Saturday, April 4, 2020

CHOCOLATE BROWNIES: 4 Recipes for Passover

Passover isn't going to be the same this year, as we're all Sheltering-in-Place. This is a good time to reflect about our lives and history, adversary and plagues, family and community. Many synagogues and organizations are hosting 'virtual' seders, and your family can always set up a Zoom Seder. But, the reality is we won't all be together. This changes preparation for the seder, and the actual ingredients for some of your favorite Passover foods may not be available.

Nevertheless, I will be posting chocolate Passover recipes over the next week. Passover begins Wednesday night, April 8, and if you observe the Passover holiday (8 days) you won't be eating any leavened food products. So in terms of chocolate baking you need to tweak some things, starting with not using flour. This doesn't mean you can't have Chocolate Cake, Brownies, or Cookies.. just an adjustment. And, if you're gluten-free, you'll love the first recipe. Baking without flour shouldn't be a problem, and these recipes are great any time, not just for Passover.

So for Passover week, here are 4 different recipes for Passover Brownies. Think of them as Flourless Brownies! You love Flourless Chocolate Cake, right? Try all the recipes and let me know which you like best. Do you have your own favorite recipe for Passover Brownies? Be sure and share by linking below.

These first two recipes I adapted from recipes I found on Chowhound in 2008.

Passover Chocolate Brownies #1

Ingredients
8 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
5 eggs, separated
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped (not chocolate chips)
8 ounces finely chopped or ground almonds (or almond flour)
Pinch of salt

Directions
Cream butter and sugar together. Mix in egg yolks.
Melt chocolate over double boiler (or over saucepan over saucepan with simmering water). Cool and add to butter mixture. Add finely ground almonds.
Beat egg whites until stiff but not dry. Fold into batter.
Pour into 9" square greased baking tin.
Bake in a preheated 350 oven for 45-50 min.
Cool and cut into squares.

Passover Chocolate Brownies #2

Ingredients
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup of matzo cake meal
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup DARK cocoa
3 large eggs
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Directions
Mix oil and sugar.
Add eggs and mix again.
Sift matzo cake meal and cocoa together and add to mixture.
Fold in nuts and mix thoroughly.
Grease 8x8 pan and pour in batter.
Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.
Cool and cut in squares.

This third recipe is originally from Gourmet 2000 ( Epicurious). It calls for a Chocolate-Wine Glaze, and you might want to try that. I like my brownies unadulterated, but I've tried the chocolate-wine glaze, and it's delicious. Nothing quite like chocolate and Manischewitz!

Passover Chocolate Brownies #3

Ingredients
6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup unsalted margarine (if keeping brownies pareve) or butter, cut into pieces
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
Pinch of Salt
2 tsp finely grated fresh orange zest
3/4 cup matzo cake meal
3/4 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line bottom and sides of a 9-inch square baking pan with wax paper or greased foil.
Melt chocolate and margarine (or butter) in metal bowl over saucepan of simmering water, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and cool 5 minutes.
Beat eggs, sugar, and salt in large bowl with electric mixer on high until pale and thick. Beat in chocolate in 3 batches on low speed. Stir in zest, matzo meal, and nuts just until blended.
Spread batter in baking pan and bake in middle of oven until firm and tester comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.
Cool in pan on rack, then invert onto a platter and remove paper or foil.
Cut into Squares.

Passover Chocolate Brownies #4

Ingredients
2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips (or dark chocolate, chopped)
1/2 cup unsalted butter or margarine
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup matzoh cake meal
2 Tbsp unsweetened DARK cocoa powder
2 Tbsp potato starch
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Directions
Preheat oven to 350. Grease 8-inch square baking dish.
Melt chocolate and butter in double boiler or in saucepan on top of another saucepan with simmering water. Set aside to cool slightly.
In mixing bowl, stir together cake meal, cocoa powder, and potato starch.
Combine eggs, granulated sugar, and vanilla in large bowl. Beat with electric mixer until light and creamy – about 3 to 5 minutes. Beat in chocolate mixture until smooth, then add cake meal mixture, beating on low speed just until combined. Batter is thick.
Fold in chopped nuts and spread in prepared baking dish.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or just until entire surface has puffed slightly. Brownies will still be moist in center.
Remove from oven and cool before cutting into squares.

I especially love Passover Brownies #4--very, very fudgy!!! Of course, I use very good chocolate! It really makes a difference!!!

Friday, April 3, 2020

CHOCOLATE AVOCADO MOUSSE: 2 Recipes for National Chocolate Mousse Day

Today is National Chocolate Mousse Day. Well, actually there are two Chocolate Mousse Days during the year. That's o.k. because Chocolate Mousse is something to celebrate more than once. And, in honor of the day, I'm posting 2 'healthy' chocolate mousse recipes for Avocado Chocolate Mousse. It's really delicious and simple to make! You've probably made guacamole, and you've had avocado toast. Now try Chocolate Avocado Mousse! You're going to love it! It's full of healthy nutrients and anti-oxidants.

1. Chocolate Avocado Mousse
Recipe adapted from The 10 Things You Need to Eat: And More Than 100 Easy and Delicious Ways to Prepare Them

Ingredients
12 ounces good quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp chili powder
1 large, ripe Haas avocado, pitted and peeled
3/4 cup light brown sugar
6 egg whites

Directions
Melt chocolate with cinnamon and chili powder in double boiler over hot water and set aside. Purée avocado and brown sugar in food processor until smooth. With machine running, pour in chocolate mixture. Using stand mixer or whisk, beat egg whites until they form soft peaks. Fold chocolate mixture into egg whites. Pour mousse into 6 small serving bowls or wineglasses and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or covered overnight.

2. Chocolate Avocado Mousse
Recipe adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

Ingredients
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
4 very ripe avocados, peeled and pitted
1/2 cup agave
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon fine salt

Directions
Place chocolate chips (or chopped chocolate) in small bowl. Place over small saucepan of barely simmering water. Stir until chocolate is melted and smooth, about 3 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly. Place melted chocolate, avocados, agave, cocoa powder, vanilla and salt in food processor. Blend until smooth and creamy, scraping sides of bowl as needed. Spoon into glasses and refrigerate for at least 3 hours (can be prepared 1 day in advance).

Thursday, April 2, 2020

PEANUT BUTTER & JELLY BROWNIES: 3 recipes for Peanut Butter & Jelly Day!

Today is National Peanut Butter & Jelly Day. This all American combination is usually thought of as the ultimate kid's sandwich. Not by me. I was a fussy eater as a kid... so glad that's behind me. At camp in the summer, if a camper didn't like lunch or dinner food, they were given peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Well, I didn't like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Of course, if they had added chocolate, it might have been a different story!

I still don't like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, but I always grab the chance to pair up these foods with chocolate. So here are three recipes for Peanut Butter & Jelly Brownies. As always, you can substitute the very best ingredients to achieve that perfect brownie!

PEANUT BUTTER & JELLY BROWNIES

#1 Peanut Butter & Jelly Brownies 
from James Boyce, chef-owner of Cotton Row, Huntsville, Alabama. His brownies and jam are homemade, and he uses chunky peanut butter for crunch. This recipe appeared in Spirit Magazine, Southwest Airlines

Ingredients:
2 sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed melted butter
4 two-inch square brownies
4 Tbsp peanut butter (crunchy is best!)
4 Tbsp strawberry jam
4 Tbsp chocolate chips

Directions:
Lay one sheet of dough on work surface and brush with butter. Top with another sheet, brush with butter, then cut into four 8-by-8 inch squares. Place one brownie on each square.
Top each brownie with one tablespoon each of peanut butter and jam, then sprinkle with chocolate chips. Cinch dough around brownies and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Bake at 425ºF for 5 minutes, or until dough starts to brown.

#2 Peanut Butter & Jelly Brownies
from the Nestle Very Best Baking site: 1st Prize winning recipe created in the kitchen of Jim Bradley of Chicago, IL.

Ingredients
1/2 cup NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
1/4 cup sweet butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup creamy or chunky peanut butter
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Premier White Morsels
1/2 cup NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Peanut Butter & Milk Chocolate Morsels
1/3 cup strawberry jam

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 9-inch-square baking pan.
Place semi-sweet morsels and butter in large, microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on HIGH (100%) power for 1 minute; STIR. The morsels may retain some of their original shape. If necessary, microwave at additional 10- to 15-second intervals, stirring just until mixture is melted. Add brown sugar and peanut butter to chocolate mixture; beat on medium speed for 1 minute or until well mixed. Beat in eggs and vanilla extract. Gradually stir in flour. Stir in white and peanut butter & milk chocolate morsels. Spread into prepared pan. Drop jam by spoonfuls onto batter. Swirl with a knife.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out still slightly sticky. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars.

#3 Peanut Butter & Jelly Brownies
From Kraft Recipes

Ingredients
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
6 squares BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup strawberry jam

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Beat sugar, peanut butter and butter in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add eggs and vanilla; mix well. Add flour and salt; beat until well blended. Stir in chocolate.
Line 9-inch square baking pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides of pan. Grease foil. Spread batter into prepared pan. Drop jam by spoonfuls over batter; swirl with knife to marbleize.
Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out with fudgy crumbs. (Do not overbake.) Cool in pan. Lift dessert from pan, using foil handles. Cut into 24 squares to serve.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

CHOCOLATE VINEGAR CAKE aka Wacky Cake, Crazy Cake, Depression Cake & Shelter-in-Place Chocolate Cake #4

This moist Chocolate Vinegar Cake is simple to make and perfect for these crazy, wacky, depressing Shelter-in-Place times. This cake is also known as Depression Cake, Crazy Cake, and Wacky Cake.

During the Depression and WWII there was a shortage of eggs and butter and milk, so this cake found its way into the ovens and hearts of many. Elevate it for 2020 with chocolate butter cream frosting or whipped cream and strawberries. But this cake doesn't really need it. It's delicious the way it is! It's great to make for a pot-luck or for a last minute dessert or for your family while you're Sheltering in Place to avoid the Corona Virus.

CHOCOLATE VINEGAR CAKE aka

Ingredients
2 cups sugar
3 cups flour 
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
10 Tbsp unsweetened DARK cocoa powder
2 Tbsp vinegar  (I like Cider Vinegar, but white distilled is fine, too)
2 tsp pure vanilla
3/4 cup vegetable oil (try sunflower oil, if you have it, but any will do)
2 cups cold water

Directions
Pre-heat oven to 350. Grease and flour 13 x 9 baking pan.
Sift dry ingredients into large mixing bowl. Add remaining ingredients. Mix with large spoon until smooth.
Pour into prepared greased and floured pan.
Bake at 350° for 30 minutes.

Optional: It doesn't need it, but you can sprinkle with powdered sugar, frost with ganache or buttercream, or top with whipped cream and strawberries!

APRIL FOOL'S DAY GARDEN BON BONS

Here's something for April's Fool's Day that would be great to make today while you're Sheltered-in-Place: GARDEN BON BONS. These garden truffles are for planting - not for eating! 

I love to garden, and I love chocolate. These garden truffles are balls of clay, compost, and seed wrapped in a lovely "chocolate" package. They're perfect for the chocoholic--but don't eat them!

Seed balls aren't new, but this presentation is. The compost in the seed balls provides nutrients to the seeds and the clay holds it together and protects against insects. So toss them into the garden or indoor container. Find a sunny spot, add water, and watch them grow!

The first recipe is adapted from Heavy Petal, but I decorate differently. Since it's April Fool's Day, I love the idea of making 'faux bon bons" today! It's a fun activity to do with the kids, too!

GARDEN BON BONS #1

Ingredients
5 parts dry red art clay (you can buy this at the pottery store or nursery)
3 parts dry organic compost
1 part seed (wildflower, edible flowers, herbs? your choice-but use small seeds)
1 – 2 parts water
Candy cup/wrappers
Candy box
Ribbon
Coffee grounds or cinnamon (to roll some bon bons in--prevention against insects)

Directions
Measure out three parts of dry compost or soil. This provides a growing medium for the seeds.
Measure out five parts of dry powdered clay. Once mixed with water, the clay will hold the seed balls together.
Add one part seed.
Add one to two parts water, and combine. The mixture should be moist, but not wet. Add water as you go.
Roll the seed ball mix into balls 1-2 inches.
Roll some 'bon bons' in coffee grounds or cinnamon (good against insects and for variety in your 'display'
Set aside to dry (use cookie sheets) for a few days before storing or using.

To package: Put individual "Truffles" in candy cup/wrappers. Place in box and tie box with ribbon.

Don't have all the 'special' ingredients?  Here's another recipe!

GARDEN BON BONS #2

Mix up dirt from the garden with water so you have a smooth but grainy consistency. (kind of like cement).
Roll ball of mud and press into the shape you want with your gingers then poke a seed (seeds) into the center and seal with mud. Work into shape you want and smooth texture on top.
Put in candy wrapper cup.
Garnish: here's the fun part! Find some pieces of nature in the backyard and press in top (moss, leaves, etc)
Box up for presentation..

How to plant them? Just place them on top of the soil in a sunny location. Don't bury them!

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

EGGLESS CHOCOLATE CAKE: Shelter in Place Chocolate Cake #3

So you're still Sheltering in Place. I've heard from many readers that they are unable to find eggs at the market. I'm so sorry. I have eggs, and I wish I could share with you. But, don't fret. Even if you don't have eggs, you can make this delicious Eggless Chocolate Cake with ingredients you probably do have in your pantry. This is an adaptation of a different Wartime Chocolate Cake recipe than the one I posted the other day. We're at war with Covid-19. Be safe and well.

EGGLESS CHOCOLATE CAKE

Ingredients
4 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
3 cups white sugar
1 cup cocoa powder
1 cup vegetable oil
3 cups water
3 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 1/2-2 cups chocolate chips

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, grease and flour a 9x13 inch pan.
In large bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, soda and salt. Add sugar and mix together.
Add oil, water, and vanilla and mix thoroughly.
Fold in Chocolate Chips
Pour into a 9x13 inch pan.
Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Frost or Glaze or Dust with Powdered Sugar, if you feel like it!

Monday, March 30, 2020

BIRTHDAY BONANZA CAKE: Retro Ad & Recipe: Happy Birthday to Me!

Today is my Birthday! Here's a Retro Ad & Recipe for Old Fashioned Sour Cream Fudge Cake: Birthday Bonanza to Celebrate! Love to virtually celebrate with you since I'm Sheltered in Place!




  BIRTHDAY BONANZA!
OLD FASHIONED SOUR CREAM FUDGE CAKE

INGREDIENTS

Cake
2 1/4 cups Swans Down cake flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 1/4 cups firmly packed brown sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
3 unsweetened Baker's chocolate squares, melted and cooled
1 cup sour cream
1 cup boiling water 

Frosting
5 unsweetened Baker's chocolate squares, melted and cooled
3 cups icing sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup hot water
1 egg

DIRECTIONS

Cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degF.
Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt, set aside.
Cream butter, then add brown sugar and continue beating for 5 minutes.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Add vanilla and chocolate.
Alternately blend in flour mixture and sour cream, 1/3 at a time on low speed of electric mixer.
Add boiling water, blending well (batter will be thin).
Pour into 2 greased and floured 9" round layer cake pans.
Bake at 350 F for 35- 40 minutes or until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool in pans for 10 minutes; remove and finish cooling on racks.

Frosting: 
Combine chocolate, icing sugar, butter, hot water and egg.
Blend; then beat at medium speed of electric mixer for 2 minutes.
Chill until of spreading consistency.
Carefully ice cake (cake crumb is very tender).

Frosting has raw egg in it, so you might want to consider another chocolate frosting.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

CHOCOLATE CHIFFON CAKE: Retro Ad & Recipe for National Chiffon Cake Day

Today is National Chiffon Cake Day! Of course, it's chocolate for me. Love this Retro Ad & Recipe. "LoveLight" 2-Egg Chocolate Chiffon Layer Cake from Betty Crocker.. made with Wesson Oil -- "the shortening that pours."



Saturday, March 28, 2020

BLACK FOREST BUNDT CAKE with KIRSCH WHIPPED CREAM: Black Forest Cake Day

March 28 is Black Forest Cake Day. A traditional Black Forest cake has multiple (usually 4) layers of chocolate sponge cake, cherries, frosted with whipped cream, and covered with chocolate shavings and cherries for decoration. Kirschwasser (cherry schnapps) is used to flavor the whipped cream. The bottom layers of sponge cake are also brushed with Kirschwasser (cherry schnaps) to provide moisture and a little extra flavor.

Over the years, I've posted recipes for traditional Black Forest Cake, but here's a great and easy recipe from Challenge Butter for Black Forest Bundt Cake. Want to make this more traditional? Serve with Cherry Schnapps Whipped Cream (recipe below) 

As to how Black Forest Cake got its name, some historians say it's possible that the name came from the traditional costume worn by women in the Black Forest. The dress was black (just like the chocolate flakes), the blouse is white (like the cream), and the hat has red pom-poms that look just like cherries. Well, maybe??

Black Forest Bundt Cake

Ingredients
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 cup sour cream
2 eggs
2 tsp almond extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened DARK cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk
1 can (21 ounces) cherry pie filling  (I use Chukar's)

Directions
Preheat oven to 325°F. Generously butter (1-1/2 Tablespoons) a 12-cup Bundt pan (or similar sized pan).
Cream butter and sugar. Beat in sour cream, eggs, and almond extract.
Stir together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt; add dry mix to creamed mixture alternating with the milk. Mix until well blended.
Spread 1/2 of batter into prepared Bundt pan, spreading batter slightly up the sides to form a trough. Spoon pie filling on top of batter; avoid touching sides and center of pan. Cover filling with remaining batter.
Bake 60 minutes or until cake tests done. Cool in pan 10-15 minutes; turn out onto wire rack or serving plate to complete cooling.
Sprinkle with confectioners sugar before serving.
Serve plain or with Cherry Schnapps Whipped Cream

Cherry Schnapps (Kirsch) Whipped Cream

Ingredients
1-1/2 cups chilled whipping cream
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp Kirsch

Directions
Beat cream, sugar, and kirsch in large bowl until peaks form. Cover and refrigerate up to 2 hours.

Friday, March 27, 2020

CHOCOLATE WHISKY FUDGE: World Whiskey Day

Here's a food holiday I can get behind. Today is World Whiskey Day. Whisky goes well with many dark chocolates, and I've been to a few Scotch and Chocolate Tastings. Have a look at the Nibble for an Overview of Pairing Chocolate & Scotch.

And, to answer your question about spelling: The Scots spell it whisky and the Irish spell it whiskey, with an extra 'e'. This difference in the spelling comes from the translations of the word from the Scottish and Irish Gaelic forms. Whiskey with the extra 'e' is also used when referring to American whiskies.

Want to have your Whiskey and Chocolate together in one bite? Try this Chocolate Whisky Fudge.

CHOCOLATE WHISKY FUDGE

Ingredients 
12 ounce dark chocolate, chopped
1 cup Whiskey (Scotch)
2 (1 lb) boxes powdered sugar
1 cup chopped pecans or 1 cup chopped walnuts

Directions
Melt chocolate in microwave or double broiler, stirring frequently.
As soon as chocolate is melted, mix Scotch with powdered sugar in  large bowl and add to melted chocolate, stir well, add nuts.
Turn into 13x9x2-inch pan and cover with plastic wrap. This sets quickly, so cool it long enough to set but still warm enough to cut.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

A CHOCOLATE LOVER'S DREAM CAKE: Shelter in Place Chocolate Cake Recipe #2

So I'm Sheltered in Place and posting easy Chocolate Cake recipes. Here's a Retro Ad & Recipe for A Chocolate Lover's Dream Sheet Cake. Chocolate: perfect for these uncertain times.



Wednesday, March 25, 2020

SALTED CHOCOLATE PECAN TOFFEE: National Pecan Day

I love Pecans. They're filled with anti-oxidants, and they taste great. Add chocolate and toffee, and you have a winner. So since today is National Pecan Day (as opposed to Pecan Pie Day or Pecan Sandie Day), celebrate.

Several years ago I found a fabulous recipe in Sunset Magazine, December 2007, for Salted Chocolate Pecan Toffee. I've been a subscriber to Sunset for more years than some of you have been around, and they really test their recipes. This is a no-fail recipe that I've tweaked only slightly, and you'll love the results. Remember to use the freshest pecans and the best chocolate. If you have a pecan tree, that's even better! And, as always, experiment with different chocolate.

Too much work? Make Margaret Maron's Chocolate Covered Fried Pecans.

SALTED CHOCOLATE PECAN TOFFEE

Ingredients
2 cups pecan halves
3 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
12 ounces DARK chocolate (65-75% cacao)
2 tsp fleur de sel or coarse sea salt

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°. Place pecans on rimmed baking sheet and cook, stirring occasionally, until toasted, about 8 minutes. When cool enough to handle, chop roughly. Divide into 2 batches; chop 1 batch finely. Set both batches aside.

Put sugar, butter, salt, and 3/4 cup water in 4-qt. saucepan over medium heat. When butter and sugar are melted, increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture is deep golden brown and measures 310° on a candy thermometer, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and carefully stir in vanilla (mixture bubbles up) and finely chopped pecans. Pour into a 10x15 rimmed baking sheet. Let toffee cool until set, at least 30 minutes.

Chop chocolate and put in medium metal bowl. Fill  8x10 frying pan with 1/2 inches water and bring to boil. Take off heat and put bowl of chocolate in water. Let sit about 5 minutes. Stir chocolate until melted. Pour over toffee, and with knife or spatula, spread evenly. Sprinkle chocolate with roughly chopped pecans. Let sit 20 minutes, or until chocolate is cool but still a bit soft. Sprinkle with fleur de sel. Chill until set, about 1 hour.
To remove, gently twist pan to release toffee, then chop or break into chunks.
Store in airtight container.

A warning from Sunset, and it's true.. be careful!
Use caution when working with sugar syrup, as it can cause severe burns. Set out your baking sheet so it's ready to use, and keep ice water nearby to cool any burns.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

CHOCOLATE COVERED RAISINS: National Chocolate Covered Raisins Day

Today is National Chocolate Covered Raisins Day. If you read this blog, you know I've posted about Chocolate Covered Raisins before because I love them.  

What to do with Chocolate Covered Raisins: Throw some chocolate covered raisins in your oatmeal or use in cookies, bread, muffins, or coffee cake--or just eat them as a snack!

Raisinets are one of my favorite 'movie' treats. Raisinets were first made in 1927 by the Blumenthal Chocolate Company. Nestlé acquired the brand in 1984 and added the motto "Taste the Sunshine." Raisinets are made with California Raisins and milk chocolate. There is now a dark chocolate version, as well. Many confectioners make chocolate covered raisins, so check them out, along with your favorite chocolatier.

Raisinets are nostalgia food for me. but the real cook in me says make your own if you want to get a higher-end chocolate covered raisin. Here's a simple recipe, and you can change it up by using different types of chocolate.

Chocolate Covered Raisins

Ingredients
6 ounces Chocolate -- 60%-75% chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup dark corn syrup
2 Tbsp powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla
2 cup organic raisins

Directions
Combine chocolate and corn syrup in saucepan on top of another saucepan (or double boiler). Bring water to boil. Reduce heat to low. Cook until chocolate melts, stirring constantly.
Remove from heat and stir in powdered sugar, vanilla, and raisins.
Drop by half teaspoons onto waxed paper; chill.
Store in refrigerator.

Celebrate Chocolate Covered Raisins Day! 
Love the California Raisins ads ... Enjoy!

Monday, March 23, 2020

OPERA FUDGE and Links to Free Opera Streaming

Since so many people are Sheltered at Home, here's an easy Retro Ad with Recipe that you can make while listening to some wonderful operas that are streaming free on the Internet. Even if you don't have all the ingredients, you can still listen to opera here! Check out times and availability.

The Met Opera
The Paris Opera
The Royal Opera


Sunday, March 22, 2020

SHELTERED AT HOME CHOCOLATE CAKE aka Wartime Ration Chocolate Cake

It's a new world out there. Because of the Pandemic, we're all Sheltered at Home, and there's a lot of baking going on..

In the past, I've posted recipes from Wartime (WWII) when times were hard during the War, on the battlefield and on the Homefront. Things are hard now, too, and we're fighting something totally new and different.

This recipe is for War Time Ration Chocolate Cake, but for today, I'm calling it Sheltered at Home Chocolate Cake as we fight a battle against the Coronavirus.

During WWII, it was slightly easier to get sugar and cocoa in the U.S. than other countries, although I've seen several versions of War Time Chocolate Cake in various British war time cookbooks. Milk and eggs were rationed, too, so this cake, which is quite spongy, does without.

We haven't seen rationing yet here in the U.S., but during the Second World War, you couldn't just walk into a store and buy as much sugar or butter as you wanted. Because these items were rationed, you were only allowed to buy a small amount (even if you could afford more). The government introduced rationing because certain items were in short supply.

Some things were scarce because they were needed to supply the military - gas, oil, metal, meat and other foods. Some things were scarce because they normally were imported from countries with whom we were at war or because they had to be brought in by ship from foreign places. Sugar and coffee were very scarce. Coca-Cola even stopped production during the war because sugar in great quantities was not available.

Everyone was given a ration book that contained ration stamps for different items. Grocers and other business people would post what your ration stamps could buy that week, but it was up to the individual to decide how to spend the stamps and possibly save up the items for a cake like this.

So here's a recipe you can make today with what you have in your pantry. We got through the War, we'll get through this Pandemic!

SHELTER AT HOME CHOCOLATE aka RATION CHOCOLATE CAKE

Ingredients:
1-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon white vinegar
5 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup cold water

Directions:
In large mixing bowl, mix flour, sugar, cocoa, soda, and salt.
Make three wells in the flour mixture. In one put vanilla; in another the vinegar, and in the third the oil. Pour the cold water over the mixture and stir until moistened.
Pour into 8 x 8-inch pan.
Bake at 350°F. oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until it springs back when touched lightly.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

CHOCOLATE DIPPED STRAWBERRIES: California Strawberry Day!

Today is California Strawberry Day. Even though I'm Sheltering in Place, I was able to find fresh strawberries at my local market. I love strawberries, and they go so well with chocolate. I've posted lots of strawberry recipes, but here's an old favorite: Chocolate Dipped Strawberries. So easy. Want to get fancier? You can always stuff strawberries with chocolate cream, marscapone, chocolate chip cookie dough, cheesecake or tiramasu before dipping -- and you can drizzle some white chocolate over the finished dipped strawberries.

The Chef pictured in the photo is by Sonoma artist Cynthia Hipkiss. I love her oddball humor, and I have several of her pieces. I love this Chef, in particular, and he holds a coveted space by my stove (an early 1950s dark blue O'Keefe Merritt). I've had the Chef forever. What's particularly fun about him is what he's holding can be changed. I have a strawberry shortcake, a birthday cake, and a plate of hot dogs with all the trimmings. The smaller food sculptures are attached with velcro. Very clever! Hipkiss's work is carried in several art galleries. Many of her sculptures of women remind me of my aunts from whom I learned many baking tips. Luckily I'm not quite as full-bodied as they were, but then they were great bakers and ate a lot of what they baked!

CHOCOLATE DIPPED STRAWBERRIES

Ingredients
1 quart fresh large fresh strawberries, with tops
1 cup Dark Chocolate 60-65% cacao, chopped
1/2 cup Dark Chocolate 72-85% cacao, chopped
3 Tbsp heavy cream

Directions
Rinse strawberries and dry thoroughly, keeping tops on. In top of double boiler or stainless
steel bowl on top of saucepan over simmering water, combine chocolate and heavy cream. Stir until
chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.
Dip strawberries 1/2 to 3/4 way up in chocolate mixture and place on parchment-lined cookie sheet to allow chocolate to harden.

Hints:
Wash strawberries and pat dry with paper towels; set aside. Make sure strawberries are
completely dry. A drop of water in melted chocolate can cause it to "seize" and turn the
entire mixture into a mess.
How to Fix Seized Chocolate

How to dip:
Grasp stem of strawberry and dip into chocolate, swirling to partially cover with chocolate.
Give the strawberry a small shake as you pull it out of chocolate. When strawberry is
completely out of chocolate, swirl it in quick, clockwise motion to let excess chocolate drip off.
Place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
Repeat with rest of strawberries.

Friday, March 20, 2020

VANISHING OATMEAL CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES: National Oatmeal Cookie Day

Today is National Oatmeal Cookie Day! You could make traditional Oatmeal Cookies with raisins, but really? what's a cookie without chocolate?  So, here's an adapted recipe from Quaker Oats for their Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies with Chocolate Chips (or Chocolate Chunks) instead of raisins. The original recipe is found on most Quaker Oats boxes...and on the website.

VANISHING OATMEAL CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

Ingredients
1/2 Cup plus 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
3/4 Cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 Cup granulated sugar
2 Eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1-1/2 Cup all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp Baking Soda
1/4 tsp salt
3 Cup Quaker® Oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)
1 Cup Chocolate Chips or Chocolate Chunks
 (optional) 3/4 cup chopped walnuts 

Directions
Heat oven to 350°F.
In large bowl, beat butter and sugars on medium speed of electric mixer until creamy.
Add eggs and vanilla; beat well.
Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt; mix well.
Add oats and Chocolate Chips (or Chocolate Chunks) and chopped walnuts (optional); mix well.
Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until light golden brown.
Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to wire rack. Cool completely.

Alternative: Bar Cookies
Press dough onto bottom of ungreased 13 x 9-inch baking pan.
Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until light golden brown.
Cool completely in pan on wire rack.
Cut into bars.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

ST PATRICK'S DAY CHOCOLATE MINT SUNDAE CAKE: Retro Ad & Recipe

So you're Sheltered in Place this year for St. Patrick's Day?.No parade, no green beer, no camaraderie, no "Kiss Me, I'm Irish." Here's a way to celebrate at home with your closest and dearest. This Retro Chocolate Mint Sundae Cake is delicious, and you probably have all the ingredients in your pantry. Happy St. Patrick's Day! Drive the Snakes and the Virus out of Ireland and the World!





Monday, March 16, 2020

GUINNESS CHOCOLATE CAKE: 3 Recipes for St. Patrick's Day!

For St. Patrick's Day every year, I post a lot of Guinness recipes. No big surprise because when I think of Ireland, I think of shamrocks, rainbows, leprechauns...and Guinness.

Guinness Stout was founded in 1759 when Arthur Guinness signed a 9000 (!) year lease on a brewery in Dublin. That brewery is still the center of Guinness operations, and all the Guinness sold in the UK, Ireland, and North America is brewed there! FYI for those of you in the U.K., Guinness is served chilled in Ireland and the bottles read "Serve Extra Cold."

St. Patrick's Day calls for a Chocolate Guinness Cake! I've put together three recipes. One of my favorite Chocolate Guinness Cake Recipes is from the New York Times (12/8/04). There are several other recipes I like, including an "Easy" Chocolate Guinness Cake made from a cake mix and a whole bottle of Guinness. The final one on today's post is from Chef Brian Leth of Vinegar Hill House and appeared in People Magazine in 2012 (see below). My friend Loanne Heavey Slapar swears by it (see photo below). It's pretty similar to the one from the NYT, but I'll bet it all comes down to the cocoa .. and a bit of technique. Being Irish helps, too!

1. CHOCOLATE GUINNESS CAKE
Recipe from NYT (see above)

Ingredients
Butter for pan
1 cup Guinness stout
10 Tbsp unsalted butter
3/8 cup unsweetened DARK cocoa
2 cups superfine sugar
3/8 cup sour cream
2 large eggs
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking soda

Directions
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter 9-inch springform pan and line with parchment paper.
In large saucepan, combine Guinness and butter. Place over medium-low heat until butter melts, then remove from heat. Add cocoa and superfine sugar. Whisk to blend.
In small bowl, combine sour cream, eggs, and vanilla; mix well. Add to Guinness mixture. Add flour and baking soda, and whisk again until smooth. Pour into buttered pan, and bake until risen and firm, 45 minutes to one hour. Place pan on wire rack and cool completely in pan.
Remove cake from pan and place on platter or cake stand.
Ice the top with cream cheese icing.

The NYT recipe uses a white cream cheese icing. If you use a white cream cheese icing, you can ice the top of cake only, so that it resembles a frothy pint of Guinness. If you use chocolate, well.... you'll be eating more chocolate!

***

Don't have the time or inclination to make a cake from scratch? This Chocolate Guinness Cake is even easier and calls for more Guinness!!! This recipe is from Canela and CominoDon't worry about the taste or smell of the Guinness because you're using the whole bottle. You'll only have a tang from the Guinness and no yeasty smell, just great chocolate aroma!

2. EASY CHOCOLATE GUINNESS CAKE

Ingredients
1 box of dark chocolate cake mix (one with pudding in the mix)
1 bottle of Guinness Stout
Loanne Heavey Slapar with her Chocolate Guinness Cake
1/2 cup of Canola oil
3 eggs
4 ounces Bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Directions
Preheat oven to 350F.
Combine cake mix, Stout, oil, and eggs in mixing bowl. Mix on medium speed just until combined. Add bittersweet chocolate and gently stir in. Divide between two 8” cake pans, coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean when stuck in middle.
Remove from oven and cool in pans for about 15 minutes, then transfer to  cooling rack. Once cooled, frost with a rich Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting.  (see recipe above or use canned)

***

3. CHOCOLATE GUINNESS CAKE
From People Magazine/Vinegar Hill House:


Sunday, March 15, 2020

BAILEY'S IRISH CREAM CHOCOLATE CHEESECAKE: St. Patrick's Day

Here's a great recipe for St. Patrick's Day: Bailey's Irish Cream Chocolate Cheesecake Easy to make and decidedly Irish. Be sure and check out the Bailey's Irish Cream Whipped Cream recipe at the end. It's great on this cheesecake and in your coffee on St Patrick's Day!

Bailey's Irish Cream Chocolate Cheesecake
(recipe adapted from AllRecipes)

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups chocolate cookie crumbs (whirl them in a food processor)
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened Ghirardelli or Scharffen Berger cocoa powder
1/4 cup unsalted butter (I used Kerrygold)
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 cups white sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened Ghirardelli or Scharffen Berger Cocoa powder
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
3 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup Bailey's Irish Cream

Directions
Crust:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl, mix together cookie crumbs, confectioners' sugar, and 1/3 cup cocoa. Add melted butter and stir until well mixed. Pat into bottom of a 9 inch springform pan. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes; set aside. Increase oven temperature to 450 degrees F.

Cheesecake:
In large bowl, combine cream cheese, white sugar, 1/4 cup cocoa, and flour. Beat at medium speed until well blended and smooth. Add eggs one at time, mixing well after each addition. Blend in sour cream and Bailey's; mixing on low speed. Pour filling over baked crust.
Bake at 450 for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 250 degrees F, and continue baking for 60 minutes.
With knife, loosen cake from rim of pan. Let cool, then remove rim of pan. Chill before serving.

Tip: If your cake cracks, dampen spatula and smooth top, then sprinkle with some chocolate wafer crumbs.

You can also top this Cheesecake with Bailey's Whipped Cream (or make some and add to your coffee!)

Bailey's Whipped Cream

Ingredients
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 Tbsp Baileys Irish Cream

Directions
Whip heavy cream to soft peaks.
Add Baileys Irish Cream and whisk until combined.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

GUINNESS CHOCOLATE PIE for National Pi(e) Day & St. Patrick's Day!

For the Love of Pi(e)! Today is National Pi(e) Day. In order to celebrate and keeping in mind that St. Patrick's Day is just around the corner, I've gone back into my archives for a favorite Chocolate Pie Recipe: Guinness Chocolate Pie. I can't think of a better pie to celebrate both holidays! You can use any stout, of course, but Guinness is easily available! I make a chocolate cookie crust, but you can use a graham cracker crust or a vanilla wafer crust. I think the stout brings out the chocolate.

GUINNESS CHOCOLATE PIE

Chocolate Cookie Crust

Ingredients
30 chocolate wafers (Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers)
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
Dash of Salt
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Directions
Whirl cookies in food processor until finely ground.
Put crumbs in mixing bowl; combine crumbs, butter, salt, and vanilla; stir until crumbs are moistened.
Press mixture evenly across bottom of 9-inch pie plate and up sides of pan; pack tightly so crust is even and compacted.
Bake in 350° oven for 6 minutes until crisp.
Cool before filling.

Filling:
12 ounces dark chocolate (65-75% cacao), chopped
24 large marshmallows
Pinch of salt
2/3 cups Guinness
1/3 cup evaporated milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp creme de cacao or Kahlua

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Make crust (see above)

Place chocolate, marshmallows, and salt in blender or food processor. Blend until well mixed and chocolate is finely ground.
In two separate pans, heat Guinness and evaporated milk until very hot, but not boiling.
Slowly pour hot Guinness over marshmallows and chocolate in blender. Add hot cream. Cover and blend for one minute.
Add vanilla and creme de cacao or Kahlua. Blend for one minute.
Pour into cooled crust and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

Top with Whipped Cream or Guinness Ice Cream

Friday, March 13, 2020

COCONUT ALMOND TORTE WITH CHOCOLATE CHIPS: National Coconut Torte Day

Today is National Coconut Torte Day. Add chocolate! I make a great Chocolate Coconut Torte with a thick chocolate ganache, but I also like this recipe from Ghirardelli Chocolate, a hometown favorite chocolate company.

COCONUT ALMOND TORTE WITH CHOCOLATE CHIPS

Ingredients: 
1 1/3 cups Mini Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
1 1/4 cups whole almonds
1 1/2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
8 large egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoons sugar, or more to taste

Directions

Position rack in the lower third of oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease bottom and sides of 9-inch spring form pan.
In food processor, pulse almonds, salt, and 1/4 cup of the sugar to consistency of crumbs. Set aside. Beat egg whites, vanilla, and cream of tarter at high speed until they hold a soft shape. Gradually beat in remaining 1/2 cup sugar until eggs whites are stiff but not dry. Transfer to a large bowl.
Fold in almond mixture. Set aside 1/4 cup of chocolate chips to sprinkle on top of torte.
Fold remaining chocolate chips and coconut into batter.
Scrape batter into prepared pan and spread evenly. Sprinkle with reserved chocolate chips.
Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until torte is puffed and golden, and  edges are starting to shrink from the sides of pan.
Cool on  rack.
To serve, whip cream with vanilla and sugar.
Remove sides of the pan and transfer torte to serving platter. Serve torte slices with whipped cream.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

MILKY WAY BROWNIES: National Milky Way Day

Although I've posted Milky Way recipes in the past, I didn't know there was a Milky Way Day until recently.  Milky Way Bars have been around for almost a 100 years, so I shouldn't be surprised.

When I was growing up, my friend Donna always had Milky Way bars in her freezer, and I'd stop by her house on the way to school and have one. BTW, it wasn't really on the way, but worth the walk in the wrong direction through the park. I love frozen Milky Way Bars. When we were older, Donna and I got a ride to high school with a neighbor. While we waited for him, we availed ourselves of the Milky Way bars on his family's coffee table! Maybe this wasn't particularly healthy, but it was a delicious way to start the day!

Now, I buy miniature Milky Way bars to give out at Halloween. We don't get many kids where I live, so I put the 'extras' (that would be all of them) in the freezer. How to use them up? In Brownies, of course. And, these two recipes for Milky Way Brownies are great! One's for the family, and the other's for a crowd!

1. EASY MILKY WAY BROWNIES!

Make your favorite Brownie Mix (I like Ghirardelli), following directions by adding the 1/3 cup vegetable oil, 1 egg, and 1/3 cup water. At 20 minutes into baking (350F), put about 7 ounces of chopped up miniature Milky Way Bars or Milky Way Bites on top. Bake another 20 minutes. Oh yum!

2. MILKY WAY BROWNIES FOR A CROWD!

Have a crowd coming over? Want to make a batch of Milky Way Brownies from scratch? This recipe is the Bees Knees! Love the Vintage Ad above!

Ingredients: 
1 pound unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 pound dark chocolate (70% cacao), chopped
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate (or very dark - 90%), chopped
2 Tbsp instant espresso powder
7 large eggs
2 Tbsp Madagascar vanilla
2 1/4 cups granulated white sugar
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
12 ounces miniature Milky Way bars, chopped
2 Milky Way Bars, sliced

Directions: 
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour 12x18x1-inch pan. Line with foil that hangs over sides (butter the parchment). This makes it easier to get brownies out.
In metal bowl or saucepan over saucepan of simmering water, heat butter and chocolate until melted and smooth; cool slightly.
In large bowl, whisk together eggs, espresso powder, vanilla, and sugar. Stir egg mixture into slightly cooled chocolate mixture. Cool to room temperature.
In medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt, then add to batter. Stir chopped mini Milky Way bars into chocolate mixture. Then pour into prepared baking pan and smooth top with rubber spatula.
Place slices of full-size Milky Way Bar on top of brownie batter.
Bake 25 to 35 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Do not overbake!
Let cool completely, then cover tightly and chill overnight. These are very gooey, so be sure to chill if you want to cut them!


Wednesday, March 11, 2020

SAN FRANCISCO CHOCOLATE SALON: Change of Date - May 17

 SAN FRANCISCO CHOCOLATE SALON
 
NEW DATE: May 17, 2020 
 
A key part of TasteTV's mission is to support small businesses, including chocolatiers, chocolate makers, and other artisans. It is also to support local businesses, and equally important, to support our fans, event attendees, and the community at large.

This year's 14th Annual San Francisco CHOCOLATE SALON will be officially postponed and rescheduled from March 21st to a new date of May 17th. 

This two-month event date change is made in accordance with the State of California and the City of San Francisco's requests. Authorized and approved safe food handling and other healthy event procedures will continue to be in place.

TICKETS: All current tickets purchased for March 21st are valid for the May 17th date, and tickets are currently on sale for the new date.
 
The original and premier artisan chocolate show on the West Coast takes place this Spring at the 14th Annual San Francisco International CHOCOLATE SALON on May 17, 2020 in Golden Gate Park in the Hall of Flowers. Chocolate aficionados, fanatics, buyers and journalists can experience the finest in artisan, gourmet & premium chocolate in one of the world's great culinary metropolitan areas.

When: May 17, 2020
  10:00am - 5:30pm 

Where: San Francisco County Fair Building
Hall of Flowers
Golden Gate Park
1199 9th Ave at Lincoln Way
San Francisco, CA 94122

Adults: $20-$25 (Advance), $30 (Door) 

For more information, go to www.SFChocolateSalon.com

*Supporting and Advancing Small Businesses and Culinary Entrepreneurs since 2007




 
 

BAILEY'S IRISH CREAM S'MORES: St. Patrick's Day

Happy St Patrick's Day! Here's a great and easy way to celebrate the day. As always, it includes Chocolate, and who doesn't love S'mores? And, these S'mores Indoors are filled with Bailey's Irish Cream! Erin Go Bragh!

Bailey's Irish Cream S'mores!

Ingredients
3 ounces Baileys® Original Irish Cream
Crushed graham crackers
Mini marshmallows
Chocolate sauce (see below or use your favorite!)
Large marshmallows

Directions
Crush and then layer graham crackers at the bottom of a mason jar.
Add a layer of mini marshmallows and chocolate sauce (proportion and layer to your taste).
Top with a few large marshmallows.
Drizzle 3 ounces of Baileys Original Irish Cream on top for a sweet finish.
Brown marshmallows with a kitchen torch.

Easy Chocolate Hot Fudge Sauce 

Ingredients 
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips or chopped chocolate

Directions 
In medium sized saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Once butter is melted, add sweetened condensed milk. Use whisk to combine. Add chocolate, and stir continuously with whisk until melted and smooth. Immediately remove from heat.
Store in glass jar for up to 2 weeks in refrigerator.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

GUINNESS CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES for St. Patrick's Day!

St. Patrick's Day is coming up! Time to bring out the Guinness.

I've posted this easy recipe in the past. You can really taste the Guinness in these truffles. Guinness goes very well with Chocolate! Hoist a few of these:

GUINNESS CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES

Ingredients
3/4 cup Guinness
1 pound dark chocolate  (65-75% cacao), chopped
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
Cocoa
Optional: chopped nuts

Directions
Melt chocolate in top of a double boiler or saucepan over another saucepan with simmering water.
Gradually stir in cream.
Gradually add Guinness, stirring gently to blend.
Cover and chill overnight.
Shape mixture into 3/4 inch balls, using about a tablespoon for each.
Roll in cocoa (optional: then roll in nuts)

Need some more St. Patrick's Day Chocolate Recipes?

Guinness Chocolate Silk Pie
Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes
Chocolate Irish Soda Bread with Guinness Ice Cream
Bailey's Irish Cream Truffles (made with Kerry Gold Pure Irish Butter)
Bailey's Chocolate Trifle
You Make Me Want to Stout Cupcakes (Scharffen Berger)
Bailey's Irish Cream Fudge

Monday, March 9, 2020

DOUBLETREE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES: Chocolate Chip Cookie Week

Not everyone chooses a hotel by its cookies, but  just an FYI, on check-in, the DoubleTree by Hilton offers up fresh chocolate chip cookies from a heated drawer. This certainly sweetens the stay. Some DoubleTree hotels offer a Chocolate Chip Martini at the Bar, and I posted a recipe for that sweet cocktail a few years ago. But what about the Cookie itself? It's really a good cookie, and I'm a bit of a cookie maven. And, this is National Chocolate Chip Cookie Week, after all.

But suppose you just want the cookie and not the stay? Make your own at home. This 'copycat' recipe for  DoubleTree Chocolate Chip Cookies is available on the Internet from multiple sources. The secret ingredient? Well, not so secret anymore--pulverized oats. Here's the recipe for  that you can enjoy at home. Don't want to bake? Order the cookies from The Christie Cookie.

DOUBLETREE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

Ingredients
1/2 cup rolled oats
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1-1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp lemon juice
2 eggs
3 cups semi-sweet, chocolate chips
1-1/2 cups chopped walnuts

Directions
Grind oats in food processor or blender until fine. Combine ground oats with flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in medium bowl.
Cream together butter, sugars, vanilla, and lemon juice in another medium bowl with electric mixer. Add eggs and mix until smooth. Stir dry mixture into wet mixture and blend well. Add chocolate chips and nuts to dough and mix by hand until ingredients are well blended.
For best results, chill dough overnight in refrigerator before baking cookies.
Spoon rounded 1/4 cup portions onto ungreased cookie sheet. Place scoops about 2 inches apart. 

Bake in 350°F oven for 16-18 minutes or until cookies are light brown and soft in middle. 
Store in sealed container when cool to keep soft.


Sunday, March 8, 2020

TRIPLE CHOCOLATE PEANUT CLUSTERS: National Peanut Cluster Day

Happy Peanut Cluster Day! Seems like we just had another Chocolate Covered Nut Day, but I don't mind celebrating again--this time with Peanuts. This recipe is so easy, and you make it in a Slow Cooker! This recipe is from from the Southern Living Slow Cooker Cookbook (2006). Of course, you can substitute any higher quality chocolate in this recipe! I love that there are three types of chocolate!

TRIPLE CHOCOLATE PEANUT CLUSTERS

Ingredients
1 (16-ounce) jar dry-roasted peanuts
1 (16-ounce) jar unsalted dry-roasted peanuts
18 (2-ounce) chocolate bark coating squares, cut in half
2 cups (12-ounce package) semisweet chocolate morsels
1 (4-ounce) package German chocolate baking squares, broken into pieces
1 (9.75-ounce) can salted whole cashews
1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions
Combine first 5 ingredients in a 3 1/2- or 4-quart slow cooker.
Cover and cook on LOW 2 hours or until melted.
Stir chocolate mixture.
Add cashews and vanilla, stirring well to coat cashews.
Drop nut mixture by heaping tablespoonfuls onto wax paper.
Let stand until firm.
Store in airtight container.

Saturday, March 7, 2020

OREO RICE KRISPIES TREAT: National Cereal Day

Today is National Cereal Day! Who hasn't made Rice Krispies Treats? They were very special at my house when I was growing up. We didn't have them a lot, but I loved them. I like this recipe because it takes it up a notch and adds chopped Oreos (you can use other cookies, too, but this is a chocolate blog!). This is a quick and easy recipe from Kraft, the maker of Rice Krispies, and it only takes 10 minutes. O.K., this may not be the healthiest of treats, but they're certainly yummy! You can always substitute your own puffed rice cereal, sandwich cookies, and homemade marshmallows. Happy National Cereal Day!

As I've mentioned many time, food companies often have fun recipes on their sites! Enjoy!

OREO RICE KRISPIES TREATS

Ingredients
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 pkg (10 oz.) JET-PUFFED Marshmallows
5 cups KELLOGG’S® RICE KRISPIES® cereal
16 OREO Cookies, coarsely chopped, divided

Directions
Microwave butter in large microwaveable bowl on HIGH 45 seconds or until melted. Add marshmallows; toss to coat. Microwave 1-1/2 min. or until marshmallows are completely melted and mixture is well blended, stirring after 45 sec.
Add cereal and 1 cup chopped cookies; mix well.
Press onto bottom of 13 x 9 inch pan sprayed with cooking spray. Sprinkle with remaining chopped cookies; press lightly into cereal mixture to secure. Cool completely before cutting into squares.

Friday, March 6, 2020

OREO PUDDIN' POKE CAKE: National Oreo Day

Today is National Oreo Day. Oreos are the best selling cookie in the world with more than 450 million Oreo cookies sold since they were created. They are also found in 100 countries. There are multiple flavors of Oreos, not counting seasonal varieties. Nabisco got the idea from Hydrox which made its debut in 1908, four years before Oresos were placed on store shelves. It wasn't until 1997 that Oreos became kosher when the lard was removed. Oreos are vegan. The 'cream' doesn't contain any dairy.

So to celebrate, I have a recipe for ne of the easiest cakes to make, a Poke Cake, aka Puddin' Poke Cake. And for today's holiday that would be an Oreo Puddin' Poke Cake! Obviously this is a very moist cake. A poke cake is usually made with a boxed cake mix and a pudding mix. You poke holes in the cake after it's been baked, but still warm, and you pour the pudding over it. How easy is that? Very Retro!

You'll probably find you have some or all the ingredients for this Oreo Puddin' Poke Cake in your cupboard and fridge. The following recipe is all over the internet. Once you try this, I can guarantee you'll make this more than once. Some people add cool whip as a topping before adding more crushed Oreos, but I don't, but I posted the option below.

OREO PUDDIN' POKE CAKE

Ingredients
1 Box Chocolate Cake Mix and (eggs, oil and water for the cake mix)  I like Duncan Hines
2 (4 ounce) packages of Instant Oreo pudding
4 cups whole milk
Bag of Oreo Cookies, chopped or crushed (use the whole bag)

Directions
Make cake mix according to directions (but add a cup of the chopped oreos to batter). Bake according to directions in well-greased 9 x13 pan.
Just before cake is done, start making pudding.
In medium bowl, add milk to pudding mixture and continue to whisk until most of lumps are removed. Let pudding mixture sit for about 2 minutes. Thicken slightly but don't let it get too runny or too thick.
When cake is finished, while still warm, quickly poke holes all over top of cake, about 1-inch intervals using chopsticks, bottom of a wooden spoon, or straw.
Pour pudding mixture all over warm cake. Top with 1/2 the chopped Oreos.
Put cake in refrigerator to cool. About an hour.
Once Oreo Poke Cake is set, top with rest of crushed or chopped Oreo cookies (or at this point you can add a container of Cool Whip--once cake is completely cooled-- and then add the rest of the chopped Oreos)
Keep cake refrigerated.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

CHOCOLATE ABSINTHE BUNDT CAKE: Absinthe Day

Today is National Absinthe Day. Absinthe is a strong herbal liqueur distilled with a large number of herbs like anise, licorice, hyssop, veronica, fennel, lemon balm, angelica and wormwood (the flavor of anise and/or licorice, at least in contemporary forms of the liquor, tends to predominate).  

Wormwood, the one that's gained the most notoriety, is Artemisia absinthum, an herb that grows wild in Europe and has been cultivated in the United States as well. Much of the liquor's legendary effect is due to its extremely high alcohol content, ranging from 50% to 75% (usually around 60%), plus the contribution of the various herbs. It has been assumed by  that the so-called "active ingredient"in absinthe is wormwood, although that is apparently not really the case.

The drink was referred to in France as "La Fée Verte" or The Green Fairy which is a reference to its green color (depending on the brand). The color usually came from the chlorophyll content of the herbs used in the distillation process; however, some disreputable manufacturers added toxic chemicals to produce both the green color and the louche (or clouding) effect that in reputable brands was caused by the precipitation of the essential oils of the herbs. It is quite probable that the bad reputation absinthe developed was due to these low-grade and perhaps quite poisonous version of the real thing.

Absinthe was very popular in fin-de-siècle Paris, with Vincent Van Gogh, Paul Verlaine, Alfred Jarry and Oscar Wilde among its most famous imbibers. And, of course, there was Edgar Allan Poe.

Two good websites about Absinthe: La Fee Verte  & The Wormwood Society.

For this year's holiday, I'm posting an easy Chocolate Absinthe Bundt cake recipe. You have to like Absinthe to really enjoy this cake. Always use a name brand absinthe. Just an FY: Absinthe is an acquired taste. What I like about this recipe is that the absinthe flavor is enhanced by the anise and fennel seed (you can actually use 1/8 tsp each for more flavor). Original recipe from Epicurious.

CHOCOLATE ABSINTHE BUNDT CAKE

Ingredients
1 cup unsalted butter, room temp
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1/2 cup Absinthe
2 cups flour
1 cup unsweetened Dark cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground anise or fennel seed
1 cup hot water
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions
Beat butter at medium speed with electric mixer until fluffy. Gradually add sugar, beating well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Add absinthe; beat until blended.
Combine flour and next 5 ingredients; add to sugar mixture alternately with hot water, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed until blended after each addition; stir in flavorings.
Pour batter into greased and floured 9-inch bundt cakepan.
Bake at 300° for 60 minutes. Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan, and cool completely on wire rack.