Sunday, September 15, 2019

CREME DE MENTHE BROWNIES: National Creme de Menthe Day

Today is Creme de Menthe Day. Creme de Menthe is a sweet mint-flavored liqueur, primarily derived from Corsican mint or dried peppermint. You can make your own Creme de Menthe (recipe below) or use a good brand in this recipe for Creme de Menthe Brownies. Since they're three layers, they really look great when they're cut! And, of course, you can never have too many brownie recipes. Here's an easy Creme de Menthe Brownie recipe adapted originally from Hershey. Of course, you can substitute the chocolate of your choice--or the brownie recipe of choice.

HOMEMADE CREME DE MENTHE

Ingredients
1 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves (divided)
1 1/2 cups vodka
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup water
1-2 drops green food coloring (optional)

Directions
Take 1 cup of mint leaves and tear them in quarters. Put mint leaves in sealable glass jar and pour vodka on top. Shake and steep for 12 hours.
After steeping, strain mint leaves from infused vodka. Return infused vodka to the jar.
Bring water and sugar to boil, and let simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool, then add syrup to mint-infused vodka.
Take additional 1/2 cup of mint leaves, tear them, and add them to jar. (Optionally at this point you can add the 1-2 drops green food coloring). Shake and let steep for 10 hours.
Strain twice to remove all mint leaves, keep in resealable bottle.

CREME DE MENTHE BROWNIES

BROWNIE LAYER: 
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
4 eggs, beaten
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup flour
1 can Hershey syrup

CREME DE MENTHE FILLING:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cup confectioners' sugar
2 Tbsp green creme de menthe

CHOCOLATE GLAZE:
6 ounces semisweet dark chocolate chips (or dark chocolate, chopped)
6 ounces unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

BROWNIE LAYER: 
Cream butter and sugar until smooth. Add beaten eggs, one at a time, mix thoroughly. Add vanilla, salt, and flour. Mix until well blended. Add Hershey syrup. Mix well.
Pour into greased 13"x9" baking pan.
Bake for 20 to 30 minutes.
Cool completely.

MINT FILLING:
Use mixer for adequate consistency.
Cream butter and confectioners' sugar until smooth, adding small amount of milk if needed. Add creme de menthe and mix thoroughly until of spreading consistency.
Frost brownie layer with mint filling.
Refrigerate to harden mint filling, approximately 15 to 20 minutes.

CHOCOLATE GLAZE:
Melt butter and chocolate chips over low heat, stirring constantly until smooth. Cool to room temperature.
Spread over mint filling covering entire layer.
Cool until glaze hardens.
Score with sharp knife to prevent cracking glaze.
Cut carefully into 1" squares.
If you don't eat them right away, refrigerate or freeze.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

DOWNTON ABBEY CHOCOLATE CHERRY SCONES

Downton Abbey, the Movie, opened last night, and even if you haven't had a chance to see it yet, you'll want to be prepared by making these fabulous scones! The TV show was one of the most watched PBS (or any!) productions in years. Your local station is showing the entire series on PBS Passport. Here's a great recipe that I'm sure Mrs. Patmore and Daisy could easily have mixed up for the staff or family. Make a batch to celebrate the new Downton Abbey movie. Serve with clotted cream and black cherry jam!

Be sure and scroll down to watch the video of Mrs Patmore.

DOWNTON ABBEY CHOCOLATE CHERRY SCONES

Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup whipping cream, divided
1/4 cup dried cherries, coarsely chopped
3 ounces dark chocolate, chopped

Directions
Preheat oven to 450°.

Stir together first 4 ingredients in large bowl. Cut butter into flour mixture with pastry blender until crumbly and mixture resembles small peas. Freeze 5 minutes. Add 3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp cream, dried cherries, and chocolate, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened.

Turn dough out onto wax paper; gently press or pat dough into 7-inch round (mixture will be crumbly). Cut round into 8 wedges. Place wedges 2 inches apart on a lightly greased baking sheet. Brush tops of wedges with remaining 2 Tbs. cream just until moistened.

Bake at 450° for 13 to 15 minutes or until golden.

 

Thursday, September 12, 2019

QUIRKY CHOCOLATE MILKSHAKES: National Chocolate Milkshake Day

Today is National Chocolate Milkshake Day, and here are several easy and unique chocolate milkshake recipes with a link to more.

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

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

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

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

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

Want to try more quirky variations? Check out FoodBeast for the 13 Most Extravagant Chocolate Milkshakes around the World. Whoa!

Have a great day! Make it Chocolate!

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

TV DINNERS DAY: Retro Ads & History

I shouldn't be surprised, but I was, to find out that there is a TV Dinner Day on the Food Holiday list.  TV Dinners became popular in the 1950s. After a busy day, families would put frozen dinners (they were individually packaged) in the oven, and out would come a full meal of 2 to 4 courses. Traditionally these were eaten on TV trays in front of the TV where the family would sit on the sofa or chairs and watch their favorite TV shows together.

This was not the case in my family. We ate as a family, fresh food prepared by my grandmother, mother, one of my aunts, or the help. Yes, we had help. Dinner time was when the family gathered and discussed school, work, politics, art, literature, music. We were not allowed to watch TV during dinner. Perish the Thought! Oh how I envied the children in the ads and commercials. I was a TV junkie. Still am. I must reveal, though, that I have never eaten a TV Dinner. Never. They wouldn't have been in our freezer, even if someone 'dropped by' as it says in one of the ads below. The food on our table was always expandable to accommodate the numerous people who might and did stop in at dinner time. My grandmother was good at stretching everything. She didn't have to rely on a frozen prepackaged dinner.

The term TV dinner is a trademark originally used for a brand of packaged meal developed in 1953 by C.A. Swanson & Sons (the name in full was TV Brand Frozen Dinner). The original Swanson's TV Dinner came in an aluminum tray and was heated in the oven. It was an individual portion. TV dinners required very little preparation and contained all the elements for a single-serving meal. A TV dinner usually consisted of a cut of meat, usually beef or chicken; a vegetable, such as peas, carrots, corn, or potatoes; and sometimes a dessert.

Because this is a chocolate blog, I want to let you know that occasionally TV Dinners had a brownie  or chocolate pudding for dessert. More likely they didn't.

So in honor of TV Dinner Day, here are several Retro Ads. Always fun to see. Be sure to scroll down and watch the Retro TV Ad!