Saturday, October 31, 2015

Pairing Wine with Halloween Candy

So what wine goes best with Halloween Candy? with Skittles? with Reese's Peanut Butter Cups? with Snickers? Wonder no longer. Vivino has put together an infographic

What to do with Leftover Halloween Candy: Ideas and Recipes

When I was growing up Halloween was my favorite holiday of the year. I'd choose what I'd want to be early and make sure my seamstress grandmother had time to complete it. I never wanted store-bought costumes. I had to have an original. I would design it, and my Bubby would sew it, and I'd be there every step of the way watching her and learning sewing techniques. Project Runway contestant in the making?

On Halloween night, all the children on my block were out. We had no safety worries. We knew every single house on the street would have a treat, almost always candy. There was always the disappointing little box of raisins, but that was o.k. After we moved to the suburbs, the ante went up with whole candy bars and more expensive loot.

Needless to say, there was always a lot of candy left over. I mean, how much could one child eat? We weren't allowed to keep our stash in our rooms (the reason given by my mother--to protect against bugs and mice), so all the candy was relegated to the kitchen. My sister and I noticed it being depleted, but usually too late. Most of it found its way into my pediatrician father's waiting room. Other kids who didn't walk those mean streets, knocking on doors, and yelling 'trick or treat' benefited from the fruit of our labors.

Now as an adult, I buy candy for trick or treaters. Every year that candy sits in a bowl by the door -- unloved, uncalled for. We don't get a lot of Trick or Treaters where I live. Maybe it's the times; maybe it's the Hills. Several years ago, I started buying only candy that I liked. Who wants to be stuck with candy you'll never eat? So there's usually a lot of leftover candy at my house. I'm sure there is at yours, too, particularly if you have very few goblins and ghosts and Hogwarts pupils who made the Halloween pilgrimage. Here are several ways to turn that left over candy into culinary delights or needed donations.

1.  Use chopped Candy Corn or chopped Candy Bars in place of chocolate chips in cookies or brownies. (or use both as in this recipe for Candy Corn & Chocolate Chip Cookies from Christina Tosi at NYC's Momfuku)

2. Chopped up Candy and Candy Bars can also be used as toppings for ice cream sundaes or over yoghurt.

3. Freeze it for another time when you get the munchies.

4. Make homemade flavored vodka. It needs some time to infuse, but experiment with different flavors.

5.  Make Trail Mix with chocolate candy, raisins, peanuts and any other soft chewy candy.

6. Mix up a batch of biscuits and fold in some chopped Tootsie Tolls or Peanut Butter Cups.  

7. Add chopped candy corn to candied yams.

8. Make a Cookie Dough Pizza.  
Betty Crocker recipe: Mix 1 pouch of peanut butter cookie mix with 1/3 cup vegetable oil and an egg until soft dough forms. Press dough into ungreased 12-inch pizza pan. Sprinkle with your choice of toppings such as candy corn, candy bar pieces and nuts. Bake 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Sprinkle 1 cup miniature marshmallows on top. Bake for another 10-15 minutes until marshmallows are lightly browned and cookie is set at edge. Cool completely in pan.

9. Pudding/Candy Parfait: Layer instant pudding with candy.

10. Use the candy to decorate your Holiday Gingerbread House.

11. Keep some in the car or your purse for emergencies (probably not chocolate which melts).

12. Donate: Nursing homes, doctor's offices, women and family shelters will take wrapped candy. Check first.

13: Donate: Operation Gratitude ships candy to U.S. troops in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Middle East for Christmas time. (chocolate is more perishable)

14. Donate:  Ronald McDonald House will accept donations of wrapped Halloween Candy in many locations. Check first.

15. Make a Candy Massacre Pie (recipe from Cakespy).

And three more recipes in case you haven't baked enough for Halloween:


1 angel food cake, crumbled
1/2 cup sweet butter
4 egg yolks
2 cups confectioners sugar
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
16 ounces Cool Whip, thawed slightly
8 large Butterfinger candy bars

Freeze candy bars in wrappers for at least two hours.
Crush bars (while in wrappers) using rolling pin.
Cream butter, egg yolks, sugar and vanilla and add Cool Whip.
In a 9 x 13 inch pan layer half of angel food cake; layer half of Cool Whip mixture; then layer of half of crushed candy bars; repeat. Keep refrigerated.


Adapted from M&M/MARS. You can substitute other candy in place of Milky Way Bars.. depending on what you have left over.

1 to 2 Tbsp vegetable shortening
1/4 cup finely chopped nuts
15 bite-size (mini) Milky Way bars
1 cup low-fat buttermilk, plain yogurt or sour cream, divided
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 cup sweet butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp Madagascar vanilla
4 eggs

5 bite-size Milky Way bars
2 Tbsp sweet butter
2 tsp water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 12-cup Bundt pan or 10-inch tube pan with shortening. Sprinkle coated pan with nuts; set aside.
In heavy medium saucepan over low heat, melt candy bars with 1/4 cup of buttermilk, stirring often until mixture is smooth.
In medium mixing bowl, combine flour, salt and baking soda. In large mixing bowl, beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Blend in vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Add flour mixture alternately with remaining 3/4 cup of buttermilk, mixing just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Then, blend in melted candy bar mixture until thoroughly incorporated.
Spoon  batter into prepared Bundt pan. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from toven and cool 10 minutes. Invert onto wire rack and cool completely.

To Prepare Glaze: Melt candy bars with the butter and water until mixture is smooth. Drizzle glaze over cooled cake.

recipe from TasteofHome

1 cup butter, melted
2 cups packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup chopped pecans, divided
2/3 cup milk chocolate M&M's, divided
2/3 cup chopped candy corn, divided
2/3 cup coarsely chopped miniature pretzels, divided
2/3 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips, divided
2/3 cup butterscotch chips, divided
1 jar (12 ounces) hot caramel ice cream topping

Preheat oven to 375°.
Line13 x 9 inch baking pan with parchment paper, letting ends extend up sides; grease paper. In large bowl, beat melted butter and brown sugar until blended. Beat in eggs and vanilla.
Inlarge bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and salt; gradually add to brown sugar mixture, mixing well. Stir in half of pecans, M&M's, candy corn, pretzels, chocolate chips, and butterscotch chips. Spread into prepared pan.
Bake 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.
Spread caramel topping over bars; sprinkle with remaining pecans, M&M's, candy corn, pretzels, chocolate chips and butterscotch chips.
Lifting with parchment paper, remove from pan. Cut into bars.

Still want to make something? Cakespy suggests Deep Frying your Halloween Candy... be still my heart. Literally!

Cartoon of the Day: Halloween Brownies

The Right Beer to go with Halloween Candy

From The Kitchn: The Right Beer to go with Halloween Candy. Read More Here.

Friday, October 30, 2015


I love Candy Corn. It just screams Halloween! According to the National Confectioners Association, 20 million pounds (9000 tons) of candy corn are sold annually. Want to try making your own Candy Corn? Jessie Oleson (aka Cakespy) has a great recipe for Homemade Candy Corn. You will definitely taste the difference. So many ways to incorporate Candy Corn with Chocolate. Here's an easy recipe for Candy Corn Brownies. In a rush? Use a brownie mix and follow the two ways of incorporating candy corn. Don't forget to add more dark chocolate chips or chopped chocolate to the mix!


1/2 lb butter
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1-1/2 cup Dark Cocoa
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup flour
1 tsp Madegascar vanilla extract
1 cup dark chocolate, chopped into small chunks
Lots of Candy Corn

Preheat oven to 350.
Butter 9 x 9 pan.
Beat butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla in bowl.
Stir in flour, cocoa, and salt.
Fold in chopped chocolate pieces.
Pour into prepared baking pan.
Sprinkle candy corn pieces evenly over top (alternatively, you can wait until brownies are baked and place candy corn pieces into top of baked brownies 2 minutes after taking out of oven).
Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Cartoon of the Day: When Witches go Halloweening...

Chocolate Candy Corn Cocktails: National Candy Corn Day

Nothing says Halloween like candy corn! Shaped like real pieces of corn, candy corn is as fun as it is tasty.  In addition to the original candy corn of yellow, orange and white, there are different varieties, including Indian candy corn which is brown where the original candy corn is yellow, adding a hint of chocolate  (it's only a hint and a bit waxy, and it's not real chocolate, but I don't care at Halloween).

The National Confectioners Association estimates that 20 million pounds (9,000 tons) of candy corn are sold annually. The top branded retailer of candy corn, Brach's, sells enough candy corn each year to circle the earth 4.25 times if the kernels were laid end to end. Too much information? 

For more history on Candy Corn, go to an older post (also a recipe for Chocolate Candy Corn Truffles.

So today, why not Drink Your Candy Corn? Following are three very different cocktail recipes for Chocolate Candy Corn Cocktails.

Chocolate Candy Corn Cocktail
From Camarena Tequila:

1 oz Familia Camarena Reposado Tequila
1/2 oz butterscotch schnapps
1/2 oz Crème de Cacao
2 oz fresh orange juice
1 tsp dark cocoa
4 pieces candy corn

Rim martini glass with orange juice then cocoa powder.
In shaker, add tequila, butterscotch schnapps, crème de cocoa and orange juice.
Add ice and shake well.
Strain into prepared martini glass.
Garnish with toothpick of candy corn.

The Chocolate Candy Corn Cocktail
From the Hawthorne Hotel, Salem, MA

Chocolate liqueur
Cinnamon schnapps
Bailey's Irish Cream
Shake and pour over ice

White Chocolate Candy Corn Martini
from A Little Bite of Life Blog

Candy Corn Vodka Mix
1/4 cup M & M's White Chocolate Candy Corn candies
1 cup Vanilla Vodka

For individual cocktail:
3 oz. Candy Corn Vodka Mix
1/2 Jigger (1 oz) Banana Schnapps
2 Jiggers (4 oz) Butterscotch Schnapps
About 4 oz Crushed Ice
About 1 Tbsp Whipping Cream

Place M & M's and Vodka in a small mason jar. Cover and shake well, and then let sit overnight.
To make the cocktail, strain 3 ounces of vodka mix into cocktail shaker.  (strain out any remaining pieces of M & Ms).
Add banana and butternut schnapps. Add crushed ice and shake well, using another cocktail shaker to shake.
Strain into martini glass, and carefully float cream on  top.

 Celebrate Candy Corn Day!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Vintage Halloween 'Cooky' Cutters & Chocolate Cookie Recipe

I found these wonderful 1960s Halloween Cookie (Cooky) Cutters a few years ago at the Alameda Flea Market. Love the box and the shapes.

I've posted some great chocolate cookie recipes, but here's one I adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe. Just a few changes, and since Martha uses this recipe with her own bat and cat cookie cutters, these cookies are great to make with these retro cookie cutters. The chocolate cookies are very crisp. I think using dark cocoa gives them an even richer taste.

Chocolate Cats and Bats, Witches and Brooms: 
Halloween Cookies

Makes 40 to 50

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled) plus more for rolling and cutting out dough
3/4 cup unsweetened DARK cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
12 Tbsp sweet butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
Small candies or sprinkles, for decorating (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, and salt; set aside.
In large bowl, with electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy; beat in egg. On low speed, mix in flour mixture. Divide dough in half, and form into 2 disks, each about 3/4 inch thick. Wrap disks in plastic; chill until firm, at least 45 minutes and up to 2 days.
On lightly floured sheet of waxed paper, using floured rolling pin, roll dough 1/4 inch thick. (If dough becomes too soft to work with, refrigerate for a few minutes.)
Using 2- to 3-inch Halloween cookie cutters, cut out shapes, dipping cutters in flour as necessary to prevent sticking; place on baking sheet, spacing 1 inch apart.
Bake until surface is dry to the touch, 10 to 15 minutes (if decorating, press candies into dough halfway through baking-as in eyes on the cats, etc).
Cool cookies 1 to 2 minutes on baking sheet; transfer to rack to cool completely.

Gluten Free Halloween Chocolate Candy

Thought I'd post a short list of Gluten Free Chocolate Candy for your Trick or Treating goblin. This is only a short list that references some of the more popular Chocolate Candies. Of course, you'll want to check, just to be sure! Happy Halloween! Be safe!

Hershey's Milk Chocolate Kisses

Hershey's Milk Duds

Almond Joy


3 Musketeers Bars

Milky Way Caramel Bars

M&Ms (except pretzel-flavored)


Baby Ruth




Oh Henry

Heath Bars


Tootsie Rolls

Tootsie Pops

Junior Mints

PEEPS Chocolate Mousse Flavored Cats

Heath Bars


Hershey's Milk Chocolate Bar

Reese's Peanut Butter Cups

Rolo Caramels in Milk Chocolate  (not the minis)

York Peppermint Patties

Reese's Pieces


Scharffenberger (all products-except cocoa)

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Gluten Free Chocolate & Peanut Butter Chip Brownies

I'm always looking for Gluten Free Recipes, and this recipe for Gluten-Free Chocolate & Peanut Butter Chip Brownies is a winner. It's from Reese's. You can use Reese's Pieces, if you chop them up, but the chips are easier.


3/4 cup butter, melted
1-1/2 cups sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 eggs
3/4 cup gluten-free all-purpose baking mix
1/2 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
1-2/3 cups (10-oz. pkg.) REESE'S Peanut Butter Chips

Heat oven to 350°F.
Grease 13x9x2-inch baking pan.
Combine butter, sugar, and vanilla in large bowl. Add eggs; beat well with spoon.
Stir together baking mix and cocoa; gradually add to egg mixture, beating until well blended.
Stir in peanut butter chips.
Spread batter evenly in prepared pan.
Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until brownies begin to pull away from sides of pan.
Cool completely in pan on wire rack.
Cut into bars.

NOTE: Always read labels of each ingredient to ensure that they are gluten free prior to use.

Chocolate Dresses at the Salon du Chocolat in Paris

Chocolate Dresses at the Salon du Chocolat in Paris! How cool are these? Perfect for Chocolate Day! Photos from The Guardian.  

More Photos of Chocolate Dresses at the Salon here
HT: Peter Handel

National Chocolate Day

From the talented Sandra Boynton.

For more great illustrations, useful facts and cheerful misinformation, buy her book Chocolate: The Consuming Passion - A Handbook for the Truly Obsessed (Workman).

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Chocolate Candy Corn Bark

Halloween is all about Candy Corn, and Candy Corn Bark is easy and terrific. Here's a simple 'recipe" that came across my stream on Facebook today from Ziploc. Just fill a Ziploc bag with melted white chocolate and cut the corner..drizzle over the chocolate and candy corn. As always, use the very best chocolate. Once you've chilled the Bark, break it into pieces. Yum!


Here's a really easy recipe from Martha Stewart for White Chocolate Ghost Pops! It's the perfect treat and activity for Halloween. The kids will love it.

Makes about 15

12 ounces white chocolate, chopped or white chocolate disks (I use Ghirardelli or Guittard -- be sure to use 'real' white chocolate!)
1 1/2 Tbsp vegetable oil
Lollipop sticks
Mini chocolate chips

Line baking sheet with waxed paper; set aside.
Melt white chocolate in heat-proof bowl over simmering water; stir occasionally.
Remove bowl; mix in oil.
Drop 1 tablespoon of mixture onto prepared baking sheet.
Use back of teaspoon to quickly spread into ghost.
Place lollipop stick at base, spinning to coat.
Add chocolate chip eyes.
Refrigerate ghosts 5 minutes, then peel off waxed paper.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Cartoon of the Day: Halloween Locavores

Chocolate Pumpkin Bark

I love seasonal candy, and since today is National Pumpkin Day, Chocolate Pumpkin Bark is at the top of my list. Halloween is definitely the time for pumpkin and chocolate candy. Cost Plus World Market has delicious Milk Chocolate Pumpkin Bark in a great tin. It's milk chocolate swirled with pumpkin. 

Want to make your own? Elizabeth LaBau on has a great recipe. I really like this recipe because she uses dark chocolate.

Pumpkin Chocolate Bark

For this recipe, you'll need orange oil-based candy coloring and oil-based candy pumpkin flavoring--water-based colorings and flavorings do not mix well with the chocolate.

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate, chopped, or chocolate chips
1 tsp pumpkin-flavored candy oil
1 1/2 cups white chocolate, chopped, or white chocolate chips
orange candy coloring

Line baking sheet with aluminum foil or waxed paper.
If you plan to store this candy at room temperature, temper the chocolate. (FYI: you cannot temper chocolate chips). If you are fine with storing candy in  refrigerator, chocolate can simply be melted as described in following instructions.
Place semi-sweet dark chocolate in medium microwave-safe bowl and microwave until melted, stirring after every 30 seconds to prevent overheating.  (or melt chocolate in top of double boiler)
Once chocolate is melted and smooth, stir in 1/2 tsp of pumpkin flavoring and stir until smooth. Scrape melted chocolate onto prepared baking sheet and spread into thin layer, about 1/4 inch thick, using knife or offset spatula. Set aside at room temperature while you prepare white chocolate.
Put white chocolate in microwave-safe bowl and microwave until melted, stirring after every 30 seconds to prevent overheating. Once melted, add remaining 1/2 tsp of pumpkin flavoring, and few drops of orange candy oil. Stir until well-mixed, and add more coloring if necessary to achieve the shade of orange you want.
Take large spoon and drop spoonfuls of orange all over chocolate on baking sheet. Use toothpick or tip of knife to swirl orange and chocolate together. Try not to swirl too much, or color will become muddy and swirls indistinct.
Refrigerate tray to set chocolate -- about 15 minutes.
Once set, breakbark into small irregular pieces with your hands. If chocolate has been tempered, you can store it in an airtight container at room temperature, but if not, you should keep Pumpkin Chocolate Bark in airtight container in the refrigerator to prevent it from becoming too soft.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Peppermint Chocolate Cake: Happy Anniversary!

Today is my Anniversary, and this Peppermint Chocolate Cake is divine! How fun that the Retro Baker's Chocolate Ad is is all about Janet! Well, yes, it's all about me!

I love these Baker's Chocolate Ads that tell a story. The reality, though, is that they're pretty sexist. This ad dates from 1938, but the recipe is still great. FYI: I wasn't around in 1938.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Halloween Ration Cake: Retro Ad & Recipe

Halloween is all about candy, and that means sugar. What to do when sugar is rationed? Well, here's a great Retro Ad & Recipe from Spry for Halloween Ration Cake. It's actually a Devil's Food Cake recipe, so that's perfect for the holiday, too. Spry, by the way, was a shortening similar to Cisco. This recipe calls for 7/8 cup of sugar. It's a "Wonder-Working" recipe! There was another Ration Recipe at the bottom, but I cut it off. It was for liver.

Read more about Spry HERE.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Boston Cream Pie Day!

Today is National Boston Cream Pie Day. A Boston Cream Pie is a round cake that is split and filled with a custard or cream filling and frosted with chocolate. Not exactly your standard pie, but it's been around since 1855 or 1856 (two different sources with different dates).

According to Wikipedia, Boston Cream Pies were created by French Chef M. Sanzian at Boston's Parker House Hotel, opened in 1855. This pudding/cake combination comprises two layers of sponge cake filled with vanilla custard or crème pâtissière. The cake was topped with a chocolate glaze (such as ganache) and sometimes confectioner's sugar or a cherry. The cherry and sugar topping is rarely used any more.

The real question is why this is called a pie? It's a cake, after all -- two layers of yellow cake filled with custard and topped with chocolate frosting. Suggestions on why it's called pie are welcome. And here's an esoteric fact: The Boston cream pie is the official desert of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. 

This Retro Ad (3/29/68) from Jello-O Pudding has a quick and easy recipe for Boston Cream Pie. I really prefer making the cake, filling, and ganache from scratch. You know I'm a sucker for good chocolate which for me will make or break the taste of a good Boston Cream Pie. However, if you don't have time, I've posted the Jell-O Pudding Boston Cream Pie recipe below.


1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sifted cake flour
2/3 cup sugar
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup cooking oil
2 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla
2 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
Pastry cream, recipe follows
Ganache, recipe follows

Pastry Cream Filling
2 cups milk
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped out
6 egg yolks
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 Tbsp sweet butter

8 ounces good quality semisweet chocolate
1 cup heavy cream, boiling


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In medium mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Make well in center of flour mixture. Add milk, oil, egg yolks, and vanilla. Beat with electric mixer on low to medium speed until combined. Beat additional 3 minutes on high speed and set aside.

In large mixing bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar on medium to high speed until soft peaks form. Pour egg yolk mixture over egg white mixture and fold in. Gently pour batter into 9-inch greased pie pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched. Invert pan onto wire rack. Cool completely.

Pastry Cream Filling
In medium saucepan, heat milk and vanilla bean to boil over medium heat. Immediately turn off heat and set aside to infuse for 10 to 15 minutes. In bowl, whisk egg yolks and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add cornstarch and whisk vigorously until no lumps remain. Whisk in 1/4 cup of the hot milk mixture until incorporated. Whisk in remaining hot milk mixture, reserving empty saucepan.

Pour mixture through strainer back into saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until thickened and slowly boiling. Remove from heat and stir in  butter. Let cool slightly. Cover with plastic wrap, lightly pressing  plastic against surface to prevent skin from forming. Chill at least 2 hours or until ready to serve. (Custard can be made up to 24 hours in advance. Refrigerate until 1 hour before using.)

In medium bowl, pour boiling cream over chopped chocolate and stir until melted.

To assemble pie
Remove cake from pan. Cut cake in half horizontally. Place bottom layer on serving plate or board, and spread with pastry cream. Top with second cake layer. Pour chocolate ganache over and down sides of cake. Store in refrigerator.

II. Jell-O Pudding Boston Cream Pie

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Graveyard Ice Cream Pie & Graveyard Cake: Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween! There are a lot of recipes for Graveyard Ice Cream Pie and Graveyard Cake. For Halloween this year, I'm posting a recipe for each. Of course, you can always substitute your favorite recipes. The recipe for Graveyard Ice Cream Pie is adapted from Martha Stewart. She calls it "I Scream" Graveyard Pie. This year I'm going to use PEEPS' new Marshmallow Tombstones, instead of the Milano Cookies and candy skulls Martha uses in the original recipe.  Want to make this even more chocolatey? Make a chocolate Cookie Crust instead of graham cracker crust. The second recipe is for Graveyard Cake, and the recipe from Betty Crocker. It uses a cake mix, so if you're a purist, make your own favorite chocolate cake. Once again, I'm going to use the PEEPS' Marshmallow Tombstones...and Ghosts. Gotta love PEEPS.


16 graham crackers, broken into large pieces
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 pint vanilla ice cream, softened
1 cup roughly chopped chocolate flaky-crisp candy bars, such as Butterfinger "fun size" (about 8)
1 pint chocolate ice cream, softened
1 cup roughly chopped chocolate-coconut candy bars, such as Mounds "snack size" (about 8)
2 tablespoons chocolate chips, melted and cooled
20 chocolate wafers, such as Famous

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In food processor, process graham crackers until finely ground (you should have about 2 cups). With motor running, add butter in slow, steady stream and pulse until combined. Firmly press crumb mixture into bottom and up side of a 9 1/2-inch pie plate. Bake until crust is dry and set, about 20 minutes. Let cool completely in plate on a wire rack, 45 minutes.

In medium bowl, stir vanilla ice cream with wooden spoon until smooth. Fold in flaky-crisp candy bars. With small offset spatula, spread ice cream mixture evenly in crust. Freeze until firm, 1 hour 20 minutes.

Stir chocolate ice cream until smooth. Fold in coconut candy bars and spread evenly on top of vanilla ice cream layer. Freeze until firm, 1 hour.

In clean food processor, pulse wafers until finely ground (you should have about 1 1/4 cups). Spread crumbs on top of pie. With a knife, cut slits for "tombstones" and insert PEEPS Marshmallow Tombstones. 

(recipe from Betty Crocker)

1 box Betty Crocker SuperMoist devil’s food cake mix
Water, oil and eggs called for on cake mix box
1 container Betty Crocker Rich & Creamy chocolate frosting
4 PEEPS® brand marshmallow ghosts
4 PEEPS® brand marshmallow tombstones
1 cup chocolate cookie crumbs (10 cookies)

Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 13x9-inch pan with cooking spray.
Make cake as directed on box for 13x9-inch pan. Cool in pan on cooling rack until completely cooled, about 1 hour.
Spread chocolate frosting on top of cake; place marshmallows around edges of cake.
Sprinkle cake cookie crumbs to look like dirt.
Cut into 5 rows by 4 rows.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars: Pumpkin Cheesecake Day

Today is Pumpkin Cheesecake Day. Last year I posted a Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake that is one of my favorites.

This year I thought I'd post another favorite recipe involving cheesecake and chocolate -- Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars. This recipe for Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars is adapted from Martha  It's a good recipe as is, but I changed a few things. I make the filling using my mixer, not a food processor. I find the results are smoother,  and I'm better able to control the consistency and not overmix. I also use the very best quality dark chocolate. I love a chocolate cookie crust with pumpkin, so there's even more chocolate! These taste and look delicious. You can even stuff these in a school lunch...but they'll probably be eaten long before lunch.


20 chocolate wafer cookies, (half a 9-ounce package)
2 Tbsp sugar
4 Tbsp sweet butter, melted

2 packages bar cream cheese (8 ounces each)
1 cup sugar
1 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin puree
3 large eggs
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp pumpkin-pie spice
1/2 tsp salt
4 ounces dark chocolate, 65-75% cacao, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line bottom and sides of 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil, leaving overhang on all sides. Set aside.
2. In food processor, blend cookies with sugar until finely ground (you should have about 1 cup crumbs); add butter, and pulse until moistened.
3. Transfer crumb mixture to prepared pan, and press into bottom. Bake until slightly firm, 12 to 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.
4. Mix cream cheese in standing mixer until smooth. Add sugar, pumpkin puree, eggs, flour, pumpkin-pie spice, and salt; mix until combined. Set aside.
5. Place chocolate in microwave-safe bowl; microwave in 30-second increments, stirring between each, until melted--or melt in double boiler on stovetop. Add 1 cup pumpkin mixture; stir to combine. Set aside.
6. Pour remaining pumpkin mixture into prepared pan. Drop dollops of chocolate mixture onto pumpkin mixture; swirl. To create swirls, drag blade of paring knife through chocolate and pumpkin mixtures several times to make marbled pattern. Bake until cheesecake is set but jiggles slightly when gently shaken, 40 to 50 minutes.
7. Cool in pan. Cover; chill until firm, at least 2 hours (and up to 2 days). Using overhang, transfer cake to work surface. With knife dipped in water, cut into 16 squares. Serve.


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

PEEPS Tombstone Cupcakes: Boo!

I am such a sucker for PEEPS! Such a versatile treat. That's why I always love when PEEPS introduces a new holiday PEEPS product. These Marshmallow Tombstones are really fun! you can throw them in your cocoa, add them to S'mores..or use them decorate brownies and cakes or these PEEPS Tombstone Cupcakes for Halloween!This recipe from Betty Crocker uses Betty Crocker SuperMoist Devil's Food Cake Mix, and, as with most recipes, you can make your own chocolate cupcake batter and frosting. These are so tasty and easy!

PEEPS ® Tombstone Cupcakes
(makes 24 cupcakes)

1 box Betty Crocker SuperMoist Devil's Food cake mix
Water, vegetable oil and eggs called for on cake mix box
1 container Betty Crocker Rich & Creamy chocolate frosting
1 cup finely crushed creme-filled Oreos (8 cookies)
24 PEEPS® Marshmallow Tombstones

Heat oven to 375°F. Place paper baking cup in each of 24 regular-size muffin cups. Make cake batter as directed on box. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups. Bake as directed on box for cupcakes. Cool in pans 10 minutes; remove from pans to cooling racks. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

Frost cupcakes with chocolate frosting. Sprinkle cookie crumbs on large plate. Carefully dip cupcake tops into crumbs to look like dirt (or sprinkle over). Place PEEPS® Marshmallow Tombstone on top of each cupcake.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Chocolate Mousse Jack O'Lantern

Halloween is just around the corner, so I thought I'd start posting Chocolate Halloween recipes! For those looking for some healthier Halloween treats, here's a great recipe for Chocolate Mousse Jack O'Lantern from Chef Anthony Stewart, Executive Chef at Pritikin Longevity Center + Spa.  Of course, you can substitute less healthy's always up to you!

For spooky, chocolatey fun, carve out oranges and fill with Pritikin’s Chocolate Mousse. 

This will make 5 half-cup servings  (that's about right for an orange!)

1/4 cup cold water
1/2 cup cocoa powder, unsweetened
1/4 cup Splenda granulated  (I use sugar)
 2 tsp vanilla extract
12 ounces tofu silken, extra-firm

In medium saucepan, add water and warm over low heat, bringing to low simmer. Add cocoa powder to saucepan, stirring constantly until the mixture becomes fudge-like consistency. Remove from heat. Add Splenda (or sugar) to fudge, mixing well. Add vanilla extract, mixing well.
In food processor fitted with a metal blade, add tofu, and chocolate fudge mixture. Process until mixture is smooth and creamy.
'Carve' out oranges (save and eat the insides). Fill orange with Chocolate Mousse and use mousse to decorate eyes, nose, and mouth!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Homemade Hostess Cupcakes

Today is National Chocolate Cupcake Day, so I thought I'd post a homemade recipe for a nostalgia chocolate cupcake: Hostess CupCakes. FYI: Hostess CupCakes are back on the shelves after a short hiatus, so you can also buy them today. But-- they'll taste so much better if you make your own.   

Hostess CupCakes were produced and distributed by Hostess Brands. The basic Hostess CupCake is a chocolate cupcake with chocolate icing and vanilla creme filling (Marshmallow Fluff flavor), with 8 distinctive squiggles across the top. Hostess claims that it was the first commercially produced cupcake. Maybe. I grew up with TastyCake cakes and pies, and the Chocolate Cupcakes were my favorites. TastyCake makes the same claim about first produced.

From Wikipedia:
The Hostess CupCake was first sold on May 11, 1919. According to author Andrew F. Smith, it was the first commercially produced cupcake, originally produced by the Taggart Bakery as the Chocolate Cup Cake. Hostess has also claimed that it was "the first snack cake ever introduced to the market. In 2004, rival Tastykake disputed this claim, claiming that Tastykake introduced the first snack cake.
Originally, two cupcakes were sold for five cents. Until 1950, the Hostess CupCake did not have any filling or the white squiggly line across the top.
In 1947, D.R. "Doc" Rice, who started his career at Hostess in 1938 with a job that entailed dumping baked cakes on a table, was given the task of developing the Hostess CupCake further. These developments culminated in an updated cupcake in 1950. A white line consisting of squiggles was added to the top in order to distinguish the Hostess CupCake from other brands. The vanilla creme filling was also added. Rice got the idea for using a creme filling when a new machine for injecting filling into Hostess Twinkies became available. Improvements were also made to the cake mix and the chocolate icing in 1950.



2 sticks salted butter, softened  (8 Tbsp in a stick)
2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup natural cocoa powder, (Hershey's Baking Cocoa )
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup whole milk
1 cup Marshmallow Fluff
1/3 cup salted butter, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar

For Frosting and Decoration 
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 cup dark chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 Tbsp salted butter, softened
1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar


Preheat oven to 350°F.
Line a 6- and 12-muffin tin with paper liners.

Cupcake Batter:

In bowl of heavy-duty stand mixer, cream 2 sticks of butter and granulated sugar together at medium speed just until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add eggs, one at time, and mix just until combined. In measuring cup, stir 1/2 the cup of hot water and cocoa together until smooth. Add cocoa mixture to butter mixture and mix on low speed for additional 10 seconds.
In medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. With mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture in batches alternating with milk, beginning and ending with flour and beating after each addition until ingredients are just blended.
Fill each prepared muffin cup half full with chocolate batter.
Bake for 22 to 25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean. Let cool completely on wire rack.

Using clean bowl and stand mixer or electric hand mixer, beat marshmallow fluff, 1/3 cup butter, and 1/3 cup powdered sugar together until combined and fluffy, about 1 minute. Using handle of small fork or spoon, make hole in the top center of each cake. Gently rotate the utensil in each hole to create a small cavity at each opening. Transfer the filling to a piping bag and pipe in just enough marshmallow mixture to fill each hole.
Make sure it doesn't explode; once you feel it growing in size, stop infusing. Use wet fingertip or  back of spoon to tamp down marshmallow peaks, ensuring filling is even with top of cupcake.

In small saucepan, heat cream over medium heat until bubbles form at edges. Add chocolate and remove pan from heat, stirring until chocolate melts. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons butter and continue to stir until smooth. Let cool for three minutes.
Transfer chocolate to large deep glass bowl. Dip top of each cupcake into chocolate to coat, letting the excess chocolate drip back into the bowl.
Let the cupcakes rest on a wire rack set over paper until chocolate is set, about 30 minutes.

Frosting decoration:
In small bowl, beat 1/4 cup butter and 1/2 cup of powdered sugar together until smooth, about two minutes. Transfer frosting to piping bag and decorate top of each cupcake with squiggles. Serve immediately. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

Friday, October 16, 2015

How to Make Your Own Chocolate Liqueur

Today is National Liqueur Day! I often make Chocolate Liqueur Truffles. They're so easy to make, and you can change the liqueurs whenever you'd like. But sometimes I make my own chocolate liqueur. It's simple, and you should try it. Of course you can always buy Chocolate Liqueur, and I'll have to admit that Godiva has an awesome dark Chocolate Liqueur. You might also want to try Mozart Black Chocolate.

But if you want to make your own, try one of the following two recipes for Making Your Own Chocolate Liqueur.

As always, use the best cacao nibs or cocoa, vodka, and vanilla. You won't have the results to taste today, but it will be worth the wait!

The recipe is from Serious Eats, one of my favorite sites.

 2/3 cup cacao nibs
1 1/3 cup vodka
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup water
2 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract

Combine cacao nibs and vodka in sealable glass jar. Shake and let steep for 8 days.
After initial steeping period, bring sugar and water to a boil. Let syrup cool, then add to jar along with vanilla extract. Let steep an additional day.
Strain out nibs through sieve and filter through a coffee filter into bottle or jar. Store in this jar.

This Recipe from Creative Culinary uses Scharffen Berger Cocoa Powder. 

1/4 cup unsweetened good cocoa powder (Scharffen Berger)
1 cup boiling water
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
1 cup vodka

In bowl, dissolve cocoa powder in boiling water.
In saucepan, bring sugar and water to simmer, stirring until sugar is dissolved.
Add sugar syrup to cocoa syrup.
Strain through fine-mesh sieve into jar with lid.
Add vodka, cover and refrigerate for one week.
To serve, stir well and strain again through fine-mesh sieve.
These two recipes should get you started. Try less sugar and maybe add almond extract--or use rum instead of vodka. Experiment!

You can drink this straight, use it in truffles, or make a martini.

Have a wonderful National Liqueur Day. Make it Chocolate!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Cat-Shaped Marshmallows

O.K. I saw a link to these Cat-Shaped Marshmallows on my friend Susan Frank's facebook page. OMG, I so want these. Hot Chocolate will not be the same after these. These Cat-Shaped Marshmallows (Cafe Cat&Paw) are unfortunately not for sale in the US--yet! They are produced by the Japanese confectioner Yawahada. Hope they'll find a distributor here soon.

Here's a link to the article, but not to a place to buy them. :-(

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake: 3 Easy Recipes

Today is National Dessert Day. So to celebrate the holiday I thought I'd post three great recipes for Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake. I've posted about chocolate mayonnaise cake before. You'd be surprised how many recipes there are. Seems like everyone's Aunt Sadie had a recipe. It shouldn't be a surprise to you that mayonnaise was used so often in past generations. Do you remember mayonnaise in jello molds? That used to be a staple at special occasions all over the U.S. If you don't remember, be glad!

As I said there are many recipes for Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake. Here are two Retro recipes for Hellmann's Chocolate Mayo Cake and a newer recipe for a Chocolate Mayonnaise Bundt Cake. I have found several of these ads over the years--some recipes use eggs and some don't. I think the earlier recipes must be from the 30s and early 40s. 

Mayonnaise Cakes are really moist, so it's hard to go wrong on any of these recipes.

Want to try a variation of the recipes above? Use Miracle Whip instead of Mayonnaise. Totally different taste. Most people are particular when it comes to the choice between Mayonnaise and Miracle Whip. I still think it's worth trying Miracle Whip in this chocolate cake recipe... or for that matter, in the bundt cake recipe below. Word to the wise: don't taste the batter before it's baked. It will seem a bit odd, but the final results will be delicious.

And, just for good measure, here's a third recipe for Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake!

Chocolate Mayonnaise Bundt Cake

1 cup sugar
2 cups flour
6 Tbsp dark cocoa
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla (or whatever you have)
1 cup mayonnaise (or Miracle Whip)
1 egg, whipped
1 cup lukewarm water
1 cup chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate 70% or higher cacao
powdered sugar

Blend dry ingredients.
Mix in vanilla, mayonnaise, egg and water-- just enough to get all ingredients blended.
Fold in chocolate chips (broken up chocolate)
Pour into greased Bundt pan.
Bake at 375 degrees for about 35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
Cool cake.
Dust with powdered sugar.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

M&M Chocolate Chip Party Cookies

Today is National M&M Day! So in honor of the day, here's a Retro Ad & Recipe for "Party Cookies"... This ad is from the 50s and was reworked as another ad calling the same cookies "Color Cookies" Why? Not sure, except the second ad included Crisco as the shortening and showed a can of Crisco. I use butter in my cookies, so my own M&M recipe follows. Be sure to scroll down. I add chocolate chips, as well as M&Ms- and you can always add walnuts, too!


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoons baking soda
12 tablespoons salted butter, melted and cooled
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs at room temperature
2 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
1 cup M&Ms  (or 1/2 cup M&Ms plus 1/2 cup chocolate chips)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Melt and cool butter. Set aside.
In a bowl, mix flour and baking soda together.
In separate bowl, whisk together butter and sugars. Add egg, egg yolk, vanilla. Mix together.
Slowly add flour and baking soda mixture to bowl until dough forms.
Fold in M&Ms (and chocolate chips if using).
Put dough in fridge for 10 minutes.
Take dough out.
Form cookies into balls or drop by heaping tablespoons on prepared cookie sheet (either silpat or parchment lined). Flatten slightly and/or top with more M&Ms.
Leave space between each cookie.
Bake 9-12 minutes or until golden brown.
Cool cookies on rack.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Chocolate Persimmon Bread Pudding

I 've been thinking about Fall Chocolate recipes, and I remembered a recipe I posted a few years ago for Chocolate Persimmon recipe. 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. It's the perfect Autumn dessert!  Be sure to use Fuyu Persimmons (not Hachiya).


4 cups half-and-half
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened DARK cocoa powder
4 eggs
1 Tbsp Madagascar vanilla extract
1 loaf challah, cut into 1-inch cubes (this also works well with a Brioche loaf)
1 cup chocolate chips (or a cup of chopped chocolate--65-70% cacao)
2 ripe fuyu persimmons, quartered and cut into 1/4-inch slices

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 (or chopped chocolate).
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.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Christopher Columbus and Super Rich Spanish Hot Chocolate

In the U.S., we celebrate Columbus Day, although some cities (mine) and states people call it Indigenous People Day. In terms of chocolate, though, Christopher Columbus was the first European to come in contact with cacao. On August 15, 1502, on his fourth and last voyage to the Americas, Columbus and his crew encountered a large dugout canoe near an island off the coast of what is now Honduras. The canoe was the largest native vessel the Spaniards had seen. It was "as long as a galley," and was filled with local goods for trade -- including cacao beans. Columbus's crew seized the vessel and its goods, and retained its captain as his guide.

Later, Columbus' son Ferdinand wrote about the encounter. He was struck by how much value the Native Americans placed on cacao beans, saying: "They seemed to hold these almonds [referring to the cacao beans] at a great price; for when they were brought on board ship together with their goods, I observed that when any of these almonds fell, they all stooped to pick them up, as if an eye had fallen."

At first, however, the cocoa beans were neglected. Despite the bitterness of the drink produced, Columbus claimed the resulting concoction was a "divine drink which builds up resistance and fights fatigue. A cup of this precious drink permits a man to walk for a whole day without food". 

What Ferdinand and the other members of Columbus' crew didn't know at the time was that cocoa beans were the local currency. In fact, in some parts of Central America, cacao beans were used as currency as recently as the last century.

While it is likely that Columbus brought the cacao beans he seized back to Europe, their potential value was initially overlooked by the Spanish King and his court. Far more exciting treasures on board his galleons meant the cocoa beans were ignored. It was his fellow explorer, the Spanish Conquistador Don Hernán Cortés, who first realized their commercial value. He brought back three chests full of cocoa beans to Spain in 1528 and very gradually, the custom of drinking the chocolate spread across Europe.

It was still served as a beverage when the Spanish first brought chocolate back to Europe. Cortez, described chocolatl as "the divine drink ... which builds up resistance and fights fatigue," and his countrymen, conceived the idea of sweetening the bitter drink with cane sugar.

The recipe for the sweetened frothy beverage underwent several more changes in Spain, where newly discovered spices such as cinnamon and vanilla were added as flavorings. The original chili pepper that made the spicy drink was replaced by sugar to make a sweet beverage. The sweetened chocolate beverage was a luxury that only a few could afford.

By the 17th century, the drink became common among European nobility. In London, chocolate was more widely available, and those who could afford it could enjoy the drink in coffee and chocolate houses.

Super Rich Spanish Hot Chocolate 
Makes two mugs!

5 Tbsp good quality unsweetened DARK cocoa powder
4 Tbsp sugar
1/2 Tbsp corn starch
1 tsp Mexican vanilla extract
1 cup water

Combine cocoa powder, sugar and corn starch in small bowl.
Pour COLD water into small sauce pan, add vanilla extract and cocoa mixture, and cook at medium low heat, stirring constantly.
Cook until it thickens and serve immediately.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Taza 5 Minute Chocolate Cake in a Mug

Since there's always chocolate at my house, I have no excuse for not baking a chocolate cake.. but suppose I don't really want to make an entire cake. Suppose it's just me? 5 Minute Cake in a Mug to the Rescue. I've posted other recipes for 5 Minute Cake in a Mug, but this recipe from Taza, my favorite daily chocolate, is exceptional. Well, Taza Chocolate is exceptional! I have made this with the Taza Chocolate Mexicano (70% dark), but for variety, you could use the Taza Chiptole Chocolate or the Taza Orange Mexicano disc. Whichever you choose, you'll end up with the perfect single serving cake!

Recipe from the Taza Recipe Library.

Taza 5 Minute Chocolate Cake in a Mug

Serves 1

2 Tbsp sweet butter
1 disc Taza Chocolate Mexicano, broken into several pieces
1 Tbsp sugar
1 large egg
1 Tbsp unsweetened Dark cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder

In large mug, place butter and chocolate and microwave for 45 seconds.
In separate bowl, whisk together sugar, egg, cocoa, salt, flour, and baking powder until smooth, then add to mug and whisk until fully incorporated.
Microwave on high for 1 minute, allow to cool for a few seconds, and eat!