Friday, July 31, 2020

EASY CHOCOLATE RASPBERRY CAKE: National Raspberry Cake Day

I love chocolate and raspberries, especially when they're together in a cake. So here's another great recipe for Chocolate Raspberry Cake for National Raspberry Cake Day! It's so easy. Recipe below from BUTTER with a side of BREAD. Main ingredients you need - a chocolate cake mix (I like Duncan Hines) and a bag of frozen raspberries. And, you can make this in a bundt pan, so it's also pretty. You can frost or not. Of course, if you're a purist, here's a link to my all time favorite 'from scratch' Chocolate Raspberry Cake from Martha Stewart. Not only does it use fresh raspberries, but there's a splash of of raspberry liqueur in the recipe! Two choices to celebrate the day!

EASY CHOCOLATE RASPBERRY CAKE 

Ingredients
1 chocolate cake mix
3 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup oil
1 (12 oz) bag frozen raspberries

Directions
Partially thaw raspberries  (set out for 20-30 minutes before making cake).
Mix cake mix, eggs, sour cream, and oil together with electric mixer.
Fold in frozen raspberries (Tip: Use electric mixer for about 5-10 seconds to chop up raspberries a bit but still have some larger pieces of raspberry in cake).
Pour into well-greased Bundt pan and bake at 350 for about 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Let cool 10-15 minutes before inverting pan and placing the cake on plate.

(optional)
CHOCOLATE FROSTING

Ingredients
5 Tbsp butter
1/3 cup milk
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions
In medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.
Add milk and sugar and bring to boil, stirring constantly. Boil for one minute and then remove from heat.
Stir in chocolate chips until completely melted and smooth.
Let set for minute or two to set up a little bit, making it the best consistency to pour/spread on cake.

And, as I mentioned above, you can always make a Chocolate Raspberry Cake from Scratch using fresh raspberries.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

OREO CHEESECAKE: National Cheesecake Day!

Today is National Cheesecake Day, and what could be better to celebrate with than an Oreo Cheesecake to celebrate. This recipe combines two of my favorite food groups! Oreos and Cheesecake. O.K., a little liberty there on actual food groups. But, the great thing about this recipe is it's quick and easy. No bake! Recipe modified from Philadelphia Cream Cheese at Kraft.


OREO CHEESECAKE

Ingredients

Crust
2 cups Oreo crumbs (about 20 Oreos)
1/4 cup butter, melted

Filling 
24 oz (three 8-oz packages) cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
8 ounces cool whip (or homemade whipped cream)
1 1/2 cups Oreo crumbs (about 16 Oreos)
7-10 Oreos, chopped, optional additional

Directions

Crust
Combine 20 Oreo crumbs with melted butter.
Press into bottom and halfway up sides of 9 inch springform pan.
Set in refrigerator to firm.

Cheesecake
Mix cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla in large bowl until smooth and combined.
Stir in Cool Whip (or homemade whipped cream).
Add rest of Oreo crumbs and chopped Oreos and gently mix until well combined.
Pour filling into crust and smooth top.
Top with additional Oreo crumbs.
Refrigerate for about 4 hours or until firm.


Wednesday, July 29, 2020

BOOZY TRIPLE CHOCOLATE CHEESECAKE: National Cheesecake Day

I've posted several Chocolate Cheesecake Recipes over the years from Chocolate to Double Chocolate to Triple Chocolate Cheesecake, but here's yet another -- Boozy Triple Chocolate Cheesecake. Perfect for today's Food Holiday: National Cheesecake Day. This recipe is adapted from CookingLight. The original recipe calls for reduced fat cheeses and low-fat sour cream and less sugar than my adaptation.

Boozy Triple Chocolate Cheesecake

Ingredients
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 Tbsp egg white
1 1/3 cups chocolate graham cracker crumbs (about 16 crackers)
Vegetable cooking spray
3 Tbsp dark rum
3 ounces semisweet chocolate
1/4 cup chocolate syrup
16 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp unsweetened cocoa
Raspberries or Strawberries for decoration

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°.

Crust
Place first 3 ingredients in bowl; beat on medium speed until blended. Add crumbs; stir well. Firmly press mixture into bottom and 1 inch up sides of an 8-inch springform pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes; let cool on wire rack. 

Filling
Combine rum and chocolate in top of double boiler (or saucepan over saucepan over simmering water). Cook over simmering water 2 minutes or until chocolate melts, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; add chocolate syrup, stirring until smooth.
Preheat oven to 300°.
Place cream cheese in large bowl; beat at medium speed of a mixer until smooth. Add 1 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons cocoa, vanilla, and salt; beat until smooth. Add rum/chocolate mixture; beat at low speed until well-blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
Pour cheese mixture into prepared pan; bake at 300° for 40 minutes or until almost set.
Combine sour cream, 1 Tbsp, and 2 teaspoons cocoa; stir well. Turn oven off, and spread sour cream mixture over cheesecake. Let cheesecake stand for 45 minutes in oven with door closed.
Remove cheesecake from oven, and let cool to room temperature. Cover and chill at least 8 hours.
Garnish with raspberries or strawberries.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

MILK CHOCOLATE PECAN POUND CAKE: National Milk Chocolate Day

Today is National Milk Chocolate Day, and even though Milk Chocolate is not my favorite, I love this recipe for Milk Chocolate Pecan Pound Cake. I left the recipe pretty much as is since I originally found it on the Hershey's Kitchens website, but, of course, feel free to substitute your favorite chocolate. It's actually quite awesome with dark chocolate chips, dark cocoa, and rich dark chocolate syrup. Oops, reminder to self, this is MILK Chocolate Day.

Milk Chocolate Pecan Pound Cake from the Hershey's Kitchens

Ingredients
 2 cups (11.5-oz. pkg.) HERSHEY'S Milk Chocolate Chips, divided
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened (Margarine in original recipe as option. I never use margarine)
1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 eggs
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Dash salt
1 cup buttermilk or sour milk*
3/4 cup HERSHEY'S Syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans
 Powdered sugar(optional)

Directions
Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 12-cup fluted tube pan (bundt pan). Place 1 cup milk chocolate chips in medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at MEDIUM (50%) 1 minute; stir. If necessary, microwave at MEDIUM an additional 15 seconds at a time, stirring after each heating, until chips are melted when stirred.
Beat butter in large bowl until creamy; gradually add granulated sugar, beating on medium speed of mixer until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add melted chocolate; beat until blended.
Stir together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt; add to chocolate mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating until blended. Add syrup and vanilla; beat until blended. Stir in remaining milk chocolate chips and pecans. Spoon batter into prepard pan.
Bake 1 hour and 15 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, Cool 10 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired. 12 to 16 servings. (Who are they kidding? It's so good, it will be gone by 4-8 people in no time!)

*To sour milk: Use 1 tablespoon white vinegar plus milk to equal 1 cup.

Confused about what Milk Chocolate actually is?  Take a look at a former Post on Milk Chocolate Day.

Monday, July 27, 2020

TRIPLE CHOCOLATE HONEY FUDGE: Save the Bees!

I've posted many recipes which feature chocolate and honey, but this Triple Chocolate Honey Fudge is the Bees Knees! It's delicious and it draws attention to the essential role bees play in facilitating and improving food production, thus contributing to food security and nutrition.

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

TRIPLE CHOCOLATE HONEY FUDGE

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

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

Sunday, July 26, 2020

CHOCOLATE COFFEE MILKSHAKE: Coffee Milkshake Day!

Today is Coffee Milkshake Day, but what's a milkshake without chocolate? So here's a really easy recipe for a rich chocolatey Chocolate Coffee Milkshake. Enjoy!

CHOCOLATE COFFEE MILKSHAKE

Ingredients
8 ounces cold brewed coffee
4 scoops chocolate ice cream
1/3 cup chocolate covered espresso beans
1 cup ice
3 ounces Kahlua (optional)

Garnish
Whipped cream
Chocolate covered espresso beans, chopped

Directions
Put all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Pour into glasses and garnish with whipped cream and chopped chocolate covered espresso beans. Serve immediately.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

HOT FUDGE SUNDAE CAKE for Hot Fudge Sundae Day!

Today is National Hot Fudge Sundae Day, and given that it's a warm summer day, it's the perfect treat!

The classic Hot Fudge Sundae is a creation of vanilla ice cream,  hot chocolate sauce ("hot fudge"), whipped cream, nuts, and a single maraschino cherry on top. A Hot Fudge Sundae can be made with any flavor of ice cream, but vanilla is preferred!

There are many variations about the origins of the Hot Fudge Sundae. According to Wikipedia, a frequent theme is that the dish arose in contravention to so-called blue laws against Sunday consumption of either ice cream or ice cream soda (the latter invented by Robert M. Green in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1874). The religious laws are said to have led druggists to produce a substitute for these popular treats for consumption on Sunday. According to this theory of the name's origin, the spelling was changed to sundae to avoid offending religious conventions. Since I grew up in Philadelphia, I remember the Blue Laws, although at that time they pertained more to alcohol than ice cream.

In support of this idea, Peter Bird wrote in The First Food Empire: A History of J. Lyons and Co. (2000) that the name 'sundae' was adopted as a result of Illinois state's early prohibition of ice cream consumption on Sundays, because ice cream with a topping that obscured the main product was not deemed to be ice cream. However, according to documentation published by the Evanston, Illinois Public Library, it was the drinking of soda, not the eating of ice cream, that was outlawed on Sundays in Illinois.

Other origin stories for the sundae focus on the novelty or inventiveness of the treat or the name of the originator, and make no mention of legal pressures.

You don't really need a recipe for a hot fudge sundae. I gave the ingredients above. However, like anything else, it's all about the quality of the ingredients.  

Hot Fudge Sundae Cake is a great variation on this traditional treat, and it can be made in a pan in the oven or in a Slow Cooker. See recipe HERE.

Following is a recipe adapted from Betty Crocker for Hot Fudge Sundae Cake in a pan. It's an easy one bowl/pan recipe. What's especially delicious about this cake is that as the cake bakes it separates into a chocolate cake and a dark fudgy sauce. Now that's what Hot Fudge Sundaes are all about! Add the ice cream and you're all set.

Hot Fudge Sundae Cake

Ingredients
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons DARK unsweetened cocoa
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon Madagascar vanilla
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened DARK cocoa
1 3/4 cups very hot water
Vanilla Ice cream

Directions
Heat oven to 350ºF.
Mix flour, granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons cocoa, the baking powder and salt in ungreased square pan, 9x9x2 inches. Mix in milk, oil and vanilla with fork until smooth. Stir in nuts. Spread in pan.
Sprinkle brown sugar and 1/4 cup cocoa over batter. Pour water over batter.
Bake about 40 minutes or until top is dry.
 Spoon warm cake into dessert dishes. Top with ice cream. Spoon sauce from pan onto each serving.

Rather have Hot Fudge Sundae Cupcakes? Check out Joy the Baker's recipe and photos.

Want Hot Fudge Sundae Macarons? Barbara Bakes has you covered!

Friday, July 24, 2020

TORTA DI CIOCCOLATO: Brunetti's Cookbook

Feeling housebound? Want to travel? Then this cookbook is the perfect virtual vehicle to Venice.Venice is one of those magical cities where East meets West, where every restaurant has its specialties--a wonderful place for foodies, bakers and chefs, and multi-course lunches.

I'm a big fan of Donna Leon's Commissario Brunetti mystery series. Each of her novels is filled with the color, the smells, the landscape, the crime and corruption, the families and, of course, the foods of Venice. Brunetti's Cookbook: Recipes by Roberta Pianaro with Culinary Stories by Donna Leon (Atlantic Monthly Press) with anecdotes, recipes and beautifully drawn illustrations is the pefect cookbook to whisk you away! There are also excerpts from the novels and original essays by Donna Leon on food and life in Venice, the perfect addition to this wonderful cookbook and your "Venice experience."

Brunetti's Cookbook brings to life fabulous Venetian meals. Roberta Pianaro, who has always lived in Venice,  a talented cook, and a very good friend of Donna Leon, presents over 90 mouth-watering recipes. Donna Leon has lived in Venice for over 30 years and has feasted at Pianaro's table many times over the years. This fabulous cookbook is illustrated by Tatjana Hauptmann. Just so you know,  this cookbook was vetted by both Pianaro and Leon. Leon is quoted on the Italian-Mysteries site as saying, "We ate our way through these recipes last year--believe they are legit.."

Interesting that the UK Edition is called A Taste of Venice: At Table with Brunetti, Culinary Stories by Donna Leon, Recipes by Roberta Pianaro.

Since this is a Chocolate Blog, I immediately checked the index for chocolate recipes. Didn't really expect to find one among the mouth-watering recipes for antipasti, primi piatti, verdure, pesci e frutti de mare and carne, but under the dolci section, is a recipe for Chocolate Cake or Torta di cioccolato.

Chocolate Cake: Torta di cioccolato

Ingredients
7 ounces unsweetened dark chocolate
1/2 stick butter
1/3 cup and 1 tbsp sugar
4 medium eggs, separated
1 tbsp flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 tsp baking powder
butter and flour for the baking tin

Directions
In a small non-stick pan melt the chocolate with the butter and 4 tbsp of water over low heat, stirring occasionally, making sure the chocolate doesn't burn. Pour the chocolate into a bowl and mix thoroughly with the sugar and egg yolks. Blend in the flour, cornstarch and baking powder. Pour into a springform cake tin measuring 10 inches in diameter and bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 40 minutes.
This is a cake that can be filled with cream or jam!

"Mangia, mangia, ti fa bene."

Here's a link to a BBC radio interview with Donna Leon about this cookbook!

Thursday, July 23, 2020

TEQUILA BROWNIES: National Tequila Day

Tomorrow is National Tequila Day! Have a shot of Tequila, or, better still, make these fabulously rich Tequila Brownies.


I use Reposado Tequila in this recipe. Reposado or "rested" Tequila is aged in wood tanks or casks for a minimum of 2 months. The higher-quality Reposados are aged from 3-9 months. Reposado tequila has a robust flavor and is the best-selling in Mexico and can be either 100% agave or mixto. Of course, you can use whatever type of Tequila you have on hand.

TEQUILA BROWNIES

Ingredients
1/2 cup unsalted butter
12 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 - 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup flour
2 Tbsp Reposado Tequila
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup walnuts, chopped

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease 8x8x2" square pan. 
Heat butter and chocolate in saucepan over saucepan over simmering flame. Stir until melted.
In bowl, combine cocoa, sugar, flour, tequila, baking powder, salt, and eggs.
Pour in chocolate/butter mixture, mixing just until combined.
Stir in walnuts.
Spread mixture in pan.
Bake 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
Cool before cutting.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

CHOCOLATE CREME BRULEE: Creme Brûlée Day

Celebrate National Creme Brulee´ Day with Chocolate Creme Brulee.  My favorite no fail Recipe for Chocolate Creme Brulee comes from Paula Deen. I love her recipe because it's easy, contains alcohol (Chocolate Liqueur), and tastes fantastic. Because this recipe calls for egg yolks only, use the extra egg whites to make Chocolate Meringues.

Chocolate Creme Brûlée

Ingredients
1 quart heavy cream
1 cup sugar
1 ounce chocolate liqueur (recommended: Godiva Liqueur)
1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract
2 ounces dark cocoa powder
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate (remember the best quality makes a difference)
11 large egg yolks

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In medium sized saucepan over medium-high heat, add heavy cream, sugar, liqueur, and vanilla. When mixture is warm add cocoa powder and chocolate and whisk until blended.
Place egg yolks in large stainless steel bowl.
Slowly add warm chocolate mixture to eggs a little at time while whisking.
Strain and pour into individual porcelain ramekins.
Place ramekins in a large baking pan.
Pour enough hot water into pan to come half way up sides of ramekins.
Bake until firm in center, about 30 minutes.
Remove ramekins from water bath and let cool completely.
Place in refrigerator for 2 hours.
Dust with sugar and caramelize with propane torch. Serve immediately.

If you've never carmelized sugar with a torch, read about it at The Kitchn on Apartment Therapy. I use a small torch from the hardware store, but you can find torches at kitchen shops and online. It's a great little tool to have on hand. You can also use the torch to finish your s'mores!

Read 5 facts about Creme Brulee at Foodimentary.

Monday, July 20, 2020

S'MORES FAST FOODS: National Junk Food Day

Yesterday was National Junk Food Day. What really constitutes junk food? Candy you ate as a child but were told not to eat? Candy and cookies and chips that ruined your dinner? Treats that had no nutritional value? Processed food? What do you think? Feel free to comment below.

If you're in any doubt, go to TheImpusiveBuy blog. O.K. this site goes beyond junk food, but you should still take a look. Want to take that a step further, check out Junk Food Betty's reviews.

I'm a huge fan of S'mores, and I tend to make my own variations, but here are a few "junk food" S'mores you can pick up at 7Eleven, Target, the drugstore, or your supermarket.

S'MORES FAST FOODS

S'mores Chips Ahoy
Pepperidge Farm S'mores
Nabisco Honey Maid Grahamfuls S'mores Filled
M&M's S'mores
Klondike S'mores Ice Cream Bars
Fiber One S'mores Bars
S'mores flavored gum
S'mores Crunch Bar 
Kellogg's S'mores Frosted Pop-Tarts

Want to make your own S'mores Pop Tarts? Here's an easy recipe from Adrianna Adarme, that appeared on the KQED website a few years ago, and these really dotaste so much better than the store bought ones:

HOMEMADE S'MORES POP TARTS

Ingredients 

For Pop Tart crust: 
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter
2 large egg yolks
1/4 cup, plus 2 tablespoons, ice water

For Egg wash: 
1 large egg, beaten

For Filling:
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup heavy cream
3 ounces dark chocolate chips
2 tablespoons white granulated sugar
1 tablespoons butter, cubed
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup marshmallow creme or marshmallow fluff
2 graham crackers, crushed, plus more for topping

For Icing (optional): 
1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted
3 tablespoons cocoa powder, sifted
3 to 4 tablespoons heavy cream
Pinch of salt

Directions 
Combine flour, powdered sugar, and salt in large bowl. Using box grater, shred butter onto flour mixture and mix, using your hands, until mixture resembles coarse meal, with pea size pieces of butter.

In small bowl, mix 2 large egg yolks with 1/4 cup water. Create well in center of flour mixture and pour in egg mixture. Stir until begins to clump together. If you pinch some of the crumbly dough and it holds together, it’s ready. If the dough doesn’t hold together, add a little more water and mix again. Remove dough from bowl and place in mound on a clean surface. Knead dough until it holds together and form into two discs. Wrap each disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour, and up to 2 days.

While dough is in refrigerator chilling, start filling. Combine unsweetened cocoa powder, heavy cream, chocolate chips, sugar, butter, and pinch of salt in top of double boiler or saucepan over a saucepan with water over simmering heat. Gently stir until mixture is smooth. Remove and set aside. Chocolate mixture will thicken as it cools.

Remove both dough disks from refrigerator. Let sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes in order to soften just enough to make rolling out a bit easier. Roll out dough with rolling pin on lightly floured surface in shape of a rectangle with 1/8″ thickness.

Using cutter, cut the dough into a 10″ x 13″ rectangle. Repeat with second disk of dough.

Take your two 10″ x 13″ rectangles and, using your cutter or knife, cut each piece into thirds so you have about 6 to 8  - 3 1/2″ x 4″ rectangles. Re-roll scraps to get additional pop tarts. If your dough is very soft, put on parchment-lined baking sheet, being sure they don't overlap, and stick in freezer fro 5 minutes. This will make it easier to assemble.

To assemble: 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Place one half of  pop tart squares, about inch apart. Transfer teaspoon of chocolate filling to center of rectangles. Then, a few scoops of marshmallow fluff --about two scoops of marshmallow creme and one chocolate scoop. Sprinkle each mound of chocolate and marshmallow creme with small handful of crushed graham crackers. Brush edges with egg wash to hold two layers together.
Place second rectangles of dough on top of ones with filling, gently crimping edges together, using tines of fork.
Transfer assembled pop tarts to freezer for 10 minutes. After freezer, brush tops with remaining egg wash and using  fork, prick four-five holes in tops. Place in pre-heated oven and bake 17 to 20 minutes, or until lightly golden brown.
Transfer to baking rack to cool for 10 minutes.

While pop tarts are baking, mix together glaze.
In small bowl, mix together powdered sugar, cocoa powder, heavy cream, and pinch of salt until very smooth. If needed, add splash more of cream. Top warm pop tarts with glaze and sprinkle crushed graham crackers.

CHOCOLATE TOOTSIE ROLL POPS: National Lollipop Day

Today is National Lollipop Day. It should come as no surprise that my favorite lollipop when I was growing up was a Chocolate Tootsie Roll Pop.

I loved licking the hard outside to get to the chewy center. At some point, I used to chomp on the lollipop to make that crunchy hard candy shell combine in my mouth with the chewy tootsie roll center.

The Tootsie Roll Pop official website says that the Tootsie Roll Pop was the first lollipop providing an embedded candy "prize." That's exactly what it was...a prize! I can still taste it. Of course I only wanted a chocolate tootsie roll pop because what goes better with chocolate than more chocolate. And, don't forget the sticks. They were always great to chew on even after all traces of 'chocolate' were gone.

History of the Tootsie Roll Pop: Tootsie Roll Pops were invented in 1930 by Brandon Perry, an employee of The Sweets Company of America or in another history, by an employee named Luke Weisgram who was experimenting with new products, or in another story an employee named Tom Medric. Doesn't matter! The Chocolate Tootsie Roll Pop was made from putting company's famous Tootsie Rolls into hard candy, and it quickly became one of the best selling lollipops in the world. 

For people with more time on their hands than they should have: A student study at the University of Cambridge concluded that it takes 3481 licks to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop. Another study by Purdue University concluded that it takes an average of 364 licks to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop using a "licking machine", while it takes an average of 252 licks when tried by 20 volunteers. Yet another study by the University of Michigan concluded that it takes 411 licks to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop. A study by junior high students in Swarthmore School concluded that it takes 144 licks to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop. As I mentioned before, I chomp near the end, so I would certainly alter the statistics.

For those who love a mystery, read the history of Leo Hirschfeld: Tootsie Roll Tragedy - and the murky Tootsie Roll history HERE.

And, for those of you who prefer your Tootsie Pops in a Glass, here's a recipe to celebrate the day.

Tootsie Pop Cocktail Recipe 
You'll be amazed at how much this tastes like a tootsie roll!

1 part Kahlua
1 part Root beer
2 drops chocolate syrup

In a Highball Glass, add Kahlua, then root beer. Stir. Then let chocolate syrup drop. Add tootsie pop (unwrapped) to garnish.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

NO CHURN COFFEE ICE CREAM WITH CHOCOLATE CHIPS: National Ice Cream Day

Happy Ice Cream Day! I'm not a coffee drinker, but I do like Coffee Ice Cream. And what could be better than Coffee Ice Cream with Chocolate Chips? Don't have an ice cream maker? No worries. This is a recipe for you. 

No Churn Coffee Ice Cream with Chocolate Chips

Ingredients
1 can (14 ounce) sweetened condensed milk
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup strong cold coffee
2 cups cold heavy cream
1/3 cup chocolate chips

Directions
In medium bowl, stir together condensed milk, vanilla, coffee, and chocolate chips.
In separate bowl of standing mixer, whip cream until soft peaks form.
Whisk one third of whipped cream into coffee mixture.
Fold remaining whipped cream into coffee mixture until incorporated.
Pour into 9 × 5-inch loaf pan, cover with plastic wrap, and freeze until firm -- about 6 hours or overnight.

How easy is that?

Saturday, July 18, 2020

SNOWBALLS IN JULY! Retro Ad & Recipe from the Stork Club!

Sweltering in New York City?  Then take a gander at this advertisement from July 11, 1949 featuring that popular New York Night Spot, the Stork Club. 

Stork Club Snowballs!

Recipe: Top a scoop of vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce, then 'snow it' under with coconut flakes!
Snowballs in July! "The Stork Club knows how to serve ice cream."


Cartoon of the Day: The Opening

Happy Caturday!


Friday, July 17, 2020

GRILLED PEACHES WITH DARK CHOCOLATE

Everything is just PEACHY today! Planning on grilling this weekend? Throw some peaches on the grill and add dark chocolate in the cavities. Peaches and chocolate -- a great combination of flavors.

Want to experiment? Choose different varieties of peaches and chocolate from different chocolate makers and with different amounts of cacao.

If you'd like a specific recipe for Grilled Peaches with Dark Chocolate, try this one from Epicurious for Grilled Brown-Sugar Peaches with White Chocolate. It's a great recipe, too, and I love it with the toasted pistachios and white chocolate. I don't like pistachios with the dark chocolate and peaches, though, but let me know what you think if you add the pistachios. It's a matter of taste. I love all the peach varieties.

Grilled Peaches with Dark Chocolate

Ingredients
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 Tbsp dark brown sugar
4 unpeeled peaches, halved, pitted
1/3 cup finely chopped dark chocolate (I like 70% cacao)

Directions
Get barbecue to medium-high heat. We use a Weber, so judge accordingly when you think it's hot. Make sure the grates are clean. Brush the grate with a tiny bit of oil right before the peaches go on.
Blend butter and sugar in large bowl. Add peach halves; toss to coat.
Place peaches, cut side down, on grill. Grill about a minute until slightly charred.
Turn peaches over (use tongs).
Divide chopped dark chocolate among peach cavities.
Drizzle remaining butter/sugar mixture from bowl over chocolate.
Grill until chocolate just begins to melt and peaches are charred, about 2 minutes.
Remove carefully from grill, plate, and serve.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

S'MORES BROWNIES

What's Summer without S'mores? Sometimes you're not around an open fire, but you have an overwhelming desire for S'mores. S'mores Brownies fit the bill! This is my favorite recipe for S'mores Brownies. You'll love these.

S'mores Brownies

Ingredients
3/4 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsweetened DARK cocoa powder
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
Graham Crackers  
4 Hershey bars
5 ounces marshmallows (regular or mini)

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 F°. Grease an 8 inch square pan.
In large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla, eggs, and sugar until combined. Mix in cocoa powder, flour, baking powder, and salt until well blended.
Pour half batter into pan.
Layer graham crackers side by side over the top of the brownie batter until completely covered.
Put layer of Hershey’s chocolate bars side by side over graham crackers.
Place marshmallows over chocolate bars.
Pour remaining batter evenly over marshmallows, spreading with a spatula if necessary.
Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes.
Cool before cutting.


Wednesday, July 15, 2020

CHOCOLATE & RASPBERRIES, A MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN: Guest post and recipe by Susan Bernhardt

Chocolate and Raspberries, a Match Made in Heaven: Guest post by Susan Bernhardt

The combination of chocolate and fruit is a classic one: chocolate covered strawberries, chocolate dipped fresh fruit, chocolate raspberry torte, etc.

Every summer I look forward to our raspberries ripening. I check on their development daily and wait in anticipation, dreaming about making my favorite muffins, raspberry chocolate chip.

Throughout the month of July I freeze several quarts of raspberries so we may also enjoy the taste of summer all winter long.

"What good is the cold of winter, without the warmth of summer to give it sweetness."

 I don't think raspberry chocolate chip muffins are what John Steinbeck was referring to here, but for me, it is. Here is the recipe.

Raspberry Chocolate Chip Muffins 
This makes approx. 18 regular sized muffins

Ingredients: 

3 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar – I put in about 1/2 cup.
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract – I often skip this.
2/3 cup dark chocolate chips – I use 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips.
1 1/4 cups fresh raspberries – May use frozen. I thaw and drain them before using.
Optional – Coarse sugar before baking. I've found that red looks best.

Directions: 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease muffin pans with butter or nonstick spray or line with muffin liners. Set aside.

1. In a large bowl whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the two sugars and eggs together until combined. Then mix in the milk, oil, and vanilla extract. Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients and fold together with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until completely combined. Use a whisk to rid any large lumps of flour, if needed. Avoid overmixing. The batter will be thick. Fold in the chocolate chips, then very gently fold in the raspberries to avoid any leakage of color and breaking up.

3. Divide batter between each muffin cup, filling all the way to the top. Sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake at 350°F for 21 minutes or until the tops are lightly golden brown and centers are set. Every oven is different. Stick a toothpick in the center of a muffin to test for doneness. If it comes out clean, the muffins are done.

4. Allow to cool for 10 minutes in pan before serving.

5. Enjoy!

The muffins taste best fresh the first day. You can also freeze the muffins for up to 3 months. Trust me, you'll eat them before the time is up.

Susan Bernhardt is the author of the Kay Driscoll and Irina Curtius Mysteries.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

GRAND MARNIER TRUFFLES: Grand Marnier Day & Bastille Day!

Today is Bastille Day, but it's also Grand Marnier Day, so here's an easy recipe for Grand Marnier Truffles to celebrate both.

Grand Marnier, an orange flavored brandy, has been an icon of authentic French "joie de vivre" for over 150 years. Still owned by the Marnier Lapostolle Family, this acclaimed liqueur has a luxurious taste and still uses the same secret recipe. Grand Marnier is a blend of Cognac, distilled essence of bitter orange, and sugar.

One of the most important ingredients in Grand Marnier is Citrus Bigaradia Oranges. This variety of tropical orange stands apart from the sweet oranges we usually eat as it is bitter and has an intense aroma. Though the Citrus bigaradia is not a particularly rare orange, the way in which the oranges are harvested and then distilled to obtain the orange essence that goes into Grand Marnier® liqueur is very specific. The oranges are handpicked while they are still green -- when they are at their most aromatic. In order to preserve optimal concentration of the aroma of the peels, they are left to dry naturally under the Caribbean sun for several weeks on the Marnier Lapostolle family plantation. Their slow distillation extracts an orange essence that is particularly aromatic.

GRAND MARNIER TRUFFLES

Ingredients
2/3 cup heavy cream
1tsp fresh orange zest
12 ounces dark chocolate (65-75% cacao), chopped
1 Tbsp plus 1-1/2 tsp Grand Marnier
1/3 cup DARK cocoa

Directions
In saucepan over medium heat, bring the heavy cream and orange zest just to a boil.
Remove from heat.
Add chopped chocolate and Grand Marnier and stir until smooth.
Chill chocolate mixture (ganache) until hard enough to roll into balls.
Using two spoons or melon baller, extricate chocolate and roll into ball.
Roll ball in cocoa powder and chill.

This recipe can be doubled.

Experiment with different chocolate -- brands and amounts of cacao -- for different flavors.

TRIPLE CHOCOLATE CREPES: Crepes a la Bastille!

Today is Bastille Day, so you'll want to make something "French." I have lots of 'French' recipes, but what could be more French than Crepes for Bastille Day? Just as the bricks came tumbling down when the French stormed the Bastille, ice cream and chocolate will tumble from your fork when you cut into these fabulous Triple Chocolate Crepes for the Bastille Day Holiday. Triple Chocolate Crepes a la Bastille!

CREPES A LA BASTILLE

Crepes
Ingredients
2 cups whole milk
2 eggs
2-1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 ounce dark chocolate (65-75% cacao), melted
1-1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup high quality DARK cocoa 

1/3 cup sugar
pinch of salt


Making the Crepes
Melt butter & chocolate together, mixing to combine and smooth out chocolate. 

In large bowl, combine milk and eggs. 
In separate bowl, combine dry ingredients.
Whisk together milk and eggs with dry ingredients, continue whisking incorporating butter and chocolate mixture.
Cover and refrigerate at least an hour, or overnight. 

Be sure to re-whisk batter before cooking the crepes.

Cooking the Crepes
Butter a hot frying pan (small or medium) or crepe pan, then wipe out excess butter with paper towel so it is sort of dry

Pour in small amount of crepe batter and tilt pan as needed so batter spreads and covers bottom of pan. As edges begin to turn up, flip crepe with spatula for few seconds to cook other side.

Chocolate Sauce

Ingredients
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp honey
3 ounces Dark chocolate (65-75% cacao), chopped

Directions
Combine cream and honey in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook 3 minutes or until tiny bubbles form around edge of pan, stirring frequently (do not boil).
Remove from heat. Stir in chocolate until smooth.

Fill Crepes with Dark Chocolate Ice Cream or Chocolate Ganache and Drizzle with Chocolate Sauce.
Viva La France!

Sunday, July 12, 2020

7-UP BEAT THE HEAT CHOCOLATE CAKE

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

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


7-Up Chocolate Cake

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

Optional: Glaze when cooled with dark chocolate Dobash Frosting. 

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

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

Saturday, July 11, 2020

BLUEBERRY CHOCOLATE CHIP MUFFINS: Blueberry Muffin Day!

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

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

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

Blueberry Chocolate Chip Muffins


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

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

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

Chocolate Blueberry Muffins

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

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

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

Friday, July 10, 2020

Piña Colada Fudge: National Pina Cola Day!

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

Piña Colada Fudge

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

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

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

 

Thursday, July 9, 2020

CHOCOLATE SUGAR COOKIES: 3 Recipes for National Sugar Cookie Day

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

1. CHOCOLATE SUGAR COOKIES

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

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

2. CHOCOLATE SUGAR COOKIES

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

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

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

3. CHOCOLATE CARAMEL SUGAR COOKIES

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

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

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

HOMEMADE ALMOND JOY: National Chocolate with Almonds Day

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

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


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

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

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

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

Homemade Almond Joy Recipe

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

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

How to Dip in Chocolate:  Two Ways

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

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

Do You Remember this Almond Joy Commercial?

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

GUITTARD'S BEST BROWNIES EVER: World Chocolate Day

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

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

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

Incredible Collection Etienne Best Brownies Ever!

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

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

Best Cake-Like Collection Etienne Brownies

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

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

Monday, July 6, 2020

CHOCOLATE ROSEMARY CAKE

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

CHOCOLATE ROSEMARY CAKE

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

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

Rosemary Ganache 

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

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

Sunday, July 5, 2020

CHOCOLATE GRAHAM CRACKERS: National Graham Cracker Day

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

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

CHOCOLATE GRAHAM CRACKERS

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

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

Saturday, July 4, 2020

FOURTH OF JULY STRAWBERRY PIE

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

FOURTH OF JULY STRAWBERRY PIE

Chocolate Cookie Crust

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

Filling & Topping

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

Happy Fourth of July!

Friday, July 3, 2020

CHOCOLATE BABY BACK RIBS: Fourth of July

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

CHOCOLATE BABY BACK RIBS

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

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

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

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

Thursday, July 2, 2020

STAR SPANGLED COCOA BUNDT CAKE: Fourth of July!


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

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

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

Star Spangled Cocoa Bundt Cake

Ingredients

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

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

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

Cake Photo: Hershey's Kitchens