow Creme-yes, it does exist!)
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp almond extract
1 box (16 oz) Manischewitz Matzo
1/2 cup chopped almonds
White chocolate and fresh berries for garnish (optional)
 
Preparation:
Add ground espresso to melted chocolate; mix well. Set aside.
Using beater attachment of mixer, whip topping as you slowly add sugar and almond extract and form soft peaks.
Separate half whipped topping into another bowl. Add about 1/2 cup of cooled, melted chocolate into one of whipped topping bowls. Gently fold chocolate into topping using rubber spatula.

To Assemble Cake:
Using pastry brush or knife, shmear layer of melted chocolate onto top of each matzo square.
Layer each chocolate covered matzo with whipped topping, alternating between white topping and chocolate topping. Sprinkle chopped almonds over each layer before adding next chocolate covered matzo.
Repeat until you have come to last piece of matzo.
Garnish top of cake with shaved white chocolate, fresh berries and any leftover chopped almonds.

Refrigerate for up to two hours before serving.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

CHOCOLATE SPONGE CAKE for PASSOVER

I have several recipes for Chocolate Sponge Cake for Passover, but this specific Chocolate Sponge Cake is fabulous all year round. And it's gluten-free! It's made with almond flour.

Want to dress it up? Add some whipped cream and fresh berries, cut it in half and fill with a light chocolate buttercream, or cut it up and put it in a trifle. Easy to make and delicious.

A few hints. Fresh Almond flour is readily available where I live, but you can always grind your own. Use a hand grinder (a clean coffee grinder) or blender --not a food processor which could result in oil rather than flour. I've used a blender, and just did this in smaller increments, about 1/2 cup at a time. Almond and chocolate go very well together. Try using different types of chocolate to achieve the flavor you like best. Enjoy!

Because there are so many eggs to separate in this recipe, I use the 'egg trick'. Break all eggs into bowl (yes yolks and whites). Then take an empty water bottle and place the neck near a yolk and squeeze the water bottle. The yolk pops up into the bottle. Then place the water bottle over another bowl and release. So cool! Try with one egg first, just to master this simple task!

CHOCOLATE SPONGE CAKE

Ingredients
7 ounces dark chocolate (60-75% cacao), chopped
10 eggs, separated
3/4 cup white sugar
2 cups ground almonds
Almond Flour

Directions
Melt chocolate in top of double boiler or saucepan over another saucepan of simmering water. Set aside.
Beat egg yolks until thick and lemon colored. Gradually beat in sugar. Blend in chocolate and ground almonds.
Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold whites into chocolate batter.
Spoon batter into ungreased 10 inch Bundt pan or tall springform pan.
Bake at 350 for 1 hour, or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Remove from oven, invert pan, and cool about 40 minutes before removing from pan.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

PEEPS EASTER GARDEN CAKE: Perfect Easter Centerpiece


PEEPS are the candy of my childhood, especially around Easter. So today I thought I'd re-post this darling (and easy) PEEPS Garden Cake. It's a lovely centerpiece for Easter lunch, dinner, or brunch or for any Spring celebration. Recipe is from the PEEPS recipe site. The recipe calls for a Betty Crocker cake mix (since it's originally a Betty Crocker/General Mills Recipe), but you can use your favorite cake mix or your favorite chocolate cake recipe and frosting recipe from scratch.

PEEPS EASTER GARDEN CAKE

Ingredients
1 box Betty Crocker SuperMoist Devil's Food cake mix
Water, oil, and eggs called for on cake mix box
1 container Betty Crocker Rich & Creamy chocolate frosting
1 cup chocolate cookie crumbs  (I use Famous chocolate wafers)
1 can (6.4 oz) Betty Crocker green decorating cake icing
8 to 12 PEEPS® marshmallow bunnies (different colored bunny peeps are fun!)
1 can (6.4 oz) Betty Crocker orange decorating cake icing

Directions
Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 13x9-inch pan with cooking spray.
Make cake as directed on box for 13x9-inch pan. Cool in pan on cooling rack until completely cooled, about 30 minutes.
Spread chocolate frosting on top of cake; sprinkle with chocolate cookie crumbs.
Use green icing to make garden rows, using photo as guide.
Insert toothpick halfway into base of each PEEPS® marshmallow bunny. Insert bunnies, toothpick side down, into cake.
Use orange and green icings to make carrots on cake, using photo as a guide.
Cut into 4 rows by 3 rows to serve.

How easy is this?

Monday, April 15, 2019

CHOCOLATE CHIP COCOA MERINGUES for Passover

Here's a staple to make during Passover. These Chocolate Chip Meringues are easy and tasty and fun to make with children. I always think of Meringues as a little bit of heaven--Light, Airy, and Sweet. You can serve them on a bed of chocolate chips to dress them up for dessert--or just stack them on a platter. Recipe from Allrecipes.com with a few tweaks.

Chocolate Chip Cocoa Meringues

Ingredients
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened DARK premium cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
3 egg whites
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Directions
Preheat oven to 300. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Sift 1/4 cup sugar, cocoa, and salt into small bowl.
In large bowl, beat egg whites with electric mixer until soft peaks begin to form. Mix in remaining 1/4 cup of sugar gradually, and beat until medium-firm peaks form. Sprinkle in cocoa mixture gradually, and continue beating until egg whites are stiff. Fold in mini-chocolate chips.
Drop mixture onto baking sheets by rounded teaspoonfuls, spacing about 1 inch apart.
Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes for crispy cookies. Cool cookies on baking sheets.

Tip: The parchment paper reduces risk of burning bottoms.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

PECAN CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE BRITTLE: National Pecan Day!

Today is National Pecan Day. You can make Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies or a Chocolate Pecan Pie, but for today's food holiday, I'm making Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookie Brittle. Yum! This recipe first appeared in Southern Living in 2007 and is from Oxmoor House.

Who doesn't love a good cookie brittle? Crisp chocolate chip cookies that break into pieces after baking! You can change the taste of this cookie brittle with the type of chocolate mini-chips you use.

PECAN CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE BRITTLE

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup semisweet mini chocolate chips
1 cup pecan pieces, toasted
1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut, toasted

Directions
Combine first 4 ingredients; set aside.
Stir together butter and next 3 ingredients in large bowl; add flour mixture, stirring until smooth. Stir in chocolate chips, pecans, and coconut. (Dough will look crumbly.)
Press dough evenly into lightly greased 15" x 10" jelly-roll pan, pressing almost to edges.
Bake at 350° for 19 minutes or until lightly browned and cookie "slab" seems crisp. Cool completely in pan.
Break cookie into pieces.

Note: You can toast pecan pieces and coconut in the same pan at 350° for 8 minutes.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

FLOURLESS CHOCOLATE WALNUT COOKIES for PASSOVER

These Flourless Chocolate Walnut Cookies are perfect for Passover--or for anyone who's looking for a great Gluten-Free chocolate cookie.

Top pastry chef Francois Payard makes keeping kosher for Passover look easy, offering a range of non-leavened, grain-free desserts for the holiday. As always the quality depends on the cocoa! Thanks, Chef Francois, for the recipe and photo!

Flourless Chocolate Walnut Cookies

Makes about twelve 4-inch cookies

Ingredients
1/2 cup plus 3 Tbsp Dutch-process cocoa powder
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
Pinch of salt
2-3/4 cups walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
4 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Directions
Place racks in upper and bottom thirds of oven and preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

Combine cocoa powder, confectioners’ sugar, salt, and walnuts in bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Mix on low speed for 1 minute.

With mixer running, slowly add egg whites and vanilla. Mix on medium speed for 3 minutes, until mixture has slightly thickened. Do not overmix or egg whites will thicken too much.

With  2-ounce cookie or ice cream scoop or generous tablespoon, scoop batter onto prepared baking sheet, to make cookies that are 4 inches in diameter. Scoop 5 cookies on each pan, about 3 inches apart so they don’t stick when they spread. If you have extra batter, wait until first batch of cookies is baked before scooping next batch.

Put cookies in oven, and immediately lower temperature to 320°F. Bake for 14 to 16 minutes, or until small thin cracks appear on surface of cookies. Switch pans halfway through baking. Pull  parchment paper with cookies onto wire cooling rack, and let cool completely before removing cookies from paper. Store in airtight container up to 2 days.

***

François Payard is a third generation pastry chef, who, after honing his skills by his family’s side and in the finest pastry kitchens in France, moved to New York where he was named “Pastry Chef of the Year” by the James Beard Foundation. Francois Payard has won numerous awards, such as the “Ordre du Mérite Agricole” by the French Government in 2004, he became a member of Relais Desserts International in 2006, an association of the 85 best pastry chefs in the world and in 2010 received the Dom Perignon Award of Excellence. 

Not just a chef, François is also the author of the popular cookbooks Bite Size: Elegant Recipes for Entertaining, Simply Sensational Desserts and Chocolate Epiphany: Exceptional Cookies, Cakes, and Confections for Everyone and PAYARD DESSERTS.

Friday, April 12, 2019

DARK CHOCOLATE GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICH: National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day

I've posted several recipes for Chocolate Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, but here's one more. As always, experiment, but I had to share this recipe since today is Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day. Remember to use the very best ingredients. Please don't use Parmesan from the can--either grate your own or buy it at a specialty shop where it's just been grated. Recently I've been favoring a Wisconsin Parmesan--not too salty and fabulous flavor. And, of course a good Parmesan/Reggiano would be great in this Grilled Cheese Sandwich! Also, make sure your ricotta is fresh. I butter both sides of the bread, but the important one to butter is the one that's in the pan.

Dark Chocolate Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Ingredients
4 slices brioche or sweet sourdough
Butter, for bread
2 Tbsp ricotta cheese
1 1/2 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions
Lightly spread one side (or both) of each bread slice with butter. Evenly divide ricotta between two bread slices and then evenly sprinkle the Chocolate and Parmesan over the ricotta. Top with remaining bread slices.
Heat skillet over medium-low heat. Place sandwiches in warm skillet and cook on one side until golden brown and cheese begins to melt, 2 to 4 minutes. Flip sandwich over and cook until golden brown and cheese is completely melted, 2 to 4 additional minutes.
Let cool 2 minutes before cutting in half.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

PASSOVER CHOCOLATE BROWNIES: 4 Recipes

Passover begins Friday night, April 19, and if you observe the Passover holiday (8 days) you won't be eating any leavened food products. So in terms of chocolate baking you need to tweak some things, starting with not using flour. This doesn't mean you can't have Chocolate Cake, Brownies, or Cookies.. just an adjustment. And, if you're gluten-free, you'll love the first recipe. Baking without flour shouldn't be a problem, and these recipes are great any time, not just for Passover.

Because you might be baking dessert for a Seder, whether you're Jewish or not, you'll want to be sensitive and bring a Kosher for Passover dessert. That means not using flour and probably using margarine (or oil as in one of the following recipes) in lieu of butter unless you know the seder meal won't contain meat. I prefer using butter in most of my baking, so this is a hard one. However, if you plan to have sweets around at home during the Passover holidays or just want to make some new Brownie recipes, you'll love these recipes.

So for Passover week, here are 4 different recipes for Passover Brownies. Think of them as Flourless Brownies! You love Flourless Chocolate Cake, right? Try all the recipes and let me know which you like best. Do you have your own favorite recipe for Passover Brownies? Be sure and share by linking below.

These first two recipes I adapted from recipes I found on Chowhound in 2008.

Passover Chocolate Brownies #1

Ingredients
8 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
5 eggs, separated
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped (not chocolate chips)
8 ounces finely chopped or ground almonds
Pinch of salt

Directions
Cream butter and sugar together. Mix in egg yolks.
Melt chocolate over double boiler (or over saucepan over saucepan with simmering water). Cool and add to butter mixture. Add finely ground almonds.
Beat egg whites until stiff but not dry. Fold into batter.
Pour into 9" square greased baking tin.
Bake in a preheated 350 oven for 45-50 min.
Cool and cut into squares.

Passover Chocolate Brownies #2

Ingredients
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup of matzo cake meal
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup DARK cocoa
3 large eggs
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Directions
Mix oil and sugar.
Add eggs and mix again.
Sift matzo cake meal and cocoa together and add to mixture.
Fold in nuts and mix thoroughly.
Grease 8x8 pan and pour in batter.
Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.
Cool and cut in squares.

This third recipe is originally from Gourmet 2000 ( Epicurious). It calls for a Chocolate-Wine Glaze, and you might want to try that. I like my brownies unadulterated, but I've tried the chocolate-wine glaze, and it's delicious. Nothing quite like chocolate and Manischewitz!

Passover Chocolate Brownies #3

Ingredients
6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup unsalted margarine (if keeping brownies pareve) or butter, cut into pieces
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
Pinch of Salt
2 tsp finely grated fresh orange zest
3/4 cup matzo cake meal
3/4 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line bottom and sides of a 9-inch square baking pan with wax paper or greased foil.
Melt chocolate and margarine (or butter) in metal bowl over saucepan of simmering water, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and cool 5 minutes.
Beat eggs, sugar, and salt in large bowl with electric mixer on high until pale and thick. Beat in chocolate in 3 batches on low speed. Stir in zest, matzo meal, and nuts just until blended.
Spread batter in baking pan and bake in middle of oven until firm and tester comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.
Cool in pan on rack, then invert onto a platter and remove paper or foil.
Cut into Squares.

Passover Chocolate Brownies #4

Ingredients
2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips (or dark chocolate, chopped)
1/2 cup unsalted butter or margarine
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup matzoh cake meal
2 Tbsp unsweetened DARK cocoa powder
2 Tbsp potato starch
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Directions
Preheat oven to 350. Grease 8-inch square baking dish.
Melt chocolate and butter in double boiler or in saucepan on top of another saucepan with simmering water. Set aside to cool slightly.
In mixing bowl, stir together cake meal, cocoa powder, and potato starch.
Combine eggs, granulated sugar, and vanilla in large bowl. Beat with electric mixer until light and creamy – about 3 to 5 minutes. Beat in chocolate mixture until smooth, then add cake meal mixture, beating on low speed just until combined. Batter is thick.
Fold in chopped nuts and spread in prepared baking dish.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or just until entire surface has puffed slightly. Brownies will still be moist in center.
Remove from oven and cool before cutting into squares.

I especially love Passover Brownies #4--very, very fudgy!!! Of course, I use very good chocolate! It really makes a difference!!!

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

CINNAMON LAMBIE CURLS (aka Cinnamon Rolls) for Easter Brunch

I used to do a lot of bread baking when I was younger. Not so much anymore. However, this recipe is one of my all time favorites to make for Easter BrunchCinnamon Lamb Curls. They're a fun variation on traditional Cinnamon Rolls. They not only taste great but look terrific for the holiday!

This "Cinnamon Lamb Curls" recipe is from Bread Sculpture: The Edible Art by Ann Wiseman (101 Productions, 1975). And, yes, the stains on the page are mine. The book is a wonderful source for lots of other bread baking, as well. All kinds of tips on dough, bread making, tools, and sculpting bread. If you do an Internet search, you'll probably find a copy of this out of print book. It's a great asset on my shelf. Scroll down for a Chocolate/Cinnamon Alternative to the filling!




And, since this is a chocolate blog, here's a chocolate/cinnamon alternative to the filling in the recipe.

CHOCOLATE CINNAMON 'FILLING' VARIATION

Spread this on the dough before cutting and baking.
Where the recipe says "Spread with butter & brown sugar and cinnamon".. you can substitute:
Unsalted butter, room temp (as in recipe)
Then sprinkle with a mix of:
Granulated white sugar
Dark chocolate, chopped fine
Ground cinnamon

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

CHOCOLATE EASTER BUNNIES: A Tale of Peter Rabbit and More

A Tail of Peter Rabbit...

I love the Easter Bunny. If you've been to my home you know I have a giant wooden Easter Bunny in my living room. He should be holding a basket with Easter eggs, but that function has come and gone. I got him at the Oakland Museum White Elephant sale, and although he's not chocolate, he reminds me of other Easter Bunnies I've known and loved. I also have several cement bunnies in the garden...they're all filled with bulbs. They are definitely Easter Bunnies, not just rabbits.

But back to Chocolate Easter Bunnies! Some Chocolate Bunnies are filled and some are hollow. Today I'm posting a random tour through hollow and solid Chocolate Easter Bunnies. Perhaps the most famous of U.S. Hollow Easter Bunnies are those manufactured by R. M. Palmer. Back in 1948, Richard M. Palmer, Sr., designed and patented the technology that is still used today in their West Reading (PA) production facilities. Palmer's vision was to give the old, tired chocolate bunnies of the day some new and interesting characteristics and names. The early bunnies named Flopsy, Peter Candytail, and Busy Bigby were not just "sitting" rabbits. Today, the list of their different styles of hollow chocolate bunnies is endless. They come in all shapes and sizes. And, if you're thinking the output of these hopping rabbits is slim, think again. Each year the R.M. Palmer Company produces 25 million hollow rabbits that range in size from 1/75 oz/4 inch high to  a 20 oz foot tall Grandbunny Heffelflopper.


In South Africa, the traditional Chocolate Bunny rabbit reached gigantic height and weight. Duracel built a 3 ton-4 meter tall Chocolate Bunny (Duracel symbol: Energizer Bunny) in Johannesburg. So much chocolate.What to do? Duracel put the edible giant Bunny to good use. It was chopped up and distributed to orphans. South Africa, where the AIDS virus is widespread, sadly, has a huge number of orphans because of the AIDS epidemic which has taken many of their parents.  

Watch a video of the Giant Chocolate Bunny HERE.

Some local bunnies at the Drugstores and Supermarkets: Lindt Gold Bunny (in photo at top). I like the looks of this one and captured a few at Cost Plus, Safeway, and CVS. Others: Cadbury Solid Milk Chocolate Bunny. Being a dark chocolate fan, this is not my favorite. Dove Bunny: tiny little thing but tasty.

More High End Sophisticated Rabbits...are more to my taste. Anything from Jacques Torres. I love their chocolate. This year's Easter Bunny is a bit frightening in appearance. It's hand-painted with white chocolate features, bows, ear tips hands and tail. At $17, you've got to like the chocolate -- and their chocolate is great. The 10 inch hollow rabbit comes in Milk and Dark Chocolate. I think the $9 Large Sitting Rabbit is more my style..a classic.

Speaking of retro, Christopher Norman Chocolates has a Racer Bunny. It's a hand-painted molded chocolate hollow bunny sitting in a woven convertible. Sooo cute. Who can eat this?


Martine's Chocolates has all kinds of lovely Bunnies, both sitting  (solid and hollow), Bunny Cartoon (solid), Bunny standing with Baskets and colored chocolate. Martine's chocolates, plus special artisan chocolate bunnies.

Vosges Rabbits: These are fabulous and they come in exotic flavors. These are molded with waving rabbit ears. Barcelona Bunny (Hickory smoked almonds  with grey sea salt (45% milk chocolate). Amalfi Bunny (Lemon zest and pink peppercorns and white chocolate) The Orchid Vanilla Bunny is really Tahitian vanilla bean with 62% dark chocolate. Toffee Bunny is the one after my heart. He's the Vosges sweet butter toffee with pink Himalayan salt and deep milk chocolate. I've never met a toffee I didn't like, and bunny shape? Well, of course.

But I fell in love with Vosges' Mad Hare Orchestra. All five members of the Mad Hare Orchestra arrive together in solid 62% dark chocolate infused with Tahitian vanilla Bean. Each is individually wrapped in its own bag and tied with ribbon. The Mad Hare Orchestra also comes in Solid 42% Milk Chocolate with a touch of pink Himalayan salt. Problem: They're so cute, I want to put them on the shelf.. I might just need to bite off an ear now and again.
 
Locally, I'm a big fan of Poco Dolce, and they have several different bunnies this year, including my favorite Olive Oil Bunny. They also have a standing Peanut Butter Bunnie, and ready to hop Raspberry Bunnies.


See's Milk Chocolate Rabbit. A hollow, foil-covered Chocolate Bunny with a basket. 10 oz. There's also a small milk chocolate bunny in colored foil. These are a tradition, and they taste great. I'm a sucker for See's.

I haven't really mentioned several of the filled Easter Bunnies: marshmallow, coconut, and more exotics fillings. And, apologies to all my chocolatier friends who provide fabulous chocolate bunnies at Easter. Couldn't get to them all, but I welcome comments. Nice thing about a Blog is that I can add at any time. Let me know your favorites.

And, the age-old question of what part of the Bunny do you eat first? With all the new Bunny shapes and molds, it's not an easy answer. Which part do YOU eat first?

Love to hear about your favorite Chocolate Bunnies. I bet there's a chocolatier near you that does some outstanding work.

Monday, April 8, 2019

CHOCOLATE PEANUT ROLLED EASTER EGGS: Guest Post for Easter

Today I repost this recipe and article from my friend Susan Frank who has a delicious and easy recipe for Chocolate Peanut Rolled Eggs. Perfect for Easter! Thanks, Susan!

SUSAN FRANK:

Ahhh... Easter, bunnies, colored eggs, and my favorite candy, but who can afford sixteen dollars a pound and up and then feel guilty unless you eat it all. This Easter after watching all my favorite authors post delicious recipes on Facebook, I decided to experiment by making candy. My mother actually had a candy and gift shop when my twin sister and I were young. My twin sister is a great cook. I'm 2 minutes younger, so I need to be better at something! So, chocolate covered pretzels? Too easy. Strawberries? Too Easy. Peanut rolled eggs? Yep! I remember them. How hard could it be?.........not hard at all, my kind of candy!

I was fortunate enough to receive a copy of Duffy Browns book Braking for Bodies before release, so while I made the wonderful butter cream inside, I decided to read instead of doing the candy all at once. It actually made it easier, as the cooler the "buttercream" gets, the easier it is to manipulate. So find a good book and let the buttercream cool as long as you want and then play with the dipping when you're done.

P.S. If you have goldens or any kind of dog - beware they will love these, but they should not eat these--or anything with chocolate, specifically dark chocolate.

CHOCOLATE PEANUT ROLLED EGGS

Ingredients
1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 10-ounce bag dark chocolate candy melts (I use the Ghiardelli ones)
2 cups chopped peanuts (I used the sea salt ones)

Directions
Whisk together milk, butter, and vanilla (make sure the butter is soft or you will have lumps).
Gradually stir in 2 1/2 of the 3 cups of powdered sugar. Coat your hands with powdered sugar and knead dough until it reaches the desired consistency. Your dough should be firm but not crumbly (sort of like pizza dough). Add more sugar if needed. Dough will be sticky. Form dough into a log and dust with powdered sugar, then roll up in parchment paper. Refrigerate for at least an hour until firm enough to handle. I actually left mine overnight. You can keep it for awhile, if you double the recipe and don't use it all.

When ready, melt chocolate in  double boiler or microwave, (if you are using Ghiardelli the directions are on the back of the back. You need to use the melting discs though as it doesn't work with the chips) stirring until smooth. Spread crushed peanuts in a dish with high sides or you'll have peanuts all over. You have to put them in a processor to make them small and fine.

While chocolate melts, get your chilled "dough" out and cut off pieces into desired size. Remember that your finished candy will be a bit larger with the candy coating and added peanuts. Form the piece of dough into an egg shape.

Dip the candy into the melted chocolate to coat on all sides. I used a fork so that the chocolate could drip off when I scooped them out of the chocolate. Lay coated candy in peanuts and roll around to coat. Let set a minute or until chocolate starts to set up, then place on parchment (so it doesn't stick).

Voila! Peanut rolled eggs that don't cost $16.00 a pound!