Monday, September 30, 2019

POMEGRANATE FUDGE for Rosh Hashanah or Any Time!

Here's another chocolate recipe for Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year. Even if you're not celebrating this holiday, you'll want to bookmark this recipe and try it today or another time. This is a very simple recipe, but you'll find it incredibly tasty. I use dark chocolate, but milk chocolate works well, too. I buy my pomegranate seeds at Trader Joe's, but you may want to buy a whole pomegranate and de-seed it. As I've mentioned before, use the very best ingredients for the best flavor!

On the second day of Rosh Hashana, it's traditional to eat a fruit you haven't had this season. Pomegranates are often the 'preferred' fruit, because they also symbolize fruitfulness. It's also said to have 613 seeds which corresponds with the 613 commandments of the Torah.

Pomegranate Fudge

Ingredients
23 ounces Chocolate, chopped  (65-75% cacao) or chocolate chips (or milk chocolate, if you prefer)
14 ounces Sweetened Condensed Milk
1/4 cup Pomegranate Molasses
1/2 tsp Sea Salt (fleur de sel)
Seeds of 1 Pomegranate (about a cup or 5 1/3 ounces if you're buying them loose)

Directions
Line pan that is at least 7 x 7 and 2 inches high with parchment paper.
In saucepan over saucepan over simmering water, combine chocolate and condensed milk. Stirring constantly.
Remove from stove and mix in pomegranate molasses. Mix in 1/4 teaspoon sea salt.
Pour fudge into parchment-lined pan, smoothing with spatula.
Spread pomegranate seeds over top of fudge and gently pat into fudge so they stick to fudge as it cools.
Add another 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt over top of fudge.
Put in refrigerator to set.
Remove from refrigerator.
Cut and eat.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

REAL COFFEE TRUFFLES: National Coffee Day

Today is National Coffee Day. Here's a recipe for Real Coffee Chocolate Truffles. These are fabulous, and unlike other espresso and coffee truffle recipes I've posted in the past, these do not use brewed coffee or instant--this recipe uses fresh ground coffee beans! You can also use different coatings for these truffles, such as chopped nuts or powdered sugar, but I prefer my truffles covered in unsweetened cocoa!

Real Coffee Truffles

Ingredients
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
8 ounces DARK chocolate, 70% cacao
2 Tbsp finely ground coffee beans
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
2 Tbsp Kahlua, room temperature
1/2 cup unsweetened DARK cocoa powder

Directions
In double boiler or saucepan over saucepan, bring cream to a simmer.
Add chopped chocolate slowly, whisking constantly until mixture is thick and smooth.
Whisk in ground coffee beans.
Whisk in butter until melted.
Slowly whisk in Kahlua.
Remove mixture from heat and pour into shallow baking dish.
Put baking dish in refrigerator overnight or in freezer until the chocolate has hardened.
Scoop chocolate from baking dish, roll into ball with hands and roll in cocoa powder.
Set on parchment paper on baking sheet.
Repeat.
Cover and refrigerate truffles until firm.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

CHOCOLATE HONEY CAKE for Rosh Hashana

Here's a wonderful recipe for Chocolate Honey Cake to celebrate Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year. Honey is a traditional food that symbolizes a Sweet New Year. Add Chocolate, and the year is bound to be even sweeter!

This recipe is adapted from Nigella Lawson's Chocolate Honey Cake aka Honey Bee Cake. She decorates her Chocolate Honey Cake with the most adorable marzipan bees, but I never get quite that involved. FYI: Honey cake doesn't have to be dry and heavy. This cake is incredibly moist! As I've mentioned many times, though, your final product will be different depending on the type and brand of chocolate and the type of honey you use.

Chocolate Honey Cake

Ingredients

Cake:
4 ounces dark chocolate (50-65% cacao), chopped
1 1/3 cups soft light brown sugar
8 ounces unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup local honey
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp DARK cocoa
1 cup boiling water

Sticky Honey Glaze:
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup honey
6 ounces dark chocolate (60-75% cacao), finely chopped
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp confectioners sugar

Directions:
Have all ingredients at room temperature.
Melt chocolate from cake part of ingredients list in large bowl, either in microwave or bowl over pan of simmering water. Set aside to cool slightly.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and line 9-inch springform pan.
Beat together sugar and softened butter until airy and creamy, and then add honey.
Add 1 of eggs, beating in with tablespoon of flour, and then second egg with another tablespoon of flour.
Fold in melted chocolate, and then remaining flour and baking soda.
Add cocoa pushed through tea strainer to ensure no lumps, and last of all, beat in the boiling water.
Mix everything together well to make smooth batter and pour into prepared springform pan.
Bake for up to 1 -1/2 hours, checking cake after 45 minutes. If it's getting too dark, cover top lightly with aluminum foil and keep checking every 15 minutes.
Let cake cool completely in pan on rack.

Glaze: 
To make glaze, bring water and honey to boil in pot, then turn off the heat and add finely chopped chocolate, swirling around to melt in hot liquid.
Leave for few minutes, then whisk together.
Add sugar through sieve and whisk again until smooth.

Putting it together:
Choose plate or stand, and cut 4 strips of parchment paper and form square outline on plate. Reason: So when you put cake on it and ice it, icing won't run all over the plate (you can always cut the excess off later).
Unclip springform pan and set thoroughly cooled cake on prepared plate.
Pour glaze over cold chocolate honey cake. It might dribble a bit down the edges, but don't worry too much about it. Glaze stays tacky for some time (which is what gives it its melting goeyness) so ice in time for glaze to harden a little, at least an hour before you want to serve it.

Nigella Lawson decorates this great cake with marzipan bees. For the recipe for them, and for her exact recipe, go HERE.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Chocolate Milk: The Ultimate Post-Workout Drink: NATIONAL CHOCOLATE MILK DAY!

Today is National Chocolate Milk Day, so I thought I'd post this  article from NPR on excerise and fitness. If you're reading this post, you're probably sitting too long at your computer. The headline of this article is Stand Up, Walk Around, Even Just for Twenty Minutes.

O.K. I know you'll want to read the entire article, but here's the final paragraph. So pertinent to this blog.

The Ultimate Post-Workout Beverage: Use chocolate milk to replenish sugars after an intense workout. Reynolds calls it an "ideal recovery beverage" because it has the right ratio of carbs and proteins to aid your body's recovery process.

Fitness Magazine also has an article on Chocolate Milk as a Post-Workout Drink. The article explains that chocolate milk after a tough workout can help replenish exhausted muscles and significantly aid exercise recovery. Note, though, that the article goes on to say that it works best for high intensity workouts (and probably not the 20 minute stroll as noted above).

Drinking plain water after exercise replaces sweat losses — and that's it. "Chocolate milk provides carbohydrate replenishment to your muscles — something they can metabolize," said Jason Karp, MS, another researcher for this study. "There's nothing to metabolize in water." 
Stager's assessment of chocolate milk is even simpler. "It's water plus a whole lot more," he said.

So get out there, walk around, stretch (or not!) and drink chocolate milk when you're finished exercising...that's real chocolate milk and not chocolate 'drink'...


Chocolate Milk

Ingredients
11 ounces cold milk
1-1/2 teaspoons Dutch-process cocoa
1/2 tsp sugar or 3/4 tsp honey

Directions
Heat 1/4 cup milk in microwave until steaming (15 seconds)
Add cocoa powder and sugar (or honey) to hot milk. Stir until lumps are gone,
Put mixture into glass and fill with remaining cold milk and stir.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

KEY LIME PIE DAY: Key Lime Pie with Chocolate Graham Cracker Crust

Key Lime Pie is one of my favorite pies. There seem to be several different Key Lime Pie Days (September 23, 26, and June 15). You pick... or have this easy delicious pie whenever you want. I'm going with September 26 for the purposes of this blog!

Several years ago when I visited the Florida Keys, I tasted over 25 different key lime pies. I judged them (for myself) on tartness, firmness, sweetness (too sweet is unacceptable), whipped cream vs. meringue, and more. It was a hard job, but someone had to do it. FYI: Key Lime Pie is the official pie of the Florida Keys.

I've made different variations of key lime pies, and, as I always say, you can never have too many recipes. Variety is what it's all about. One ingredient that is essential is using real key limes.

I buy key limes at my market. Key Limes are definitely different from 'regular' limes. Key limes are smaller, about the size of a ping-pong ball. They are round, think-skinned, and contain very few seeds. They're juicier than other limes, too. Green key limes are actually immature fruits. They ripen to yellow as they mature. I buy them green, probably because that's they way they sell them in my market. Just an FYI: bottled Key Lime juice is sometimes used in Key Lime Pies. This juice is not always made from key limes. Find fresh key limes, if you can. It will make a huge difference.

Key limes are also known as Mexican limes and West Indies limes. Cultivated for thousands of years in the Indo-Malayan region, this variety made its way to North Africa and the Near East via Arabian traders, and then carried on to Palestine and Mediterranean Europe by the Crusaders. Columbus is credited with bringing the Key lime to Hispaniola (Haiti), where it was carried on by Spanish settlers to Florida. Key Limes are found in in South Florida, particularly the Florida Keys, hence the current common name of Key Lime. Due to hurricane-depleted soils, locals switched from pineapple commercial crops to limes in 1906, and business boomed until a hurricane once again reared and wiped out the lime groves, never to be restored. Sadly, even if they had been, they would be gone again after Hurricane Irma. Most Key limes now come from Mexico.

And FYI: Key Lime Pies are yellow..not green (unless you add food coloring--ugh!).  And, some people top Key Lime Pie with Meringue.. some with whipped cream!

Key Lime Pie with Chocolate Graham Cracker Crust

Ingredients

Crust
1 1/2 cups crushed chocolate graham crackers
3 Tbsp sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted
Spray pan with non stick spray.

Filling
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
3 egg yolks
2/3 cup fresh squeezed Key Lime juice
1 Tbsp grated Key Lime zest

Directions

Crust
Mix together crumbs and sugar in bowl, add butter, and mix well. Press into bottom and up sides of  9-inch pie pan. Make it tight.
Bake 350 F for 8 minutes.
Allow to cool on a wire rack.

Filling
Beat egg yolks and grated Key Lime zest for about 5 minutes until fluffy.
Add sweetened condensed milk and beat for 4 more minutes.
Reduce speed and beat in lime juice until combined.
Pour into prepared chocolate graham cracker crust.
Bake at 350 for 15 minutes (until firm in center)
Remove from oven and cool on wire rack.
Cover and chill for 2 hours.
Top with Whipped Cream or Meringue (whichever you prefer)

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Betty's Brownies: National Comic Book Day

I was a huge comic book reader as a child. I could read the same comic over and over. Comics did not detract from my reading; they enhanced it. Just another platform, as they would say today. I don't know about you, but I learned a lot from Archie comics...about relationships, morals, values, and life.

Since today is National Comic Book Day, here's a recipe for Betty's Brownies from Archie Comics. They're "Out of Sight." That should date this strip!


Tuesday, September 24, 2019

DOWNTON ABBEY DOWAGER DUCHESS TRIPLE CHOCOLATE SCONES

Last week I posted a recipe for Downton Abbey Chocolate Cherry Scones that might have been served at Downton Abbey or taken on visits to tenant farmers. Today I'm posting a recipe for Dowager Duchess Triple Chocolate Scones. Of course these go very well with a heaping helping of Clotted Cream.

Dowager Duchess Triple Chocolate Scones 

Ingredients
1-3/4 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pure vanilla
6 Tbsp butter  (cold)
7-8 Tbsp whole milk  (cold)
1/2 cup chocolate chips
3 Tbsp chopped dark chocolate
Sugar Crystals 

Directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Sift together dry ingredients in large bowl (not the chocolatae chips or chocolate).
Add chocolate chips and dark chocolate.
Cut butter into dry ingredients until size of peas.
Put vanilla into small bowl and add milk. Pour most of milk mixture into dry mix and stir to moisten. Dough should be moist enough to form a soft ball, but not sticky. If needed, additional milk can be added 1-2 teaspoons at time.
Turn dough onto lightly floured cutting board and press out with hand to approximately 1/2 inch thickness. (makes 10-12 scones or 8-12 wedges)
Do not over-knead dough. Use as little flour as possible to keep dough from sticking to  board.
Cut into desired shapes and place on lightly greased baking sheet.
Lightly brush tops with milk (or not).
Sprinkle with sugar crystals (you can get this at King Arthur Flour or in the market in the baking section).
(If using a biscuit cutter or glass, dip the cutting edge in flour first)
Bake for 10-15 minutes depending on size. Start checking at 9 minutes. Do not overbake!
Sprinkle again with large sugar crystals while scones are still hot for visual appeal.

Scones are like biscuits. To get a tender, flaky scone, dough should be handled as little as possible, and you should always use cold butter and cold milk.

Monday, September 23, 2019

FALL EQUINOX APPLE CHOCOLATE CHIP BUNDT CAKE


I love Autumn with its infinite variety of apples.  Here's a great way to make the most of the apple harvest. This fabulous Chocolate Chip Apple Bundt Cake (recipe originally from Sunset Magazine) is a great way to celebrate the Fall Equinox. I use tart apples in this recipe because I like the combination of tart and sweet. Try different apple varieties. You can use your favorite dark chocolate instead of chocolate chips. Chop into chips.

Apple Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake

Ingredients 
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups white sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup water
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
2 cups apples - peeled, cored and diced
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (or chocolate chunks)

Directions
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Grease and flour one 9 or 10 inch Bundt Pan.
In large bowl, cream butter with sugar. Beat in eggs. Add water and vanilla.
Stir flour, cocoa, baking soda, ground cinnamon, and ground nutmeg together. Beat this mixture into creamed mixture.
Fold in chopped apples and semisweet chocolate chips (or chocolate chocolate chunks).
Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake at 325 degrees F for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until cake tests done when toothpick is inserted near center. Do not overbake. Start checking at one hour.
Transfer to a rack to cool.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

WHITE CHOCOLATE BUNDT CAKE: National White Chocolate Day

Today is White Chocolate Day. Not many people, including the FDA, consider white chocolate to be chocolate. It is made with cocoa butter, but combined with sugar and milk, and sometimes vanilla, so I'm including it as chocolate for the purposes of this blog. It doesn't taste like chocolate, but it does taste like 'white' chocolate! I love the flavor. I have two favorite white chocolates for baking: Guittard and Green & Black. Whatever you do, don't use the 'white wafers' you get at crafts stores. Be sure you use 'real' white chocolate in this recipe. The cheaper white chocolates have most of the cocoa butter replaced by vegetable fats. Not tasty at all. The amazing Ad in the photo is from Green & Black.

So for today's holiday, here's a recipe for White Chocolate Bundt Cake. You can always drizzle with dark chocolate, if you're so inclined, but I like my Bundt cakes plain.

WHITE CHOCOLATE BUNDT CAKE

Ingredients
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 Tbsp unsalted butter to coat pan
2 cups granulated sugar
2 Tbsp granulated sugar for sugaring pan
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1-1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
5 eggs, room temperature
4 ounces white chocolate, melted, still warm
4 ounces white chocolate chunks or white chocolate chips
1 cup sour cream

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Coat 10- to 12-cup Bundt pan with 1 tablespoon butter, then sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of sugar.
In medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Put remaining 1 cup butter and 2 cups sugar in large bowl and cream with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add vanilla, almond extract, and eggs, one at a time, beating 20 seconds after each addition. Slowly beat in 4 ounces melted white chocolate. Scrape down bowl. Add flour mixture to butter mixture in thirds, alternating with sour cream. Beat 45 seconds after each addition.
Place batter in prepared pan in 3 layers, separating each layer with remaining 4 ounces white chocolate chunks or chips.
Bake in preheated oven 55 to 60 minutes or until done. DON'T OVERBAKE!
Top should be slightly brown and cake tester inserted into center will come out with a few crumbs on it.
Remove cake to wire rack to cool for 15 minutes, then invert onto wire rack and cool to room temperature.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE PECAN COOKIES: National Pecan Cookie Day

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

This recipe is adapted from Woman's Day, April 1, 2006.  As always, I suggest you use the very best ingredients. I use crumbled toffee in the recipe, and I use 15 ounces of 75% chocolate in place of the original 2 10-oz milk chocolate bars. I also use DARK cocoa. And, an FYI, there are over 1000 varieties of pecans. Whichever you choose, you'll go nuts for this recipe!

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE PECAN COOKIES

Ingredients
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2⁄3 cup packed light brown sugar
2⁄3 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
3⁄4 tsp baking soda
3⁄4 tsp salt
2 1⁄3 cups all-purpose flour
2⁄3 cup unsweetened DARK cocoa powder
10 oz English toffee bits
1-1⁄2 cups coarsely chopped pecans
15-oz dark chocolate (65-75% cacao), chopped coarsely (or dark chocolate chips)

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

Friday, September 20, 2019

CHOCOLATE FUDGE BROWNIE CUPCAKES: Guest post by Laura-Kate Rurka


I love when my mystery and chocolate worlds collide. Today I welcome back Laura-Kate Rurka. Laura attends many of the Mystery Literary Salons I host at my home. Everyone is thrilled when Laura-Kate comes because she brings such amazing baked goods! Here's her post with recipe for the divine Chocolate Fudge Brownie Cupcakes she made this summer.

LAURA-KATE RURKA: 

At a 4th of July party in Virginia this summer, a woman came up to me to ask about the chocolate chip cookies I had made (blogged about here on Dying for Chocolate a few years ago). I explained that I use an ice cream scoop to make them uniform, and we got to chatting about baking in general. She was clearly as much of a fanatic as I am, so I suggested we be baking pen pals. The first batch of recipes she sent included these chocolate fudge brownie cupcakes with cookie dough frosting, which I made for a salon at Janet’s and which were a lot of fun to make and even more to eat. Thanks to my new pen pal, Amy Anderson for passing it along. I’m looking forward to trying many more of her confections in the future, and to sharing them with all of you. For the salon, I made them in little baking cups and served them with a wooden ice cream spoon, but they can just as easily be made in a regular cupcake paper and eaten out of hand.

Chocolate Fudge Brownie Cupcakes 

Ingredients (Makes 12): 
4 ounces of semisweet chocolate chopped (I prefer Ghirardelli chips)
Half cup of unsalted butter (8 Tablespoons) 1 Stick
¾ cup sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
3 large eggs
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
Frosting of your choice or use Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

Directions: 

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners.

Over low heat melt butter and chocolate pieces just until the two are melted and combined. Do NOT boil. You just want the two melted until smooth.

Stir in the sugar and vanilla until well combined. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring or whisking vigorously after each addition.

Stir in the flour and salt.

Divide batter evenly among the muffin cups. Bake for 17-20 minutes or just until baked through. Do not overbake. The cupcakes won’t be domed like normal cakey cupcakes. They will be more flat and dense like a brownie.

Remove the cupcakes to a cooling rack to cool completely. Frost as desired.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Frosting 

Ingredients: 
12 Tablespoons of unsalted butter, softened
2 Cups of powdered sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
½ cup all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
3 Tablespoons of milk or cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Half to one cup of mini chocolate chips

Directions: 

In a medium bowl with a handheld mixer beat together the butter, powdered sugar, brown sugar, flour, salt, milk or cream, and vanilla until very light and fluffy 2-3 minutes.

Stir in the chocolate chips. Frost cupcakes and serve immediately. You can refrigerate but remove them about an hour before you want to serve them.

***
Laura-Kate Rurka is a freelance writer, aspiring mystery author, and avid baker. She lives in Northern California with her husband and three kids.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

RUMBLE CAKES: Get ready to roll!

I'm a big fan of Trader Joe's. I like their mixes and products...and certainly their prices. I always have frozen TJ desserts in my freezer in case I don't have time to make something. And, you can always dress them up!

Here's one of my favorite recipes direct from the Trader Joe's website. You can buy all the ingredients at Trader Joe's or you can mix and match with your own items. The beauty of this recipe is that it's filled with all kinds of things and you can change them out, add or delete! Don't you just love the name? Rumble Cakes!

Let's Rumble!

RUMBLE CAKES

Ingredients
1 stick unsalted Butter
2  Eggs
1 box TJ’s Truffle Brownie Mix
¼ cup TJ’s Dried Tart Montmorency Cherries (I love these)
¼ cup Walnut Halves and Pieces
1 box TJ’s Frozen Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350°.
Bring the butter to room temperature and combine the eggs with the
butter and whisk/ mix.
Slowly add in the brownie mix.
Once the mixture is uniform, add in the cherries and walnuts; set aside.
Lightly grease a brownie pan and place the chunks of cookie dough sporadically around the bottom of the pan (there may be a few pieces of cookie dough left, do with them what you must).
Pour the brownie mix over the top, evenly coating the cookie dough.
Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes or until you can stick a toothpick in the center and it comes out clean.

Monday, September 16, 2019

CINNAMON SWIRL CHOCOLATE RAISIN BREAD: National Cinnamon Raisin Bread Day

I love bread..probably more than cake. I used to make all my own bread, but in the past 20+ years my home town of Berkeley, CA, has been the epicenter of food, and, for me, bread! I have so many fabulous bakeries within a mile of my house that I no longer bake bread. However, since today is National Cinnamon Raisin Bread Day, I thought I'd post a recipe for Cinnamon Swirl Chocolate Raisin Bread!

My favorite recipe is from Zabar's website! No surprise there! Recipe by Tiffany Ludwig with a few adaptations. As always, use the very best chocolate and cinnamon.

Cinnamon Swirl Chocolate Raisin Bread

Ingredients 
1 cup warm milk
4 Tbsp brown sugar
1 packet instant yeast (2 1/4 tsp) 
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 eggs
3 1/2 cups white all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup raisins
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp cinnamon
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup dark chocolate chunks (or chips)

Directions
Combine warm milk, 4 Tbsp brown sugar, and yeast, stir and wait 10 minutes.
In bowl of stand mixer whisk yeast mixture, eggs, and melted butter. Add flour and salt all at once and with dough hook attachment combine on low speed. To this loose dough add raisins and continue to knead on medium /low for 10 minutes. Don't worry if raisins drop out of the dough, they will eventually combine with the dough. If dough nudges up over the hook pause machine and push dough back down. If dough is very dry, add water; if too sticky, add flour, but only a bit.
You can also mix and knead by hand for 10 minutes. 
Remove hook and let dough rest in bowl, covered in plastic wrap, for at least an hour. It will double in size.

Filling Ingredients
In small bowl, combine brown sugar, cinnamon, and melted butter to make paste.
Prepare 5"x 9" loaf pan with butter and line bottom and sides with parchment paper.
Flour counter top and stretch dough to form rectangle approximately 8"x18".
Spread filling over entire dough and sprinkle on chocolate chunks.
From short end, roll up dough tightly all the way across.
Place dough in prepared loaf pan, seam side down.
Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 45 min.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Bake 45-50 minutes, until internal temperature reads 190 degrees.
Remove from oven, loosen ends with knife and lifting the parchment (if used) remove bread from pan.
Allow to fully cool on a rack before slicing.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

CREME DE MENTHE BROWNIES: National Creme de Menthe Day

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

HOMEMADE CREME DE MENTHE

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

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

CREME DE MENTHE BROWNIES

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

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

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

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

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

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

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

Saturday, September 14, 2019

DOWNTON ABBEY CHOCOLATE CHERRY SCONES

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

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

DOWNTON ABBEY CHOCOLATE CHERRY SCONES

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

Directions
Preheat oven to 450°.

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

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

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

 

Thursday, September 12, 2019

QUIRKY CHOCOLATE MILKSHAKES: National Chocolate Milkshake Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a great day! Make it Chocolate!

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

TV DINNERS DAY: Retro Ads & History

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

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

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

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

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





Monday, September 9, 2019

TEDDY BEAR TRIPLE CHOCOLATE SCONES: National Teddy Bear Day

Today is National Teddy Bear Day. You may not think that's a food holiday, but when I was little I always had teddy bear tea parties, and I always served them scones. My grandparents were married in London, and I got my love of tea with milk and sugar -- and tea with scones and clotted cream -- from them. So for today's Teddy Bear Day, here's a recipe for Triple Chocolate Scones. Of course you might want to add some honey on your scones. Bears love honey!

Teddy Bear Triple Chocolate Scones 

Ingredients 
1-3/4 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
6 Tbsp unsalted butter (cold)
7-8 Tbsp whole milk (cold)
1/2 cup chocolate chips
3 Tbsp chopped dark chocolate
Sugar Crystals

Directions 
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Sift together dry ingredients in large bowl (not the chocolate chips or chocolate). Add chocolate chips and dark chocolate.
Cut butter into dry ingredients until size of peas.
Put vanilla into small bowl and add milk.
Pour most of milk mixture into dry mix and stir to moisten. Dough should be moist enough to form a soft ball, but not sticky.
If needed, additional milk can be added 1-2 teaspoons at time.
Turn dough onto lightly floured cutting board and press out with hand to approximately 1/2 inch thickness. (makes 10-12 scones or 8-12 wedges)
Do not over-knead dough. Use as little flour as possible to keep dough from sticking to board.
Cut into desired shapes and place on lightly greased baking sheet.
Lightly brush tops with milk (or not).
Sprinkle with sugar crystals (you can find this at King Arthur Flour or in the baking section of the market). (If using a biscuit cutter or glass, dip the cutting edge in flour first)
Bake for 10-15 minutes depending on size. Start checking at 9 minutes. Do not overbake!
Sprinkle again with large sugar crystals while scones are still hot for visual appeal.

Tip: Scones are like biscuits. To get a tender, flaky scone, dough should be handled as little as possible, and you should always use cold butter and cold milk.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

CHOCOLATE STOUT TRUFFLES: Beer Lovers Day

Today is National Beer Lovers Day. I like a good chocolate stout, and I'm lucky enough to live in an area with several microbreweries that produce Chocolate Stout. Chocolate Stout adds a bit of creaminess that enhances the taste of these beer truffles

CHOCOLATE STOUT TRUFFLES

Ingredients
1/2 cup Chocolate Stout, reduced by half
12 ounces dark chocolate (65-75% cacao), chopped
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup heavy cream
Cocoa powder (Dutch process) or ground espresso

Directions
Reduce stout (texture should be thick enough to lightly coat a spoon).
Stir in butter and heavy cream and bring to simmer. As soon as bubbles start forming, pour over chopped chocolate.
Whisk to blend and put in refrigerator (covered with plastic wrap) until ganache is set, at least 3 hours.
Remove ganache from refrigerator, and using melon baller or spoon, scoop out ganache and roll into balls. You can also finish off by hand.
Place each ganache ball on parchment paper and put back in refrigerator for about an hour to harden.
Roll ganache balls in cocoa powder or ground espresso.

Friday, September 6, 2019

EASY COFFEE ICE CREAM PIE WITH CHOCOLATE CRUST: National Coffee Ice Cream Day

Today is Coffee Ice Cream Day and here's a perfect Easy Coffee Ice Cream Pie to celebrate. This is a 20 minute (then freeze) no bake recipe that has a great chocolate cookie crust that includes coconut and chopped nuts along with the chocolate wafers. It's a very versatile crust and would be great with key lime pie, as well as any other ice cream pie

This recipe is adapted  slightly from Pillsbury. As I've mentioned many times, the big 'food product' sites often have fabulous recipes. You can adapt and update as you like, and they're a springboard for ideas, so be sure and check them out!

COFFEE ICE CREAM PIE with CHOCOLATE CRUST

Ingredients
30 chocolate wafers, crushed (about 1-1/2 cups)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup coconut  (I like toasted coconut)
3 Tbsp finely chopped macadamia nuts

Filling 
1 quart coffee ice cream, slightly softened

Topping 
1 cup hot fudge sauce, warmed
Whole macadamia nuts

Directions
In medium bowl, mix crushed chocolate wafers, butter, coconut, and finely chopped macadamia nuts.
Press mixture in bottom and side of 9-inch glass pie plate; refrigerate 15 minutes.
Carefully spoon softened ice cream into chilled crust.
Cover and freeze about 2 hours or until firm.
Top individual servings with fudge sauce, chopped macadamia nuts, and chopped chocolate covered coffee beans.
Cover and freeze any remaining pie.

To make cutting the pie easier, remove it from the freezer about 10 to 15 minutes before serving. 

Thursday, September 5, 2019

HONEY FUDGE CAKE: Retro Ad & Recipe for National Honey Month

September is Honey Month. Honey and Chocolate go so well together, and I often substitute honey for sugar. This recipe for Swans Down's New "Mix-Easy" Honey Fudge Cake is just perfect! It's not a cake mix recipe--just a 'mix-easy' recipe.

This Retro Ad from April 7, 1947 offers 30 Lucky Winners the possibility of a new "Servel Gas Refrigerator" installed in their home! All they had to do to win was write 25 words about a Swans Down Cake! "Entries will be judged for originality, sincerity, and aptness, not on fancy or elaborate presentation."

Let me know what you think of Swans Down's New "Mix-Easy" Honey Fudge Cake circa 1947.




Wednesday, September 4, 2019

CHOCOLATE CHOCOLATE CHIP MACADAMIA NUT COOKIES: National Macadamia Nut Day

Today is National Macadamia Nut Day, and what could be more perfect that Chocolate Chocolate Chip Macadamia Nut Cookies. These cookies are chewy, and since the nuts are slightly salted, you'll really taste the chocolate! I use two kinds of chocolate chips, but you also use white chocolate chips. Macadamia Nuts remind me of Hawaii, so if you want to make these cookies more 'Hawaiian", add some dried coconut to the batter, too. Yum!

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Macadamia Nut Cookies 

Ingredients
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp espresso powder
1 cup + 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
1/3 cup dark chocolate cocoa powder
1/2 cup roasted and salted macadamia nuts, chopped
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.
In large bowl, beat butter (with hand mixer or standing mixer) until light and fluffy. Add in brown sugar and granulated. Beat until well combined.
Add in egg and vanilla extract. Beat until combined. Add in salt, espresso powder, and baking soda; mix until combined.
In separate bowl, mix flour and cocoa powder together. Slowly incorporate dry ingredients into wet ingredients, mixing until combined.
Add in macadamia nuts, and chocolate chips. Mix until combined.
With medium cookie scoop, scoop dough and spread evenly on cookie sheets, about 2 inches apart. Bake 15-16 minutes.
These cookies are fudgy.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

BACK TO SCHOOL CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

You can't have too many chocolate chip cookies to put in that school lunch box! There are so many recipes and varieties of chocolate chip cookies. I bet you could make a different chocolate chip cookie recipe every day! I just love Chocolate Chip Cookies! Here's one more recipe for the start of school. This recipe is adapted from King Arthur Flour. It's a favorite! The vinegar is the trick!

BACK TO SCHOOL CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

Ingredients
2/3 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, either right from the fridge or at room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 teaspoon salt
 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon vinegar, cider or white
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 large egg
2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Directions
Preheat oven to 375°F
Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.
In large bowl, combine sugars, butter, shortening, salt, vanilla, vinegar, and baking soda, beating until smooth and creamy.
Beat in egg, again beating until smooth.
Scrape bottom and sides of bowl with a spatula to make sure everything is thoroughly combined.
Mix in flour, then fold in chips.
Use spoon (or tablespoon cookie scoop) to scoop 1 1/4" balls of dough onto prepared baking sheets, leaving 2" between them on all sides; they'll spread.
Bake cookies for 11 to 12 minutes, until edges are chestnut brown and tops are light golden brown, almost blonde.
Remove from oven and cool on pan until set enough to move without breaking.
Repeat with remaining dough.

Monday, September 2, 2019

CHOCOLATE BUNDT CAKE WITH SWEET WALNUT LAYER

You can't go wrong with a Chocolate Bundt Cake, and this one is particularly good because it has a sweet walnut layer. I first saw this recipe on Fine Cooking. I made a few changes, but the essence is there. I'm sure you'll make a few changes, too. The original recipe called for plain yogurt. I've made this bundt cake with Greek yogurt...a little tangy, but very tasty, but I prefer sour cream for the richness. Try it both ways and see what you think!

Chocolate Bundt Cake with  Sweet Walnut Layer

Ingredients

Cake
1 1/4 cups all purpose four
3/4 cup dark cocoa
Dash of Salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 Tbsp canola oil
2 eggs
2 egg whites
1 1/2 cups sour cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup sugar
3 ounces of dark chocolate (70-85% cacao) I like it really dark
1 Tbsp powdered sugar-optional

Walnut Layer
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Directions
Preheat oven to 350.
Oil bundt pan.
Whisk in bowl flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder, and soda. Then sift into another bowl.
In a different bowl, whisk melted butter and oil, and then add eggs and egg whites. Fold in sour cream, vanilla extract, and sugar.
Melt chocolate in double boiler or saucepan over saucepan over simmering water.
Fold chocolate into batter.
Add dry ingredients and stir until combined. Do not overmix.
Mix melted butter, walnuts, and brown sugar together.
Pour half batter into pan and place walnut layer on top of batter.
Fill with remaining batter.
Bake 35-45 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.
Cool on wire rack in pan for 15 minutes and then, flip over on rack.
Top with powder sugar (optional)