Monday, August 31, 2020

NUTTY CHOCOLATE BLUEBERRY CHERRY TRAIL MIX: National Trail Mix Day

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

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

NUTTY CHOCOLATE BLUEBERRY CHERRY TRAIL MIX

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

Mix together. How easy is that?

Sunday, August 30, 2020

TOASTED MARSHMALLOW FLOURLESS CHOCOLATE CAKE: Toasted Marshmallow Day

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

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

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

Toasted Marshmallow Flourless Chocolate Cake

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

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

Saturday, August 29, 2020

COFFEE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES: International Coffee Day

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

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

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

COFFEE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES 

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

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

Friday, August 28, 2020

RED WINE BROWNIES: National Red Wine Day

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

Red Wine Brownies

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

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

Thursday, August 27, 2020

CHOCOLATE MINT POTS DE CREME: National Pots de Creme Day

Today is National Pots de Creme Day! Pots de Creme is a lot like pudding, only much more intense. I love Chocolate Pots de Creme, but this recipe is even more fun because it's made with chocolate mint. I grow Chocolate Mint in my garden. It's very easy to grow, although it can become invasive, as with most mints. Keep it in a pot by the kitchen door, and you'll be a happy camper. There are so many uses.

A few years ago Sunset Magazine (July 2011), one of my favorite magazines for design, food and gardening, had an entire article on Chocolate Mint. Be sure and read the article in Sunset with recipes for Grilled Lamb with chocolate mint salsa, and Moroccan Chocolate Mint Tea. Don't expect the mint to taste as intense as a piece of chocolate. The chocolate part is very, very subtle, but the mint is strong and different from the usual mint, and if you're not growing it in your garden, you might find it at the market.

So for Pots de Creme Day, here's Sunset's Recipe for Chocolate Mint Pots de Creme. You can make this ahead.

CHOCOLATE MINT POTS DE CREME

One of the hints from Sunset is to add all cream instead of half milk and half cream. It definitely makes it so much richer! I've adapted the recipe below. If you really love chocolate (you're reading this blog, so you must!), add a bit more chocolate on top!

Ingredients
4 cups heavy cream
3 ounces (3 big handfuls) chocolate mint sprigs, plus leaves for garnish
1 cup sugar
8 large egg yolks
Sweetened whipped cream
3/4 cup dark chocolate shavings

Directions
Heat together cream and mint in a medium pot over medium heat until mixture starts to simmer. Remove from heat, cover, and let steep about 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 300°. Set 8 ramekins (4 oz. each) in large roasting pan or baking dish.
Reheat cream mixture to a simmer; strain into medium bowl. Whisk together sugar and yolks in large bowl. Slowly add cream to yolk mixture, whisking constantly.
Pour mixture into ramekins, dividing evenly. Fill pan with hot water until it reaches halfway up sides of ramekins.
Cover pan with foil and bake until custards are set and jiggle only slightly in center, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit in hot water 30 minutes. Transfer ramekins to baking sheet, cover, and chill at least 2 hours and up to 3 days.
Serve with whipped cream, fresh mint leaves, and chocolate shavings.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

TRIPLE BANANA SPLIT: History, Recipe, Hot Dark Chocolate Sauce

Today is National Banana Split Day, and everyone knows a good banana split needs a good Hot Dark Chocolate Sauce. Following is a great recipe for an easy Dark Chocolate Sauce.

The Birth of the Banana Split like so many food creations does not have a clear invention history. Latrobe, PA claims that the banana split was invented by Dr. David Strickler, who in 1904 was a 23 year-old working at Tassell Pharmacy. This sundae originally cost 10 cents, twice the cost of other sundaes. Dave Strickler, a pharmacist and optician, purchased the pharmacy which was renamed "Stricklers." His banana splits were a big hit with the students from nearby Saint Vincent College and the word spread. According to his daughter, her dad "was always the great experimenter," and he even originated the first banana split dish: "There were no dishes for such a concoction, so he drew up his own," and a company in nearby Grapeville produced it.

The banana split was also showcased at the Boston convention of the National Association of Retail Druggists in 1905. Stinson Thomas, chief dispenser at Butler's Department Store in Boston promoted the banana split there. According to an article about the convention in The Soda Fountain magazine, "among all the beverages dispensed here, none was more novel with the ladies than the banana split." The magazine also quotes Mr. Thomas: "My trade here is always looking for something new and so, one day it occurred to me that I might prepare a popular fountain beverage with a banana. I sent my boy out to buy half a dozen bananas, and when he returned I cut off the ends of a banana, split it open, put a portion of ice cream on top and a spoonful of crushed strawberries. It certainly looked swell, and I believed that the public would like it. As with most new creations though, there was some trial and error. At first we left the peel on the banana in the plate, but some time ago we began removing it altogether. We found that the ladies preferred to have the peel removed."

Banana Split

"Split" Bananas (with peel on) lengthwise. Mix sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle on the cut sides of bananas. Let sit for several minutes. Grill bananas cut side down on direct heat for 2 minutes. Turn (with tongs) and cook 5 more minutes. Remove skins. Put bananas in bowl. Add vanilla ice cream. Pour Hot Dark Chocolate Sauce over. Sprinkle with nuts and add whipped cream--with a cherry on top?

Hot Dark Chocolate Sauce

Ingredients
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
8 ounces Dark chocolate - 65-75% cacao, chopped
2 Tbsp superfine sugar
1/8 cup Kahlua
1/2 tsp Madagascar vanilla

Directions
Heat cream in small saucepan until almost boiling.
Add butter and sugar. Stir to combine.
Remove from heat and pour over chocolate.
Whisk until melted and combined.
Add Kahlua and vanilla. Stir until cool to touch.
Cover with plastic wrap and set aside or refrigerate.

Illustration: Triple Banana Split Boy, written by my friend Lucha Corpi. Illustrated by Lisa Fields. (Arte Publico Press)

Monday, August 24, 2020

PEACH PIE WITH CHOCOLATE CRUST: National Peach Pie Day

The other day was National Eat a Peach Day, this month is Peach Month, and today is National Peach Pie Day. Lucky for me there are so many varieties of fresh peaches at the Farmers Market.

So today in honor of the holiday (s), I'm making a Chocolate Peach Pie. I've found that adding chocolate to the peach filling is way too sweet and gooey, so I'm keeping it simple. The chocolate in the following recipe is a traditional chocolate cookie crust made with chocolate wafers. The peach filling is also simple, but feel free to substitute your favorite peach pie filling.

This peach pie is best served chilled, but there are plenty of other recipes out there for a warm peach pie, if you prefer.

PEACH PIE WITH CHOCOLATE CRUST

CHOCOLATE CRUST

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

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.

FRESH PEACH FILLING

Ingredients
1 cup sugar
3 Tbsp cornstarch
Peeled Fresh Peach halves (pitted)
1/2 pint heavy cream

Directions
Mix sugar and cornstarch.
Cover inside of chocolate cookie crust with 3/4 of mixture. Go out to sides.
Arrange peeled peach halves around outside edge (insides of peaches up).
Fill in with other peaches until full.
Sprinkle rest of mixture over peaches.
Put cream inside each peach center.
Bake at 325 for about 30-40 minutes.
Chill and serve.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

CHOCOLATE ALMOND SPONGE CAKE: National Sponge Cake Day

Today is National Sponge Cake Day, and you know what that means -- Chocolate Sponge Cake. I have several recipes for Chocolate Sponge Cake that I post for Passover, but this Chocolate Sponge Cake is fabulous all year round. It's made with almond flour.

Want to dress it up? Add some whipped cream and fresh berries, cut it in half and fill with a light chocolate buttercream, or cut it up and put it in a trifle. Easy to make and delicious.

A few hints. Fresh Almond flour is readily available where I live and online, but you can always grind your own. Use a hand grinder (a clean coffee grinder) or blender --not a food processor which could result in oil rather than flour. I've used a blender, and just did this in smaller increments, about 1/2 cup at a time. Almond and chocolate go very well together. Try using different types of chocolate to achieve the flavor you like best. Enjoy!

Because there are so many eggs to separate in this recipe, I use the 'egg trick.' Break all eggs into bowl (yes yolks and whites). Then take an empty water bottle and place the neck near a yolk and squeeze the water bottle. The yolk pops up into the bottle. Then place the water bottle over another bowl and release. So cool! Try with one egg first, just to master this simple task!

CHOCOLATE ALMOND SPONGE CAKE

Ingredients
7 ounces dark chocolate (60-75% cacao), chopped
10 eggs, separated
3/4 cup white sugar
2 cups ground almonds
Almond Flour

Directions
Melt chocolate in top of double boiler or saucepan over another saucepan of simmering water. Set aside.
Beat egg yolks until thick and lemon colored. Gradually beat in sugar. Blend in chocolate and ground almonds.
Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold whites into chocolate batter.
Spoon batter into ungreased 10 inch Bundt pan or tall springform pan.
Bake at 350 for 1 hour, or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Remove from oven, invert pan, and cool about 40 minutes before removing from pan.

Saturday, August 22, 2020

CHOCOLATE PECAN TORTE: National Pecan Torte Day

Today is National Pecan Torte Day.  I've posted several chocolate pecan pie recipes, but a torte is not a pie. Here's a definition from Wiki:
A torte is a cake made primarily with eggs, sugar, and ground nuts instead of flour. Variations may include bread crumbs as well as some flour. Tortes are Central European in origin. The word torte is derived from the German word Torte, which was derived from the Italian word torta, which was used to describe a round cake or bread.
Tortes are commonly baked in a Springform pan. An element common to most tortes is sweet icing. (Exceptions include several French tortes, such as Gâteau Mercédès and Gâteau Alcazar.) When the cake is layered, a thick covering of icing is placed between the layers, and there is almost always icing on the tops and sides of the torte. A number of European tortes do not have layers.
Following are two recipes for Chocolate Pecan Torte. The FIRST is easier and fun to make! Lots of shortcuts. The SECOND is fabulous but much more involved. They're both very tasty! As always, a lot depends on the quality of your ingredients.

1. Chocolate Pecan Torte 
from Epicurean.com This recipe is fun to make, as well as easy and delicious. O.K. it's not traditional, but its great!

Ingredients:
No-stick flour and oil baking spray
1 prepared 8 or 9 inch pecan pie, thawed if frozen
1 box (about 1 pound 4 ounces) fudge brownie mix, makes a 9-by-13-inch pan
1/4 cup brewed coffee or water
2 tablespoons bourbon or other whiskey
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs, large or extra-large

Directions:
Heat oven to 325F. Spray interior of 9-inch springform pan with baking spray.
Cover surface of pie with plastic wrap and top with plate. Invert pie onto plate, and remove pie tin. Invert prepared springform pan over pie and then invert whole, so that  pie slides into pan. Remove plate and, using the plastic wrap to keep your hands clean, smash pie so it fills bottom of pan.
Mix brownie mix, coffee, bourbon, oil, and eggs in medium mixing bowl until smooth and texture of wet mud. Pour over pie and smooth top. Bake until sides are firm and top is crusty but center is still soft, about 50 minutes. Cool until pan is comfortable to touch; remove sides of pan and cool completely. Cut into wedges to serve.
***
This SECOND recipe won the $1000 1985 Woman's Day "Yummiest Chocolate Recipe Contest." I've changed it slightly, adding more chocolate and an apricot jam filling. This torte is more traditional and reminds me of a Viennese Torte. You can substitute raspberry or peach jam.

2. Chocolate Pecan Torte

Chocolate Pecan Torte:
12 ounces dark  chocolate (70% cacao-fair trade organic)
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 1/4 cup pecans
3/4 cup softened unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
5 eggs, separated
1/3 cup sifted flour
2 Tbsp dark rum
2 tsp Madagascar vanilla

Apricot Filling:
1/3 cup apricot jam
1 Tbsp orange liqueur
2 Tbsp dark rum
2 tsp lemon juice

Chocolate Glaze:
6 ounces dark chocolate (65-70% cacao)
2 Tbsp heavy cream
2 Tbsp sweet butter

Decoration:
1/2 cup pecan halves
1 Tbsp sweet butter
1 Tbsp Apricot Filling

Directions
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Butter 9" springform pan and dust with cocoa, shaking out excess. Set aside.
In top of double boiler, over hot water, melt the two chocolates together. Stir until smooth, and completely combined. Remove from heat, and allow chocolate to cool slightly.
Using food processor, grind pecans fine with about 1/2 cup of the sugar. Add butter and remaining sugar, creaming together well. Beat in egg yolks, rum, and vanilla extract. Add flour and process with the rest. Add melted and cooled chocolate, and process again. It's quite dense.
Whip egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Mix about 1/3 of beaten egg whites into thick chocolate batter, then fold chocolate mixture into remaining whites, folding thoroughly.
Spread chocolate batter into prepared springform pan, and bake in preheated 325 degrees oven for 30 minutes or more, until toothpick inserted in center comes slightly moist.
Remove torte from oven, and allow to cool and settle in pan.
Take off springform, and transfer torte to its serving dish.

Sieve apricot jam into small saucepan. Add orange liqueur, rum, and lemon juice. Bring to boil, stirring. Reduce heat and simmer a moment, then remove pan. Reserve 1 tablespoon of finished glaze for pecan trim, and spread rest over torte. Allow apricot filling to set, then top with chocolate glaze.

In top of double boiler, over hot water, melt chocolate and cream together. Remove from heat, and stir in butter, whisking till smooth. Allow glaze to cool until it will spread smoothly over torte. Use metal spatula to smooth it evenly over top, and coat sides with thinner layer.

In small sauce pan, combine apricot glaze, and butter. Melt them together. Add pecan halves, and stir until all are coated. Drain nuts, and allow to set slightly, then press around edge of torte.

Friday, August 21, 2020

Night Sky Cake: Guest Post by Molly MacRae

I love when my mystery and chocolate worlds collide. Here's a wonderful recipe from mystery author Molly MacRae. You'll love it--and you'll love her books!

Molly MacRae:
Night Sky Cake

One of the joys of writing is having free reign to make stuff up—people, businesses, whole towns and worlds. Cakes, too, and that’s where I had a problem recently. Basant Paudel, a Nepali businessperson in my Highland Bookshop Mystery series, came up with a recipe for a cake that sounded awfully good to me. But you see the problem, there, don’t you? If he came up with it, then that means it’s really only in my head. But what the heck. I figured if he could do it, then maybe I could do it, too. Here’s Basant in conversation with Janet Marsh about the cake.

“What is it?” Janet asked.
“The night sky brightened by a path of moonbeams and sparkling stars.”
“Good heavens.”
“As you say.” Basant gave a slight bow. “In reality, it is chocolate cake with a swirl of lightly sweetened mascarpone and sprinkled with flakes of Himalayan salt. The cake is moist and quite rich.”

It took me a couple of tries to get the recipe right and, as you might guess, I’m not a cake artist when it comes to decorating. But here’s the recipe for Night Sky Cake and a picture of it. In the book, Basant asks Janet to test and rate the cake. Her verdict? “MMmm. Out of this world.”

Night Sky Cake 

Preheat oven to 350° F
Butter a 9”x13” pan and dust with cocoa

Cake 
1 1/2 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup cocoa
2 tsp cardamom
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 Tbsp vinegar
1 tsp almond extract
Whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa, cardamom, baking soda, and salt. Add water, oil, vinegar, and almond extract.

Filling
8 oz. mascarpone
1 egg
1/4 cup sugar
Stir mascarpone, egg, and sugar together until smooth.

Frosting
8 oz. mascarpone
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 tsp almond extract
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
Himalayan flake salt for sprinkling (optional)
While the cake is baking, mix all ingredients (except for Himalayan flake salt) until smooth and creamy. Refrigerate until cake is cooled.

To assemble:
1. Pour half the cake batter into prepared pan.
2. Dollop filling evenly over batter in pan.
3. Pour remainder of batter over filling.
4. Bake 25-30 minutes (until toothpick stuck in cake comes out clean).
5. Cool completely before cutting cake into squares or rectangles.
6. Thinking about the Milky Way, pipe a galaxy of frosting onto each cake piece.
7. Sprinkle your Milky Way sparingly with flake salt (optional, but a real burst of delicious).
8. Serve. 

***

The Boston Globe says “Molly MacRae writes murder with a dose of drollery.” MacRae writes the Highland Bookshop Mysteries and the Haunted Yarn Shop Mysteries. Heather and Homicide, book 4 in the Highland Bookshop Mysteries, comes out December.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

FROZEN CUSTARD aka SOFT SERVE DAY: History, Retro Signs, and Recipe

Today is National Frozen Custard Day aka Soft Serve Day. Frozen custard is the same as soft serve -- the kind that comes swirling out of a metal dispenser. Frozen Custard was never a substitute for ice cream, though, it was just different, and equally delicious.

So in honor of the holiday, I'm posting some Retro Ads and Signs for Tastee Freez & Dairy Queen. And, if you scroll down there's a recipe for Cheater Chocolate Frozen Custard.

The big question is what's the difference between ice cream and frozen custard? Ice cream is made from milk, cream, or a combination of the two, while frozen custard is made from milk, cream, and egg yolks. Also, while the machine used to make ice cream churns air into it to make it have a light mouthfeel, frozen custard is produced in a machine that barely incorporates air into it, which makes it denser.

History of Frozen Custard

From eHow:

The Dairy Queen Story 
According to the book The Cone with the Curl on Top, a history of Dairy Queen, J.F. McCullough and his son, Alex, opened an ice cream shop in 1927 in Davenport, Illinois. In the early 1930s, they moved to an ice cream factory in Green River, Illinois, and decided to find out if customers preferred ice cream before it was completely frozen, which was how they liked it best. The colder ice cream had less flavor than the softer version, they felt. After an experimental, all-you-can-eat sale in Kankanee, Illinois, where they found the softer ice cream was a success, they bought a machine from a street vendor in Chicago in 1939, had a machine company tweak the design, and sold their frozen custard exclusively to a store run by Sherb Noble in Joliet, Illinois, in 1940. They nicknamed the store Dairy Queen. They bought a second store in 1941, and a third that spring.


Carvel's Story 
According to National Geographic and The Nibble, Carvel's sold ice cream on the street in New York. After a flat tire in Hartsdale, New York, caused his ice cream to begin to melt, he sold the partially melted product as a new treat---and his customers loved it. He opened Carvel Frozen Custard in Hartsdale in 1934 and began to build a series of frozen custard shops along highways. He built a soft-serve machine in 1939.

The McCulloughs continued to improve the design of their soft-serve machine and expand their business. Carvel continued to expand its chain aggressively, too, as did another competitor, Tastee-Freez. By 1956, soft-serve ice cream consumption was increasing 25 percent every year, according to the U.S. Department of agriculture.


That same year, Tastee-Freez had 1500 stores, and Carvel had 500.

Carvel was a true innovator: he was the first to offer “buy one, get one free”; the first to franchise an ice cream store; and his patented glass building was copied by McDonald’s. Dairy Queen opened its first soft-serve ice cream store in Joliet, Illinois in 1940. Carvel’s Flying Saucer sandwich was introduced in 1951. 

CHEATER CHOCOLATE FROZEN CUSTARD
Technique adapted from John T. Edge's The Truck Food via Oprah

Ingredients 
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 Tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups chocolate ice cream, softened

Directions
Using a handheld electric mixer, whisk cream in a large bowl until soft peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes. Add sugar and vanilla and continue whisking to make stiff peaks, about 30 seconds more.
Using a rubber spatula, stir in ice cream until well combined.
Transfer mixture to a large, resealable freezer bag and freeze until semi-firm (like frozen custard), 4 to 6 hours.
When ready to serve, remove ice cream from freezer and, if needed, knead bag until uniformly soft, about 30 seconds. (Cover bag with a towel to protect your hands from the cold.)
Snip off a corner of the bag to pipe ice cream into a cone, or simply scoop and serve.

Dairy Queen Cones

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

CHOCOLATE COCONUT CRUST ICE CREAM PIE: National Ice Cream Pie Day

Today is National Ice Cream Pie Day, and the following no-bake recipe is great to make today since it's a real scorcher out there! I love this retro 1953 Baker's Ad with recipe. "It's a dream with cherry vanilla ice cream!" Today I make this ice cream pie with Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia -- love the extra chocolate chunks! This ice cream pie is also good with Chunky Monkey.. bananas, coconut and chocolate.. what could be bad?



Monday, August 17, 2020

MALTED MILK BALL CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM PIE: National Ice Cream Pie Day

Tomorrow is National Ice Cream Pie Day, and this recipe for Malted Milk Ball Chocolate Ice Cream Pie takes the cake--or pie! If you're like me, you've always wondered about Malted Milk Balls. What are they really?

Lots of companies make them now, but when I was growing up, I only remember one: Hershey's Whoppers Malted Milk Balls. But now I know there were other "old fashioned' brands such as Maltesers. Maybe they weren't available at my candy store? Ghirardelli also makes Milk Chocolate Malt Balls. (There's also a Kittymalt Hairball remedy that I have, but I won't go there).

Malt balls (interchangeable with malted balls but not moth balls!) are also available in a variety of flavors: There are pumpkin spice malted milk balls, dark chocolate milk balls, mint malted milk balls, cookies and cream malted milk balls, peanut butter malted milk balls and yogurt malted milk balls, and many other varieties.

Want to just have the Malt Ball center only? Nuts on Line sells them for $3.99 a pound. These malt ball center only candies can be enrobed in the very best chocolate. You can do it yourself in the same way you make chocolate covered nuts. Just melt some chocolate and dip. I use two forks to make it easy. Dry them on a parchment lined baking sheet.

But what is a malt ball? wiseGeek (clear answers for common questions) has the answer
Malted milk balls are chocolate-coated candies often sold in milk carton packaging to promote their association with flavored milk and malted milkshakes.

The flavor of malted milk balls is often described as nutty or distinctively hearty, much like a grain cereal. The reason for this unusual flavor is the use of a grain treatment known as malting. Barley grains are allowed to germinate after harvest, which changes the sugar composition of the grain, in the same sense that germinated corn becomes more suitable for distillation. The malted barley grain is carefully dried and ground into a powder for confectionery use.

Want a fabulous use for Malted Milk Balls? Well, besides eating them at the movies? Sunset Magazine had a great recipe a few years ago for Malted Milk Ball Ice Cream Pie. I definitely love using candy in pies and cakes. This ice cream pie has crunchy malted milk balls on the bottom, malt ice cream above it, and a layer of dark chocolate frosting. Add some whipped cream and sprinkle with chopped and whole malted milk balls when you serve, and you're good to go.

MALTED MILK BALL CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM PIE

Ingredients
3 1/2 cups malted milk balls, divided
Cookie Crust, using chocolate wafers and a 9-in. cheesecake pan with removable sides (I've posted this recipe before)
1 3/4 quarts vanilla ice cream, softened
3 Tbsp Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups malted milk powder (Malted milk powder is made from milk, barley malt, and wheat; don't confuse it with Ovaltine, which has other ingredients added. Find it next to the chocolate milk powder in well-stocked grocery stores or online)
1 cup whipping cream, divided
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

Preparation
Arrange a tight layer of malted milk balls (3 cups) over crust. Stir ice cream with cocoa powder and malted milk powder until smooth. Spoon into crust, set on plate, and freeze 5 hours.
Heat 1/2 cup cream meanwhile until simmering. Put chocolate in small metal bowl, pour in cream, and let sit until chocolate is melted, about 2 minutes. Stir until smooth. Let cool completely.
Smooth chocolate ganache over top of pie and freeze until set, about 15 minutes.
  
To serve:
Whip remaining 1/2 cup cream and swirl onto pie. Chop some malted milk balls and drop onto pie; add a few whole balls. Remove rim and serve immediately.
 
Tips: 
Let the pie soften for 5 minutes at room temp to make slicing easier.
If you're having trouble free-ing your pie from its pan, set it over bowl of hot water for a couple of minutes and then slide a thin knife between pan edge and crust. It should pop right out.

Photo: Malted Milk Ice Cream Pie: Yunhee Kim; Styling: Karen Shinto

Sunday, August 16, 2020

MOCHA RUM CAKE: National Rum Day

Today is National Rum Day! I love this holiday. Celebrate with your favorite Rum Drink or have a piece of Bacardi Rum Cake. But, since this is a Chocolate Blog, you can also make this easy and terrific Mocha Rum Cake. Argh, Matey!

Mocha Rum Cake!

Ingredients
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1⁄2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3⁄4 lb bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 1⁄2 cups unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1⁄3 cup dark rum
2 cups strong brewed full-bodied coffee
2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs, beaten lightly
1 1⁄2 tsp vanilla extract
confectioners' sugar, for dusting
Sweetened whipped cream
Cocoa powder, for dusting 

Directions 
Preheat oven to 300°F
Butter 12-cup bundt pan. Dust with cocoa powder, knocking out excess.
In bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt.
In large metal bowl set over saucepan of simmering water, melt chocolate and butter, stirring until smooth.
Remove chocolate from heat and stir in rum, coffee, and granulated sugar.
With electric mixer, beat in flour, 1/2 cup at a time, scraping down sides, and beat in eggs and vanilla until batter is combined well.
Pour batter into the prepared pan.
Bake cake in middle of oven until tester comes out clean, about 1 hour and 40 minutes.
Let cake cool completely in pan on rack, then turn out onto rack.
Dust cake with confectioners' sugar and serve with whipped cream.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

EASY CHOCOLATE LEMON MERINGUE PIE: National Lemon Meringue Pie Day

Today is National Meringue Pie Day and what could be better than a Chocolate Lemon Meringue Pie. I love lemon and chocolate!  (Photo is from a Vintage ad for "Jello" pie filling, but I use Meyer Lemon Curd for the filling.)

There are so many recipes for Lemon Meringue Pie. You can make your own lemon filling and your own pie shell, but here's a simple and easy recipe that uses Chocolate Ganache (I always have some in the freezer--but you can make fresh), artisan Meyer Lemon Curd from a jar, and a pre-made pie shell (I use Trader Joe's pie dough). O.K. you'll be making the meringue, but that's o.k. it's fun and fast.

EASY CHOCOLATE LEMON MERINGUE PIE

Directions
Use a pre-made 9" pie shell. Prick and bake as directed.
Let Pie shell cool.
Add a layer of Chocolate Ganache (see chocolate ganache recipe). Warm it up first, so you can easily spread evenly to the edges.
Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
Warm Lemon Curd (to allow it to spread easily) and then add it to make a layer on top of the chocolate ganache. Spread gently and evenly to the edges--don't mix the two, if possible.
Top with Meringue (see directions below)
Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes.

Meringue Topping:
4 egg whites
Pinch of cream of tartar
2 Tbsp sugar

Whisk together egg whites and cream of tartar in bowl of mixer. Beat whites until peaks form and then gradually add sugar. Keep beating mixture until stiff peaks form-about one to two minutes.
Using a spoon, place spoonfuls of meringue over surface of entire filling. Meringue should cover the filling completely to edge of crust.
Bake for 10 to 15 minutes --until meringue has golden tips.
Remove pie from oven and place on wire rack to cool before slicing.

Happy Lemon Meringue Pie Day!

Friday, August 14, 2020

ORANGE CREAMSICLE TRUFFLES: National Creamsicle Day

Today is National Creamsicle Day. I haven't had a Creamsicle in years, but I did occasionally buy one from the Good Humor Truck when I was a child. Fudgsicles, of course, were my favorites!

What exactly is a Creamsicle? A Creamsicle is a frozen dessert with a vanilla ice cream core and a fruit sherbet coating. The classic Creamsicle flavor combination is orange and vanilla. Officially, the term “Creamsicle” is a registered brand name owned by Unilever, and similar products cannot be labeled as Creamsicles. However, the original Creamsicle® is such a perennial best-seller that the term is often used generically, and the branding rights may eventually be lost due to trademark dilution. 

So to honor the holiday -- and to add chocolate -- make these Orange Creamsicle Truffles. Love this easy recipe.

FYI: You can substitute lemon juice and zest, and you have another winner--but it won't be a Creamsicle!

ORANGE CREAMSICLE TRUFFLES

Ingredients 
1/4 cup unsalted butter
Zest of 1/2 orange
3 Tbsp heavy cream
1 cup 'real' white chocolate chopped (Guittard) or white chocolate chips
1/2 tsp orange extract
1/4 cup powdered sugar

Directions 
Put white chocolate in mixing bowl, set aside.
Melt butter with orange zest in small saucepan. Stir in cream and scald mixture.
Pour hot cream mixture through mesh sieve over white chocolate and using rubber spatula press zest against sieve to release orange oils into mixture. Allow mixture to rest 1 minute, add orange extract to white chocolate mixture then stir until smooth.
Cover mixture and refrigerate 2 hours or until firm enough to handle.
Scoop mixture out with small cookie scoop or teaspoon and form into balls.
Roll balls in powdered sugar.
Freeze truffles 20 minutes before eating.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

FROZEN S'MORES BARS

August 10 was National S'mores Day. However, S'mores can no longer relegated to summer campfires. You can make all kinds of S'mores year round.

Here's a variation on the traditional S'mores that's so easy and great on a hot day: FROZEN S'MORES BARS. You can glam these up by making your own graham crackers and using fabulous chocolate and making your own Marshmallow Fluff (recipe below). But, if you're in a hurry and just want a yummy treat, use store bought grahams, Marshmallow Fluff, and dark chocolate.

How to make these: 
Basically you're freezing marshmallow cream between two graham crackers, dipping the'sandwiches'  in melted dark chocolate and then freezing! How easy is that?

Want to be more precise?

FROZEN S'MORES BARS

Put graham crackers bottom side up on parchment lined cookie sheet. Pipe (use a ziplock with a corner cut out or piping bag) marshmallow cream onto graham crackers and top with graham crackers. Put in freezer to harden (30 minutes).
Melt chocolate in double boiler or microwave. Let cool a bit (can't be too hot or will start to melt the cream).
Keep cookies in freezer until ready to use. Take a few out and dip halfway in chocolate. Put back in freezer. Continue to dip. Freeze until hard.

Want to make your own Marshmallow Fluff?

Ingredients
3 egg whites, room temp
2 cups lite corn syrup
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 Tbsp Madagascar vanilla

Directions
In bowl of stand mixer with whisk attachment, add egg whites, corn syrup, and salt.
On high speed whisk for 5 minutes, until thick and doubled.
On low speed, add powdered sugar. Mix until blended. Add vanilla and blend.

Want to make Chocolate Graham Crackers for triple the chocolate?
Here's a link to my recipe for Chocolate Graham Crackers!

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

CHOCOLATE RASPBERRY TART: National Raspberry Tart Day

Today is Raspberry Tart Day. I favor Driscoll's Berries, especially since I can find them in the market year round. I live in California, so that's pretty easy. Driscoll's Berries are always sweet and fresh. I love raspberries!

So in honor of the day, here's a recipe for a Chocolate Raspberry Tarte (or Tart)! This recipe is adapted from the Art and Soul of Baking cookbook. Of course, I make a chocolate crust! The crust in this recipe is not the usual one I make from chocolate cookie wafers. This one is made using cocoa powder, and you'll taste the difference. Of course, use only the best ingredients -- the very best cocoa. The original recipe calls for making 15 tiny tartlettes, but you can also make one big tart (or a pie, if you only have a pie pan). A tart is usually made in a shallow fluted pan, usually with a removal bottom -- a tart pan. Tarts rarely have an upper crust.

For the jam at the end, I use Bonne Maman Raspberry Preserves, one of my favorites.

CHOCOLATE RASPBERRY TART!

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
3/4 cup raspberry jam (or strawberry)
4 ounces dark chocolate (65-75% cacao), chopped
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
6 ounces fresh raspberries
1/2 tsp water
powdered sugar

Directions
Beat butter and sugar on medium speed for 3 minutes until smooth and creamy. Use spatula to scrape down bowl and beat another minute if there are lumps of butter. Add egg yolk, beat well, and scrape down sides.
Add flour and cocoa powder. Beat on low speed until dough comes together (but still has small to medium clumps) and looks moist with dark uniform color. Scrape down bowl. Use spatula to incorporate anything not mixed in.
Put dough in tart pan with removable bottom (or pie pan, if that's all you have). Press dough evenly along bottom and up sides of pan. (as with any pie dough, if it isn't working for you, stick it in the fridge for 15-20 minutes)
Use knife to cut off dough that is above top of pan (save left over dough for repairs). Put dough filled tart pan in fridge for 30 minutes. 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack in lower third. Place dough filled pan on cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and use any 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 (in fridge, if you have to).
Put aside Tbsp of jam in small bowl. Spoon rest of jam to cover bottom of tart crust.
Put chocolate in heatproof bowl. Put heavy cream in small saucepan. Heat cream until it just starts to boil, then pour over chocolate. Begin whisking to blend completely and melt all chocolate. Pour ganache into crust.
Refrigerate tart for 1 hour or until filling is firm. Remove from fridge and arrange raspberries on top of tart.
Mix reserved Tbsp of jam with 1/2 tsp of water and heat in microwave for about 15 seconds. Brush jam mixture onto tops of arranged raspberries (just a little to make them shiny).
Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.
Optional: Sift with powdered sugar before serving.

Monday, August 10, 2020

Cartoon of the Day: S'mores

Happy S'mores Day! 


S'MORES POKE CAKE: National S'mores Day!

Today is National S'mores Day, and if you follow this blog, you know I post 2-3 S'mores recipes a month. I love S'mores. So for today's holiday, I thought I'd post a really easy recipe for S'mores Poke Cake. A poke cake is basically a sheet cake in which you 'poke' holes after baking and then pour in some kind of flavored liquid or filling. In the case of this cake, marshmallow fluff. Easy and fun and delicious!

S'mores Poke Cake

Ingredients 
1-16 ounce chocolate cake mix (for this recipe, more of a milk chocolate cake mix than a dark chocolate)
1- 7 ounce jar Marshmallow Fluff or Marshmallow Creme
1/4 cup whole milk
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1 package graham crackers, crushed (about 1 - 1/2 cups)

Directions 
Prepare cake according to box's instructions and pour into 9"x13" pan. Bake for 35-37 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
Let cake cool for 15-20 minutes, then use back of wooden spoon (or another utensil) to poke holes (about inch apart) throughout.
Remove lid and packaging from Marshmallow Fluff (or Marshmallow Creme) and microwave for 30 seconds. Add milk and microwave for 30 seconds and stir. Pour over top of cake, filling all holes.
Let sit for 20 minutes to give Marshmallow Fluff time to slowly seep into cake.
Top with another layer of Fluff, then sprinkle with mini chocolate chips and crushed graham cracker pieces.
Refrigerate at least 2 hours to overnight, giving cake time to absorb more of Fluff.
Torch the marshmallow fluff areas lightly before serving (to give it that burnt look) .

Sunday, August 9, 2020

S'MORES FRENCH TOAST: National S'mores Day!

Tomorrow is National S'mores Day, but since it's Sunday, I thought I'd post a recipe for your Sunday brunch to usher in the holiday.

French toast is an old dish. In fact, it's not actually French at all. It predates the founding of France. According to the Apicius, a collection of recipes from the early 5th century AD, the dish we now know as the French toast existed as early as the age of the Roman Empire. In their style of French toast, called Pan Dulcis, Romans would soak bread in milk (and sometimes also egg) mixture, then fry it in oil or butter.

In the 15th century English court of Henry V, a version of the French toast called "pain perdu" or "lost bread" was the culinary rage. Then, it was called "lost" bread because the recipe called for soaking hard or stale bread in a mixture of milk and egg, then frying it. Pain perdu is what the French call French toast today. So, if the French did not invent the modern French toast, who did? According to legend, it was an Albany, New York, innkeeper named Joseph French who created the dish in 1724, and advertised it as "French Toast." Maybe. Whatever, it's delicious.

Here's an easy recipe for S'mores French Toast. I love s'mores. The good news? You don't have to be in the woods to make this great S'mores French Toast. You can make this on the stovetop. It's a great brunch treat. There are many versions of this recipe, but I tend to like the marshmallows and chocolate within the bread. Some people like marshmallows on top. Some people use Marshmallow Fluff. Hope you come up with your own version!

S'MORES FRENCH TOAST

Ingredients 
6 slices Brioche (or any good egg bread)
4 eggs lightly beaten
1 1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
2 cup graham cracker crumbs
unsalted butter
7 large marshmallows cut in half
4 full-size Hershey bars broken into rectangles
Fudge sauce

Directions
In shallow bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, vanilla, and salt.
Dip bread into egg mixture, coating each side.
Press both sides of bread into graham cracker crumbs.
Melt about 1/2 tablespoon of butter on griddle (or skillet) for each slice of bread.
Cook until brown and crispy, then turn over, adding more butter to pan first.
While still hot, for each serving, stack 3 slices of french toast, layering marshmallows and chocolate in between.
Repeat with second stack.
Drizzle with chocolate sauce

Saturday, August 8, 2020

KAHLUA ZUCCHINI CHOCOLATE CHIP BREAD: National Zucchini Day

Zucchini is one of those vegetables that seems to proliferate when you're not looking. If you don't check under the leaves every day, you'll find yourself with a gigantic marrow! And that not withstanding, even the small ones tend to multiply overnight. So for today's food holiday National Zucchini Day, here's a wonderful way to use up some of that zucchini bounty. I love this recipe for Kahlua Zucchini Chocolate Chip Bread.

This is, of course, a treat for adults. And, if you're so inclined, you can make your own Kahlua. It will have to sit for a month, so if you want to make this Kahlua Zucchini Chocolate Chip Bread today, use store bought Kahlua. Scroll down for the Homemade Kahlua recipe.

Kahlua Zucchini Chocolate Chip Bread
This recipe makes one loaf, but it can easily be doubled. You can also substitute oil for the butter.  I love quick breads. They're fast and easy, and you only use one bowl!

Ingredients
2 cups flour (all-purpose, but you can use 1 cup whole wheat and 1 cup all purpose)
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup (8 Tbsp) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup Kahlua
1 cup shredded zucchini
3 ounces chocolate chips (or more)

Directions
In medium bowl, sift flour with soda and salt. Set aside.
In large bowl of electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then Kahlua. (Don't worry if it seems curdled). Add dry ingredients and mix on low speed until blended. Stir in zucchini and chocolate chips to distribute evenly.
Pour into greased and floured 8-1/2 × 4 inch loaf pan.
Bake at 350 degrees F, about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until wood pick inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool in pan 10 minutes.
Turn out onto wire rack and cool completely.

***
Homemade Kahlua

Ingredients
4 cups water
4 cups sugar
2 ounces instant coffee
1 vanilla bean
Fifth of vodka or bourbon

Directions
Bring 4 cups water to a boil. Add the 4 cups sugar and cook until dissolved. Add the instant coffee. Simmer slowly - do not boil!
Add vanilla bean and 1/5 vodka or bourbon.
Bottle and cap. Leave for a month or more!

Friday, August 7, 2020

RASPBERRIES & CREAM WHITE CHOCOLATE BUNDT CAKE: National Raspberries & Cream Day

Today is Raspberries & Cream Day. Celebrate with this great Raspberries & Cream White Chocolate Bundt Cake. The recipe calls for raspberry jam, but feel free to add some chopped fresh raspberries to the jam for taste and crunch.

RASPBERRIES & CREAM WHITE CHOCOLATE BUNDT CAKE

Ingredients
1 package white cake mix
1 - 5 ounce instant white chocolate pudding
1 cup sour cream
4 large eggs
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup oil
1 1/2 cup white chocolate chips (Guittard) chopped into smaller pieces
1 cup raspberry jam (Bonne Mamma)

Directions
Grease and flour bundt pan. Preheat oven to 350-degrees.
Beat together first six ingredients. Fold in white chocolate chips. Fill prepared bundt pan with half batter. Spoon half of raspberry jam in small, separated spoonfuls over batter (so it looks like separate clumps of filling over top). Using knife to swirl filling through cake. Swirl until there are lots of tiny swirls.
Pour remaining batter in evenly and spoon in remaining jam, repeating "swirling" process as above. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 mins. (do "knife test" to determine doneness). If knife does not come out clean, put back in oven for 3-5 min at a time until it does. Remove from oven.
Let cool for 20 mins. Remove from pan.

You can frost this with a cream cheese frosting, but I usually leave my Bundt Cakes bare.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

ROOT BEER FLOAT CHOCOLATE BUNDT CAKE: National Rootbeer Float Day

Today is National Root Beer Float Day.

So what exactly is a Root Beer Float? Well, a Root Beer Float is made from Root Beer and vanilla ice cream. To make a 'traditional' root beer float, add the root beer to a tall chilled glass, leaving a bit of room in top. Then slowly add a scoop of vanilla ice cream to the glass. Drizzle a small amount or root beer on top, and it will turn to foam. You might want to put a plate under the glass, because when the ice cream begins 'to float', it sometimes bubbles over! Sometimes people just mix the two together, but I like the very float-y way. A Root Beer Float is traditionally made with vanilla ice cream, but you can also make a Rootbeer Float with Chocolate Ice Cream--it would be called either a brown cow or a black cow, depending on where you live. Each region in the U.S. has its own names. No surprise there!

But maybe you want to do something even more special than making an ice cream float to celebrate the day, but still maintain the root beer float flavor. And, you want to include lots of chocolate. I'm a huge fan of bundt cakes. They're easy and pretty! This recipe from the BrownEyedBaker is perfect. There's chocolate in both the Bundt Cake and the Frosting. Personally I rarely frost my bundt cakes, and I feel this cake has the flavor of the root beer float, but if you're all about frosting, make the frosting and ice the cake! Actually the frosting, itself, tastes like a root beer float! Lick the bowl!

Root Beer Float Chocolate Bundt Cake

Ingredients
2 cups root beer (not diet root beer)
1 cup DARK unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup sweet butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 eggs

Directions
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spray10-inch Bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray, or butter pan and dust with flour, shaking out excess flour; set aside.
In medium saucepan, heat root beer, cocoa powder, and butter over medium heat until butter melts. Add sugars and whisk until dissolved. Remove from heat and cool.
In medium bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, and salt together.
In small bowl, whisk eggs until just beaten, then whisk into cooled cocoa mixture until just combined. Fold flour mixture into cocoa mixture. Do not overbeat. Lumpy is fine!
Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 35 to 40 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking, until sharp knife inserted into cake comes out clean. Transfer pan to wire rack to cool. Loosen sides of cake from pan and turn onto rack.

Root Beer Float Fudge Frosting

Ingredients
2 ounces dark chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp salt
¼ cup root beer
2/3 cup DARK unsweetened cocoa powder
2 -1/2 cups powdered sugar

Directions
Put all ingredients in food processor. Pulse in short bursts until frosting is shiny and satiny, scraping sides of food processor a few times. (You can always use hand mixer or standing mixer)
Using spatula, spread frosting over cake in a thick layer. Let frosting set before serving.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

SESAME CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES: National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day

Yesterday was Chocolate Chip Cookie Day, and I posted a great recipe for Gooey Chocolate Chip Cookies, but as I always say, you can't have too many chocolate chip cookie recipes. So here's a great recipe for Sesame Chocolate Chip Cookies from the Whole Foods recipe page and adapted it slightly. I won't say it's totally healthy, but with sesame seeds, whole wheat pastry flour, and tahini, it's on the verge. I cut back on the sugar and chocolate chips.

Funny, the site says that serving size is 1 larger cookie or 2 smaller cookies. I don't think so. More like 5-6 of the small ones, and at least 2 of the big ones. LOL!

SESAME CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

Ingredients
1/2 cup light brown sugar
8 Tbsp sweet butter, softened
2 Tbsp tahini
1 egg
2 tsp Madagascar pure vanilla extract
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
3/4 cup dark chocolate chips (mini chips if you're making mini-cookies!)
1/2 cup sesame seeds, toasted and cooled

Directions
In large bowl, beat sugar, butter, and tahini with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add egg and vanilla and beat again until combined.
In medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt, and then add to sugar mixture and beat until combined. Stir in baking chips and sesame seeds and shape dough into 4 1/2-inch-long logs, wrapping them individually in wax paper and twisting the ends. Chill until firm, 4 hours or overnight. (To help maintain their shape, arrange the dough logs in a 9x13-inch dish to chill.)
Preheat oven to 325°F.
Slice each log of dough into 12 (for bigger cookies) or 24 (for smaller cookies) coins, arrange on parchment-paper-lined baking sheets about 2 inches apart and bake until golden brown around the edges, 8 to 10 minutes for smaller cookies, 10 to 12 minutes for larger cookies.
Cool.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

GOOEY CHEWY CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES: National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day

If you're like me, you can never have too many recipes for Chocolate Chip Cookies. Sometimes I like them crispy, sometimes chewy, sometimes goey! That's why I like this recipe for Gooey Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies. These are the perfect cookies to make for National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day!


GOOEY CHEWY CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

Ingredients
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup sweet butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1 cup mini chocolate chips

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In small bowl, whisk together flour, corn starch, and baking soda, set aside.
In bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine butter with both sugars.
Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add salt, vanilla, and egg until just combined. Gently fold in dry ingredients and finally chocolate chips.
Drop tablespoon-size balls of dough about 2 inches apart on baking sheets.
Bake 8-10 minutes until cookies just start to brown and place on wire rack to cook for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Monday, August 3, 2020

CHURCH WINDOWS: Guest Post & Recipe by Mystery Author Alice Loweecey

Church Windows: Guest post and Recipe by Alice Loweecey

Time has no meaning anymore, can I get a witness? I’m working from home five days a week, but my co-workers and I often ask each other what day it is. I get in my car once a week to drive to the grocery store and back, a total of three miles.

Which brings me to the Christmas cookies i made this week. Yes, it’s July. At least I presume it is, since it’s been a steam room here in Buffalo for weeks. I’ve been making cookies a lot lately. My current favorite is frosted orange with a touch of lemon, but I try to make something different every week.

As an aside, I’ve also discovered a YouTube seven-minute exercise video which claims you’ll drop a dress size in seven days. I don’t know about the dress size, but I lost an inch at the three usual measurement points after the first week. I’m keeping this routine up because of another important result: more chocolate for me with less guilt!

Last Friday at the grocery store I saw bags of fruit-flavored mini-marshmallows. It’s been ages since I saw those. They leaped into my cart of their own accord, I swear. As they nestled among the strawberries and lettuce, I mentally paged through my pantry. This would happen.

When I was a kid, a family friend made Church Windows at Christmas. I’ve always been the baker in the family, and I glommed onto this one. They’re no-bake, easy to make, and delicious. And they have chocolate. The perfect combination. They have another benefit: They’re very sweet, so I can’t eat more than two at a time. My waistline approves.

Here’s a childhood memory from me, no longer trapped in Christmas. Enjoy!

Church Windows 

Ingredients
8 oz chocolate chips
1 tsp oil
3 cups flavored mini-marshmallows
3/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, chopped fine
A long sheet of wax paper

Directions
1. Pour the nuts and marshmallows in a large bowl.
2. Melt the chocolate chips and oil in the microwave (the oil helps make it smooth).
3. Pour the chocolate over the marshmallows and nuts.
4. Spray your hands with cooking spray and mix everything up.
5. When all the marshmallows are coated, pick the mixture up and set them on the wax paper. Form them into a log, wrap them, and put them in the fridge for a couple of hours. Slice and serve. They're really good cold.

Note: I’ve heard of alternates: rolling the log in flaked coconut before chilling, and using extra chocolate for a more defined stained-glass window effect.

***

Baker of brownies and tormenter of characters, ex-nun Alice Loweecey celebrates the day she jumped the wall with as much enthusiasm as her birthday. She grew up watching Hammer horror films and Scooby-Doo mysteries, which explains a whole lot. When she's not creating trouble for her sleuth Giulia Driscoll (9 cozy mysteries) or inspiring nightmares as her alter-ego Kate Morgan (3 stand-alone horrors), she can be found growing vegetables in her garden and water lilies in her koi pond.

Website: aliceloweecey.net
Facebook: facebook.com/alice.loweecey
Twitter: @AliceLoweecey

Sunday, August 2, 2020

CHOCOLATE CHIP ICE CREAM SANDWICHES: National Ice Cream Sandwich Day

I've posted lots of easy Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Sandwich recipes including one for making your own Chipwich, but here's another recipe from Martha Stewart for a very sturdy chocolate chip cookie which is essential for chocolate chip ice cream sandwiches. I'm always looking for new chocolate chip cookie recipes.

One change I would make is to use either Chocolate Chip Ice Cream or in my case Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia. One other TIP for making ice cream sandwiches is to soften the ice cream and use a cookie cutter to get the size you want rather than just spreading on the cookie. This is great because when you squeeze, ever so lightly, you'll have a perfect center with very little cookie crumbling.

And, of course, you can use packaged big chocolate chip cookies if you're in a hurry.

Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Sandwiches 

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup sour cream
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups mini chocolate chips
1 pint Ben & Jerry's Jerry Garcia ice cream (or whatever you like)

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with rack in center.
In medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Using  electric mixer, beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add sour cream, egg, and vanilla; beat until smooth. With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture; mix in 1 cup chocolate chips.
Using 1 rounded tablespoon per cookie, drop mounds of dough, about 1 1/2 inches apart, onto two baking sheets. (You'll have 25 to 30 cookies.) Bake until golden, 10 to 12 minutes; transfer to a rack to cool completely.
Scatter remaining chocolate chips on a plate. Place about 2 tablespoons ice cream between 2 cookies--or cut a chunk of ice cream using a cookie cutter the approximate size-pressing slightly until ice cream exceeds or matches the size of the cookies, bottoms facing in; press gently.
Roll sides of each sandwich in chips. (If ice cream is melting, place sandwiches in freezer until firm enough to roll in chips.) Transfer sandwiches onto baking sheets. Freeze until firm, at least 2 hours; then wrap individually in plastic.
Freeze up to 2 weeks.

Saturday, August 1, 2020

SPICY CHOCOLATE MUSTARD COOKIES: National Mustard Day

Today is Mustard Day, and these Spicy Chocolate Cookies are a great way to celebrate. Make these and ask your family to identify the 'surprise' ingredient! How fun! Remember, you can never have too many chocolate cookie recipes! Thanks to Colman's Mustard for providing this great recipe!

Spicy Chocolate Mustard Cookies

Ingredients                            
3 oz. unsweetened chocolate  
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour       
1 tsp baking powder          
1/2 tsp cinnamon                 
1/2 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup plus 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg, room temperature
1 1/2 tsp Colman’s Original Prepared Mustard

Directions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Melt chocolate in small heavy saucepan over low heat and set aside. Sift together flour, baking powder, and cinnamon, and set aside.
In electric mixer, cream together butter and 2/3 cup sugar. Add melted chocolate and egg and beat well. Dissolve Colman’s Mustard in heavy cream and add to chocolate mixture. On lowest speed, fold in sifted flour mixture. Divide dough in half.
Place each half on sheet of waxed paper and form into 10-inch strip. Using waxed paper to help, lift and roll each strip into 10-inch cylinder. Wrap each cylinder in waxed paper, twisting the ends secure.
Chill for two hours.
Slice in 3/4 inch rounds.
Bake for 15-20 minutes.
Cool and enjoy!