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Tuesday, September 27, 2022

CHOCOLATE MILK: The Ultimate Post-Workout Drink!

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

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

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

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

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

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


Chocolate Milk

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

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

Monday, September 26, 2022

KEY LIME PIE WITH CHOCOLATE GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST: National Key Lime Pie Day!

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

Several years ago during a trip to the Florida Keys, my sister and I tasted over 25 different key lime pies. We judged them on tartness, firmness, sweetness (too sweet is unacceptable), whipped cream vs. meringue, and crust. It was a hard job, but we had to do it. 

FYI: Key Lime Pie is the official pie of the Florida Keys.

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

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

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

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

Key Lime Pie with Chocolate Graham Cracker Crust

Ingredients

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

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

Directions

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

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

Sunday, September 25, 2022

CHOCOLATE RUGELACH for Rosh Hashana


Rosh Hashana
starts tonight, so I thought I'd post this recipe for Chocolate Rugelach to usher in the Jewish New Year. I adore Rugelach, and I must admit, I usually buy them at the bakery, but sometimes you just want to make your own. Rugelach are made with a cream-cheese dough that is wrapped around a filling. Sometimes the filling is nuts or jam, but of course for me it's always chocolate!

This recipe for Chocolate Rugelach is adapted from Giora Shimoni on Kosherfood.com. She calls them Israeli Chocolate Rugelach, because she says Americans tend to fill their chocolate rugelach with mini-chocolate chips, while Israelis make their own filling. Since I always have chocolate around, I make my own filling. This is a go-to recipe. It's easy -- 25 minutes to make and 25 minutes to bake! Be sure to scroll down for Giora's tips on rugelach making. Even if you're not celebrating Rosh Hashana, you'll love these pastries for breakfast or brunch or with morning coffee. Yum!

CHOCOLATE RUGELACH 

DOUGH:
7 ounces unsalted butter
8 ounces cream cheese
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour

CHOCOLATE FILLING:
1 tablespoon DARK cocoa
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup grated bittersweet chocolate  (65-75% cacoa)
butter, melted

TOPPING:
1 egg
1/8 cup sugar  (if you don't add cinnamon, use 1/4 cup sugar)
1/8 cup cinnamon (optional)


PREPARATION
In mixing bowl, cream butter and cream cheese together. Add sugar and vanilla, and mix until smooth. Add flour and mix lightly. Refrigerate dough for an hour or more.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Divide  dough into four balls. On floured surface, using floured rolling pin, roll one ball out into circle until about 1/8 inch thick.
In small bowl, mix first four filling ingredients together (cocoa, cinnamon, sugar, grated chocolate). Spread some melted butter on the center of the circle. Sprinkle the chocolate mixture on top.
Cut pastry into pie-shaped wedges. For bite-size and nice looking rugelach, thick end of wedge should be about 1 to 1 1/2 inch wide.
Start at wide edge of wedge and roll dough up toward point.
Line cookie sheet with parchment paper. Place each pastry, seam side down, on  paper.
Brush each pastry with the egg and sugar/cinnamon.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden.
  
And here are some great tips from Gloria for making perfect rugelach

TIPS:
1. Using too much filling leads to messy looking rugelach.
2. A pizza cutter makes it easier to cut the dough into pie-shaped wedges.
3. If you don't want to use parchment paper, you can spray the cookie sheets with non-stick spray.
4. After rolling dough up and placing on parchment paper, you can stick them in your freezer. When you need fresh rugelach, take them right from the freezer into the oven and add a few minutes to the baking time.

Saturday, September 24, 2022

CHOCOLATE CHERRIES JUBILEE: National Cherries Jubilee Day!

Today is National Cherries Jubilee Day! Cherries Jubilee was created by Chef August Escoffier in honor of Queen Victoria's Jubilee celebration. Cherries were her favorite fruit. The original recipe featured cherries poached in syrup and warmed with brandy that was set afire just prior to serving.

But this is a chocolate blog, so here are two recipes - one for Chocolate Cherries Jubilee Cake and one for Chocolate Cherries Jubilee. The cake is moist and scrumptious. You can also pour the Cherries Jubilee sauce over your own favorite chocolate cake!

CHOCOLATE CHERRIES JUBILEE CAKE!

Cake:
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1- 1/2 cups cake flour or 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1- 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided use
1/2 cup unsweetened DARK cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup Canola oil
2 large eggs, separated
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Cherry Sauce:
1 (16 or 17-ounces) can pitted dark sweet cherries, drained (reserve 3/4 cup liquid)
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 Tbsp Kirsch or Cherry Brandy
1 Tbsp cornstarch
Dash salt

Vanilla ice cream

Directions
Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan.

For Cake:
Stir baking soda into buttermilk in medium bowl until dissolved; set aside.
In large bowl, stir together flour, 1 cup sugar, cocoa, and salt. Add oil, buttermilk mixture, egg yolks, and vanilla and beat until smooth.
In small bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form; gradually add remaining 1/2 cup sugar, beating until stiff peaks form.
Gently fold egg whites into chocolate batter. Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until cake springs back when touched lightly in center. Cool in pan.

For Cherry Sauce:
In medium saucepan, stir together reserved cherry liquid, cherry liqueur, sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and add cherries and orange peel.

Serve cake with a scoop of ice cream and Cherry Sauce spooned over the top.

CHOCOLATE CHERRIES JUBILEE

Ingredients
1/2 cup dark cherry preserves (I love Bonne Maman)
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
3 Tbsp Cognac or Kirsh

1 pint chocolate chocolate chip ice cream

Directions
Melt preserves in heavy small saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently. Mix in cinnamon and Cognac.
Scoop ice cream into bowls. Spoon sauce over (you can ignite it for special effects and then pour :-).

Friday, September 23, 2022

CHOCOLATE CHIP APPLE CAKE: Fall Harvest


I love Fall with its infinite variety of apples.  Here's a great way to make the most of the Apple Harvest. This fabulous Chocolate Chip Apple Cake (recipe originally from Sunset Magazine) is also a great way to celebrate  Rosh Hashana. We all need a sweet new year!

I use tart apples in this recipe because I like the combination of tart and sweet. Try different apple varieties. Also, you can use your favorite dark chocolate instead of chocolate chips. Chop into chunks.

Chocolate Chip Apple Cake

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

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

DARK CHOCOLATE COVERED POMEGRANATE SEEDS: Rosh Hashana

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, starts Sunday night. I've already posted a recipe for Chocolate Honey Cake for a sweet New Year, but here's another recipe: Chocolate Covered Pomegranate Seeds.

On the second night of Rosh Hashanah, a "new fruit" is eaten. It's usually a fruit that has recently come into season but that you haven't yet had the opportunity to eat. Traditionally, one says the shehechiyanu blessing thanking G-d for keeping you and yours alive and bringing you to this season. This ritual reminds everyone to appreciate the fruits of the earth and being alive to enjoy them.

A pomegranate is often the new fruit. In the Bible, the Land of Israel is praised for its pomegranates. It is also said that this fruit contains 613 seeds just as there are 613 mitzvot (commandments). Another reason given for blessing and eating pomegranate on Rosh Hashanah is that one wishes that good deeds in the ensuing year will be as plentiful as the seeds of the pomegranate.

For this recipe for Dark Chocolate Covered Pomegranate Seeds, I buy packages of Pomegranate seeds at Trader Joe's, but you can always go the old fashioned way and buy two whole pomegranates and remove the seeds. For an easy way to deseed pomegranates, see this post. Rich bittersweet dark chocolate goes very well with the tart pomegranate flavor, and the textures meld well. Even if you're not celebrating the Jewish New Year, Chocolate Covered Pomegranate Seeds make a great snack, and you'll enjoy the benefits of both sources of antioxidants. 

DARK CHOCOLATE COVERED POMEGRANATE SEEDS

Ingredients
Pomegranate Seeds
About 7 ounces (depending how many seeds you have) of good quality Dark Bittersweet Chocolate, chopped

Directions
Line cookie sheet with wax or parchment paper.
Melt dark chocolate in double boiler or saucepan on top of saucepan of simmering water. Stir to make sure chocolate doesn't burn.
Add dry pomegranate seeds (so if they've been in the refrigerator make sure to dry them) to melted chocolate and fold gently with rubber spatula until seeds are thoroughly covered.
Spoon clusters of mixture onto wax or parchment paper.
Place wax or parchment papered cookie sheet in refrigerator and let chocolate covered seeds cool for several hours or overnight.
Keep refrigerated. Will last 3-4 days.

No time to cook? 
Trader Joe's sells chocolate covered pomegranate seeds.

Thursday, September 22, 2022

ICE CREAM CONE DAY: History and Recipe: Ice Cream Cones

Today is National Ice Cream Cone Day. I love a good ice cream cone, and as this Retro Ad shows, so does EVERYBODY. So in honor of the day, here's a bit of history about ice cream cones from the International Dairy Foods Association. As I've mentioned many times on this blog, you can find all kinds of food history and recipes at Food Association sites.

HISTORY OF THE ICE CREAM CONE

The first ice cream cone was produced in 1896 by Italo Marchiony. Marchiony, who emigrated from Italy in the late 1800s, invented his ice cream cone in New York City. He was granted a patent in December 1903.

Although Marchiony is credited with the invention of the cone, a similar creation was independently introduced at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair by Ernest A. Hamwi, a Syrian concessionaire. Hamwi was selling a crisp, waffle-like pastry -- zalabis -- in a booth right next to an ice cream vendor. Because of ice cream's popularity, the vendor ran out of dishes. Hamwi saw an easy solution to the ice cream vendor's problem: he quickly rolled one of his wafer-like waffles in the shape of a cone, or cornucopia, and gave it to the ice cream vendor. The cone cooled in a few seconds, the vendor put some ice cream in it, the customers were happy and the cone was on its way to becoming the great American institution that it is today.

St. Louis, a foundry town, quickly capitalized on the cone's success. Enterprising people invented special baking equipment for making the World's Fair cornucopia cones.

Stephen Sullivan of Sullivan, Missouri, was one of the first known independent operators in the ice cream cone business. In 1906, Sullivan served ice cream cones (or cornucopias, as they were still called) at the Modern Woodmen of America Frisco Log Rolling in Sullivan, Missouri.

At the same time, Hamwi was busy with the Cornucopia Waffle Company. In 1910, he founded the Missouri Cone Company, later known as the Western Cone Company.

As the modern ice cream cone developed, two distinct types of cones emerged. The rolled cone was a waffle, baked in a round shape and rolled (first by hand, later mechanically) as soon as it came off the griddle. In a few seconds, it hardened in the form of a crisp cone. The second type of cone was molded either by pouring batter into a shell, inserting a core on which the cone was baked, and then removing the core; or pouring the batter into a mold, baking it and then splitting the mold so the cone could be removed with little difficulty.

In the 1920s, the cone business expanded. Cone production in 1924 reached a record 245 million. Slight changes in automatic machinery have led to the ice cream cone we know today. Now, millions of rolled cones are turned out on machines that are capable of producing about 150,000 cones every 24 hours
.

ICE CREAM CONE RECIPE 

Ingredients
2 eggs
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
3 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons vegetable oil, or as needed

Directions
Whisk together eggs and sugar in a large bowl until frothy. Whisk in butter, milk, and vanilla. Gradually whisk in flour and salt until smooth. Batter should be thin; you can stir in more milk if needed.
Heat small skillet or griddle over medium heat. Brush pan lightly with oil. Pour about 1/4 cup of batter onto skillet and turn to spread out batter into thin circle. When underside is golden brown, flip over and cook until golden on other side. Remove from pan and form into cone while it's hot, squeezing end to seal. Place on wire rack to cool and harden completely.
Repeat with remaining batter.

Want to add chocolate? Dip the cone in melted dark chocolate and let it set before filling. 

Tip: Want to make sure your ice cream doesn't drip through the bottom of your cone? Put some melted dark chocolate in the bottom, let harden, and then fill!



WHITE CHOCOLATE ORANGE POPPY SEED CAKE: National White Chocolate Day

Today is National White Chocolate Day. I've never met a chocolate I didn't like, and white chocolate is no exception. I know it's not always considered chocolate, but I still love the taste. White chocolate is a confection of sugar, cocoa butter, and milk solids that has a pale yellow or ivory appearance. The melting point of cocoa butter is high enough to keep white chocolate solid at room temperature, yet low enough to allow white chocolate to melt in the mouth.

I've posted recipes for white chocolate truffles, muffins, cheesecake, brownies, fudge, pancakes, other cakes, and cookies. This is a great recipe for White Chocolate Orange Poppy Seed Cake. You can bake it in a bundt pan, a square pan, or a loaf pan. It's perfect for a weekend brunch or toasted with butter and orange marmalade for breakfast.

Make sure you use 'real' white chocolate in this recipe and not a product that uses vegetable fat instead of cocoa butter. Check the packaging for ingredients. I use Guittard white chocolate.

White Chocolate Orange Poppy Seed Cake

Ingredients
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 cup sour cream  (you can always substitute plain or Greek yoghurt for a tangy-er taste)
1 cup water
4 ounces white chocolate, chopped (Guittard)
1/4 cup poppy seeds
1 Tbs grated orange rind

Directions
Preheat oven to 325°F.
Grease and lightly flour a 13x9-inch cake or bundt pan.
In mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar together until fluffy.
Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Alternately add flour and baking soda along with the sour cream and water.
Once combined, mix on low until well blended and smooth.
Fold in chopped chocolate, poppy seeds, and orange rind.
Pour into prepared pan and bake for 50-60 minutes.
When done, remove and let cool on wire rack.
Remove cake from pan and allow to cool completely. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE PECAN COOKIES: National Pecan Cookie Day!

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

This recipe is adapted from Woman's Day, April 1, 2006. As always, I suggest you use the very best ingredients. I use crumbled toffee in the recipe, and I use 15 ounces of 70% chocolate in place of the original 2 10-oz milk chocolate bars. I also use DARK cocoa. And, an FYI, there are over 1000 varieties of pecans. Whichever you choose, you'll go nuts for this recipe!

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE PECAN COOKIES

Ingredients
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2⁄3 cup packed light brown sugar
2⁄3 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
3⁄4 tsp baking soda
3⁄4 tsp salt
2 1⁄3 cups all-purpose flour
2⁄3 cup unsweetened DARK cocoa powder
10 oz English toffee bits
1-1⁄2 cups coarsely chopped pecans
15-oz dark chocolate (70% cacao), chopped coarsely (or dark chocolate chips)

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

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

CHOCOLATE HONEY CAKE for a Sweet New Year!

Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, starts Sunday evening. Honey is a traditional food that is eaten at that time and symbolizes a Sweet New Year. Add Chocolate, and the year is bound to be even sweeter! Heaven knows, we need it to be! Here's a wonderful recipe for Chocolate Honey Cake to celebrate. Even if you're not celebrating, September is National Honey Month, so make this wonderful cake!

This recipe is adapted from Nigella Lawson's Chocolate Honey Cake aka Honey Bee Cake. She decorates her Chocolate Honey Cake with the most adorable marzipan bees, but I never get quite that involved.

FYI: Honey cake doesn't have to be dry and heavy. This cake is incredibly moist! As I've mentioned many times, though, your final product will be different depending on the type and brand of chocolate and the type of honey you use.

Chocolate Honey Cake

Ingredients

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

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

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

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

Putting it together:
Choose plate or stand, and cut 4 strips of parchment paper and form square outline on plate. Reason: So when you put cake on it and ice it, icing won't run all over the plate (you can always cut the excess off later).
Unclip springform pan and set thoroughly cooled cake on prepared plate.

Pour glaze over cold chocolate honey cake. It might dribble a bit down the edges, but don't worry too much about it. Glaze stays tacky for some time (which is what gives it its melting goeyness) so ice in time for glaze to harden a little, at least an hour before you want to serve it.

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

Monday, September 19, 2022

Cartoon of the Day: Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Perfect for Talk Like a Pirate Day!


 

CHOCOLATE BUTTERSCOTCH PUDDING CAKE IN A MUG: National Butterscotch Pudding Day

Today is National Butterscotch Pudding Day, and of course, it's even better with Chocolate. You can make Butterscotch Pudding from scratch or you can use a Box Mix. Add some chocolate chips.

Or....

Want to make something more fun to celebrate the day? Try this recipe from Rachael Ray for Chocolate Butterscotch Pudding Mug Cake. It's a different Cake in a Mug recipe. Under five minutes in the microwave!

Chocolate Butterscotch Pudding Mug Cake

Ingredients
1 egg
3 Tbsp milk
3 Tbsp Canola oil
1/8 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp baking powder
4 Tbsp light brown sugar
2 Tbsp instant butterscotch pudding powder
4 Tbsp all purpose flour
2 Tbsp dark bittersweet chocolate chips
  
Optional Frosting:
1 box of prepared butterscotch pudding mixed with store bought chocolate frosting

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

Optional: Frost whole chocolate chip butterscotch microwave mug cake with prepared butterscotch pudding chocolate frosting. I prefer to dust with a little powdered sugar. The cake is already pretty rich!

Saturday, September 17, 2022

VINTAGE APPLE DUMPLING ADS: National Apple Dumpling Day

Today is Apple Dumpling Day"Now is the Season for this All-American Dessert!" Anything Apple is great for Fall. So for today's holiday, here are two Vintage Apple Dumpling Ads from Betty Crocker and the recipe from her flour sack (or her cookbook). No chocolate? You can always add dark chocolate sauce on top instead of whipped cream!



APPLE DUMPLINGS

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour or whole wheat flour 
1 teaspoon salt 
2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons cold butter or margarine 
4 to 5 tablespoons cold water 6 baking apples, about 3 inches in diameter (such as Braeburn, Granny Smith or Rome) 
3 tablespoons raisins 
3 tablespoons chopped nuts 
2 1/2 cups packed brown sugar 
1 1/3 cups water 

Directions

Heat the oven to 425°F. In a large bowl, mix the flour and salt. Cut in the butter, using a pastry blender or fork, until particles are the size of small peas. Sprinkle with the cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing well with fork until all flour is moistened. Gather the dough together, and press it into a 6x4-inch rectangle. 

Lightly sprinkle flour over a cutting board or countertop. Cut off 1/3 of the dough with a knife; set aside. On the floured surface, place 2/3 of the dough. Flatten dough evenly, using hands or a rolling pin, into a 14-inch square; cut into 4 squares. Flatten the remaining 1/3 of the dough into a 14x7-inch rectangle; cut into 2 squares. You will have 6 squares of dough. 

Remove the stem end from each apple. Place the apple on a cutting board. Using a paring knife, cut around the core by pushing the knife straight down to the bottom of the apple and pull up. Move the knife and make the next cut. Repeat until you have cut around the apple core. Push the core from the apple. (Or remove the cores with an apple corer.) Peel the apples with a paring knife. 

Place 1 apple on the center of each square of dough. In a small bowl, mix the raisins and nuts. Fill the center of each apple with raisin mixture. Moisten the corners of each square with small amount of water; bring 2 opposite corners of dough up over apple and press corners together. Fold in sides of remaining corners; bring corners up over apple and press together. Place dumplings in a 13x9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish. 

In a 2-quart saucepan, heat the brown sugar and 1 1/3 cups water to boiling over high heat, stirring frequently. Carefully pour the sugar syrup around the dumplings. 

Bake about 40 minutes, spooning syrup over apples 2 or 3 times, until crust is browned and apples are tender when pierced with a fork. 

Serve warm or cooled with syrup from pan.


Friday, September 16, 2022

CINNAMON SWIRL CHOCOLATE RAISIN BREAD: Cinnamon Raisin Bread Day!

I love bread..probably more than cake. I used to make all my own bread, but in the past 25+ years my home town of Berkeley, CA, has been the epicenter of great food, and, for me, bread!  But in case you're still baking, here's a great recipe for Cinnamon Swirl Chocolate Raisin Bread to celebrate National Cinnamon Raisin Bread Day.

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

Cinnamon Swirl Chocolate Raisin Bread

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

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

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

Thursday, September 15, 2022

GRASSHOPPER PIE: National Creme de Menthe Day!

Today is National Creme de Menthe Day! Celebrate by making one of these four recipes for Grasshopper Pie!

Grasshopper Pie is named because for its green color, although modern recipes may omit coloring the pie green. That would be a shame, though, since it's what makes it a classic. (You can always use a Wilton natural green). This pie was most likely invented in the 1950s in the U.S, 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, so you see why it's perfect for DyingforChocolate.com.

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 alcohol 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 gave the pie a light green color.

There are huge differences between classic recipes for Grasshopper Pie and modern ones. Since gelatin can be 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. Several recipes advocate the use of specific cookies like Oreos in the crust, 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 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. As I said, this is perfect for Creme de Menthe Day! Let me know if you have a special family recipe. Grasshopper Pie is so Retro!

Simple Grasshopper Mallow Pie  
 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.

Frozen Grasshopper Pie
from cooks.com

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

1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup creme de menthe
1/4 cup white creme de cacao
2 cup (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 Tbsp sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

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

Directions 
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. 

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.
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!

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

TRIPLE PEANUT CHOCOLATE BUNDT CAKE: National Peanut Day

Yesterday was National Peanut Day, and I posted a WWII Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake. Well, if one chocolate peanut cake is good, two are even better. So today here's a recipe for Triple Peanut Chocolate Bundt Cake. This recipe is from one of the Peanut Associations, a great source for recipes.

Growers love to educate the public on recipes and uses for peanuts. This recipe is adapted from Virginia-Carolinas Peanuts. The original recipe called for dates, but somehow I stopped using dates and just added a cup of peanut butter chips instead. So this is a very peanut-y recipe: chopped roasted peanuts, peanut oil, peanut butter chips, and peanutbutterAnother variation on this bundt cake is to use a chocolate cake mix with chocolate pudding.

Triple Peanut Chocolate Bundt Cake
Ingredients
Softened butter or cooking spray
1/2 cup finely chopped roasted peanuts
1 package (1 pound, 2.5 ounces) yellow cake mix
1 package (3-3/4 ounces) instant vanilla pudding mix
1/2 cup peanut oil
1-1/4 cups water
4 eggs
1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup peanut butter chips
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Directions
Preheat Oven to 350.
Grease a 10-inch Bundt pan with softened butter or cooking spray.
Sprinkle 1/2 cup finely chopped peanuts in pan. Shake pan in order to coat surface with nuts.
In a mixing bowl beat cake and pudding mixes, oil, water and eggs until well blended or four minutes on medium speed. Beat in peanut butter.
Pour 1/3 batter into pan; sprinkle with a layer of peanut butter chips and then a layer of chocolate chips. Repeat.
Pour remaining batter into pan and bake for 45- 50 minutes or until cake tests done.
Cool cake in pan for 10 minutes; turn out onto rack and cool.

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

PEANUT BUTTER CHOCOLATE CAKE: National Peanut Day

Happy Peanut Day! Here's a great Wartime Rationing Ad for Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake to celebrate the day! This recipe is still great today!



Monday, September 12, 2022

QUIRKY CHOCOLATE MILKSHAKES: National Chocolate Milkshake Day

Today is National Chocolate Milkshake Day. Here are several quirky chocolate milkshake recipes.

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

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

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

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

It's still summer, kind of, where I live, so try this S'mores Chocolate Milkshake:. marshmallows, dark chocolate ice cream, milk, marshmallow flour, milk chocolate squares, chocolate chip cookies. Blend. 

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

And, something for the adults: 

Boozy Chocolate Milkshake: 2 vanilla beans, 1 cup bourbon, 3 cups vanilla ice cream, 1 Tbsp cocoa, 3 Tbsp Malted milk powder, 1 ounce Kahlua. Blend.

Bailey's Milkshake: Chocolate ice Cream, Bailey's Irish cream, chocolate liqueur. Add a cup of ice. Add 3-4 cups chocolate ice cream, along with cup of ice, chocolate liqueur, and Bailey's Irish cream. Blend on high. Top with whipped cream..(but only if you want to)


Sunday, September 11, 2022

Paddington Bear Has Tea with the Queen

Today's post is in memory of Queen Elizabeth II, a powerful, elegant, intelligent, and often funny monarch. May she Rest In Peace. 

PADDINGTON BEAR'S MARMALADE SANDWICH

Ingredients 

Two slices of bread 
Butter 
Marmalade 

Directions
 
Spread the butter onto the two slices of bread. 
Add a generous amount of marmalade. 
Do as Paddington Bear does and use your paw (or hand if you’re human) to put it on. 
Place the two slices of bread together. 
Serve the marmalade sandwich with tea poured into a saucer rather than a cup, in true Paddington style. 


PADDINGTON BEAR HAS TEA WITH THE QUEEN

Saturday, September 10, 2022

National TV Dinner Day: Retro Ads & History

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

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

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

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

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





Friday, September 9, 2022

TEDDY BEAR COOKIES: National Teddy Bear Day

I love Teddy Bear Day - a holiday not to be confused with Teddy Bear's Picnic Day, another special day I celebrate, usually with scones. But for Teddy Bear Day, here's a wonderful recipe for Teddy Bear Cookies from Land O Lakes. I always check out food product sites for great recipes. I especially like Butter recipes, and this recipe features Land O Lakes Butter. The original recipe also mentions Land O Lakes Eggs, but they're not available in my area. So any good egg will do. Substitute other things as you see fit. I've made a few suggestions. Aren't these Teddy Bear Cookies adorable? And so easy.

Teddy Bear Cookies

Ingredients

1 cup sugar  (see below under chocolate)

3/4 cup Land O Lakes® Butter, softened (I use unsalted butter)

1  large Land O Lakes® Egg

2 teaspoons pures vanilla 

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour 

1 teaspoon baking powder 

1/4 teaspoon salt 

2 (1-ounce) squares unsweetened baking chocolate, melted (I use good dark chocolate and reduce the sugar)

Directions 

Heat oven to 375°F. S

Combine sugar, butter, egg and vanilla in bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until well mixed. Add flour, baking powder and salt; beat at low speed, scraping bowl often, until well mixed. 

Divide dough in half. Place half of dough into another bowl; stir in chocolate until well mixed. 

Shape each teddy bear using either vanilla or chocolate dough or a combination for two-toned teddy bears. Shape 1 large (1-inch) ball for body. Place onto ungreased cookie sheet; flatten slightly. Shape 1 medium (3/4-inch) ball for head, 4 small (1/2-inch) balls for arms and legs, 2 smaller balls for ears. Attach head, arms, legs and ears by overlapping slightly onto body. Add small balls for eyes, nose and mouth, if desired. Use fork to make claws on paws. 

Bake 7-8 minutes or until body is set. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheet; remove to cooling rack. Cool completely.


Thursday, September 8, 2022

KAHLUA DATE NUT BREAD WITH CHOCOLATE CHUNKS: National Date Nut Bread Day

Today is National Date Nut Bread Day. I love nut breads of all kinds, and I think you'll enjoy this spin on a traditional Date Nut Bread. For today's holiday, here's a recipe for Kahlua Date Nut Bread with Chocolate Chunks. How can you go wrong with Kahlua and Chocolate and Dates and Nuts? And, this is so easy and quick! It's a Quick Bread! I love this bread toasted in the morning with my tea.

Kahlua Date Nut Bread with Chocolate Chunks


Ingredients:
1 cup chopped, pitted dates
1/2 cup Kahlua
2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1/2 cup dark chocolate (65-75% cacao), chopped into chunks (or dark chocolate chips)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°
Combine Dates and Kahlua. Set aside and let the dates absorb the Kahlua. Yum!
Beat sugar, butter, and egg together until creamy.
In separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt.
Alternate adding flour mixture and date mixture to sugar mixture.
Stir in pecans (or walnuts) and dark chocolate chunks.
Put batter in sprayed/greased loaf pan (s).
Let batter stand in pan(s) for about 5 minutes.

Bake until done.
For a regular loaf pan, bake 60 to 70 minutes.
For medium loaf pans, bake 50 to 60 minutes.
For small loaf pans, bake 45 to 50 minutes.

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

CHOCOLATE STOUT TRUFFLES: National Beer Lovers Day

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

CHOCOLATE STOUT TRUFFLES

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

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

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

CHOCOLATE COFFEE ICE CREAM PIE: National Coffee Ice Cream Day


bHere's a really easy Ice Cream Pie to celebrate Coffee Ice Cream Day! This recipe is adapted from an old recipe in Bon Appetit. In this recipe you use both coffee and chocolate ice cream!

CHOCOLATE COFFEE ICE CREAM PIE

Ingredients
1 cup whipping cream
8 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
1 tsp instant coffee crystals
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 pint coffee ice cream, softened
1- 9 inch chocolate cookie crust*
10 Oreos, crushed coarsely (about 1 cup)
1 pint chocolate ice cream, softened

Directions
Bring whipping cream to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat. Add chocolate chunks; whisk until chocolate is melted. 
Whisk in coffee and vanilla. Let cool.
Spread softened coffee ice cream evenly in crust. 
Pour 3/4 cup chocolate sauce over ice cream; sprinkle with crushed Oreos. 
Freeze until ice cream is firm (20 minutes). 
Drizzle rest of sauce (about 1/3 cup?) over pie. 
Spread softened chocolate ice cream (gently) on top. Sprinkle with crushed Oreos.
Freeze pie until firm, 2 hours at least.

Monday, September 5, 2022

Labor Day Triple Fudge Cake

Happy Labor Day! Here's a great Retro Recipe for Labor Day Triple Fudge Cake from Betty Crocker's Party Book, copyright 1960. The Party Book is all about being a good 'hostess' with fun, if somewhat dated, recipes for most holidays.

Here's one for Labor Day:

"To most of us, Labor Day means a long week end with time for picnics in the backyard, by a lake, or in the autumn woods." 

"More than 500 recipes, menus and how-to-do-it tips for festive occasions the year 'round."

So for Labor Day, make this simple Labor Day Triple Fudge Cake, virtually labor-free.



Sunday, September 4, 2022

EASY BLACKBERRY CHOCOLATE CHIP PIE: Labor Day Weekend

Labor Day Weekend. When I was growing up that meant the last weekend before school started. We'd go down the shore or up to the mountains, or just kick back at a neighborhood barbecue. Sometimes we'd go to the country and pick blackberries for jam and pies. When I moved to California, I found blackberries everywhere at this time of year -- by the roadside and later in my own backyard! They were a bit of a bramble. Prickly bushes, but the blackberries were oh so sweet and plentiful!

I used to make an awesome Blackberry Apple Pie, but since this is a Chocolate blog, and this is Labor Day Weekend, I'm recommending this easy and delicious Blackberry Chocolate Chip Pie. I adapted a recipe I found at Allrecipes. com, and there was a caveat with the original: "Adjust the ratio of berries and chocolate chips to suit your preferences." Well, that's wise, so you might have to make it several times, just to get it right.

EASY BLACKBERRY CHOCOLATE CHIP PIE

Ingredients
1 (15 ounce) package pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie (I use Trader Joe's pie crusts if I don't make my own)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour 
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 cups blackberries
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
1/2 Tbsp lemon juice

Directions
Preheat oven to 425 degrees
Place one pie crust in bottom of 9 inch pie plate.
In bowl, mix sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Gently stir in blackberries and chocolate chips. Sprinkle with lemon juice. Transfer to pie crust in pie plate.
Put second pie crust on top, and secure to bottom crust by pressing with fork, or fluting with fingers. Bake 35 minutes in preheated oven, until top is golden brown. Cool slightly before slicing.

Saturday, September 3, 2022

CHOCOLATE BACON PEANUT BARK: International Bacon Day!

Today is International Bacon Day!

Chocolate and Bacon was the chocolate food trend several years ago, and I don't really think it's gone out of fashion. What a great pairing! Salty bacon with dark sweet chocolate is terrific. Add peanuts, and it's even better! Here's a simple recipe for Chocolate Bacon Peanut Bark. Barks are so easy to make, too.

Susan Russo  had a great article on NPR in 2010 on different pairings of bacon with different foods, but this was my favorite..

Chocolate Bacon Peanut Bark  
adapted from Susan Russo's recipe

Ingredients
8 strips bacon (or Costco Bacon crumbles)
16 ounces fair-trade organic chocolate 60-75 % cacao (chunks or chips are fine)
1 cup unsalted peanuts (you already have the salt from the bacon)

Directions
In large skillet over medium heat, cook bacon, turning several times, until browned and done, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to paper towel-lined plate to drain. Chop finely. (or use Costco Bacon Crumbles)
Line large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Add chocolate to double boiler (or saucepan on top of another saucepan). Once water begins to boil, add chocolate. Using spatula, stir continuously, until smooth and creamy.
Stir in bacon and peanuts. Pour onto prepared baking sheet and spread to 3/8-inch thickness. Refrigerate for minimum of one hour. Bark should be hard and chilled.
Place bark on cutting board and cut (or crack) into pieces — any size or shape you'd like.
Serve at room temperature.

Friday, September 2, 2022

NO BAKE KAHLUA PIE: Labor Day

It's Labor Day Weekend, and the temperature in Northern California is going to hit triple digits. Not a weekend to be baking. So I thought I'd post this simple recipe for a No-Bake Kahlua Pie. I first saw the recipe on Serious Eats (a favorite site). The recipe is from Yvonne Ruperti, author of One Bowl Baking: Simple from Scratch Recipes for Delicious Desserts (2013). Check out the cookbook for more easy chocolate recipes.

No Bake Kahlua Pie

Ingredients
44 chocolate wafers, divided, finely ground (I use Nabisco Famous Wafers)
8 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 Tbsp granulated sugar, divided
Pinch salt
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
3/4 tsp powdered gelatin
7 Tbsp Kahlua, divided
3 1/3 cups heavy cream, chilled, divided

Directions
Pulse 36 wafer cookies in food processor until finely ground. Place crumbs in large bowl and stir in melted butter, 1 tsp sugar, and 2 tsp water until thoroughly moistened. Firmly press into bottom and sides of 9-inch pie plate. Pulse remaining 8 cookies until finely ground and set aside.
Place chocolate in large heatproof bowl and melt over a pan of barely simmering water, stirring, until smooth. Remove from heat.
Add 1 Tbsp water to small microwave safe bowl and sprinkle gelatin over top. Let sit 5 minutes to soften. Heat in microwave on high power until just melted, 10 to 20 seconds.
Whisk 6 Tbsp Kahlua into melted chocolate. Whisk in melted gelatin.
Whip 2 1/3 cups cream with 1 Tbsp sugar to medium peaks. Fold cream into chocolate in 3 batches, until just combined. Gently fold in reserved chocolate wafer crumbs. Pour into pie shell and chill until set, about 3 hours.
Whip remaining cup cream with remaining 2 tsp sugar to soft peak. Fold in remaining Tbsp coffee liquor. Serve on side.

Thursday, September 1, 2022

TRIPLE CHOCOLATE HONEY FUDGE: National Honey Month

Happy September! September is National Honey Month, and the bees in my garden are celebrating and so can you! 

I've posted several recipes which feature chocolate and honey, but this Triple Chocolate Honey Fudge is the Bees Knees! It's delicious and it draws attention to the essential role bees play in facilitating and improving food production, thus contributing to food security and nutrition.

When looking for recipes, it's fun to search out food collectives, associations, and brand sites. This recipe for Triple Chocolate Honey Fudge is adapted from the Dupage Beekeepers Association from the cookbook Home is Where Your Honey Is.

TRIPLE CHOCOLATE HONEY FUDGE

Ingredients
1 cup sugar
1 Jar (8oz.) marshmallow cream
2/3 Cup evaporated milk
1/4 Cup local honey
1/4 Cup unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 Cup milk chocolate chips
1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 Cup toasted nuts chopped
1/2 Cup white chocolate chips (make sure it's really chocolate)

Directions
Spray an 8 x 8-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
In medium saucepan, combine sugar, marshmallow cream, milk, honey, butter, and salt.  Bring to boil; stir occasionally. Boil for 5 minutes; stir constantly. Remove from heat and stir in semi-sweet and milk chocolate chips until melted. Stir in nuts and vanilla; pour into pan. Sprinkle white chocolate chips over top and allow to melt. Using small spatula swirl white chocolate.
Cool. Cut into 1-inch pieces.

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

NUTTY CHOCOLATE BLUEBERRY CHERRY TRAIL MIX

Today is National Trail Mix Day! So many people will be taking to the trails to get out of the house this weekend during the heatwave--in California. Nature is so beautiful, and I'm lucky to live in a gorgeous area with wooded and bayside trails. I often take along Trail Mix, and it's easy to make your own.  There are an infinite number of combinations. I use a lot of dried fruits and nuts from Trader Joe's, but you can mix whatever you have.

Trail mix is perfect to take on a hike, as snacks for school, or throw some into your next oatmeal cookie dough for an out of this world taste treat. The following trail mix is also good for the heart. Blueberries have the highest antioxidants of almost any dried fruit, and you all know the benefits of dark chocolate. Most of the nuts in this trail mix recipe are salted, but if you want to be really healthy, cut back on the salt. And, of course, you can add anything else you'd like to the mix: other nuts, coconut, other berries.

NUTTY CHOCOLATE BLUEBERRY CHERRY TRAIL MIX

2 cups roasted salted peanuts
1 cup roasted salted almonds
1 cup roasted whole cashews
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (the darker, the better)
1 cup dried tart cherries
1 cup dried blueberries
1/4 cup crystallized ginger, chopped

Mix together. How easy is that?

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

TOASTED MARSHMALLOW FLOURLESS CHOCOLATE CAKE: Toasted Marshmallow Day!

Today is National Toasted Marshmallow Day, and, of course, you can make S'mores--and all the variations. 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 this easy Flourless Chocolate Cake recipe. For the Marshmallows, I recommend using high quality marshmallows or making your own. If you only have 'regular' marshmallows, that will work, too.

Toasted Marshmallow Flourless Chocolate Cake

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

Directions
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 free around edge - they spread).
Put cake back in oven at 375 for 5 minutes--until marshmallows are 'toasted'
Remove from oven.
Tip: If the marshmallows are not toasted enough, use a mini-torch (one of my favorite kitchen tools) to toast.
Cool on rack.