Tuesday, August 20, 2019

SPICED RUM CHOCOLATE PECAN PIE: National Chocolate Pecan Pie Day

Today is National Chocolate Pecan Pie Day. Funny..since I associate pecan pies with Thanksgiving and the Kentucky Derby, neither of which is in August. Nevertheless, even though I've posted over 20 Chocolate Pecan Pie recipes, this one from Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum is different. I often use bourbon in my pecan pies, so rum is a good alternative. Celebrate National Chocolate Pecan Pie Day.


Monday, August 19, 2019

WOODSTOCK 50th ANNIVERSARY TIE-DYE S'MORES BROWNIES

I couldn't let the 50th Anniversary of Woodstock pass without posting a recipe to celebrate. Here's a great and easy recipe for Woodstock Tie-Dye S'mores Brownies, slightly adapted from the Heinen's Grocery Store blog. You'll love this combination of Graham Cracker Crust, Brownies, and White Chocolate Fudge in multiple 'tie-dyed' colors.

WOODSTOCK TIE-DYE S'MORES BROWNIES

Ingredients 
1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 box (20 oz) brownie mix  (or make your own)
1 egg
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips
1/2 can (7 oz) sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup marshmallow fluff
1 Tbsp butter
Food coloring (see directions below) Wilton makes food coloring gels

Directions 
Preheat oven to 325 F. Line 8×8 inch baking pan with foil, leaving additional foil to hang over sides. Spray bottom and sides of foiled pan with nonstick baking spray. Set aside.
Prepare graham cracker crust.
In small bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, melted unsalted butter, and vanilla. Press firmly into prepared baking pan.
In medium bowl, combine egg, canola oil, and water. Stir to combine. Add brownie mix and stir to combine. Pour and spread into baking pan on top of graham cracker crust. Bake for 40-45 minutes. Ten minutes before brownies have finished cooking, begin preparing white chocolate marshmallow fudge. Microwave white chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk and butter in  microwave safe bowl on 50% power until 90% melted, about 2 minutes. Check multiple times during microwave process to make sure you do no over-microwave. Stir until smooth and completely melted. Stir in marshmallow fluff. Working quickly, divide microwaved fudge into 7 bowls.
Make red, yellow, green, blue, orange, and purple colored fudge by adding drops of food coloring and stirring to your desired color. Leave one bowl uncolored. Remove brownies from oven. While still hot, drop colored fudge by spoonful directly onto hot brownies. Swirl with bamboo stick or toothpick to create tie-dye effect.
Refrigerate until completely set, at least 4 hours or overnight.
To serve, remove from baking pan using foil overhang. Use sharp knife to cut, rinsing between each cut.

Turn up the music and eat!

Sunday, August 18, 2019

ICE CREAM PIE DAY: Retro Ad & Recipe

Today is Ice Cream Pie Day! Perfect weather to celebrate! This Baker's Ads with recipe is from 1953, and the recipe is still great. I've made it. Love that "It's a dream with cherry vanilla ice cream!" That's a blast from the past. Today I make it with Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia--love the extra chocolate chunks! Also good with Chunky Monkey.. Bananas, coconut and chocolate.. what could be wrong? Also, you'll love the Chocolate-Coconut Crust.



Saturday, August 17, 2019

Cartoon of the Day: Honey Bee Day

Today is National Honey Bee Day. Here's a great cartoon from my favorite cartoonist -
Hilary Price at Rhymes with Orange. What's your favorite honey?


Friday, August 16, 2019

SAILOR JERRY SPICED CHEESECAKE BROWNIES: National Rum Day

I love the Sailor Jerry Recipe Ads. The ads may be a bit 'spicy' for some tastes, but not the tasty spicy recipes. So what better Recipe Ad to post on National Rum Day than one for Sailor Jerry Spiced Cheesecake Brownies.


Don't want to Bake? Make one of these Sailor Jerry Rum Drinks!


Thursday, August 15, 2019

CHOCOLATE LEMON MERINGUE PIE: Pie in the Sky!

Today is National Meringue Pie Day and what could be better than a Chocolate Lemon Meringue Pie. I love lemon and chocolate!  (Photo is from a Vintage ad for "Jello" pie filling, but I use Meyer Lemon Curd for the filling.)

There are so many recipes for Lemon Meringue Pie. You can make your own lemon filling and your own pie shell, but here's a simple and easy recipe that uses Chocolate Ganache (I always have some in the freezer--but you can make fresh), artisan Meyer Lemon Curd from a jar, and a pre-made pie shell (I use Trader Joe's pie dough). O.K. you'll be making the meringue, but that's o.k. it's fun and fast.

EASY CHOCOLATE LEMON MERINGUE PIE

Directions
Use a pre-made 9" pie shell. Prick and bake as directed.
Let Pie shell cool.
Add a layer of Chocolate Ganache (see chocolate ganache recipe). Warm it up first, so you can easily spread evenly to the edges.
Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
Warm Lemon Curd (to allow it to spread easily) and then add it to make a layer on top of the chocolate ganache. Spread gently and evenly to the edges--don't mix the two, if possible.
Top with Meringue (see directions below)
Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes.

Meringue Topping:
4 egg whites
Pinch of cream of tartar
2 Tbsp sugar

Whisk together egg whites and cream of tartar in bowl of mixer. Beat whites until peaks form and then gradually add sugar. Keep beating mixture until stiff peaks form-about one to two minutes.
Using a spoon, place spoonfuls of meringue over surface of entire filling. Meringue should cover the filling completely to edge of crust.
Bake for 10 to 15 minutes --until meringue has golden tips.
Remove pie from oven and place on wire rack to cool before slicing.

Happy Lemon Meringue Pie Day!

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

CREAMSICLE WHITE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES: National Creamsicle Day

Today is National Creamsicle Day. I haven't had a Creamsicle in years, but I did occasionally buy one from the Good Humor Truck. My cousin Herbie was a Good Humor Man in the summers. I loved to hear the Good Humor bell. We all came running.


What exactly is a Creamsicle? A Creamsicle is a frozen dessert with a vanilla ice cream core and a fruit sherbet coating. The classic Creamsicle flavor combination is orange and vanilla. Officially, the term “Creamsicle” is a registered brand name owned by Unilever, and similar products cannot be labeled as Creamsicles. However, the original Creamsicle® is such a perennial best-seller that the term is often used generically, and the branding rights may eventually be lost due to trademark dilution. 

But since this is a chocolate blog, I thought I'd post a recipe for Creamsicle White Chocolate Chip Cookies. These cookies are soft and moist. With the addition of orange zest and orange extract, you'll taste the tartness of the citrus as it combines with the sweetness of the white chocolate chips. These cookies definitely have the flavors of a Creamsicle.

Creamsicle White Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp orange extract
2 Tbsp orange zest
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips

Directions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
In large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and creamy. Beat in egg, vanilla, and orange extract until smooth. Gradually add flour mixture until combined. Stir in orange zest and white chocolate chips.
Drop rounded teaspoonfuls onto parchment lined cookie sheets. Do not flatten cookies.
Put in refrigerator for 30 minutes (do not skip this step). This will prevent spread, and that's important to these cookies which are soft and puffy.
Bake 8 - 10 minutes or until golden brown around edges. Do not overbake! Cookies will be fat.
Cool for several minutes on cookie sheets before transferring to rack to cool completely.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

DEEP FRIED CANDY BARS: Fair Food

If you've been to the State Fair in the past 20 years, you've probably tried some sort of fried food. Have you had Fried Mars, Milky Way, or Snickers Bars? Not so healthy, but oh so good.

You might think that Fried Candy Bars originated at U.S. State and County fairs, but you'd be wrong. This unique treat was invented in Stonehaven, Scotland, at The Haven Chip Bar. The first candy bar to be battered and deep-fried was a Mars Bar. What began as a dare between two chip cooks became an iconic fair food.

You can make this Fried Treat at home. For the following recipe, you can use Mars Bars, Milky Way, or Snickers, or almost any nougat/caramel combination bar. Hint: Chill the bars first to ensure none of the melting chocolate and caramel leaks into the oil. You can also put a stick through the bar before frying (for easier handling when eating), but don't take the bar out of the oil by the stick! Use tongs.

DEEP FRIED CANDY BARS

Ingredients
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup corn flour
1/8 tsp baking soda
2 cups milk
1 cup vegetable oil
2 chilled full-size chocolate covered caramel/nougat candy bars (or 4-6 minis), chilled

Directions
Mix flour, corn flour, and baking soda in shallow bowl. Stir 1/2 milk into mixture, then add rest and stir again (it's a thin batter)
Heat oil in deep-fryer or deep skillet to 350 degrees (Be careful)
Dip candy bars in batter to coat
Carefully put coated candy bar into hot oil and fry for 2-3 minutes until golden.

Monday, August 12, 2019

CHOCOLATE & BRIE PANINI: National Panini Day

If you've been reading my blog, you know I love the combination of Bread & Chocolate. Since today is National Panini Day, I thought I'd post a variation of Giada de Laurentiis's recipe for a Chocolate & Brie PaniniI love sweet and salty! I love my panini press, especially the lovely grill marks it leaves on the panini. Yum Sugar, one of my favorite food sites, modified this recipe, and I totally agree. Less chocolate is better as in the recipe below, so the chocolate doesn't overpower the cheese. As in all of the recipes, I recommend using the very best ingredients. It really makes a difference--from the olive oil to the bread to the brie, to the chocolate.

A few other possibilities: try using ciabatta instead of sourdough. Don't have a panini press? You can make this as you would a grilled cheese sandwich. In a dorm? Try your iron as the press (you will need to clean it afterwards).

CHOCOLATE AND BRIE PANINI

Ingredients
12 slices sourdough bread (try ciabatta if you want a change)*
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
12 ounces Brie cheese, thinly sliced
10 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
1/3 cup fresh basil leaves

Directions
Preheat panini press.
Brush both sides of bread with olive oil. Grill bread slices until they begin to turn golden, about 1 to 2 minutes.
Remove from panini press and place 2 ounces of cheese on 1 slice of bread (the bottom half), top cheese with 1/4 cup chopped dark chocolate, and a few leaves of basil. Top with another slice of bread. Continue with remaining sandwiches.
Return sandwiches to panini press until \chocolate begins to melt, about another 2 minutes.
Cut sandwiches into 2-inch wide rectangles or small triangles and transfer to a serving platter.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

CHOCOLATE RASPBERRY TART: National Raspberry Tart Day

Today is Raspberry Tart Day, not to be confused with Raspberry Cream Pie Day! For that holiday I posted a recipe for Black Bottom Raspberry Cream Pie! I favor Driscoll's Berries, especially since I can find them in the market year round. I live in California, so that's pretty easy. Driscoll's Berries are always sweet and fresh. I love raspberries!

So in honor of the day, here's a recipe for a Chocolate Raspberry Tarte (or Tart)! This recipe is adapted from the Art and Soul of Baking cookbook. Of course, I make a chocolate crust! The crust in this recipe is not the usual one I make from chocolate cookie wafers. This one is made using cocoa powder, and you'll taste the difference. Of course, use only the best ingredients -- the very best cocoa. The original recipe calls for making 15 tiny tartlettes, but you can also make one big tart (or a pie, if you only have a pie pan). A tart is usually made in a shallow fluted pan, usually with a removal bottom -- a tart pan. Tarts rarely have an upper crust.

For the jam at the end, I use Bonne Maman Raspberry Preserves, one of my favorites. Of course, if you make your own raspberry or strawberry jam, you'll wan to use that!

CHOCOLATE RASPBERRY TART!

Ingredients
4 ounces unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
1 cup all purpose flour
2 1/2 Tbsp unsweetened DARK cocoa powder
3/4 cup raspberry jam (or strawberry)
4 ounces dark chocolate (65-75% cacao), chopped
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
6 ounces fresh raspberries
1/2 tsp water
powdered sugar

Directions
Beat butter and sugar on medium speed for 3 minutes until smooth and creamy. Use spatula to scrape down bowl and beat another minute if there are lumps of butter. Add egg yolk, beat well, and scrape down sides.
Add flour and cocoa powder. Beat on low speed until dough comes together (but still has small to medium clumps) and looks moist with dark uniform color. Scrape down bowl. Use spatula to incorporate anything not mixed in.
Put dough in tart pan with removable bottom (or pie pan, if that's all you have). Press dough evenly along bottom and up sides of pan. (as with any pie dough, if it isn't working for you, stick it in the fridge for 15-20 minutes)
Use knife to cut off dough that is above top of pan (save left over dough for repairs). Put dough filled tart pan in fridge for 30 minutes. 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack in lower third. Place dough filled pan on cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and use any leftover dough to repair cracks. Bake another 8 minutes.
Remove tart pan to cooling rack and use rounded side of a spoon to press center down and make more room for filling. Let cool completely (in fridge, if you have to).
Put aside Tbsp of jam in small bowl. Spoon rest of jam to cover bottom of tart crust.
Put chocolate in heatproof bowl. Put heavy cream in small saucepan. Heat cream until it just starts to boil, then pour over chocolate. Begin whisking to blend completely and melt all chocolate. Pour ganache into crust.
Refrigerate tart for 1 hour or until filling is firm. Remove from fridge and arrange raspberries on top of tart.
Mix reserved Tbsp of jam with 1/2 tsp of water and heat in microwave for about 15 seconds. Brush jam mixture onto tops of arranged raspberries (just a little to make them shiny).
Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.
Optional: Sift with powdered sugar before serving.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

S'MORES APPLES: Gravenstein Apples for National S'mores Day

Happy S'mores Day! So many ways to enjoy this Girl Scout Treat. I'm in Sonoma County this weekend, home of Gravenstein Apples.


Gravenstein Apples have been a large part of the history of Sonoma County since the late 1800s when Nathaniel Griffith with the advice of Luther Burbank cultivated the Gravenstein Apple for commercial use. Nathaniel Griffith was born in Iowa in 1850 and at 24 moved West. He came to California in 1883 and bought 78 acres on Laguna Road. Griffith experimented with many kinds of apples but settled on the Gravenstein. The Gravenstein reportedly originated in Germany in the gardens of the Duke Augustenberg, Castle Graefenstein, Schleswig-Holstein.

Gravenstein apple trees once covered acres of Sonoma County, but much of it has been replaced with grape vineyards. The fruit has been declared a Heritage food, giving the apples a much needed boost in the marketplace. The trees were discovered in 1797 but didn’t really become popular until the late 1800s when Nathaniel Griffith began to cultivate them for commercial use. Over time, the variety’s use spread in the western U.S., but it was also a favorite in Nova Scotia, Canada and other cool-temperate areas.

Gravensteins are a late summer treat not to be missed. 

So here's an easy and delicious recipe to celebrate National S'mores Day!

S'mores Gravenstein Apples

Ingredients 
6 large Gravenstein Apples (don't have Gravensteins in your area? Use Granny Smith apples)
6 strong pointed bamboo sticks (or Wilton Caramel Apple Branch sticks)
1 (10.5-oz) bag miniature marshmallows
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
12 ounces chocolate, chopped  (or chocolate chips)
1 cup ground graham crackers

Directions
Wash and dry apples. Remove stems and skewer each apple with stick; set aside.
Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
Melt butter in saucepan and cook over low heat until melted. Add marshmallows and stir until melted.
Dip each apple in melted marshmallows mixture and transfer to prepared baking sheet. Place in fridge.
In meantime, melt chocolate. Put chocolate in saucepan over saucepan over simmering water. Stir until smooth.
Put ground graham crackers in bowl. Remove apples from fridge and dip apple into melted chocolate (about 2/3 way up) rotating to coat evenly.
Immediately dip chocolate-covered apple into ground graham crackers, and coat on all sides.
Repeat for all apples.
Put apples back on lined baking sheet. Refrigerate for 20 to 30 minutes.

Tip: Twist off apple stem. If skewer is blunt, sharpen with kitchen knife on on end (make diagonal cut). Push firmly into apple. If juice leaks out, blot with paper towel before dipping.

Want to get fancy? Serve on a bed of chocolate chips, crushed grahams, and mini-marshmallows.

Friday, August 9, 2019

DARK CHOCOLATE RICE PUDDING: National Rice Pudding Day

1899 Chocolate Ad
Today is National Rice Pudding Day, and of course, it's Chocolate Rice Pudding at my house. The following recipes are completely different, so try both and see which flavor you favor! Remember the final results will only be as good as your ingredients. Use the best! Both can be topped with fresh whipped cream.

1. DARK CHOCOLATE RICE PUDDING

Ingredients
1-1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup half and half
1/3 cup sugar
dash of salt
1 cup uncooked rice
3/4 tsp pure vanilla
3 ounces dark chocolate (75-85% cacao), finely chopped

Directions
Over low heat, bring milk, half and half, sugar, and salt to nearly scalding temperature. Hint: Milk will not simmer, but it will steam when stirred at the near-scalding point.
Add rice to milk and continue cooking over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 20 to 22 minutes, until rice is creamy and slightly soft.
Add vanilla and chopped dark chocolate to hot rice and stir until chocolate melts and becomes part of pudding.
Divide pudding into 4 ramikins or casserole dish and serve warm or chilled.

2. CINNAMON CHOCOLATE RICE PUDDING

Ingredients
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup DARK cocoa
1/4 cup cold milk
1- 1/2 cups hot milk
1 cup hot cooked rice
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla

Directions
Beat eggs slightly.
Combine sugar, salt, cinnamon, & cocoa and slowly beat into eggs.
Stir in cold milk. Add hot milk and rice.
Cook until thickened, stirring constantly.
Stir in vanilla.
Pour into ramikins or put into casserole dish.
Serve warm or cold.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

FROZEN CUSTARD DAY: History, Retro Signs, and Recipe

Tomorrow is National Frozen Custard Day. Frozen custard has always meant soft serve ice cream to me -- the kind that comes swirling out of a metal dispenser. Frozen Custard was never a substitute for ice cream, though, it was just different, and equally delicious.

So in honor of the holiday, I'm posting some Retro Ads and Signs for Tastee Freez & Dairy Queen. And, if you scroll down there's a recipe for Cheater Chocolate Frozen Custard.

The big question is what's the difference between ice cream and frozen custard? Ice cream is made from milk, cream, or a combination of the two, while frozen custard is made from milk, cream, and egg yolks. Also, while the machine used to make ice cream churns air into it to make it have a light mouthfeel, frozen custard is produced in a machine that barely incorporates air into it, which makes it denser.

History of Frozen Custard

From eHow:

The Dairy Queen Story 
According to the book The Cone with the Curl on Top, a history of Dairy Queen, J.F. McCullough and his son, Alex, opened an ice cream shop in 1927 in Davenport, Illinois. In the early 1930s, they moved to an ice cream factory in Green River, Illinois, and decided to find out if customers preferred ice cream before it was completely frozen, which was how they liked it best. The colder ice cream had less flavor than the softer version, they felt. After an experimental, all-you-can-eat sale in Kankanee, Illinois, where they found the softer ice cream was a success, they bought a machine from a street vendor in Chicago in 1939, had a machine company tweak the design, and sold their frozen custard exclusively to a store run by Sherb Noble in Joliet, Illinois, in 1940. They nicknamed the store Dairy Queen. They bought a second store in 1941, and a third that spring.


Carvel's Story 
According to National Geographic and The Nibble, Carvel's sold ice cream on the street in New York. After a flat tire in Hartsdale, New York, caused his ice cream to begin to melt, he sold the partially melted product as a new treat---and his customers loved it. He opened Carvel Frozen Custard in Hartsdale in 1934 and began to build a series of frozen custard shops along highways. He built a soft-serve machine in 1939.

The McCulloughs continued to improve the design of their soft-serve machine and expand their business. Carvel continued to expand its chain aggressively, too, as did another competitor, Tastee-Freez. By 1956, soft-serve ice cream consumption was increasing 25 percent every year, according to the U.S. Department of agriculture.


That same year, Tastee-Freez had 1500 stores, and Carvel had 500.

Carvel was a true innovator: he was the first to offer “buy one, get one free”; the first to franchise an ice cream store; and his patented glass building was copied by McDonald’s. Dairy Queen opened its first soft-serve ice cream store in Joliet, Illinois in 1940. Carvel’s Flying Saucer sandwich was introduced in 1951. 

CHEATER CHOCOLATE FROZEN CUSTARD
technique adapted from John T. Edge's The Truck Food via Oprah 
Makes one quart

Ingredients 
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 Tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups chocolate ice cream, softened

Directions
Using a handheld electric mixer, whisk cream in a large bowl until soft peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes. Add sugar and vanilla and continue whisking to make stiff peaks, about 30 seconds more.
Using a rubber spatula, stir in ice cream until well combined.
Transfer mixture to a large, resealable freezer bag and freeze until semi-firm (like frozen custard), 4 to 6 hours.
When ready to serve, remove ice cream from freezer and, if needed, knead bag until uniformly soft, about 30 seconds. (Cover bag with a towel to protect your hands from the cold.)
Snip off a corner of the bag to pipe ice cream into a cone, or simply scoop and serve.

Dairy Queen Cones

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

ROOT BEER FLOAT BUNDT CAKE: National Root Beer Float Day

Today is National Root Beer Float Day. Just an FYI: A&W Root Beer is giving away small Root Beer Floats today, so you might want to get over to an A&W store today.

So what exactly is a Root Beer Float? Well, a Root Beer Float is made from Root Beer and vanilla ice cream. To make a 'traditional' root beer float, add the root beer to a tall chilled glass, leaving a bit of room in top. Then slowly add a scoop of vanilla ice cream to the glass. Drizzle a small amount or root beer on top, and it will turn to foam. You might want to put a plate under the glass, because when the ice cream begins 'to float', it sometimes bubbles over! Sometimes people just mix the two together, but I like the very float-y way. A Root Beer Float is traditionally made with vanilla ice cream, but you can also make a Root Beer Float with Chocolate Ice Cream--it would be called either a brown cow or a black cow, depending on where you live. Each region in the U.S. has its own names. No surprise there!

But maybe you want to do something even more special than making an ice cream float to celebrate the day, but still maintain the root beer float flavor. And, you want to include lots of chocolate. I'm a huge fan of bundt cakes. They're easy and pretty! Well, then this recipe from the BrownEyedBaker is perfect. There's chocolate in both the Bundt Cake and the Frosting. Personally I rarely frost my bundt cakes, and I feel this cake has the flavor of the root beer float, but if you're all about frosting, make the frosting and ice the cake! Actually the frosting, itself, tastes like a root beer float! Lick the bowl!

Root Beer Float Chocolate Bundt Cake

Ingredients
2 cups root beer (not diet root beer)
1 cup DARK unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup sweet butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 eggs

Directions
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spray10-inch Bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray, or butter pan and dust with flour, shaking out excess flour; set aside.
In medium saucepan, heat root beer, cocoa powder, and butter over medium heat until butter melts. Add sugars and whisk until dissolved. Remove from heat and cool.
In medium bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, and salt together.
In small bowl, whisk eggs until just beaten, then whisk into cooled cocoa mixture until just combined. Fold flour mixture into cocoa mixture. Do not overbeat. Lumpy is fine!
Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 35 to 40 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking, until sharp knife inserted into cake comes out clean. Transfer pan to wire rack to cool. Loosen sides of cake from pan and turn onto rack.

Root Beer Float Fudge Frosting

Ingredients
2 ounces dark chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp salt
¼ cup root beer
2/3 cup DARK unsweetened cocoa powder
2 -1/2 cups powdered sugar

Directions
Put all ingredients in food processor. Pulse in short bursts until frosting is shiny and satiny, scraping sides of food processor a few times. (You can always use hand mixer or standing mixer)
Using spatula, spread frosting over cake in a thick layer. Let frosting set before serving.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

ULTIMATE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES: Retro Crisco Ad & Recipe

Today is National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day! One can never have too many chocolate chip cookie recipes! Following is a Retro Ad & Recipe for Crisco Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies!

I grew up with Crisco used as a shortening alternative in baking. I always wondered about this white goopy stuff. As a girl, I made many pie crusts with Crisco. Butter was always my choice, and lard was not an alternative in my mother's house. Actually all these shortenings make great pie crusts.. just different.

According to Wikipedia, Crisco is a brand of shortening produced by the J. M. Smucker Co. popular in the United States. Introduced in June 1911 by Procter & Gamble, it was the first shortening to be made entirely of vegetable oil. While the term Crisco is commonly used as a synonym for all shortening, Procter and Gamble markets olive, cooking, and baking oil and a cooking spray under that trademark.

Over the years, there were lots of Crisco pamphlets and cookbooks distributed as marketing incentives. So, I thought I'd post this retro recipe for "Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies" from Crisco. The recipe calls for "Butter Flavor Crisco all-vegetable shortening." Personally I would substitute real butter for Crisco in this recipe. Crisco does have its uses, but not necessarily in chocolate chip cookies. However, if you keep kosher, you might want to try this recipe. Disclaimer: I have not made these cookies; I just love retro ads and cookbooks and wanted to share.

CRISCO ULTIMATE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

3/4 cup Butter Flavor Crisco all-vegetable shortening
1-1/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 egg
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans (optional)*

*If nuts are omitted, add an additional 1/2 cup chocolate chips.

Heat oven to 375°F. Place sheets of foil on countertop for cooling cookies.
Combine shortening, brown sugar, milk, and vanilla in large bowl. Beat at medium speed of electric mixer until well blended. Beat egg into creamed mixture.
Combine flour, salt, and baking soda. Mix into creamed mixture just until blended. Stir in chocolate chips and pecan pieces.
Drop rounded tablespoonfuls of dough 3 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheet.
Bake one baking sheet at a time at 375°F for 8 to 10 minutes for chewy cookies, or 11 to 13 minutes for crisp cookies. DO NOT OVERBAKE. Cool 2 minutes on baking sheet. Remove cookies to foil to cool completely.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Colonel Mustard in the Kitchen! CHOCOLATE MUSTARD BROWNIES

Today is International Mustard Day. Not only is there an international holiday, but there's also a National Mustard Museum, the home of the world's largest collection of Mustards and Mustard Memorabilia.

According to the National Mustard Museum website, in 1992, Barry Levenson left his job as an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Wisconsin to open this museum. There are more than 5300 mustards from all 50 states and more than 60 countries. For the collector in me, there's the Gibbons Collection of mustard pots, antique tins & jars and vintage advertisements. Located on Hubbard Avenue in the heart of downtown Middleton, Wisconsin, the National Mustard Museum is open from 10 am to 5 pm, seven days a week — except New Years, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. The online store never sleeps. Middleton neighbors Madison to the west, is only a 45-minute drive from Wisconsin Dells, just 2-1/2 hours from Chicago, and a mere 6,978 kilometers from Dijon, France.


But this is a Chocolate Blog, so why Mustard? Because Chocolate and Mustard go great together! I've posted a Spicy Chocolate Mustard Cookie recipe from Colman's Mustard. Add Merlot, and you're really speaking my language. What a wonderful blend of flavors.

The Napa Mustard Company has a wonderful Noyo Reserve Merlot 'n Chocolate Mustard.
It's great on pretzels and with sandwiches or just spread it on a piece of crunchy sourdough. It's sweet, salty, and tangy!

Hop Kiln, one of my favorite wineries in Sonoma County, makes their own Merlot & Chocolate Mustard. It has a lovely smooth taste. Use as above.

And adapted from a recipe from the National Mustard Museum,  here's a recipe for Chocolate Mustard Brownies created by Marliss Levin for  National Mustard Day celebration several years ago at The Mustard Museum. Mustard actually intensifies the taste of chocolate!

And, you might want to have some Mustard Ice Cream with that! French's makes one, and if you're not able to find it, here's a link to an easy recipe to make your own!


CHOCOLATE MUSTARD BROWNIES

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp Chocolate Merlot Mustard
1 tsp fresh ground espresso
1/2 lb unsalted butter
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate or very dark chocolate (85% or higher), chopped
2 cups brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
4 eggs
2 Tbsp Vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips or 1 cup of chunks of dark chocolate
Sifted powdered sugar

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix ground espresso in mustard and set aside.
Melt butter and chocolate together in top of double boiler or a pot on top of another with simmering water. Cool slightly.
Add brown sugar to chocolate mixture. Blend well.
Add flour and mix well.
Add eggs and mix until blended.
Stir in vanilla; add mustard/coffee mixture. Mix until well blended.
Fold in chocolate chips or chunks.
Spread in greased 13" x 9" pan.
Bake 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
Cool and cut into squares.

Friday, August 2, 2019

S'MORES ICE-CREAM SANDWICHES: Nationl Ice Cream Sandwich Day

Today's National Ice Cream Sandwich Day! I love ice cream sandwiches. They're easy and perfect for summer! Here's an easy recipe from Betty Crocker that's a twist on S'mores Ice Cream Sandwiches. This recipe feeds a crowd! Invite the neighbors.

S'MORES ICE CREAM SANDWICHES

Ingredients
32 graham cracker squares
1/2 cup Betty Crocker Rich & Creamy chocolate frosting
1/2 cup marshmallow creme
1/2 gallon brick-style chocolate ice cream

Directions
Arrange 16 of the graham crackers in bottom of ungreased jelly roll pan, 15 1/2 x 10 1/2 x 1 inch. Spread frosting on top of each cracker. Spread marshmallow creme on one side of remaining crackers.
Cut ice cream crosswise into four 3/4-inch-thick slices. Cut each slice into fourths to make 16 pieces. (Freeze remaining ice cream for another use.) Place one ice cream piece on each cracker in pan. Top with remaining crackers, marshmallow sides down, pressing lightly.
Cover and freeze about 2 hours or until firm. Wrap each sandwich in foil or plastic wrap; store in freezer.

Photo: Betty Crocker

Thursday, August 1, 2019

BLACK BOTTOM RASPBERRY CREAM PIE: National Raspberry Cream Pie Day

Today is National Raspberry Cream Pie Day, and what's a raspberry pie without chocolate? So for this recipe, the cream portion of the pie is Chocolate Pudding!

This recipe is from Bon Appetit (July 2004) aka Epicurious for Black Bottom Raspberry Cream Pie. The "black bottom" is a layer of chocolate pudding.. and as a bonus I've added a chocolate cookie crust since I'm all about chocolate. Be sure and chill the pie overnight before adding the topping.

As far as berries go, any great raspberries works. I love Driscoll's raspberries because they're always good. This is raspberry season, so pick up a few pints today and make this incredible pie to celebrate National Raspberry Cream Pie Day!

FYI: This recipe is also a great black bottom 'anything' recipe: bananas and other fruit go very well with it, too.

Black Bottom Raspberry Cream Pie 

Crust
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1 3/4 cups crushed chocolate wafer cookies (about 30 cookies from one 9-ounce package)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar

Filling
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)
2 Tbsp cornstarch
2 1/2 cups whole milk, divided
2 large egg yolks
1 large egg
4 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 Tbsp unsalted butter

Topping
3 1/2-pint containers raspberries
1 cup chilled whipping cream
2 Tbsp powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

For crust:
Spray 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish with nonstick spray. 
Blend cookie crumbs, butter, and sugar in medium bowl. 
Press mixture evenly over bottom and up sides (not on rim) of prepared dish.
Chill crust 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake crust until set, about 10 minutes, then cool.

For filling:
Combine sugar, cocoa, and cornstarch in heavy medium saucepan; whisk to blend well. 
Gradually add 1/4 cup milk, whisking until cornstarch dissolves. 
Whisk in remaining 2 1/4 cups milk, then egg yolks and egg. 
Stir over medium-high heat until pudding thickens and boils, about 8 minutes. 
Remove from heat. 
Add chocolate and butter; whisk until melted and smooth. 
Spread pudding in prepared crust. Press plastic wrap onto pudding to cover and chill pie overnight.

For topping:
Peel plastic wrap off pie. 
Cover chocolate layer with raspberries, pointed side up, pressing lightly into chocolate to adhere (some berries will be left over). 
Beat cream, sugar, and vanilla in medium bowl until peaks form; spread over berries on pie. 
Arrange remaining berries atop cream. 
Chill pie at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

DARK CHOCOLATE AVOCADO TRUFFLES: Forget the Toast!

Today is National Avocado Day! Forget the Toast - Avocado and Chocolate make for a great pairing! Avocado enriches the chocolate flavor of these truffles--and they're heart-healthy. The avocado replaces the heavy cream without losing any 'creaminess in texture,' and there's only a hint of the avocado taste .. and that's delicious. These truffles are vegan and gluten-free, too.

Dark Chocolate Avocado Truffles

Ingredients
1 ripe avocado (about 1/3 cup mashed avocado)
5 ounces dark chocolate (60-75% cacao), chopped
1 Tbsp dark brown sugar (optional)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch Kosher salt (or regular if you don't have Kosher salt)
2 1/2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

Directions
Pit and mash avocado until completely smooth.
Melt chocolate in saucepan over another saucepan over simmering water.
Once melted, stir in mashed avocado, brown sugar, vanilla extract, salt, and 1-1/2 Tbsp cocoa powder until thoroughly combined.
Cover truffle mixture with plastic wrap and put in refrigerator for 30-40 minutes until partially set.
Scoop out to create truffles and then form balls with your hands.
Roll in remaining 1 Tbsp of cocoa powder.

Store in refrigerator..but always serve truffles at room temperature. They'll taste so much better!

Monday, July 29, 2019

HERSHEY'S CHOCOLATE CHEESECAKE: National Cheesecake Day

Since tomorrow is National Cheesecake Day,  I thought I'd post a great and easy recipe for Chocolate Cheesecake from Hershey's.

HERSHEY'S CHOCOLATE CHEESECAKE

Ingredients
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
3 packages cream cheese (8 oz. each), softened
1 can sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk) (14 oz.)
4 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Directions
1. Prepare CHOCOLATE CRUMB CRUST (see below). Heat oven to 300°F.
2. Place butter in medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at HIGH (100%) 30 to 45 seconds or until melted. Stir in cocoa until smooth; set aside.
3. Beat cream cheese in large bowl. Add cocoa mixture; beat well. Gradually beat in sweetened condensed milk until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Pour batter into prepared pan.
4. Bake 1 hour and 5 minutes or until set. (Center will be soft.) Remove pan from oven to wire rack; loosen cake from side of pan. Cool completely; remove side of pan. To serve, garnish as desired. Cover; refrigerate leftover cheesecake. Garnish as desired. Makes 12 servings.

CHOCOLATE CRUMB CRUST: 
Place 6 tablespoons butter in medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at HIGH (100%) 30 seconds or until melted. Stir in 1-1/2 cups vanilla wafer crumbs (about 45 wafers, crushed), 6 tablespoons powdered sugar and 6 tablespoons HERSHEY'S Cocoa; blend well. Press mixture onto bottom and 1/2 inch to 1-inch up side of 9-inch springform pan.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

MILK CHOCOLATE CAKE with MILK CHOCOLATE FROSTING: National Milk Chocolate Day

Today is Milk Chocolate Day! I'm a dark chocolate fan, but every once in awhile I crave a Hershey's milk chocolate bar. So what exactly is Milk Chocolate?

Here's a good explanation from HowStuffWorks.com:

Milk chocolate, the most common eating chocolate in the United States today, actually arrived on the scene fairly late in the history of chocolate.
 
Milk chocolate's development was made possible with the invention of powdered milk by Swiss chemist Henri Nestlé in 1867. Previous attempts at mixing whole (liquid) milk and chocolate liquor didn't turn out well. But in 1879, a Swiss chocolate manufacturer and neighbor of Nestlé by the name of Daniel Peter decided to try combining the newly invented powdered milk with chocolate liquor -- and true milk chocolate was born.

Milk chocolate is made by combining chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, sugar, flavorings, and sweetened condensed or powdered whole milk (which one is used depends on the individual manufacturer's formula and production methods). The sugar and milk are first blended together, then they're mixed with chocolate liquor and flavorings and dried to create a substance called "milk chocolate crumb." Next, additional cocoa butter is blended with the crumb, and the mixture is sent through the standard conching and refining processes.
 
All milk chocolate made in the United States must contain at least 10 percent chocolate liquor and at least 12 percent milk solids. Bars of fine milk chocolate typically have a cacao content of between 30 percent and 45 percent, while less-expensive products may have considerably less. Milk chocolate has a sweeter and far more mellow chocolate flavor than dark chocolate, and since a higher cacao content gives a chocolate bar more "snap," milk chocolate tends to be less crisp than dark chocolate.

***
Here's a great recipe for Milk Chocolate Cake with Milk Chocolate Frosting.  This is essentially a three layer chocolate butter cake. Recipe was developed by Sylvia Thompson -- The Birthday Cake Book (1993).

MILK CHOCOLATE CAKE WITH MILK CHOCOLATE FROSTING

Milk Chocolate Cake

Ingredients
3 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
1/2 Tbsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 Tbsp salt
6 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
1 cup water
1 cup unsalted butter, softened to consistency of mayonnaise
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light-brown sugar, lumps crushed, packed
1 1/2 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
6 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk or soured milk, room temperature
Milk Chocolate Frosting

Directions
Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in bowl.
In medium heat-proof bowl over barely simmering water, melt chocolate in water, stirring occasionally until perfectly smooth. Remove from heat.
In large mixing bowl, beat butter on medium speed until creamy. Continue beating while sprinkling in granulated and brown sugars, 1 tablespoon at time. Add vanilla and beat until very light. Add eggs one at a time, beating until thoroughly blended after each, then beat until very light and creamy. Blend in chocolate. Add flour in 3 parts by sprinkling over bowl. Alternate with buttermilk in 2 parts. Beat on lowest speed just until each addition disappears. Fold batter with large flexible rubber spatula just until thoroughly blended.
Divide batter into buttered 9-inch round cake pans with bottoms lined with wax paper. Smooth tops, then push batter slightly up against sides. Bake 2 layers on middle oven rack and 1 layer on lower oven rack at 350 degrees. Stagger so top pans are not directly over bottom pan.
Bake until wood pick emerges clean from center of cake, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool in pans on racks 15 minutes. Then turn out onto racks, top sides up, to cool completely.
Up to 6 hours before serving, set thickest layer on platter, bottoms up. Spread with 2/3 cup frosting. Repeat with second layer. Place last layer top side up. Frost top and sides. Keep cool. Do not refrigerate.

Milk Chocolate Frosting 

Ingredients
14 ounces milk chocolate
5 cups powdered sugar, sifted
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa (not Dutch-processed)
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
7 - 8 Tbsp milk
2 Tbsp vanilla

Directions
In medium heat-proof bowl over (not touching) barely simmering water, melt chocolate, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove from heat.
In food processor or mixing bowl, blend sugar and cocoa. Melt butter with 7 Tbsp milk at MEDIUM  in microwave or over low heat.
Add hot butter to sugar with chocolate and vanilla. Process or beat until smooth. Do not overprocess. If too thick, beat in remaining tablespoon hot milk. If too thin, add sugar. Spread at once.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

CHOCOLATE CREME BRULEE: National Creme Brulee Day

Celebrate National Creme Brulee´ Day with Chocolate Creme Brulee. There are a lot of recipes out there, but a really good never fail Recipe for Chocolate Creme Brulee comes from Paula Deen.  I love her recipe because it's easy, contains alcohol (Chocolate Liqueur), and tastes fantastic. Because this recipe calls for egg yolks only, use the extra egg whites to make Chocolate Meringues.

Chocolate Creme Brulee

Ingredients
1 quart heavy cream
1 cup sugar
1 ounce chocolate liqueur (recommended: Godiva Liqueur)
1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract
2 ounces dark cocoa powder
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate (remember the best quality makes a difference)
11 large egg yolks

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In medium sized saucepan over medium-high heat, add heavy cream, sugar, liqueur, and vanilla. When mixture is warm add cocoa powder and chocolate and whisk until blended.
Place egg yolks in large stainless steel bowl.
Slowly add warm chocolate mixture to eggs a little at time while whisking.
Strain and pour into individual porcelain ramekins.
Place ramekins in a large baking pan.
Pour enough hot water into pan to come half way up sides of ramekins.
Bake until firm in center, about 30 minutes.
Remove ramekins from water bath and let cool completely.
Place in refrigerator for 2 hours.
Dust with sugar and caramelize with propane torch. Serve immediately.

If you've never carmelized sugar with a torch, read The Kitchn on Apartment Therapy. I use a small torch from the hardware store, but you can find torches at kitchen shops and online. It's a fun item to have on hand. You can also use it to finish your s'mores!

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

TEQUILA BROWNIES: National Tequila Day

Today is National Tequila Day! Have a shot of Tequila, or, better still, make these fabulous rich Tequila Brownies.


I use Reposado Tequila in this recipe. Reposado or "rested" Tequila is aged in wood tanks or casks for a minimum of 2 months. The higher-quality Reposados are aged from 3-9 months. Reposado tequila has a robust flavor and is the best-selling in Mexico and can be either 100% agave or mixto. Of course, you can use whatever type of Tequila you have on hand in the following recipe.

TEQUILA BROWNIES

Ingredients
1/2 cup unsalted butter
12 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 - 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup flour
2 Tbsp Reposado Tequila
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup walnuts, chopped

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease 8x8x2" square pan. 
Heat butter and chocolate in saucepan over saucepan over simmering flame. Stir until melted.
In bowl, combine cocoa, sugar, flour, tequila, baking powder, salt, and eggs.
Pour in chocolate/butter mixture, mixing just until combined.
Stir in walnuts.
Spread mixture in pan.
Bake 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
Cool before cutting.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Vanilla vs French Vanilla Ice Cream: History and Thomas Jefferson's Recipe

Today is Vanilla Ice Cream Day. O.k. not chocolate, but I often include vanilla ice cream with my brownies and cakes, so today I'd post the answer to the question, "What's the Difference between Vanilla Ice Cream and French Vanilla Ice Cream?"

French Vanilla Ice Cream is a different color than Vanilla Ice Cream, and that's due to the process rather than the vanilla bean varieties, named for where they’re grown, like Madagascar, Tahiti, and Mexico. French Vanilla refers not to a vanilla variety but to the classic French way of making ice cream using an egg-custard base. The eggs give French Vanilla ice cream a smoother consistency and subtle yellow color. I definitely think that French vanilla ice cream is richer.

Regular vanilla ice cream made with just milk and cream, without eggs is called Philadelphia-style vanilla ice-cream. Having grown up in Philadelphia, this was news to me.


The French Connection: Actually French Vanilla ice cream dates back to colonial times. Both Thomas Jefferson and George Washington used ice cream recipes that include egg yolks. Jefferson's family's ice cream recipe which calls for six egg yolks per quart of cream may have originated with his French butler.

Jefferson's recipe for French Vanilla Ice Cream: Handwritten recipe on the right from the Library of Congress collection. Recipe from www.monticello.org

Thomas Jefferson's Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe

Ingredients:
2 Bottles of Good Cream
6 Yolks of eggs
1/2 pound sugar

Directions
Mix the yolks and sugar put the cream on a fire in a casserole, first putting in a stick of vanilla.

When near boiling, take it off and pour it gently into the mixture of eggs and sugar. Stir it well.

Put it on the fire again, stirring it thoroughly with a spoon to prevent it from sticking to the casserole.
When near boiling, take it off and strain it through a towel. Put it in the Sabottiere [the inner canister in an ice bucket], then set it in ice an hour before it is to be served.

Put into the ice a handful of salt, put salt on the coverlid of the Sabotiere, and cover the whole [thing] with ice.
Leave it still half a quarter of an hour. Then turn the Sabottiere in the ice [for] 10 minutes.

Open it ... with a spatula [and remove] the ice from the inner sides of the Sabotiere.

Shut it and replace it in the ice. Open it from time to time to detach the ice from the sides.

When well taken, stir it well with the spatula.

Put it in moulds, justling it well down on the knee. Then put the mould into the same bucket of ice. Leave it there to the moment of serving it.

To withdraw it, immerse the mould in warm water, turning it well [until] it will come out and turn it into a plate.

Visiting Mt. Rushmore? The Memorial Team Ice Cream shop serves up the original recipe.

Which is your favorite? Vanilla Ice Cream or French Vanilla Ice Cream

Monday, July 22, 2019

PENUCHE FUDGE aka Brown Sugar Fudge, Creamy Praline Fudge, New England Fudge: National Penuche Fudge Day

Today is Penuche Fudge Day. This tasty fudge is sometimes called Penuche Fudge, sometimes Brown Sugar Fudge, Creamy Praline Fudge, New England Fudge, and even Sucre a la Creme (in Canada)! Whatever you call it, it's fabulous.

Historically, Penuche Fudge has been attributed to New England (New England Fudge) as well as some places in the South (Creamy Praline), but there are many variations in nearly every part of the world. Milk is usually boiled down to thick fudge and brown sugar is then added to it to create the distinctive butterscotch taste. The dish is very similar to Mexican Cajeta which is also a kind of sweetened thickened goat’s milk with the same dull brown color of penuche. There are also many Indian versions of the same dish using thickened milk called as peda or milk fudge burfi. The only difference between the different regional variations is the thickness of the eventual dish. Cajeta is liquidy and can be used a as a spread, while penuche is semi-soft like a fudge and pedas or milk burfis are stiffer. But the basic ingredients in the penuche fudge recipe and preparation process are the same. Dulce du leche is another very popular version where condensed milk is thickened with hours of cooking resulting in a thick paste. Different versions of this dish are very popular all over Latin America and France even though they are given different names.

O.K. I meant to mention that there's no chocolate in Penuche Fudge. So if you want Chocolate Fudge, check out my National Fudge Day Recipe Round-Up!

Penuche Fudge

Ingredients
4 cups brown sugar
1 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1-2/3 cups chopped pecans

Directions
Combine brown sugar, cream, and butter in medium saucepan. Stir until dissolved. Heat to between 234 and 240 degrees F.
Remove from heat and stir until mixture loses its gloss (or process in food processor 30 seconds) Quickly stir in vanilla and nuts and spread into 9x9 inch dish.
Chill before cutting into squares.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

10 FABULOUS TRICKS FROM BEN & JERRY'S for National Ice Cream Day!

Today is Ice Cream Day, but if you're like me, every day is Ice Cream Day. Check out your local ice cream shop for specials and freebies!

Here are some 10 Ice Cream Tricks from Ben & Jerry's, starting with an easy way of making ice cream sandwiches without all the mess:

1. Grab a pint, get a hold of a giant knife, and cut the pint into circular slices. Because you’re obviously a dessert pro, you already have some delicious cookies ready to go. 


2. Have a half pint left in the freezer? You COULD dig in and methodically and dutifully deposit an equal number of scoops in each of your bowls. OR you could take a sturdy knife and cut that pint right down the middle lengthwise. Instant gratification.

Read on for 8 more fabulous Ice Cream Tricks.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

MOON PIE BROWNIES: Moon Landing Anniversary

Wow! 50 years since we landed on the Moon. Here's a great and easy recipe to celebrate. It's Out of This World: Moon Pie Brownies! I'm a big fan of Moon Pies, and not just during Mardi Gras. A moon pie, if you're not familiar, is a sweet southern snack that originated in 1917. Made from two graham crackers with marshmallow filling and chocolate coating, Moon Pies are produced by Chattanooga Bakery in Chattanooga, TN. OK, they're not really moons, but this recipe is easy and tasty!

MOON PIE BROWNIES

Butter or spray the bottom of a 9 x 13 glass baking dish. Line the bottom with chopped Moon Pies. Prepare your favorite brownie mix or make your own. Pour it over the Moon Pies. Bake according to your brownie mix (or your own) recipe.


Friday, July 19, 2019

MOON LANDING MARTINIS!


In celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Moon Landing, here are a few recipes for Moon Landing Martinis! They're Out of this World!

Starry Night Martini
1 1/2 ounce chocolate Vodka
1 1/2 ounce vanilla Vodka
1 ounce Bailey's Irish cream
1 ounce Kahlua coffee liqueur
1 splash cream

Fill shaker-strainer with ice. Pour chocolate and vanilla vodka into shaker simultaneously for three counts. Pour Bailey's and Kahlua into shaker for two counts. Add splash of cream. Cover shaker, shake, and strain into cocktail glass.

Chocolate Raspberry Martini 
(A Drink of the Week Original Cocktail)
1 1/2 ounce Stoli Raspberry Vodka
1/2  ounce  Godiva Chocolate Liqueur
Splash Soda

Combine Vodka and Liqueur in a shaker with ice. Shaken and strain into a cocktail glass. Top with a splash of soda. Garnish with a fresh raspberry.

Chocolate to Die For
6 ounce cream soda
1 1/2 ounce Chocolate Vodka

Pour the chocolate vodka over ice in an old-fashioned glass. Add cream soda and serve.

Fudge Slide
1 ounce Goldenbarr Chocolate Vodka
1 ounce  Kahlua coffee liqueur
1 ounce Bailey's Irish cream

Pour each ingredient into a cocktail shaker half-filled with ice cubes. Shake well, strain into a cocktail glass, and serve.

Chocolate Chocolate Martini
1 1/2 ounce Vincent Van Gogh Dutch Chocolate Vodka
1/2 ounce Creme de Cacao

Pour both ingredients into cocktail shaker with ice cubes. Shake well, strain into cocktail glass and serve. Garnish with grated chocolate. You can also rim the chilled glass with cocoa powder but pour slowly. Even better: Rim chilled glass with chocolate sauce and put in freezer until you're ready to serve the drink!


Raise a glass to the Moon Landing!

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

S'MORES BROWNIES

What's Summer without S'mores? Sometimes you're not around an open fire, but you have an overwhelming desire for S'mores. S'mores Brownies fit the bill! This is my favorite recipe for S'mores Brownies. You'll love these.

S'mores Brownies

Ingredients
3/4 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsweetened DARK cocoa powder
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
Graham Crackers  
4 Hershey bars
5 ounces marshmallows (regular or mini)

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 F°. Grease an 8 inch square pan.
In large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla, eggs, and sugar until combined. Mix in cocoa powder, flour, baking powder, and salt until well blended.
Pour half batter into pan.
Layer graham crackers side by side over the top of the brownie batter until completely covered.
Put layer of Hershey’s chocolate bars side by side over graham crackers.
Place marshmallows over chocolate bars.
Pour remaining batter evenly over marshmallows, spreading with a spatula if necessary.
Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes.
Cool before cutting.


Tuesday, July 16, 2019

3 Easy Chocolate Ice Cream Recipes: NATIONAL ICE CREAM MONTH

I scream! You scream! We all scream for Ice Cream! Make it chocolate! To celebrate National Ice Cream Month, here are several 3 easy recipes for Chocolate Ice Cream. As always use the very best ingredients.

CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM RECIPE #1

Ingredients
1-1/2 cup whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions
Whisk together milk, cocoa powder, and sugar to combine.
Stir in heavy cream and vanilla extract.
Refrigerate chocolate ice cream base for at least 30 minutes before putting in your ice cream freezer, so it is completely cold. This will help freeze faster, improving texture, and allow cocoa powder to become fully hydrated by the milk and cream.

CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM RECIPE #2

Ingredients
1 cup Dutch process cocoa powder, unsweetened
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
2/3 cup white sugar
1-1/2 cups whole milk
31/4 cups heavy cream
2 Tbsp vanilla extract

Directions
In bowl, combine cocoa and both sugars, whisking to combine well. Add milk and whisk until sugars are dissolved. Stir in heavy cream and vanilla. Pour mixture into freezer bowl of ice cream maker. Let run for 30 minutes, or until mixture is thick, soft, and creamy.
Transfer to airtight container and freeze at least 2 hours.

CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM RECIPE  #3 (without ice cream maker)
This recipe is for Magic Chocolate Ice Cream -- recipe from Borden's Elsie the Cow

Ingredients
1 square unsweetened chocolate
2/3 cup Sweetened Condensed Milk
2/3 cup water
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup whipping cream

Directions
Melt chocolate in top of double boiler. Add sweetened condensed milk and stir over rapidly boiling water 5 minutes until thick. Add water, mix well. Chill. Add vanilla. Whip cream to custard-like consistency. Fold into chilled mixture. Freeze until half-frozen. Take out of container and beat until smooth but not melted. Replace in freezer until frozen.

Monday, July 15, 2019

KICKED UP CHOCOLATE TAPIOCA PUDDING: National Tapioca Pudding Day

Today is National Tapioca Pudding Day... not to be confused with National Tapioca Day (June 28) when I posted two Chocolate Tapioca Recipes. This recipe is 'kicked up' with the addition of Rum! Now we're talking. Recipe from Emeril Lagasse. It's easy, fast, and delicious!

KICKED UP CHOCOLATE TAPIOCA PUDDING

Ingredients
1/2 cup sugar
3 Tbsp quick cooking tapioca
3 cups whole milk
1 large egg, beaten
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3 ounces DARK chocolate
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp dark rum

Directions 
In medium saucepan, combine sugar, tapioca, milk, and egg. Let stand for 5 minutes.
Add cinnamon and chocolate to saucepan and cook over medium heat until pudding comes to full boil, stirring continually to prevent burning.
Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and rum.
Cool for 20 minutes. Stir for creamy texture.
Serve warm or chilled.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

CHOCOLATE CHERRY CLAFOUTIS: Bastille Day!

Bastille Day aka la Fête Nationale aka 14 juillet is a French holiday on July 14 that commemorates the day the people of Paris stormed the Bastille prison in 1789. This violent overthrow of the monarchy made way for a republic, and the beginning of the modern nation.

Traditionally the celebration begins the night before, with big parties and balls. Then on the morning of Bastille Day the world’s largest and oldest military procession takes place in Paris, with the President of France at the head of the parade and jets flying overhead, often leaving trails of blue, white, and red. Most Parisians, and their countryside counterparts, settle in for an afternoon of outdoor parties, with lots of eating and drinking. Just as they took to the streets during the revolution, so the French take to the streets on Bastille Day, but in a much more festive way! The day ends in a spectacular fireworks display, with the Eiffel Tower serving as a backdrop. Colorful explosions are seen across the country in smaller towns and cities as well.

So Bastille Day is a day to celebrate French food, and for this blog, French Chocolate Dessert! In the past I've posted many "French" recipes for Bastille Day--from Soufflés to Beignets to Eclairs to Crepes. But this year, I wanted to post something different. What can be more French than a Clafoutis? A clafoutis is a simple French country dessert that's comprised of sliced stone fruit over which a pancake-like batter is poured and then baked. You'll be glad to learn that there is such a thing as Chocolate Clafoutis. Following is an easy, quick, and delicious recipe adapted from the French Chef herself, Julia Child, from her cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume 1.You can substitute other stone fruits, such as pears, peaches, apricots, nectarines, and plums, but cherries are in season..and I love chocolate and cherries.

CHOCOLATE CHERRY CLAFOUTIS

Directions:
Heat oven to 350˚F. Butter a heavy cast iron skillet.
3 cup cherries, pitted and halved
Arrange in dish cut-side facing upwards.
To make this even more chocolate, add chocolate chips in with the cherries.

Into a blender put the following, in any order:
1/2 cup of all-purpose flour, sifted
1/4 cup good quality cocoa powder, sifted
Dash of salt
2/3 cup superfine (castor sugar)* (and you can also use regular white sugar)
1 1/4 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 large room temp eggs

Blend it all together and when thoroughly combined, pour carefully over pitted cherries.
Sprinkle a handful of superfine sugar on top and bake in oven for about 1 hour.
Clafoutis rise, but they also fall quickly, so plan to eat it warm with some whipped cream or ice cream on the side.

***
Superfine Sugar
* I usually have a box of superfine sugar in my pantry, but if you don't, you can make it quickly at home. 
For one cup: Grind one cup and two teaspoons of white granulated sugar in a blender or food processor for 30 seconds. Also called castor sugar, this is simply sugar that has been ground into finer crystals than regular granulated sugar. 

Saturday, July 13, 2019

GRAND MARNIER CHOCOLATE CAKE: Grand Marnier Day

Tomorrow is Grand Marnier Day, as well as Bastille Day. Here's a great Grand Marnier Chocolate Cake to celebrate! 

Grand Marnier is a remarkable combination of a premium blend of cognac and exotic oranges created in 1880 by Louis-Alexandre Marnier Lapostolle. Louis-Alexandre Marnier Lapostolle perfected the premium Grand Marnier blend in 1880 and at the time, his vision of combining the essence of wild tropical oranges from Haiti with premium cognac from France was seen as cutting edge and completely unexpected. The cognac found in Grand Marnier is made from Ugni Blanc grapes from five of the best crus within the Cognac region in France and is double-distilled in copper stills. The bitter, exotic orange called ‘Citrus Bigaradia’ sourced from the Caribbean, is a rare variety which offers an intense and unique flavor profile and aroma.

This recipe for Grand Marnier Chocolate Cake is adapted slightly from Bon Appetit! Of course, if you have no time to bake a cake, you can always drink a glass of Grand Marnier! Be sure and check out the great advertising video for Grand Marnier "La Vie Grand Marnier." Scroll down.

Grand Marnier Chocolate Cake

Ingredients

Cake
10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
6 large eggs, separated
2 Tbsp Grand Marnier
1 Tbsp finely grated orange peel
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

Icing 
7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
7 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes, room temperature
2/3 cup whipping cream

Cake Directions
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Butter 10-inch-diameter springform pan; line bottom with parchment paper round.
Stir chocolate in metal bowl set over saucepan of simmering water until melted and smooth. Cool slightly.
Using electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in large bowl 2 minutes. Beat in egg yolks, Grand Marnier, orange peel, and vanilla. Stir in lukewarm chocolate. Add flour and salt; stir to blend.
Using clean dry beaters, beat egg whites in another large bowl until peaks form. Fold whites into chocolate mixture in 3 additions.
Transfer batter to prepared springform pan.
Bake cake until top is dry and cracked and tester inserted into center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, about 45 minutes.
Cool cake in pan on rack (top will fall slightly).
Can be made 1 day ahead.
Cool completely; cover and let stand at room temperature.

Icing Directions
Place chocolate and butter in medium metal bowl. Bring cream to boil in small saucepan. Pour hot cream over chocolate mixture; stir until mixture is melted and smooth.
Run thin knife around inside of cake pan; remove pan sides.
Invert cake onto 10-inch removable tart pan bottom or cardboard round.
Place on rack set in rimmed baking sheet.
Remove cake pan bottom and parchment.
Pour icing over cake and spread to cover top and sides (any icing that drips onto baking sheet can be reused).
Chill until glaze sets, about 30 minutes.
DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead.
Cover with cake dome and chill.
Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before serving.
Cut into wedges and serve.