Friday, May 31, 2019

CHOCOLATE MACAROONS: History, Recipes & a Martini for National Macaroon Day

Today is National Macaroon Day. Now I know that macaroons are not really the same thing as the "French" macarons, but the word has the same root.

The words both come from the Italian maccarone or maccherone which is derived from ammaccare, meaning crush or beat -- referencing almond paste as the principle ingredient. Most macaroon recipes contain egg whites, almonds or nuts. Sometimes coconut--and definitely sugar! I grew up with macaroons that were mainly coconut.

The 'French' macaron is a sweet meringue-based confection filled with ganache, buttercream or jam and is between two 'cookies'. It's smooth and domed. Lots of flavors, including, of course, chocolate! Although French, there has been much debate about its origins. Larousse Gastronomique cites the macaron as being created in 1791 in a convent near Cormery. Some have traced its French debut back to the arrival of Catherine de' Medici's Italian pastry chefs whom she brought with her in 1533 upon marrying Henry II of France.

In the 1830s, macarons were served two-by-two with the addition of jams, liqueurs, and spices. The macaron as it is known today was called the "Gerbet" or the "Paris macaron" and was created in the early 20th Century by Pierre Desfontaines of the French pâtisserie Ladurée, composed of two almond meringue discs filled with a layer of buttercream, jam, or ganache filling.

But for today's post, I thought I'd focus on MACAROONS, since it's National Macaroon Day!

First, you should know that there is an Almond & Macaroon Museum in Montmorillon, France. This museum pays homage to the generations of craftsmen who built the reputation of Montmorillon, Cité of Macaroons.  The Museum reveals the history of the macaroon, from the culture of the almond tree (and the multiple uses of almonds), to the arrival of the macaroon in France.

There are informative panels, interactive terminals, and machines and old instruments used in the kitchen. At the end of the exhibition, a film summarizes the broad outlines of the visit, and dwells on the arrival of the Macaroon of Montmorillon, and on the creation of Rannou-Métivier House. The visit culminates in the opportunity for tasting in the Winter Garden of the museum.

And, a few recipes to help you celebrate the day! Stay posted for Macaron recipes another day!

CHOCOLATE MACAROONS

Ingredients
1 1/3 (8 ounces) cups dark (70%) chocolate, chopped, divided
2 large egg whites
pinch of salt
1/4-1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups sweetened fresh flaked coconut

Directions
Preheat oven to 325°F. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Place 1 cup chocolate in microwave-safe bowl; microwave on low setting at 10-second intervals until chocolate is melted, stirring occasionally (or melt in a double boiler). Cool just to room temperature.

Using electric mixer, beat egg whites and salt in medium bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar, then vanilla, beating until whites are thick and glossy. Fold in melted chocolate and coconut, then remaining 1/3 cup chocolate (broken into small pieces the size of mini-chips).

Drop batter by heaping teaspoonfuls onto prepared sheets, spacing 1-1/2 inches apart.
Bake cookies 10 minutes. Reverse sheets. Bake until tops are dry and cracked and tester inserted into centers comes out with moist crumbs attached, about 10 minutes longer.

Cool cookies on sheets on racks.

Three More Chocolate Macaroon Recipes:

CLEO COYLE'S MOCHA DIPPED RUM MACAROONS

CHOCOLATE CHIP MACAROONS

SCOTTISH MACAROON BARS FROM CATRIONA MCPHERSON
And for those of you who like to drink your Chocolate Macaroons, here's a great: 

Chocolate Macaroon Martini

6 ounces vodka
1 ounce chocolate-flavored liqueur
1 ounce Amaretto
orange twist

Combine liquid ingredients in cocktail shaker with cracked ice and shake well.
Strain into chilled martini glass and garnish with orange twist.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

BROWNED BUTTER CHOCOLATE CHUNK COOKIES with Saigon Cinnamon

I can never have too many chocolate chip cookie recipes. As I've mentioned in the past, you can find great recipes on food websites. I found this recipe on the McCormick Spices website when I was exploring Saigon Cinnamon for a recipe on Spicy Truffles. I always have 'extra' chocolate around, so I have the makings for these Chocolate Chunk Cookies. You can use chocolate chips in place of the chocolate chunks if that's all you have. The Saigon Cinnamon gives these cookies a unique flavor, as does the browned butter. Enjoy!

BROWNED BUTTER CHOCOLATE CHUNK COOKIES WITH SAIGON CINNAMON

Ingredients
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon McCormick Gourmet™ Organic Cinnamon, Ground Saigon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into chunks
3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract
2 eggs
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted

Directions
Mix flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in medium bowl. Set aside. Melt butter in medium heavy-bottomed saucepan on medium heat. Cook 3 to 4 minutes or until butter forms browned specks on bottom of pan, stirring occasionally. Pour butter into large bowl. Cool slightly. Add sugars and vanilla; mix well. Add eggs; mix until well blended. Stir in flour mixture.

Refrigerate dough about 15 minutes or until cooled to room temperature.

 Preheat oven to 375°F.  Fold chocolate and pecans into dough. Drop by rounded tablespoons about 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets.

Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets 1 minute. Remove to wire racks; cool completely.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Chocolate Milk & Cookies Ice Cream Bark

Now that the days are warming up, my life is all about ice-cream! What about you? As you know I'm a big Ben & Jerry's fan, so I often go to their website for easy yet inspirational and tasty recipes! This recipe for Chocolate Milk & Cookies Ice Cream Bark is fab, and I've been meaning to post. The fruit and nuts and Greek yogurt really add to this 'unique' bark! As with most recipes like this, you can 'shake it up' and add other fruits and ingredients.

Chocolate Milk & Cookies Ice Cream Bark 

Ingredients

1 cup Greek yogurt
1 pint Moo-phoria Chocolate Milk & Cookies light ice cream
1/4 cup halved raspberries
1/4 cup blueberries
1/4 cup mixed nuts, chopped

Directions

Remove the Moo-phoria light ice cream from the freezer and let soften. Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper. Spread Greek yogurt into a thin layer measuring approximately 8’ x 11’ and freeze for at least 15 minutes.

Spread the softened Moo-phoria Chocolate Milk & Cookies light ice cream on top of the yogurt layer.

Prepare your toppings.

Sprinkle the raspberries, blueberries, and chopped nuts on top of the ice cream layer. Freeze until firm, at least 3 hours.

Remove from freezer, peel off parchment or wax paper, break into pieces, and serve immediately. https://www.benjerry.com/flavors/recipes/ice-cream-bark

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

COCOA BREAD: Vintage Fleishmann's Yeast Recipe

I grew up baking with Fleischmann's Yeast, so I was thrilled when my husband found this tiny pamphlet in his mother's papers. His mother may not have been a good cook, but she was a terrific baker. I love Vintage and Retro recipes and pamphlets. On this one, you could write and have a copy of the pamphlet sent to friends. This is pre-zipcode. I think the illustrations are adorable, too. This little book was actually printed askew with the city of publication cut off.. When I say little, the book is 3 1/2 x 6 1/2.

This recipe does not have a temperature for baking. I guess it was 350. Who doesn't love Cocoa Bread? 


Monday, May 27, 2019

ROSEMARY CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES: Rosemary for Remembrance

"Rosemary is for Remembrance"-- so this recipe for Rosemary Chocolate Chip Cookies is perfect for Memorial Day. I grow a lot of rosemary in my garden that I use in baking and grilling. It's a very versatile herb. There are several varieties, and they flower, so it's also quite pretty -- and deer resistant. Rosemary is also very aromatic. And, a little goes a long way.

The phrase "Rosemary is for Remembrance" comes from Shakespeare's Hamlet. Ophelia says, “There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance; pray, love, remember.” 

Even before Shakespeare's era, many cultures assigned meaning to this herb. It was often used in funerals or in the care of the dead. But also, at one time, it was the fashion for brides to wear wreaths of rosemary. Rosemary was also thought to repel evil spirits and cure thievery. 15th and early 16th century statesman and writer, Sir Thomas More, tied rosemary to memory in his writing. He wrote fondly of it “running” about his garden without cultivation because: “it is the herb sacred to remembrance, and therefore, to friendship…” And for my mystery friends, an Agatha Christie novel, published as both Remembered Death and Sparkling Cyanide, uses the Shakespeare quotation.

ROSEMARY CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

Ingredients 
2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup pecans, chopped
2 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped

Directions
Preheat oven to 375° F.
Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in small bowl.
Beat butter, both sugars, and vanilla in large mixer bowl until creamy.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Gradually beat in flour mixture.
Stir in chocolate chips, chopped rosemary, and pecans.
Drop by rounded tablespoon onto un-greased cookie sheets.
Bake 9-10 minutes or until golden brown.
Cool on cookie sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

S'MORES ICE CREAM CAKE

I love Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream, and I love S'mores. Here's the perfect dessert for your Memorial Day Barbecue or any day: Ben & Jerry's S'mores Ice Cream Cake. Following is the no-bake recipe, but be sure and watch the video. This S'mores Ice Cream Cake is a no-brainer and can be made at the drop of a hat. If you're like me, you probably have all the ingredients in your pantry and freezer! The finished cake looks and tastes amazing! I don't add the extra fudge sauce at the end because I think the S'mores Ice Cream Cake is rich enough as is. Enjoy! Thanks, Ben & Jerry's!

 

BEN & JERRY'S S'MORES ICE CREAM CAKE

Directions
Prepare the crust (see below)
Prepare the filling (see below)
Top the crust with Ice Cream filling
Spread 2 cups of marshmallow fluff over the top of the ice cream (this can be done directly after filling with ice cream, or you can chill ice cream layer first)
Freeze cake for a minimum of two hours

To serve:
Remove cake from freezer, let cake sit for 10 minutes, top with mini marshmallows and torch to golden brown
Run a knife around the edge of pan and remove side of spring-form
Slice, serve, and enjoy!

Crust: 
16 (8 oz.) whole graham crackers, crushed
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
Combine graham crackers and sugar, add melted butter and stir to sandy, buttery consistency. Press mixture into bottom and up sides of 9” spring-form pan, using fingers or  flat bottomed measuring cup. Chill for 10 minutes while you prepare ice cream.

Filling:
3 Pints Ben & Jerry’s S’mores Ice Cream (or any Ben & Jerry's Chocolate Ice Cream)
Remove Ice cream from containers and place in bowl to soften, about 10 minutes.
Stir to combine and top prepared and chilled graham crust with ice cream.

Follow directions above for marshmallow topping!

Saturday, May 25, 2019

How to 'Build' a Campfire Cake: Memorial Day

I'm not going camping this Memorial Day, so I won't be making a 'real' campfire cake. So if you're not either, but want that outside feel, here's a great "Campfire Cake" you can make ahead for a picnic, barbecue, or camping trip. Serve this Chocolate Campfire Cake on a wooden plank/log for effect...but a wood cutting board or plate will do, too. I first saw this Campfire Cake in 2015 in  CountryLivingMagazine. Lots of variations on the Internet. Such fun! This would be great for your Memorial Day celebration. Bring the great outdoors into your backyard.

Here's what to do: Make your favorite two layer Chocolate Cake and your favorite Chocolate Frosting. Buy some rolled wafer cookies (I like Pepperidge Farm Pirouette Rolled Wafers) and red and orange hard candy.

HARD CANDY RECIPE

Preheat oven to 375.
Put red and orange hard candies on parchment-lined cookie sheet; put in oven.
Once candies have melted (about 10 minutes), remove from oven.
While still liquid, use a skewer to marbelize the colors.
Set aside and let cool.
Once hardened, peel from liner and break into triangular shapes.

Decorate top of cake with rolled wafer cookies and candy flames when you're ready to serve.
Tip: Do not put the candy flames in the refrigerator of they will soften up and lose their shape.

Friday, May 24, 2019

CHOCOLATE RED WINE BUNDT CAKE: National Wine Day!

Today is National Wine Day. Thought you needed a special day for wine? Here's a link to the American History Museum and an explanation of National Wine Day. Today is the 43rd Anniversary of National Wine Day, and it all started with a Paris Tasting. 

I've posted many Chocolate and Wine recipes, but this is a favorite. You're going to love this perfect Chocolate Red Wine Bundt Cake!

The taste will improve with good quality dry red wines (I like Zinfandel but Merlot works well, too) and the quality of the cocoa!

Want to decorate this cake for the upcoming Memorial Day Holiday? Fill the center with whipped cream and top with strawberries and blueberries.

CHOCOLATE RED WINE BUNDT CAKE

Ingredients
2 cups flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
1-1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1-3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1-1/4 cup dry red wine
Powdered sugar, for dusting

Directions 
Preheat oven to 350°
Butter and flour 12-cup bundt pan.
In bowl, whisk flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. In large bowl, using hand-held electric mixer, beat butter and sugar together until fluffy, about 4 minutes.
Add eggs, one at time, and beat until incorporated. Add vanilla and beat about 2 more minutes.
Work in two batches, alternately fold in dry ingredients and wine, until just incorporated.
Scrape batter into prepared pan, and bake for 45 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Let cake cool in pan 10 minutes, then turn out onto rack; let cool completely.
Dust cake with confectioner's sugar.

Chocolate and Wine: A Great Pairing!

3 SAVORY CHOCOLATE BARBECUE SAUCES for Memorial Day

When I was growing up barbecues at my house were mostly on holidays: Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day. My Dad would don his Westinghouse apron and hat (that he got with our new indoor range) and fire up the grill. I still have my Dad's apron, but not the chef's hat. Very nostalgic--and retro. Wish he were still with us. I miss him every day. He'd love these barbecue sauces and this list of Barbecue Crime Fiction on my Mystery blog, MysteryFanfare.com.

If you're planning a Memorial Day barbecue this weekend, you'll want to check your stock of dark chocolate. I've posted several chocolate barbecue sauces and chocolate rubs before, but here are two more. Both use Hershey's products-- #1 Hershey's Special Dark Syrup and #2 Scharffen Berger Dark Chocolate, but you can use what you have and enjoy!

The first recipe is from The BBQ Report. I use a different Dark Chocolate Sauce from an artisan chocolate company, but you can always use Hershey's. The flavors will be different, but both would be good. Season your meat with some cocoa powder (unsweetened) for double chocolate goodness.

And, of course, book mark this post for other barbecue days!

#1 CHOCOLATE BARBECUE SAUCE

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups ketchup
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup Hershey’s Special Dark syrup (or another)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp salt
1/2 tbsp cracked black pepper
1 tsp paprika
1 tbsp prepared mustard
1/2 tsp hot sauce

Directions
In sauce pan saute onions and garlic in olive oil, cooking until tender.
Stir in lemon juice, salt, pepper, paprika, and hot sauce.
Simmer for 5 to 6 minutes and reduce heat.
Stir in ketchup, vinegar, and Hershey’s Syrup.
Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.

#2 CHOCOLATE BARBECUE SAUCE

From the Hershey's Website comes this amazing and much more complex Chocolate Barbecue Sauce recipe, utilizing Scharffen Berger 82% dark chocolate (Scharffen Berger is owned by Hershey's). Recipe adapted from Chef Ken Gladysz at the Hotel Hershey.

Ingredients
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, soft
4 each garlic cloves, minced
1/2 Spanish onion, diced small
2 each Roma tomatoes, stem removed, diced small
1 1/2 ounces dark brown sugar
4 teaspoons ancho chili powder
4 ounces. apple cider vinegar
8 ounces barbeque sauce
14 ounces vegetable stock
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
3 oz. SCHARFFEN BERGER 82% dark chocolate
2 tablespoons cilantro, fresh, chopped
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper, freshly ground

Directions
Melt butter in small sauce pan over medium heat.
Add garlic and onion, sauté 5 minutes until golden brown.
Add tomatoes, stir, and sauté an additional 5 minutes.
Add sugar and chili powder, mix well, and cook for 5 minutes.
Add vinegar, reduce for 5 minutes, mixture should have a paste consistency.
Add sauce, stock, cumin, cinnamon, cloves, salt and pepper. Mix well.
Bring to a boil and reduce to a slow simmer for 30 minutes.
Add SCHARFFEN BERGER chocolate and cilantro; allow to simmer for 5 minutes.
Remove sauce from heat and let stand for 10 minutes.
Puree sauce, transfer to a clean container and cool.
For best results, refrigerate for 12 hours before using.  

#3 CHOCOLATE CHIPOTLE CHILI BEER BARBECUE SAUCE

This is a quick and easy one pot recipe! Use whatever beer or ale you have, although the chocolate stouts will add a lot of flavor.

Ingredients 
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup soy sauce
6 oz tomato paste
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp chipotle chili powder
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 cup Chocolate Ale (Rogue, Boulevard, Young's, Christopher Elbow)
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 ounces 75-85% dark chocolate, chopped

Directions 
In saucepan over medium heat, heat olive oil.
Add garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add remaining ingredients to pot.
Simmer until thickened, about 15-20 minutes.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Cartoon of the Day: Cats


CHOCOLATE TURKISH TAFFY: National Taffy Day

Today is National Taffy Day. I must admit that I haven't made taffy since I was a child, and then it was always with my Aunt Annie. She was an inspiration for all things foodie, woodsy, and crafty, so that was a natural. She'd gather all the cousins, and we would make and pull taffy.

At the same time, I wasn't adverse to store bought candy. It was a treat, really. There was a penny candy store I used to stop at after lunch (yes, we went home for lunch at my first elementary school) and buy a penny or two of candy. One of my favorites, and I think it may have cost a nickel, was Bonomo's Turkish Taffy. I think my favorite was banana, but I also liked chocolate. You can still buy Bonomo's Turkish Taffy online, although the price is now $1.20. Times change. Be sure and scroll down for the 1960s Bonomo's Turkish Taffy Advertisement below.

So without a chocolate taffy recipe of my own, I went to Alton Brown on the Food Network. Knew he'd have one. Love to hear if you have used his recipe or if you have one of your own.

CHOCOLATE TURKISH TAFFY

Ingredients
2 cups sugar
2/3 cup Dutch process cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons butter, plus additional for greasing pan and hands

Directions

In heavy medium saucepan, combine sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Stir until thoroughly combined. Add corn syrup, water, and vinegar to pan and place over medium heat. Stir until sugar and cocoa dissolve, raise heat to high and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to low, clip candy thermometer to side of pan and cook until mixture reaches 260 degrees F. Remove pan from heat, add the butter and stir. Butter edges of sheet pan, line with silicone baking sheet and pour on taffy. Allow to cool until you are able to handle it.

Once you are able to handle the taffy, don vinyl gloves, butter them, and begin to fold taffy in thirds using the silicone mat. Pick up taffy and begin to pull folding the taffy back on itself repeatedly twisting as you go. Taffy is done when it lightens in color, takes on a sheen, and becomes too hard to pull. Roll into log, cut into fourths, roll each fourth into a 1-inch wide log, and cut into 1-inch pieces. Making sure to keep pieces separated or they will stick to each other. Wrap individual pieces of candy in waxed paper. Store in airtight container 3 to 5 days.

Love this Retro Ad!

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Red, White & Blue Star Brownies for Memorial Day


With Memorial Day coming up this weekend, I thought I'd start posting my Memorial Day chocolate recipes. I love this recipe from Betty Crocker. I've made it a bunch of times. You can always substitute your own brownie recipe or another brand of brownie mix, but here's the original easy recipe.

If you don't have Betty Crocker Decorating Decors stars or icing (or you think it would be too sweet), use Red, White, & Blue Holiday M&Ms. Just press them gently into the batter before baking. These Brownies are perfect for Memorial Day!

Red White & Blue Star Brownies

Ingredients 
1 box (1 lb 2.4 oz) Betty Crocker™ Original Supreme Premium brownie mix
Water, vegetable oil and egg called for on brownie mix box
1/2 cup Betty Crocker™ Whipped fluffy white frosting (from 12-oz container)
Betty Crocker™ Decorating Decors stars

Directions 
Heat oven to 350°F. Line 9-inch square pan with foil so foil extends about 2 inches over sides of pan. Spray foil with cooking spray.
Make and bake brownies as directed on box. Cool completely, about 1 1/2 hours.
Remove brownies from pan by lifting foil; peel foil from sides of brownies.
Using 2 1/2-inch star-shaped cookie cutter, cut brownies.
Squeeze frosting on star-shaped brownies.
Sprinkle with decors.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

STAWBERRIES & CREAM ICE CREAM PIE: National Strawberries & Cream Day

Today is Strawberries & Cream Day! One way to celebrate would be to stuff strawberries with whipped cream and dip in chocolate. Yum! But here's another way to celebrate the day -- Strawberries & Cream Ice Cream Pie with Chocolate Crust. This would be perfect for the upcoming Memorial Day dessert.

Strawberries & Cream Ice Cream Pie with Chocolate Cookie Crust

Ingredients
1 Chocolate Cookie Crust
3 cups Strawberry ice cream or Ben & Jerry's Strawberries & Cream ice cream, softened

Whipped Cream
1 cup Sliced fresh Strawberries

Chocolate Cookie Crust
Ingredients
30 Chocolate wafers
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
Pinch of salt

Directions for Cookie Crust
Whirl cookies in food processor until finely ground.
Put crumbs in mixing bowl and add butter and salt until crumbs are moistened.
Press mixture across bottom of 8-inch pie plate and up sides. Pack tightly.
Bake in 350 degree oven for 6 minutes.
Cool before filling.

Directions for Pie
Be sure and cool crust before adding ice cream
Spread ice cream evenly over crust.
Smooth top.
Put pie in freezer until solid (or until ready to serve - for up to 3 days)
Before serving, top with whipped cream and fresh sliced strawberries.


Monday, May 20, 2019

TRIPLE CHOCOLATE HONEY FUDGE: World Bee Day

Today is World Bee Day, and unless you're living under a bucket, you know we need to work together to save the bees. The purpose of this international day is to acknowledge the role of bees and other pollinators for the ecosystem.


I've posted many recipes which feature chocolate and honey, but this Triple Chocolate Honey Fudge is the Bees Knees and perfect to celebrate World Bee Day! The observance of May 20 at World Bee Day draws attention to the essential role bees play in facilitating and improving food production, thus contributing to food security and nutrition.

When looking for recipes, it's fun to search out food collectives, associations, and brand sites. This recipe for Triple Chocolate Honey Fudge is slightly adapted from the Dupage Beekeepers Association from the cookbook Home is Where Your Honey Is.

TRIPLE CHOCOLATE HONEY FUDGE

Ingredients
1-1/3 cups sugar
1 Jar (8oz.) marshmallow cream
2/3 Cup evaporated milk
1/4 Cup local honey
1/4 Cup unsaled butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 Cup milk chocolate chips
1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 Cup toasted nuts chopped
1/2 Cup white chocolate chips

Directions
Spray an 8 x 8-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
In  medium saucepan, combine sugar, marshmallow cream, milk, honey, butter , and salt.  Bring to a boil; stir occasionally. Boil for 5 minutes; stir constantly. Remove from heat and stir in semi-sweet and milk chocolate chips until melted. Stir in nuts and vanilla; pour into pan. Sprinkle white chocolate chips over top and allow to melt.  Using small spatula swirl white chocolate.
Cool. Cut into 1-inch pieces.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

DEVIL'S FOOD CAKE vs CHOCOLATE CAKE: What's the Difference? National Devil's Food Cake Day

Because today is National Devil's Food Cake Day, I thought I'd revisit the question: What's the difference between Devil's Food Cake and Chocolate Cake? It's a good question, and there are many different answers. Some recipes use cocoa, some melted chocolate, some add coffee or hot liquid, and some increase the baking soda. And, since it's National Devil's Food Cake Day, here are some answers.


According to Wikipedia:

Because of differing recipes and changing ingredient availability over the course of the twentieth century, it is difficult to precisely qualify what distinguishes Devil's food from the more standard chocolate cake. The traditional Devil's food cake is made with shredded beets much the way a carrot cake is made with carrots. The beets add moisture and sweetness to the cake, helping it to be very rich. The red of the beets slightly colors the cake red and due to the richness of the cake it became known as the Devil's food. 

O.k. That's a beet cake or a 'natural' red velvet cake, and I make a good one, but it's not a Devil's Food Cake in my opinion.  

Devil's food cake is generally more moist and airy than other chocolate cakes, and often uses cocoa as opposed to chocolate for the flavor as well as coffee. The lack of melted chocolate and the addition of coffee is typically what distinguishes a Devil's food cake from a chocolate cake, though some recipes call for all, resulting in an even richer chocolate flavor. The use of hot, or boiling water as the cake's main liquid, rather than milk, is also a common difference. 

Devil's food cake is sometimes distinguished from other chocolate cakes by the use of additional baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) which raises the pH level and makes the cake a deeper and darker mahogany color. Devil's food cake incorporates butter (or a substitute), egg whites, flour (while some chocolate cakes are flourless) and less egg than other chocolate cakes. Devil's food cake was introduced in the United States in the early 20th century with the recipe in print as early as 1905. 

A similar cake, the red velvet cake, is closely linked to a Devil's food cake, and in some turn of the century cookbooks the two names may have been interchangeable. Most red velvet cakes today use red food coloring, but even without it, the reaction of acidic vinegar and buttermilk tends to better reveal the red anthocyanin in the cocoa. When used in cakes, acid causes reddening of cocoa powder when baked, and before more alkaline "Dutch Processed" cocoa was widely available, the red color would have been more pronounced. This natural tinting may have been the source for the name "Red Velvet" as well as "Devil's Food" and a long list of similar names for chocolate cakes.

I'm partial to Devil's Food Cake.

Here are several mid-century recipes. Sorry about the light print on the first cookbook.

I've posted many Devil's Food Cake recipes in the past, but today I have four mid-century recipes.

The first recipe is for Cocoa Devil's Food Cake from How To Get the Most Out of Your Sunbeam Mixmaster (1950). I posted a "Mix-Easy" Devil's Food Cake for Mother's Day a few years ago, and you might want to look at that one, too. It's pretty much the same as the following recipe. The following page in the Sunbeam Mixmaster cookbook pamphlet is great for today's post since there's a Chocolate Cake recipe next to the Devil's Food Cake recipe.


This same cookbook has a recipe for Black Devil's Food Cake, so now we have Cocoa Devil's Food Cake, Black Devil's Food Cake, and a Red Devil's Food Cake. As you see, the following Black Devil's Food cake is made with cocoa and with the addition of strong hot coffee or boiling water.


The Red Devil's Food Cake is a variation on the Chocolate Fudge Cake on the same page, and to save space, they didn't reprint the entire recipe! It's a very small pamphlet. The baking soda is increased, but otherwise it's the same cake. This recipe is from the Recipes for your Hamilton Beach Mixer-17 Delicious New Cakes (1947). Don't you just love that someone wrote good next to the recipe? It's the same recipe I posted (but from a different pamphlet) on Devil's Food Cake Day for Mother's Day. 


And one more Red Devil's Food Cake from the same mid-century period. This one is from Kate Smith Chooses her 55 Favorite Ann Pillsbury CAKE RECIPES.


Enough Devil's Food Cake recipes? Never! Have a look at Martha Washington's Devil's Food Cake from Capitol Hill Cooks: Recipes from the White House by Linda Bauer. It's a great Buttermilk Devil's Food Cake!

So what's the difference between Devil's Food Cake and Chocolate Cake? You decide.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

CHOCOLATE WALNUT CLUSTERS: National Walnut Day

Yesterday was National Cherry Cobbler Day, but it was also National Walnut Day! You know I love retro ads, and this 1950 Retro Ad & Recipe from Diamond Walnuts sure fits the bill to celebrate the holiday.  Love the graphics--and the recipes. I would substitute good quality very dark chocolate instead of unsweetened chocolate  -- and butter instead of margarine, but it's up to you! Celebrate National Walnut Day. Sometimes you feel like a Nut!



Friday, May 17, 2019

CHOCOLATE CHERRY COBBLER: National Cherry Cobbler Day

Today is National Cherry Cobbler Day and fresh cherries are just starting to hit the market, so today I'm posting a recipe for a fresh cherry cobbler and a recipe that uses natural cherry pie filling in case you don't have fresh cherries available. I love Chukar Cherries Sour Cherry Fruit Filling--whole and tangy Montmorency cherries. Red and delicious!

What exactly is a Cobbler? Cobblers usually have a biscuit topping on the fresh fruit. The biscuits are usually dropped onto the fruit in small rounds, giving it the appearance of a cobbled road and hence the name Cobbler.  

Happy National Cherry Cobbler Day... and as I always say, everything tastes better with Chocolate!

USING FRESH CHERRIES:

1. CHOCOLATE CHERRY COBBLER WITH FRESH CHERRIES

Ingredients
6 cups tart red cherries, pitted
1-1/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup water
4 tsp cornstarch
3/4 cup dark chocolate, chopped

Topping:
1 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 Tbsp butter
1 egg, beaten
3 tablespoons milk 

Directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
In saucepan combine filling ingredients and cook, stirring until bubbling and thickened. Pour into an 8-inch square baking dish. Cool. After cooled, sprinkle chopped chocolate.
In bowl, stir together flour, sugars, baking powder, and cinnamon. Cut in butter until crumbly.
Mix together egg and milk. Add to flour mixture and stir with fork just until combined.
Drop topping by tablespoonfuls onto filling.
Bake for 25 minutes until browned and bubbly.

Using pie fruit filling

2. CHOCOLATE CHERRY COBBLER WITH CHERRY PIE FILLING

Ingredients
18 ounces Chukar's Sour Cherry Fruit Filling
1/2 cup sugar
1-1/2 Tbsp flour
1 cup dark chocolate (60-75% cacao), chopped

Topping
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

Directions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Mix cherries, sugar and flour. Spread evenly in 11 x 7 baking dish.
Sprinkle chocolate over top.

For topping
Mix together flour, sugars and pinch of salt.
Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly.
Sprinkle topping over cherry filling.
Bake cobbler until filling bubbles and topping is golden brown.
About 40 to 45 minutes.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

MOONLIGHT CHOCOLATE CAKE: Retro Ad & Recipe

Here's a Swan's Down 1952 Retro Ad & Recipe for Moonlight Chocolate Cake. This is a rich Chocolate Cake with a Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting. Yum! The cake recipe called for 3 squares of Baker's unsweetened chocolate, but I use a good quality dark chocolate and cut down on the sugar. Either way, you'll love this cake!



Wednesday, May 15, 2019

CHOCOLATE CHIP CRANBERRY SCONES: National Chocolate Chip Day

Today is National Chocolate Chip Day. I always have a few bags of chocolate chips in the pantry - milk chocolate, semi-sweet, and dark. The obvious post for today's holiday would be Chocolate Chip Cookies, but since I'm a big fan of scones, I thought I'd post this recipe for Chocolate Chip Cranberry Scones. Scones not biscuits, and they're not cupcakes... they're something in-between. It's all about the batter. And, American scones use more butter than British scones. Just an FYI. I tend to make them less sweet. So for today's post here's a recipe for Chocolate Chip Cranberry Scones. I'm pretty sure I adapted this recipe from one on the Recchiuti blog, but can't seem to find a link. I've made these a few times, and they're easy and delicious. You can also substitute dried cherries in this recipe, just leave out the orange zest. I usually serve my scones with clotted cream or unsalted butter..and sometimes a little jam. Enjoy!

CHOCOLATE CHIP CRANBERRY SCONES


Ingredients:
1 cup buttermilk
1 extra large egg
1Tbsp pure vanilla extract
3 1/2 Tbsp granulated cane sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp orange zest, about 2 oranges
1 cup unsalted butter, very cold and cubed
1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
1/3 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream (used for brushing tops of scones)

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line bottoms of two 12-by-18-inch sheet pans with parchment paper.
Combine buttermilk, egg, and vanilla extract in medium bowl and whisk by hand until well mixed.
Sift flour, baking powder, and baking soda into bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Add sugar, salt, and orange zest. Beat on low speed until combined.
Carefully add cold butter and beat on medium speed until mixture resembles coarse meal.
Switch mixer to low speed. Add liquid mixture and beat until just combined.
Turn mixer off. Add cranberries and chocolate chips. Pulse until just incorporated. Do not over-mix.
Turn out onto lightly floured work surface, and press into flat square about 1 inch thick. Cut into 2-inch squares and place on prepared pans, spacing about 2 inches apart.
Brush surface with heavy whipping cream. Bake on middle shelves of oven until tops are golden and have some spring when pressed with finger, about 20 minutes.
Serve warm or let cool on pans on wire racks.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

CHOCOLATE BUTTERMILK BISCUITS: National Buttermilk Biscuit Day

Today is Buttermilk Biscuit Day. American biscuits are nothing like British Biscuits which are cookies. Our biscuits are more like scones, only fluffier. Buttermilk Biscuits are great with breakfast and gravy and chicken or just about anytime. I love biscuits.

I couldn't pass up this great Retro Space Age Ad for Puffin Biscuits. I suggest you make your biscuits from scratch, and they truly will be "So Light they almost fly"...

Below is a recipe for Chocolate Buttermilk Biscuits.

First, though, a few biscuit making tips from the Bisquick site. These apply if you use Bisquick or if you make your biscuits from scratch.

BISCUIT MAKING TIPS

1. Leave an inch or two space around the biscuits on the cookie sheet. They'll heat more evenly and cook better.
2. In a pinch, a straight-sided plastic glass can also substitute for a rolling pin.
3. For crunchy top, skip kneading and rolling and drop biscuit-sized spoonfuls directly onto baking sheet.
4. Loosen freshly baked biscuits from tray with spatula so they don't stick.
5. Count to ten; kneading biscuit dough too much can make biscuits tough.
6. If you don't have a biscuit cutter, either use a knife to cut squares or cut rounds with upside-down drinking glass. A little flour or extra Bisquick on the knife or glass will help keep things from sticking.

CHOCOLATE BUTTERMILK BISCUITS

This recipe is great served with whipped cream and strawberries! Or just grind some Trader Joe's Chocolate Coffee Bean Sugar --or some Cinnamon Sugar-- over them just after you brush with the melted butter. Yum! Another variation: Add chocolate chips or chunks of chocolate to the dough.

Ingredients
2 cups of Flour
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
5 Tbsp DARK cocoa powder
4 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
8 Tbsp cold butter, cubed
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp cold buttermilk (No buttermilk? add a tsp of vinegar to whole milk)
2 Tbsp melted butter for top of biscuits

Directions
Preheat oven to 450
In food processor: Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Pulse. Add cubed butter. Pulse until butter combines to create grainy mixture.
Put contents of food processor in bowl. Make well in center and pour in chilled buttermilk. Mix to form sticky dough. Place dough on well floured surface. Fold dough a few time. DO NOT OVERWORK.
Roll out dough with floured rolling pin to one inch thickness.
Using biscuit cutter, cut out biscuits in straight up and down motion. Do not twist when cutting out the biscuits. Hint: Twisting will seal sides of biscuits preventing biscuits from rising and making for tough, flat biscuits.
Put cut out biscuits on parchment paper lined baking sheet so that they are close but not touching.
Once all of biscuits are on baking sheet, bake for 10-12 minutes in center of oven until golden brown. Brush with melted butter.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Cartoon of the Day: The Booksigning


CHOCOLATE APPLE PIE: Mom & Apple Pie

Today is National Apple Pie Day! And what can be more American than Apple Pie? Given that yesterday was Mother's Day, it's still not too late to celebrate. Isn't every day Mother's Day, after all? So today's holiday is all about Mom and Apple Pie.

From Wikipedia: 
Although apple pies have been eaten since long before the European colonization of the Americas, "as American as apple pie" is a saying in the United States, meaning "typically American". In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, apple pie became a symbol of American prosperity and national pride. A newspaper article published in 1902 declared that “No pie-eating people can be permanently vanquished.” The dish was also commemorated in the phrase "for Mom and apple pie" - supposedly the stock answer of American soldiers in World War II, whenever journalists asked why they were going to war.

My grandmother made an awesome Apple Pie. I've written about it before. It did not contain chocolate, and she made it in a huge rectangular pan that was big enough to feed a crowd since there were always lots of family at our house. She made Apple Pie because it was American, and when she came to these shores, she became an American! My Bubbe was born in Ukraine, married in London, and settled in Philadelphia, the cradle of liberty. She took her new citizenship to heart, and she baked her special apple pie for every Friday night dinner. She did it because she saw herself as a true American. So Celebrate Mom (and Grandmom) and Apple Pie with this easy Chocolate Apple Pie Recipe!

CHOCOLATE APPLE PIE

Ingredients
Pastry for a double-crust 9-inch pie, unbaked
8-10 tart apples (peeled, cored and sliced thinly--number of apples depends on their size)--Gravensteins aren't available this time of year, but they're my favorite, especially for pies!
1/3 cup sugar
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 cup 65-75% dark chocolate fair-trade organic, chopped into smallish pieces

Directions
Apples: peel, core, and slice thinly.
Combine cinnamon & sugar = cinnamon sugar. (you may need a tiny bit more). I've also used the chocolate cinnamon sugar from Trader Joe's
Place 1 layer apple slices on bottom crust. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons cinnamon sugar. Repeat twice.
Spread chopped chocolate pieces over top.
Using remaining apples, make 3 more apple/cinnamon sugar layers.
Top with 2nd crust and seal edges. Make cut on the top--or prick with fork in a few places.
Bake in preheated 450 F oven for 15 minutes (until golden).
Lower heat to 350F and continue baking for another 25-30 minutes, or until apples are tender.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Retro Mother's Day Chocolate Ads

I love old magazine chocolate advertisements--Retro and Vintage. Here are several that are specific to Mother's Day Chocolates. Enjoy the tour through the decades. Happy Mother's Day!





Saturday, May 11, 2019

MOTHER'S DAY CHOCOLATE CAKE: Retro Ad & Recipe

I adore Retro Advertisements, and this one is particularly close to my heart. My mother had a Sunbeam Mixmaster. So many cookies, cakes, and brownies were made with that Mixmaster. I don't have my mother's Sunbeam Mixmaster, but I have my Mother-in-Law's -- the same model with all the attachments. I use my Kitchenaid Mixer mostly, but I love the functionality of that old Mixmaster War Horse. It still works, and I'll bet my mother-in-law got it in the early 1950s.

So, for Mother's Day, here's a Sunbeam Mixmaster Mother's Day Advertisement from Life Magazine, May 1, 1950, complete with Chocolate Cake recipe. What are you making for Mother's Day?





Friday, May 10, 2019

CHOCOLATE CHERRY SCONES: Guest Post by Laura Benedict

I love when my mystery and chocolate worlds collide. Here's a great recipe from my friend, mystery author Laura Benedict. You'll want to read her latest novel The Stranger Inside while eating these delicious Chocolate Cherry Scones. And, these Chocolate Cherry Scones are perfect for your Mother's Day Brunch!

Laura Benedict:
Chocolate Cherry Scones 

The first time I tried to make scones, I was in college and was no baker. That was the same year I accidentally seasoned spaghetti sauce with celery seed instead of oregano. Yes, it was as disgusting as it sounds. I also deboned an entire raw chicken in order to make chicken soup, because—in those no-Internet days—I had no idea you should cook the chicken first. Goodness knows where I found that first scone recipe. No doubt I grabbed the first one I found at the library, and made it the night before the scones were to be used in a one-act play for which I was props master. Never having eaten or even seen a scone, I had no idea how they were supposed to taste. These had a classic hockey puck texture, and no recognizable flavor. My BFF from college (who had to try to nibble one on stage, bless her heart) and I still laugh about it. On reflection, I suspect I forgot to add the baking powder.

In the last couple of decades, I’ve discovered what a miracle a not-too-sweet, butter-rich scone can be. While many bakeries reduce fat by sacrificing all that yummy butter and shortening, they also increase the sugar so that their scones are simply puffy cookies. One of my family’s favorite scones (dense, with plenty of small chocolate chips) came from a coffee shop in Roanoke, Virginia, and lately I’ve had a hankering for them. Unable to head to Virginia right now, I decided it was time to take a second stab at baking scones.

These chocolate and cherry scones have a hearty crumb, and the tartness of the cherries is a delicious counterpoint to the rich dark chocolate. They definitely satisfied my cravings. Knowing I wanted a traditional, basic recipe, I started with a well-reviewed Alton Brown recipe from The Food Network, and adapted it from there. Don’t get out your mixer. Handle this dough with care.

CHOCOLATE CHERRY SCONES 
Makes 12 wedges. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

INGREDIENTS 
6 oz Ghirardelli or similar 72% cocoa chocolate (bars)
½ cup dried, tart cherries
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour (King Arthur is my preference)
3 teaspoons of baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
½ cup white sugar
4 Tablespoons butter (chilled)
2 Tablespoons shortening (chilled—Butter flavor Crisco is my go to)
¾ cup plus
1 Tablespoon whipping cream
1 egg
Turbinado sugar for sprinkling

EQUIPMENT
2 cup glass measuring cup
Whisk
Bowl
Large spatula
Floured surface
Rolling pin (optional)
Baking sheet
Hand pastry blender (or fork)
 Large knife Parchment paper (optional)
Wire tester

DIRECTIONS 

Leaving chocolate bars in their foil wrapping, break into rough chunks with a kitchen mallet or meat tenderizer. Empty into bowl. Add cherries. Set aside.

Beat egg in ramekin or small bowl. Pour cream into glass measuring cup. Whisk in egg. Set aside.

Stir together flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a large mixing bowl.

Remove butter and shortening from refrigerator. Cut into dry ingredients and quickly work in with pastry blender or fork until lumps are smallish and covered in flour. It’s okay if the chunks are uneven. Don’t overwork and let the butter get too soft, or scones will be tough.

Add cream/egg. Fold into dry ingredients with spatula until mixture just hangs together.

Dough should be ragged but not soaking wet. Add flour by tablespoons if too sticky. Add cream by teaspoons if too dry.

Use hands or spatula to quickly mix in chocolate chunks and cherries.

Gather into ball and lay on floured surface. Knead gently with floured hands until thoroughly mixed, and a minimum of dough sticks to hands.

Break into two equal portions. Form first portion into a ball, flatten on floured surface and either roll or pat into circle. Cut into six wedges. Arrange separately on parchment paper (optional) on baking sheet. Repeat for second portion.

Sprinkle wedges with Turbinado sugar to taste.

Bake between 15 and 20 minutes, depending on thickness. Tester should come out clean, and scones should be lightly browned on tops and edges.

Cool on rack. When completely cool, store at room temperature in an airtight container.

***
Laura Benedict is an Edgar and ITW-nominated author of suspense novels and short stories. Her latest novel, about a woman who returns home to find the locks changed and a strange man living in her house, is The Stranger Inside (Mulholland Books, 2019). Dark chocolate is her operating system.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

CHOCOLATE DIY FACE MASKS: 5 Recipes for the Perfect Mother's Day Gift

Here's a personal and unique Mother's Day Gift! A Chocolate Facial for Mom! Mix up one of these recipes -- the Perfect Mother's Day gift. Be sure to make a second batch for yourself!

We all know Chocolate is good for the heart, blood pressure, and a lot more. When I was growing up, we were told that chocolate was bad for the skin. That it actually caused acne. This is not true. Chocolate is full of antioxidants that actually give the skin extra protection against free radicals and can nourish the skin. The following masks can increase hydration, support skin's defense against UV damage, decrease roughness, and actually improve blood flow. Give one or all of them a try.

Pros of Chocolate Face Mask: The skin becomes glowing and soft. The skin becomes firm and smooth. Even if the mask goes into your mouth, no problem; it tastes yummy. The final Chocolate Face Mask even has an alternative fudge recipe.

So here are 5 D-I-Y Chocolate Face Mask Recipes! They're all simple to make. Let me know which is your favorite.

1. Chocolate Mask from Household Magic: Daily Tips

Mix together a heaping Tbsp of unsweetened cocoa powder with heavy cream to form a paste.
Apply to clean, dry skin and leave paste on for 15 minutes.
Wipe off mask with washcloth.
Rinse face with lukewarm water and pat dry.

2. Chocolate Yogurt Honey Mask from Flavor Fiesta

Ingredients:
1 tsp cocoa powder
1 tsp yogurt
1 tsp honey

Directions:
Blend cocoa powder with honey and yogurt. Cocoa powder can be difficult to blend, so be patient with this step. Keep mixing until mixture looks like melted chocolate.
Clean your face with lukewarm water. Dab dry and then apply the mask evenly all over your face except the eye and lip areas. Relax for 15-20 minutes and let the mask do it’s magic.
Wash off with lukewarm water and dab dry.
Apply moisturizer.

3. Chocolate Brown Sugar Sea Salt Mask from WikiHow

Ingredients
2 bars of dark chocolate, chopped
2/3 cup of milk
Sea salt
3 Tbsp Brown Sugar

Directions
Heat dark chocolate in double boiler for about 3 minutes.
Mix sea salt, brown sugar, and 2/3 of a cup milk in a bowl.
Remove melted chocolate from heat.
Mix melted chocolate with salt/milk mixture.
Allow to cool.
Apply to face while cool but not hardened.
Leave on until it hardens.
Wash or chip off with mild cleanser and warm water.
Add moisturizer when done.

4. Chocolate Oatmeal Honey Mask from Skin Care and Remedies

Ingredients
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup organic honey
2 Tbsp of heavy cream (or sour cream)
3 tsp oatmeal powder

Directions
Mix all ingredients until mass in consistent.
Apply to face, gently massaging so oatmeal can start exfoliating the dead skin cell layer.
Leave on for about 15-20 minutes
Rinse off with lukewarm water.

The following recipe is one of my favorites because it's so versatile.. with a tiny bit of tweaking, you can make fudge! How cool is that?

Chocolate Avocado, Honey, Oatmeal Face Mask (or Fudge)  
 from Meghan Telpner-Making Love in the Kitchen

Ingredients
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup organic honey
2 Tbsp smashed avocado
3 tsp oatmeal powder (leave this out if making soft fudge, leave in if you want a harder texture)

Directions: Face Mask
Mix all ingredients until mass is consistent.
Apply on face, gently massaging so oatmeal can start exfoliating the dead skin cell layer.
Leave on for 15-20 minutes.
Rinse off with lukewarm water.

Instructions: Fudge
Mix all ingredients (except oatmeal) until mass is consistent.
Spread in small pyrex dish or into individual ramikens.
Allow to set in refrigerator for at least two hours.



BUTTER 'SCOTCH' BROWNIES: National Butterscotch Brownie Day

May 9 is yet another esoteric Food Holiday: Butterscotch Brownie Day! Butterscotch Brownies, as good as they are, do not include chocolate (well sometimes chocolate chips), so it's not really a holiday I usually celebrate. So I've changed it up a bit, while still keeping with the spirit of the day. Here's my take on Butterscotch Brownie Day: Butter "Scotch" Brownies. Add Scotch to the batter, and you're good to go.  

I've posted Bourbon Brownies, and I've posted recipes for St. Patrick's Day Irish Whiskey brownies, so it's only natural to make these brownies with Scotch for Butterscotch Brownie Day. Hey, there's butter in the recipe! 

The following recipe is adapted from DrinkoftheWeek's recipe for Whiskey Brownies. So get out your kilt and do a highland fling!

This recipe, of course, can be made without the Scotch — but why would you want to do that?

BUTTER 'SCOTCH' BROWNIES!

Ingredients
3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup unsalted butter
2 Tbsp water
2 eggs
6 ounces dark fair-trade 65-70% chocolate, chopped
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup Scotch (yeah, they're pretty boozy!)


Directions
Preheat oven to 350 and grease 9-inch pan. Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt in bowl and set aside. In saucepan, combine sugar, butter, and water. Cook on low heat until boiling gently. Stir in chopped chocolate, vanilla. Then beat in eggs, one at a time. Now add flour mixture and stir well. Pour mix into pan and bake for 30 minutes. After brownies have cooled, sprinkle Scotch on top and let it soak in.

The recipe at DrinkoftheWeek has an excellent chocolate icing, but for today's holiday, I thought I'd go all the way with the "Scotch" Brownie theme, so here's a recipe for a Scotch infused icing. 

Scotch infused Icing
 

Ingredients
1-1/2 ounces unsweetened or very dark chocolate1/4 cup sweet butter
2 cups powdered sugar
3 Tbsp half-and-half
1 Tbsp good Scotch
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

In top of double boiler (or saucepan on top of saucepan with simmering water), melt chocolate with butter. Combine rest of ingredients in bowl and with electric mixer, beat in melted chocolate and butter. Beat until smooth. Mixture will be runny, but stiffens as it cools. Frost cooled brownies.

How's that for Butter "Scotch" Brownies?

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

COCONUT CREAM PIE FROM SCRATCH: National Coconut Cream Pie Day

Love these food holidays! Today is National Coconut Cream Pie Day! Add a Chocolate Cookie Crust, and you're calling my name! The advertisement on the right is from 1947 for "A Dreamy Creamy Coconut Pie You Can Make At Home-in Minutes," but believe me, take a few more minutes to make your own from scratch, and it will be 100% better!

The following recipe is adapted from Southern Living (April 2005) and also appeared in one of the Best of Southern Living collections. It's worth the time to make this great Coconut Cream Pie from Scratch.

COCONUT CREAM PIE FROM SCRATCH

Coconut Cream Pie Filling
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 cups half-and-half
4 egg yolks
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups whipping cream
1/3 cup sugar
2 1/2 tsp vanilla
Garnish: toasted coconut

Directions

Chocolate Pie Crust
2 cups chocolate wafers
6 Tbsp unsalted butter

Melt the butter.
Put chocolate wafers in plastic bag. Close bag and crush with spoon or rolling pin until you have tiny pea-sized chocolate bits.
Combine melted butter with chocolate bits.
Press ingredients into 9-inch buttered pie pan. Be sure and go up sides.
Bake 10 minutes at 325°F. 

Filling:
Combine 1/2 cup sugar and cornstarch in heavy saucepan. Whisk together half-and-half and egg yolks. Gradually whisk egg mixture into sugar mixture; bring to boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. Boil 1 minute; remove from heat.

Stir in butter, 1 cup coconut, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Cover with plastic wrap, placing plastic wrap directly on filling in pan; let stand 30 minutes (or put it in the refrigerator). Spoon custard mixture into prepared crust, cover and chill 30 minutes or until set.

Beat whipping cream at high speed with an electric mixer until foamy; gradually add 1/3 cup sugar and remaining 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla, beating until soft peaks form. Spread or pipe whipped cream over pie filling.

Garnish with toasted coconut

*To make toasted coconut, heat oven to 350. Put coconut in a pie pan and spread out to about 1/4 inch thick. Toast in oven for about 3-5 minutes.. check to make sure it doesn't burn. 

HAPPY COCONUT CREAM PIE DAY!