Tuesday, September 29, 2020

COFFEE GATEAU for National Coffee Day: Retro Ad & Recipe

Today is National Coffee Day, not to be confused with International Coffee Day on August 29. Here's a great Retro Ad & Recipe Nescafe for Luscious Coffee Gateau to celebrate. Coffee is used in the cake, the Mocha Icing, and the Creamy Coffee Filling. See the recipes below. Of course, I would substitute 'real' coffee in the recipes to bring it up to date and improve flavor!

Nescafe, by the way, is the name of an instant coffee made by Nestle. It comes in different forms. It was first introduced by Nestle in 1938. The name was used in the U.S. until the late 1960s when Nestle introduced a new brand called Taster's Choice.

So grab a cup of coffee while you make this fun Coffee Gateau!



Monday, September 28, 2020

STRAWBERRY CREAM PIE WITH OREO COOKIE CRUST: National Strawberry Cream Pie Day

Today is Strawberry Cream Pie Day. Strawberries are still fresh in the market, and this Strawberry Cream Pie with Oreo Cookie Crust is easy and delicious. There are lots of recipes out there, but try this one and let me know what you think. I've adapted this recipe from allrecipes.com, and of course, I added a Chocolate Crust--and for this pie an Oreo Crust.

Strawberry Cream Pie with Oreo Cookie Crust

Crust
25 Oreo cookies
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Directions
Crush cookies or whirl in food processor. Stir cookie crumbs and melted butter together.
Press crumbs into bottom and upsides of 9" pie plate. Bake for 8 minutes at 350. Cool before filling.

Filling
1 quart strawberries, sliced
1 (13.5 ounce) container strawberry glaze  (or you can make your own by boiling down strawberry jam with a little water and straining)
1 (4 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup heavy whipping cream

Directions
Stir strawberries with glaze in bowl and place in refrigerator to chill.
Stir cream cheese, confectioners' sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla extract together in bowl.
Beat cream in separate bowl with electric mixer until it just begins to thicken. Add cream cheese mixture and continue beating until thick.
Pour cream mixture into baked pie crust. Top with strawberry mixture.
Chill for 1 hour before serving.

Sunday, September 27, 2020

CHOCOLATE MILK & CHOCOLATE MILK COCKTAILS: National Chocolate Milk Day

Today is National Chocolate Milk Day. Everyone knows that chocolate milk is a sweetened, chocolate-flavored milk drink that can be purchased pre-mixed or made at home. But there are lots of ways to make chocolate milk, and lots of different ingredients can be added to give it a special flavor. As always, remember it's the quality of the chocolate that will make a big difference -- and the milk: 2%, whole, etc.

So to celebrate the day, I have Three Chocolate Milk recipes and Two Chocolate Milk Cocktail Recipes!

***
1. Chocolate Milk

11 ounces milk
1 ounce water
1-1/2 teaspoons cocoa
2 tablespoons sugar

Put sugar, cocoa, and water in microwavable 12 oz glass.
Microwave for 30 seconds or until sugar and cocoa dissolve.
Add cold milk and stir.

***
Want something a little more unusual? Sunset (1994) had a wonderful Ultimate Chocolate Milk Recipe (Nicaraguan Chocolate Milk). This is not a classic, but it might soon be for you. Preparation takes some time, so you won't be drinking this today.

2. Nicaraguan Chocolate Milk (Orchata de cacao)

1-1/2 cups long-grain white rice
2 cups (about 2/3 lb) cocoa beans
4 cups water
3 cinnamon sticks (each about 3 in.), broken into 1-inch pieces
8 cups whole, low-fat, or nonfat milk
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla
1 cup sugar
Ice (optional)

Place rice in bowl, cover with cool water, and let stand to soften somewhat, up to 24 hours; drain.
Place cocoa beans in 9-inch metal baking dish. Bake in 500 degree oven 5 minutes. Shake beans. Continue to bake until beans smoke and some skins have split, 5 to 8 minutes longer.
In blender, place half rice, cocoa beans, water, and cinnamon. Whirl until ingredients are very finely pureed. Place large, fine strainer over a bowl; pour cocoa mixture into strainer and stir to extract liquid. Discard residue. Repeat with remaining rice, cocoa, water, and cinnamon.

Rinse strainer, then line with a double thickness of damp cheesecloth. Pour cocoa liquid through strainer into bowl, stirring to extract all liquid; discard residue.

To cocoa liquid, add milk, vanilla, and sugar; stir until sugar dissolves. Serve plain or over ice. If making ahead, chill, covered, up to 3 days. Stir to serve Makes about 10 1/2 cups, 10 servings.

3. Salted Chocolate Milk

Several years ago, I paid homage to one of my favorite TV sitcoms, Modern Family. In one episode, Manny is studying with a girl he has a crush on. She comes to his house and Manny's doting Columbian Mama Gloria (Sofia Vergara) makes the kids chocolate milk. The young girl with whom Manny is smitten says that they always add salt to chocolate milk at her home. Gloria, threatened by another 'woman' in Manny's life, says she doesn't like it that way.  Of course, when she tries it without the two in the room, she really loves it.

I've posted lots of reviews and recipes that call for salt and chocolate. Salt gives chocolate a certain pop, and I think you'll find it very refreshing in chocolate milk. Just don't add too much. A pinch will do.

So moving from the youngsters to the oldsters, here are two very easy cocktail recipes for Adult Chocolate Milk Cocktails!

1. Chocolate Milk Cocktail

Glass of Chocolate Milk
Couple Splashes Kahlua
2 or 3 ice cubes

Add Kahlua to chocolate milk and add ice

2. Chocolate Milk Cocktail

1/2 shot Kahlua
1/2 shot milk
Dash of Amaretto

Put the milk in the bottom, pour the liqueur on top, and add a dash of amaretto. Do not mix.
Serve in a tumbler. 

Saturday, September 26, 2020

KEY LIME PIE: National Key Lime Pie Day

Key Lime Pie is one of my favorite pies. There seem to be several different Key Lime Pie Days (September 23, 26, and June 15). You pick... or have this easy delicious pie whenever you want. I'm going with September 26 for the purposes of this blog!

Several years ago when I visited the Florida Keys, I tasted over 25 different key lime pies. I judged them (for myself) on tartness, firmness, sweetness (too sweet is unacceptable), whipped cream vs. meringue, and more. It was a hard job, but I had to do it. 

FYI: Key Lime Pie is the official pie of the Florida Keys.

I've made different variations of key lime pies, and, as I always say, you can never have too many recipes. Variety is what it's all about. One ingredient that is essential is using real key limes.

I buy key limes at my market. Key Limes are definitely different from 'regular' limes. Key limes are smaller, about the size of a ping-pong ball. They are round, think-skinned, and contain very few seeds. They're juicier than other limes, too. Green key limes are actually immature fruits. They ripen to yellow as they mature. That being said, I buy them green, probably because that's they way they sell them at my market. Just an FYI: bottled Key Lime juice is sometimes used in Key Lime Pies. This juice is not always made from key limes. Find fresh key limes, if you can. It will make a huge difference.

Key limes are also known as Mexican limes and West Indies limes. Cultivated for thousands of years in the Indo-Malayan region, this variety made its way to North Africa and the Near East via Arabian traders, and then carried on to Palestine and Mediterranean Europe by the Crusaders. Columbus is credited with bringing the Key lime to Hispaniola (Haiti), where it was carried on by Spanish settlers to Florida. Key Limes are found in in South Florida, particularly the Florida Keys, hence the current common name of Key Lime. Due to hurricane-depleted soils, locals switched from pineapple commercial crops to limes in 1906, and business boomed until a hurricane once again reared and wiped out the lime groves, never to be restored. Sadly, even if they had been, they would be gone again after several other hurricanes. Most Key limes now come from Mexico.

Key Lime Pies are yellow, not green (unless you add food coloring--ugh!).  And, some people top Key Lime Pie with Meringue.. some with whipped cream!

Key Lime Pie with Chocolate Graham Cracker Crust

Ingredients

Crust
1 1/2 cups crushed chocolate graham crackers
3 Tbsp sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted
Spray pan with non stick spray.

Filling
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
3 egg yolks
2/3 cup fresh squeezed Key Lime juice
1 Tbsp grated Key Lime zest

Directions

Crust
Mix together crumbs and sugar in bowl, add butter, and mix well. Press into bottom and up sides of  9-inch pie pan. Make it tight.
Bake 350 F for 8 minutes.
Allow to cool on a wire rack.

Filling
Beat egg yolks and grated Key Lime zest for about 5 minutes until fluffy.
Add sweetened condensed milk and beat for 4 more minutes.
Reduce speed and beat in lime juice until combined.
Pour into prepared chocolate graham cracker crust.
Bake at 350 for 15 minutes (until firm in center)
Remove from oven and cool on wire rack.
Cover and chill for 2 hours.
Top with Whipped Cream or Meringue (whichever you prefer)

Friday, September 25, 2020

BACK TO SCHOOL MILKY WAY BROWNIES: RETRO AD & RECIPES

I like this Retro Milky Way Ad. Students don't really look like this anymore (nor do the Milky Way bars) and not a lot are attending 'in school" this year, but it got me thinking about those old school days. 

My friend Donna always had Milky Way bars in her freezer, and I'd stop by her house on the way to school and have one. Her mother never minded! I love frozen Milky Way Bars. When we were older, Donna and I got a ride to high school with a neighbor. While we waited for him, we availed ourselves of the Milky Way bars on his family's coffee table! Maybe this wasn't particularly healthy, but it was a delicious way to start the day!

Now, I buy miniature Milky Way bars to give out at Halloween. Probably that won't happen this year because of the pandemic. I will miss may favorite holiday. Sigh. Nevertheless, here are two recipes for Milky Way Brownies are great for back to school! One's for home, and the other's for a crowd (if you have one)!


1. EASY MILKY WAY BROWNIES!

Make your favorite Brownie Mix (I like Ghirardelli), following directions by adding the 1/3 cup vegetable oil, 1 egg, and 1/3 cup water. At 20 minutes into the baking (350F), put about 7 ounces of chopped up miniature Milky Way Bars or Milky Way Bites on top. Bake another 20 minutes. Oh yum! Gooey back to school love!

2. MILKY WAY BROWNIES FOR A CROWD!

Save this recipe when the virus is under control and the kids actually go back to school. This recipe is for Milky Way Brownies from scratch? It's the Bees Knees! Love the Vintage Ad above!

Ingredients: 
1 pound unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 pound dark chocolate (70% cacao), chopped
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate (or very dark - 90%), chopped
2 Tbsp instant espresso powder
7 large eggs
2 Tbsp Madagascar vanilla
2 1/4 cups granulated white sugar
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
12 ounces miniature Milky Way bars, chopped
2 Milky Way Bars, sliced

Directions: 
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour 12x18x1-inch pan. Line with foil that hangs over sides (butter the parchment). This makes it easier to get brownies out.
In metal bowl or saucepan over saucepan of simmering water, heat butter and chocolate until melted and smooth; cool slightly.
In large bowl, whisk together eggs, espresso powder, vanilla, and sugar. Stir egg mixture into slightly cooled chocolate mixture. Cool to room temperature.
In medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt, then add to batter. Stir chopped mini Milky Way bars into chocolate mixture. Then pour into prepared baking pan and smooth top with rubber spatula.
Place slices of full-size Milky Way Bar on top of brownie batter.
Bake 25 to 35 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Do not overbake!
Let cool completely, then cover tightly and chill overnight. These are very gooey, so be sure to chill if you want to cut them!


Thursday, September 24, 2020

CHOCOLATE CHERRIES JUBILEE CAKE: National Cherry Jubilee Day!

Today is National Cherries Jubilee Day! Cherries Jubilee was created by Chef August Escoffier in honor of Queen Victoria's Jubilee celebration. Cherries were her favorite fruit. The original recipe only featured cherries poached in syrup and warmed with brandy that was set afire just prior to serving.

Here are two recipes - one for Chocolate Cherries Jubilee Cake and one for Chocolate Cherries Jubilee. The cake is moist and scrumptious. You can also pour the Cherries Jubilee sauce over your own favorite chocolate cake!

CHOCOLATE CHERRIES JUBILEE CAKE!

Cake:
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1- 1/2 cups cake flour or 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1- 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided use
1/2 cup unsweetened DARK cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup Canola oil
2 large eggs, separated
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Cherry Sauce:
1 (16 or 17-ounces) can pitted dark sweet cherries, drained (reserve 3/4 cup liquid)
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 Tbsp Kirsch or Cherry Brandy
1 Tbsp cornstarch
Dash salt

Vanilla ice cream

Directions
Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan.

For Cake:
Stir baking soda into buttermilk in medium bowl until dissolved; set aside.
In large bowl, stir together flour, 1 cup sugar, cocoa, and salt. Add oil, buttermilk mixture, egg yolks, and vanilla and beat until smooth.
In small bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form; gradually add remaining 1/2 cup sugar, beating until stiff peaks form.
Gently fold egg whites into chocolate batter. Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until cake springs back when touched lightly in center. Cool in pan.

For Cherry Sauce:
In medium saucepan, stir together reserved cherry liquid, cherry liqueur, sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and add cherries and orange peel.

Serve cake with a scoop of ice cream and Cherry Sauce spooned over the top.

CHOCOLATE CHERRIES JUBILEE

Ingredients
1/2 cup dark cherry preserves (I love Bonne Maman)
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
3 Tbsp Cognac or Kirsh

1 pint chocolate chocolate chip ice cream
Toasted sliced almonds (optional)

Directions
Melt preserves in heavy small saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently. Mix in cinnamon and Cognac.
Scoop ice cream into bowls. Spoon sauce over (you can ignite it for special effects and then pour :-). Sprinkle with almonds (optional)

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

WHITE CHOCOLATE LEMON TRUFFLES: White Chocolate Day

Today is White Chocolate Day.  I like white chocolate, and I always have. My parents bought us two special treats at their favorite candy shop on the boardwalk in Atlantic City: Toffee (English toffee) and White Chocolate. I considered them "grown-up candies" that were fresh and presented in small individual boxes. As a child of 8 or 9, this was so different from penny candy or a 5 cent candy bar.

Officially white chocolate is not chocolate because it doesn't contain chocolate liquor. However, it does contain cocoa butter (along with sugar, milk solids, vanilla and lecithin). The most important thing to remember when buying white chocolate is that it must contain cocoa butter. Some brands on the market, and many of those little disks you see, are really just vegetable fat. Real cocoa butter should be an ivory color. The 'fake' white chocolate is 'white'. Why bother with that. Go for the real thing. You'll be rewarded by flavor!

One other hint: White chocolate scorches easily, so always use a low heat. In the truffle recipe below, be very careful when combining the white chocolate with the cream (see note).

There are several white chocolate brands on the market. I like Askinosie White Chocolate. Their White Chocolate Bar is 34% Cocoa Butter made from Davao Philippine beans. The main ingredient in their white chocolate is the non-deodorized cocoa butter which is then pressed in their factory. Askinoise combines this with goat's milk powder and organic cane juice and then crafts it for days in their 85-year old German melanguer.

Guittard also makes a fabulous white chocolate. They actually have two. My favorite is only available for professional bakers, and sadly I didn't need 100 pounds of white chocolate. I seem to remember it was about 44% cacao, so that's pretty close to 'chocolate'...

I sometimes use Lindt, too. Depends what I have when I decide to cook or bake with white chocolate.

It's funny but just this past weekend, I was talking chocolate .. well, we were talking dark chocolate.. and I mentioned I really like chocolate and citrus.  So now for White Chocolate Day, what could be better than White Chocolate Lemon Truffles? This is a simple and delicious recipe!

WHITE CHOCOLATE LEMON TRUFFLES

Ingredients 
1/4 cup unsalted butter
Zest of 1 Meyer lemon
3 Tbsp heavy cream
1 cup quality white chocolate, chopped
1/2 tsp lemon extract or pure lemon oil
1/4 cup powdered sparkling sugar (sanding sugar) for coating

Directions
Put white chocolate in bowl, set aside.
Melt butter along with lemon zest in small saucepan. Stir in cream and heat until bubbles just start to form at edges (do not boil).
Pour hot cream mixture over white chocolate. Add lemon extract and stir until smooth.
Cover mixture and refrigerate 2 hours or until firm enough to handle.
Scoop mixture out by heaping teaspoon fulls and form into balls.
Roll in sparkling sugar.
Freeze truffles 20 minutes or refrigerate one hour.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

WHITE CHOCOLATE ORANGE POPPY SEED CAKE: National White Chocolate Day!

Today is National White Chocolate Day. I've never met a chocolate I didn't like, and white chocolate is no exception. I know it's not always considered chocolate, but I still love the taste. White chocolate is a confection of sugar, cocoa butter, and milk solids that has a pale yellow or ivory appearance. The melting point of cocoa butter is high enough to keep white chocolate solid at room temperature, yet low enough to allow white chocolate to melt in the mouth.

I've posted recipes for white chocolate truffles, muffins, cheesecake, brownies, fudge, pancakes, other cakes, and cookies. This is a great recipe for White Chocolate Orange Poppy Seed Cake. You can bake it in a bundt pan, a square pan, or a loaf pan. It's perfect for a weekend brunch or toasted with butter and orange marmalade for breakfast.

Make sure you use 'real' white chocolate in this recipe and not a product that uses vegetable fat instead of cocoa butter. Check the packaging for ingredients. I use Guittard white chocolate.

White Chocolate Orange Poppy Seed Cake

Ingredients
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 cup sour cream  (you can always substitute plain or Greek yoghurt for a tangy-er taste)
1 cup water
4 ounces white chocolate, chopped (Guittard)
1/4 cup poppy seeds
1 Tbs grated orange rind

Directions
Preheat oven to 325°F.
Grease and lightly flour a 13x9-inch cake or bundt pan.
In mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar together until fluffy.
Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Alternately add flour and baking soda along with the sour cream and water.
Once combined, mix on low until well blended and smooth.
Fold in chopped chocolate, poppy seeds, and orange rind.
Pour into prepared pan and bake for 50-60 minutes.
When done, remove and let cool on wire rack.
Remove cake from pan and allow to cool completely. 

Monday, September 21, 2020

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE PECAN COOKIES: National Pecan Cookie Day

Pecans and chocolate are a true marriage made in heaven! I've posted recipes for Chocolate Pecan Sandies, definitely a pecan cookie, but I thought I'd post a different one to celebrate National Pecan Cookie Day!

This recipe is adapted from Woman's Day, April 1, 2006.  As always, I suggest you use the very best ingredients. I use crumbled toffee in the recipe, and I use 15 ounces of 70% chocolate in place of the original 2 10-oz milk chocolate bars. I also use DARK cocoa. And, an FYI, there are over 1000 varieties of pecans. Whichever you choose, you'll go nuts for this recipe!

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE PECAN COOKIES

Ingredients
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2⁄3 cup packed light brown sugar
2⁄3 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
3⁄4 tsp baking soda
3⁄4 tsp salt
2 1⁄3 cups all-purpose flour
2⁄3 cup unsweetened DARK cocoa powder
10 oz English toffee bits
1-1⁄2 cups coarsely chopped pecans
15-oz dark chocolate (65-75% cacao), chopped coarsely (or dark chocolate chips)

Directions
Heat oven to 375°F. Have baking sheets ready.
Beat butter, sugars, and vanilla in large bowl with mixer on medium speed 1 to 2 minutes until fluffy. Beat in eggs, baking soda, and salt until combined. Add flour and beat on low speed until blended.
Stir in cocoa powder,  English toffee bits, pecans, and chocolate.
Drop rounded tablespoons dough about 1 1⁄2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.
Bake 8 to 9 minutes until edges are golden brown.
Cool on sheet 1 to 2 minutes before removing to wire rack to cool completely.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE BANANA BREAD: International Banana Day


Tomorrow is International Banana Day! I adore Chocolate and Bananas, so any recipe with these ingredients works for me. This is an easy delicious recipe for Chocolate Banana Bread. I have several recipes for Chocolate Banana Bread. Let me know what you think of this one.

CHOCOLATE BANANA BREAD

Ingredients
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
Pinch of salt
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream

Dark Chocolate Chips

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter bottom and sides of 9x5x3-inch loaf pan.

In medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder.

Beat butter and sugar in mixing bowl 2 minutes or until light, using electric mixer at medium-high speed. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down sides of bowl as necessary. Add bananas and vanilla extract at low speed, mixing until combined.

Add flour mixture alternately with sour cream. Fold in dark chocolate Chips.

Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth top. Bake 55-60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of bread comes out clean.

Cool in pan set on wire rack for 15 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely on rack.

Saturday, September 19, 2020

CHOCOLATE BUTTERSCOTCH PUDDING MUG CAKE: National Butterscotch Pudding Day

Today is National Butterscotch Pudding Day, and of course, it's even better with Chocolate. You can make Butterscotch Pudding from scratch or you can use a Box Mix. Add some chocolate chips.

Want to make something more fun to celebrate the day? Try this adaptation from Rachael Ray for Chocolate Butterscotch Pudding Mug Cake. It's a different Cake in a Mug recipe. Under five minutes in the microwave!

Chocolate Butterscotch Pudding Mug Cake

Ingredients
1 egg
3 Tbsp milk
3 Tbsp Canola oil
1/8 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp baking powder
4 Tbsp light brown sugar
2 Tbsp instant butterscotch pudding powder
4 Tbsp all purpose flour
2 Tbsp dark bittersweet chocolate chips
  
Optional Frosting:
1 box of prepared butterscotch pudding mixed with store bought chocolate frosting

Directions
Prepare mug by coating inside lightly with cooking spray. Pour all dry ingredients into bowl.
Beat egg first with spoon and mix in other liquid ingredients.
Add dry ingredients and chocolate chips and mix until you’ve removed all lumps.
Pour batter into mug (don't fill more than halfway) and smooth top with spoon.
Thump mug firmly on tabletop six times to remove excess air bubbles.
Place mug on top of microwaveable small plate or saucer.
Bake for 3-4 minutes. Check for doneness by inserting a toothpick in middle of microwave mug cake and removing toothpick. If toothpick is dry, mug cake is done.
Wait two minutes then run butter knife along inside of mug and tip cake into plate.
Position mug cake so slightly rounded top is on top.  

Optional: Frost whole chocolate chip butterscotch microwave mug cake with prepared butterscotch pudding chocolate frosting. I prefer to dust with a little powdered sugar. The cake is already pretty rich!

Friday, September 18, 2020

DARK CHOCOLATE COVERED POMEGRANATE SEEDS for Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, starts night. I've already posted a recipe for Chocolate Honey Cake for a sweet New Year, but here's another. This time for Chocolate Covered Pomegranate Seeds.

On the second night of Rosh Hashanah,  a "new fruit" is eaten. It's usually a fruit that has recently come into season but that you haven't yet had the opportunity to eat. Traditionally, one says the shehechiyanu blessing thanking God for keeping you and yours alive and bringing you to this season. This ritual reminds everyone to appreciate the fruits of the earth and being alive to enjoy them.

A pomegranate is often the new fruit. In the Bible, the Land of Israel is praised for its pomegranates. It is also said that this fruit contains 613 seeds just as there are 613 mitzvot (commandments). Another reason given for blessing and eating pomegranate on Rosh Hashanah is that one wishes that good deeds in the ensuing year will be as plentiful as the seeds of the pomegranate.

For this recipe for Dark Chocolate Covered Pomegranate Seeds, I buy packages of Pomegranate seeds at Trader Joe's, but you can always go the old fashioned way and buy two whole pomegranates and remove the seeds. For an easy way to deseed pomegranates, see this post. Rich bittersweet dark chocolate goes very well with the tart pomegranate flavor, and the textures meld well. Even if you're not celebrating the Jewish New Year, Chocolate Covered Pomegranate Seeds make a great snack, and you'll enjoy the benefits of both sources of antioxidants. 

DARK CHOCOLATE COVERED POMEGRANATE SEEDS

Ingredients
Pomegranate Seeds
About 7 ounces (depending how many seeds you have) of good quality Dark Bittersweet Chocolate, chopped

Directions
Line cookie sheet with wax or parchment paper.
Melt dark chocolate in double boiler or saucepan on top of saucepan of simmering water. Stir to make sure chocolate doesn't burn.
Add dry pomegranate seeds (so if they've been in the refrigerator make sure to dry them) to melted chocolate and fold gently with rubber spatula until seeds are thoroughly covered.
Spoon clusters of mixture onto wax or parchment paper.
Place wax or parchment papered cookie sheet in refrigerator and let chocolate covered seeds cool for several hours or overnight.
Keep refrigerated. Will last 3-4 days.

No time to cook? 
Trader Joe's sells chocolate covered pomegranate seeds.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

CHOCOLATE RUGELACH for Rosh Hashana

One more recipe for Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year. I adore Rugelach, and I must admit, I usually buy them at the bakery, but sometimes you just want to make your own. Rugelach features a cream-cheese dough that is wrapped around a filling. Sometimes the filling is nuts or jam, but, of course, for me it's always chocolate!

This recipe for Chocolate Rugelach is adapted from Giora Shimoni on Kosherfood.com. She calls them Israeli Chocolate Rugelach, because she says Americans tend to fill their chocolate rugelach with mini-chocolate chips, while Israelis make their own filling. Since I always have chocolate around,  I make my own filling. This is a go-to recipe. It's easy -- 25 minutes to make and 25 minutes to bake! Be sure to scroll down for Giora's tips on rugelach making. Even if you're not celebrating Rosh Hashana, you'll love these pastries for breakfast or brunch or with morning coffee. Yum!

CHOCOLATE RUGELACH 

DOUGH:
7 ounces unsalted butter
8 ounces cream cheese
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour

CHOCOLATE FILLING:
1 tablespoon DARK cocoa
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup grated bitter-sweet chocolate  (65-85% cacoa, fair-trade chocolate)
butter, melted

TOPPING:
1 egg
1/8 cup sugar  (if you don't add cinnamon, use 1/4 cup sugar)
1/8 cup cinnamon (optional)


PREPARATION
In mixing bowl, cream butter and cream cheese together. Add sugar and vanilla, and mix until smooth. Add flour and mix lightly. Refrigerate dough for an hour or more.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Divide  dough into four balls. On floured surface, using floured rolling pin, roll one ball out into circle until about 1/8 inch thick.
In small bowl, mix  first four filling ingredients together (cocoa, cinnamon, sugar, grated chocolate). Spread some melted butter on the center of the circle. Sprinkle the chocolate mixture on top.
Cut pastry into pie-shaped wedges. For bite-size and nice looking rugelach, thick end of wedge should be about 1 to 1 1/2 inch wide.

Start at wide edge of wedge and roll  dough up toward point.
Line cookie sheet with parchment paper. Place each pastry, seam side down, on  paper.
Brush each pastry with the egg and sugar/cinnamon.
Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden.
  
And here are some great tips from Gloria for making perfect rugelach

TIPS:
Using too much filling leads to messy looking rugelach.
A pizza cutter makes it easier to cut the dough into pie-shaped wedges.
If you don't want to use parchment paper, you can spray the cookie sheets with non-stick spray.
After rolling dough up and placing on parchment paper, you can stick them in the freezer. When you need fresh rugelach, take them right from the freezer into the oven and add a few minutes to the baking time.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

CINNAMON SWIRL CHOCOLATE RAISIN BREAD: National Cinnamon Raisin Bread Day

I love bread..probably more than cake. I used to make all my own bread, but in the past 20+ years my home town of Berkeley, CA, has been the epicenter of food, and, for me, bread! Of course during the pandemic things have changed, and I have begun to bake bread again. So since today is National Cinnamon Raisin Bread Day, I thought I'd post a recipe for Cinnamon Swirl Chocolate Raisin Bread!

My favorite recipe is from Zabar's website! No surprise there! Recipe by Tiffany Ludwig with a few adaptations. As always, use the very best chocolate and cinnamon.

Cinnamon Swirl Chocolate Raisin Bread

Ingredients 
1 cup warm milk
4 Tbsp brown sugar
1 packet instant yeast (2 1/4 tsp) 
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 eggs
3 1/2 cups white all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup raisins
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp cinnamon
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup dark chocolate chunks (or chips)

Directions
Combine warm milk, 4 Tbsp brown sugar, and yeast, stir and wait 10 minutes.
In bowl of stand mixer whisk yeast mixture, eggs, and melted butter. Add flour and salt all at once and with dough hook attachment combine on low speed. To this loose dough add raisins and continue to knead on medium /low for 10 minutes. Don't worry if raisins drop out of the dough, they will eventually combine with the dough. If dough nudges up over the hook pause machine, push dough back down. If dough is very dry, add water; if too sticky, add flour, but only a bit.
You can also mix and knead by hand for 10 minutes. 
Remove hook and let dough rest in bowl, covered in plastic wrap, for at least an hour. It will double in size.

Filling Ingredients
In small bowl, combine brown sugar, cinnamon, and melted butter to make paste.
Prepare 5"x 9" loaf pan with butter and line bottom and sides with parchment paper.
Flour counter top and stretch dough to form rectangle approximately 8"x18".
Spread filling over entire dough and sprinkle on chocolate chunks.
From short end, roll up dough tightly all the way across.
Place dough in prepared loaf pan, seam side down.
Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 45 min.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Bake 45-50 minutes, until internal temperature reads 190 degrees.
Remove from oven, loosen ends with knife and lifting the parchment (if used) remove bread from pan.
Allow to fully cool on a rack before slicing.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

CHOCOLATE HONEY CAKE for a Sweet New Year: Rosh Hashana

Here's a wonderful recipe for Chocolate Honey Cake to celebrate Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year. Honey is a traditional food that symbolizes a Sweet New Year. Add Chocolate, and the year is bound to be even sweeter! Heaven knows, we need it!

This recipe is adapted from Nigella Lawson's Chocolate Honey Cake aka Honey Bee Cake. She decorates her Chocolate Honey Cake with the most adorable marzipan bees, but I never get quite that involved.

FYI: Honey cake doesn't have to be dry and heavy. This cake is incredibly moist! As I've mentioned many times, though, your final product will be different depending on the type and brand of chocolate and the type of honey you use.

Chocolate Honey Cake

Ingredients

Cake:
4 ounces dark chocolate (50-65% cacao), chopped
1 1/3 cups soft light brown sugar
8 ounces unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup local honey
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp DARK cocoa
1 cup boiling water

Sticky Honey Glaze:
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup honey
6 ounces dark chocolate (60-75% cacao), finely chopped
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp confectioners sugar

Directions:
Have all ingredients at room temperature.
Melt chocolate from cake part of ingredients list in large bowl, either in microwave or bowl over pan of simmering water. Set aside to cool slightly.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and line 9-inch springform pan.
Beat together sugar and softened butter until airy and creamy, and then add honey.
Add 1 of eggs, beating in with tablespoon of flour, and then second egg with another tablespoon of flour.
Fold in melted chocolate, and then remaining flour and baking soda.
Add cocoa pushed through tea strainer to ensure no lumps, and last of all, beat in the boiling water.
Mix everything together well to make smooth batter and pour into prepared springform pan.
Bake for up to 1 -1/2 hours, checking cake after 45 minutes. If it's getting too dark, cover top lightly with aluminum foil and keep checking every 15 minutes.
Let cake cool completely in pan on rack.

Glaze: 
To make glaze, bring water and honey to boil in pot, then turn off the heat and add finely chopped chocolate, swirling around to melt in hot liquid.
Leave for few minutes, then whisk together.
Add sugar through sieve and whisk again until smooth.

Putting it together:
Choose plate or stand, and cut 4 strips of parchment paper and form square outline on plate. Reason: So when you put cake on it and ice it, icing won't run all over the plate (you can always cut the excess off later).
Unclip springform pan and set thoroughly cooled cake on prepared plate.

Pour glaze over cold chocolate honey cake. It might dribble a bit down the edges, but don't worry too much about it. Glaze stays tacky for some time (which is what gives it its melting goeyness) so ice in time for glaze to harden a little, at least an hour before you want to serve it.

Nigella Lawson decorates this great cake with marzipan bees. For the recipe for them, and for her exact recipe, go HERE.

Monday, September 14, 2020

CHOCOLATE CHIP APPLE BUNDT CAKE for Rosh Hashana


I love Fall with its infinite variety of apples.  Here's a great way to make the most of the apple harvest. This fabulous Chocolate Chip Apple Bundt Cake (recipe originally from Sunset Magazine) is a great way to celebrate  Rosh Hashana. We all need a sweet new year!

I use tart apples in this recipe because I like the combination of tart and sweet. Try different apple varieties. Also, you can use your favorite dark chocolate instead of chocolate chips. Chop into chunks.

Chocolate Chip Apple Bundt Cake

Ingredients 
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups white sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup water
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
2 cups apples - peeled, cored and diced
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (or chocolate chunks)

Directions
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Grease and flour one 9 or 10 inch Bundt Pan.
In large bowl, cream butter with sugar. Beat in eggs. Add water and vanilla.
Stir flour, cocoa, baking soda, ground cinnamon, and ground nutmeg together. Beat this mixture into creamed mixture.
Fold in chopped apples and semisweet chocolate chips (or chocolate chocolate chunks).
Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake at 325 degrees F for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until cake tests done when toothpick is inserted near center. Do not overbake. Start checking at one hour.
Transfer to a rack to cool.

GRASSHOPPER PIE: 4 Recipes for Creme de Menthe Day

Tomorrow is National Creme de Menthe Day! Celebrate with one of these four recipes for Grasshopper Pie!

Grasshopper Pie is named because for its green color, although modern recipes may omit coloring the pie green. That would be a shame, though, since it's what makes it a classic. (You can always use a Wilton natural green). This pie was most likely invented in the 1950s in the U.S, and may have been inspired by the "Grasshopper Cocktail" invented at about the same time. Grasshopper Pie is a chiffon pie usually made with a Chocolate Cookie Crust, so you see why it's perfect for DyingforChocolate.com.

Chiffon pies in the 1950s were often a combination of whipping cream, gelatin, sugar, eggs, and flavoring (see vintage recipe at the end of this post). In the case of the Grasshopper Pie, common flavoring used was alcohol in the form of crème de menthe, and sometimes other alcohol like crème de cacao. For non-alcoholic pie, mint flavoring was achieved by using mint extracts instead, though these might still contain a tiny amount of alcohol. Green food coloring gave the pie a light green color.

There are huge differences between classic recipes for Grasshopper Pie and modern ones. Since gelatin can be annoying to work with, many people now prepare the pie by melting marshmallows and blending them with milk or whipping cream, and sometimes cream cheese. Several recipes advocate the use of specific cookies like Oreos in the crust, but I use chocolate wafers.

In the US, Grasshopper Pie tends to be most popular in the South, but other parts of the country enjoy it too. The pie rose in popularity especially up until the 1970s. Many ice cream stores capitalized on the flavor of this pie by producing their own version with mint or mint chocolate chip ice cream and a cookie crust. Some ice cream stores are particularly known for their grasshopper ice-cream pies.

Following are several different recipes for Grasshopper Pie. As I said, this is perfect for Creme de Menthe Day! Let me know if you have a special family recipe. Grasshopper Pie is so Retro!

Simple Grasshopper Mallow Pie  
 from Kraft


Ingredients
1/4 cup green creme de menthe
1 jar (7 oz.) JET-PUFFED Marshmallow Creme
1 pt. (2 cups) whipping cream, whipped
1 OREO Pie Crust (6 oz.)

Add creme de menthe gradually to marshmallow creme in large bowl, beating with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Gently stir in whipped cream.
Pour into crust.
Refrigerate 4 to 6 hours or until chilled. Store leftover pie in refrigerator.

Frozen Grasshopper Pie
from cooks.com

Ingredients
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 rows Oreo cookies (lg. pkg.) crushed (you can also use chocolate wafers)

1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup creme de menthe
1/4 cup white creme de cacao
2 cup (1 pt.) whipping cream, whipped

Directions
Combine crushed Oreos and butter and press in bottom of 9 x 13 inch pan.
In large bowl combine sweetened milk, creme de menthe and creme de cacao.
Fold in whipped cream.
Pour over crust. Cover.
Freeze 6 hours or until firm. Garnish with chocolate curls. Return leftovers to freezer.

Expert Grasshopper Pie  
From Bon Appétit

Ingredients
Crust:
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
22 chocolate wafer cookies
3 Tbsp sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

Filling:
1 cup whole milk
Pinch of salt
3 large egg yolks
2 Tbsp cornstarch
6 ounces good-quality white chocolate (such as Baker’s or Lindt), chopped
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 Tbsp green crème de menthe
2 Tbsp light crème de cacao
3/4 cup chilled whipping cream
Shaved white and dark chocolates

Directions 
For crust: Spray 9-inch-diameter glass or ceramic pie dish with nonstick spray. Finely grind chocolate cookies and sugar in processor. Blend in butter. Press crumb mixture onto bottom and up sides of prepared dish. Freeze. 

For filling: Combine milk and salt in heavy small saucepan. Bring to simmer. Whisk egg yolks and cornstarch in medium bowl to blend well. Gradually whisk in hot milk mixture. Return mixture to same saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat until mixture thickens, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat. Add white chocolate and butter; whisk until smooth. Transfer custard to large bowl. Whisk in crème de menthe and crème de cacao. Set custard over another large bowl of ice water until cold and thick but not set, stirring often, about 30 minutes.
Whip cream in medium bowl until stiff peaks form. Stir 1/3 of whipped cream into custard. Fold in remaining whipped cream. Pour filling into crust. Freeze at least 5 hours or up to 2 days. Garnish with shaved chocolates.

And one more,  
Vintage Cookbook Recipe for Grasshopper Pie that includes gelatin!

Sunday, September 13, 2020

PEANUT BUTTER CHOCOLATE CAKE: Retro Ad & Recipe for National Peanut Day!

Happy Peanut Day! Here's a great Retro Wartime Rationing Ad for Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake to celebrate the day! This recipe is still great today!



Friday, September 11, 2020

National Chocolate Milkshake Day: 5 Easy Quirky Recipes

Tomorrow is National Chocolate Milkshake Day, so I thought I'd get a jump on the holiday with the following unique chocolate milkshake recipes.

The easiest way to celebrate is to mix a little Milk with Chocolate Ice Cream and Chocolate Syrup and put it in the blender. Or you can mix Milk with Vanilla Ice cream and Chocolate syrup and blend. Measurements are up to you, but I have a few quasi-measurements below for Special Chocolate Milkshakes. 

If you're absolutely Dying for Chocolate, use 1 cup chocolate ice cream, 1/4 cup chocolate syrup, and 1/2 cup chocolate milk. Mix in Blender.

A Chocolate Malted Milkshake is a variation on your traditional chocolate milkshake. Add a Tbsp of malted milk powder to milk, chocolate syrup, and chocolate ice cream, and blend.

Like bananas? Make a Chocolate Banana Milk Shake: 1 cup milk, 1 scoop banana ice-cream, 1 scoop chocolate ice cream, 1/2 ripened banana, and some chocolate syrup, and blend.

And, if you really want to be daring, celebrate with a Chocolate Peanut Butter Milkshake. Blend 1 cup creamy peanut butter, 1/2 cup chocolate syrup, 1/4 cup milk, 12 cubes ice. Blend until smooth. (Ice cubes instead of ice-cream).

Have a great day! And in my part of the world, stay safe! Bad air, fires, and Covid19.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

DATE NUT BREAD WITH CHOCOLATE CHIPS: Retro Ad & Recipe for Date Nut Bread Day

Dromedary Date Nut Bread (in a can) had a Jingle Contest in 1940 to win nylon hose. Here's both the Retro Advertisement and the recipe!
 
This is perfect for today's food holiday: Date Nut Bread Day. Has this wonderful quick bread fallen out of favor? I think not. It's a great bread to smother with cream cheese or marscapone. Date Nut Bread makes fabulous sandwiches. It's also great toasted and smeared with unsalted butter. Add some chocolate chips or chunks to the recipe, and it belongs on this blog!

This wonderful advertisement from 1940 not only reflects the popularity of this quick bread in the U.S., but it's an historical testament to nylon hose and prepared foods at that time. Want to sell a product in the 1940s? Appeal to women. To win a pair of nylons, all you needed to do was finish the jingle. 1000 lucky women won nylons.
In 1939  DuPont introduced nylon stockings at the New York World's Fair, whose theme was the "World of Tomorrow." DuPont then went into full scale production, and "by May 1940, nylon hose was a huge success and women lined up at stores across the county to obtain the precious goods." Just an FYI, nylon went to war in 1942  to be used  as parachutes and tents (as silk had been before nylon) and became in short supply.

Dromedary Date Nut Bread in a Can is no longer in production, but isn't the concept and advertisement fabulous? I used to bake a lot of quick breads in a can, but I never saw any ready baked in a can. FYI: Dromedary Date-Nut Bread in a can did not contain chocolate.

Dromedary Dates, which were also sold at the market, had a recipe on the back of the package for Date-Nut Bread. Here's a recipe that's pretty close to the original Dromedary Date-Nut Bread Recipe -- with the addition of Chocolate Chips. If you want your finished Date Nut Bread to look similar to the ad above, bake the date-nut breads in 4 soup cans!

DATE NUT BREAD WITH CHOCOLATE CHIPS

Ingredients
3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 cup chopped pitted dates (Dromedary chopped dates from the original recipe- one package-8 ounces-equals 2 cups)
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 Tbsp oil  (or 3 tbsp melted butter-original recipe mentions margarine, but I don't use margarine)
3/4 cup boiling water
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup sifted flour, unbleached
1/2 cup dark chopped chocolate chips

Directions
Preheat oven to 350.
With fork, mix walnuts, dates, soda, and salt in bowl.
Add oil and boiling water. Let stand 20 minutes.
With fork, beat eggs slightly, add vanilla.
Stir in sugar and sifted flour.
Mix in date mixture.
Fold in chocolate chips.
Do Not Overmix.
Place in greased 9x5x3 inch loaf pan (or coffee can or 4 soup cans).
Bake at 350 for 1 hour until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool in pan 10 minutes.
Move to wire rack to finish cooling.

Monday, September 7, 2020

NO-LABOR LABOR DAY CHOCOLATE PUDDING CAKE for Labor Day

I saw this Labor Day recipe from the Portland Monthly a few years ago. I've posted variations on Chocolate Pudding Cake before, but this is a slightly different recipe, and, as you know from reading this blog, I can never have too many recipes. This is a great No-Labor Labor Day Dessert. Decadent and delicious. It's also a great chemistry lesson for the kids -- dry ingredients, water, oven .. and a molten treat! You probably have all the ingredients in your pantry and frig. Serve with whipped cream, ice cream, and/or fruit and nuts.

NO-LABOR LABOR DAY CHOCOLATE PUDDING CAKE

Ingredients
1 cup flour (sifting optional)
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
1 egg
2 Tbsp oil (vegetable or corn oil are fine)
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa
1 1/4 - 1 1/2 cups boiling water

Directions
Sift dry ingredients together. Mix milk, egg, and oil together in a large bowl. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients in big bowl. Stir until smooth. Add vanilla to bowl. Pour mixture into baking dish (1 1/2 - 2 quart casserole dish). Mix together additional dry ingredients (brown and white sugars and cocoa) and pour on top of everything already in baking dish. Pour boiling water on top of whole concoction. (No stirring!) Bake at 350 degrees F. for about 45-50 minutes.

Sunday, September 6, 2020

COFFEE ICE CREAM PIE: National Coffee Ice Cream Day

Coffee Ice Cream Pie Photo: Pillsbury
Warm where you are today? Here's an easy (20 minutes to make - and then freeze) no-bake recipe that has a great chocolate cookie crust that includes coconut and chopped nuts along with the chocolate wafers. It's a very versatile crust and would also be great with a key lime filling, as well as any other ice cream flavor. This recipe is adapted  slightly from Pillsbury. As I've mentioned many times, the big 'food product' sites often have fabulous recipes. You can adapt and update as you like, and they're a springboard for ideas, so be sure and check them out!

COFFEE ICE CREAM PIE

Ingredients
30 chocolate wafers, crushed (about 1-1/2 cups)
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup coconut  (I like toasted coconut)
3 Tbsp finely chopped macadamia nuts (or cashews)

Filling 
1 quart coffee ice cream, slightly softened

Topping 
1 cup hot fudge sauce, warmed
Whole macadamia nuts (or cashews), if desired

Directions
In medium bowl, mix crushed chocolate wafers, butter, coconut, and finely chopped macadamia nuts.
Press mixture in bottom and side of 9-inch glass pie plate; refrigerate 15 minutes.
Carefully spoon softened ice cream into chilled crust.
Cover and freeze about 2 hours or until firm.
Top individual servings with fudge sauce, chopped macadamia nuts, and chopped chocolate covered coffee beans.
Cover and freeze any remaining pie.

To make cutting the pie easier, remove it from the freezer about 10 to 15 minutes before serving. 

Saturday, September 5, 2020

NO BAKE KAHLUA PIE for Labor Day

It's Labor Day Weekend, and the temperature in Northern California is going to hit triple digits. Not a weekend to be baking. So I thought I'd post this simple recipe for a No-Bake Kahlua Pie. I first saw the recipe on Serious Eats (a favorite site). The recipe is from Yvonne Ruperti, author of One Bowl Baking: Simple from Scratch Recipes for Delicious Desserts (2013). Check out the cookbook for more easy chocolate recipes.

No Bake Kahlua Pie

Ingredients
44 chocolate wafers, divided, finely ground (I use Nabisco Famous Wafers)
8 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 Tbsp granulated sugar, divided
Pinch salt
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
3/4 tsp powdered gelatin
7 Tbsp Kahlua, divided
3 1/3 cups heavy cream, chilled, divided

Directions
Pulse 36 wafer cookies in food processor until finely ground. Place crumbs in large bowl and stir in melted butter, 1 tsp sugar, and 2 tsp water until thoroughly moistened. Firmly press into bottom and sides of 9-inch pie plate. Pulse remaining 8 cookies until finely ground and set aside.
Place chocolate in large heatproof bowl and melt over a pan of barely simmering water, stirring, until smooth. Remove from heat.
Add 1 Tbsp water to small microwave safe bowl and sprinkle gelatin over top. Let sit 5 minutes to soften. Heat in microwave on high power until just melted, 10 to 20 seconds.
Whisk 6 Tbsp Kahlua into melted chocolate. Whisk in melted gelatin.
Whip 2 1/3 cups cream with 1 Tbsp sugar to medium peaks. Fold cream into chocolate in 3 batches, until just combined. Gently fold in reserved chocolate wafer crumbs. Pour into pie shell and chill until set, about 3 hours.
Whip remaining cup cream with remaining 2 tsp sugar to soft peak. Fold in remaining Tbsp coffee liquor. Serve on side.

Friday, September 4, 2020

LABOR DAY TRIPLE FUDGE CAKE

Happy Labor Day! Instead of posting chocolate barbecue rub recipes today, I thought I'd post this Retro Recipe for Labor Day Triple Fudge Cake from Betty Crocker's Party Book, copyright 1960. The Party Book is all about being a good 'hostess' with fun, if somewhat dated, with recipes for most holidays: "More than 500 recipes, menus and how-to-do-it tips for festive occasions the year 'round."

So for Labor Day, make this simple Labor Day Triple Fudge Cake, virtually labor-free.



Thursday, September 3, 2020

CHOCOLATE CHIP ORANGE SCONES: Afternoon Tea

Summer Afternoon (Tea in the Garden): Theo van Rysselberghe, 1901
There are few hours in life more agreeable
Than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.
--Henry James

As a tea drinker, I can definitely confirm that I love a cuppa and a scone around 4  p.m. So for today's post, I want to celebrate the Birthday of Anna Bedford, Creator of Afternoon Tea. Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford and lady-in-waiting to Queen Victoria,  inadvertently invented Afternoon Tea in 1840. At that time, the main meal of the day shifted from midday (luncheon) to evening. English high society didn’t dine until 8 p.m. Anna needed something to tide her over, so she ordered tea with brown bread to be brought to her room around 4 p.m. Initially this meal was brought surreptiously, but after awhile she began to invite her friends to join her, and “afternoon tea” expanded, both in what was served and the number of friends who partook. When Anna Bedford returned to London, she continued her afternoon teas, and soon Afternoon Tea became the rage of the elite. In addition to brown bread and small sandwiches, there were sweets and special “tea cakes.” The custom spread and tea rooms and tea gardens opened to serve tea to all classes. 

Afternoon Tea is not the same as High Tea. Afternoon Tea is a lighter meal, and scones are almost always served. I love clotted cream with my scones, and luckily, fresh clotted cream is readily available at my market. I enjoy 'plain' scones, but these Chocolate Chip Orange Scones  are yummy! Make some for your afternoon tea today!

Chocolate Chip Orange Scones

Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup white sugar
Victorian postcard: Afternoon Tea
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and grated (keep cold until ready)
1 -1/3 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup miniature dark chocolate chips
3 tablespoons orange juice (1 large orange and zest from 2 oranges)

Directions
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Spray baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray or smear with butter.
In large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
With pastry blender or large fork, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. You can also do this with your hands.
Put in freezer for 5 minutes.
Take out of freezer and add cream, chocolate chips, orange juice and orange zest.
Mix together.
Turn out dough on floured surface. Pat or roll into 9 inch circle about 3/4 inch thick.
With 2 1/2 inch fluted biscuit cutter, cut out about 12 scones, pushing dough scraps together for last few, if necessary.
Transfer scones to baking sheet.
Bake in preheated oven until golden-brown, about 10-12 minutes.
Remove from oven and cool on wire rack.

Serve with clotted cream and jam.

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

CHOCOLATE BACON PEANUT BARK: International Bacon Day

Today is International Bacon Day!

Chocolate and Bacon was the chocolate food trend several years ago, and I don't really think it's gone out of fashion. What a great pairing! Salty bacon with dark sweet chocolate is terrific. Add Peanuts, and it's even better! This is a simple recipe for Chocolate Bacon Peanut Bark. Barks are so easy to make, too.

Susan Russo  had a great article on NPR in 2010 on different pairings of bacon with different foods, but this was my favorite. It's simple to make.

Chocolate Bacon Peanut Bark  
adapted from Susan Russo's recipe

Ingredients
8 strips bacon (or Costco Bacon crumbles)
16 ounces fair-trade organic chocolate 60-75 % cacao (chunks or chips are fine)
1 cup unsalted peanuts

Directions
In large skillet over medium heat, cook bacon, turning several times, until browned and done, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to paper towel-lined plate to drain. Chop finely. (or use Costco Bacon Crumbles)
Line large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Add chocolate to double boiler (or saucepan on top of another saucepan). Once water begins to boil, add chocolate. Using spatula, stir continuously, until smooth and creamy.
Stir in bacon and peanuts. Pour onto prepared baking sheet and spread to 3/8-inch thickness. Refrigerate for minimum of one hour. Bark should be hard and chilled.
Place bark on cutting board and cut  (or crack) into pieces — any size or shape you'd like.
Serve at room temperature.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

HONEY CHOCOLATE BROWNIES: National Honey Month

September is National Honey Month. I'm a huge fan of HONEY. Here's a great recipe for Honey Chocolate Brownie to celebrate. And since Rosh Hashana is also this month, makes these Honey Chocolate Brownies for a sweet New Year.

This Honey Chocolate Brownie recipe won the 2000 Huron County Fair Blue Ribbon. I've adapted it slightly. Just as different cocoa will change the taste of these brownies, so will the honey. Try these brownies with different honey and chocolate combinations.

HONEY CHOCOLATE BROWNIES

Ingredients
1 cup softened unsalted butter
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups honey
1 cup flour
3 eggs beaten
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1/3 cup DARK cocoa

Directions
In mixer, beat butter until creamy.
Slowly add honey, mixing constantly.
Add eggs, vanilla, and salt.
Add cocoa.
Add flour.
Fold in nuts.
Make sure the batter is mixed completely.
Pour batter into greased 9x13x2 inch. deep pan and bake at 350 for 30 to 35 minutes.

Monday, August 31, 2020

NUTTY CHOCOLATE BLUEBERRY CHERRY TRAIL MIX: National Trail Mix Day

Today is National Trail Mix Day! So many people are taking to the trails to get out of the house during this sad Covid19 time. Nature is so beautiful, and I'm lucky to live in a gorgeous area with wooded and bayside trails. I often take along Trail Mix, and it's easy to make your own.  There are an infinite number of combinations. I use a lot of dried fruits and nuts from Trader Joe's, but you can mix whatever you have.

Trail mix is perfect to take on a hike, as snacks for school, or throw some into your next oatmeal cookie dough for an out of this world taste treat. The following trail mix is also good for the heart. Blueberries have the highest antioxidants of almost any dried fruit, and you all know the benefits of dark chocolate. Most of the nuts in this trail mix recipe are salted, but if you want to be really healthy, cut back on the salt. And, of course, you can add anything else you'd like to the mix: other nuts, coconut, other berries.

NUTTY CHOCOLATE BLUEBERRY CHERRY TRAIL MIX

2 cups roasted salted peanuts
1 cup roasted salted almonds
1 cup roasted whole cashews
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (the darker, the better)
1 cup dried tart cherries
1 cup dried blueberries
1/4 cup crystallized ginger, chopped

Mix together. How easy is that?

Sunday, August 30, 2020

TOASTED MARSHMALLOW FLOURLESS CHOCOLATE CAKE: Toasted Marshmallow Day

Today is National Toasted Marshmallow Day, and, of course, you can make S'mores--and all the variations thereof. Here's a link to a S'mores Round-up on National S'mores Day that I posted several years ao. I've added lots of other Smores recipes since then.. but it's a start.

But how about something other than Smores? Something easy and great for the Gluten-Free Folks? The following Flourless Chocolate Cake with Toasted Marshmallow Topping is fabulous!

You can use your favorite flourless chocolate cake recipe or try this easy recipe. For the Marshmallows, I recommend using high quality marshmallows or making your own. Here's a link to Michael Recchiuti's Marshmallow recipe. If you only have 'regular' marshmallows, that will work, too.

Toasted Marshmallow Flourless Chocolate Cake

Ingredients 
8 ounces dark chocolate 70-75% cacoa
1 cup unsalted butter
1-1/2 cup sugar
6 large eggs (room temperature)
3/4 cup unsweetened DARK cocoa
25 marshmallows 

Directions
Preheat oven to 375°F
Butter 10-inch spring form round baking pan. Line bottom with buttered wax paper.
Break chocolate into pieces.
In double boiler or metal bowl over saucepan of simmering water, melt chocolate with butter, stirring, until smooth.
Remove top of double boiler or bowl from heat and whisk sugar into chocolate mixture.
Add eggs and whisk well.
Sift cocoa over chocolate mixture and whisk until just combined.
Pour batter into pan and bake in middle of oven 35-40 minutes, or until top has formed thin crust and toothpick comes out moist but not wet.
Cool cake in pan on a rack 10 minutes.
Remove springform sides. Leave cake on bottom of pan.
Put cake (still on springform base) on cookie sheet.
Top with marshmallows while still warm (leave an inch around edge free - they spread).
Put cake back in oven at 375 for 5 minutes--until marshmallows are 'toasted'.
Remove from oven.
If they're not toasted enough, use mini-torch (one of my favorite kitchen tools) to toast.
Cool on rack.

Saturday, August 29, 2020

COFFEE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES: International Coffee Day

Today is National Coffee Day. So many ways to celebrate, especially if you add Chocolate. You can always have a Cafe Mocha, Chocolate Coffee Fudge, Chocolate Clouds in your Coffee, Irish Coffee Chocolate Cake, Irish Coffee Truffles, or pick up some Chocolate Covered Coffee Beans.

In honor of the day, I thought I'd re-post one of my favorite recipes for Coffee Chocolate Chip Cookies. What I love about Chocolate Chip Cookies are the infinite varieties.

As I've mentioned before, your final product is only as good as your ingredients. Use the very best Chocolate, Espresso (or Coffee) Beans, Vanilla, Flour, Butter and other ingredients! This recipe calls for a baking stone. You can use a pizza stone. If you don't have one, you can make these Coffee Chocolate Chip Cookies the traditional way. The stone helps makes them gooey on the inside and crispy on the outside. I've adapted this recipe from ehow.com.

COFFEE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES 

Ingredients
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 fresh large eggs (room temperature)
2 cups brown sugar
6 Tbsp granulated sugar
5 tsp real vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sea salt
3 - 1/2 cups flour
4 tsp ground espresso beans (or finely ground coffee beans). Try this recipe with ground chocolate covered Coffee beans. Gives it just a bit more chocolate!
16 oz dark chocolate (65-75% cacao) chopped (or dark chocolate chips)
Baking Stone

Directions
Toss butter in microwave for 20 seconds to SOFTEN not melt the butter. (or leave out in advance, so it's already softened)
Cream butter and sugars together until fluffy. Mixture should be well blended but firm.
Add 2 eggs. Beat. Add Vanilla. Mix well. Set aside.
Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into another bowl. Add ground coffee or ground espresso beans.
Add dry ingredients to wet mixture, beating in a little at a time. Fold in chocolate pieces (or chips).
Put cookie dough in refrigerator for 2 hours to firm up. Put wax paper on top to prevent drying.
Preheat oven to 350. Put hot stone in Oven.
Take hot stone out of oven. Drop cookie balls (use a small scoop or form balls) onto stone, smashing with fork after dropping. Put back in oven on stone.
Bake for about 8 minutes. Depends on your oven, of course.
Transfer with spatula to wire rack.
Hint: Check the first one. If the cookies fall apart or aren't cooked all the way, give them another minute.

Friday, August 28, 2020

RED WINE BROWNIES: National Red Wine Day

Of course you can drink a glass of red wine today to celebrate National Red Wine Day, but why not accompany that Merlot or Cabernet with chocolate as in these fabulous Red Wine Brownies. I've posted lots of wine and port and liqueur brownies, but here's another. You can never have too many brownie recipes! And, you can always make Brownies from Scratch and add the red wine. Here's a recipe for Merlot Brownies from scratch, but if you don't have the time or the ingredients, here's a great easy recipe:

Red Wine Brownies

Ingredients
1 box Ghirardelli dark chocolate brownie Mix
1/4 cup bold Red Wine
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg

Directions
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Grease 8″ x 8″ baking dish.
In large bowl, combine wine, oil, and egg. Mix well. Stir in brownie mix.
Spread batter in prepared pan.
Bake for 45 minutes. Cool completely.
Serve with red wine.