Sunday, July 12, 2020

7-UP BEAT THE HEAT CHOCOLATE CAKE

It's pretty warm today, so why not make Beat the Heat 7 Up Chocolate Cake? This Beat the Heat! "fresh up" with Seven-Up Ad came out on July 5, 1948! The ad is all about family days at the Beach! Mom packs the picnic basket; Dad drives; and the kids fill the cooler with 7-Up. Seems like a lot of 7-Up from the photo. But they all look like they're having fun at the Beach -- with 7-Up.

Another way of enjoying 7-Up, a very Retro carbonated beverage, is to use it as a leavening agent in a chocolate bundt cake. Enjoy! Try to beat the heat this weekend! This cake travels well!


7-Up Chocolate Cake

Ingredients
2 cups unsalted butter, softened
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 cups sugar
5 eggs
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup DARK cocoa
1 cup 7-Up
1 cup dark chocolate chips  (or a cup of dark chocolate broken into chunks)
 
Directions
Cream butter.
Add sugar and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy.
Add eggs, beating well after each one.
Stir in salt, flour and cocoa. Blend thoroughly.
Add 7-UP.
Fold in chocolate chips or chunks.
Bake in greased and floured Bundt pan for 60 minutes (or until tester comes clean).
Cool on wire rack. 

Optional: Glaze when cooled with dark chocolate Dobash Frosting. 

Dobash Frosting
1 1/2 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup Ghirardelli cocoa
pinch of salt

Combine all in saucepan and bring to a boil.
Add 1/2 cup water to make a paste. Stir into cocoa mixture with whisk over heat until it thickens. Pour while hot over cake and spread.

Saturday, July 11, 2020

BLUEBERRY CHOCOLATE CHIP MUFFINS: Blueberry Muffin Day!

Today is Blueberry Muffin Day, and this month is Blueberry Month, so celebrate! I'm a major blueberry person from way back, even before I knew they were healthy with antioxidants and flavonoids and vitamins. I grew up back East, and when we went to the 'country,' my Aunt Annie used to take all the children blueberry gathering in the woods. It was great fun. We'd all come back with blue-stained hands and mouths. Those blueberries were small and juicy and sweet as wild blueberries should be. I still crave blueberries. Local blueberries are at the farmers' market right now, and for frozen blueberries (I usually freeze my own) the wild blueberries from Maine at Trader Joe's are very tasty.

For National Blueberry Muffin Day, use fresh blueberries in these muffin recipes. I am partial to plain muffins with blueberries and chocolate chips, so the first recipe is the one I use. But since this is a chocolate blog, I have a recipe for chocolate blueberry muffins, too.

Here's my recipe for Blueberry Chocolate Chip Muffins. I like my muffins firm with a crusty top and soft inside -- and not too sweet. I think you'll like these. I use a 1/2 cup of sugar, but if you want them a little sweeter use 3/4 cup. Don't want your blueberries to sink to the bottom? Dust them with flour before putting them in the batter.

Blueberry Chocolate Chip Muffins


Ingredients
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup white sugar
pinch of salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup canola oil
1 large egg
1/3 cup whole milk
fresh blueberries (maybe a cup?)
chocolate chips

Directions
Preheat oven to 400. Grease your muffin tin or use liners.
Combine flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Make a well in the center.
Put oil into a 1 cup measuring cup; add the egg (already whipped), and enough milk to fill cup to brim. Pour into the well and mix with flour mixture. Do not overmix.
Stir in blueberries and as many of the chocolate chips as you'd like. I like a lot, but you want to also be able to taste the blueberries--and the muffin, itself.
Fill muffin cups right to top.
Bake for 20-25 minutes in preheated oven-- or until done.

So that's my favorite, but for those who want a chocolate muffin with blueberries, here's a recipe from Yankee Magazine.

Chocolate Blueberry Muffins

Ingredients
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3 ounces unsweetened or very dark chocolate
1 cup sugar (I'd probably use less)
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 cup buttermilk
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup fresh blueberries
2 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted

Directions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In medium saucepan, melt butter and unsweetened chocolate over medium heat until smooth. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Stir in sugar, egg, buttermilk, and vanilla. In small bowl, combine flour and baking soda. Gently combine with liquid ingredients. Fold in blueberries. Spoon batter into well-greased muffin cups, filling to top. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Transfer muffins to wire rack to cool. Drizzle cooled muffins with semisweet chocolate.

Have a great Blueberry Muffin Day--make it Chocolate!

Friday, July 10, 2020

Piña Colada Fudge: National Pina Cola Day!

National Piña Colada Day! Definitely a holiday I can get behind. So how to add Chocolate? Easy... Piña Colada Fudge! Here's a simple recipe for Pina Colada Fudge that includes one of my sweet favorites -- marshmallow creme (marshmallow fluff). As always, use the very best white chocolate--not the artificial white chocolate disks.

Piña Colada Fudge

Ingredients
1 pound chopped white chocolate or white chocolate chips
3/4 cup marshmallow crème or fluff
1 cup shredded coconut, (unsweetened)
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3/4 teaspoon rum (or rum extract)
3/4 teaspoon coconut extract
7 ounces sweetened condensed milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped dried pineapple

Directions
Line 8-by-8-inch pan with aluminum foil, and spray foil with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
In large microwave-safe bowl, melt chocolate in microwave, stirring after every 30 seconds to prevent overheating. Stir until chocolate is smooth and completely free of lumps. Add marshmallow crème, coconut, butter, extracts, sweetened condensed milk, and salt; stir until butter melts and everything is combined. Add chopped pineapple at the end and stir to combine evenly.
Pour fudge into prepared pan, and smooth into even layer.
Allow fudge to set at room temperature overnight, or in refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours.
Once set, lift fudge from pan using foil as handles.
Use sharp knife to cut fudge into 1-inch squares to serve.

***
And to sing along while you make the fudge!

 

Thursday, July 9, 2020

CHOCOLATE SUGAR COOKIES: 3 Recipes for National Sugar Cookie Day

For me there's nothing quite like a Sugar Cookie, and, if you add Chocolate it's even better! Of course, one can never have too many recipes for this perfect cookie. So today for National Sugar Cookie Day, here are three recipes for Chocolate Sugar Cookies.

1. CHOCOLATE SUGAR COOKIES

Ingredients
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1-1/2 cups plus 2 Tbsp flour
3/4 cup unsweetened DARK cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
14 Tbsp unsalted butter
1-3/4 cups dark brown sugar (packed)
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In shallow bowl, put granulated sugar on plate. Set aside.
In bowl, stir together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and baking powder.
In large bowl, melt 10 Tbsp butter in microwave. Do not overheat; microwave butter until just melted. Stir in remaining 4 Tbsp butter until melted. Allow butter to cool for 10-15 minutes.
Whisk brown sugar, vanilla and salt into melted butter until smooth. Whisk in egg and egg yolk until smooth. Stir in flour mixture until just combined.
Roll dough into balls -- 2 Tbsp for each cookie. Roll balls in white sugar and place on lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheets.
Flatten cookies to 1/4-inch thick.
Sprinkle cookies with more white sugar.
Bake 12-14 minutes. Don't overbake.
Transfer to wire rack to cool.

2. CHOCOLATE SUGAR COOKIES

Ingredients
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
5 ounces unsweetened or very dark Chocolate, chopped
1 cup unsalted butter
1-1/2 cups sugar, divided
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions
Mix flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside. Melt chocolate and butter together in a stainless steel bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (or in a double boiler).
Add 1 cup sugar, egg, and vanilla; mix well.
Stir in flour mixture until well blended.
Refrigerate 15 minutes or until dough is easy to handle.
Heat oven to 375°F.
Shape dough into 1-inch balls; roll in remaining sugar.
Place, 2 inches apart, on baking sheets.
Bake 8 to 10 min. or until centers are set.
Cool on baking sheets 1 minute.
Remove to wire racks; cool completely.

This third cookie recipe is for Chocolate Caramel Sugar Cookies! This easy recipe is adapted from Kraft. Use Kraft products such as their caramels and Planters Pecans-- or use your favorite caramels and nuts.

3. CHOCOLATE CARAMEL SUGAR COOKIES

Ingredients
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
4 ounces very dark chocolate, chopped
1 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cups sugar, divided
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup chopped Planter Pecans
14 ounces KRAFT caramels
2 Tbsp milk

Directions
Mix flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside. Microwave chocolate and butter in large microwaveable bowl on High for 2 minutes or until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Add 1 cup sugar, egg, and vanilla; mix well. Stir in flour mixture until well blended.
Refrigerate 15 minutes or until dough is easy to handle.
Heat oven to 375°F.
Shape dough into 1-inch balls; roll in 1/2 cup chopped Pecans.
Place, 2 inches apart, on baking sheets. Make indentation in each ball.
Bake 8 to 10 min. or until centers are set.
Microwave 1 package Kraft Caramels with 2 Tbsp milk in microwaveable bowl on High for 3 minutes or until caramels are melted..stirring after 2 minutes.
Spoon into centers of cookies.
(Drizzle with extra melted chocolate, if you feel inclined)
Cool on baking sheets 1 minute.
Remove to wire racks; cool completely.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

HOMEMADE ALMOND JOY: National Chocolate with Almonds Day

Happy Chocolate with Almonds Day For me, Almonds and Chocolate are all about Almond Joy.

Today, Almond Joy candy bars are manufactured by Hershey's. Almond Joy has a coconut-based center topped with two toasted almonds and covered in a layer of milk chocolate. Almond Joy is the sister product of Mounds, which is the same confection but without the almonds and coated with dark chocolate. I'm actually partial to Mounds, but for the purposes of today's holiday, I'm posting about Chocolate with Almonds and Almond Joy. One concession, in the recipe below for Homemade Almond Joy Bars, I use dark chocolate! Almond Joy bars have milk chocolate.


According to Wikipedia, Peter Paul Halajian, a candy retailer in Connecticut in 1919, along with other Armenian investors, including Dutch candy manufacturer Jett Schaefer, formed the Schaefer Candy Manufacturing Company in 1919. The company first sold various brands of candies, but following sugar and coconut shortages in World War II, they dropped most brands and concentrated their efforts on the Mounds bar. The Almond Joy Bar was introduced in 1946 as a replacement for the Dream Bar (created in 1936) that contained diced almonds with the coconut. In 1978, Peter Paul merged with the Cadbury company. Hershey’s then purchased the United States portion of the combined company in 1988.

During the 1970s, the Peter Paul company used the jingle, "Sometimes you feel like a nut / Sometimes you don't / Almond Joy's got nuts / Mounds don't," to advertise Almond Joy and Mounds together. In a play on words, the "feel like a nut" portion of the jingle was typically played over a clip of someone acting like a "nut,"engaged in some funny-looking activity. Scroll down to watch the Retro Commercial below.

Did you ever try any of these? In the 2000s, Hershey began producing variations of the product, including a limited edition Piña Colada and Double Chocolate Almond Joy in 2004, a limited edition White Chocolate Key Lime and Milk Chocolate Passion Fruit Almond Joy in 2005, and a limited edition Toasted Coconut Almond Joy in 2006. Although Peter Paul as a company no longer exists, the name still appears on the wrapper as part of the bars' brand names.

Want to make your own Almond Joy Bars? Simple and delicious. I know that Almond Joy uses milk chocolate, but I'm partial to dark which is why I probably always liked the Mounds Bar better. You can use either type of chocolate in the recipe below. As always use the very best chocolate for the very best candy!

Homemade Almond Joy Recipe

Ingredients
7 ounces sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup sweet butter, softened
Pinch of Salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar
14 ounces sweetened flaked or shredded coconut
24 ounces dark chocolate, chopped  (milk chocolate if you're a traditionalist)
3/4 cup whole almonds (that you'll toast-see recipe)

Directions
Preheat oven to 350F
Spread raw almonds on baking sheet and toast for about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool.
In big mixing bowl, blend milk, butter, and vanilla. Add powdered sugar a little at a time. Add coconut a little at a time and mix until combined. The mixture will be thick. Place mixture in refrigerator for 30 minutes. (You can use your Kitchen Aid flat beater, but I prefer the texture that comes from hand mixing.)
3. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove coconut mixture from refrigerator. With hands, shape one tablespoon of coconut into small log - 2 inches long and 3/4-inch thick. Press coconut mixture tightly together. Place logs on lined baking sheet and continue until all coconut mixture is finished.
Press an almond on top of each coconut log.
Place baking sheet in freezer to chill while you melt chocolate.
In medium microwave safe bowl, melt chocolate in microwave 2-4 minutes at 30 SECOND intervals until chocolate is melted (or melt in top of double boiler or pan over saucepan of simmering water).
Remove coconut logs from freezer.
Dip in Chocolate: See next step

How to Dip in Chocolate:  Two Ways

1. Place one coconut almond log on fork. Use spoon to scoop a bit of chocolate over almond. This helps almond stick to coconut log during dipping. Lower fork into chocolate and spoon chocolate over candy to coat. Lift fork and gently shake to release some of the chocolate. Scrape bottom of fork along the side of bowl and place on lined baking sheet. You might need a toothpick to help get the candy off the fork. Repeat until all candy is coated in chocolate. If chocolate gets thick, return to microwave or heat for a tiny bit more.
Let dipped candy harden for 45 minutes. Store in airtight container at room temperature.

2. Using Two Fork method (or a special dipping tool-I find this handy), dunk coconut logs in chocolate, bring up and tap on lip of bowl to remove excess chocolate. Place on parchment lined baking sheet and repeat.

Do You Remember this Almond Joy Commercial?

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

GUITTARD'S BEST BROWNIES EVER: World Chocolate Day

Today is World Chocolate Day. There is great chocolate made all over the world, but today I thought I'd feature my favorite baking chocolate--Guittard--which is close to home.

The Guittard Chocolate Company, based in Burlingame, CA, is celebrating 150 years, so it's not surprising that they have developed some fabulous chocolate. They've been crafting chocolate for five generations, using a combination of a time-tested craft, innovative techniques, long-standing relationships and a complete obsession with making a premium chocolate that delivers a spectrum of flavor for a variety of applications.

I often use their cocoa, bars, chips, and wafers, and I really love their Collection Etienne Chocolate. Their 100 percent cacao bars are amazing, but they also make 64 and 70% bars--all fair trade-certified, non-GMO, kosher and whatever else you want on the label. These are also available as wafers. I love this company! So here are two recipes from Guittard for their incredible Collection Etienne Brownies. You will marvel at the intense chocolate flavor in both. The first recipe is my favorite, since it's fudgy. The second recipe is more cake-like, but equally fab...just different. Let me know which you prefer.

Incredible Collection Etienne Best Brownies Ever!

Ingredients
6 ounces Guittard Collection Etienne unsweetened chocolate (100-percent cacao), broken into pieces
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 large eggs
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

Directions
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 9-by-9-inch pan with foil, covering bottom and extending up sides.
In double boiler set over hot, not boiling water, melt chocolate and butter, stirring occasionally until smooth. Set aside.
Using electric mixer, beat eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt at high speed for 2 to 3 minutes, until light and creamy. Blend in melted chocolate at low speed, stopping to scrape sides as needed. Add flour just until incorporated.
Spread batter into prepared pan. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until top is puffed and cracked, and toothpick inserted in center test moist. Brownies will set as they cool. Cool before cutting.

Best Cake-Like Collection Etienne Brownies

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups (8 oz) Collection Etienne 74% Cacoa Organic Bittersweet Chocolate Wafers
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups evaporated cane sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
4 large eggs, room temp
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour.

Directions
Preheat oven to 350. Line 8-inch square pan with foil
Melt chocolate and butter in double boiler until smooth and melted.
Transfer to large bowl of electric mixer. Mix in sugar, salt, and vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, blending until smooth and glossy, stopping to scrape sides as needed. Add flour until just incorporated.
Spread into prepared pan. Bake 25-30 minutes or until puffed around edges and cater tests most. Do not overtake. Cool before cutting.

Monday, July 6, 2020

CHOCOLATE ROSEMARY CAKE

I love the buzzing of the bees in my garden. They're everywhere this summer, and that's such a good thing. On the fringes of the garden, I grow rosemary that I use in all kinds of cooking and baking. Such a lovely smell. So for today's recipe, I thought I'd post a recipe for Chocolate Rosemary Cake with Chocolate Rosemary Ganache.

CHOCOLATE ROSEMARY CAKE

Ingredients
6 large sprigs of fresh rosemary
1 large egg
1/2 cup of superfine sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
11 ounces 60-70 % cacao, finely chopped
5 large eggs, separated
3 Tbsp granulated sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder

Directions
Preheat oven to 275° with two racks in the center. In 4 cup glass measuring cup melt butter and chocolate in microwave on low power for 1minute intervals – stirring after every minute. If your mixture is too warm; put it on ice to cool down and stir regularly. Set mixture aside to cool.
Separate eggs. Put egg whites in larger bowl to add later.
Lightly beat egg yolks and stir into cooled chocolate mixture. Add granulated sugar, flour, and baking powder to chocolate mixture and stir to combine.
Whisk egg whites just until soft peaks form. Stir one-third of egg whites into chocolate mixture to lighten it. Fold chocolate mixture into remaining egg whites, just until combined.
Pour batter onto baking sheet – about 1 inch thick.
Bake for 25 minutes.
Transfer cake to wire rack and let sit 5 minutes. Unmold.
When finished with ganache (see below) make little round cakes with cookie cutter.
To serve, place cake on serving plate. Pour warm ganache over and top with second and then third cake layer, drizzling each with ganache. Repeat to make multiple servings. Garnish with whipped cream.

Rosemary Ganache 

Ingredients
9 ounces 60-70 % cacao, finely chopped
1 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp fresh rosemary needles

Directions
Place chocolate in medium, heat-proof bowl. Warm cream with rosemary in small saucepan over low heat and bring just to boil. Let sit for 5 minutes. Strain cream over chocolate. Cover bowl tightly with foil; let sit about 5 minutes. Stir to melt all chocolate.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

CHOCOLATE GRAHAM CRACKERS: National Graham Cracker Day

Today is National Graham Cracker Day, and since it's only one day past the Fourth, this great WWII Ad with Uncle Sam that features all the 'recommended' National Biscuit Company (Nabisco) crackers, cookies, and biscuits is perfect.

I've made chocolate graham cracker crusts, and I've used graham crackers in most of my S'mores recipes, so this recipe for Chocolate Graham Crackers is perfect. These are easy to make and delicious. I've seen lots of recipes, but this one from King Arthur Flour is one of the best.

CHOCOLATE GRAHAM CRACKERS

Ingredients
1/2 cup Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
3/4 cup Whole Wheat Flour, Traditional or White Whole Wheat
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa
1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar or glazing sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons cold milk

Directions
Preheat your oven to 325°F. Have two baking sheets and parchment paper to line them at the ready.
In medium-sized bowl, whisk together flours, salt, cocoa, sugar, and baking powder. With pastry blender, two knives, or your fingertips, cut the butter into flour mixture until evenly crumbly.
In separate bowl, combine honey and milk, stirring until honey dissolves. Add liquid to dry ingredients and toss lightly with fork until dough comes together. Add additional milk, if necessary.
Turn dough out onto well-floured surface and fold over gently 10 to 12 times, until smooth.
Divide dough in half.
Work half the dough at a time, keeping remaining dough covered. Transfer one piece of dough to  piece of parchment. Roll into a rectangle a bit larger than 10" x 14"; dough will be about 1/16" thick. Trim edges and prick dough evenly with a dough docker or fork.
Repeat with  remaining dough and parchment. Place rolled-out dough pieces, on their parchment, onto baking sheets. Bake crackers for 15 minutes, or until you begin to smell chocolate. Remove them from the oven, and immediately cut them into rectangles with pizza wheel knife.
Transfer to rack to cool.
Store cooled crackers tightly wrapped for up to a week, or freeze for up to one month.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

FOURTH OF JULY STRAWBERRY PIE

For me, Fourth of July is all about Strawberries and Whipped Cream. Here's an easy Fourth of July Strawberry Pie, but of course I want chocolate with that, so I'm making a Chocolate Cookie Crust. Add blueberries to the whipped cream topping, and you'll have stars!

FOURTH OF JULY STRAWBERRY PIE

Chocolate Cookie Crust

25-30 chocolate cookie wafers (I use Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers), 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled. Heat oven to 350°F.  Whirl cookies in food processor until crumbs are fine. Put in medium bowl, add melted butter, and mix until combined. Press crumb mixture into a 9-inch pie plate evenly and firmly on bottom and up sides. Bake at 350 for 10 to 15 minutes. Cool (on wire rack) before filling.

Filling & Topping

Mash 2 cups of strawberries (chunky not macerated) (put aside a cup of sliced strawberries). Place strawberries in small saucepan. Add sugar (to taste-depends on strawberries-about 1/4-1/2 cup), 1/4 cup cornstarch, dash of salt, 1 tsp vanilla or 1 Tbsp  lemon juice (or both). Bring to simmer until thickened. Cool completely. Add rest of strawberries (cut up or sliced) and put in baked cooled Chocolate Cookie Crust. Put in fridge for 2 hours to set. Top with whipped cream, big whole strawberries, and blueberries!

Happy Fourth of July!

Friday, July 3, 2020

CHOCOLATE BABY BACK RIBS: Fourth of July

So what are you making for your Fourth of July barbecue? Chicken? Hotdogs? Burgers? Ribs? Here's a great recipe for Chocolate Flavored Ribs for Fourth of July. Don't let this fool you. These ribs are savory with a kick! I found the original recipe on the Fox News Latino site in 2011. I've made a few adjustments, but not many!

CHOCOLATE BABY BACK RIBS

Ingredients
3 pounds baby back ribs
4 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup apple juice

Chipotle Chocolate Sauce Ingredients
1 Tbsp sweet Butter
1/2 tsp Chipotle Chili Powder
1/2 cup Half and half
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (65 % cacao or more), chopped
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

Directions
Heat cast iron skillet with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Mix paprika, cumin, salt and pepper, and rub on all sides of baby back ribs.
Working in two batches, cut seasoned ribs in half.
Brown both sides until crispy.
Place each section in oversized piece of heavy duty aluminum foil. Place sliced garlic over ribs and divide apple juice and pour over.
Create airtight seal and place in preheated grill for 90 minutes.
Remove from foil and place directly on grill. Brush with chocolate chipotle sauce. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Turn over and repeat, then EAT!

Chocolate Chipotle Sauce
To make sauce, sauté butter over low heat, add cumin and half and half. Continuously stir until hot but not boiled.
Add chopped chocolate and continue to stir until smooth. Mix in apple cider vinegar. Set aside until ready to brush over ribs.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

STAR SPANGLED COCOA BUNDT CAKE: Fourth of July!


I always say you should check out recipes on food product sites that you like, and for me, the Hershey's Kitchens site is a regular stop.

I grew up in Philadelphia. My Aunt lived in Harrisburg, so Hershey's, being on the way, was a frequent stop. I remember the Hershey Factory tour that took us on catwalks over rooms filled with chocolate vats--without barriers. I always thought you could fall into the vats. This was pre-Willy Wonka. I'm sure my memory is impaired, but it was a child's paradise and fantasy. I know Hershey Park had lots of amusement rides, a roller coaster, possibly a pool, but our family never availed ourselves of those 'amusements.' We always went on the educational tour. We did have chocolate, though, at the end, so I'm grateful.

Hershey, PA is a very different place now with an enormous hotel, amusement park, spa, first class restaurants, kitchens and more. Hershey's always seems so American to me! Patriotic, even. So I'm not surprised that this Hershey's Kitchens' Cocoa Bundt Cake has become of my favorite recipes, and here it is, all dressed up for the Fourth of July. I've adapted the recipe slightly.

Star Spangled Cocoa Bundt Cake

Ingredients

3/4 cup sweet butter, softened
1-2/3 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon Madagascar vanilla extract
3/4 cup sour cream
2 tsp baking soda
1 cup buttermilk or sour milk*
2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup DARK Cocoa
1/2 tsp salt
Powdered sugar
Fresh blueberries and strawberries
Sweetened whipped cream

Directions
1 Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 12-cup bundt pan (with a hole in the middle)*
2 Beat butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla in large bowl until fluffy; beat in sour cream. Stir baking soda into buttermilk; set aside. Stir together flour, cocoa and salt; add alternately with buttermilk mixture to butter mixture. Beat 2 minutes on medium speed of mixer. Pour batter into prepared pan.
3 Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until wooden pick inserted comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely. Place cake on serving plate. Sift powdered sugar on top and sides of cake. Top with blueberries, strawberries. Serve with whipped cream.

Tip: If you don't have buttermilk, here's how to sour milk: Mix 1 Tbsp white vinegar plus milk to equal 1 cup.

Cake Photo: Hershey's Kitchens

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

CHOCOLATE MAPLE CASHEW PIE: Canada Day!

Today is Canada Day, so as a toast to my friends to the North, here's a recipe for Chocolate Maple Pie

Canada Day is the anniversary of Canada's confederation. Canadians commemorate the day with parades, fireworks, cookouts, and concerts. Formerly known as "Dominion Day," Canada Day marks the anniversary of the Constitution Act of 1867, joining Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and the Canada province (now Ontario and Quebec) into a single country. The Constitution Act granted Canada a substantial amount of independence from England, although complete independence was not given until 1982. 

The first official celebration was held in 1917 to honor Canada's 50th birthday. It was not until 1946 that Phileas Cote, a member of the Quebec House of Commons, sent a private member's bill to rename Dominion Day as Canada Day. The Senate responded by recommending the holiday be named the "National Holiday of Canada." Since no one could agree on the name, the bill was defeated. The government first recognized Canada Day in 1958 by holding a trooping of the color on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. Canada's centennial marked the first widespread celebration in 1967. The event promoted nationalism and Canadian pride. In the 1980s, the government began funding Canada Day activities in smaller communities. The holiday was finally made official by a unanimous vote on October 27, 1982; the same year that the Canada Act was passed, removing any remaining dependence of Canada on the United Kingdom.

So in celebration of Canada Day, here's a recipe for Chocolate Maple Cashew Pie! It's a great twist on Pecan Pie since it's made with cashews instead of pecans, brandy instead of bourbon, and creme fraiche instead of whipped cream! This recipe is from Melissa Clark in Epicurious, November 2007. I've changed it ever so slightly. If you're celebrating Canada Day, be sure and make this with Canadian Maple Syrup.

Check out Epicurious's recipe for a 9" pie crust or make your favorite--or you could even use a frozen pie crust from Trader Joe's! Bake pie crust before filling!

CHOCOLATE MAPLE CASHEW PIE

For filling:
1 1/4 cups pure maple syrup
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
3 large eggs
2 Tbsp brandy (riff on bourbon in pecan pie)
3 ounces DARK (62%+ cacao) chocolate, finely chopped
1-1/4 cups unsalted roasted cashews (a riff on pecan pie)
Creme fraiche for topping (another riff on the traditional Pecan Pie which uses whipped cream)
 
Directions
Make pie shell, bake, and let cool.
In medium saucepan over moderately high heat, simmer maple syrup, uncovered, until reduced to 3/4 cup, about 10 minutes. Carefully whisk in butter (mixture may splatter), then sugar and salt. Remove from heat and let cool to warm room temperature.
In medium bowl, whisk together eggs and brandy. Whisk egg mixture into cooled maple syrup mixture.
Preheat oven to 325°F. Spread chopped chocolate in even layer over bottom of prepared crust.
Sprinkle nuts in second even layer, then pour filling over nuts.
Bake until filling is puffed and center is just set, 45 to 60 minutes. Cool in pan on rack.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

FOURTH OF JULY COCA-COLA CAKE

July Fourth is coming up this weekend, and what could be more "American" than Coca-Cola? Here's a great Chocolate Coca-Cola  'Soda' cake for the Fourth of July.  I love this Retro Ad for Coke. So, get out your 'Pyrex' dish and bake a Retro Chocolate Coca Cola Cake for the holiday! I've also included a recipe for Chocolate Coca-Cola Icing.


CHOCOLATE COCA-COLA CAKE

Ingredients
2 cups unsifted cake flour
2 cups sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter
2 Tbsp cocoa
1 cup Coca-Cola
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt

Directions
Sift together flour and sugar. Heat to boiling point the butter, cocoa, and Coca-Cola. Add to flour and sugar mixture. Stir to blend. Add buttermilk, soda, eggs, salt, and vanilla. Stir with spoon until well blended. Pour into greased and floured oblong pan (Pyrex dish). Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Batter will be thin. Ice while hot.

COCA-COLA ICING

1/2 cup butter
6 Tbsp Coca-Cola
1 box confectioners' sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp cocoa

Heat to boiling point -- butter, cocoa and Cola-Cola. Add confectioners' sugar and vanilla; stir to blend. Using a fork, make holes in hot cake and pour hot icing over it.

Monday, June 29, 2020

HOME MADE ALMOND ROCA: National Almond Buttercrunch Day

Today is National Almond Buttercrunch Day. Almond Roca is also known as Almond Buttercrunch.

I first had Almond Roca as a young girl. A neighbor who drove us to school always had Almond Roca on the coffee table in their recreation room. This neighbor didn't have the same rules as in my household (No Candy until after dinner--not to mention BEFORE school!). So I always enjoyed Almond Roca when this neighbor was driving. So for today's Buttercrunch Day holiday, I suggest you make the following recipe for Homemade Almond Roca. This recipe for Home-made Almond Roca is adapted from Elizabeth LaBau on AboutFood.com

No time to cook? Pick up a bar of Almond Roca.

Home-Made Almond Roca

Ingredients 
4 ounces unsalted butter
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp light corn syrup
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups toasted whole almonds, coarsely chopped
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate

Directions
Prepare 8 x 4 loaf pan by lining with aluminum foil and spraying foil with nonstick cooking spray.
In small saucepan over medium-high heat, melt butter. Add brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt, and stir until brown sugar dissolves.
Once brown sugar melts, start timer and cook candy for exactly 6 minutes, stirring constantly with wooden spoon. If you use candy thermometer, stir and boil toffee until it reaches 290 degrees.
After six minutes, take toffee (buttercrunch) pan off heat and stir in 1/2 cup chopped toasted almonds. Scrape toffee into prepared loaf pan—it should be in layer about 1/2-inch thick.
Let toffee set for about 3 minutes, then use pizza cutter or paring knife to cut toffee into thin bars about 1/2-inch by 2 -1/2 inches. They will look small, but once they're dipped in chocolate and rolled in nuts, they'll be bigger. After another 2 minutes, go over your cuts again as toffee continues to harden.
As you wait for toffee to set, chop remaining 1 cup of toasted almonds very finely, or put in food processor and pulse for several seconds until becomes very small pieces. Pour finely chopped almonds into shallow bowl.
Once toffee is completely cool and set, break into pieces along lines you made, and trim off any jagged edges with knife.
Melt chocolate. Dip each piece of Almond Buttercrunch in melted chocolate, then place in bowl of nuts. Roll it around until coated with nuts on all sides, then take it out of nuts with fork and place on baking sheet. Repeat until all toffee pieces are coated with chocolate and nuts.
Optional: To make it 'really' look like Almond Roca, wrap individual pieces in gold foil.
Refrigerate tray to set chocolate (about 10 minutes).
Store in airtight container in refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Bring to room temperature before serving.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

CHEWY CHOCOLATE COOKIES: Retro Ad & Recipe

Here's an easy Retro Hershey Recipe from 1983 for Chewy Chocolate Cookies. Mix up a batch today.

CHEWY CHOCOLATE COOKIES

Ingredients
1-1/4 cups butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
3/4 cup Hershey's cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoon salt
1 cup finely chopped nuts, optional

Directions
Cream butter and sugar in large mixer bowl. Add eggs and vanilla; blend well. Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt: blend into creamed mixture. Stir in nuts, if desired. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 (F) for 8 to 9 minutes. (Do not overbake. Cookies will be soft. They will puff during baking, flatten upon cooling.)
Cool on cookie sheet until set, about 1 minute: remove to wire rack to cool completely.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

ICE CREAM CAKE ROLL: National Ice Cream Cake Day

Today is Ice Cream Cake Day! I love ice cream cake. When I was growing up we didn't have local ice cream shops making specialty ice cream cakes, but we did have store-bought Ice Cream Cake Rolls at the supermarket. I loved the spongy chocolate cake that contrasted with the cold solid vanilla ice cream. You can make this easy recipe today or any day. The following recipe for this Classic Retro Recipe for Ice Cream Cake Roll -- "a Double Treat" -- is adapted from Family Circle Magazine.

ICE CREAM CAKE ROLL 

Ingredients
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
4 eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons confectioners' sugar
3 cups vanilla ice cream, softened

Directions 
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat 15 x 10 x 1-inch jelly-roll pan with nonstick cooking spray. Line bottom of pan with parchment or waxed paper. Spray paper.
Stir together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. In large bowl, beat eggs with electric mixer on medium speed for 5 minutes, until very light yellow. Gradually add granulated sugar, beating until smooth. Beat in vanilla extract.
Fold flour mixture into egg mixture until no lumps remain. Pour into prepared pan, spreading level. Bake at 350 degrees F for 12 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched.
Dust clean kitchen towel with confectioners sugar. Turn cake out onto towel. Roll up towel and cake from short end; cool completely.
Unroll; spread with softened ice cream to within 1 inch of edges.
Re-roll cake without towel; wrap in plastic wrap. Freeze at least 4 hours or overnight.
If frozen overnight, let stand at room temperature 20 minutes before serving.
To serve, carefully remove plastic wrap.

Friday, June 26, 2020

DARK CHOCOLATE PUDDING WITH STRAWBERRY ROSES: National Chocolate Pudding Day


Today is National Chocolate Pudding Day, and what could be better than Chocolate Pudding with Strawberry Roses. Here's a recipe from Driscoll's, my favorite berry people, for Dark Chocolate Pudding with Strawberry Roses. I'm a rose aficionado, a chocoholic, and a strawberry fiend, so this is the perfect dessert for me, and I know you'll love it, too. The technique for creating strawberry roses is awesome and easy. It really elevates the chocolate pudding both in beauty and taste.

These Strawberry Roses are also great to top Strawberry Short Cake. There are all kinds of uses. Thanks, Driscoll's Berries for the instructions.


DARK CHOCOLATE PUDDING WITH STRAWBERRY ROSES

Pudding 
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
2 cups whole milk
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
Pinch salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Topping
1 package Driscoll's Strawberries (16 ounces)
8 fresh mint leaves

Directions

Pudding
Melt Chocolate.
Whisk together 1/2 cup milk and cornstarch.
Bring remaining 1- 1/2 cups milk, sugar, cocoa, and salt just to a simmer over medium heat. Stir cornstarch mixture then add to milk mixture in saucepan and bring to boil, whisking constantly. Cook 1 minute.
Remove from heat and stir in melted chocolate and vanilla.
Spoon into 4 glasses.
Cover surface directly with plastic wrap to prevent skin from forming. Chill.

Topping 
Before serving, hull 16 strawberries by removing the green calyx.
Take 4 strawberries and cut top off of strawberries. These strawberries will be used as the center for the roses.
For the remaining strawberries, slice into 1/8: sections to use for the rose petals.
Begin arranging sliced strawberries around pudding making sure ends of slices are facing out and extend slightly beyond rim of glass.
After first circle of strawberries is placed, begin making second circle of strawberries but position slightly more forward toward the center of glass.
Continue with third layer.
Once finished add cut strawberry to center and garnish with mint leaves.
Serve immediately.

Photo: Driscoll's

Thursday, June 25, 2020

RAINBOW CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES to celebrate PRIDE!

Here's a great and easy recipe for Rainbow Chocolate Chip Cookies to celebrate Pride. No Pride Parade this year in San Francisco because of the pandemic, but your can mix up a batch and share with neighbors and friends! These cookies are also great for Children's parties! Who doesn't love Rainbows?

RAINBOW CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

Ingredients 
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 tsp pure vanilla
2 eggs
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp baking soda
3 cups flour
2 cups chocolate chips
4 different colors food coloring (Wilton's has natural food dyes)

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix butter and both sugars together for 2 minutes on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add in egg, vanilla, salt, and baking soda and continue mixing for 1 minute until smooth, scraping sides of bowl as necessary. Turn mixer to low and add in flour, mixing until just incorporated.  Fold in chocolate chips.
Divide cookie dough into 4 equal portions. Using food coloring (Wilton's has natural food dyes), color each dough. Roll each colored dough into approximately 15-inch rope.
Place each colored rope next to each other on large piece of non-stick (parchment or saran wrap). Wrap tightly, pressing doughs together forming a large log. Remove wrap and break off dough with your hands into 2 tablespoon portions or use cookie scoop. Roll dough into loose ball, add some more chocolate chip to the top of each ball, and place on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 9 minutes or until edges are done (they may look underdone, but they're not). Don’t overbake!
Cool on baking sheet for 3-4 minutes and then transfer to wire rack to cool. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

RAINBOW CAKE: Two Recipes to celebrate PRIDE

No parades to celebrate PRIDE this year, but here are two recipes for Rainbow Cakes that you can make and share with friends in your social bubble! These are both delicious and easy recipes for Rainbow Cakes to celebrate PRIDE.

This first recipe and photo is from Land O Lakes for a from scratch cake. I love their recipes!

1. PRIDE RAINBOW CAKE

Ingredients

Cake
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt 1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup Land O Lakes® Butter, softened
4 large Eggs
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup milk
Red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple gel food color

Buttercream Frosting
2 cups Land O Lakes® Butter, softened
6 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple gel food color

Directions
Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 2 (8-inch) round cake pans or spray with baking spray. Set aside.
Combine flour, baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt in bowl; set aside.
Beat sugar and 1 cup butter in another bowl at medium speed, scraping bowl occasionally, until creamy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add 1 tablespoon vanilla; mix well. Add flour mixture alternately with milk, beating at low speed after each addition, just until mixed.
Divide batter evenly among 6 bowls with about 3/4 cup each. Tint cake batters red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple. Spread red and orange batter into prepared pans. Bake 8-10 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool 3 minutes; remove from pans to cooling rack. Cool completely. Meanwhile, wash pans; grease and flour pans. Repeat with remaining colors until all cake layers are baked.
Beat butter in medium bowl at medium speed until creamy. Gradually add powdered sugar and 1/4 teaspoon salt alternately with whipping cream and 1 tablespoon vanilla, beating at low speed until well incorporated. Beat at medium speed until smooth and creamy. Remove 2 cups frosting; set aside. Divide remaining frosting evenly among 6 bowls with about 1/3 cup each. Tint frostings red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple. Set aside.
Place purple cake layer onto serving plate, bottom-side up. Frost top with 1/4 cup white frosting. Place blue cake layer over frosting; frost with 1/4 cup white frosting. Continuing adding green, yellow, orange, and red layers in that order, frosting with 1/4 cup white frosting between each layer. Frost outside of cake with remaining white frosting. This layer of frosting will be thin and cake will be visible through frosting. Once frosted, refrigerate cake 30 minutes. (This is called a crumb coat and will prevent crumbs from interfering when piping rosettes.)
Place each tinted frosting into an individual resealable plastic food bag; push frosting to one corner. Cut off 1/2 inch from tip of corner. Place 18-inch-long piece of plastic food wrap onto counter surface. Pipe each color onto plastic wrap to form wide 12-inch horizontal lines (using all of frosting) that are touching.
Gently roll frosting lines into one large log using plastic wrap. Snip tip off 1 end of plastic wrap. Place cut-side down into piping bag fitted with size 1M open-star tip. Pipe rainbow rosettes onto cake beginning with middle of top of cake and working out and down sides so the most vibrant colors are on top of cake.
Tip: Each baked cake layer will be about 3/8 inch thick. The cake is about 3 inches tall before before being decorated with the colorful rosettes.

No time to make a cake from scratch? Make this recipe for a Rainbow Cake from Betty Crocker.

2. PRIDE RAINBOW CAKE

Ingredients

Cake 
2 boxes Betty Crocker™ Super Moist™ vanilla cake mix
2 cups water
1 cup vegetable oil
6 eggs
2 packages (2.7 oz each) Betty Crocker™ classic gel food colors (Wilton has natural food coloring)

Buttercream Frosting
1 cup shortening
1 cup butter, softened
1 bag (2 lb) powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 to 4 tablespoons milk

Directions
Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 3 (8-inch) round cake pans with cooking spray.
In large bowl, beat cake mix, water, oil, and eggs with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds, then on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Divide batter evenly among 6 small bowls, about 1 1/3 cups each.
Using food colors, tint batter in 1 bowl blue, 1 bowl red, 1 bowl green, 1 bowl yellow, 1 bowl orange (using red and yellow) and 1 bowl purple (using blue and red).
 Refrigerate 3 colors of batter until ready to bake. Pour remaining 3 colors of batter into cake pans.
Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until cake springs back when touched lightly in center and begins to pull away from side of pan. Cool 10 minutes. Remove from pans to cooling racks; cool completely.
Wash cake pans. Bake and cool remaining 3 cake layers as directed.
In large bowl, beat shortening and butter with electric mixer on medium speed until light yellow. On low speed, gradually beat in powdered sugar. Beat in vanilla. Add milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until frosting is smooth. Beat on high speed until light and fluffy.
Trim rounded tops off cakes to level, if needed. On serving plate, place purple cake layer. Spread with frosting to within 1/4 inch of edge. Repeat with blue, green, yellow, orange, and red cake layers. Spread light coat of frosting on top and side of cake to seal in crumbs, then frost with remaining frosting.

Tips:
Cake batter is stable enough to wait in the fridge until first three layers are baked. Be sure to rinse pans in cool water and dry them well before scraping the rest of batters into pans. Bake as directed. 

If you only have two 8-inch cake pans, bake cakes in three batches instead. 

To make sure cake layers bake up level, be sure to evenly divide batter between the bowls when coloring. 

Using half shortening and half butter for buttercream frosting ensures it will stay firm enough at room temperature. Make ahead and chill it for a while to firm it up before assembling the layers. 

For guaranteed easy unmolding, line each pan with baking parchment. Set one of pans on paper and trace a circle around base with tip of sharp paring knife to create a round that fits inside pan; repeat to make enough for all layers. 

For a deeper red color, add a teaspoon or two of unsweetened baking cocoa to the red batter.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

CHOCOLATE PECAN SANDIES: National Pecan Sandies Day

Today is National Pecan Sandies Day. Pecan sandies are great shortbread cookies, and all I've done is add chocolate to make them all that much better.

Pecan Sandies: A shortbread cookie with ground pecans added to the flour. The cookies are easy to make -- flour, butter, sugar, salt,  vanilla -- and pecans. The name Sandie might have something to do with the color--or not. Urban myth?

I have two suggestions for making Chocolate Pecan Sandies. The first is the full recipe for  Chocolate Pecan Sandie Cookies. The second would be to use a 'regular' pecan sandie recipe (BrownEyedBaker's recipe for "non-chocolate" pecan sandies. ) and add chocolate chips.

Pecan Sandies are simple to make and taste delicious. They're not too sweet. Some people like to chop the pecans coursely, and that works, but you can also pulverize the pecans. To form the cookies, I use the drop method, but some people like to make logs and then slice them. Either way, they'll taste great!

Chocolate Pecan Sandies

Ingredients
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups (about 6 ounces) ground pecans, divided use
1/2 cup unsweetened good quality DARK cocoa powder
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Grease cookie sheet or line with parchment.
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla until well blended.
Mix together flour, 1 cup ground pecans, and cocoa powder, then beat flour mixture into butter mixture.
Chill dough for 30 minutes.
Combine remaining 1/2 cup ground pecans and 1/3 cup confectioners' sugar in a bowl.
Form dough into 1-inch balls.
Roll in pecan sugar mixture (reserve any leftover sugar mix) and place on baking sheets.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
Cool, then dip pecan sandy cookie tops in any remaining pecan sugar.

Monday, June 22, 2020

MINI CHOCOLATE ECLAIRS: National Eclair Day

Today is National Chocolate Eclair Day. My favorite eclairs are not the long thin "traditional" hotdog shaped eclairs (although I like them), but rather, mini-eclairs. They're easy to make using a basic Pâte à choux.. puff pastry. I've been making them for years.

I've posted this recipe before, but it's always worthy of a re-post. These eclairs are so easy and yet look so beautiful and taste fabulous! Hope you enjoy making these as much as I do!

I've adapted this recipe for Mini Chocolate Eclairs from Paula Deen. This is one of my favorite recipes because it's simple and delicious! I never use margarine, so I've dropped that alternative from the original recipe. Real butter is always best. As always, I use the very best dark chocolate for the topping. I've changed a few measurements and directions in the recipe for the Novice Eclair Chef. If you're a purist, just click on Paula Deen's recipe above.

Because these eclairs are so small, feel free to have 3 or 4. :-) Yield depends on how small you make them, but I usually get about 40 small eclairs from this recipe. They're great for a crowd!

Want to make these even more chocolate-y? Add a handful of chocolate chips to the egg cream filling or fill with chocolate cream instead: just add 1/4 cup dark cocoa to the dry ingredients. To fill the eclairs, I use a pastry bag, but if you don't have one, you can always fill a Ziploc bag and cut the tip off to pipe the filling into the eclair.

You will probably have some extra icing. Half the recipe if you ice sparingly. I'm for more chocolate, so there's never much left.

MINI CHOCOLATE ECLAIRS

Pastry:
1 cup water
8 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup sifted flour
3 eggs

Filling:
3 cups whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
6 Tbsp flour
3 eggs, beaten
2 tsp pure vanilla

Icing:
3 ounces unsweetened dark chocolate, chopped
2 cups sugar
1 cup heavy whipping cream

Directions
Preheat oven to 400F.
Heat water and butter to boiling point. Add flour and stir constantly until mixture is smooth and forms a ball when tested in cold water. Remove from heat and let cool. Beat in 3 eggs, one at a time. Drop dough from teaspoon, elongate slightly to form small eclairs (or drop in 'puffs'), onto greased cookie sheet. Bake for approximately 30-35 minutes or until light brown. Set aside to cool.
Prepare filling by mixing all dry ingredients. Very slowly add milk over low heat and cook until mixture thickens (don't let heat get too high), so you don't have any lumps. Then pour this custard  into beaten eggs, stirring quickly (so eggs don't cook). Cool and add vanilla.
With serrated knife, slice pastry puffs lengthwise (or if you have puffs make a hole), but not all the way through. Pipe custard mixture into center.
Melt chocolate for icing, add sugar, and cream. Cook over medium heat until soft ball stage. Let cool and beat until smooth. Ice tops of eclairs.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

FATHER'S DAY CHOCOLATE CAKE: Retro Ad & Recipe

What are you making for Dad today? Here's a great Father's Day Retro Ad that recommends baking him a cake! I'm posting below an easy one bowl chocolate cake recipe -- better than a mix. Dad will love it, and you will, too! Recipe adapted from Baker's Chocolate One Bowl Chocolate Cake.


FATHER'S DAY CHOCOLATE CAKE

Ingredients
7 ounces Dark Chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup unsalted butter
1-1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2-1/2 cups flour, divided
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1-1/2 cups water

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°F. Microwave chocolate and butter in large microwaveable bowl on HIGH for 2 minutes or until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted (I usually melt my chocolate in a double boiler or a saucepan over another saucepan over simmering water--if you do this--remove from heat before you add the rest of the ingredients). Stir in sugar. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating with electric mixer on low speed after each addition until well blended. Add vanilla; mix well.

Add 1/2 cup of the flour, the baking soda, and salt; beat until well blended. Add remaining 2 cups flour alternately with water, beating until well blended after each addition.

Pour evenly into 2 greased and floured 9-inch round cake pans. Bake 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 min.; remove from pans. Cool completely on wire racks.

For the Father's Day version of this cake as mentioned in the Ad:

Frosting: Use your favorite chocolate frosting. Add 1/4 cup chopped nuts to 1/2 cup of the frosting. Spread between layers. Frost top and sides with remaining frosting, sprinkle top with nuts. (I use chopped walnuts)

Saturday, June 20, 2020

SUMMER SOLSTICE CHOCOLATE COCA COLA ICE CREAM SODA: Ice Cream Soda Day

I love the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year, and how perfect is it that today is also Ice Cream Soda Day? Here's an easy way to celebrate both holidays with this Mid-Century Recipe for Chocolate Coca Cola Ice Cream Soda.

SUMMER SOLSTICE CHOCOLATE COCA COLA ICE CREAM SODA

For each Chocolate Coke Ice Cream Soda, you'll need a tall glass, 3 Tbsp chocolate syrup, 2 Tbsp half & half, coca cola, chocolate ice cream, whipped cream.

Chill glass in freezer.

Pour chocolate syrup into bottom of glass. Add half & half and blend together. Add coca cola to 3/4 of glass.

Add 2-3 scoops of chocolate ice cream. Stir.

Top Ice Cream Soda with whipped cream and maraschino cherry.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

S'MORES FUDGE

I just love S'mores! I did a recipe round-up of Smores on National S'mores Day a few years ago, but I think S'mores Fudge deserves its own post.

The first printed S’mores recipe appeared in 1927 in the Girl Scout handbook called, Tramping and Trailing with the Girl Scouts. Folklore tells us the name “S’mores” came about because everyone who tasted one asked for “some more.”

There are so many great ways to eat --and drink--your S'mores. The first recipe actually has three distinct layers...and it sure tastes like fudge. One caveat: This fudge is sweet, but then we're talking S'mores, aren't we? The second recipe is quicker to make (and eat) and the ingredients are all mixed together. Whichever you make, you won't be disappointed!

Have a great weekend!

1. S'MORES FUDGE

Ingredients
Graham Cracker Crust
4 sheets of graham crackers
1/4 cup of sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp melted unsalted butter

Chocolate Fudge Layer
1-1/2 cups milk chocolate, chopped (or milk chocolate chips)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 can of sweetened condensed milk

Marshmallow Layer
1 cup 'real' white chocolate chips
1/2 cup marshmallow fluff
1/2 can sweetened condensed milk

Directions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Line 8 by 8 square pan with aluminum foil, with extra foil hanging over (to help lift out later).
Crush graham crackers and mix in melted butter and sugar.
Pour into aluminum foil lined pan and push down with glass cup to make even layer.
Bake for 15 minutes or until edges are golden brown.
Melt chocolate in small saucepan over medium low heat.
Remove from heat and add half can of sweetened condensed milk and vanilla.
When smooth, pour immediately over graham cracker crust.
Melt white chocolate in small saucepan over medium low heat and add in marshmallow fluff and rest of sweetened condensed milk. Stir until smooth and consistent. Pour over chocolate layer.
Refrigerate overnight.
Next day, lift fudge out of pan using aluminum foil.
Carefully remove foil and carefully cut into squares.

2. EASY S'MORES FUDGE

Ingredients
1-12 ounce bag milk chocolate chips or 12 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
5 regular sized graham crackers, broken into small pieces
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup mini-marshmallows

Directions
In small saucepan, melt chocolate. Remove from heat.
Add graham crackers until combined.
Fold in marshmallows.
Pour into greased 8x8 inch baking pan.
Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Cut into squares

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

QUEEN OF HEARTS CHOCOLATE CHERRY TART: National Cherry Tart Day

Fresh Cherries are everywhere right now. Fresh cherries it is then for National Cherry Tart Day!

One of the most useful gadgets in my kitchen is my cherry pitter, especially for pitting fresh cherries in large batches. I originally got my cherry pitter over 35 years ago for pitting small plums for jam.

Since today is National Cherry Tart Day, I'm posting a recipe for Chocolate Cherry Tart that was "blended and adapted" from recipes from Desperationdinners.com and Dianasaurdishes.com. These two blogs have morphed, but I still had the recipe. DesperationDinners' tart uses a 'plain' tart dough, but I can never have enough Chocolate! Dianasaurdishes has a wonderful chocolate tart recipe that's pretty fool-proof. Have a look at Eating Richly (Dianasaurdishes') Raspberry Chocolate Tart Recipe. Just substitute cherries. No time to make the tart shell? Feel free to use a prepared pie crust that's not chocolate. I often use Trader Joe's frozen pie crusts.

QUEEN OF HEARTS CHOCOLATE CHERRY TART

Chocolate Pie Crust:
 
Ingredients
4 ounces unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
1 cup all purpose flour
2 1/2 Tbsp unsweetened DARK cocoa powder

Directions
Beat butter and sugar on medium speed for 3 minutes until smooth and creamy. Scrape down bowl and beat another minute so there are no lumps. Add egg yolk, beat well, and scrape downsides again.
Add flour and cocoa powder, beat on lowest speed until dough has just come together (but still has small to medium clumps) and looks moist with dark uniform color. Scrape down bowl and use spatula to incorporate anything that isn’t mixed in.
Put chocolate crust in 11- to 12-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Use heel of hand to press dough and spread along bottom of pan and up sides  if you’re having trouble, refrigerate dough 15 minutes before pressing)
Cut off any dough above top of tart pan. Save dough for repairs. Place dough filled pan in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place pan on cookie sheet and bake in lower third of oven for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and use leftover dough to repair cracks. Bake another 8 minutes.
Remove tart pan to cooling rack and use rounded side of a spoon to press center down and make more room for filling. Let cool completely (you can do this in refrigerator for faster results).

While the crust is baking, prepare filling!

Cherry Filling:

Ingredients
12 ounce 65-75% dark chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup heavy or whipping cream
1 1/2 pounds fresh sweet cherries, rinsed and dried (any cherries will work)
3 Tbsp Bonne Maman Cherry preserves (or strawberry jelly)

Directions
Put chocolate and cream in double boiler or saucepan on top of another saucepan with simmering water. Melt together, stirring, until smooth. Set aside.
Remove cherry stems, remove pits with cherry pitter. Set aside.
When crust is cool, pour chocolate into crust and smooth evenly with back of spoon. Place cherries into chocolate in concentric circles, stem side up, pressing into chocolate to hold in place.
Put jelly in small measuring cup and microwave on High until spreadable, about 15 seconds.
Using pastry brush, lightly brush tops of cherries with jelly just to glaze.
Place tart in refrigerator, uncovered, to cool until chocolate is set, about 25 to 30 minutes.
To serve, remove sides of  tart pan.
Here's a trick for removing the tart from the outside ring of the pan: 
(Place bottom of  pan over a small bowl that's smaller than tart pan. The pan ring will fall away if sides have shrunk enough, or you can jiggle gently and pull down on the pan ring to remove.)
Slice into wedges, and serve cold.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

MARSHALLOW FLUFF FUDGE: National Fudge Day

Today is National Fudge Day. I don't know about you, but I can never have too many Fudge recipes. Yes, I have my favorites, but sometimes you just want to experiment. So, you can see why I really like these two Retro Ads & Recipes, both of which use Marshmallow Fluff as a major ingredient.

Marshmallow Fluff you ask? You may know this product as Marshmallow Creme. You can make it at home or you can buy a jar. Can't find it at your market? Try Amazon or another online store. I usually have a jar in the pantry. O.K. not the healthiest of ingredients, but it really adds to the flavor in these Fudge recipes!

Two Retro Ads and Recipes for Marshmallow Fluff Fudge!




Monday, June 15, 2020

2020 JAMES BEARD MEDIA AWARD WINNERS

Congratulations to the winners of the 2020 James Beard Media Awards, presented by Capital One. Although this award ceremony is usually celebrated at an event in New York City, the Foundation cancelled the annual in-person event to ensure everyone’s safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.

2020 James Beard Foundation Book Awards

For cookbooks and other non-fiction food- or beverage-related books that were published in the U.S. in 2019.

American
Jubilee: Recipes from Two Centuries of African American Cooking
Toni Tipton-Martin (Clarkson Potter)

Baking and Desserts
Living Bread: Tradition and Innovation in Artisan Bread Making
Daniel Leader and Lauren Chattman (Avery)

Beverage with Recipes
The NoMad Cocktail Book
Leo Robitschek (Ten Speed Press)

Beverage without Recipes
World Atlas of Wine 8th Edition
Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson (Mitchell Beazley)

General
Where Cooking Begins: Uncomplicated Recipes to Make You a Great Cook
Carla Lalli Music (Clarkson Potter)

Health and Special Diets
Gluten-Free Baking at Home: 102 Foolproof Recipes for Delicious Breads, Cakes, Cookies, and More
Jeffrey Larsen (Ten Speed Press)

International
Ethiopia: Recipes and Traditions from the Horn of Africa
Yohanis Gebreyesus with Jeff Koehler (Interlink Publishing)

Photography
American Sfoglino: A Master Class in Handmade Pasta
Eric Wolfinger (Chronicle Books)

Reference, History, and Scholarship
The Whole Okra: A Seed to Stem Celebration
Chris Smith (Chelsea Green Publishing)

Restaurant and Professional
The Whole Fish Cookbook: New Ways to Cook, Eat and Think
Josh Niland (Hardie Grant Books)

Single Subject
Pasta Grannies: The Official Cookbook: The Secrets of Italy's Best Home Cooks
Vicky Bennison (Hardie Grant Books)

Vegetable-Focused Cooking
Whole Food Cooking Every Day: Transform the Way You Eat with 250 Vegetarian Recipes Free of Gluten, Dairy, and Refined Sugar
Amy Chaplin (Artisan Books)

Writing
Eat Like a Fish: My Adventures as a Fisherman Turned Restorative Ocean Farmer
Bren Smith (Knopf)

Book of the Year
The Whole Fish Cookbook: New Ways to Cook, Eat and Think
Josh Niland (Hardie Grant Books)

Cookbook Hall of Fame
Jancis Robinson

2020 James Beard Foundation Broadcast Media Awards

For radio, television broadcasts, podcasts, webcasts, and documentaries appearing in 2019.

Audio Program
It Burns: The Scandal-Plagued Race to Breed the World’s Hottest Chili
Airs on: Audible

Audio Reporting
Gravy – Mahalia Jackson’s Glori-Fried Chicken
Reporter: Betsy Shepherd
Airs on: southernfoodways.org and iTunes

Documentary
That's My Jazz
Airs on: Vimeo

Online Video, Fixed Location and/or Instructional
Grace Young – Wok Therapist
Airs on: GraceYoung.com and YouTube

Online Video, on Location
Handmade – How Knives Are Made for New York's Best Restaurants; How a Ceramics Master Makes Plates for Michelin-Starred Restaurants
Airs on: Eater and YouTube

Outstanding Personality/Host
Roy Choi
Broken Bread with Roy Choi
Airs on: Tastemade and KCET

Television Program, in Studio or Fixed Location
Pati's Mexican Table – A Local's Tour of Culiacán
Airs on: WETA; distributed nationally by American Public Television

Television Program, on Location
Las Crónicas del Taco (Taco Chronicles) – Canasta
Airs on: Netflix

Visual and Audio Technical Excellence
Chef's Table
Adam Bricker, Chloe Weaver, and Will Basanta
Airs on: Netflix

Visual Reporting (on TV or Online)
Rotten – The Avocado War
Reporters: Christine Haughney, Erin Cauchi, and Gretchen Goetz
Airs on: Netflix

2020 James Beard Foundation Journalism Awards

For articles published in English in 2019.

Columns
Power Rankings: “The Official Fast Food French Fry Power Rankings”; “The Official Spicy Snack Power Rankings”; “The Official Domestic Beer Power Rankings”
Lucas Kwan Peterson
Los Angeles Times

Craig Claiborne Distinguished Restaurant Review Award
“Peter Luger Used to Sizzle. Now It Sputters.”; “The 20 Most Delicious Things at Mercado Little Spain”; “Benno, Proudly Out of Step With the Age”
Pete Wells
The New York Times

Dining and Travel
“In Pursuit of the Perfect Pizza”
Matt Goulding
Airbnb Magazine

Feature Reporting
“Value Meal”
Tad Friend
The New Yorker

Food Coverage in a General Interest Publication
The New Yorker

Foodways
“A Real Hot Mess: How Grits Got Weaponized Against Cheating Men”
Cynthia R. Greenlee
MUNCHIES / Food by VICE

Health and Wellness
“How Washington Keeps America Sick and Fat”; “Meet the Silicon Valley Investor Who Wants Washington to Figure Out What You Should Eat”
Catherine Boudreau and Helena Bottemiller Evich
Politico

Home Cooking
“Fry Time”
Nancy Singleton Hachisu
Saveur

Innovative Storytelling
“Food and Loathing on the Campaign Trail”
Gary He, Matt Buchanan, and Meghan McCarron
Eater

Investigative Reporting
“‘The Man Who Attacked Me Works in Your Kitchen’: Victim of Serial Groper Took Justice into Her Own Hands”
Amy Brittain and Maura Judkis
The Washington Post

Jonathan Gold Local Voice Award
“In Search of Hot Beef”; “Chef Jack Riebel Is in the Fight of His Life”; “Harry Singh on the Perfect Roti, Trinidad, and Life in the Kitchen”
Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl
Mpls.St.Paul Magazine

M.F.K. Fisher Distinguished Writing Award
“My Mother's Catfish Stew”
John T. Edge
Oxford American

Personal Essay, Long Form
“The Dysfunction of Food”
Kim Foster
Kim-Foster.com

Personal Essay, Short Form
“For 20 Years, happy hour has seen us through work — and life”
M. Carrie Allan
The Washington Post

Profile
“The Provocations of Chef Tunde Wey”
Brett Martin
GQ Magazine

Wine, Spirits, and Other Beverages
“Seltzer Is Over. Mineral Water Is Forever.”
Jordan Michelman
PUNCH

Emerging Voice Award
L.A. Taco