Tuesday, August 31, 2021

S'MORES TRAIL MIX: National Trail Mix Day!

Going on a hike today? Mix up a batch of S'mores Trail Mix for National Trail Mix Day. Perfect for the Trail, an afterschool snack, or a lunch box treat.

Teddy Grahams, bear shaped graham cracker snacks, come in chocolate flavor, but the regular honey grahams cereal work best for a contrast of tastes and will make your trail mix more 'S'mores' tasting. There are all kinds of wonderful natural graham cereals, too.

S'mores Trail Mix

15 ounces Golden Grahams cereal (Teddy Graham cereal or a natural Graham Cereal)
16 ounces miniature marshmallows
12 ounces chocolate chips

Empty all ingredients into a LARGE bowl or bag and mix.

Happy Trail Mix Day! Enjoy!

Monday, August 30, 2021


Today is National Toasted Marshmallow Day. Of course, you can make S'mores--and all the variations thereof. 

But how about something other than Smores? Something easy and great for the Gluten-Free Folks? The following Flourless Chocolate Cake with Toasted Marshmallow Topping is fabulous!

You can use your favorite flourless chocolate cake recipe or try the easy Flourless Chocolate Cake recipe below. For the Marshmallows, I recommend using high quality marshmallows or make your own. Here's a link to Michael Recchiuti's Marshmallow recipe.  If you only have 'regular' marshmallows, that will work, too.

Toasted Marshmallow Flourless Chocolate Cake

8 ounces dark chocolate 70-75% cacoa
1 cup unsalted butter
1-1/2 cup sugar
6 large eggs (room temperature)
3/4 cup unsweetened DARK cocoa
25 marshmallows 

Preheat oven to 375°F
Butter 10-inch spring form round baking pan. Line bottom with buttered wax paper.
Break chocolate into pieces.
In double boiler or metal bowl over saucepan of simmering water, melt chocolate with butter, stirring, until smooth.
Remove top of double boiler or bowl from heat and whisk sugar into chocolate mixture.
Add eggs and whisk well.
Sift cocoa over chocolate mixture and whisk until just combined.
Pour batter into pan and bake in middle of oven 35-40 minutes, or until top has formed thin crust and toothpick comes out moist but not wet.
Cool cake in pan on a rack 10 minutes.
Remove springform sides. Leave cake on bottom of pan.
Put cake (still on springform base) on cookie sheet.
Top with marshmallows while still warm (leave an inch around edge free-they spread).
Put cake back in oven at 375 for 5 minutes--until marshmallows are 'toasted'.
Remove from oven.
If they're not toasted enough, use a mini-torch (one of my favorite kitchen tools) to toast.
Cool on rack.

Sunday, August 29, 2021


Today is National Lemon Juice Day. I have several lemon trees, mostly Meyer lemons, so I could make lemonade, but since it's National Lemon Juice Day, I thought I'd share a secret. Lemon Juice is a secret ingredient in making chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies. So if you're given lemons, make Chocolate Chip Cookies! You're not going to taste the lemon juice, but it will make for a chewier cookie. And, the reality is that since you only use a teaspoon in the batter, you can make lemonade with the rest of the juice to go with these cookies!

Chocolate Chip Cookies Secret Ingredient: Lemon Juice

1/2 cup rolled oats, ground to fine powder in blender or food processor
2-1/4 cups flour  (if you have bread flour, give it a try.. it will make an awesome cookie)
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 cup unsalted butter, softened (do not microwave)**
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp fresh lemon juice 
2 eggs
3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips or dark chocolate chopped into chunks

Grind rolled oats in blender or food processor until very fine.
Measure flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in blender jar and use blender to combine all dry ingredients.
Cream together butter and both sugars. Add eggs, lemon juice, and vanilla. Stir after each addition. Beat until fluffy.
Combine dry ingredients with wet stuff, and mix until fully combined.
Add chocolate chips and stir by hand or fold in chopped chocolate chunks (or chips).
Refrigerate dough for an hour.
Drop dough by large spoonfuls or using an ice cream scoop onto ungreased cookie sheet. Allow room for cookies to spread as they cook.
Bake in preheated  350 oven for approximately 16 minutes, or until barely golden and still slightly raw.
Cool cookies in pan for five minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Saturday, August 28, 2021

CHOCOLATE CHERRY TURNOVERS: National Cherry Turnover Day

Today is National Cherry Turnover Day.To celebrate, I will be making Chocolate Cherry Turnovers.

A turnover is a type of pastry made by placing a filling on a piece of dough, folding the dough over, sealing, and baking it. Turnovers can be sweet or savory. They are usually baked, but may be fried.

You can always buy turnovers in the market or bakery, but I've adapted this recipe from Pillsbury Baking. To make it even easier, I use prepared pie crust dough rather than making my own. Quicker! You can also make turnovers from puff pastry--either your own or store bought. I love cherry turnovers, and once again, you can make your own cherry preserves (lots of cherries in the market right now), but I like Bonne Maman Cherry Preserves for their tartness, and I always have a few jars in the pantry. And, as always, use the very best dark chocolate chips (or chopped dark chocolate).

Chocolate Cherry Turnovers

1/2 cup Bonne Maman Cherry Preserves
Double Pie Crust (I use Trader Joe's)
1 - 1/2 tsp cornstarch
2 Tbsp mini dark chocolate chips
Powdered Sugar

Heat oven to 400. Line baking sheet with parchment. Coat with no-stick cooking spray.
Use two pie crusts. Divide in half. Roll each half to 1/16" inch thick. Cut four 5 1/4 circles from each half for a total of 8!
In small bowl, stir together cherry preserves and cornstarch. Spoon 1 Tbsp in center of each dough circle. Sprinkle with 1/2+ tsp chocolate chips. Moisten edges with water. Fold in half over filling. Crimp with fork to seal. Put on prepared baking sheet. Prick tops with fork to allow steam to escape.
Bake 20-22 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire rack.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Friday, August 27, 2021

SHITAKE POTS DE CREME: National Pots de Creme Day!

I'm a big fan of Recchiuti Chocolate. I often include their Ferry Building Shop (San Francisco) in our Scavenger Hunts and Chocolate Tours. The staff is so friendly, and the chocolate, well, it's just fabulous. Michael Recchiuti, owner and chocolatier, has been involved with chocolate for years.

Here's a recipe from 2010 on the Recchiuti website for Shitake Pots de Creme. These are perfect for National Pots de Creme Day! Michael Recchiuti came up with this unusual chocolate dessert from his 2009 Fungi & Chocolate Taste Project with Far West Fungi. Talk about unique! His advice is that since these custards are very rich, bake them in small espresso cups and serve for dessert. A little bit goes a long way. You can make them a day ahead and refrigerate, but be sure to allow them to come to room temperature.

Photograph: Recchiuti

Makes 12 individual pots

¾ cup (5 ¼ ounces) granulated sugar cane
2 Tbsp (1 ounce) water
2 ounces dried Shiitake mushrooms
1 cup (8 ounces) whole milk**
2 cups (16 ounces) heavy whipping cream
5 (3 ¾ ounces) extra-large egg yolks
2 ½ ounces 41% milk chocolate, finely chopped

• Combine the milk and shiitake mushrooms in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Remove from heat, cover plastic wrap and steep mixture for at least 4 hours.

• Taste the milk mixture to ensure it has absorbed a good, strong shiitake flavor. Then re-heat mixture and pour it through a fine-meshed strainer. Discard the mushrooms. Re-measure the milk and adjust it to equal ¾ cup (6 ounces).

• Combine cream with mushroom-infused milk in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat.

• While cream is heating, put the sugar and water in a medium heavy-bottomed pot. Use an unlined copper pan if you have one. Stir to mix the water and sugar. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until the sugar turns dark amber, 4 to 5 minutes. To check the color, dab a small amount of the syrup on a white plate. If any crystals form on the sides of the pan as the sugar darkens, wash them down with a wet pastry brush.

• When the sugar is the correct shade, remove the pan from the heat and put a sieve or spatter guard over it. Wearing an oven mitt, slowly pour the hot cream into the sugar syrup a little at a time. The mixture will splutter and foam. Be careful, as it is very hot. When the mixture stops bubbling, whisk it to incorporate any caramel stuck to the bottom.

• Place the egg yolks in a medium bowl, and whisk by hand until blended. Whisk about ½ cup of the caramel mixture into the yolks to warm them gradually. Whisk in another 1 cup, and then whisk in the rest. Add the chocolate and whisk until it melts.

• Strain the custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl.spoon the custard into twelve 2 ½ ounce espresso cups (or small, 3 ounce ramekins) filling them three-fourths full. Let the custard cool to room temperature.

• Preheat the oven to 300°F. Bring a large teakettle of water to a simmer.

• Put the cups in a large baking pan. Pour the hot water into the baking pan to reach halfway up the sides of the cups. Cover the pan with aluminum foil.

• Bake on the middle shelf of the oven until the tops are set but the entire custard jiggles when a cup is moved, about 25 minutes. Immediately remove the cups from the hot water. Let cool to room temperature.

• Cover the cups and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or up to overnight. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Thursday, August 26, 2021


I like this Retro Milky Way Ad. Students don't really look like this anymore (nor do the Milky Way bars) and not a lot are attending 'in school" this year, but it got me thinking about those old school days. 

My friend Donna always had Milky Way bars in her freezer, and I'd stop by her house on the way to school and have one. Her mother never minded! I love frozen Milky Way Bars. When we were older, Donna and I got a ride to high school with a neighbor. While we waited for him, we availed ourselves of the Milky Way bars on his family's coffee table! Maybe this wasn't particularly healthy, but it was a delicious way to start the day!

Now, I buy miniature Milky Way bars to give out at Halloween. Probably that won't happen again this year because of the pandemic. I will miss my favorite holiday. Nevertheless, here are two recipes for Milky Way Brownies that are great for back to school! One recipe's for home, and the other's for a crowd (if you have one)!


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


Save this recipe until the virus is under control and the kids can safely share food at school. This recipe is for Milky Way Brownies from scratch? It's the Bees Knees! Love the Vintage Ad above!

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

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour 12 x 18 x1inch pan. Line with foil that hangs over sides (butter the parchment). This makes it easier to get brownies out.
In metal bowl or saucepan over saucepan of simmering water, heat butter and chocolate until melted and smooth; cool slightly.
In large bowl, whisk together eggs, espresso powder, vanilla, and sugar. Stir egg mixture into slightly cooled chocolate mixture. Cool to room temperature.
In medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt, then add to batter. Stir chopped mini Milky Way bars into chocolate mixture. Then pour into prepared baking pan and smooth top with rubber spatula.
Place slices of full-size Milky Way Bar on top of brownie batter.
Bake 25 to 35 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Do not overbake!
Let cool completely, then cover tightly and chill overnight. These are very gooey, so be sure to chill to cut them!

Wednesday, August 25, 2021


The other day was National Eat a Peach Day, this month is Peach Month, and today is National Peach Pie Day. Lucky for me there are many varieties of fresh peaches at the Farmers Market.

So today in honor of the holiday, I will be making a Chocolate Crusted Peach Pie. I've found that adding chocolate to the peach filling is way too sweet and gooey, so I'm keeping it simple. The chocolate in the following recipe is a traditional chocolate cookie crust made with chocolate wafers. The peach filling is also simple, but feel free to substitute your favorite peach pie filling.

Since peaches are in season (here in California), and there are so many different varieties to choose from, I'll be able to make a fabulous pie! This peach pie is best served chilled, but there are plenty of other recipes out there for a warm peach pie, if you prefer.



2 cups chocolate wafers
6 Tbsp unsalted butter (or salted if you're inclined)

Melt butter.
Put chocolate wafers in plastic bag and crush with spoon or rolling pin. Should be pea-size.
Combine melted butter and ground chocolate wafers.
Press ingredients into 9 inch buttered pie pan--bottom and up the sides.
Bake for 10 minutes at 325. Let cool.


1 cup sugar
3 Tbsp cornstarch
Peeled Fresh Peach halves (pitted)
1/2 pint heavy cream

Mix sugar and cornstarch.
Cover inside of chocolate cookie crust with 3/4 of mixture. Go out to sides.
Arrange peeled peach halves around outside edge (insides of peaches up).
Fill in with other peaches until full.
Sprinkle rest of mixture over peaches.
Put cream inside each peach center.
Bake at 325 for about 30-40 minutes.
Chill and serve.

Monday, August 23, 2021


This Retro dessert is perfect for hot days of summer. You can always update the recipe by making your own chocolate cake and your own ice cream, but take a look at this Retro Ad & Recipe from Betty Crocker for Family Style Baked Alaska.

Sunday, August 22, 2021


What a terrible hurricane season, and it's early. My heart goes out to all who are affected by these disastrous storms.

For those of you at home, this Retro Hurricane Cake is easy to make -- if you have electricity or gas. The recipe has been around for ages. It gets its name from its appearance. It's not a pretty cake, but it's very flavorful and super moist. You can make it with a German Chocolate Cake Mix or a Devil's Food Cake Mix. If you've weathered the storms or been waiting anxiously for news of friends and family, try this easy cake.

Not into cake right now? Donate to one of the Hurricane Funds. Have clothes to donate? They'll be a need. Check the Internet for organizations who are receiving goods. And, don't forget the animals. The Humane Society and ASPCA are all needing donations.

Hurricane Cake

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup flaked coconut
1 (18.25 ounce) package German Chocolate Cake Mix or Devil's Food Cake Mix
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3 3/4 cups confectioners sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Melt and spread 1/2 cup butter in bottom of 9x13 inch pan.
Sprinkle coconut and pecans evenly over bottom of pan; set aside.
Prepare cake mix as directed on package.
Pour batter over coconut and pecans in pan.
In saucepan over low heat, melt cream cheese and 1/2 cup butter. Stir in confectioners sugar until mixture is smooth.
Spoon cream cheese mixture randomly over top of cake batter.
Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
Cool and serve from pan.

Tip: For extra flavor, substitute strong brewed coffee for water in the cake mix directions

Saturday, August 21, 2021

SPUMONI ICE CREAM CAKE: National Spumoni Day!

Today is National Spumoni Day! Spumoni, not to be confused with zamboni, is a multicolored Italian ice cream. When I was growing up, it was usually a flavorless ice cream served in Italian restaurants at the end of a meal. It wasn't until I visited Italian friends that I tasted really good Spumoni.

By definition, Spumoni is a special Italian dessert made of layers of ice cream, whipped cream, candied fruit, and nuts. Each layer contains different flavors and ingredients. In traditional dessert kitchens, spumoni is often made of three layers of flavor: chocolate, pistachio, and cherry. Each layer of Spumoni ice cream may include more than flavored ice cream. The chocolate layer, for example, may include chocolate shavings or chunks. Sometimes the chocolate layer has crushed hazelnuts inside. Not only does the hazelnut add a lovely flavor to the chocolate, but it also compliments the pistachio layer. The pistachio layer, of course, almost always includes crushed pistachio nuts. Finally, the fruit layer of spumoni is usually made with candied fruit. The cherry layer is the most traditional fruit component to the dessert.
Not surprisingly Ben & Jerry's has a recipe for Spumoni Ice Cream Cake. It's so easy and delicious. I've added cherries and hazelnuts.


1 pint Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia
1 pint Ben & Jerry’s Pistachio Pistachio
1 pint Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie
4 large brownies (homemade or store bought)

Toppings: Chocolate *Ganache
1 cup (8 oz) chocolate chips and 1 cup heavy cream
Cookie Crumbs – 4 chocolate sandwich cookies, crushed
Maraschino Cherries
Chopped Hazelnuts

In a silicone or metal baking pan/pie plate place a layer of brownies and push down firmly to make a thin layer of crust. Soften 1 pint of ice cream so it is soft enough to spread. Spread over crust and place in the freezer for 10-15 minutes, or until it's firm.
While that’s in the freezer, pull out another pint of ice cream to soften. Repeat step 2 for the remaining flavors until you have all three layers spread in the pan. Add either cookie crumbs or ganache as a topping, and return the cake to the freezer for at least 15 minutes.
Remove cake from freezer and cut into individual slices to serve. You may need to remove the cake and let it soften before slicing if left in the freezer for 30 minutes or longer. Add chopped hazelnuts and maraschino cherries.

*Chocolate Ganache: Place heat proof (glass or stainless steel) bowl over boiling water. Add 1 cup of cream to heat the cream to a low boil and remove from heat. Slowly add cream to chocolate pieces. Let the ganache cool, but while it’s still liquid use a spoon to drizzle the ganache over the cake. Top with Maraschino Cherries.

FROZEN NEAPOLITAN DELIGHT: Retro Ad with Recipe for National Neapolitan Ice Cream Day!

I love Retro Ads & Recipes. Here's one for Reynolds Wrap. I've stuck with many brands from my youth, and I still buy Reynolds Wrap Aluminum Foil. We cal it Silver Foil. There are so many uses, including costumes. One year in Sunday school, I went as a Dime. I divided the dime into all the charitable ways it could be used, and I decorated my dime costume with Aluminum Foil. So you see why this Retro Ad, probably from my childhood, touched me.

Frozen Asset: The Triple-dividend dessert. Elegant...luscious.. and easy!

Frozen Neapolitan Delight:
This recipe calls for 1 pint Neapolitan brick ice cream. Do you remember Neapolitan Ice Cream? Neapolitan ice cream is made up of blocks of vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry ice cream. The history of Neapolitan ice cream actually goes much farther back.


Although Italian ice and granita trace their roots to ancient times, Neapolitan ice cream seems to be a 19th century phenomenon. Recipes for the fancy molds (bombes) or bricks of vanilla, chocolate and strawberry (sometimes pistachio) were often included in 19th century European and American cook books. This was a function of technology (refrigeration advancements) and collective gastronomy (preference for complicated presentations). Why "Neapolitan?" The peoples of Napoli are credited for introducing their famous ice creams to the world in the 19th century. At that time, pressed blocks composed of special flavors were trendy. The best ones were made with "Neapolitan-style" ice creams.

A survey of historic cookbooks confirms the term "Neapolitan," as it relates to ice cream, denotes both a recipe (for ice cream) and method (combining several flavors in a mold). It also reveals there is no "official" triumvirate of flavors. Most often cited are vanilla, chocolate, strawberry and pistachio. It is not unusual to include a sherbet or fruit-flavored ice as well. 

And here's the recipe for Frozen Neapolitan Delight from the Reynolds Wrap Aluminum Foil Retro Ad:

Friday, August 20, 2021


Some of my favorite recipes are found on the back of the box or on the packaging of specific products such as chocolate chips or butter or sugar. This recipe for Cherry Bonbon Cookies comes from C&H Sugar. How can you go wrong with cherries and chocolate? I've adapted the original recipe just a bit. I love that this recipe uses fresh cherries, too!


1-1/2 cups all purpose flour 

1/2 cup cocoa powder, unsweetened (pick a high quality cocoa

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened 

1 cup C&H Pure Cane Granulated Sugar (Ok, I felt I should put this in since it's a C&H recipe

1-1/2 tsp baking powder 

1 large egg 

1-1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract 

48 fresh cherries, pitted 

1 cup chocolate chips (6 oz) or chopped chocolate

1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk 


Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine flour and cocoa; set aside. In large bowl, beat butter, sugar, and baking powder until blended. Add egg and vanilla; beat until well combined. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Shape dough into 1 inch balls; place 1/2 inch apart on ungreased baking sheet. Press down center of each ball with thumb to create a small hollow. Fill each center with a cherry. In small pot over low heat (or a pot above another pot), combine chocolate chips (or chunks) and condensed milk; heat until chocolate is melted. Spoon and spread 1 tsp chocolate mixture over each cherry. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until done. Cool on wire rack. Yum!!

Thursday, August 19, 2021

ULTIMATE M&Ms COOKIES: Retro Ad with Recipe

My sister made M&M chocolate chip cookies yesterday, and she thought they were too sweet. She didn't use my recipe. So I sent her a copy of this one for Red's Ultimate M&M's Cookies. M&Ms are great in cookies--colorful, tasty and added crunch.

M&M's originated in the United States in 1941, and are now sold in as many as 100 countries. They are produced in different colors, some of which have changed over the years. The candy-coated chocolate concept was inspired by a method used to allow soldiers to carry chocolate without having it melt.

Red's Ultimate M&M's Cookies

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1 12-ounce package M&M’S MINIS (or regular if that's all you have)

Preheat oven to 350°F.
In large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy
Beat in egg and vanilla.
In medium bowl combine flour, baking soda, and salt; blend into butter/sugar mixture.
Stir in M&M’S® MINIS® Milk Chocolate Candies, if desired.
Drop dough by heaping teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake 10 to 13 minutes or until edges are lightly browned and centers are still soft. Do not overbake. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; cool completely on wire racks.
Store in tightly covered container.


Wednesday, August 18, 2021

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE CHUNK ICE CREAM PIE: National Ice Cream Pie Day: Retro Ad with Recipe

Today is National Ice Cream Pie Day. Here's a great Retro Ad with Recipe for Double Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream Pie to celebrate. As always, you can use 2021 ingredients for a richer flavor.

Tuesday, August 17, 2021


I'm a big fan of Gravenstein Apples. We have eleven trees, but this year our abundant fruit was harvested methodically by our golden retriever Bella. Luckily, we are always able to buy a flat in Sebastopol.

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

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

Gravensteins are a late summer treat not to be missed. 

S'mores Gravenstein Apples

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

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

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

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

Monday, August 16, 2021


Today is National Rum Day! So many possibilities of combining chocolate with rum, but for today's post I thought I'd post a recipe for Mud Cake. There are so many mud cake recipes, but this recipe is unique because it adds a 1/4 cup of Spiced Rum. Perfect recipe for today's holiday! 

Sunday, August 15, 2021


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

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


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

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

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

Happy Lemon Meringue Pie Day!

Saturday, August 14, 2021


Today is National Creamsicle Day. I haven't had a Creamsicle in years, but I did occasionally buy one from the Good Humor Truck. My cousin Herbie was a Good Humor Man in the summers.  Pretty exciting for us kids! When we heard the Good Humor bell, we all went running.

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

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

Creamsicle White Chocolate Chip Cookies

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

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

Friday, August 13, 2021


I love Retro Ads with Recipes. Here's a really easy recipe for Dream Pie.


So you remember Howard Johnson's? I remember long summertime car trips on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. We'd always stop at Howard Johnson's for ice cream. This advertisement is from July 2, 1951. With 28 flavors, I find it fun that the cone in the ad is chocolate! Did you have a favorite?

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

NO BAKE S'MORES BROWNIES: National S'mores Day

Yesterday was National S'mores Day. Here's another great S'mores treat to beat the dog days of summer: No Bake Smores Brownies. No campfire required! The recipe is slightly adapted from the cookbook Fat Witch Brownies: Brownies, Blondies, and Bars from New York's Legendary Fat Witch Bakery by Patricia Helding and Bryna Levin. I use chopped milk chocolate instead of chips, and you might want to use dark chocolate--whatever works for you!


2-1/4 cups crushed graham crackers
1-1/2 cup miniature marshmallows
3/4 cup milk chocolate chips (I use chopped milk chocolate or a low cacao dark chocolate)
1 stick unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing a pan or skillet
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp pure vanilla

Grease 9 x 9 baking pan or skillet with butter. Dust with flour and tap out excess.
Mix graham cracker crumbs, 3/4 cup of marshmallows, and 1/2 cup chocolate chips together in a bowl and set aside.
Over low heat, in saucepan or skillet, melt butter with sugar, egg, and vanilla, stirring constantly. Set aside to cool.
Add cooled sugar mixture to bowl and stir well, allowing  marshmallows and chips to melt. Fold in remaining marshmallows and chips.
Press mixture into pan and cool for 30 minutes.

 How easy is this?

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

S'MORES ICE CREAM PIE: National S'mores Day!

Today is National S'mores Day. Here's a great play on the traditional s'mores: S'mores Ice Cream Pie. I've posted S'mores Pie recipes before. They're usually made with frozen chocolate ice cream, but for this recipe use Rocky Road ice-cream. You'll have lots more smores ingredients! How fun is that? I originally found this recipe on the Taste of Home website. I've tried other S'mores Ice Cream Pie Recipes, but this is my favorite! It's easy and delicious.

S'mores Ice Cream Pie

2/3 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 Tbsp sugar
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2-1/2 cups Rocky Road ice cream (or Chocolate), softened 
2/3 cup marshmallow creme (or marshmallow fluff)
3/4 cup miniature marshmallows

In small bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs and sugar; stir in butter. Press onto bottom and up sides of 7-inch pie plate coated with cooking spray. Bake at 325° for 7-9 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack.
Carefully spread ice cream onto crust; freeze until firm. Spread marshmallow creme over ice cream. Top with marshmallows; gently press into creme. Cover and freeze for 4 hours or overnight.
Just before serving, use a mini-torch and scorch marshmallows a bit--or broil 6 in. from the heat for 1-2 minutes or until marshmallows are golden brown.

Photo: Taste of Home

Monday, August 9, 2021

CHOCOLATE RICE PUDDING: National Rice Pudding Day

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


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

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


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

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

Sunday, August 8, 2021

FROZEN CUSTARD DAY: History, Retro Signs & Ads, Recipe for Cheater Chocolate Frozen Custard

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

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

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

History of Frozen Custard

From eHow:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dairy Queen Cones

Saturday, August 7, 2021


Today is Raspberries & Cream Day. Celebrate with this great Raspberries & Cream White Chocolate Bundt Cake. The recipe calls for raspberry jam, but feel free to add some chopped fresh raspberries to the jam for taste and crunch.


1 package white cake mix
1 - 5 ounce instant white chocolate pudding
1 cup sour cream
4 large eggs
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup oil
1 1/2 cup white chocolate chips (Guittard) chopped into smaller pieces
1 cup raspberry jam (Bonne Maman)

Grease and flour bundt pan. Preheat oven to 350-degrees.
Beat together first six ingredients. Fold in white chocolate chips. Fill prepared bundt pan with half batter. Spoon half of raspberry jam in small, separated spoonfuls over batter (so it looks like separate clumps of filling over top). Using knife to swirl filling through cake. Swirl until there are lots of tiny swirls.
Pour remaining batter in evenly and spoon in remaining jam, repeating "swirling" process as above. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 mins. (do "knife test" to determine doneness). If knife does not come out clean, put back in oven for 3-5 min at a time until it does. Remove from oven.
Let cool for 20 mins. Remove from pan.

You can frost this with a cream cheese frosting, but I usually leave my Bundt Cakes bare.

Friday, August 6, 2021


Today is National Root Beer Float Day!

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

But maybe you want to do something even more special than making an ice cream float to celebrate the day, but still maintain the root beer float flavor. And, you want to include lots of chocolate. I'm a huge fan of bundt cakes. They're easy and pretty! This recipe from the BrownEyedBaker is perfect. There's chocolate in both the Bundt Cake and the Frosting. Make the frosting and ice the cake! The frosting, itself, tastes like a root beer float! Lick the bowl!

Root Beer Float Chocolate Bundt Cake

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

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

Root Beer Float Fudge Frosting

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

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

Thursday, August 5, 2021


Everything is just PEACHY today! It's National Peach Month! In honor of the month, throw some peaches on the grill and add dark chocolate in the cavities. Peaches and Chocolate -- a great combination of flavors.

Want to experiment? Choose different varieties of peaches and chocolate from different chocolate makers and with different amounts of cacao.

Here's a simple recipe for Grilled Peaches with Dark Chocolate. I stocked up on peaches at the Farmers Market this past weekend. Love all the varieties.

Grilled Peaches with Dark Chocolate

3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 Tbsp dark brown sugar
4 unpeeled peaches, halved, pitted
1/3 cup finely chopped dark chocolate (I like 70% cacao)

Get barbecue to medium-high heat. We use a Weber, so judge accordingly when you think it's hot. Make sure the grates are clean. Brush the grate with a tiny bit of oil right before the peaches go on.
Blend butter and sugar in large bowl. Add peach halves; toss to coat.
Place peaches, cut side down, on grill. Grill about a minute until slightly charred.
Turn peaches over (use tongs).
Divide chopped dark chocolate among peach cavities.
Drizzle remaining butter/sugar mixture from bowl over chocolate.
Grill until chocolate just begins to melt and peaches are charred, about 2 minutes.
Remove carefully from grill, plate, and serve.

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

SESAME CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES: National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day!

Today is Chocolate Chip Cookie Day! What a day to celebrate. I've been meaning to post this addictive recipe for some time. I came across this recipe for Sesame Chocolate Chip Cookies on the Whole Foods recipe page and adapted it slightly. I won't say it's totally healthy, but with sesame seeds, whole wheat pastry flour, and tahini, it's on the verge. I also cut back on the sugar and chocolate chips. And who doesn't need another chocolate chip cookie recipe?


1/2 cup light brown sugar
8 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
2 Tbsp tahini
1 egg
2 tso pure vanilla extract
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
3/4 cup dark chocolate chips (mini chips if you're making mini-cookies!)
1/2 cup sesame seeds, toasted and cooled

In large bowl, beat sugar, butter, and tahini with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add egg and vanilla and beat again until combined.
In medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt, and then add to sugar mixture and beat until combined. Stir in baking chips and sesame seeds and shape dough into 4 1/2-inch-long logs, wrapping them individually in wax paper and twisting the ends. Chill until firm, 4 hours or overnight. (To help maintain their shape, arrange the dough logs in a 9x13-inch dish to chill.)
Preheat oven to 325°F. Slice each log of dough into 12 (for bigger cookies) or 24 (for smaller cookies) coins, arrange on parchment-paper-lined baking sheets about 2 inches apart and bake until golden brown around the edges, 8 to 10 minutes for smaller cookies, 10 to 12 minutes for larger cookies.

Monday, August 2, 2021

S'MORES ICE CREAM SANDWICHES: National Ice Cream Sandwich Day

Today's National Ice Cream Sandwich Day! Ice Cream sandwiches are perfect for summer! Here's an easy recipe from Betty Crocker that's a twist on S'mores: S'mores Ice Cream Sandwiches. This recipe feeds a crowd! Invite the neighbors.


32 graham cracker squares
1/2 cup Betty Crocker Rich & Creamy Chocolate Frosting
1/2 cup Marshmallow creme (or Marshmallow Fluff)
1/2 gallon brick-style chocolate ice cream

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

Photo: Betty Crocker

Sunday, August 1, 2021

BLACK BOTTOM RASPBERRY CREAM PIE: National Raspberry Cream Pie Day!

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

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

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

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

Black Bottom Raspberry Cream Pie 

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

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

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

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

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

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