Wednesday, January 31, 2018


What a spectacular morning! The Super Blue Moon Eclipse was amazing. This was a really fabulous astronomical event on so many levels. A super moon appears bigger and brighter in the night sky than usual, so it was gorgeous. And, to top it off, there was a Lunar Eclipse! Add to that that this is a Blue Moon (two full moons in one month). Amazing.

Given that we were all told at some time in our lives that the 'Moon is Made of Cheese,' I think this recipe for Blue Cheese Brownies is also perfect to celebrate this extraordinary Super Blue Moon Eclipse. This recipe for Blue Cheese Brownies is adapted from Mandy at Monetize Your Vision.

Super Blue Moon Eclipse Brownies

8 ounces good quality dark chocolate (65-80% cacao), chopped
16 Tbsp unsalted butter
3/4 cup of good quality blue cheese (I use Rogue or Humboldt or Cowgirl Creamery)
3 medium eggs
2 cups caster/fine sugar (not confectioners sugar)
1/3 cup good quality DARK cocoa powder
1 cup of all purpose flour
1 1/2 level tsp of baking powder

Melt chocolate, blue cheese, and butter in saucepan over saucepan of simmering hot water. Set aside to cool slightly.
Whisk eggs with sugar and mix with cooled chocolate, blue cheese, and butter mixture.
Sift and stir in cocoa and flour.
Pour mixture into greased parchment (or waxed paper) lined baking pan.
Bake for 35 minutes at 350.
COOL (totally) on rack before taking out or they will totally fall apart.
When cooled, ease around the edges with a knife and cut.

And this fabulous moon setting this morning!

Tuesday, January 30, 2018


Today is National Croissant Day! Yesterday I posted a short review of Trader Joe's Chocolate Croissants. They're great, quick, and easy. But maybe you want to make your own croissants? Who better to go to then the French Chef, Julia Child! Here's a video of her Croissant Episode, Season 3, Episode 20 (1966?)

Monday, January 29, 2018


Tomorrow is National Croissant Day. There's nothing quite like waking up to a flaky buttery croissant. I have my favorite sources for croissants. I love the ones at La Fournee Bakery in Berkeley (close to my home), and, of course, the many cafes and bakeries in Paris.

But maybe you just want to wake up to fresh croissants without leaving home. Trader Joe's Chocolate Croissants to the rescue. These are some of the best frozen croissants you'll ever taste. The 'proof' is in the pudding, as they say, and these croissants are proofed (allowed to rise) overnight before they're baked for 20 minutes the following morning. The heavenly smell will take over your kitchen. Perfect for the weekend or National Croissant Day.

And, the price can't be beat--$4.49 for 4! In the San Francisco Bay Area, Chef Jean-Yves Charon from Galaxy Bakery is the genius behind Trader Joe's Chocolate Croissants. Rumor has it that Williams Sonoma gets their frozen croissants from the same source. So, Trader Joe's represents a huge savings in cost.

O.K., these "Croissants" are really Pain au Chocolat, as anyone can see by the shape, so feel free to imagine yourself at a sidewalk cafe in Paris when eating these! The croissants are incredibly flaky and buttery, so light and airy, and the Callebaut chocolate is rich and delicious. Since there are four to a box, and each croissant contains 18 grams of fat, you might want to offer a few to family or friends. If you don't care what they'll do to your waistline or thighs, indulge. They're terrific!

This is one product that outshines most home baked croissants. Yes, you can make your own Chocolate Croissants, but these are so good, why bother?

You'll find TJ's Chocolate Croissants in the freezer section.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

BLUEBERRY CHOCOLATE CHIP PANCAKES: 2 Recipes for National Blueberry Pancake Day

Yesterday was National Blueberry Pancake Day, and it's not too late to celebrate. There are actually two or three pancake days on the calendar! So for the holiday here are two ways to celebrate:  Chocolate Chip Blueberry Pancakes--two ways.

This first recipe is from Cooking Light for Perfect Buttermilk pancakes. I've added blueberries and chocolate to tweak the recipe! I usually have fresh blueberries around, but if you don't, you can use frozen blueberries. Trader Joe's has wild blueberries that go great in this recipe. Don't thaw before adding the frozen blueberries. The second recipe is for Blueberry Chocolate Chip Pancakes in a Jar.


1 cup all purpose flour
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 tsp vegetable oil
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Cooking spray
1 cup Blueberries (less if frozen.. I like the frozen Wild Blueberries from Trader Joe's. don't thaw, if frozen)
1/2 cup Dark Chocolate chips

Spoon flour into dry measuring cup; level with knife.
Combine flour and next 4 ingredients (flour through salt) in large bowl, and make well in center of mixture. Combine buttermilk, oil, and egg; add to flour mixture, stirring until smooth. Fold in Blueberries and Chocolate Chips.
Spoon about 1/4 cup batter onto hot nonstick griddle or nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray.
Turn pancakes when tops are covered with bubbles and edges seem cooked.

So that's what you'll make fresh today! I'm also fond of Mixes in a Jar. Here's a quick and delicious recipe for Chocolate Blueberry Pancakes in a Jar. You can have this on hand or to give as a gift. One helpful hint, when making mixes in a jar, really pack the ingredients in. Use a tamper, if you have one...except for the dried blueberries and chocolate that you'll put on top.


2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
4 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup dried Blueberries
2/3 cup mini dark chocolate chips

Layer flour, then sugar, then baking powder mixed with baking soda and salt in 1-quart wide-mouth jar.
Add blueberries, then chocolate chips.
Seal Jar.
Cover jar with burlap or other fabric and tie with raffia or a bow.

Attach gift tag with the following instructions:

Chocolate Blueberry Pancakes 
Makes 25 pancakes
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1-1/2 to 2 cups whole milk (or buttermilk)

Mix eggs and melted butter in large bowl. Add contents of jar. Stir until well blended.
Add 1-1/2 cups milk. Stir until dry ingredients are moistened.
Heat griddle or skillet.
Pour batter onto hot griddle 1/4 cup at a time.
Cook pancakes until golden on both sides.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

MARSHMALLOW FUDGE CAKE: National Chocolate Cake Day!

Today is National Chocolate Cake Day! What are you making? Here's an oldie but goody 1925 recipe from Campfire Marshmallows for Campfire Marshmallow Fudge Cake.


Campfire Marshmallow Fudge Cake 

2 tablespoons butter
2 cups sugar
4 squares bitter chocolate, melted
2 eggs
2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
45 Campfire marshmallows

Cream butter and sugar, add melted chocolate. Put yolks of eggs in a cup, and add milk to make 1-1/2 cups. Add milk and flour alternatively. Beat whites of eggs and fold in. Bake in 3 square pans lined with oiled paper.
While cake is baking, cut 45 marshmallows in 4 pieces each (15 marshmallows for each layer).
Remove cakes from tins as soon as they come from the oven. Place marshmallows immediately between and on top of the cakes. The heat of the cakes will cause them to melt slightly and adhere to the cake. Cover with fudge frosting (recipe below).
Fudge frosting recipe for Campfire Marshmallow Cake
2 squares chocolate
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon flour
1/3 cup milk
Few grains salt
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Melt chocolate over hot water, add sugar, flour, and salt mixed together, and when smooth, add milk slowly. Cook until it spins a thread one inch long.
Add butter and vanilla; cool beat until of the right consistency to spread without running, and pour over the marshmallows.
If frosting becomes too thick, set the pan of frosting over hot water and stir until frosting softens then pour over the cake.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Chocolate Walnut Clusters & Walnut Surprise Squares: Retro Ad & Recipes

I love Retro Ads with Recipes, and this Diamond Walnuts Advertisement from 1950 sure fits the bill. I I love the graphics--and the recipes. A change I would make is to substitute good quality very dark chocolate instead of unsweetened chocolate, but it's up to you!If you do, you can cut down a bit on the sugar. So here are two chocolate walnut recipes: Chocolate Walnut Clusters & Walnut Surprise Squares! Sometimes you feel like a Nut!

Thursday, January 25, 2018

IRISH COFFEE TRUFFLES: National Irish Coffee Day!

Today is National Irish Coffee Day, and it's a beautiful day in the neighborhood! If I have time later, I'm going to stop by the Buena Vista Cafe for a glass of Irish Coffee. Irish Coffee was invented at the Buena Vista Cafe, right here in San Francisco.

Many years ago, on my first day in California, I was lucky to hitch a ride with a visiting dignitary. The day's tour of San Francisco included the hills of San Francisco, Sonoma County, the Renaissance Fair, Sausalito, Fisherman's Wharf, the Palace of Fine Arts, Cliff House, the Golden Gate Bridge and a stop at the Buena Vista Cafe for an Irish Coffee. I saw more of the San Francisco Bay Area on that one day than I did over the next ten years of living here.

Irish Coffee at the Buena Vista is a very San Francisco drink invented in 1952 at The Buena Vista Cafe. The recipe was a collaborative effort between Jack Koeppler, the Buena Vista’s owner, and Stanton Delaplane, a well-known international travel writer and Chronicle columnist. Here's the original recipe. Irish Coffee at the Buena Vista is still made the same way.

The official story of Irish Coffee tells of the perseverance and repeated attempts of Koeppler & Delaplane and even a trip to Shannon Airport, where a forerunner of Koeppler’s vision was served. The whipped cream posed a problem, but the input of a prominent dairy farmer turned Mayor of San Francisco, solved the problem: Age the cream for 48 hours and froth it to a precise consistency so it would float on top of the hot coffee, to Koeppler’s specifications.

So if you're in San Francisco today, it's a big day at the Buena Vista. Stop by and raise a glass!

Since I love alcohol infused truffles, I decided to post a recipe for Irish Coffee Truffles. You'll love this easy recipe from Martha Stewart Weddings. I use darker chocolate than in the original recipe, but otherwise, it's just about the same. I also often roll the truffles in ground chocolate espresso beans! This recipe is pretty much no fail, and that's what I like!


Vegetable-oil cooking spray
1 pound plus 14 ounces bittersweet chocolate, (60-75%), finely chopped
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup plus1Tbsp packed dark-brown sugar
4 large egg yolks
3/4 cup Irish whiskey
2 Tbsp coffee extract
1/4 tsp coarse salt
Good-quality unsweetened cocoa powder, for rolling  (or ground chocolate covered espresso beans!)

Coat 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray; line with plastic wrap, allowing a 2-inch overhang; set aside.
Put chocolate and butter into medium heatproof bowl set over pan of simmering water; stir until chocolate and butter have melted. Remove from heat.
In separate saucepan, bring cream, corn syrup, and brown sugar to boil over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Immediately pour over chocolate mixture; whisk until smooth.
Whisk in yolks, whiskey, coffee extract, and salt.
Pour into prepared pan.
Cover with plastic wrap, pressing directly on surface to prevent a skin from forming.
Refrigerate until firm enough to roll into balls, about 4 hours (or more).
Using 1-inch ice cream scoop or medium melon baller, scoop chocolate into balls, immersing scoop completely, then rotating it; transfer to rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment. Refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes.
Coeur d'Alene Irish Coffee Truffles
Put cocoa powder into shallow dish. Remove truffles from refrigerator. Roll each ball in your palms until completely smooth, then roll in cocoa powder (or crushed chocolate covered espresso beans) to coat (if truffles become too soft to roll, return to refrigerator until firm); transfer to rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 30 minutes (up to 3 days).

No time or ingredients to make your own? You can buy Irish Coffee Truffles. I'm very fond of the Coeur d'Alene Irish Coffee Truffle. Maybe easier to find if you have to celebrate today would be the Lindt Irish Coffee Bar. They're both great and use real Irish whisky. Or, you can check with your local chocolatier. They might make a great Irish Coffee Truffle. If you find one you like, let me know! Make a comment below and win chocolate!

Wednesday, January 24, 2018


Today is National Peanut Butter Day! Here's a great and easy recipe for Extra Nutty Peanut Butter Fudge Brownies adapted from a Pillsbury recipe. I don't usually use boxed mixes, but this is a good recipe. Of course you can make your own brownies and just add the layer of peanut butter fudge and 1/2 cup chopped peanuts. I really like the clean salty taste of plain roasted peanuts, rather than the recommended honey-roasted peanuts in the original recipe. I also add chocolate chips to the recipe and cut down on the peanut butter chips. You can never have enough chocolate!

Have a Peanut Buttery Day!


2 (15.8 oz) pkg. fudge brownie mix with chocolate syrup
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup water
2 eggs
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated)
7 ounces peanut butter chips
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup roasted salted peanuts, coarsely chopped

Heat oven to 350°F. Spray with nonstick cooking spray or grease bottom only of 13x9-inch pan.
In large bowl, combine brownie mixes, chocolate pouches from mixes, oil, water and eggs; beat 50 strokes with spoon. Fold in chocolate chips. Pour about half of batter into sprayed pan.
In large saucepan, combine condensed milk, peanut butter chips, and peanut butter; cook over low heat for 5 minutes or until chips and peanut butter are melted, stirring constantly.
Spoon and spread peanut butter mixture over batter.
Drop remaining half of batter over peanut butter layer.
Sprinkle with chopped peanuts.
Bake at 350°F. for 35 to 40 minutes or until edges begin to pull away from sides of pan. DO NOT OVERBAKE. 
Cool 2 hours.
Cut into bars.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018


I recently re-watched Waitress, a smart and quirky foodie movie from 2007. Waitress was written and directed by the late Adrienne Shelly. Jenna, played by Keri Russell, is a woman trapped in a life she dreams of escaping. She plans to save money from her waitressing job to leave her controlling husband and change the course of her life. She's sharp and sassy and has a gift for making unusual pies whose recipes are inspired by the trials and circumstances of her life. Pies such as I Don't Want Earl's Baby Pie, Baby Screamin' Its Head Off in the Middle of the Night & Ruinin' My Life Pie, I Can't Have No Affair Because It's Wrong & I Don't Want Earl to Kill Me Pie, Falling in Love Chocolate Mousse Pie, and Marshmallow Mermaid Pie.

So since today is NATIONAL PIE DAY,  I thought I'd post Jenna's recipe for Marshmallow Mermaid Pie. The recipe actually came with the DVD, but you can find variations of the recipe on the Internet.

Marshmallow Mermaid Pie was the pie Jenna brought for her doctor, Dr. Mueller, who happened to be semi-retired. Jenna ended up giving the pie to the junior doctor, Dr. Pommater. On their next meeting, Dr. Pommater exclaimed, “that pie was biblically good, that’s how good it was!” Want to try it? Here's a recipe for Marshmallow Mermaid Pie!

Marshmallow Mermaid Pie 

9 graham crackers
1/2 cup sweetened, flaked coconut, toasted
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
34 large marshmallows (8 oz.)
1/2 cup whole milk
1-1/2 cup heavy or whipping cream
1-1/2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, grated

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Combine coconut and graham crackers in food processor until coarse crumbs form. Combine crumbs and butter with fork. Press to bottom and side of 9-inch pie plate. Bake 10 minutes and cool on wire rack.
Heat marshmallows and milk in 3-qt. saucepan over low heat until smooth, stirring constantly. Remove saucepan from heat. Cool completely (30 minutes.)
In large bowl with mixer at medium speed, beat cream until stiff peaks form. Fold marshmallow mixture into whipped cream with grated chocolate.
Spoon filling into cooled crust.
Refrigerate pie at least 3 hours or overnight.
Top with mini marshmallows.

Monday, January 22, 2018

HOME-MADE ALMOND ROCA: National Buttercrunch Day!

The other day was National Buttercrunch Day. Buttercrunch and English Toffee are the same, and I've posted recipes for English Toffee over the years, including this one for Chocolate Almond Buttercrunch Toffee.  

Almond Roca is also known as Almond Buttercrunch. I first had Almond Roca as a young girl. A neighbor who drove us to school always had Almond Roca on the coffee table in the recreation room. This neighbor didn't have the same rules as in my household (No Candy until after dinner--not to mention before school!). So I always had Almond Roca when this neighbor was driving. So for the other day's holiday--Buttercrunch Day, I suggest you make the following recipe for Home Made Almond Roca. No time to cook? Pick up a bar of Almond Roca. It's not too late. This recipe for Home-made Almond Roca is adapted from Elizabeth LaBau on

Home-Made Almond Roca

4 ounces unsalted butter
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp light corn syrup
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups toasted whole almonds, coarsely chopped
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate

Prepare 8 x4 loaf pan by lining with aluminum foil and spraying foil with nonstick cooking spray.
In small saucepan over medium-high heat, melt butter. Add brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt, and stir until brown sugar dissolves.
Once brown sugar melts, start timer and cook candy for exactly 6 minutes, stirring constantly with wooden spoon. If you use a candy thermometer, stir and boil toffee until it reaches 290 degrees.
After six minutes, take toffee pan off heat and stir in 1/2 cup chopped toasted almonds. Scrape toffee into prepared loaf pan—it should be in a layer about 1/2-inch thick.
Let toffee set for about 3 minutes, then use pizza cutter or paring knife to cut toffee into thin bars about 1/2-inch by 2 -1/2 inches. They will look small, but once they're dipped in chocolate and rolled in nuts, they'll be bigger. After another 2 minutes, go over your cuts again as toffee continues to harden.
As you wait for toffee to set, chop remaining 1 cup of toasted almonds very finely, or put them in food processor and pulse for several seconds until they are in very small pieces. Pour finely chopped almonds into shallow bowl.
Once toffee is completely cool and set, break into pieces along lines you made, and trim off any jagged edges with knife.
Melt chocolate. Dip each piece of Almond Buttercrunch in melted chocolate, then place in bowl of nuts. Roll pieces around until coated with nuts on all sides, then take out of nuts with fork and place on baking sheet. Repeat until all toffee pieces are coated with chocolate and nuts.

Optional: To make it 'really' look like Almond Roca, wrap individual pieces in gold foil.
Refrigerate tray to set chocolate (about 10 minutes).
Store in airtight container in refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Bring to room temperature before serving.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Chocolate Coconut Granola Bars: National Granola Bar Day

Today is National Granola Bar Day! Yes, always a holiday to celebrate! I've posted recipes for Granola Bars in the past (Chocolate Cranberry Granola Bars, and Dark Chocolate Cherry Granola Bars), but I really like this recipe. Don't be overwhelmed by the number of steps. These bars are really quite quick to make. I'm organized, and I suggest you be, too. Just have all your ingredients ready, and go to work! The following Chocolate Coconut Granola Bar recipe produces terrific, tasty, and healthy bars that are great in the kids' lunchboxes or as a pick-me-up at work! This is a 'copycat' Kashi recipe. No time to make this today? Then buy yourself a Kashi Chocolate Coconut Granola Bar.



1 cup whole almonds, divided
1 cup walnuts, divided
1 1/2 cup old fashion oats, divided
1/4 cup ground flax
2 Tbsp chia seeds
1/2 cup coconut flakes
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp almond butter

Chocolate Glaze 
1 Tbsp coconut oil
10 ounces dark chocolate (about 1 1/2 cups chopped)
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup chopped coconut flakes

In food processor, add 1/2 cup of almonds, 1/2cup of walnuts, and 3/4 cup of oats. Process until  turns into fine powder, about 1 minute. (Do not over process)
Chop  remaining almonds and walnuts. Add to large bowl along with remaining 3/4 cup oats and processed powder. Add to bowl: ground flax, chia seeds, and coconut flakes. Toss together.
Heat small pan on stove over medium heat. Add honey, coconut oil, vanilla bean paste, cinnamon, and almond butter. Stir constantly until fully melted and begins to foam. Allow to foam and bubble for about a minute before immediately pouring over nuts and oats mixture.
Using rubber spatula, stir everything together until evenly distributed.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 13 x 6’’ pan with parchment paper, enough to hang over two of the sides.
Pour granola mixture into pan and spread evenly. Using metal spatula, begin pressing down really hard all along edges and through middle. (Tip: If you don’t press down tightly, they will fall apart when cut)
Bake in oven for 10-15 minutes, until firm. Remove and allow to cool completely.

Chocolate glaze:
Melt 1 Tbsp coconut oil in small saucepan over medium-low heat.
Add chopped chocolate. Stir until you have smooth glaze.
Pour over Baked mixture and using spatula, spread to edges and even out.
Sprinkle top with additional walnuts and coconut flakes.
Allow top to set (several hours)
Once totally set, pick up both sides of overhanging parchment paper and remove from pan.
Cut into small rectangles.

Saturday, January 20, 2018


Today is National Cheese Lovers Day, and I immediately thought of Cheesecake! I've posted recipes for a variety of of chocolate cheesecakes,  from Pumpkin Cheesecakes to Double Chocolate Cheesecakes, so for today's food holiday, I thought I'd take a different approach. I love truffles, so here's a simple recipe for Chocolate Cheesecake Truffles. Easy and delicious! As always, use the very best chocolate. There are three different ways to coat these.. It's up to you!


8 ounces cream cheese
4 cups powdered sugar
5 ounces bittersweet dark chocolate, melted (I use 70% cacao)
1 tsp good quality vanilla

Coatings for truffles:
toasted pecans, chopped (or other nuts)
pulverized graham crackers (gives you a true cheesecake taste)
cocoa powder

Using mixer, slowly add powdered sugar to cream cheese, mixing well after each addition.
Add melted chocolate and vanilla and mix until smooth.
Chill several hours.
Shape into 1-inch balls. Roll in coatings.

How easy is this?

Friday, January 19, 2018

Happy Nine Year Blogiversary: Anniversary Chocolate Cake!

It's been nine years since I started blogging at Over these past nine years I've had 3500+ posts: Chocolate Recipes, Reviews, and News. That's a post a day! Always something to say about chocolate!

You know I love Retro Ads, so here's a Baker's Chocolate Cake to Celebrate! OK. it's a 175th Anniversary Cake, but it works for me! "If I knew you were coming, I would've baked a cake!"

Thanks to all who have contributed and commented over these past nine years--and to all the chocoholics out there.
Happy Ninth Blogiversary to

Thursday, January 18, 2018

HONEY CHOCOLATE PIE: Winnie the Pooh Day!

Today is Winnie the Pooh Day! Yes, there's a holiday for everything! Here's a recipe for Honey Chocolate Pie from The Pooh Cook Book by Virginia H. Ellison, illustrated by Ernest H. Shepard (1969: Dell Publishing). This Cook Book (yes, two words) is inspired by Winnie-the-Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne.

One of my favorite stuffed animals as a child was Tigger, and I have always been a big honey fan, probably because of the Winnie the Pooh stories. I have honey every day, and perhaps Winnie had allergies, too, and needed his "Hunny."I have found that a teaspoon of local honey every day has alleviated my Spring allergies.

From the Introduction to The Pooh Cook Book:

As a cook you should know that honey is almost twice as sweet as sugar, and yet when you eat it, it doesn't make you want to go on eating sweets. Honey is also healthful, and very good for active people. When used in cooking it keeps food moist and adds a flavor all its won, as you will see when you've made some of the dishes in The Pooh Cook Book. Clover honey is the best all-purpose honey but there are as many flavors, or kinds of honey as there are blossoms on flowers and bushes and trees."


Wednesday, January 17, 2018

HOT BUTTERED RUM COCOA: National Hot Buttered Rum Day

Today is National Hot Buttered Rum Day. It's pretty blustery and cold here, so this is the perfect drink to celebrate the day!

This recipe for Hot Buttered Rum Cocoa is from the Wisconsin Cheese Board (one of my favorite recipe sites!) So many Food associations have great recipes. Be sure and check them out.

If you don't have time to make Hot Buttered Rum Cocoa, you can always celebrate this food holiday with Seattle Chocolates' Hot Buttered Rum Milk Chocolate Truffle Bar. Fabulous! This bar is buttery, smooth with a light hint of rum and toffee crunch in milk chocolate.

Hot Buttered Rum Cocoa

1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 cup dark rum
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup cocoa
4 cups milk

Combine butter, brown sugar, and seasonings in small bowl, mixing until well-blended.
Drop six spoonfuls onto plastic wrap-lined plate; chill while preparing beverage, then form into balls.
Combine rum, sugar and cocoa in 2 quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat until mixture boils, stirring constantly. Simmer 1 minute; add milk. Cook until heated through; do not boil.
Pour into six mugs; place one butter ball in each cup.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018


January 16 is Fig Newton Day! My Dad was a huge Fig Newtons fan. Me, not so much. However, I love figs, and I'm using this food holiday as a jumping off point for Chocolate Covered Figs. Before I embark on recipes for Chocolate Covered Dried Figs, just wanted to let you know that Vice Chocolates' Dark Chocolate Bar with Fig &Anise is one of my favorite chocolate fig combinations!

Following are two recipes for Chocolate Covered Dried Figs (not Fig Newtons!). The first is alcoholic, because who doesn't love a drunken fig? The second recipe calls for stuffing the dried figs with walnuts, but contains no alcohol. Actually you can mix and match these recipes to come up with whatever you think is perfect for you! As always, use the very best chocolate and figs! Different chocolate, different figs, different tastes!

And if you want a recipe for Chocolate Covered Fig Newtons, check out Cakespy's post for Chocolate Covered Fig Newtons on a Stick.

Want to make your own Fig Newtons? Try this recipe for Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Figgy Newtons.

And, just as an FYI. The original Fig Newtons are now called just Newtons.

Chocolate Covered Dried Figs

20 dried figs
10 ounces 70-85% dark chocolate, chopped fine
1/4 cup unsalted butter
pinch of sea salt

Put figs in bowl and cover with rum. Let soak, covered, overnight in refrigerator.
Next day, drain well and pat dry.
Put chopped chocolate into top of double boiler, stirring. Add butter, stirring until smooth. 
Take figs by stems and dip in chocolate several times, covering completely.
Put figs on rack over cookie sheet to catch drips.
When finished dipping, chill figs in refrigerator.

Non-Alcoholic Chocolate Covered Figs Stuffed with Walnuts

9 figs, dried
9 walnut halves
5  Tbsp dark chocolate (60-75%), chopped

Make small incisions in bottoms of 9 dried figs and stuff each with a walnut half.
Melt chocolate in double boiler until smooth.
Holding the stem, dip stuffed figs into chocolate.
Let them drip from rack over cookie sheet, or place on plate or wax paper.
Put chocolate covered figs on plate or waxed paper in the refrigerator for 10 minutes or more until chocolate hardens.

Monday, January 15, 2018


Today is Strawberry Ice Cream Day. Now this may seem like January 15 is an odd day for it--at least in the Northern hemisphere, but everyone now eats ice cream all year round. Here's an easy recipe for Strawberry Ice Cream Sandwiches with Chocolate Cookies.

Easy Strawberry Ice Cream Sandwich with Chocolate Cookies

Freeze 12 Big Chocolate chunky cookies (I use Pepperidge Farm Brownie cookies) that you've frozen at least a day ahead of time or some of your own chocolate fudgy cookies.
Lay out 6 of the cookies, flat side up.
Scoop softened strawberry ice cream (use the very best) onto the cookies.
Using a butter knife gently spread ice cream to the edge.
Layer fresh strawberries cut into small pieces onto the ice cream
Cover with another cookie, flat side down.
Press down lightly. Repeat with other cookies.
Spread chocolate chips or small pieces of broken chocolate on a plate.
Roll the sides of the sandwich in the chocolate chips until covered.
Wrap each sandwich and freeze.

So none of this is really home-made, although you always have that option. These taste treats are fast, easy and delicious. The chocolate 'chips' I add are premium high end dark chocolate from the best chocolate makers! Really adds to the taste.


Sunday, January 14, 2018

English Toffee Hot Chocolate

The other day was English Toffee Day. I'm quite the toffee-holic. I've even judged Toffee at the San Francisco and International Chocolate Salons. Toffee is great by itself, but sometimes it's great to pair it with Hot Chocolate! And, today is the perfect day for it! It's so blustery here at the Beach. The waves are high, too, and I suspect the Mavericks surfing competition will take place tomorrow. Always exciting. But too cold for me. Here are two ways to keep warm. English Toffee: English Toffee Hot Chocolate.

Although you can make your own Toffee, you can just use your favorite store-bought English toffee in these recipes! Just be sure to chop it up!

1. English Toffee Hot Chocolate

4 cups milk
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
8 ounces dark chocolate (70% cacao), chopped
1 tsp Madegascar vanilla extract
1/4 cup English toffee, crushed (I use Toffee Talk Crumble Mumble)
Whipped cream
Unsweetened cocoa powder

Combine milk, water, and sugar in saucepan and sttir over medium heat until just boiling.
Remove from heat, and stir in chocolate and vanilla.
Beat with whisk until chocolate is melted and mixture is frothy.
Pour hot chocolate into 2 big mugs.
Top with whipped cream and crushed English toffee. Sprinkle with cocoa powder.

2. English Toffee Hot Chocolate

4 cups whole milk
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
6 ounces dark chocolate (70% cacao), chopped
2 ounces butterscotch chips
Whipped cream
1/4 cup English Toffee, crushed

Heat milk, water, sugar to boil.
Remove from heat and whisk in chocolate and butterscotch chips until they combine with milk.
Pour into mugs and top with whipped cream and crushed toffee.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Gluten-Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Brownies

Today is National Gluten-Free Day! I'm always looking for Gluten Free Recipes for my friends, and this recipe for Gluten-Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Brownies is a winner. Recipe adapted from Reese's. You can use Reese's Pieces, if you chop them up, but the Reese's peanut butter chips are easier.


3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1-1/2 cups sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 eggs
3/4 cup gluten-free all-purpose baking mix (King Arthur Flour or your favorite)
1/2 cup unsweetened HERSHEY'S Cocoa
1-2/3 cups (10-oz. pkg.) REESE'S Peanut Butter Chips (or chopped Reese's pieces)

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 (or chopped Reese's Pieces).
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 it is gluten-free prior to use. Some ingredients will surprise you.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Cartoon of the Day: Police Artist II


I love cookie dough. Who doesn't? I used to eat chocolate chip cookie dough all the time. O.K. I know that wasn't always the safest thing to do (raw eggs), but we didn't know that then. But now there are shops that sell cookie dough scoops in cones, complete with sprinkles (no melting!)! Be still my heart.

If you don't want to mix up a batch of cookie dough (without raw eggs) yourself and serve in cones, here's a Toll House Cookie Pie recipe (baked, so no worries) that you'll love! This Retro Nestle Recipe Advertisement is from the 1980s. Are the 80s really retro? This is an easy delicious Toll House Pie!

In case that's not very clear, here's the recipe!

Toll House Cookie Pie

1 unbaked 9-inch (4-cup volume) deep-dish pie shell
2 large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
1 cup (6 ounces) Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
1 cup chopped walnuts
Whipped cream or ice cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 325° F.
In large bowl, beat eggs until foamy.
Add flour, granulated sugar and brown sugar. Beat until well blended.
Blend in melted butter. 
Stir in chocolate chip morsels and walnuts.
Pour into prepared pie shell.
Bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until knife inserted halfway between edge and center comes out clean. Remove from oven. Cool on wire rack.
Serve warm with whipped cream, if desired.

Recipe can be doubled. Bake two pies, freeze one for later!

Thursday, January 11, 2018


This season is seeing the worst cases of flu in years. There is no real cures for flu or colds, but I can attest that a Hot Toddy does the trick in making you feel better, even if only temporarily--a traditional Hot Toddy, that is. See the Retro Ad on this page. So because today is Hot Toddy Day, I'm offering up a recipe with a chocolate spin.

Hot Toddy might be an old fashioned name, but the Hot Toddy has served for centuries as a therapeutic drink. If you add chocolate, you get all those chocolate benefits, too. Alcohol and chocolate: a great combination.

What exactly is a Hot Toddy?
A toddy is a drink made typically with a spirit base, water, some type of sugar, and spices. A hot toddy is usually a mixture of whiskey, cinnamon, hot water, honey, and lemon. A Hot Toddy may have tea as the spice (or in addition to the spice). 

Where did it come from?
The word “toddy” itself stretches back to the British colonial era and is taken from the Hindi word tārī, which was a drink made from the fermented sap of toddy palm, hence the name. The British Toddy was served cool and, for awhile this was the tradition. The toddy eventually made its way across the ocean to the American South where plantation owners would drink their own version of a toddy with rum, spices, and locally-available sugar. This mixture was cooked, then cooled and consumed. While derived from the British colonial toddy, this drink was called a bombo or bimbo. That’s great and all, but you said you’d be talking about hot toddies. 

The hot toddy that we know now found its roots in Scottish tradition. No surprise there. This Hot Toddy was made with whisky, hot water, honey, and spices such as nutmeg or clove, and was touted as a cold cure. The Scots claim that the name toddy came from the origin of the water used for the drink: Tod’s Well in Edinburgh. Legend states that during the Revolutionary War, colonists would use toddies as liquid courage, drinking round after round to get up the nerve to fight. The biggest difference in the American toddy from the Scottish was the use of rum or brandy in comparison to whiskey. The colonists were working with what they had — which was more often the brandy they were making at home or the rum that was being imported from the Caribbean. The presentation of the toddy was also different. The drink was typically made in a punch bowl in large amounts to accommodate the crowds that would gather at local taverns and then served in a specific type of stemmed glassware, which was itself at some point named a toddy. So there you have it, the hot toddy, which wasn’t all that hot at first.

But this is a Chocolate Blog, so here's a recipe from Sunset for Brandied Hot Chocolate, a great Hot Toddy to drink today!

Chocolate Hot Toddy!

1- 1/2 cups grated dark chocolate (65-75% organic, your favorite)
1/2 cup dry milk powder (not something I have on hand except for this)
4 cups whole milk
4 Tbsp Armagnac
Whipped cream or marshmallows, for garnish

In medium bowl, mix grated chocolate and dry milk powder.
In medium saucepan, heat whole milk over medium heat. Once heated, stir in chocolate mixture and whisk until chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth and hot.
Pour 1 Tbsp Armagnac into each mug (four mugs total), then fill each mug with smooth, hot chocolate mixture.
Serve hot, garnished with fresh whipped cream or fresh marshmallows.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018


Today is National Bittersweet Chocolate Day. So many recipes call for Bittersweet Chocolate or Semi-sweet chocolate in Baking, but what exactly is it? Just an FYI: Bittersweet and semi-sweet are pretty meaningless terms and hard to define.

Generally both bittersweet and semi-sweet have at least 50% cacao. Manufacturers use these terms differently, so the best thing to do is check the cacao percentage. One manufacturer's bittersweet is another's semisweet. I've read (and agree) that 50% and 72% can be used interchangeably when using chocolate for candy making or cut into chunks in lieu of chips. Once you start melting the chocolate and using it in baking, or in mousses and ganaches, the formulas can change. A higher percentage chocolate will bake drier, as it has less sugar, and will require more liquid to emulsify properly for a a mousse or ganache.

Alice Medrich's book Seriously Bittersweet contains formulas for working with different percentages. Older recipes are likely to use something closer to 50 - 55%, and newer recipes are more likely to state a percentage. Something important to know in making the following recipe, if you're substituting sweetened chocolate for the unsweetened chocolate in this Retro Recipe. So watch your ratios.

The Advertisement on the right is a Retro Ad with Recipe from Baker's Chocolate for Bittersweet Chocolate Layer Cake.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018


Today is National Apricot Day. And, since this is a chocolate blog, what could be better than making Apricot Chocolate Chip Cookies. This recipe calls for dried apricots, a staple in our house. I use dark chocolate chips, but you can also use milk chocolate or white chocolate chips. Not into apricots? You can substitute dried cherries or cranberries or blueberries. This is a very versatile recipe.


1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature (refer to Tips for Making the Very Best Cookies)
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped into quarters or 1/4" pieces
1/2 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped
4 ounces dark chocolate chips (or as many as you'd like)

Preheat oven to 350°.
Cream butter & brown sugar in medium-size mixing bowl until blended.
Beat in egg and vanilla.
Add flour, baking soda, and salt, stirring mixture into smooth dough.
Fold in apricots, nuts, and chocolate chips, making sure to distribute evenly.
Drop batter by tablespoonfuls onto un-greased cookie sheets, spacing about 2 inches apart.
Bake for 10 minutes, until edges are lightly browned.
Cool cookies on sheet for 2 minutes before transferring with spatula to wire racks to cool.

Monday, January 8, 2018

English Toffee Recipe: English Toffee Day!

January 8 is a world-wide holiday: English Toffee Day. I absolutely adore English Toffee, and I'm even a Toffee Judge at the International and San Francisco Chocolate Salons.

I first had English Toffee on the Boardwalk in Atlantic City. Don't ask! Yes, there was salt water taffy, but I was drawn to the English Toffee and White Chocolate. Both were rarities in our household, so they were special treats!

English Toffee has several definitions, but for me it's any confection made by boiling sugar with butter or milk, surrounded by chocolate and nuts. What's your definition? Some people call this brittle. Whatever it is, you have the hard, soft and chewy all in one.

The preparation for making English Toffee is much like that for making candy barks. English Toffee can be made with dark chocolate of varying amounts or even milk chocolate or a mixture of both. Nuts can range from almonds to peanuts to filberts to hazelnuts. Such range. Every time you make English Toffee, you can vary the ingredients to come up with a completely different taste. How fun! One thing, though, be sure and use real butter!!! European butter is divine, but any good quality unsalted butter will work.

I've adapted this easy recipe from Epicurean. You will need a candy thermometer.


1 cup unsalted butter (best quality)
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla (Madagascar)
6 oz semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (60% cacao or higher)
2 oz milk chocolate (40-55% cacao)
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans,walnuts, filberts, or hazelnuts (you choose)

Combine butter, sugar, water, and salt in a heavy 2- 1/2 qt pan. Cook over medium-high to high heat, stirring often, until candy thermometer reads 305 degrees. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Immediately pour into heavily buttered 9-inch square pan, spreading to fill pan. Cool completely.

Melt semisweet and milk chocolate in top of double boiler stirring until smooth. Spread half of chocolate over 1 side of toffee and sprinkle with half of nuts Refrigerate until chocolate is firm.

Reheat remaining chocolate until flowing. Turn toffee over and spread other side with chocolate and sprinkle with remaining nuts. Refrigerate until firm. When chocolate is set, break toffee into pieces. Store in airtight container in a cool place.

Cooking for Engineers has another great and similar recipe with photos.

I'll be at the Fancy Food Show in two weeks, and I'll bet there's a lot of English Toffee. There was last year. I'll be sure and report back which brands I like best!

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Icicle Cake: Retro Ad & Recipe!

Brr... it's cold outside. Time to make an Icicle Cake! This Retro Advertisement and Recipe is for Dexo, an all purpose hydrogenized vegetable shortening similar to Crisco. "So Blendable. So Dependable."

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Walkers Shortbread Scottie Dogs with Muddy Boots

Today is National Shortbread Day! I love Walkers Shortbread Scottie Dogs. They combine two of my favorite things--pure butter shortbread and dogs. These scotties are definitely BEST IN SHOW!

Since it's raining in California, and my own pups came in with 'muddy boots', I thought it would be fun to dip these Scottie dogs in Chocolate. I decided on milk chocolate to be more 'mud-like'.  Apologies for the photo.. I didn't shake the cookies off after I dipped them. That would have shown the shape better, but they still taste wonderful! And, these Scottie Dogs don't need to be walked in the rain!

Walkers Shortbread Scottie Dogs with Muddy Boots

4 squares of Guittard baking milk chocolate
a bit of unsalted butter

Melt chocolate and butter together in the top of a double boiler or saucepan over saucepan with simmering water. Stir so it doesn't seize.
Dip Shortbread Scottie dogs in 'mud'. Remember that Scotties are low to the ground, so dip as low as you like.  Be more professional than I was, and shake the excess chocolate from the shortbread cookie.
Put chocolate covered Scotties on parchment and place in refrigerator for 30 minutes to harden.

You can also dip in chocolate and roll in chopped nuts. You know dogs-- they pick up 'debris.'

No time to dip? Walkers also makes Shortbread Chocolate Scottie Dogs.

I also noticed that Cost Plus World Market has all Walkers shortbread products 20% off today in honor of National Shortbread Day!

Michelangelo Grocery List

It's always good to have a list!

Here's The Grocery List as sketched by Michelangelo 500 years ago (1518) on the back of a letter. Vegetables, fish, rolls, and more!  Read more here.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Chocolate Whipped Cream: Milk, Dark, & White

Today is National Whipped Cream Day. I've posted many recipes that call for whipped cream including chocolate whipped cream for National Cream Puff Day. Today I have three recipes for Chocolate Whipped Cream--milk, dark, and white.

Chocolate Whipped Cream is terrific to add to desserts, fill cream puffs, and many other creative uses. It's easy to make, and it's delicious. You can use it as an icing or filling (tarts, pies, etc). You can use it with just about anything you would use regular whipped cream for, including Strawberry Short Cake!

The first recipe for Milk Chocolate Whipped Cream is from Martha Stewart. Martha uses chocolate whipped cream for the filling of chocolate sandwich cookies. Fabulous!  I love these Chocolate Sandwich Cookies with Chocolate Whipped Cream, and you can use any chocolate cookie recipe!

The second Chocolate Whipped Cream Recipe uses a lot more chocolate, and it's dark chocolate. Which chocolate you choose depends on what you like and what you need!

The third chocolate whipped cream is from the Queen of Chocolate, Alice Medrich. It's for White Chocolate Whipped Cream. Of course, she has great recipes for Dark and Milk chocolate, so check out her recipes online and in her many chocolate cookbooks.

The Retro Advertisement is for Reddi-Wip! Don't use a can if you have the ingredients and time to make your own. It's so much better!
Photo: Martha Stewart

1. CHOCOLATE WHIPPED CREAM (from Martha Stewart)

4 ounces milk chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 cups heavy cream
3 Tbsp sugar

Place chocolate in medium bowl; set aside.
Heat sugar and 1 cup cream in small saucepan over medium heat. Cook until sugar has dissolved.
Pour cream mixture over chocolate; stir until chocolate has melted. Let cool.
Transfer chocolate mixture to electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Add remaining cup heavy cream and beat on medium speed until thick and fluffy.

How easy is that?


I really love this recipe from Sherry Yard for Chocolate Whipped Cream. It's definitely more of a rich whipped ganache, but then isn't that what it's all about? Sherry Yard was the executive pastry chef at Wolfgang Puck's Spago in Beverly Hills and shared this recipe on Cookin' with Good Morning America (December 25, 2003). It's also in in her book Secrets of Baking: Simple Techniques for Sophisticated Desserts.

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2 cups heavy cream
1 Tbsp sugar

Using serrated knife, finely chop the chocolate into 1/4 inch pieces and place in medium heatproof bowl.
Bring cream and sugar to boil in small saucepan over medium heat. Immediately pour hot cream over chopped chocolate. Tap bowl on counter to settle chocolate into cream, then let sit for 1 minute.
Using rubber spatula, slowly stir in circular motion, starting from center of bowl and working out to sides. Stir until all chocolate is melted, about 2 minutes.
Pour ganache into medium container, cover, and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight. It should be consistency of peanut butter.
4Once ganache has chilled, transfer to large bowl. Using balloon whisk, whip ganache by hand until it just reaches soft peaks, about 2 minutes. Be sure to lift whisk out of cream with each pass to bring in as much air as possible. Do not overwhip. Don't worry if cream doesn't seem firm enough. It will have consistency of mustard but will solidify more after it sets in the refrigerator. You can also use a hand mixer.
Use this cream immediately to fill pastries, tarts, and cakes. After dessert is filled, refrigerate for about 1 hour to set the Chocolate Whipped Cream.

3. White Chocolate Whipped Cream from Alice Medrich

4 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped
3/4 cup heavy cream
3 Tbsp water
A pinch or two of salt (optional)

Put chocolate in medium bowl.
Bring cream and water to simmer in saucepan and pour over chocolate. Let stand for 30 seconds, then stir well.
Let stand for 15 minutes to finish melting chocolate, then stir again until every last bit of chocolate is melted into cream. Let cool. Taste and add salt, if desired.
Cover and refrigerate for at least several hours, or until completely chilled.
To serve, whip the cream with electric mixer until it holds a shape.
Use immediately or refrigerate until needed.

And, as always, your final product will only be as good as your ingredients. Use the best. Here's one of my favorite whipping creams!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Cartoon of the Day: Organic

The Big Bad Wolf's Brownies

The other night we had a full moon that will be the biggest and brightest of 2018. It's called the Wolf Moon, named after howling wolves on the coldest night of the year. It got me thinking about wolves in stories, and I remembered the Big Bad Wolf's Brownies from the Walt Disney Mickey Mouse Cookbook. This is a great and easy recipe--no huffing and puffing. Celebrate the Wolf Moon with these Big Bad Wolf Brownies.

The Big Bad Wolf's Brownies
This recipe for The Big Bad Wolf's Brownies appeared in Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Cookbook.

Shortening for buttering pan
1/2 cup butter
2 squares (2 ounces) unsweetened chocolate
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour, unsifted
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 cup pecans or walnut pieces, raisins or salted pecans
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350. Grease 9x9x2 pan with shortening.
Melt butter and chocolate in large saucepan over low heat. Remove sauce pan from heat.
Stir in sugar, flour, baking powder, vanilla, and nuts. Add eggs and beat well with egg beater.
Pour batter into baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes.
Remove pan from oven and place on rack.
When brownies are cool, cut into squares.