Thursday, February 20, 2020

CHOCOLATE CHERRY PIE: National Cherry Pie Day

So today is National Cherry Pie Day, but since it's winter here in the Northern Hemisphere, I'm not sure why this food holiday shows up in February. Many markets carry cherries from Mexico and countries in South America, so check around. All of my markets have fresh cherries. Or, you can wait and bookmark this recipe to make in the summer.

But, if you can get fresh cherries, I suggest you make Chocolate Cherry Pie today. This recipe is from Allison Arevalo who posted this on Local Lemons several years ago.

This Chocolate Cherry Pie features fabulous cherries, rich dark chocolate, and a butter pie crust. It is positively sinful. The directions and photos on Local Lemons are outstanding.

I use pre-made pie crusts from Trader Joe's, but check the link if you want to make an outstanding pie crust that includes graham cracker crumbs as well as a good flour.

CHOCOLATE CHERRY PIE

Ingredients
2 pre-made deep dish pie crusts
2 1/2 pounds fresh cherries (about 2 pounds pitted)
1/2 cup agave nectar
4 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 cup shredded chocolate (Mostly dark, with some milk chocolate mixed in, also chopped in food processor)

Directions

Filling
Pit cherries using cherry-pitter and put in large bowl. Add chopped chocolate, 4 Tbsp flour, and agave nectar. Gently toss until cherries are well coated.
Preheat oven to 400F.
With pre-made pie dough that's been rolled out. Fit into 9 inch pie dish. Carefully pick up and place in dish, cutting off overhang. Fill dough with cherry mixture. Roll out second piecrust and place on top of pie. Pinch sides closed with thumb and forefinger, and use sharp knife to cut three vents into top of crust. Brush with egg wash.
Bake for 25 minutes in middle of oven. Lower heat to 350F and bake for 25 more minutes.  

Photo: Local Lemons with permission

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Thin Mint Cookie S'mores: National Chocolate Mint Day


Today is National Chocolate Mint Day. So many Chocolate Mint recipes, but my favorite Chocolate Mint Cookies are Girl Scout Cookies Thin Mints. And, it's Girl Scout Cookie Time! Girl Scouts invented S'mores, so this recipe from the the Campfire Marshmallow website for Mint Chocolate Cookie S'mores using Girl Scout Thin Mints is a great and easy way to celebrate!

THIN MINT COOKIE S'MORES

Ingredients
Mint Chocolate Cookies (Girl Scout Thin Mints)
Regular Campfire Marshmallows

Directions
Place cookie face side down on plate.
Carefully toast marshmallow over grill or campfire (or oven).
Place toasted marshmallow on cookie and top with second cookie. Press gently.

How easy is that?

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

THIN MINT GIRL SCOUT COOKIE BROWNIES

You can't miss them. Every street corner, every park, every office is filled with girls in green uniforms and/or mothers and fathers hawking the taste of the season: Girl Scout Cookies.

Girl Scout Cookies are hard for me to pass up. I was a Brownie and a Girl Scout, and I used to pound the pavement selling and then delivering door to door. Those were different times, but not the cookies. I still love them. Anyway, by this time of year, I have a cupboard filled with Samoas, Tagalongs and Thin Mints ... well, not the cupboard for the Thin Mints. I put them in the freezer. I've been freezing my Thin Mints for more years than I want to remember. Not that they're being frozen for future times. I just think they taste best that way. It's no secret that my favorite cookies are Thin Mints. Several years ago on the 100th Anniversary of the Girl Scouts, I posted a recipe for Thin Mint Truffles. So easy and delicious.

So this year, I thought I'd post a recipe for Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies Brownies. Plenty of other ways to use Girl Scout Cookies. Be sure and scroll down for more tips!

Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookie Brownies

Ingredients
3/4 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup dark chocolate, chopped
2/3 cup unsweetened DARK cocoa powder
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 eggs
1/2 Box Thin Mints Girl Scout Cookies, crushed into small chunks

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Butter 9”x9” square baking pan.
In double boiler over low heat, melt butter and chocolate together and remove from heat.
In separate bowl, combine dry ingredients.
When chocolate/butter mixture has cooled a little, whisk in eggs and vanilla. Note: it is important to cool chocolate/butter mixture or eggs will cook.
Add rest of dry ingredients and whisk to combine.
Pour batter into prepared baking pan.
Bake 40-45 minutes or until knife inserted into center comes out clean.

Other things to do with Girl Scout Cookies:
Crush them up and use them as ice cream toppings, in cakes and cookies, truffles and brownies.
Girl Scout Cookies are also great to use as pie crusts, in the same way you'd make a chocolate wafer cookie crust or graham cracker crust. Yum.

So which cookies will you buy?



Monday, February 17, 2020

GEORGE WASHINGTON'S FAVORITE DRINK: Warm Chocolate Cream

Presidents Day and what better way to celebrate than with the George Washington's Favorite Drink: Warm Chocolate Cream.

George Washington definitely liked his chocolate. A favorite breakfast for him was cornmeal hoe cakes with honey and butter, washed them down with Warm Chocolate Cream, according to the cookbook, Dining with the Washingtons, by the staff at George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate. This cookbook offers updated versions of typical recipes from the period and a glimpse into the first president's favorite foods.

Dining with the Washingtons, Historic Recipes, Entertaining, and Hospitality from Mount Vernon, edited By Stephen A. McLeod

Chocolate was a favorite drink at Mount Vernon in George Washington's lifetime. Washington's first recorded order for chocolate was for 20 pounds of chocolate, which arrived from England in 1758. He continued to buy chocolate throughout his life, in quantities as small as one pound and as large as the 50 pounds purchased three months before his death in 1799. (Source: Pleasant Living Magazine)

Chocolate was a typical breakfast beverage, not only at Mount Vernon but throughout British North America. It was made by grating a small amount of chocolate into boiling water, milk and water, or wine and water, and later adding sugar (See recipe below from Dining with the Washingtons).

In a letter to his wife in Scotland, tutor John Harrower at Belvidera Plantation wrote that breakfast with his employer usually consisted of warm bread and either coffee or chocolate. In 1794, a friend wrote to George Washington requesting two or three bushels of chocolate shells "such as we've frequently drank Chocolate of at Mt. Vernon, as my Wife thinks it agreed with her better than any other Breakfast....". Martha Washington's daughter-in-law admitted to one of her daughters that "the more simple food I have is best" and went on to say that "I breakfast on Chocolate....".

Special ceramic forms were used to serve this beverage. Among the 309 pieces of white and gold French china acquired in 1790 for the presidential mansion were 12 chocolate cups and saucers, which were brought to Mount Vernon upon Washington's retirement. The Washingtons purchased three sets of tea china and six chocolate cups in 1793, further evidence that chocolate, although popular, was not served as often as tea. A covered, two-handled chocolate or caudle cup, probably intended as a display piece, survives from the "States" service given to Martha Washington in 1796 and is exhibited in the museum at Mount Vernon.

In addition to enjoying cocoa, the Washingtons often made a healthful tea from the shells (hulls), which they served to guests.

Recipe from Dining with the Washingtons: