Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Blueberry Cheesecake with Chocolate Crust: National Blueberry Cheesecake Day

I love blueberries, so any chance to add them to chocolate is fine by me. They're plentiful at my market right now, and since today is National Blueberry Cheesecake Day, I suggest you make a Blueberry Cheesecake with Chocolate Crust.

BLUEBERRY CHEESECAKE WITH CHOCOLATE CRUST

Chocolate Crumb Crust:
1 1/2 cups chocolate crumbs
 2 Tablespoon granulated sugar
1 stick of butter (1/2 cup), melted

Cheesecake:
16 ounces cream cheese,  room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup granulated sugar

Blueberry Topping:
2 cups fresh blueberries
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch

Crust:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease glass pie plate with butter. Melt butter in small saucepan over low heat.
Mix together crumbs, sugar, and cinnamon. Mix butter in and form crumbly texture. Press into pie plate. Place into preheated oven and bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove and place on cooling rack. Reduce oven temperature to 325F.

Filling:
Put cream cheese in large mixing bowl and using electric mixer, beat until smooth. Add sour cream, vanilla, and sugar and mix to combine. Add eggs and mix in until well combines. Transfer to prepared pie crust. Place in preheated oven and bake 40-45 minutes. Center will be jiggly.  Outside edges should be set, but not brown. Remove and put on cooling rack. Cool to room temperature, then put into refrigerator. Cover with plastic wrap and let cool before putting blueberry topping for at least an hour. Remove from refrigerator, pour room temperature blueberry sauce on top, cover again, place into refrigerator and set at least 4 hours or overnight.

Topping:
Place berries, water, and sugar into heavy bottom saucepan. Bring  mixture to boil. As soon as it starts to boil turn down to low. Simmer for about 3-4 minutes stirring as needed so as not to stick to pan. Meanwhile; stir cornstarch into 2 tablespoons of water. Stir  cornstarch mixture into blueberry mixture. Turn heat back up and bring to boil, stirring whole time. Cook for a minute or so. Mixture will thicken quickly. Remove from heat, transfer to glass bowl and let cool to room temperature. Remove chilled cheesecake pie from refrigerator, pour blueberry sauce on top.

Put into refrigerator, cover, and set for 4 hours to overnight.

Monday, May 25, 2020

SKILLET S'MORES INDOORS: Memorial Day

If you're Sheltered-in-Place this Memorial Day and don't have access to a barbecue or campfire, here's an easy way to make that All American Campfire Treat indoors: S'mores Indoors. S'mores Indoors is easily made in a heavy skillet in your oven. You can also make this in a skillet on the grill. The final results ends up being almost like a dip. It's a delicious and easy dessert for the holiday--or any time.

Skillet S'mores

Ingredients 
Marshmallows  (cut in half)
2 bags Chocolate Chips
1 box Graham Crackers 

Instructions 
Preheat oven to 350*F
In 9" ovenproof skillet, put chocolate chips in even layer across bottom.
Put marshmallow halves on top so all chocolate chips are covered.
Bake in oven for 10 minutes, until chocolate has melted and marshmallows are starting to toast.
Do Not over bake!
Serve with graham crackers for dipping.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

THREE SAVORY CHOCOLATE BARBECUE SAUCES for Memorial Day

Barbecues when I was growing up were mostly on holidays: Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day. My Dad would don his Westinghouse apron and hat (that he got with our new indoor range) and fire up the grill. I still have my Dad's apron, but not the chef's hat. Very nostalgic--and Retro. Wish he were still with us. I miss him every day. He'd love these barbecue sauces and this list of Barbecue Crime Fiction on my Mystery blog, MysteryFanfare.com.

If you're planning a Memorial Day barbecue this weekend, you'll want to check your stock of dark chocolate. I've posted several chocolate barbecue sauces and chocolate rubs before, but here are three more. Both use Hershey's products-- #1 Hershey's Special Dark Syrup and #2 Scharffen Berger Dark Chocolate, but you can use what you have and enjoy!

The first recipe is from The BBQ Report. I use a different Dark Chocolate Sauce from an artisan chocolate company, but you can always use Hershey's. The flavors will be different, but both would be good. Season your meat with some cocoa powder (unsweetened) for double chocolate goodness.

And, of course, book mark this post for other barbecue days!

#1 CHOCOLATE BARBECUE SAUCE

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups ketchup
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup Hershey’s Special Dark syrup (or another)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp salt
1/2 tbsp cracked black pepper
1 tsp paprika
1 tbsp prepared mustard
1/2 tsp hot sauce

Directions
In sauce pan saute onions and garlic in olive oil, cooking until tender.
Stir in lemon juice, salt, pepper, paprika, and hot sauce.
Simmer for 5 to 6 minutes and reduce heat.
Stir in ketchup, vinegar, and Hershey’s Syrup.
Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.

#2 CHOCOLATE BARBECUE SAUCE

From the Hershey's Website comes this amazing and much more complex Chocolate Barbecue Sauce recipe, utilizing Scharffen Berger 82% dark chocolate (Scharffen Berger is owned by Hershey's). Recipe adapted from Chef Ken Gladysz at the Hotel Hershey.

Ingredients
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, soft
4 each garlic cloves, minced
1/2 Spanish onion, diced small
2 each Roma tomatoes, stem removed, diced small
1 1/2 ounces dark brown sugar
4 teaspoons ancho chili powder
4 ounces. apple cider vinegar
8 ounces barbeque sauce
14 ounces vegetable stock
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
3 oz. SCHARFFEN BERGER 82% dark chocolate
2 tablespoons cilantro, fresh, chopped
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper, freshly ground

Directions
Melt butter in small sauce pan over medium heat.
Add garlic and onion, sauté 5 minutes until golden brown.
Add tomatoes, stir, and sauté an additional 5 minutes.
Add sugar and chili powder, mix well, and cook for 5 minutes.
Add vinegar, reduce for 5 minutes, mixture should have a paste consistency.
Add sauce, stock, cumin, cinnamon, cloves, salt and pepper. Mix well.
Bring to a boil and reduce to a slow simmer for 30 minutes.
Add SCHARFFEN BERGER chocolate and cilantro; allow to simmer for 5 minutes.
Remove sauce from heat and let stand for 10 minutes.
Puree sauce, transfer to a clean container and cool.
For best results, refrigerate for 12 hours before using.  

#3 CHOCOLATE CHIPOTLE CHILI BEER BARBECUE SAUCE

This is a quick and easy one pot recipe! Use whatever beer or ale you have, although the chocolate stouts will add a lot of flavor.

Ingredients 
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup soy sauce
6 oz tomato paste
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp chipotle chili powder
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 cup Chocolate Ale (Rogue, Boulevard, Young's, Christopher Elbow)
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 ounces 75-85% dark chocolate, chopped

Directions 
In saucepan over medium heat, heat olive oil.
Add garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add remaining ingredients to pot.
Simmer until thickened, about 15-20 minutes.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

HOW TO BUILD A "CAMPFIRE' CAKE

A lot of people will still be 'Shelter-in-Place for Memorial Day, so they won't be making 'real' campfire cakes. But, if you want that outside feel, here's a great "Campfire Cake" you can make ahead for your Memorial Day celebration. Serve this Chocolate Campfire Cake on a wooden plank/log for effect...but a wood cutting board or plate will do, too.

I first saw this Campfire Cake in 2015 in  CountryLivingMagazine. Lots of variations on the Internet. Such fun! This would be great for your Memorial Day celebration. Bring the great outdoors into your backyard.

Here's what to do: Make your favorite two layer Chocolate Cake and your favorite Chocolate Frosting. Buy some rolled wafer cookies (I like Pepperidge Farm Pirouette Rolled Wafers) and red and orange hard candy.

HARD CANDY RECIPE

Preheat oven to 375.
Put red and orange hard candies on parchment-lined cookie sheet; put in oven.
Once candies have melted (about 10 minutes), remove from oven.
While still liquid, use a skewer to marbelize the colors.
Set aside and let cool.
Once hardened, peel from liner and break into triangular shapes.

Decorate top of cake with rolled wafer cookies and candy flames when you're ready to serve.
Tip: Do not put the candy flames in the refrigerator of they will soften up and lose their shape.

Friday, May 22, 2020

ROSEMARY CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES for Memorial Day

"Rosemary is for Remembrance"-- so this recipe for Rosemary Chocolate Chip Cookies is perfect for Memorial Day. I grow a lot of rosemary in my garden. I use it in baking and grilling. It's a very versatile herb. There are several varieties, and they flower, so it's also quite pretty -- and deer resistant. Rosemary is also very aromatic. And, a little goes a long way.

The phrase "Rosemary is for Remembrance" comes from Shakespeare's Hamlet. Ophelia says, “There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance; pray, love, remember.” 

Even before Shakespeare's era, many cultures assigned meaning to Rosemary. It was often used in funerals or in the care of the dead. But also, at one time, it was the fashion for brides to wear wreaths of rosemary. Rosemary was also thought to repel evil spirits and cure thievery. 15th and early 16th century statesman and writer, Sir Thomas More, tied rosemary to memory in his writing. He wrote fondly of it “running” about his garden without cultivation because: “it is the herb sacred to remembrance, and therefore, to friendship…” And for my mystery friends, an Agatha Christie novel, published as both Remembered Death and Sparkling Cyanide, uses the Shakespeare quotation.

ROSEMARY CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

Ingredients 
2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup pecans, chopped
2 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped

Directions
Preheat oven to 375° F.
Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in small bowl.
Beat butter, both sugars, and vanilla in large mixer bowl until creamy.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Gradually beat in flour mixture.
Stir in chocolate chips, chopped rosemary, and pecans.
Drop by rounded tablespoon onto un-greased cookie sheets.
Bake 9-10 minutes or until golden brown.
Cool on cookie sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

STRAWBERRIES & CREAM ICE CREAM PIE: Strawberries & Cream Day

Today is Strawberries & Cream Day! One way to celebrate would be to stuff strawberries with whipped cream and dip in chocolate. Yum! But here's another way to celebrate the day: Strawberries & Cream Ice Cream Pie with Chocolate Crust. This is also perfect for your Memorial Day dessert.

Strawberries & Cream Ice Cream Pie with Chocolate Cookie Crust

Ingredients
1 Chocolate Cookie Crust
3 cups Strawberry ice cream or Ben & Jerry's Strawberries & Cream ice cream, softened

Whipped Cream
1 cup Sliced fresh Strawberries

Chocolate Cookie Crust
Ingredients
30 Chocolate wafers
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
Pinch of salt

Directions for Cookie Crust
Whirl cookies in food processor until finely ground.
Put crumbs in mixing bowl and add butter and salt until crumbs are moistened.
Press mixture across bottom of 8-inch pie plate and up sides. Pack tightly.
Bake in 350 degree oven for 6 minutes.
Cool before filling.

Directions for Pie
Be sure and cool crust before adding ice cream
Spread ice cream evenly over crust.
Smooth top.
Put pie in freezer until solid (or until ready to serve - for up to 3 days)
Before serving, top with whipped cream and fresh sliced strawberries.


Wednesday, May 20, 2020

OATMEAL CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES: Guest post by Eve Calder

Eve Calder: 
Chocolate and Mysteries: The Perfect Combination  

Writing the Cookie House mystery series lets me indulge in two of my very favorite things: chocolate and mysteries. In the latest book, Sugar and Vice, pastry chef (and amateur sleuth) Kate McGuire bakes up several batches of delectable oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. This is the recipe that she (and I) use -- courtesy of Mark Bittman's cookbook classic How to Cook Everything The Basics.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies 

Time: About 30 minutes
Makes: 3 to 4 dozen

Ingredients
About 1/2 pound chocolate -- preferably dark chocolate (or whatever kind you like to eat)
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups rolled oats (not instant oats)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon pinch salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions
1. Heat the oven to 375°F. Chop the chocolate: Use a chef's knife with a rocking motion to cut the bars into pea-sized pieces. You should have about 1 1/2 cups.
2. Use an electric mixer to cream together the butter and sugars in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Crack the eggs on a flat, hard surface, add them one at a time, and beat until well blended. (If you prefer stirring by hand, you can also start with a whisk for the butter, sugar and eggs — then switch to a rubber spatula to add the dry ingredients.)
3. Mix the flour, oats, cinnamon, salt and baking powder together in a small bowl. Alternating with the milk, add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture a little at a time, mixing on low. Stir in the chocolate and vanilla.
4. Drop tablespoon-sized mounds of dough about 3 inches apart in rows and columns on ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 12-15 minutes until lightly browned. Cool for about 2 minutes on the sheets before using a metal spatula to transfer the cookies to racks to finish cooling. Store in a tightly covered container at room temperature for no more than a day or two.
Recognizing doneness: Cookies are usually soft when they're ready to come out of the oven. The best way to check is to peek underneath and see if they're golden brown.

***
Eve Calder is the author of the South Florida-based Cookie House mysteries from St. Martin's Press. Her new book, Sugar and Vice, mixes lost pirate treasure, missing relatives, and a diabolical murder plot -- plus a bakery full of delicious cookies. Visit her website at: https://cookiehousemysteries.com/

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DEVIL'S FOOD CAKE AND CHOCOLATE CAKE?

Because today is National Devil's Food Cake Day, I thought I'd revisit the question: What's the difference between Devil's Food Cake and Chocolate Cake? It's a good question, and there are many different answers. Some recipes use cocoa, some melted chocolate, some add coffee or hot liquid, and some increase the baking soda. And, since it's National Devil's Food Cake Day, here are some answers.


According to Wikipedia:

Because of differing recipes and changing ingredient availability over the course of the twentieth century, it is difficult to precisely qualify what distinguishes Devil's food from the more standard chocolate cake. The traditional Devil's food cake is made with shredded beets much the way a carrot cake is made with carrots. The beets add moisture and sweetness to the cake, helping it to be very rich. The red of the beets slightly colors the cake red and due to the richness of the cake it became known as the Devil's food. 

O.k. That's a beet cake or a 'natural' red velvet cake, and I make a good one, but it's not a Devil's Food Cake in my opinion.  

Devil's food cake is generally more moist and airy than other chocolate cakes, and often uses cocoa as opposed to chocolate for the flavor as well as coffee. The lack of melted chocolate and the addition of coffee is typically what distinguishes a Devil's food cake from a chocolate cake, though some recipes call for all, resulting in an even richer chocolate flavor. The use of hot, or boiling water as the cake's main liquid, rather than milk, is also a common difference. 

Devil's food cake is sometimes distinguished from other chocolate cakes by the use of additional baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) which raises the pH level and makes the cake a deeper and darker mahogany color. Devil's food cake incorporates butter (or a substitute), egg whites, flour (while some chocolate cakes are flourless) and less egg than other chocolate cakes. Devil's food cake was introduced in the United States in the early 20th century with the recipe in print as early as 1905. 

A similar cake, the red velvet cake, is closely linked to a Devil's food cake, and in some turn of the century cookbooks the two names may have been interchangeable. Most red velvet cakes today use red food coloring, but even without it, the reaction of acidic vinegar and buttermilk tends to better reveal the red anthocyanin in the cocoa. When used in cakes, acid causes reddening of cocoa powder when baked, and before more alkaline "Dutch Processed" cocoa was widely available, the red color would have been more pronounced. This natural tinting may have been the source for the name "Red Velvet" as well as "Devil's Food" and a long list of similar names for chocolate cakes.

I'm partial to Devil's Food Cake.

Here are several mid-century recipes. Sorry about the light print on the first cookbook.

I've posted many Devil's Food Cake recipes in the past, but today I have four mid-century recipes.

The first recipe is for Cocoa Devil's Food Cake from How To Get the Most Out of Your Sunbeam Mixmaster (1950). I posted a "Mix-Easy" Devil's Food Cake for Mother's Day a few years ago, and you might want to look at that one, too. It's pretty much the same as the following recipe. The following page in the Sunbeam Mixmaster cookbook pamphlet is great for today's post since there's a Chocolate Cake recipe next to the Devil's Food Cake recipe.


This same cookbook has a recipe for Black Devil's Food Cake, so now we have Cocoa Devil's Food Cake, Black Devil's Food Cake, and a Red Devil's Food Cake. As you see, the following Black Devil's Food cake is made with cocoa and with the addition of strong hot coffee or boiling water.


The Red Devil's Food Cake is a variation on the Chocolate Fudge Cake on the same page, and to save space, they didn't reprint the entire recipe! It's a very small pamphlet. The baking soda is increased, but otherwise it's the same cake. This recipe is from the Recipes for your Hamilton Beach Mixer-17 Delicious New Cakes (1947). Don't you just love that someone wrote good next to the recipe? It's the same recipe I posted (but from a different pamphlet) on Devil's Food Cake Day for Mother's Day. 


And one more Red Devil's Food Cake from the same mid-century period. This one is from Kate Smith Chooses her 55 Favorite Ann Pillsbury CAKE RECIPES.


Enough Devil's Food Cake recipes? Never! Have a look at Martha Washington's Devil's Food Cake from Capitol Hill Cooks: Recipes from the White House by Linda Bauer. It's a great Buttermilk Devil's Food Cake!

So what's the difference between Devil's Food Cake and Chocolate Cake? You decide.

Monday, May 18, 2020

MAGIC COOKIE BARS: Retro Ad & Recipe

I love old Retro Ads with recipes. Here's a great one from Borden's Eagle Brand for Magic Cookie Bars. These are great to make with the kids while you're Sheltered-in-Place. You can add chocolate chips, coconut, nuts, mini-marshmallows, M&Ms and/or whatever you have. Get creative! These are quick and easy.


Sunday, May 17, 2020

CHOCOLATE CHERRY COBBLER: 2 Recipes for National Cherry Cobbler Day

Today is National Cherry Cobbler Day and fresh cherries are just starting to hit the market, so today I'm posting a recipe for a fresh cherry cobbler and a second recipe that uses natural cherry pie filling in case you don't have fresh cherries available in your area yet. I love Chukar Cherries Sour Cherry Fruit Filling--whole and tangy Montmorency cherries. Red and delicious!

So what exactly is a Cobbler? Cobblers traditionally have a biscuit topping on the fresh fruit. The biscuits are usually dropped onto the fruit in small rounds, giving it the appearance of a cobbled road and hence the name Cobbler.  

Happy National Cherry Cobbler Day... and as I always say, everything tastes better with Chocolate!

USING FRESH CHERRIES:

1. CHOCOLATE CHERRY COBBLER WITH FRESH CHERRIES

Ingredients
6 cups tart red cherries, pitted
1-1/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup water
4 tsp cornstarch
3/4 cup dark chocolate, chopped

Topping:
1 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 egg, beaten
3 Tbsp milk 

Directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
In saucepan combine filling ingredients and cook, stirring until bubbling and thickened. Pour into an 8-inch square baking dish. Cool. After cooled, sprinkle chopped chocolate.
In bowl, stir together flour, sugars, baking powder, and cinnamon. Cut in butter until crumbly.
Mix together egg and milk. Add to flour mixture and stir with fork just until combined.
Drop topping by tablespoonfuls onto filling.
Bake for 25 minutes until browned and bubbly.

USING PIE FILLING:

2. CHOCOLATE CHERRY COBBLER WITH CHERRY PIE FILLING

Ingredients
18 ounces Chukar's Sour Cherry Fruit Filling
1/2 cup sugar
1-1/2 Tbsp flour
1 cup dark chocolate (60-75% cacao), chopped

Topping
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened (I use Kerrygold)

Directions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Mix cherries, sugar and flour. Spread evenly in 11 x 7 baking dish.
Sprinkle chocolate over top.

For topping
Mix together flour, sugars and pinch of salt.
Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly.
Sprinkle topping over cherry filling.
Bake cobbler until filling bubbles and topping is golden brown.
About 40 to 45 minutes.



Saturday, May 16, 2020

ANCHO CHILE CHOCOLATE RUB: National Barbecue Day

Today is National Barbecue Day. This Ancho Chile Chocolate Rub is great on Brisket or Flank Steak--or whatever! And, with Memorial Day coming up, you'll want to Bookmark this recipe.

ANCHO CHILE CHOCOLATE RUB

Ingredients
1 Cup Cocoa Powder
1/2 Cup Ancho Chile, ground
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Kosher Salt
1/4 Cup Black Pepper, freshly ground
1/4 Cup Cumin, ground

Directions
In medium size bowl, add all ingredients and mix with whisk, until you have uniform mixture.
Put in quart size jar and seal until ready to use on brisket (or other meats). Or take the jar to the barbecue as a gift for the chef when we're all not Sheltered-in-Place!

Friday, May 15, 2020

CHOCOLATE CHIP BISCUITS: National Chocolate Chip Day

A lot of you are baking biscuits since you're still Sheltered-in-Place. I meant to post this on National Biscuit Day two days ago, but, it's never too late, and since today is National Chocolate Chip Day, I thought I'd post this fabulous Retro Ad for Bisquick. There are '6 things you and Bisquick can do with biscuits.' What's missing? Chocolate Chip Biscuits? My recipe below does not require Bisquick. You'll be making everything from scratch. Easy and fun!


CHOCOLATE CHIP BISCUITS

Ingredients
3 Tbsp sugar
2 cups self-rising flour  (*see below for easy substitute)
pinch of salt
1/3 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup good quality dark mini-chocolate chips
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

Directions
Preheat oven to 425.
Combine flour and 1 Tbsp sugar in large bowl.
Cut butter into flour mixture with pastry blender until crumbly.
Add buttermilk and fold in chocolate chips. Stir just until dry ingredients are moistened (do not overstir). Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface. Knead 3 times.
Pat dough to 1/2-inch thickness
Cut with 2-1/4-inch round cutter.
Place biscuits on baking sheet.
Bake 15 minutes or until golden.
Take out and while still warm, quickly brush biscuits with 1/4 cup melted butter and sprinkle with sugar.

*Self Rising Flour Substitute:
In a separate container:
For each cup of all-purpose flour (level measure), add 1- 1/4 tsp baking powder and a 1/4 tsp salt. Then re-measure what you need (2 cups for this recipe)*

Thursday, May 14, 2020

CHOCOLATE BEAR CLAW: Guest Post by Camille Minichino

CAMILLE MINICHINO: 
CHOCOLATE BEAR CLAW

Charlie Cooke is the owner of the Bear Claw Diner in the new series, the Alaska Diner Mysteries by Elizabeth Logan. Her biggest crime in the first book, Mousse and Murder, is trying to change the old bear claw recipe to include chocolate. This and the ensuing argument with her head chef is enough to make her a suspect when he’s found murdered. I wish you better luck! Elizabeth Logan is the fifth pen name of Camille Minichino over the course of more than two dozen books. All names and titles can be found at www.minichino.com.

Chocolate Bear Claw Recipe – Camille Minichino
(The pastry dough is the most time-consuming part of the recipe. For a quicker fix, use ready made pastry dough such as refrigerated crescent dough sheets.)

From scratch:

Pastry Ingredients:
    1-1/2 cups cold butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
    5 cups all-purpose flour
    1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
    1-1/4 cups half-and-half 
    1/4 cup sugar
    1/4 tsp salt
  1 egg

Pastry Directions:
1. Mix butter with 3 cups of flour until well coated.
2. Combine yeast and remaining 2 cups flour.
3. In a saucepan, heat half-and-half, sugar, and salt. Add to yeast mixture. Beat until smooth.
4. Stir in butter mixture just until moistened.
5. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle about 8 inches wide and 1/4 inch thick. 
6. Cut dough in half lengthwise to make two 4-inch wide strips.  Refrigerate.
Filling Ingredients:
  2/3 cup almond paste
  1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
    1 tsp ground cinnamon
    1/4 tsp salt
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    2  egg whites

Filling Directions:
1. Break the almond paste into pieces and place almond paste, chocolate, cinnamon, salt and vanilla in a large bowl and beat until mixture is crumbly.
2. Add egg whites and beat until mixture is smooth. 
Combining Directions:
    1 egg
    Almond slices
1. Use a spatula to spread the filling on each half of the dough. Roll dough over filling and cut each roll into equal size sections, usually 8 pieces total.
2. Place pastries seam-side down on a baking sheet. Make 4 cuts on one side of each pastry, extending at least 1inch into the pastry to create "fingers." Curve the pastry into a slight arch to separate the fingers. Cover tray loosely with plastic wrap and let rise for 2 hours, or until doubled in size.
3. Preheat oven to 400 ℉. Beat whole egg in a small bowl and brush each pastry with egg. Place one almond half or sliced almond onto each finger to form a claw.
4. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow bear claws to cool on a wire rack before serving.

Cartoon of the Day: Pie


Wednesday, May 13, 2020

CHOCOLATE APPLE PIE: National Apple Pie Day

One of my favorite children's books by Alison Murray
Today is National Apple Pie Day, and it's only fitting that it comes a few days after Mother's Day. This Chocolate Apple Pie is "as American as Mom and Apple Pie." But what's the origin of this catch phrase?

 From Wikipedia: 
Although apple pies have been eaten since long before the European colonization of the Americas, "as American as apple pie" is a saying in the United States, meaning "typically American". In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, apple pie became a symbol of American prosperity and national pride. A newspaper article published in 1902 declared that “No pie-eating people can be permanently vanquished.” The dish was also commemorated in the phrase "for Mom and apple pie" - supposedly the stock answer of American soldiers in World War II, whenever journalists asked why they were going to war.

My Grandmother made an awesome apple pie. I've written about this pie before. It did not contain chocolate. She made it in a huge rectangular pan. She made it because it was "American," and when she came to these shores, she became an American! My grandmother was born in Ukraine (then part of Russia), married in London, and settled in Philadelphia, the Cradle of Liberty. She took her new citizenship to heart, and she baked apple pie for her family every Friday. She did it because she saw herself as a true American. 

CHOCOLATE APPLE PIE

Ingredients
Pastry for a double-crust 9-inch pie, unbaked
8-10 tart apples (peeled, cored and sliced thinly--number of apples depends on their size)--Gravensteins aren't available this time of year, but they're my favorite, especially for pies!
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1 cup 70-85% dark chocolate fair-trade organic, chopped

Directions
Apples: peel, core, and slice thinly.
Combine cinnamon & sugar = cinnamon sugar. (you may need a tiny bit more). I've also used the chocolate cinnamon sugar from Trader Joe's
Place 1 layer apple slices on bottom crust. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons cinnamon sugar. Repeat twice.
Spread chopped chocolate pieces over top.
Using remaining apples, make 3 more apple/cinnamon sugar layers.
Top with 2nd crust and seal edges. Make cut on top--or prick with fork in a few places.
Bake in preheated 450 F oven for 15 minutes (until golden).
Lower heat to 350F and continue baking for another 25-30 minutes, or until apples are tender.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE NUTTY FUDGE: National Nutty Fudge Day

Today is Nutty Fudge Day. Fudge is a 'traditional' home-made chocolate candy. Here's a great Retro Recipe from Elsie the Cow for Double Chocolate Nutty Fudge. This is perfect to make while in Lockdown!


Double Chocolate Nutty Fudge

Ingredients
2 cups (12 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 (11 1/2 oz.) package milk chocolate chips
1 (14 oz.) can Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk (not evaporated milk)
2 Tbsp cream or milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup chopped walnuts

Directions
In saucepan, over low heat, melt semi-sweet chocolate chips with 2/3 cup Eagle Brand, 1 Tbsp cream and 1 tsp vanilla. Remove from heat; stir in 1/2 cup walnuts. Spread evenly into foil-lined 9-inch square pan.
In another saucepan, over low heat, melt milk chocolate chips with remaining Eagle Brand, 1 Tbsp cream and 1 tsp vanilla. Remove from heat; stir in remaining walnuts. Spread over fudge in pan.
Chill 2 hours, or until firm.
Turn fudge onto cutting board; peel off foil and cut into squares.
Store loosely covered at room temperature.

Monday, May 11, 2020

TOLL HOUSE BUNDT CAKE: Shelter-in-Place Chocolate Goodness #14

So you've been making lots of Chocolate Chip Cookies since you've been Sheltered-in-Place. Why not mix it up? Make this Toll House Bundt Cake! This Retro Advertisement and Recipe from the 80s is terrific!


TOLL HOUSE BUNDT CAKE

Cake

Ingredients
2 3/4 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp vinegar and enough milk to measure 1 cup (to make sour milk)
1 cup soft butter
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
4 eggs
2 cups chocolate chips

Directions
In small bowl combine flour, salt and baking soda; set aside. Place vinegar in 1 cup measuring cup; fill with milk; set aside. In large mixing bowl combine butter, brown sugar, and vanilla extract; beat till light and fluffy. Add eggs on low speed. Add flour mixture alternately with milk. Fold in chocolate chips.

NUT TOPPING: 
1/4 lb. soft butter
2 Tbsp sugar
2/3 cups nuts, chopped

Directions
Spoon batter into pan and put on topping. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour to set before baking. Bake at 375 F. for 50 minutes.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

VINTAGE MOTHER'S DAY STORY AD with Recipe for Golden Cream Chocolate Cake

For Mother's Day I'm posting a Vintage Ad that references mothers. I love these Vintage Ads and recipes from Baker's Chocolate that "Tell a Story." These Ads appeared in Life Magazine, and some of them are so amusing, especially this Ad from February 7, 1938 (and again on June 5, 1939) for Paula's Golden Cream Chocolate Cake. What a period piece! I mean really...just read the headline, "Paula Gives Mother-in-Law Her Come-Uppance." And don't you just love the word "Flibbertigibbet." Good thing Paula had a mind and talent of her own. And what a saint she was for not lauding her baking skills over her mother-in-law. Such modesty. Oh puh..lease. I feel like writing 'the rest of the story.'

At first meeting, Paula's mother-in-law thought Paula couldn't boil water. She was proved wrong when Paula baked a lovely Golden Cream Chocolate Cake. These 'story ads' say a lot about the times! Of course Paula couldn't have done it without Baker's Chocolate and her own Mother's teachings!

This recipe really is delicious. The cake is a "cross between a Fudge Cake and Boston Cream Pie." A perfect posting (and baking!) for Mother's Day!




Saturday, May 9, 2020

Vintage and Retro Whitman's Chocolates Mother's Day Ads

I love old magazine chocolate advertisements--Retro and Vintage. Life is Like a Box of Chocolates, and Whitman's Samplers has known that for decades. Here are several Whitman's Chocolates Mother's Day Ads.  Enjoy the tour through the decades. Happy Mother's Day!




 


MOTHER'S DAY COCOA SPICED SALMON

My Mother circa 1942
Confession: My mother was not a chocoholic. So for Mother's Day that always precluded giving her Truffles or Chocolates or baking anything chocolate specifically for her. However, my mother would have eaten salmon every day if she had had the opportunity. So here is an easy recipe adapted from Peggy Trowbridge Filippone on about.com for Cocoa Spiced Salmon. This is a savory recipe.

I love cocoa/chocolate rubs, and this one helps seal in the flavor of the salmon. We do a lot of grilling at our house, and this is perfect for Mother's Day.. or any day! If you don't have a grill, you can broil. If you do, give it 10 minutes tops!

Here's a chocolate menu for you for Mother's Day: Cocoa Spiced Salmon with a green salad made with blueberries, cocoa nibs, blue cheese, and candied walnutswith a strawberry vinaigrette. You can also make a Flourless Chocolate Cake for dessert and maybe some Chocolate Dipped Strawberries.

Mother's Day Cocoa Spiced Salmon

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive oil
1 Tbsp dark brown sugar
1/4 tsp dry mustard
Dash of ground cinnamon
1 tsp sweet Hungarian paprika
1/2 tsp DARK cocoa powder
2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1-1/2 tsp kosher salt
1-1/2 pounds salmon filet

Mustard Sauce (optional)
1/4 cup dry mustard
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp hot water

Directions:

We cook on a Weber, but if you have a gas grill, fire to medium-high heat.
Pour and distribute 1 teaspoon olive oil over bottom of shallow aluminum pan. (Alternatively, you can  form a tray out of a double layer of heavy foil. Be sure to put it on a cookie sheet for stability.)

Whisk together sugar, dry mustard, cinnamon, paprika, cocoa powder, chili powder, cumin, pepper, and salt.

Coat both sides of the salmon filet with remaining olive oil.
Place in grill pan skin-side down.
Sprinkle generously with cocoa spice mixture and pat down.
(You may have some spice mix left over. Store in a glass jar in a cool, dark place up to 6 months.)

The recipe says to grill salmon about 10 minutes per inch of thickness, until salmon flakes easily with a fork. Do not overcook or it will become dry. We cook our salmon for a much shorter period of time, but then we don't have the same control on the heat on the Weber.

Mustard Sauce: Optional
Whisk together dry mustard, sugar, and hot water until smooth. 
Serve as a condiment with Cocoa Spiced Salmon.

Friday, May 8, 2020

3 MINUTE BUTTERSCOTCH CHOCOLATE CHIP CAKE IN A MUG

I've posted several recipes for Cake in a Mug that are perfect treats for one while Sheltered-in-Place. Here's another -- Butterscotch Chocolate Chip Cake in a Mug! Of course, the assumption is that you have butterscotch pudding powder in your pantry. If you don't, do you have another pudding? I have Bird's Custard, and I'm going to try that. You can always make Butterscotch Pudding from scratch, if you don't have a box.

Butterscotch Chocolate Chip Cake in a Mug

Ingredients
1 egg
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons Canola oil
1/8 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
4 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons instant butterscotch pudding powder
4 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 tablespoons mini bittersweet chocolate chips

Directions
Prepare mug by coating the inside lightly with cooking spray (or melted butter).
Pour dry ingredients into bowl.
Beat egg first with spoon and mix in other liquid ingredients.
Add dry ingredients and mix until you’ve removed all lumps.
Fold in chocolate chips.
Pour batter into mug (don't fill more than halfway) and smooth top with spoon.
Thump mug firmly on table several times to remove excess air bubbles.
Place mug on top microwaveable small plate or saucer.
Bake in microwave for 3-4 minutes. Check for doneness by inserting toothpick in middle of microwave mug cake. If toothpick is dry, mug cake is done.
Wait two minutes, then run butter knife along inside mug and tip cake onto plate.

COCONUT CREAM PIE FROM SCRATCH: National Coconut Cream Pie Day

Today is National Coconut Cream Pie Day! Add a Chocolate Cookie Crust, and you're calling my name! The advertisement on the right is from 1947 for "A Dreamy Creamy Coconut Pie You Can Make At Home-in Minutes," but believe me, take a few more minutes to make your own from scratch, and it will be 100% better!

The following recipe is adapted from Southern Living (April 2005) and also appeared in one of the Best of Southern Living collections. It's worth the time to make this great Coconut Cream Pie from Scratch.

COCONUT CREAM PIE FROM SCRATCH

Coconut Cream Pie Filling
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 cups half-and-half
4 egg yolks
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups whipping cream
1/3 cup sugar
2 1/2 tsp vanilla
Garnish: toasted coconut

Directions

Chocolate Pie Crust
2 cups chocolate wafers
6 Tbsp unsalted butter

Melt the butter.
Put chocolate wafers in plastic bag. Close bag and crush with spoon or rolling pin until you have tiny pea-sized chocolate bits.
Combine melted butter with chocolate bits.
Press ingredients into 9-inch buttered pie pan. Be sure and go up sides.
Bake 10 minutes at 325°F. 

Filling:
Combine 1/2 cup sugar and cornstarch in heavy saucepan. Whisk together half-and-half and egg yolks. Gradually whisk egg mixture into sugar mixture; bring to boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. Boil 1 minute; remove from heat.

Stir in butter, 1 cup coconut, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Cover with plastic wrap, placing plastic wrap directly on filling in pan; let stand 30 minutes (or put it in the refrigerator). Spoon custard mixture into prepared crust, cover and chill 30 minutes or until set.

Beat whipping cream at high speed with an electric mixer until foamy; gradually add 1/3 cup sugar and remaining 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla, beating until soft peaks form. Spread or pipe whipped cream over pie filling.

Garnish with toasted coconut

*To make toasted coconut, heat oven to 350. Put coconut in a pie pan and spread out to about 1/4 inch thick. Toast in oven for about 3-5 minutes.. check to make sure it doesn't burn. 

HAPPY COCONUT CREAM PIE DAY!

Thursday, May 7, 2020

BLUEBERRY CHOCOLATE CHIP SCONES

I don't know about you, but after two months of Shelter-in-Place, I'm getting tired of Banana Bread, even with Chocolate Chips. So for today's baking, I recommend making these easy Blueberry Chocolate Chip Scones. Scones are great for breakfast and tea!

I love blueberries and as a child I often thought I'd turn blue from eating so many. In the summers we used to pick wild blueberries in the New Jersey Woods or up in Maine. So delicious. I probably ate as many as I picked.

For this Blueberry Chocolate Chip Scone recipe, you can substitute frozen blueberries and and chocolate chunks, but I love fresh blueberries and dark chocolate chips!

Some Blueberry tips:

How to store Fresh Blueberries: Put them in the refrigerator unwashed. Rinse with cold water just before use.
Baking with Fresh Blueberries (or other berries): Toss them in flour before adding to batter. This prevents them from sinking to the bottom during baking!

Baking with frozen Blueberries: Keep them frozen when adding to batter so color won't bleed (or won't bleed too much).

BLUEBERRY CHOCOLATE CHUNK SCONES

Ingredients
3 cups flour
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp sugar, divided
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp milk, divided
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 Tbsp grated lemon zest
1 cup blueberries
7 ounces chocolate chips

Directions
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Mix flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt in large bowl.
Cut in butter using pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Add 3/4 cup milk, egg, and lemon peel; stir just until mixture forms dough. Don't overwork.
Fold in floured fresh blueberries and chocolate chips (or chunks).
Divide dough in half. On lightly floured surface, pat each half into a round, 9 inches in diameter & 1 inch thick.
Cut each round into 8 wedges.
Place wedges on ungreased baking sheet.
Brush tops with remaining 2 Tbsp milk; sprinkle with remaining 2 Tbsp sugar.
Bake 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

5 DIY CHOCOLATE FACE MASKS: The Perfect Gift for Mother's Day!

Here's a personal and unique Mother's Day Gift! A Chocolate Facial for Mom! Mix up one of these recipes -- the Perfect Mother's Day gift. Be sure to make a second batch for yourself!

We all know Chocolate is good for the heart, blood pressure, and a lot more. When I was growing up, we were told that chocolate was bad for the skin. That it actually caused acne. This is not true. Chocolate is full of antioxidants that actually give the skin extra protection against free radicals and can nourish the skin. The following masks can increase hydration, support skin's defense against UV damage, decrease roughness, and actually improve blood flow. Give one or all of them a try.

Pros of Chocolate Face Mask: The skin becomes glowing and soft. The skin becomes firm and smooth. Even if the mask goes into your mouth, no problem; it tastes yummy. The final Chocolate Face Mask even has an alternative fudge recipe.

So here are 5 D-I-Y Chocolate Face Mask Recipes! They're all simple to make. Let me know which is your favorite.

1. Chocolate Mask from Household Magic: Daily Tips

Mix together a heaping Tbsp of unsweetened cocoa powder with heavy cream to form a paste.
Apply to clean, dry skin and leave paste on for 15 minutes.
Wipe off mask with washcloth.
Rinse face with lukewarm water and pat dry.

2. Chocolate Yogurt Honey Mask from Flavor Fiesta

Ingredients:
1 tsp cocoa powder
1 tsp yogurt
1 tsp honey

Directions:
Blend cocoa powder with honey and yogurt. Cocoa powder can be difficult to blend, so be patient with this step. Keep mixing until mixture looks like melted chocolate.
Clean your face with lukewarm water. Dab dry and then apply the mask evenly all over your face except the eye and lip areas. Relax for 15-20 minutes and let the mask do it’s magic.
Wash off with lukewarm water and dab dry.
Apply moisturizer.

3. Chocolate Brown Sugar Sea Salt Mask from WikiHow

Ingredients
2 bars of dark chocolate, chopped
2/3 cup of milk
Sea salt
3 Tbsp Brown Sugar

Directions
Heat dark chocolate in double boiler for about 3 minutes.
Mix sea salt, brown sugar, and 2/3 of a cup milk in a bowl.
Remove melted chocolate from heat.
Mix melted chocolate with salt/milk mixture.
Allow to cool.
Apply to face while cool but not hardened.
Leave on until it hardens.
Wash or chip off with mild cleanser and warm water.
Add moisturizer when done.

4. Chocolate Oatmeal Honey Mask from Skin Care and Remedies

Ingredients
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup organic honey
2 Tbsp of heavy cream (or sour cream)
3 tsp oatmeal powder

Directions
Mix all ingredients until mass in consistent.
Apply to face, gently massaging so oatmeal can start exfoliating the dead skin cell layer.
Leave on for about 15-20 minutes
Rinse off with lukewarm water.

The following recipe is one of my favorites because it's so versatile.. with a tiny bit of tweaking, you can make fudge! How cool is that?

5. Chocolate Avocado, Honey, Oatmeal Face Mask (or Fudge)  
 from Meghan Telpner-Making Love in the Kitchen

Ingredients
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup organic honey
2 Tbsp smashed avocado
3 tsp oatmeal powder (leave this out if making soft fudge, leave in if you want a harder texture)

Directions: Face Mask
Mix all ingredients until mass is consistent.
Apply on face, gently massaging so oatmeal can start exfoliating the dead skin cell layer.
Leave on for 15-20 minutes.
Rinse off with lukewarm water.

Instructions: Fudge
Mix all ingredients (except oatmeal) until mass is consistent.
Spread in small pyrex dish or into individual ramikens.
Allow to set in refrigerator for at least two hours.

San Francisco Chocolate Salon News!


SAN FRANCISCO CHOCOLATE SALON
This year's 14th Annual San Francisco CHOCOLATE SALON is officially postponed due to San Francisco's shelter in place in accordance with the State of California and the City of San Francisco's requests


A new date has not yet been announced, however the Fall Holiday Chocolate Salon is still planned for late November 2020, and the 2021 San Francisco Chocolate Salon for March 2021.


TICKET HOLDERS

The Chocolate Salon knows that ticket holders love great chocolate and confections, and that they also love helping support our struggling small businesses. This is why the Salon has is offering them three options:
Tickets sourced via Eventbrite, please check your email for instructions or go here. If you have tickets via other sources, please contact them for instructions.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

BUTTERMILK MEXICAN CHOCOLATE CHILE BUNDT CAKE: Cinco de Mayo

Here's one of my favorite chocolate cake recipes. it's perfect for Cinco de Mayo or any time: Buttermilk Mexican Chocolate Cake. I adapted this from a recipe in Southern Living a few years ago. I've added ground chiles and used Taza Mexican Chocolate with Chiles for a little more kick. I usually bake this pound cake in a bundt pan. This is quick and easy and delicious.

Buttermilk Mexican Chocolate Chile Bundt Cake

Ingredients
8 oz chopped dark (65-75% cacao) organic fair-trade chocolate (I use either Taza Chipotle Chili Chocolate Mexicano or Guajillo Chili Chocolate Mexicano, but you can use any dark chocolate)
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1-1/2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1/2 cup chocolate syrup
2 teaspoons Mexican vanilla
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ancho chiles
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk 

Directions
Melt chocolate in saucepan over saucepan of simmering water.
Beat butter at medium speed with electric mixer 2 minutes or until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating 5 to 7 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until yellow disappears after each addition. Stir in melted chocolate, chocolate syrup, and vanilla until smooth.
Combine flour and next 4 ingredients; add to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Pour batter into a greased and floured 12-cup Bundt pan.
Bake at 325° for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 to 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack, and let cool for another hour.