Sunday, February 28, 2021

INDIVIDUAL CHOCOLATE SOUFFLES: Chocolate Soufflé Day!

There's nothing more delicious than a Chocolate Souffle right out of the oven. Here's a great recipe from Sunset Magazine to celebrate National Chocolate Souffle Day!

Individual Chocolate Soufflés

Prep and Cook Time: 25 minutes. You can fill the soufflé dishes up to 1 day before baking and chill them (allow up to 5 extra minutes to bake). 
Here's a helpful hint from Sunset: increase or decrease the number of soufflés with this simple formula: For each soufflé, use 1/2 tsp. butter, 1 tbsp. sugar, 1 oz. chocolate, 1 tbsp. milk, 1/2 egg yolk, 1 egg white, and a small pinch of both salt and cream of tartar.

Ingredients
1 Tbsp sweet butter, plus more for dishes
6 Tbsp  sugar, plus more for dishes
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped (use the very best quality)*
6 Tbsp milk
3 egg yolks
6 egg whites
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cream of tartar

The Sunset recipe tops the soufflés with Vanilla Bean Cream, but I use fresh whipped cream or just eat as is.

Directions
Preheat oven to 375°. Generously butter six 8-oz. soufflé dishes. Sprinkle butter with sugar to coat. Put dishes on baking sheet and set aside.
Bring 1 inch of water to boil in medium frying pan. Put chocolate, milk, and 1 Tbsp butter in small metal bowl. Put bowl in water and take pan off heat. Stir occasionally until chocolate melts. Remove bowl from water, mix in egg yolks, and set aside. (You can melt chocolate in a different way, if you'd like, but this is an interesting technique and controls the heat well.)
In large clean bowl, beat egg whites, salt, and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Sprinkle in 6 Tbsp sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.
Whisk 1/4 of beaten egg whites into chocolate mixture. Fold chocolate mixture into remaining egg whites. Divide mixture evenly among prepared soufflé dishes and bake until set but still soft in center, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve immediately, with whipped cream.
Serve with demitasse spoons to savor every bite.

Remember, you can fill the soufflée dishes up to 1 day before baking and chill them (allow up to 5 extra minutes to bake). 

Photo: Leo Gong, Sunset Magazine

Friday, February 26, 2021

PISTACHIO BROWNIES: National Pistachio Day!

Today is National Pistachio Day! I love pistachios.

We used to eat lots of red-dyed pistachios when I was a kid. Our mouths and teeth would be stained red for awhile. Red Dye #1? We didn't worry about how it might effect us, nor did our parents. However, I did a bit of searching, and if you're so inclined,  you can still buy them at Oh Nuts. I also found out why they were dyed red. Most pistachios when I was young were imported from the Middle East where traditional methods of harvesting left stains on the shells. The producers would dye the shell red or green to cover up the stains. Today, about 98% of pistachios sold in the U.S. are grown in California, where they use a mechanized harvesting process that means that the nuts are picked, hulled and dried before the shell has a chance to become stained. No need to dye them! Luckily, all natural pistachios are readily available. Of course, as I mentioned, if you still want red dyed pistachios, Oh Nuts sells them. They are called Californa Red Colored Roasted Salted Pistachios. And, FYI: Pistachios are very nutritious. One serving provides more fiber than a 1/2 cup of spinach or broccoli. 

I've posted many Brownie recipes over the years, but thought I'd post this one for Chewy Pistachio Brownies that's slightly adapted from the American Pistachio Growers website.

Chewy Pistachio Brownies

Ingredients: 
1/2 cup DARK cocoa
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup shelled natural American pistachios, chopped
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
Pinch of salt
1 large egg
1/4 cup milk
Chocolate Glaze (recipe follows)

Chocolate Glaze:
Combine 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips with 2 tablespoons butter in glass measuring cup. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Stir to blend, adding 1 Tbsp powdered sugar.

Directions
In mixing bowl, combine cocoa, sugar, flour, baking powder, chocolate chips, and 1/2 cup chopped pistachios. Add melted butter, egg, and milk; mix just until ingredients are blended.
Scrape batter into oiled 9-inch square baking pan.
Bake in preheated 350° F. oven, 23 to 25 minutes or until center is baked. Do not overbake.
Cool slightly; spread with Chocolate Glaze.
Sprinkle with remaining pistachios.

And, for your nostalgic viewing pleasure:

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

CHOCOLATE HAMENTASCHEN FOR PURIM

The Holiday of Purim begins tomorrow night (lunar calendar). The traditional food served during this Jewish holiday is Hamentaschen. Hamentaschen are made to resemble Hamen's (the villain of the story) hat! Traditionally, hamentaschen were filled with prune, apricot, or munn (poppyseed). But what's to say that Hamen's Hat couldn't be made of or filled with chocolate? I must mention that this holiday is about a Jewish woman (Queen Esther) who saves her people. How can you not love a holiday that honors a strong clever woman?

In the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar, on its thirteenth day ... on the day that the enemies of the Jews were expected to prevail over them, it was turned about: the Jews prevailed over their adversaries. - Esther 9:1
And they gained relief on the fourteenth, making it a day of feasting and gladness. - Esther 9:17
[Mordecai instructed them] to observe them as days of feasting and gladness, and sending delicacies to one another, and gifts to the poor. - Esther 9:22

Short summary: The holiday of Purim appears in the Book of Esther. The story is read from the Megillah. So as not to give you the whole 'megillah' here, the story goes that Esther, a beautiful young Jewish woman living in Persia, and her cousin Mordecai, who raised her as a daughter, was taken to the house of Ahasuerus, King of Persia, to become part of Ahasuerus' harem. King Ahasuerus loved Esther and made Esther queen. But the king did not know that Esther was Jewish. The king’s aide, Haman, wanted to kill all the Jews. Esther tells the king that Hamen is plotting to have her killed -- well he's plotting to have all the Jews killed. When she tells the King that she is Jewish, the King kills Haman instead and saves the Jews.

During Purim, everyone eats hamantaschen. They are supposed to be modeled after Haman’s three pointed hat. In Israel they are often shaped like Hamen's ears (oznei Haman), but I feel better about eating hats than ears. :-), but if you're so inclined here's a great video and recipe for Haman's Ears with Halva Spreads (one features Bittersweet Chocolate Sea Salt Halva spread) from Jamie Geller at Joy of Kosher

So on with the Chocolate!

Following are two great recipes for Chocolate Hamentaschen for Purim. You'll find them quite different, and I suggest you try both. Although the holiday tomorrow night, there's no reason that these great pastries (cookies) can't be made and consumed now (or at another time)!

Victoria Sutton at MyJewishLearning has a really wonderful recipe for Decadent Chocolate Hamantaschen. (Victoria Sutton has a BA from Barnard College, and the Grand Diploma in Classic Pastry Arts from the French Culinary Institute. She works as a freelance chef in New York City.) When I made these I filled them with Nutella. Great addition. So many possibilities. The second recipe has a darker chocolate pastry (I use DARK cocoa), and the hamentaschen are filled with jam (I like Bonne Maman Dark Cherry Preserves). The second recipe is from Emily at Voila! Adventures in the Kitchen with Emily. Another taste treat  is to fill these with peanut butter.  Of course, you can make your own family recipe for Hamentaschen and fill them with chocolate. Any way you make them, have fun! I've added a third link for yet another Purim treat!

Before you begin, here are some TIPS for making good Hamentaschen.

Dough: Be sure and chill your dough. Put it in your refrigerate the dough before rolling it out. Roll out dough between pieces of parchment or wax paper rather than adding more flour, so the final product isn't too dense and doughy.

Tip for shaping: Put a dollop of filling in the middle of each circle. Fold up the sides to make a triangle, folding the last corner under the starting point, so that each side has a corner that folds over and a corner that folds under. Folding in this "pinwheel" style will reduce the likelihood that the last side will fall open while cooking, losing its filling. It also makes a better triangle shape.

I. Decadent Chocolate Hamentaschen
Recipe from Victoria Sutton at MyJewishLearning 

Chocolate Pâte Sucree:
3/4 cup granulated sugar
4 ounces butter, softened
1 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
1 egg
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup DARK cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
3-4 Tablespoons heavy cream

Chocolate Ganache Filling:
8 1/2 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
8 ounces heavy cream
Dash salt
Rum to taste (optional)

Chopped cherries, cranberries, nuts, or toffee (optional)

To prepare sucree: Cream butter, sugar, salt, and almond extract if using until light and fluffy. Add egg and mix until incorporated. Combine flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder. Add to butter mixture in two stages, alternating with the heavy cream. More or less cream might be needed depending on the consistency of the dough. Turn dough out onto plastic wrap, and form a flattened disc. Chill for at least one hour.

To prepare ganache: Over a double boiler, heat cream and chopped chocolate. When chocolate is mostly melted, lightly whisk until ganache is smooth and shiny. Whisk in rum (optional) and salt. Chill for several hours.

To form hamantaschen: Roll chilled chocolate sucree to slightly more than 1/8 inch thick. Using a round cutter or glass rim dipped in flour, cut circles of about 3 inches in diameter. If adding dried fruit or nuts, sprinkle a small amount in the center of the cut discs.

Remove ganache from fridge, and using either a small ice-cream scoop or by hand, form about 1 inch round balls and place in center of sucree circles. Carefully fold in the edges to form a triangular shape, and pinch the corners to seal.  Ensure there are no gaps or tears in the dough, to prevent filling from oozing out during baking.

Bake hamantaschen on greased cookie sheets at 350 F for about 15 minutes, until crust is baked through. Ganache will liquify during baking, but will set as hamantaschen cool. 

This second recipe features a really dark chocolate pastry,  and these hamentaschen are filled with jam. This recipe is adapted from Emily at Voila! Adventures in the Kitchen with Emily. Another great taste treat is to fill these with peanut butter.

II. CHOCOLATE HAMENTASCHEN 
Recipe from Emily at Voila! Adventures in the Kitchen with Emily.

Ingredients
Recipe originally adapted from Coconut and Lime
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 egg
1 teaspoon Madagascar vanilla
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup DARK cocoa
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup of any flavor jam, divided

Directions
Preheat oven to 350. Grease or line with cookie sheet with parchment paper
In large bowl, cream together sugar and butter until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and beat thoroughly.
Add flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt, and mix until thick dough forms. Refrigerate dough for about 10 minutes.
Sprinkle  clean work area with powdered sugar. Roll out dough until about 1/4 inch thick. Cut out 2 to 3 inch rounds. Place on cookie sheets about 2 inches apart.
Spoon 1-2 tsp of jam (or peanut butter) in middle and fold sides to create  triangle shape. Pinch corners and lightly smoosh them down so there isn’t a visible seam. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

III. And, here's a recipe to a third recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookie Stuffed Chocolate Hamentaschen from With love and Cupcakes.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

GO BANANAS! CHOCOLATE CHIP BANANA BREAD, CARMEN MIRANDA, and CHIQUITA BANANA for National Banana Bread Day!

 
It's been a long year for Banana Bread. How many have you made during the Pandemic? How many different recipes? Well here are two more. One is Gluten-Free. 

I've always loved Chiquita Banana, especially the logo with Chiquita and her Fruit Hat that was popularized by Carmen Miranda. There was something so foreign and exotic about Chiquita -- and Carmen Miranda. I was so taken by all the Carmen Miranda Hollywood productions that when I was in Rio several years ago, I made a pilgrimage to Carmen Miranda's home on Avendida Rui Barbosa. Loved the memorabilia.

So in honor of Carmen Miranda and to celebrate today's food holiday, National Banana Bread Day, I'm posting two recipes for Banana Bread. They are both from Chiquita Bananas. I added chocolate chips to both of the recipes because I love chocolate and bananas. You can also add nuts. And, the second recipe is gluten free! Be sure to scroll down to watch the video of Carmen Miranda in the "Tutti Frutti Hat." Here's the 1940s "Chiquita Banana" song!

THE CHIQUITA BANANA SONG



Best Chiquita Banana Bread
adapted from Chiquita Bananas

Ingredients
4 whole Chiquita Bananas
1 cup All-purpose flour
1 cup Unprocessed wheat bran
1 1/2 tsp Baking soda
1/2 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Brown sugar
3/4 cup Chocolate chips
1 cup unsalted Butter, soft
2 whole Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1/2 cup Walnuts
1 Tbsp Local Honey

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease large 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.
Whip 2 Chiquita Bananas and sugars until mix is creamy (about 3 minutes).
Add butter, eggs, and vanilla and whip until smooth.
Mix in all dry ingredients until blended.
Fold in walnuts and Chocolate Chips.
Slice two Chiquita Bananas and toss with honey until Chiquita Bananas are well coated.
Pour mix in loaf pan and place honey coated bananas on top.
Bake in oven for 60 minutes.
Let cool for 5 minutes then place plate on top of pan and flip pan upside down so loaf falls onto plate.

Gluten Free Banana Bread 
with Chocolate Chips
adapted from Chiquita Banana Bread, recipe idea Alisa Bennett

Ingredients
3 large Chiquita bananas
3 large Eggs
1/4 cup Coconut oil (melted)
1 Tbsp Vanilla extract
2 cups Almond meal
2 Tbsp Coconut flour
1 tsp Baking soda
1/4 tsp Salt
1/2 cup chopped Walnuts
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Instructions
Puree egg, oil, vanilla, and bananas in blender.
In separate bowl, blend dry ingredients.
Add banana and egg mixture to dry ingredients and mix well.
Fold in chopped walnuts and chocolate chips.
Pour batter into a greased loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees F for 50-55 minutes.

"THE LADY IN THE TUTTI-FRUTTI HAT" from Busby Berkeley's Welcome to Banana Island

Monday, February 22, 2021

CHOCOLATE MARGARITA CAKE: National Margarita Day

Today is National Margarita Day, and I like to eat my drinks! You're going to love this Flourless Chocolate Margarita Cake! It's a great Gluten-Free chocolate cake recipe--aka a Flourless Chocolate Lime Cake with Margarita Cream. I originally found this recipe at the Nigella site, but then again on the BHG site. Very similar. As always, use the very best ingredients. I have easy access to almond flour, but you can always make your own. I do love chocolate and citrus, and this recipe "takes the cake!"It's great for Passover, too, so be sure and bookmark this page!

Flourless Chocolate Lime Cake

Ingredients
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
10 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
6 eggs
1 1/4 cups superfine sugar*
1 cup almond meal/flour
4 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1 lime, zest and juice
Confectioner's sugar to dust (optional)

1 recipe Margarita Cream (recipe below)

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, line bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper, and butter sides of pan.
Melt chocolate and butter together either in a heatproof bowl suspended over a saucepan of simmering water or in a microwave 30 seconds at a time until melted. Set aside to cool slightly.
With electric mixer, beat eggs and sugar together until about tripled in volume, pale, and mousse-like. Mix almond meal with the cocoa powder. Gently fold into egg mixture, followed by the slightly cooled chocolate mixture. Fold in lime zest and juice.
Pour and scrape into prepared pan.
Bake 40 to 45 minutes.
Cake will be just firm on top but still have a bit of a shake below.
Remove from oven.
Cool cake in pan on a wire rack.
Once slightly cool, drape clean kitchen towel over cake to stop it from getting too crusty, though a cracked and cratered surface is to be expected.
When completely cool, loosen cake edges from pan using a metal spatula or knife.
Unmold and dust with confectioner's sugar.
Serve with Margarita Cream.

Margarita Cream 

Ingredients
1/4 cup lime juice
1 tablespoon Tequila
1 tablespoon Triple sec or Cointreau
3/4 cup confectioners sugar
1 cup heavy cream

Directions 
Whip heavy cream in separate bowl until it holds its shape. Whisk in margarita mixture and keep whisking until mixture is light and aerated.
Stir lime juice, tequila, and triple sec or Cointreau together in large bowl. Whisk in confectioner's sugar and let it dissolve in the liquid.

*Superfine sugar is not powdered sugar. It's granulated sugar that is ground even finer than regular sugar. It's also known as castor sugar. To make your own, put the amount of granulated white sugar called for, plus 2 extra tsp, in the recipe and put in food processor. Process for 1-2 minutes until it feels like fine sand. Be sure and let it rest before opening your food processor.

Sunday, February 21, 2021

CHOCOLATE STICKY BUNS: National Sticky Bun Day: Retro Ad & Recipe

Today is National Sticky Bun Day! I love Cinnamon Buns, and what could be better than Chocolate Sticky Buns! Here's a great Retro Betty Crocker Gold Medal Flour Advertisement and Recipe for Chocolate Cinnamon Buns aka Chocolate Sticky Buns.

Chocolate Sticky Buns aka Chocolate Cinnamon Buns

Ingredients
3/4 cup warm water (not hot - 110 to 115 degrees)
1 package active dry yeast
1/4 cup shortening
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup cocoa  (use DARK cocoa for richness)
2 and 1/4 cups sifted flour
1 Tablespoon soft unsalted butter
1 and 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
3 Tablespoons sugar
chopped pistachio nuts (or almonds or pecans)

Directions
In mixer bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add shortening, salt, sugar, egg, cocoa, and 1 cup flour. Beat 2 minutes, medium speed on mixer or 300 vigorous strokes by hand. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl. Stir in remaining flour; blend well. Scrape sides of bowl.
Cover with cloth; let rise in warm place (85 degrees) until double in bulk, about 1 hour. (If kitchen is cool, place dough on rack over bowl of hot water; cover completely with towel.)
Stir down by beating 25 strokes. Turn soft dough out on well floured cloth-covered board.
Roll into rectangle, 12 x 9". Spread with butter; sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar mixture. Roll up, beginning at wide side. Pinch edge into roll. Cut 12 pieces.
Place in greased 9" square pan. Let rise in warm place (85 degrees) until double, about 40 minutes.
Heat oven to 375 degrees (quick mod.). Bake 25 minutes.
Remove from pan, frost top immediately with icing (3/4 cup sifted confectioners' sugar moistened with cream or milk to spreading consistency.) Sprinkle with chopped nuts.
Serve warm.

Midwinter Carnival Marble Cake: Retro Ad & Recipe

Here's a cake that's perfect for this time of year, and it's so Retro. Not that many people celebrate Midwinter Carnival any more, but they did when this advertisement was created. This Retro Ad & Recipe is from Betty Crocker with a nod to Gold Medal Flour (General Mills). This Midwinter Carnival Marble Cake uses Betty Crocker's "Double-Quick new method!"

"Betty Crocker celebrates her Silver Anniversary and the return of Gold Medal Flour with this country-wide Midwinter Carnival"


Saturday, February 20, 2021

BLUEBERRY CHOCOLATE CHIP MUFFINS: National Muffin Day!

Today is National Muffin Day, so let's celebrate. I'm posting two recipes for Blueberry Chocolate Chip Muffins, my favorite! I'm a major blueberry person from way back, even before I knew they were healthy with antioxidants and flavonoids and vitamins. I grew up back East, and when we went to the 'country,' my Aunt Annie used to take us blueberry  picking in the woods. It was great fun. We'd all come back with blue-stained hands and mouths. Those blueberries were small and juicy and sweet just as wild blueberries should be. I still crave blueberries. I love Driscoll's fresh Blueberries. They're always good, especially the new Limited Edition "Sweetest Batch" Blueberries. If you don't have fresh blueberries at your market, you can use frozen blueberries. I usually freeze my own, but wild blueberries from Maine at Trader Joe's are very tasty, but don't defrost before you put them in the muffins.

For National Muffin Day, use fresh blueberries in these muffin recipes. I am partial to plain muffins with blueberries and chocolate chips, so the first recipe is the one I use. But since this is a chocolate blog, I found a recipe for chocolate blueberry muffins, too. I haven't made that one, so let me know what you think if you do. It comes from a very reputable source.

Here's my recipe for Blueberry Chocolate Chip Muffins. I like my muffins firm with a crusty top and soft inside--and not too sweet. I think you'll like these. I use a 1/2 cup of sugar, but if you want them a little sweeter use 3/4 cup. Don't want your blueberries to sink to the bottom? Dust them with flour before putting them in the batter.

Blueberry Chocolate Chip Muffins


Ingredients
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup white sugar
pinch of salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup canola oil
1 large egg
1/3 cup whole milk
fresh blueberries (maybe a cup?)
dark chocolate chips

Directions
Preheat oven to 400. Grease your muffin tin or use liners.
Combine flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Make a well in the center.
Put oil into a 1 cup measuring cup; add the egg (already whipped), and enough milk to fill cup to brim. Pour into the well and mix with flour mixture. Do not overmix.
Stir in blueberries and as many of the chocolate chips as you'd like. I like a lot, but you want to also be able to taste the blueberries--and the muffin, itself.
Fill muffin cups right to top.
Bake for 20-25 minutes in preheated oven-- or until done.

So that's my favorite, but for those who want a chocolate muffin with blueberries, here's a recipe from Yankee Magazine. As I mentioned, I haven't tried this yet, but it looks easy and good.

Chocolate Blueberry Muffins

Ingredients
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3 ounces unsweetened or very dark chocolate
1 cup sugar (I'd probably use less)
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 cup buttermilk
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup fresh blueberries
2 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted

Directions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In medium saucepan, melt butter and unsweetened chocolate over medium heat until smooth. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Stir in sugar, egg, buttermilk, and vanilla. In small bowl, combine flour and baking soda. Gently combine with liquid ingredients. Fold in blueberries. Spoon batter into well-greased muffin cups, filling to top. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Transfer muffins to wire rack to cool. Drizzle cooled muffins with semisweet chocolate.

Have a great Blueberry Muffin Day--make it Chocolate!

Friday, February 19, 2021

GRASSHOPPER PIE: National Chocolate Mint Day

Today is National Chocolate Mint Day, so I thought I'd do a post on Grasshopper Pie!

Grasshopper Pie is named because of its green color, although modern recipes may omit coloring the pie green. This pie was most likely invented in the 1950s in the United States, and may have been inspired by the "Grasshopper Cocktail" invented at about the same time. Grasshopper Pie is a chiffon pie usually made with a Chocolate Cookie Crust.

Chiffon pies in the 1950s were often a combination of whipping cream, gelatin, sugar, eggs, and flavoring (see vintage recipe at the end of this post). In the case of the Grasshopper Pie, common flavoring used was alcohol in the form of crème de menthe, and sometimes other alcohols like crème de cacao. For non-alcoholic pie, mint flavoring was achieved by using mint extracts instead, though these might still contain a tiny amount of alcohol. Green food coloring was a frequent addition to give the pie a light green color.

There are huge differences between classic recipes for Grasshopper Pie and modern ones. Since gelatin can be somewhat annoying to work with, many people now prepare the pie by melting marshmallows and blending them with milk or whipping cream, and sometimes cream cheese. Green food coloring can be optional. Several recipes advocate the use of specific cookies like Oreos, but I use chocolate wafers.

In the US, Grasshopper Pie tends to be most popular in the South, but other parts of the country enjoy it too. The pie rose in popularity especially up until the 1970s. Many ice cream stores capitalized on the flavor of this pie by producing their own version with mint or mint chocolate chip ice cream and a cookie crust. Some ice cream stores are particularly known for their grasshopper ice-cream pies.

Following are several different recipes for Grasshopper Pie. Let me know if you have a special family recipe. 

Simple Grasshopper Mallow Pie recipe from Kraft

Ingredients
1/4 cup green creme de menthe
1 jar (7 oz.) JET-PUFFED Marshmallow Creme
1 pt. (2 cups) whipping cream, whipped
1 OREO Pie Crust (6 oz.)

ADD creme de menthe gradually to marshmallow creme in large bowl, beating with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Gently stir in whipped cream.
POUR into crust.
REFRIGERATE 4 to 6 hours or until chilled. Store leftover pie in refrigerator.

This Frozen Grasshopper Pie Recipe is from cooks.com

FROZEN GRASSHOPPER PIE

Ingredients
1/4 c. butter, melted
2 rows Oreo cookies (lg. pkg.) crushed (you can also use chocolate cookies)

1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1/3 c. creme de menthe
1/4 c. white creme de cacao
2 c. (1 pt.) whipping cream, whipped

Directions
Combine crushed Oreos and butter and press in bottom of 9 x 13 inch pan. In large bowl combine sweetened milk, creme de menthe and creme de cacao. Fold in whipped cream.
Pour over crust. Cover. Freeze 6 hours or until firm. Garnish with chocolate curls. Return leftovers to freezer.

Expert Grasshopper Pie From Bon Appétit

Ingredients
Crust:
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
22 chocolate wafer cookies
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

Filling:
1 cup whole milk
Pinch of salt
3 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons cornstarch
6 ounces good-quality white chocolate (such as Baker’s or Lindt), chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons green crème de menthe
2 tablespoons light crème de cacao
3/4 cup chilled whipping cream
Shaved white and dark chocolates

Directions
  1. For crust: Spray 9-inch-diameter glass or ceramic pie dish with nonstick spray. Finely grind chocolate cookies and sugar in processor. Blend in butter. Press crumb mixture onto bottom and up sides of prepared dish. Freeze.
  2. For filling: Combine milk and salt in heavy small saucepan. Bring to simmer. Whisk egg yolks and cornstarch in medium bowl to blend well. Gradually whisk in hot milk mixture. Return mixture to same saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat until mixture thickens, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat. Add white chocolate and butter; whisk until smooth. Transfer custard to large bowl. Whisk in crème de menthe and crème de cacao. Set custard over another large bowl of ice water until cold and thick but not set, stirring often, about 30 minutes.
  3. Whip cream in medium bowl until stiff peaks form. Stir 1/3 of whipped cream into custard. Fold in remaining whipped cream. Pour filling into crust. Freeze at least 5 hours or up to 2 days. Garnish with shaved chocolates.

And one more, Vintage Cookbook Recipe for Grasshopper Pie that includes gelatin!


 

Want to drink your Grasshopper Pie? Make this Classic Grasshopper Cocktail?

Grasshopper Cocktail
1/2oz. Green Creme de Menthe
1/2 oz. White Creme de Cacao
1/2 oz. Cream

Combine in a blender with 1 cup of crushed ice. Blend until smooth (about 30 seconds). Serve in a Collins glass.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

JUNIOR MINTS CHEESECAKE: National Chocolate Mint Day

Tomorrow is National Chocolate Mint Day... the perfect food holiday to write about focusing on one of my all time favorite candies -- Junior Mints.

Junior Mints are a candy consisting of small rounds of mint filling (with a dimple on one side) inside a dark chocolate coating. They are currently produced by Tootsie Roll Industries.

History: Junior Mints were introduced in 1949 by the James O. Welch Company, manufacturers of candies and candy bars such as Sugar Babies, Welch's Fudge, and Pom Poms. The name of the product is a pun on Sally Benson's Junior Miss, a collection of her stories from The New Yorker, which were adapted by Jerome Chodorov and Joseph Fields into a successful play, directed by Moss Hart. Junior Miss ran on Broadway from 1941 to 1943. In 1945, the play was adapted to film, with George Seaton directing Peggy Ann Garner in the lead role. The Junior Miss radio series, starring Barbara Whiting, was being broadcast weekly on CBS at the time Junior Mints were first marketed in 1949. Welch created a product sold at movie theater concession stands and identified with a specific movie and radio series and displaying a name that sounded almost exactly like that property–yet different enough that it avoided any fees for licensing and merchandising. Junior Mints quickly became a popular candy, and one product in the line is the three oz. box marketed as the "Theater Size Junior Mints Concession Candy."

And, of course, who can forget the Junior Mints episode of Seinfeld?

In case you want to smell like Junior Mints, not just eat them, here's a Link to the Scent.

And, here's a recipe that includes actual Junior Mints: Junior Mints Cheesecake:

JUNIOR MINTS CHEESECAKE 

Ingredients
6 ounces Junior Mins (two 3 ounce packages)
3 (8 ounce) packages of cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
Chocolate crumb crust for a 9 inch springform pan (see below)

Directions
Put Junior Mints in freezer.
In electric mixer, combine cream cheese and sugar until smooth.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Stir in vanilla.
Pour into crust.
Chop cold Junior Mints and sprinkle on cheesecake.
Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until just set.
Cool on wire rack, then chill several hours or overnight. Makes 8 servings.

Chocolate Crust: 
Combine 2 cups crushed chocolate wafers (I whirl them in the blender) with 6 Tbsp melted butter.
Press into bottom and up sides of pan.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

CAFE AU LAIT COFFEE CAKE: National Café au Lait Day!

February 17 is National Café au Lait Day! Café au lait is French for "coffee with milk" and refers to a specific French coffee drink, although like most things there are multiple varieties. Don't confuse it, though, with a Caffe Latte. Did you know that in the 1600s a French doctor suggested Cafe Au Lait for patients, inspiring people to add milk to their coffee. Cafe au Lait is often served in a small bowl. Very French! There are several cafe au lait bowls on the market.

To celebrate today, go to your local cafe or brew a cup at home, or you can make this sensational Café au Lait Coffee Cake from Nicole at MadebyNicole. Her recipe is fool-proof, and it's filled with Chocolate Chips. What better way to celebrate coffee with milk than with a Coffee Cake? As always, you can use any good quality chocolate, chopped into small chunks in place of chocolate chips.

For those of you lucky enough to live in New Orleans, pop on over to the Café du Monde today for a Café Au Lait. They make it with chicory, which gives it a strong, bitter taste. The bitterness of the chicory offsets the sweetness of the powdered-sugar-covered beignets which of course you'll want to have. O.K., getting ahead of myself.

Café Au Lait Coffee Cake

Crumb Topping
1 tsp instant coffee
1/2 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
6 Tbsp cold unsalted butter
1 cup chocolate chips
1 1/4 cup pecans

Cake
1/2 cup softened butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
2 Tbsp instant coffee
2 Tbsp warm water
2 3/4 cup flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk

Glaze:
1/2 cup icing sugar
milk or cream to desired consistency
vanilla (optional)

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9x13 pan
Make crumb topping: Stir together dry ingredients, cut in butter, add chocolate chips and nuts.
In large bowl beat sugar and butter until light. Add eggs, then sour cream, and then coffee dissolved in water.
In small bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. Gradually stir into moist ingredients starting with 1/3 of dry mixture, 1/2 of milk, 1/3 dry, 1/2 milk, and final 1/3 dry mixture.
Spread half of batter into pan. Sprinkle with 1 1/2 cups of topping. Cover with remaining batter and finish with crumb topping.
Bake for 60 – 65 minutes

(Optional) Cool and drizzle glaze off a fork onto top of cake.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

CHOCOLATE BANANA PANCAKES: National Pancake Day

Today is National Pancake Day! There are actually several pancake days, but I celebrate them all! This recipe for Chocolate Banana Pancakes is slightly adapted from TheComfortofCooking, This recipe is special because these pancakes can be frozen. Just put a few pieces of wax paper between each pancake, throw them in a plastic bag and freeze! Take them out of the freezer, and you have pancakes on a school or work day! Add some sliced bananas and syrup, and you have a great meal! You'll love the texture of these, too!

CHOCOLATE BANANA PANCAKES

Ingredients
1 cup flour
4 Tbsp DARK cocoa powder
3 Tbsp sugar
1-1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt
2 large ripe bananas (mushy is best)
1 cup buttermilk
1 large egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
 Banana slices and syrup to add after...

Directions

Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar in large bowl.
In another bowl, mash banana. Mix in buttermilk, egg, vanilla, and vegetable oil until well combined. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix until just combined (should be lumpy).
Spray large pan with nonstick cooking spray and set to medium heat.
Cook pancakes until bubbles form on surface and edges are just cooked, about 2 minutes.
Flip and cook for an additional minute.
Serve with sliced banana and syrup.

Monday, February 15, 2021

FIRST LADIES BAKE-OFF RECIPES: Presidents Day

Today is Presidents' Day. It's not any 'real' president's birthday. When I was growing up we celebrated both Lincoln's Birthday and Washington's Birthday on two separate days. That also meant two days off from school, not just one. Times have changed. For this year's Presidents Day, I'm featuring recipes by the women behind the men. Sadly not a man behind the woman, although there's a family recipe for the 2016 Cookie Bake-Off. See below). Here are several Chocolate Recipes from first ladies. The recipes are found in individual Presidential Archives, as well as newspapers, magazines (Family Circle) and individual cookbooks. Make any of these great recipes and celebrate Presidents Day.

From Mamie Eisenhower (Dwight D. Eisenhower) 
Mamie Eisenhower’s Million Dollar Fudge 
**This recipe makes 4 pounds of Fudge**

Ingredients
4 1/2 cups sugar
pinch of salt
2 Tbsp butter

1 tall can evaporated milk
12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate bits
12 ounces German-sweet chocolate
1 pint marshmallow cream
2 cups nutmeats

Directions
Boil sugar, salt, butter, evaporated milk together for six minutes.
Put chocolate bits and German chocolate, marshmallow cream, and nutmeats in bowl.
Pour boiling syrup over ingredients.
Beat until chocolate is all melted, then pour into pan.
Let stand a few hours before cutting.
Remember it is better the second day. Store in tin box.

From Betty Ford (Gerald Ford)
Betty Ford's Chocolate Icebox Dessert

Ingredients
6 eggs
1 Angel food cake
12 oz chocolate chips
4 Tbsp sugar
6 Tbsp water
2 tsp Vanilla
1 tsp salt
2 cup whipping cream

Directions
Line flat 9x9″ cake pan with wax paper.
Slice angel food cake and place a layer of cake in pan. (Slices easier if frozen). Separate eggs, beat yolks.
Melt chocolate in double boiler over water.
When melted, add sugar and water. Mix well. Make sure sugar melts.
Remove from heat and stir gradually into beaten egg yolks. Beat until smooth. Cool this mixture. Add vanilla and salt. Mix well.
Beat egg whites until stiff.
Whip the cream.
Fold egg whites into chocolate mix, then the whipped cream.
Place a layer of chocolate on the angel food slices, than another layer of cake, then a layer of chocolate.
Place in refrigerator overnight.
This can be frozen and used later. Be sure to chill overnight before freezing.

From Lady Bird Johnson (LBJ) 
Lady Bird’s Chocolate Nut Drop Cookies



From Hillary Clinton (Bill Clinton)
Hillary Clinton's Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients
Vegetable oil, for baking sheets
1 1/2 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup solid vegetable shortening
1 cup (firmly packed) light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 package (12-ounce) semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease baking sheets with vegetable oil.
Combine flour, salt, and baking soda on waxed paper.
Beat together shortening, sugars, and vanilla in large bowl with an electric mixer until creamy. Add eggs, beating until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in flour mixture and rolled oats. Stir in chocolate chips.
Drop batter by well-rounded teaspoonfuls onto baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until golden.

***
From Michelle Obama (Barak Obama)
Mama Kaye’s White and Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes 5 dozen cookies Prep: 15 minutes 

Bake at 375° for 12 minutes per batch

Ingredients
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 stick Crisco butter-flavored solid vegetable shortening
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 cup each white chocolate chips, milk chocolate chips and mint chocolate chips (or Andes mint pieces)
2 cups chopped walnuts

Directions
Heat oven to 375°.
Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in small bowl. In large bowl with electric mixer, cream butter, vegetable shortening, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract.
Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
On low speed, beat in flour mixture. By hand, stir in white and milk chocolate chips, mint chips and walnuts.
Drop rounded tablespoons of dough onto un-greased baking sheets.
Bake at 375° for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

***
Starting in 1992, Family Circle Magazine has orchestrated a political bake-off during every presidential election year. It was already commonplace for presidential candidates to release family recipes during their campaign—it helps to humanize the candidates and also allows them to promote family values. But Family Circle decided to up the ante by publishing cookie recipes from the wives of each candidate and asking readers to try baking both and then vote on their favorite. The results of the bake-off have interestingly almost always predicted the winner of the presidential election, save a couple outliers.

In the first First Lady bake-off in 1992, Hillary Clinton’s chocolate chip cookies beat out Barbara Bush’s still-delicious chocolate chip recipe, and again in 1996, Hillary’s chocolate chip recipe won over Elizabeth Dole’s Pecan Roll cookies. In 2000, Laura Bush debuted her Texas Governor’s House Cowboy Cookies, and as expected, they beat our Tipper Gore’s ginger snap recipe.

Laura Bush's Cowboy Cookies
From Southern Living:

Laura switched up her recipe during her husband’s second presidential campaign in 2004 to a similar oatmeal chocolate chunk recipe, but it’s her first Cowboy Cookie that’s become so famous. As with most things in Texas, Laura’s Cowboy Cookies are big and completely stuffed with so many mix-ins: oats, coconut, pecans, and of course, chocolate chips

Ingredients 
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups light-brown sugar, packed 3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 cups sweetened flake coconut 2 cups chopped pecans

Directions
Heat oven to 350 degree F.
Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in bowl.
In 8-quart bowl, beat butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy, 1 minute. Gradually beat in sugars to combine, 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each. Beat in vanilla.
Stir in flour mixture until just combined. Add chocolate chips, oats, coconut and pecans.
For each cookie, drop 1/4 cup dough onto ungreased baking sheets, spacing 3 inches apart.
Bake in 350 degree F oven 17 to 20 minutes, until edges are lightly browned; rotate sheets halfway through. Remove cookies to rack to cool

CLINTON FAMILY'S CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

The last Presidential Cookie Bake-Off was held in 2016 for the Candidates's spouses. Bill Clinton, as the spouse, was asked to contribute a recipe, and the Clinton campaign submitted the "Clinton Family's Chocolate Chip Cookies" (see above for same recipe 1992, 1996, 2016!) -- a reprise of Hillary Clinton's earlier oatmeal chocolate chip cookie. Melania Trump submitted her recipe for Star Cookies, a rolled butter cookie, enriched with a bit of sour cream and egg yolk. Nothing special, and no chocolate! She did not win..Sadly her husband won the electoral vote, but not the popular vote ... just as this cookie shows... no one likes a plain cookie!

Sadly The Presidential First Lady Bakeoff was cancelled in 2020. Family Circle Magazine, the sponsor, published its last issue in December of 2019 after 86 years in publication. 

But in case you're looking for one of Jill Biden's favorite cookies, here's the recipe for Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Cookies with Cranberries. It's not her recipe, but it is her favorite cookie. Recipe from Night with Giada: A Quick and Simple Recipe to Improve Dinner by Giada De Laurentiis.

Jill Biden's favorite cookies - recipe from Giada De Laurentiis: CHOCOLATE CHUNK OATMEAL COOKIES WITH CRANBERRIES


Ingredients: 

1 cup all-purpose flour 

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon baking powder 

1/2 teaspoon baking soda 

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt 

1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature 

1/2 cup light brown sugar 

1/2 cup sugar 

1 large egg at room temperature 

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 

2 cups old fashioned oats 

1 cup dried cranberries 1

 4-ounce 60 percent cacao bittersweet chocolate bar (recommended: Ghirardelli), chopped into 1/4-inch chunks 

Directions

Special equipment: a 4-ounce (1/2 cup) ice cream or cookie scoop 

Put an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside. 

In medium bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter and sugars together until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add egg and vanilla and beat until smooth. With machine running, gradually add lour mixture. Add oats, cranberries and chocolate chunks. Mix until just incorporated (dough will be stiff). Using 4-ounce cookie scoop, scoop slightly rounded mounds of the dough into 12 (2-inch-diameter) balls. Arrange 6 balls of dough, spaced evenly apart, on each baking sheet. Using back of a spoon, flatten tops slightly and bake until cookies are slightly golden on edges, about 13 to 15 minutes. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 20 minutes before serving.

Sunday, February 14, 2021

RETRO VALENTINE'S DAY CHOCOLATE ADS

Valentine's Day is all about Chocolate. I just love these Vintage Valentine's Day Chocolate Ads! Say it with Chocolate!









Saturday, February 13, 2021

RED VELVET PANCAKES FOR VALENTINE'S DAY!

Red Velvet Pancakes are perfect for Valentine's Day -- either for brunch or dinner. You can make Red Velvet Pancakes from scratch or use a mix. Add a little extra love by using a heart-shaped pancake mold! Hint: If you use a mold, use several and be sure to spray the molds, so the pancakes don't stick.

There are many Red Velvet Pancake Mixes. My favorite Red Velvet Pancake Mix is from The Griddle Cafe. My second choice which is still fab would be the Red Velvet Pancake Mix from Cost Plus World Market. If you have a favorite, let me know by commenting below.

Want to make Red Velvet Pancakes from Scratch? Here are two awesome recipes. The first recipe is my favorite, but the second is great, too.

1. RED VELVET PANCAKES WITH CREAM CHEESE GLAZE 
(Adapted from About.com)

Pancakes:
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp Dark cocoa powder
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
8 ounces buttermilk
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted, and cooled slightly
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp white vinegar
2 tsp red liquid food coloring
3/4 cup dark chocolate chips
Extra butter or nonstick cooking spray

Cream Cheese Glaze:
4 ounces light cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 Tbsp milk

Directions
Preheat griddle to medium-high heat. In bowl, whisk to combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cocoa powder, and salt. Set aside.
In separate bowl, whisk eggs, then add milk, buttermilk, butter, vanilla extract, white vinegar, and food coloring, whisking to combine completely. Stir dry ingredients into wet ingredients, stirring just until combined. Do not overmix.
Brush some butter or spray nonstick cooking spray on hot griddle, and spoon batter into desired sized pancakes (or molds). Cook until bubbles form in batter, the edges are dry and underside is lightly brown, about 5 minutes, then flip over and cook other side 1 to 2 minutes more. Repeat as needed until all batter is used.

As pancakes cook, make cream cheese glaze: 
In small bowl, use fork to stir together cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. Add a little milk if needed to make glaze that has thin enough consistency to drizzle.

To serve, stack three pancakes on a plate and drizzle cream cheese glaze over them.

2. BISQUICK RED VELVET PANCAKES WITH CREAM CHEESE GLAZE
(recipe from Betty Crocker)

Cream Cheese Topping
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 Tbsp milk
2 cups powdered sugar

Pancakes 
2 cups Original Bisquick™ mix
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa
1 cup milk
1 to 1 1/2 tsp red paste food color**
2 eggs
Powdered sugar, if desired

Directions 
In medium bowl, beat cream cheese, butter, and 3 Tbsp milk with electric mixer on low speed until smooth. Gradually beat in 2 cups powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, on low speed until topping is smooth. Cover; set aside.
In large bowl, stir all pancake ingredients except powdered sugar with wire whisk until well blended. Heat griddle or skillet over medium-high heat (375°F). (To test griddle, sprinkle with a few drops of water. If bubbles jump around, heat is just right.) Brush with vegetable oil if necessary or spray with cooking spray before heating.
For each pancake, pour slightly less than 1/4 cup batter onto hot griddle. Cook 2 to 3 minutes or until bubbles form on top and edges are dry. Turn; cook other side until golden brown.
Spoon cream cheese topping into resealable food-storage plastic bag; seal bag. Cut off tiny corner of bag; squeeze bag to drizzle topping over pancakes. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

** Do not use liquid red food coloring in this recipe**

Friday, February 12, 2021

Valentine Heart-Shaped Truffles & Vintage Heart Chocolate Molds

Valentine's Day is all about Chocolate. I love heart-shaped truffles, and they're easy to make... if you have the right molds. There are silicon heart-shaped molds to make these chocolates, but I'm lucky enough to have a few vintage heart-shaped chocolate molds I've found over the years. Scroll down for photos of Vintage Heart-Shaped Chocolate Molds.

So here's yet another recipe for Truffles--this time for Valentine Heart-shaped Chocolate Truffles. Of course, you can use any basic truffle recipe and just press into the mold. I usually melt my chocolate and butter in a double boiler, but the microwave works, too.

And, if you don't have time to make your own heart shaped truffles, buy Coeurs de truffes from Guyaux! Guyaux was founded in 1931. They produce traditional French-style truffles-in heart shape this time of year--covered with cocoa powder. Guyaux is a family run company, headed by second and third generation chocolate makers in Paris. It's now run by the grand-daughter of the founder. And, if you want to give a really special gift, buy Guyaux truffles in the traditional French Truffle Box! The basket is a replica of the one used historically to store Perigord truffles … which explains the open-weave lid. Ooo-la-la! They're available in lots of specialty markets. They are definitely in my top ten! So rich and decadent!

Valentine Chocolate Truffle Recipe
Makes 24 chocolate truffles

Ingredients
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, chopped coarsely
9 oz dark chocolate, chopped
1/3 cup whipping cream
1 tsp corn syrup
1/2 cup cocoa powder, sifted for dusting the finished chocolate truffles
You are only limited by your imagination or heart on decorating ideas!

Directions
Melt chocolate and butter in double boiler or in saucepan on top of saucepan over simmering water.
Remove from heat and add cream and corn syrup. Mix until combined and smooth. If you are adding flavorings add them with the cream (kirsch, bourbon, kahlua, etc???).
Pour chocolate truffle filling into heart shaped chocolate mold. Level top with scraper. Put in refrigerator to set.
Once firm, place in freezer for 5 minutes then push out of mold. Dust with sifted cocoa powder.
Store in cool dry place until ready to eat or give as a Valentine's Day gift.

Vintage Valentine Chocolate Molds





Thursday, February 11, 2021

MOLTEN CHOCOLATE CAKE for One: Valentine's Day!

Because of the pandemic, you may not be spending Valentine's Day with your sweetie. Or maybe you don't have anyone special in your life right now? Here's a great chocolate Valentine's Day dessert for One: MOLTEN CHOCOLATE MUG CAKE. This is so easy to make and Perfect for One! Of course you can always make two. If you do, cook them in the microwave separately rather than two at the same time.

Molten Chocolate Mug Cake: Valentine's Day for One

Ingredients
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
3 Tbsp whole milk
1 egg
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 ounce chopped chocolate  (whatever you have--truffles, chocolate bars, etc..and dark or milk chocolate--your preference)
1 Tbsp water

Directions
In 2-cup capacity microwave-safe mug or bowl, whisk together with fork, flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt until well combined. Add in melted butter, milk, egg, and vanilla. Whisk well to combine, making sure to mix in flour mixture in bottom. Put chopped chocolate in center of mug. Do not push down; it sinks as it bakes. Drizzle tablespoon of water on top of batter.

Cook in microwave on full power for 1 minute and 15 seconds until cake rises to top, edges look set but surface of center is a little wet and shiny and sticks to finger when touched. It will set up as it sits. Do NOT overbake. If the center still looks raw then give it another 5 to 10 seconds. Cake will fall after it comes out of microwave. Let cool for 5 minutes to help thicken sauce in bottom.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar or add ice cream or whipped cream! 

TIP: Short mug with wide mouth works best. If not available, a small bowl could be used instead.  I use a small vintage Pyrex Bowl. To know if your mug/or bowl is the right size, pour 2 cups of water into it and this should fill it to the top.


Wednesday, February 10, 2021

CHOCOLATE COVERED PEEPS for Valentine's Day!

I know you can buy all kinds of fabulous chocolates for Valentine's Day. I have a lot of favorites, but just thought I'd lighten it up with Valentine's Day 'chocolate' offerings from PEEPS®. 

I've blogged about PEEPS before, and I love that they've expanded their line to include many holidays besides Easter. This season there are Valentine's Day fluffy, cherry flavored marshmallow hearts dipped in and drizzled with chocolate, Strawberry Creme flavored Chicks sitting on a bed of chocolate, and there's even a Chocolate-covered Raspberry Heart. Of course there are other non-chocolate PEEPS' hearts that you can dip yourself in some great dark or milk chocolate.

A few ways to enjoy PEEPS for Valentine's Day!

Eat them the way they are.
Put them in your cocoa or coffee.
Decorate your Valentine's Day presents with them.
Skewer a few Raspberry Hearts and tie it to a gift of Cocoa in a Jar!
Create a diorama using PEEPS!
Stuff a Chocolate Raspberry Heart between two graham crackers, and you have Valentine's Day PEEPS S'mores.
Place a Valentine's Day Peep in a cellophane bag, tie with a ribbon, and give as Valentine's Day cards.
PEEPS are so versatile.

The PEEPS® pictured here:

Milk Chocolate Dipped Strawberry Crème Flavored Chicks
Milk Chocolate Covered Raspberry Heart
Chocolate Dipped Marshmallow Cherries Drizzled in Chocolate. .


Have a wonderful Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

CHOCOLATE & CHEESE PAIRING for Valentine's Day

A Chocolate & Cheese Pairing is a terrific way to celebrate Valentine's Day! It's easy to put together, romantic, and a great tasty way to spend time with your sweetie. Thanks to the California Milk Advisory Board for this post on Chocolate and Real California Cheese Pairings. Use this post as a guide, but substitute what you love or what you'd like to try. I'd like to hear which chocolate and cheeses you pair. I had Cowgirl Creamery Triple Brie & Taza 70% Stoneground Chocolate the other night (photo). Happy Valentine's Day!  
***
Rich, bold, decadent – Chocolate and Cheese is a savory-sweet love connection is sure to make your foodie heart race. Creating the perfect pair is easy with these dating guidelines. Foods with similar flavor profiles go together best. For darker chocolates, choose a more complex, aged cheese while sweet milk chocolates work best with buttery cheeses, such as Brie. Bright, fruity chocolates are perfect with sharper cheeses and nuttier chocolates find a perfect pair in high butterfat cheeses. Want to spice things up a bit? Try pairing spicy chocolates with sharp cheeses – the intensities play off each other beautifully!

· Pair a dark chocolate with more the 80% cacoa with a delicious true Blue cheese
· Indulge in burnt caramel chocolates with a beer-soaked table cheese
· Pair a Bordeaux-style chocolate with a creamy triple crème Brie
· Treat yourself to chocolate candied orange peel and an aged Cheddar

Take the pairing up a notch with help from “Pair Savvy” a smart phone app that helps you pair the myriad of delicious California cheese varieties with the wine and beers you enjoy. The user-friendly application is free for download on most smart phones: pairsavvy.realcaliforniamilk.com.

Monday, February 8, 2021

MICKEY & MINNIE CHOCOLATE COOKIES for Valentine's Day

There's nothing quite like a good Chocolate Cookie for Valentine's Day. I make a lot of Heart shaped Chocolate Cookies for Valentine's Day because I have a lot of Heart Cookie Cutters - so many different sizes and different shaped hearts. But what says Valentine's Day more than the ultimate couple -- Mickey & Minnie Mouse! Love these Mickey and Minnie cookie cutters!

Here's a great easy Chocolate Cookie Recipe. Use whatever cookie cutters you have, but I'm using Mickey & Minnie for my Valentine's Day cookies

This great Chocolate Cut Out Cookie Recipe is slightly adapted from Bake @ 350. These cookies hold their shape and are delicious! You can decorate them in many different ways or leave them plain.

CHOCOLATE COOKIES

Ingredients
2 &1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Dark cocoa powder (Dutch Process)
1 tsp instant espresso powder
1 cup unsalted butter
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

Directions
Preheat oven to 350.
Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
Cream together butter and sugar until light & fluffy (1-2 full minutes). Beat in egg and vanilla until well combined.
Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, espresso, and salt and slowly add to butter mixture with mixer on low. Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl as needed.
Roll dough about 1/4 inch thick on surface lightly dusted with cocoa powder. Hint: roll soft dough in between sheets of parchment and put in refrigerator for 15 minutes until firm.
Cut out shapes and put on baking sheets.
Freeze for 5 minutes.
Bake for 8-10 minutes, until set.
Let cookies cool for 2-3 minutes and using spatula put on cooling rack.

I don't frost or decorate my chocolate cookies, but these cutters would guide the way. I know you'll love the great chocolate taste in these cookies! Be sure not to skip the refrigerating and freezing direct

What cookie cutters are you planning to use for Valentine's Day?