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



HOLY CANNOLI! National Cannoli Day

I love all these food holidays because they remind me of so many different chocolate foods. One of my all time favorite desserts: Cannoli. I used to have these in South Philly, either from the bakery or for dessert at the many Italian restaurants. Traditionally cannoli come from the Palermo and Messina areas and were prepared as a treat during Carnevale season. It then became a year-round staple in Sicily. Cannoli are fried and stuffed with sweet ricotta cheese with chocolate chips.

Here's a great recipe from Alex Guarnaschelli on the FoodNetwork. Do you have a favorite cannoli recipe? Post a link in the comments.

Don't have a Cannoli mold? Here are a few substitutes.
Wood dowel: about 6-8 inches. Sand it down, so it's smooth, and then grease with canola oil.
Curtain rod (be sure it's clean).
Aluminum Foil: Scrunch up foil into golf ball sized balls. Make a 6-8 inch long line and press together for even surface. Wrap with additional aluminum foil into long piece of aluminum. Make enough for all your cannoli.

And, you can buy Cannoli shells ready made and just stuff them!

Also, many Italian bakeries and markets sell cannoli...just in case you don't feel like making them today!

CANNOLI

Ingredients 

Shells:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup dry white wine

Filling: 
2 cups ricotta cheese, preferably whole milk
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup small semisweet chocolate chips
1 lemon
1 quart canola oil, for frying

Flour, for rolling
1 egg, lightly beaten, for egg wash
Powdered sugar, for dusting

Directions

For Shell Dough: 
In medium bowl, sift together flour, sugar and salt. Work butter pieces into flour with your fingers until mixture becomes coarse and sandy. Add egg yolk and white wine and mix until it becomes  smooth dough. Spread piece of plastic wrap on flat surface and place dough in center. Wrap plastic loosely around it and press dough to fill gap. Flattening dough will mean less rolling later. Let it rest in fridge for a few minutes while you make filling.

For Filling: 
In medium bowl, whisk ricotta until smooth. Sift in powdered sugar, cinnamon and allspice. Mix to blend. In separate bowl (or in bowl of electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment), beat heavy cream until fairly stiff. Using rubber spatula, gently fold cream into ricotta mixture. Stir in chocolate chips.
Lightly zest exterior of lemon and stir it into ricotta. Refrigerate for half hour to hour.

To Roll and Fry Shells:
In medium pot with heavy bottom, heat canola oil to 360 degrees F. Meanwhile, sift even layer of flour on flat surface. Flour rolling pin. Roll dough until very thin (about 1/8-inch thick). Cut dough into fourths and work in small batches.

Use any glass or small bowl that has 3-to-4-inch diameter. Cut rounds, tracing around each one to assure dough has been fully cut. You should have about 24 circles. Wrap each circle around cannoli mold. Use a little of the egg wash on edge of each round to seal it shut and to assure it won't slide or fall off the mold before pressing it closed over the mold. Flare the edges out slightly from the mold. Flaring will allow oil to penetrate each cannoli shell as they fry. Use pair of tongs to hold edge of the mold as you submerge and fry shell in the oil until crispy, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from oil, and holding mold in one had with tongs, gently grip shell in your other hand with kitchen towel and carefully slide off the mold. Set aside to cool. Repeat with all of the circles.

To Fill Cannolis: 
Just before serving, use pastry bag without tip to pipe ricotta into cannoli molds. Fill  cannoli shells from both ends so cream runs through the whole shell. Dust with powdered sugar. Powdered sugar gives that little extra sweetness and added texture to the exterior. It also makes me feel like I have a professional bakery touch in my own home.
Serve immediately.

Tip:
If ricotta has an excess of liquid, drain over strainer for at least half hour before makingfilling. Make and fry shells and filling. Don't fill shells with cream until you are ready to eat them. Everyone loves a crispy cannoli.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

CHOCOLATE STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE: History & Recipes for National Strawberry Shortcake Day

Today is National Strawberry Shortcake Day. There's something about strawberries and whipped cream with a little shortcake that says Summer and America!

There are several different types of shortcake, or pastries known as shortcake. First there are scones and biscuits -- perfect for Strawberry Shortcake. And, then there are sponge cakes like those little spongy cups you get at the supermarket, also good, just different. And, of course, there's just plain cake which can be chocolate! All these 'cakes' are quick to make and taste great with strawberries and whipping cream. Of course, for me, the shortcake should always be chocolate. As always, your cakes are only as good as the chocolate you use!

No one really knows  exactly when the first strawberry shortcake was made. Shortcake, itself, is a European invention that goes back at least to the late 1500s. Strawberries have been around for over 2000 years. But putting strawberries and shortcake together is an American tradition. Strawberry Shortcake parties became popular in the United States around 1850 with the earliest recipe in 1847. Strawberries were so popular that people talked about strawberry fever. Advertisements and articles about strawberry shortcake, caused more and more demand. Harpers Magazine in 1893 said, "They give you good eating, strawberries and short-cake-- Ohh My!"

Several years ago on National Strawberry Shortcake Day I posted a recipe for Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake. That recipe is a combination of individual chocolate biscuits, fresh strawberries and sweet whipping cream. I also linked to Annmarie Kostyk's Double Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake. Fabulous!

Here's another recipe for Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake because you can't have enough of a good thing. Recipe adapted from Rhoda Peacher at Hobbyfarms.com

A tip from Lynda King at Hobbyfarms: one of the best ways to prepare berries for shortcake is to bruise them with a potato masher. You don’t want all the berries mashed, but you want most of them bruised sufficiently to yield their juice into the mixture. If needed, add sugar or honey to taste, depending on your preference, and chill for a few hours before serving.

CHOCOLATE STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE

Ingredients

Shortcake
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup Dutch process cocoa powder
3 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup unalted butter
1 cup + up to 2 Tbsp milk

Filling
4 to 5 cups fresh strawberries
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup whipping cream, whipped

Directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Grease two 8-inch round cake pans.
In large bowl, combine flour, 1/2 cup sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.
Using pastry blender, cut butter into mixture until consistency resembles coarse crumbs.
Stir in 1 cup milk with fork until mixture is just moistened (you may need to add extra milk for the mixture to blend evenly).
Using your fingers, spread into prepared pans.
Bake at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes, or until cake begins to pull away from sides of pans.
Cool 15 minutes; remove cakes from pans. Cool completely.
Reserve five whole strawberries for garnish.
Wash, hull, and halve remaining strawberries.
In large bowl, combine halved strawberries and 1/4 cup sugar.
Place 1 shortcake bottom-side up on serving plate.
Top with half of strawberries and half of whipped cream.
Drizzle with a few tablespoons of chocolate sauce, to taste.
Place the other shortcake on top of this, right-side up.
Top with remaining prepared strawberries and whipped cream.
Garnish with reserved whole strawberries.

So there you have it: Three fabulous recipes for Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake!
***

Want to drink your Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake?

CHOCOLATE STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE COCKTAIL


1 shot amaretto
1 shot creme de cacao
2 double shots of fresh strawberry puree
2 double shots of cream

Add several ice cubes, 2 double shots of fresh strawberry puree, 2 double shots of cream, add one shot of amaretto and one shot of creme de cacao. Blend for 1 min until mixture is thick. Pour into a martini glass.

Garnish with a whole strawberry or rim the glass with crushed chocolate--or both!

Saturday, June 13, 2020

BOURBON BACON CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES: National Bourbon Day

Bourbon Bacon Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Tomorrow is National Bourbon Day, so here's an easy recipe for Bourbon Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies to celebrate both holidays! How can you go wrong with bourbon, bacon, and chocolate?

I always say you should checkout your favorite product and food organization websites for recipes, and Maker’s Mark has a great website that highlights the culinary versatility of Maker’s Mark. The site features a section of recipes, selected by chef, Lee Anne Wong. She explains, “My goal in compiling this recipe collection for Maker's Mark was to show the versatility of their handcrafted whisky behind the bar and inspire people to incorporate bourbon into food in ways they may have never thought to. From soups and appetizers to entrees and desserts, I've included it all.” The collection includes appetizers, desserts, entrees, sides and soups, all created by a variety of world renowned chefs and restaurants.

Bourbon Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies
by Lee Anne Wong, Editor and Culinary Director, Maker's Mark® Virtual Recipe Cookbook

Ingredients
3 Tbsp Maker's Mark® Bourbon
3/4 pound bacon, 1/4-inch dice*
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup reserved bacon fat, chilled
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
2 large eggs
8 ounces dark chocolate chips

Directions
In large sauté pan, cook out diced bacon until bacon pieces are golden and crisp. Remove bacon pieces from fat and drain on paper towel. Strain fat through fine sieve and measure out 1/2 cup of bacon fat and chill bacon fat until it congeals and sets.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, chilled bacon fat, granulated sugar, light and dark brown sugars, vanilla and Maker's Mark® Bourbon in large mixer bowl until well combined. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition; gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in cooked bacon pieces and chocolate chips.

Drop by rounded tablespoon onto parchment-lined baking sheets at least 3 inches apart.
Bake in oven for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown.
Let stand for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.
Keep in dry, airtight container for up to 5 days.

* A fattier sliced bacon is preferred, as lean bacon and turkey bacon will not work for this recipe. 

Friday, June 12, 2020

TOFFEE PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES: National Peanut Butter Cookie Day

Today is National Peanut Butter Cookie Day! Celebrated with this great recipe for Toffee Peanut Butter Cookies! I love English Toffee, and I'm a Toffee Judge for TasteTV. I know, I know, it's hard, but someone has to do it.

Having all this toffee around made me want to bake some cookies. Here's a great recipe that combines my love of Peanut Butter Cookies with English Toffee. I have a toffee hammer (well, I have three of them) for breaking up toffee. Clearly this is something I like to do! The small hammers used to come with the toffee tins. Very cool. As always, use the very best peanut butter and the very best toffee. Sadly with no games being played because of covid19, you can't mix up a batch and take it to the ball game. Nevertheless, these Toffee Peanut Butter Cookies are a grand slam!

Toffee Peanut Butter Cookies

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups peanut butter
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
10 ounces Toffee Bits

Directions
Preheat oven to 350.
Whip butter with peanut butter until light and fluffy. Beat in sugars until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
In another bowl, sift together dry dry ingredients, then mix into batter. Fold in Toffee bits.
Scoop cookies onto un-greased baking sheet.
Lightly flatten each cookie with fork or back of hand.
Bake for 10 minutes for chewy cookies or 13 minutes for crunchy ones.
These cookies will fast become favorites!

Thursday, June 11, 2020

GERMAN CHOCOLATE CAKE: History & Recipe for National German Chocolate Cake Day

Today is National German Chocolate Cake Day. It may sound odd that's there's an American National Holiday for German Chocolate Cake, but German Chocolate Cake is not German. German Chocolate Cake is an American creation that contains the key ingredients of sweet baking chocolate, coconut, and pecans.

In 1852, Sam German created a dark baking chocolate bar for Baker's Chocolate Company, and in his honor, the company named it "Baker's German's Sweet Chocolate."

The story goes that the first published recipe for German's chocolate cake showed up in a Dallas newspaper in 1957 and supposedly came from a Texas homemaker. The cake quickly gained in popularity and the recipe together with photos spread all over the country. America fell in love with German Chocolate Cake, and food editors were swamped with requests for information on where to buy the chocolate. In one year, there was a 73% sales jump in German's Baker Sweet Chocolate sales (then owned by General Mills). 

However, the cake most likely didn't originate from the Dallas housewife. Buttermilk chocolate cakes were popular in the South for over 70 years, and pecans were plentiful, also, to make the frosting. Point of fact: German's chocolate is similar to a milk chocolate and sweeter than regular baking chocolate.

Here's the "Original Recipe." I found this specific recipe in many places on the Internet, and I daresay no one can claim it as their own. So even if you think you're making Grandmom's recipe--and it might be with a few changes over the years, the following recipe is a basic one that millions use. That's not to say I didn't find several unique recipes for German Chocolate Cake that peaked my interest. But those are for another time.

GERMAN CHOCOLATE CAKE

For the Cake
1 pkg. Baker's German’s sweet chocolate (4 oz.)
1/2 cup water, boiling
1 cup unsalted butter
2 cup sugar
4 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour, all-purpose
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp Salt
1 cup buttermilk
Coconut-pecan frosting

Directions
Approx. Cook Time: 30 min
Melt chocolate in water and cool.
Cream butter and Sugar.
Beat in egg yolks.
Stir in vanilla and chocolate.
Mix flour, soda, and salt. Beat in flour mixture, alternately with buttermilk.
Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form; fold into batter. Pour batter into three 9-inch layer pans, lined on bottoms with waxed paper.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly pressed in
center.
Cool 15 minutes; remove and cool on rack.

For the Filling & Topping:
1--14 oz. can of condensed milk such as Eagle Brand
1/2 cup water
3 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup butte
1 1/3 cup pecans; chopped reserve
10 whole pecan halves for garnish.
1 3/4 cups angel flake coconut

Directions
Cook milk, eggs, and water over double boiler until thickened.
Cook it over direct heat if you use complete concentration.
Then add vanilla and butter and whisk in until melted and smooth.
Add chopped pecans and coconut.

Assembly:
Divide filling evenly between 3 cakes putting 1st layer down, then spread filling evenly. Repeat with  other layer.
Frost side or top of the cake only. (Maybe--but make more, and you can frost everything)
For garnish, place pecan halves around top edge.

My late friend Iris used to make the best German Chocolate Cake. She said it was an African American traditional cake that was made and served at New Year's. I can't find any information on that tradition in the African American community, so I think it was only a tradition in her family. Sadly, Iris never shared her recipe. Some people keep family recipes within the family. The photo in this post is Iris's German Chocolate Cake. It was always fabulous!

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

CHOCOLATE ICE TEA: National Ice Tea Day

I'm a tea drinker, and I love Ice Tea aka Iced Tea. Since it's National Ice Tea Day, and I'm always Dying for Chocolate, here are several recipes and brands and information about Chocolate Ice Tea.

Just an FYI: The following teas will not have the full bodied chocolate taste of an Iced Cocoa or Iced Chocolate Drink. These teas are more subtle, but definitely worth trying. They're essentially different types of teas infused with cacoa nibs or cocoa with some other ingredients. Some even use carob pods. You might prefer some of them more as hot teas. Experiment.

At the end of this post, I have a recipe for Chocolate Mint Ice Tea... that's the herb Chocolate Mint that grows in the garden (it is not a chocolate --cacao-- plant!). Chocolate mint makes a lovely ice tea.

History of Ice Tea: The story goes that at the St. Louis World's Fair, Englishman Richard Blechynden was introducing Americans to the new India and Ceylon black tea. There was a heat wave at the time and lines were not forming to try his steamy hot beverage. After a few days of frustration, he tried adding ice to the tea in order to entice people in. It was the hit of the fair and a new way of drinking tea had instantly taken hold!

How to Brew Ice Tea:
To brew a quart, place either 4 to 5 bags or teaspoons of loose tea in a pitcher. Bring 2 cups of cold, tap water or filtered water to a boil. Pour the boiling water directly over the tea and steep for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove tea bags or strain and then add 2 more cups of cold water. Serve over ice.

Sun Brewed Iced Tea
Fill a container with 4 cups of cold water, preferably filtered. Place 6 bags or 6 teaspoons of tea and cover or cap lightly. Place in direct sunlight for 2 to 4 hours (depending on desired strength). Remove bags or strain and serve over ice.

Cold Water Method
Fill a container with 4 cups of filtered cold water. Put 6 bags or 6 teaspoons of tea and cover or cap lightly. Place in refrigerator for 8 hours. Remove bags or strain and serve over ice.

There are so many Chocolate Teas available now, some with black tea, some with rooibos or other herbs. The following is a random list. Let me know your favorites, and, especially, if you like chocolate teas better hot or cold!

Republic of Tea
Peppermint Cuppa Chocolate Tea Bags:  peppermint, rich chocolate and smooth, caffeine-free rooibos
Cocoanut Cocoa Cuppa Chocolate Tea Bags:  coconut, chocolate and caramel malted barley
Double Dark Chocolate Mate: roasted Yerba Maté blended with organic dark cocoa powder
Red Velvet Cuppa Chocolate Tea Bags: Rooibos blended with chocolate and beet root bits
Strawberry Cuppa Chocolate Tea Bags: chocolate paired with a hint of strawberry. Rooibos (red tea) provides the base.

Mighty Leaf Tea
Mayan Chocolate Truffle
Masala Chocolate Truffle
Chocolate Chip Truffle
Chocolate Mint Truffle Rooibos
Chocolate Orange Truffle
Mocha Truffle Pu-erh

Kalahari: Choco Latte: Red Tea Raspberry Truffle

Stash Tea: Chocolate Mint Wuyi Oolong Tea

Teavana: Haute Chocolate Rooibos Tea, Cacao Mint Black Tea

TeaFrog: Chocolate and Cream

Harney & Sons:   (one of my favorite sources for black tea): Chocolate tea

Tea Forte:  Coco Truffle
  
American Tea Room: Choco Late, CocoLoco
  
Tea Guys:  Chocolate Delight

Here's a tea for the Spring & Summer, and yes, I do have Chocolate Mint growing in my "Chocolate Garden."

CHOCOLATE MINT ICE TEA

Ingredients
4 cups fresh chocolate mint, chopped
16 cups water
1 cup local honey

Directions
Boil water, add chopped mint leaves, and simmer in covered stockpot with tight-fitting lid for 10 mins.
Add honey or simple syrup, stirring until dissolved.
Remove from heat.
Cover and let steep 3-4 hours or longer.
Refrigerate overnight.
Strain before serving.


Tuesday, June 9, 2020

VIRTUAL CHOCOLATE SALON: In Conversation with Black Chocolatiers

TasteTV & the International Chocolate Salon in conversation with Black Chocolatiers about their creative inspirations & business challenges, including tips for great chocolate, flavor profiles, educations, and tips for success. Discover and support these great artisans!

The Panel Discussion features: Chocolatier Phillip Ashley Rix of Phillip Ashley Chocolates, and moderator, author Joey Garcia (More TBA)

This educational panel is free to attend, but you must register. 

If you want to taste and order chocolate after the virtual event, there will be discount codes provided
  • Thursday, June 11, 11am-11:45 am panel discussion, Q & A to follow
  •  Limited to 50 people
  • Panel will be conducted through Zoom
This is an online panel. The Zoom link will be sent by email 1 hour before the virtual panel ( A Zoom link for this panel discussion will be emailed to all who RSVP on the morning of the event, June 11th)

Registrants will receive a confirmation email notifying them of Zoom information in a separate email.  

ABOUT THE PANEL

JOEY GARCIA (Moderator): Joey Garcia was born in Belize and learned the medicinal and spiritual value of chocolate from her grandmother. Joey is the Relationship Expert for KTXL-TV and the author of "When Your Heart Breaks, It's Opening to Love." She's convinced that a little chocolate every day keeps joy coming her way. www.joeygarcia.com

PHILLIP ASHELY RIX (Chocolatier): Phillip Ashley Rix is one of the world's preeminent chefs and designers of luxury chocolate. He is an award-winning chocolatier, founding Memphis, TN based, Phillip Ashley Chocolates in 2012 . The brand has an international following and is sought out by high-profile clients, top corporations and major events to offer premium gifts. A true Ambassador of Taste, he’s curated dining experiences at the James Beard House in New York City, as well as creating tens of thousands of chocolates for Hollywood’s elite at the EMMYS®, GRAMMYS® and OSCARS®. In 2014, FORBES Magazine named Phillip Ashley the “Real Life Willy Wonka”. In February 2020, he competed on Food Network’s Chopped Sweets. www.phillipashley.com

STRAWBERRY FIELDS FOREVER STRAWBERRY RHUBARB PIE: National Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Day

Today is National Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Day, so I thought I'd post my favorite recipe for Strawberry Fields Forever Strawberry Rhubarb Pie -- with a Chocolate Cookie Crust!

A little info on rhubarb: In culinary use, fresh raw petioles (leaf stalks) are crisp (similar to celery) with a strong, tart taste. Most commonly, the plant's leaf stalks are cooked with sugar and used in pies and other desserts. Rhubarb is usually considered a vegetable. In the United States, however, a New York court decided in 1947 that since it was used in the United States as a fruit, it counted as a fruit for the purposes of regulations and duties. And, a warning: Do not eat or use the leaves.

The following recipe is easy and great. Most people do a two crust pie.. the top crust being a lattice; however, I don't think this works with a chocolate crust. You can always do a crumble on top! Or make a traditional pie crust and add a lattice crust on top. As always, it's your choice! Enjoy and celebrate the day!

STRAWBERRY FIELDS FOREVER STRAWBERRY RHUBARB PIE WITH CHOCOLATE COOKIE CRUST


Chocolate Cookie Crust

Ingredients 
2 cups chocolate wafers
6 Tbsp unsalted butter (or salted if you're inclined), melted

Directions 
Melt butter. Put chocolate wafers in plastic bag and crush with spoon or rolling pin. Should be pea-size. Combine melted butter and ground chocolate wafers. Press ingredients into 9 inch buttered pie pan--bottom and up the sides. Bake for 10 minutes at 325. Let cool.  

Filling

Ingredients
3-1/2 cups rhubarb stalks, in 1/2 inch slices
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1-1/2 tsp orange zest
1/4 cup cornstarch
Dash of salt
3 1/2 cups strawberries, cleaned, hulled, quartered  (or thinly sliced)

Directions
Combine filling ingredients in bowl and toss well. Spread into prepared crust and bake for 45-50 minutes at 350 degrees or until rhubarb is tender and filling is bubbly.

So easy! Make this today -- or tomorrow! And here's something to listen to while you bake this pie!

Monday, June 8, 2020

TOLL HOUSE LAYERCAKE: Retro Ad & Recipe

So you've been making lots of Chocolate Chip Cookies since you've been Sheltered-in-Place. why not make something different? Try making this Toll House Layer Cake! I love this Retro Nestle Ad with recipe from 1986. This cake is easy and delicious. Nestle Toll House Little Bits called for in the recipe are the same as mini-morsels, their miniature chocolate chips.  

"All it takes is a morsel of perfection."


TOLL HOUSE LAYERCAKE

Cake
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup of firmly-packed brown sugar
2/3 cup of sugar
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoons of salt
4 eggs
2 cups of all-purpose
One 12-ounce package (2 cups) of Nestle Toll House Little Bits semi-sweet chocolate, divided

Frosting
1/4 cup butter, softened
1-1/2 cup of sifted confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

Instructions
Cake: Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 15-1/2″ x 10-1/2″ x 1″ baking pan. Line with waxed paper.
In a bowl, cream butter, brown sugar, sugar, vanilla extract, and salt. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually add flour. Stir in 1 cup of Little Bits’ semi-sweet chocolate.
Spread into prepared pan. Bake at 350 F for 20-25 minutes. Cool completely.
Loosen sides of cake. Invert onto lightly-floured cloth. Peel off waxed paper. Cut cake crosswise into four 3-3/4″ x 10″ sections. Spread 3 slightly rounded tablespoons of frosting on one cake layer. Top with second layer. Repeat layers and frost with remaining frosting.

Frosting: Melt over 1 cup of hot (not boiling) water 1 cup of Little Bits semi-sweet chocolate [mini chocolate chips]; stir until smooth. (In microwave: melt on high for 1 minute, stir; repeat.) Set aside.
In a bowl, cream butter and confectioners’ sugar. Add melted chocolate and vanilla extract; blend until smooth.

Makes: One 10″ cake.

Sunday, June 7, 2020

3 RECIPES FOR CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM: National Chocolate Ice Cream Day

I scream! You scream! We all scream for Ice Cream! Make it chocolate! To celebrate National Chocolate Ice Cream Day, here are several 3 easy recipes for Chocolate Ice Cream. As always use the very best ingredients for the best flavor.

CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM RECIPE #1

Ingredients
1-1/2 cup whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions
Whisk together milk, cocoa powder, and sugar to combine.
Stir in heavy cream and vanilla extract.
Refrigerate chocolate ice cream base for at least 30 minutes before putting in your ice cream freezer, so it is completely cold. This will help freeze faster, improving texture, and allow cocoa powder to become fully hydrated by the milk and cream.

CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM RECIPE #2

Ingredients
1 cup Dutch process cocoa powder, unsweetened
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
2/3 cup white sugar
1-1/2 cups whole milk
31/4 cups heavy cream
2 Tbsp vanilla extract

Directions
In bowl, combine cocoa and both sugars, whisking to combine well. Add milk and whisk until sugars are dissolved. Stir in heavy cream and vanilla. Pour mixture into freezer bowl of ice cream maker. Let run for 30 minutes, or until mixture is thick, soft, and creamy.
Transfer to airtight container and freeze at least 2 hours.

CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM RECIPE  #3 (without ice cream maker)
This recipe is for Magic Chocolate Ice Cream -- recipe from Borden's Elsie the Cow

Ingredients
1 square unsweetened chocolate
2/3 cup Sweetened Condensed Milk
2/3 cup water
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup whipping cream

Directions
Melt chocolate in top of double boiler. Add sweetened condensed milk and stir over rapidly boiling water 5 minutes until thick. Add water, mix well. Chill. Add vanilla. Whip cream to custard-like consistency. Fold into chilled mixture. Freeze until half-frozen. Take out of container and beat until smooth but not melted. Replace in freezer until frozen.