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Friday, September 24, 2021

CHOCOLATE CHERRIES JUBILEE: National Cherries Jubilee Day!

Today is National Cherries Jubilee Day! Cherries Jubilee was created by Chef August Escoffier in honor of Queen Victoria's Jubilee celebration. Cherries were her favorite fruit. The original recipe featured cherries poached in syrup and warmed with brandy that was set afire just prior to serving.

But this is a chocolate blog, so here are two recipes - one for Chocolate Cherries Jubilee Cake and one for Chocolate Cherries Jubilee. The cake is moist and scrumptious. You can also pour the Cherries Jubilee sauce over your own favorite chocolate cake!

CHOCOLATE CHERRIES JUBILEE CAKE!

Cake:
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1- 1/2 cups cake flour or 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1- 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided use
1/2 cup unsweetened DARK cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup Canola oil
2 large eggs, separated
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Cherry Sauce:
1 (16 or 17-ounces) can pitted dark sweet cherries, drained (reserve 3/4 cup liquid)
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 Tbsp Kirsch or Cherry Brandy
1 Tbsp cornstarch
Dash salt

Vanilla ice cream

Directions
Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan.

For Cake:
Stir baking soda into buttermilk in medium bowl until dissolved; set aside.
In large bowl, stir together flour, 1 cup sugar, cocoa, and salt. Add oil, buttermilk mixture, egg yolks, and vanilla and beat until smooth.
In small bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form; gradually add remaining 1/2 cup sugar, beating until stiff peaks form.
Gently fold egg whites into chocolate batter. Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until cake springs back when touched lightly in center. Cool in pan.

For Cherry Sauce:
In medium saucepan, stir together reserved cherry liquid, cherry liqueur, sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and add cherries and orange peel.

Serve cake with a scoop of ice cream and Cherry Sauce spooned over the top.

CHOCOLATE CHERRIES JUBILEE

Ingredients
1/2 cup dark cherry preserves (I love Bonne Maman)
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
3 Tbsp Cognac or Kirsh

1 pint chocolate chocolate chip ice cream

Directions
Melt preserves in heavy small saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently. Mix in cinnamon and Cognac.
Scoop ice cream into bowls. Spoon sauce over (you can ignite it for special effects and then pour :-).

Thursday, September 23, 2021

CHOCOLATE PERSIMMON BREAD PUDDING: Fall Equinox

Fall Equinox. This recipe for Chocolate Persimmon Bread Pudding is the perfect Autumn dessert, and there are lots of persimmons at the farmer's market (and on my neighbors' trees) right now. My favorites are Fuyu Persimmons.

Because I love Persimmon Bread Pudding, I thought I'd post this delicious and easy recipe adapted from Whole Foods for Chocolate Persimmon Bread Pudding. Be sure to use Fuyu Persimmons (not Hachiya).

CHOCOLATE PERSIMMON BREAD PUDDING

Ingredients
4 cups half-and-half
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened DARK cocoa powder
4 eggs
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 loaf challah, cut into 1-inch cubes (this also works well with a Brioche loaf)
1 cup chocolate chips  (dark or milk chocolate)
2 ripe fuyu persimmons, quartered and cut into 1/4-inch slices

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Combine half-and-half with sugar, cocoa powder, eggs, and vanilla in large mixing bowl, whisking until smooth.
Add challah, toss to coat, and set aside to let soak for 15 minutes.
Pour two-thirds of challah mixture into buttered 9 x 13 inch baking dish and sprinkle with 1/2 cup of chocolate chips (or chocolate chunks) and all of the persimmons.
Top with remaining challah mixture and remaining 1/2 cup chocolate chips.
Place dish into water bath (large roasting pan and add hot water to the roasting pan until it reaches about 1 inch up the sides of the dish).
Bake for 40 minutes, then set aside to let cool, leaving dish in water bath.
Once cool, remove dish from water bath then cut pudding into squares and serve.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

WHITE CHOCOLATE LEMON TRUFFLES: National White Chocolate Day!

Today is White Chocolate Day.  I've always liked white chocolate. When I was growing up, there were two special treats we used to buy at a favorite candy shop on the Boardwalk in Atlantic City: Toffee (English toffee) and White Chocolate. These were grown-up candies that were fresh and put into small individual boxes. As a child of 8 or 9, I was thrilled with these candies-so different from penny candy or a 5 cent candy bar.

Officially white chocolate is not chocolate because it doesn't contain chocolate liquor, although that status seems to be changing. White Chocolate does contain cocoa butter (along with sugar, milk solids, vanilla and lecithin). The most important thing to remember when buying real white chocolate is that it must contain cocoa butter. Some brands on the market, and many of those little disks you see, are really just vegetable fat. Real cocoa butter should be an ivory color. The 'fake' white chocolate is 'white'. Why bother with that. Go for the real thing. You'll be rewarded by flavor!

One other hint: White chocolate scorches easily, so always use a low heat. In the truffle recipe below, be very careful when combining the white chocolate with the cream (see note). 

So for White Chocolate Day here's an easy recipe for White Chocolate Lemon Truffles.

WHITE CHOCOLATE LEMON TRUFFLES

Ingredients 
1/4 cup unsalted butter
Zest of 1 Meyer lemon
3 Tbsp heavy cream
1 cup quality white chocolate, chopped
1/2 tsp lemon extract or pure lemon oil
1/4 cup sparkling sugar (sanding sugar) for coating

Directions
Put white chocolate in bowl, set aside.
Melt butter along with lemon zest in small saucepan. Stir in cream and heat until bubbles just start to form at edges (do not boil).
Pour hot cream mixture over white chocolate. Add lemon extract and stir until smooth.
Cover mixture and refrigerate 2 hours or until firm enough to handle.
Scoop mixture out by heaping teaspoon fulls and form into balls.
Roll in sparkling sugar.
Freeze truffles 20 minutes or refrigerate one hour. Take out of refrigerator before serving.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE PECAN COOKIES: National Pecan Cookie Day!

Pecans and chocolate are a true marriage made in heaven! I've posted recipes for Chocolate Pecan Sandies, definitely a pecan cookie, but I thought I'd post a different one to celebrate National Pecan Cookie Day!

This recipe is adapted from Woman's Day, April 1, 2006. As always, I suggest you use the very best ingredients. I use crumbled toffee in the recipe, and I use 15 ounces of 70% chocolate in place of the original 2 10-oz milk chocolate bars. I also use DARK cocoa. And, an FYI, there are over 1000 varieties of pecans. Whichever you choose, you'll go nuts for this recipe!

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE PECAN COOKIES

Ingredients
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2⁄3 cup packed light brown sugar
2⁄3 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
3⁄4 tsp baking soda
3⁄4 tsp salt
2 1⁄3 cups all-purpose flour
2⁄3 cup unsweetened DARK cocoa powder
10 oz English toffee bits
1-1⁄2 cups coarsely chopped pecans
15-oz dark chocolate (70% cacao), chopped coarsely (or dark chocolate chips)

Directions
Heat oven to 375°F. Have baking sheets ready.
Beat butter, sugars, and vanilla in large bowl with mixer on medium speed 1 to 2 minutes until fluffy. Beat in eggs, baking soda, and salt until combined. Add flour and beat on low speed until blended.
Stir in cocoa powder,  English toffee bits, pecans, and chocolate.
Drop rounded tablespoons dough about 1 1⁄2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.
Bake 8 to 9 minutes until edges are golden brown.
Cool on sheet 1 to 2 minutes before removing to wire rack to cool completely.