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Monday, June 27, 2022

S'MORES ICE CREAM CAKE: National Ice Cream Cake Day!

I love Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream, and I love S'mores. This recipe from Ben & Jerry's for S'mores Ice Cream Cake is a winner for today's National Ice Cream Cake Day celebration! It's an easy no bake make-ahead dessert that is perfect for your summer weekend dessert!

Check the recipe below, and be sure and watch the video. This is a no-brainer and can be made at the drop of a hat. If you're like me, you probably have all the ingredients in your pantry and freezer! The finished cake looks and tastes amazing! I dropped the extra fudge sauce at the end, because I think the S'mores Ice Cream Cake is rich enough as is. Enjoy! Thanks, Ben & Jerry's!

 

BEN & JERRY'S S'MORES ICE CREAM CAKE

Directions
Prepare the crust (see below)
Prepare the filling (see below)
Top the crust with Ice Cream filling
Spread 2 cups of marshmallow fluff over the top of the ice cream (this can be done directly after filling with ice cream, or you can chill ice cream layer first)
Freeze cake for a minimum of two hours

To serve: Remove cake from freezer, let cake sit for 10 minutes, top with mini marshmallows and torch to golden brown
Run a knife around the edge of pan and remove side of spring-form
Slice, serve, and enjoy!

Crust: 
16 (8 oz.) whole graham crackers, crushed 1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 stick butter, melted
Combine graham crackers and sugar, add melted butter and stir to sandy, buttery consistency. Press mixture into bottom and up sides of 9” spring-form pan, using fingers or  flat bottomed measuring cup. Chill for 10 minutes while you prepare ice cream.

Filling:
3 Pints Ben & Jerry’s S’mores Ice Cream (or any Ben & Jerry's Chocolate Ice Cream).
Remove ice cream from containers and place in bowl to soften, about 10 minutes.
Stir to combine and top prepared and chilled graham crust with ice cream.

Follow directions above for marshmallow topping!

Sunday, June 26, 2022

CHOCOLATE PUDDING CAKE: 2 Recipes for National Chocolate Pudding Day!

Today is Chocolate Pudding Day. I just love this old-fashioned Chocolate Pudding Cake. This dessert actually has two layers--a moist chocolate cake and a thick chocolate pudding sauce. The recipes have been around for a long time and is a precursor to Molten Chocolate Cake

The first recipe is incredibly easy--kind of a chemistry experiment. No need for the mixer. You can do everything quickly by hand. Both recipes are pretty simple and great to make with kids! Always good to have a choice. Chocolate Pudding Cake is the perfect recipe for a great dessert. And, there are many fun variations--and just as many terrific toppings. Ice cream is #1 for me, but Bourbon Whipped Cream would be great, too!

1. Chocolate Pudding Cake

Ingredients
1 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
1 egg
2 Tbsp oil (vegetable or canola)
1 tsp pure vanilla
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa
1 1/4 - 1 1/2 cups boiling water

Directions
Sift dry ingredients together. Mix milk, egg, and oil together in a large bowl. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients in the big bowl. Stir until smooth. Add vanilla to bowl. Pour mixture into baking dish (1 ½ - 2 quart casserole dish). Mix together additional dry ingredients (brown and white sugars and  cocoa) and pour on top of everything already in the baking dish.
Pour boiling water on top of everything. DO NOT STIR.
Bake at 350 degrees F. for 45-50 minutes.

2. Chocolate Pudding Cake
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Butter, or spray with a non stick cooking spray,  8 inch (20 cm) square baking dish.

Pudding Sauce Ingredients: 
1 1/2 cups boiling water
2 teaspoon instant coffee (powder or granules)
1/3 cup granulated white sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Cake Ingredients: 
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup (25 grams) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 large egg
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
1/3 cup granulated white sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Pudding Sauce Directions: 
Stir instant coffee into boiling water (or freshly brewed hot coffee.)
In separate bowl, stir together white sugar, brown sugar, and cocoa powder.

Cake Directions: 
In bowl, sift flour with cocoa powder, salt, and baking powder.
In another large bowl, whisk the egg with the melted butter, sugar, milk, and vanilla extract. Stir flour mixture into egg mixture until combined. Spread batter evenly onto bottom of prepared pan.
Sprinkle sugar/cocoa mixture evenly over cake batter. Gently pour coffee mixture over cocoa mixture.
Bake for 25 minutes or until cake is puffed and just beginning to pull away from sides of the pan. Remove from oven and place on wire rack.

Saturday, June 25, 2022

CHEVRE CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES: National Goat Cheese Day

Toady is National Goat Cheese Day. Goat Cheese has been produced for over 4000 years. It's such a wonderful cheese, and it goes well with chocolate, too. 

I'm a huge fan of Cypress Grove Chevre. They have a great variety of goat cheeses from Humboldt Fog to Bermuda Triangle to Sgt. Pepper to Purple Haze, and everything in between. If you're a big goat cheese fan, you might want to consider a cake made of wheels of their cheese! Who wouldn't want a beautiful cake made of cheese wheels like the one on the right?

The following recipe for Goat Cheese Chocolate Truffles works well with any Chevre, so you can use whatever is available to you. Make sure it's fresh. This specific goat cheese truffle recipe really highlights the chevre, so mix is up and try other goat cheeses to see what you like best. I use Humboldt Fog which has a very distinct taste, but you might want to make your first batch with a more mild chevre. Humboldt Fog has a subtle, tangy flavor and distinctive layer of edible vegetable ash. Of course, different chocolate will also make a difference in flavor. Enjoy!

Chevre Chocolate Truffles

Ingredients
6 1/2 ounces bittersweet dark chocolate, chopped
7 ounces fresh Cypress Grove Humboldt Fog chevre, room temperature  (or a Chevre of your choosing)
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder, for rolling

Directions
Melt chocolate in top of double boiler or metal pot over another pot over simmering water. Mix chevre and sugar in medium-size bowl. Stir in melted chocolate and mix until smooth.
Refrigerate an hour to overnight.
When ready to make truffles, roll heaping teaspoons of refrigerated mixture into small balls, then roll balls in cocoa powder.
Chill on sheet pan until ready to serve or keep 3 to 4 days in refrigerator.

Goats by the side of my house




Friday, June 24, 2022

CHOCOLATE PRALINE CAKE: National Praline Day!


Today is National Praline Day. Last year I posted several chocolate praline recipes. You can actually eat pralines in several different incarnations--or even drink your pralines, as in Praline Pecan Liqueur.

Another easy way to get your praline fix today (with chocolate) would be to eat some Praline or Butter Pecan Ice Cream with a covering of chocolate syrup. Hence the Vintage Ad from 1951 for Borden's Praline Pecan Ice Cream further along in this post. But another variation on Pralines would be Chocolate Praline Cake. See below for two recipes - one  is a traditional three tier chocolate cake with Ganache Filling and Praline Frosting, and the other a Chocolate Bundt Cake with Praline Frosting. With both cakes, it's all about the Praline frosting.

So what is Praline?

1) a confection of nuts and sugar: as in almonds cooked in boiling sugar until brown and crisp

2) a patty of creamy brown sugar and pecan meats

The original praline was a sweet confection made of almonds and some sort of creamy sugary caramelized coating. Lots of stories about how the Praline came to New Orleans and the South. One is that Pralines were first made in the home of 17th century French diplomat Cesar du Plessis Praslin by one of his chefs. The name "Praslin" eventually evolved into "praline." I don't buy that story since they were already popular in Europe in a slightly different version. Another story is that pralines were brought over from France by the Ursuline nuns, who settled in New Orleans in 1727. This makes sense since Pralines were already in the French tradition. Almonds were in short supply, so cooks began substituting the nuts of the native Louisiana pecan trees, thus the modern pecan pralines were born. Praline pecans were known as individual pecans covered in the sugary coating. The new pecan pralines quickly spread throughout New Orleans and became a common confection in the area.

Because New Orleans was a thriving port, people from all over the world came through, and the praline spread with them. Many people are unaware of the candy’s historical origin, and the praline is thought of as a southern confection not necessarily specific to New Orleans. Some believe the pecan praline is a Texan candy, whereas others assume it came from Savannah. The pronunciation of the candy is a bit of a point of contention as well. In New Orleans and along the Gulf Coast, where there are many communities settled by the French, the pronunciation is prah-leen, with the long aaah sound, which is closer to that of the candy’s namesake du Plessis-Praslin. Other regions of the country, including parts of Texas, Georgia, and New England have anglicized the term and pronounce it pray-leen. Other terms for pralines include pecan pralines, pecan candy, plarines and pecan patties.

Go here for Praline Candy Recipes.

So my motto today is "Let Them Eat Cake" since I'm more of a baker than candy maker.

This first recipe is one of my go-to Chocolate Bundt Cakes, but any good chocolate bundt cake will work. It's all in the frosting here. As a matter of fact a good sour cream or yogurt chocolate bundt cake would be great, too, with Praline Frosting.

CHOCOLATE PRALINE BUNDT CAKE 

Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups water
2 Tbsp Instant Coffee Granules (I use Starbucks instant espresso packs)
7 ounces dark chocolate (65-75% Cacao), chopped
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp pure vanilla
3 large eggs

FOR CAKE:
Preheat oven to 325 F. Grease 10-inch Bundt pan.
Combine flour, baking soda and baking powder in small bowl. Bring water and coffee granules to boil in small saucepan; remove from heat. Add chocolate; stir until smooth.
Beat sugar, butter and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs; beat on high speed for 5 minutes. Beat in flour mixture alternately with chocolate mixture.
Pour into prepared Bundt pan.
Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until long wooden pick inserted in cake comes out clean.
Cool in pan on wire rack for 30 minutes. Invert onto wire rack to cool completely.
Place on plate.
Pour Praline Frosting over the top of the cake letting it drip down the sides.

PRALINE FROSTING  (from Southern Living, see below for link)

 Ingredients
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup whipping cream
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted

Preparation 
Bring first 3 ingredients to a boil in 2-quart saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, and boil 1 minute.
Remove from heat, and whisk in 1 cup powdered sugar and vanilla extract until smooth.
Stir in toasted pecans, stirring gently 3 to 5 minutes or until mixture begins to cool and thicken slightly.
Pour immediately over cake.

CHOCOLATE PRALINE CAKE

This is my favorite "real" Chocolate Praline Cake. It's from Southern Living, November 2001, and I'm so glad I found it again on the Internet, my copy having been stashed inside a cookbook, somewhere. This recipe is all about the praline candy frosting!

Ingredients
1 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup DARK cocoa
1 cup water
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 cups sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
Chocolate Ganache
Praline Frosting
Garnish: pecan halves  

Preparation
Cook first 3 ingredients in small saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly, until butter melts and mixture is smooth; remove butter mixture from heat.
Beat buttermilk, 2 eggs, baking soda, and vanilla at medium speed with electric mixer until smooth. Add butter mixture to buttermilk mixture, beating until well blended.
Combine sugar, flour, and salt; gradually add to buttermilk mixture, beating until blended.
Coat 3 (9-inch) round cakepans with cooking spray, and line pans with wax paper. Pour cake batter evenly into pans.
Bake at 350° for 18 to 22 minutes or until cake is set. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes.
Remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks.
Spread about 1/2 cup Chocolate Ganache between cake layers, and spread remaining ganache on sides of cake.
Pour Praline Frosting slowly over the center of cake, gently spreading to edges, allowing some frosting to run over sides.
Garnish with pecan halves

Chocolate Ganache 
Ingredients 
1 (12-ounce) package semisweet chocolate morsels
1/3 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup butter, cut into pieces

Preparation 
Microwave chocolate morsels and whipping cream in a glass bowl at MEDIUM (50% power) 2 to 3 minutes or until morsels are melted. Whisk until smooth.
Gradually add butter, whisking until smooth.
Cool, whisking often, 15 minutes or until spreading consistency.

Praline Frosting 
Ingredients
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup whipping cream
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted

Preparation 
Bring first 3 ingredients to a boil in 2-quart saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, and boil 1 minute.
Remove from heat, and whisk in 1 cup powdered sugar and vanilla extract until smooth.
Stir in toasted pecans, stirring gently 3 to 5 minutes or until mixture begins to cool and thicken slightly.
Pour immediately over cake (or over the bundt cake--recipe above).

Photo: Southern Living

Thursday, June 23, 2022

CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER SUMMER CAKE: Retro Advertisement with Recipe

You know I just love these Baker's Chocolate Ads & Recipes. This Chocolate Peanut Cream Cake from July 1939 was specifically marketed as a Summer Cake.

Love the beginning. "Here's a Pal to Summer Desserts! Was it you we heard wishing for a summer cake recipe? We know you'll like this one." The ad goes on to say "It's simply grand to take on picnics--because it keeps so nice and moist." So maybe I'll mix up this cake today."

Wish I could order the "Free Party Book of chocolate foods for every occasion" offered at the end of the  advertisement.






Wednesday, June 22, 2022

MINI-CHOCOLATE ECLAIRS: National Chocolate Eclair Day!

Today is National Chocolate Eclair Day. My favorite eclairs are not the long thin "traditional" hotdog shaped eclairs (although I like them), but rather, the mini-eclairs. They're easy to make using a basic Pâte à choux.. puff pastry. I've been making them for years.

I've posted this recipe before, but it's always worthy of a re-post. These eclairs are so easy and yet look so beautiful and taste fabulous! Hope you enjoy making these as much as I do!

I've adapted this recipe for Mini Chocolate Eclairs from Paula Deen. This is one of my favorite recipes because it's simple and delicious! I never use margarine, so I've dropped that alternative from the original recipe. Real butter is always best. I also use the very best dark chocolate for the topping. I've changed a few measurements and directions in the recipe for the Novice Eclair Chef. If you're a purist, just click on Paula Deen's recipe above.

Because these eclairs are so small, feel free to have 3 or 4. :-) Yield depends on how small you make them, but I usually get about 40 small eclairs from this recipe. They're great for a crowd!

Want to make these even more chocolate-y? Add a handful of chocolate chips to the egg cream filling or fill with chocolate cream instead: just add 1/4 cup dark cocoa to the dry ingredients. To fill the eclairs, I use a pastry bag, but if you don't have one, you can always fill a Ziploc bag and cut the tip off to pipe the filling into the eclair.

You will probably have some extra icing. Half the recipe if you ice sparingly. I'm for more chocolate, so there's never much left.

MINI CHOCOLATE ECLAIRS

Pastry:
1 cup water
8 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup sifted flour
3 eggs

Filling:
3 cups whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
6 Tbsp flour
3 eggs, beaten
2 tsp vanilla

Icing:
3 ounces unsweetened dark chocolate, chopped
2 cups sugar
1 cup heavy whipping cream

Directions
Preheat oven to 400F.
Heat water and butter to boiling point. Add flour and stir constantly until mixture is smooth and forms a ball when tested in cold water. Remove from heat and let cool. Beat in 3 eggs, one at a time. Drop dough from teaspoon, elongate slightly to form small eclairs (or drop in 'puffs'), onto greased cookie sheet. Bake for approximately 30-35 minutes or until light brown. Set aside to cool.
Prepare filling by mixing all dry ingredients. Very slowly add milk over low heat and cook until mixture thickens (don't let heat get too high), so you don't have any lumps. Then pour this custard  into beaten eggs, stirring quickly (so eggs don't cook). Cool and add vanilla.
With serrated knife, slice pastry puffs lengthwise (or if you have puffs make a hole), but not all the way through. Pipe custard mixture into center.
Melt chocolate for icing, add sugar, and cream. Cook over medium heat until soft ball stage. Let cool and beat until smooth. Ice tops of eclairs.

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

KLADDKAKA: SWEDISH STICKY CHOCOLATE CAKE FOR MIDSUMMER


I love Midsummer aka the Summer Solstice! June 21 is the longest day of the year, and I love those extra hours of sunshine. I can only imagine what it's like in Sweden, Land of the Midnight Sun. Here is a traditional Swedish recipe to celebrate Midsummer (Midsommar). Chocolate may not be native to Sweden, but this chocolate treat is celebrated there. Chocolate is global!

Kladdkaka: Swedish Sticky Chocolate Cake

Kladdkaka is a gooey Swedish chocolate cake, and it's simple and quick to make. You'll love it. Add some whipped cream and raspberries or strawberries (wild strawberries? channeling Ingmar Bergman?) or other summer berries, and you're good to go! Be sure not to overbake the cake and cool before cutting. This recipe is adapted from several different recipes. Kladdkaka is similar to Mudcake or Lava Cake...do not overbake.

Ingredients 
14 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1 cup bittersweet chocolate
4 large eggs
1 cup caster sugar (if you don't have any, whirl some granulated sugar in the blender and remeasure)
2  cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
Whipped cream
Fresh berries

Directions
Preheat oven to 425°F and grease 9-inch springform pan.
In small saucepan, melt butter. Once melted, remove from heat and whisk in chocolate until smooth. Set aside to cool.
In large bowl, whisk together eggs and sugar until foamy. Check that chocolate is cool, then whisk into egg mixture.
Fold in flour and baking powder until incorporated.
Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 12 minutes (don't overbake).
Cool completely before serving.
Top with whipped cream and berries!


Monday, June 20, 2022

MIDSUMMER MAGIC CHOCOLATE COCA COLA ICE CREAM SODA: Ice Cream Soda Day

I love Midsummer, and how perfect is it that today is also Ice Cream Soda Day. Here's an easy way to celebrate Midsummer with this Mid-Century Midsummer recipe for Chocolate Coca Cola Ice Cream Soda.

MIDSUMMER MAGIC CHOCOLATE COCA COLA ICE CREAM SODA

For each Chocolate Coke Ice Cream Soda, you'll need a tall glass, 3 Tbsp chocolate syrup, 2 Tbsp half & half, coca cola, chocolate ice cream, whipped cream.

Chill glass in freezer.

Pour chocolate syrup into bottom of glass. Add half & half and blend together. Add coca cola to 3/4 of glass.

Add 2-3 scoops of chocolate ice cream. Stir.

Top Ice Cream Soda with whipped cream and maraschino cherry.

Sunday, June 19, 2022

THE S'MORES MARTINI: National Martini Day!

Today is National Martini Day, and since it's summer, it's the perfect time for a S'mores Martini. Three Olives makes a S'mores Vodka. You can drink it straight up, but here are two recipes for S'mores Martinis from Three Olives. What a great way to drink your S'mores!

Inspired by the classic vodka martini served with a garnish of olives, Three Olives launched as a non-flavored vodka brand in 1998 and became a pioneer of the flavored-vodka market when it introduced the first-ever cherry and grape varieties in 2001. The super-premium vodka brand now offers over 20 different flavors that have fueled a three-fold increase in sales to nearly 1.5 million cases from half a million. As implied by the brand’s popular flavors - Cake, Bubble, Dude and S’mores - Three Olives delivers one-of-a-kind drinks that appeal to polished individuals who revel in their uniqueness; they are clever, witty, and loath to take themselves too seriously. 

Thanks to Three Olives for the following recipes and photos!

Campfire Martini
3 parts Three Olives S'mores Vodka
Crushed graham crackers, chocolate syrup, marshmallows

Dip rim of martini glass in chocolate syrup and coat with crushed graham crackers.
Pour Three Olives S'mores into martini shaker filled with ice.
Shake and strain into martini glass.
Garnish with a skewer of three toasted marshmallows!

S'mores Sea Salt Martini
2 parts Three Olives S'mores Vodka
2 parts half & half
Sea salt
Chocolate syrup

Dip rim of martini glass in chocolate syrup and coat with sea salt.
Drizzle chocolate syrup inside martini glass.
Pour Three Olives S'mores and half & half into martini shaker filled with ice.
Shake and strain into martini glass!

Saturday, June 18, 2022

CHOCOLATE PICNIC CAKE: International Picnic Day!

Today is International Picnic Day! This Chocolate Picnic Cake is great any time, but especially for a picnic. As you know if you read this blog, I don't usually add icing to my cakes, and this recipe is no exception, especially for a picnic. Well I always take the least messy foods. This recipe is slightly adapted from Epicurious, and it's so easy. It will become your go-to picnic cake!

CHOCOLATE PICNIC CAKE

Ingredients 

Dry ingredients
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup cocoa
1 3/4 cups sugar

Moist ingredients
1 cup oil
1 cup hot coffee
1 cup milk
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

Directions
Sift dry ingredients together. Add oil, coffee, and milk. Mix at medium speed for 2 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat 2 minutes more.
Bake at 350 degrees in greased and floured Bundt pan for 45 minutes or a 9 x 13" pan for 40 minutes. Let sit 25 minutes before taking out of pan.

Friday, June 17, 2022

QUEEN OF HEARTS CHOCOLATE CHERRY TART: National Cherry Tart Day!

Today is National Cherry Tart Day, and it's the perfect time to make a Chocolate Cherry Tart since there are fresh cherries for sale on every corner!  If that's not the case in your town, be sure and save this recipe for when they're available.

One of the most useful gadgets in my kitchen is my cherry pitter, especially for pitting fresh cherries in large batches. I originally got my cherry pitter over 35 years ago for pitting small plums for jam.

Since today is National Cherry Tart Day, I'm posting a recipe for Chocolate Cherry Tart that was "blended and adapted" from recipes from Desperationdinners.com and Dianasaurdishes.com. These two blogs have morphed, but I still had the original recipes. DesperationDinners' tart uses a 'plain' tart dough, but I can never have enough Chocolate! Dianasaurdishes has a wonderful chocolate tart recipe that's pretty fool-proof. Have a look at Eating Richly (Dianasaurdishes') Raspberry Chocolate Tart Recipe. Just substitute cherries. No time to make the tart shell? Use a prepared pie crust that's not chocolate. I often use Trader Joe's frozen pie crusts.

QUEEN OF HEARTS CHOCOLATE CHERRY TART

Chocolate Pie Crust:
 
Ingredients
4 ounces unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
1 cup all purpose flour
2 1/2 Tbsp unsweetened DARK cocoa powder

Directions
Beat butter and sugar on medium speed for 3 minutes until smooth and creamy. Scrape down bowl and beat another minute so there are no lumps. Add egg yolk, beat well, and scrape downsides again.
Add flour and cocoa powder, beat on lowest speed until dough has just come together (but still has small to medium clumps) and looks moist with dark uniform color. Scrape down bowl and use spatula to incorporate anything that isn’t mixed in.
Put chocolate crust in 11- to 12-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Use heel of hand to press dough and spread along bottom of pan and up sides  if you’re having trouble, refrigerate dough 15 minutes before pressing)
Cut off any dough above top of tart pan. Save dough for repairs. Place dough filled pan in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place pan on cookie sheet and bake in lower third of oven for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and use leftover dough to repair cracks. Bake another 8 minutes.
Remove tart pan to cooling rack and use rounded side of a spoon to press center down and make more room for filling. Let cool completely (you can do this in refrigerator for faster results).

While the crust is baking, prepare filling!

Cherry Filling:

Ingredients
12 ounce 65-75% dark chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup heavy or whipping cream
1 1/2 pounds fresh sweet cherries, rinsed and dried (any cherries will work)
3 Tbsp Bonne Maman Cherry preserves (or strawberry jelly)

Directions
Put chocolate and cream in double boiler or saucepan on top of another saucepan with simmering water. Melt together, stirring, until smooth. Set aside.
Remove cherry stems, remove pits with cherry pitter. Set aside.
When crust is cool, pour chocolate into crust and smooth evenly with back of spoon. Place cherries into chocolate in concentric circles, stem side up, pressing into chocolate to hold in place.
Put jelly in small measuring cup and microwave on High until spreadable, about 15 seconds.
Using pastry brush, lightly brush tops of cherries with jelly just to glaze.
Place tart in refrigerator, uncovered, to cool until chocolate is set, about 25 to 30 minutes.
To serve, remove sides of  tart pan.
Here's a trick for removing the tart from the outside ring of the pan: 
(Place bottom of  pan over a small bowl that's smaller than tart pan. The pan ring will fall away if sides have shrunk enough, or you can jiggle gently and pull down on the pan ring to remove.)
Slice into wedges, and serve cold.

Thursday, June 16, 2022

FIVE MINUTE DARK CHOCOLATE COFFEE FUDGE: National Fudge Day

Today is National Fudge Day! Over the years of writing this blog, I have posted so many Fudge recipes. Well, duh! Chocolate --  Fudge! So if you're hankering for fudge to celebrate today's Food holiday, here's an incredibly quick and easy recipe for Five Minute Dark Chocolate Coffee Fudge.

This Fudge truly only 5 minutes to make and includes only three ingredients that are probably already in your pantry. Coffee really brings out the chocolate in this old fashioned silky smooth fudge. Soooo rich. Gluten-free, too!

FIVE MINUTE DARK CHOCOLATE COFFEE FUDGE

Ingredients
1-14-oz can Sweetened Condensed Milk
2 Tbsp espresso granules (or instant coffee)
1/2 Tbsp water
12 ounces dark chocolate (65-70% cacao), chopped

Directions
Heat condensed milk in saucepan over medium heat.
Dissolve espresso granules in water. Stir into condensed milk.
Add chopped dark chocolate, lower heat to simmer (be careful not to burn). Stir just until until melted and smooth.
Pour into oiled 8x8 inch pan. Chill in fridge until set (about 2 hours).
Cut into squares.

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

DOWNTON ABBEY: DOWAGER DUCHESS TRIPLE CHOCOLATE SCONES

With the release of the new Downton Abbey movie - Downton Abbey: The New Era, I thought I'd revisit some of the scone recipes I posted during the TV series. Scones were certainly served at Downton Abbey, Mrs. Crawley's, or taken on visits to tenant farmers. Here's a recipe for Dowager Duchess Triple Chocolate Scones. Of course these go very well with a heaping helping of Clotted Cream. Whip up a batch these Dowager Duchess Triple Chocolate Scones to eat while watching the new movie

Dowager Duchess Triple Chocolate Scones 

Ingredients
1-3/4 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pure vanilla
6 Tbsp butter  (cold)
7-8 Tbsp whole milk  (cold)
1/2 cup chocolate chips
3 Tbsp chopped dark chocolate
Sugar Crystals 

Directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Sift together dry ingredients in large bowl (not the chocolate chips or chocolate).
Cut butter into dry ingredients and cut into dry mixture until the size of peas.

Add chocolate chips and dark chocolate.
Put vanilla into small bowl and add milk. Pour most of milk mixture into dry mix and stir to moisten. Dough should be moist enough to form a soft ball, but not sticky. If needed, additional milk can be added 1-2 teaspoons at time.
Turn dough onto lightly floured cutting board and press out with hand to approximately 1/2 inch thickness. (makes 10-12 scones or 8-12 wedges)
Do not over-knead dough. Use as little flour as possible to keep dough from sticking to board.
Cut into desired shapes and place on lightly greased baking sheet.
Lightly brush tops with milk (or not).
Sprinkle with sugar crystals (you can get this from King Arthur Flour or find it in the market in the baking section).
(If using a biscuit cutter or glass, dip the cutting edge in flour first)
Bake for 10-15 minutes depending on size. Start checking at 9 minutes. Do not overbake!
Sprinkle again with large sugar crystals while scones are still hot for visual appeal.

Scones are like biscuits. To get a tender, flaky scone, dough should be handled as little as possible, and you should always use cold butter and cold milk.

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

CHOCOLATE STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE: National Strawberry Shortcake Day!

Today is National Strawberry Shortcake Day. There's something about strawberries, whipped cream, and shortcake that says Summer! This recipe for Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake is the bomb!

A definition ... There are several different types of shortcake or pastries known as shortcake. First there are scones and biscuits -- perfect for Strawberry Shortcake. And, then there are sponge cakes like those little spongy cups you get at the supermarket, also good, just different. And, of course, there's just plain cake which can be chocolate! All these 'cakes' are quick to make and taste great with strawberries and whipping cream. Of course, for me, the shortcake should always be chocolate. As always, your cakes are only as good as the chocolate you use!

A bit of history... No one really knows exactly when the first strawberry shortcake was made. Shortcake, itself, is a European invention that goes back at least to the late 1500s. Strawberries have been around for over 2000 years. But putting strawberries and shortcake together is an American tradition. Strawberry Shortcake parties became popular in the United States around 1850 with the earliest recipe in 1847. Strawberries were so popular that people talked about strawberry fever. Advertisements and articles about strawberry shortcake, caused more and more demand. Harpers Magazine in 1893 said, "They give you good eating, strawberries and short-cake-- Ohh My!"

Here's a great recipe for Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake adapted from Rhoda Peacher at Hobbyfarms.com

A tip from Lynda King at Hobbyfarms: one of the best ways to prepare berries for shortcake is to bruise them with a potato masher. You don’t want all the berries mashed, but you want most of them bruised sufficiently to yield their juice into the mixture. If needed, add sugar or honey to taste, depending on your preference, and chill for a few hours before serving.

CHOCOLATE STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE

Ingredients

Shortcake
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup Dutch process cocoa powder
3 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup + up to 2 Tbsp milk

Filling
4 to 5 cups fresh strawberries
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup whipping cream, whipped

Directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Grease two 8-inch round cake pans.

In large bowl, combine flour, 1/2 cup sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.
Using pastry blender, cut butter into mixture until consistency resembles coarse crumbs.
Stir in 1 cup milk with fork until mixture is just moistened (you may need to add extra milk for the mixture to blend evenly).
Using your fingers, spread into prepared pans.
Bake at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes, or until cake begins to pull away from sides of pans.
Cool 15 minutes; remove cakes from pans. Cool completely.
Reserve five whole strawberries for garnish.
Wash, hull, and halve remaining strawberries.
In large bowl, combine halved strawberries and 1/4 cup sugar.
Place 1 shortcake bottom-side up on serving plate.
Top with half of strawberries and half of whipped cream.
Drizzle with a few tablespoons of chocolate sauce, to taste.
Place the other shortcake on top of this, right-side up.
Top with remaining prepared strawberries and whipped cream.
Garnish with reserved whole strawberries.

Want to drink your Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake?

CHOCOLATE STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE COCKTAIL


1 shot amaretto
1 shot creme de cacao
2 double shots of fresh strawberry puree
2 double shots of cream

Add several ice cubes, 2 double shots of fresh strawberry puree, 2 double shots of cream, add one shot of amaretto and one shot of creme de cacao. Blend for 1 min until mixture is thick. Pour into a martini glass.

Garnish with a whole strawberry or rim the glass with crushed chocolate--or both!

Happy Strawberry Shortcake Day!

Monday, June 13, 2022

COOKIE MEMORIES ARE NICE, BUT... // Guest Post by Alice Loweecey

I love when my mystery and chocolate worlds collide. Today's post is by mystery author Alice Loweecey. Buy her latest book, mix up a batch of these fab cookies, and enjoy! Thanks, Alice.

ALICE LOWEECEY:

Cookie Memories are Nice, but… 

 

A cookie in the hand is better.

 

Back in the day, Archway made great childhood memories. The raspberry oatmeal ones were one of my favorites. They had a weird fold which sandwiched almost enough raspberry jam. Their frosted lemon ones—oh my. A little on the dry side for me, but the thin layer of icing made the perfect combination.

 

I’ve talked about non-chocolate cookies enough. Let’s get to the point here: Archway big, soft, fluffy chocolate chip cookies. They stopped using that recipe at some point. Like the raspberry and the lemon, the recipe changed somewhere along the line. The modern versions are average. Not special. I stopped looking with hopeful eyes at the cookie aisle in the grocery store and rolled up my sleeves. 

 

In the early 1980s a fellow nun gave me a recipe for chocolate chip cookies she said were different than the rest. The first time I baked them my mouth said “Archway!” I wrote the recipe to her dictation and kept that piece of notepaper for about 30 years, until it threatened to fall apart. Then I scanned it. 

 



Don’t worry. I won’t force anyone to read that! Here’s the recipe:

 

Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies

Oven 375

Makes 4-6 dozen, depending on desired size

 

In a large bowl, combine and mix well:

1 cup shortening

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1 egg

1 cup evaporated milk

12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

 

In a separate bowl, sift:

2-1/2 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

 

Combine both mixtures. Batter should be slightly stiff. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto parchment- or silicone-lined cookie sheets. Bake 10-12 minutes until edges are browned. Let cool a few minutes before removing from cookie sheets.

 


Original Archway chocolate chip cookies were a good three inches across. These aren’t. I use a small cookie scoop to make them. They are light and fluffy and almost as good as a childhood memory. I’ll take it.


***

Lover of Fascinators and tormenter of characters, Alice Loweecey always celebrates the day she jumped the wall (code for kicking the habit of a nun). As herself, she has 9 mysteries with Midnight Ink and Henery Press. As Kate Morgan, she has 3 stand-alone horror novels with Dark Recesses Press and Omnium Gatherum. She also has several anthologized short stories.

 

Sunday, June 12, 2022

GERMAN CHOCOLATE CAKE TRUFFLES: National German Chocolate Cake Day

Yesterday was National German Chocolate Cake Day. I've done several posts about German Chocolate Cake, a cake that is not German at all, but for this year's German Chocolate Cake Day, I thought I'd post a recipe for German Chocolate Cake Truffles. Officially these could also be called Cake Balls, especially if you put them on a stick. They're made of cake, after all.

I'm not sure where I found this recipe, so I did a search and found the same recipe popped up in lots of places on the Internet. One source was Southern Living 2011 Christmas Edition, but a similar recipe is everywhere. I use the Duncan Hines German Chocolate Cake Mix, but you can use a Betty Crocker Cake Mix or whatever else you have. And, remember, it's all about the quality of the chocolate..and fresh toasted pecans -- that makes it special. This recipe is great and easy and delicious!

GERMAN CHOCOLATE CAKE TRUFFLES

Ingredients
1 (18.25 ounce) box German Chocolate Cake mix
1 (16 oz) can German Chocolate cake frosting
2 cups toasted coconut, divided
Melted Milk Chocolate
1 3/4 cups toasted chopped pecans, divided
24-28 ounces milk chocolate, chopped

Directions
Mix and bake cake as directed on box. Cool.
Put cake in bowl and crumble with fork.
Mix in half (or more) of can of frosting.
Sprinkle with 1 cup of coconut and 1 cup of pecans.
Stir gently.
Roll into balls or use cookie scoop.
Place balls on cookie sheet lined with wax paper.
Cover and chill balls up to 2 hours.

Combine remaining cup of coconut and 3/4 cup pecans. Stir.
Melt milk chocolate.. in small amounts.
Dip balls in melted chocolate with two fork method or dipping fork. Let excess drip off.
Put coated truffles on wax paper lined cookie sheet and sprinkle tops with coconut pecan mixture.
Chill 30 minutes.


Saturday, June 11, 2022

MRS. APPLEYARD'S BROWNIES...KIND OF: Guest Post by Ellen Byron

You know I love when my mystery and chocolate worlds cross. And now my cookbook world, too! My friend Ellen Byron has just started a new series: The Vintage Cookbook Mystery series. I, too, collect vintage cookbooks, so I can't wait to dive into Bayou Book Thief...and make Mrs. Appleyard's Brownies. More info and recipe below!

ELLEN BYRON:

MRS. APPLEYARD’S BROWNIES… KIND OF

My Vintage Cookbook Mystery series, which just launched with the first book, Bayou Book Thief, is inspired by my own hobby of collecting vintage cookbooks. Each book in the mystery series will include recipes I’ve adapted from my personal collection. I counted recently and I have just north of one hundred cookbooks, with publication dates ranging from the late 1800s to the late 1970s. I love the glimpse they provide into decades of American eating habits and how they’ve evolved.

One of the books in my collection is a 1942 tome titled Mrs. Appleyard’s Kitchen. I did a little research into Mrs. Appleyard and discovered that she, like Betty Crocker, doesn’t exist. She’s a humorous, gently opinionated fictional New England homemaker channeled through the writing of actual author Louise Andrews Kent. Apparently the character first appeared in a charming novel, which became a bestseller during WWII, and spun off into more than one successful cookbook. In fact, Mrs. Appleyard’s success spanned five decades, with a paperback edition of Cooking with Mrs. Appleyard published in 1993.

Like I said, I adapt every recipe I use in my series, adjusting each to today’s tastes and cooking styles. But culling recipes from cookbooks that go back eighty years, like my Mrs. Appleyard’s Kitchen, presents challenges. I have to weed out recipes utilizing ingredients that are hard to find these days or
cooking techniques calibrated to the time of publication
.

For my second Vintage Cookbook Mystery, Wined and Died in New Orleans, which will launch on February 7, 2023, I landed on a simple brownie recipe from Mrs. Appleyard’s Kitchen. But not only do ingredients and cooking techniques change over the years, so do our tastes. Just by reading the recipe, I could tell that what was deemed chocolate-y enough in 1942 wouldn’t fly in 2023. So I doubled the amount of chocolate and added a teaspoon of ground coffee to kick up the flavor even more.

I think Mrs. Appleyard would approve – if she existed.

Brownies

(Adapted from Mrs. Appleyard’s Kitchen, 1942)

Ingredients:

¼ cup creamed unsalted butter

4 squares melted unsweetened chocolate

½ cup all-purpose flour

1 cup Baker’s (fine) sugar (or brown sugar; baker’s choice)

1 teaspoon finely ground coffee

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/8 teaspoon salt

½ cup chopped walnuts, pecans, or mini chocolate pieces (optional)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8” square baking pan.

In a medium-size bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, coffee, and salt. Set aside.

Mix creamed butter and melted chocolate together. Make sure it’s cooled, then beat in the eggs one at time, and then the vanilla.

 If you’re including nuts or chocolate pieces, add them now.

Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 15 minutes for chewy brownies. If they’re too moist, bake another five minutes.

Servings: 8 large brownies or 16 small ones.

***

SYNOPSIS: A new mystery series from USA Today bestselling and Agatha Award–winning author Ellen Byron.

Twenty-eight-year-old widow Ricki James leaves Los Angeles to start a new life in New Orleans after her showboating actor husband perishes doing a stupid internet stunt. The Big Easy is where she was born and adopted by the NICU nurse who cared for her after Ricki’s teen mother disappeared from the hospital.

Ricki’s career dream comes true when she joins the quirky staff of Bon Vee Culinary House Museum, the spectacular former Garden District home of late bon vivant Genevieve “Vee” Charbonnet, the city’s legendary restauranteur. Ricki is excited about turning her avocation – collecting vintage cookbooks – into a vocation by launching the museum’s gift shop, Miss Vee’s Vintage Cookbooks and Kitchenware. Then she discovers that a trunk of donated vintage cookbooks doesn’t contain books – it holds the body of a cantankerous Bon Vee employee who was fired after being exposed as a book thief.

The skills Ricky has developed ferreting out hidden vintage treasures come in handy for investigations. But both her business and Bon Vee could wind up as deadstock when Ricki’s past as curator of a billionaire’s first edition collection comes back to haunt her.

Will Miss Vee’s Vintage Cookbooks and Kitchenware be a success… or a recipe for disaster?

***


BIO:
Ellen’s Cajun Country Mysteries have won multiple Agatha Awards for Best Contemporary Novel and multiple Lefty Awards for Best Humorous Mystery. Bayou Book Thief will be the first book in her new Vintage Cookbook Mysteries. She also writes the Catering Hall Mystery series under the name Maria DiRico. 

Ellen is an award-winning playwright, and non-award-winning TV writer of comedies like Wings, Just Shoot Me, and Fairly Odd Parents. She has written over two hundred articles for national magazines but considers her most impressive credit working as a cater-waiter for Martha Stewart. An alum of New Orleans’ Tulane University, she blogs with Chicks on the Case, is a lifetime member of the Writers Guild of America, serves on the national board for Mystery Writers of America, and will be the 2023 Left Coast Crime Toastmaster. Please visit her at https://www.ellenbyron.com/.

PURCHASE LINK: Bayou Book Thief by Ellen Byron: 9780593437612 | PenguinRandomHouse.com: Books

 

Friday, June 10, 2022

ICE TEA aka ICED TEA DAY: History, Info, and Chocolate Ice Tea

I'm a tea drinker, and I love Ice Tea aka Iced Tea. Since it's National Ice Tea Day, and I'm always Dying for Chocolate, here are several recipes and brands and information about Chocolate Ice Tea.

Just an FYI: The following teas will not have the full bodied chocolate taste of an Iced Cocoa or Iced Chocolate Drink. These teas are more subtle, but definitely worth trying. They're essentially different types of teas infused with cacoa nibs or cocoa with some other ingredients. Some even use carob pods. You might prefer some of them more as hot teas. Experiment.

At the end of this post, I have a recipe for Chocolate Mint Ice Tea... that's the herb Chocolate Mint that grows in the garden (it is not a chocolate --cacao-- plant!). Chocolate mint makes a lovely ice tea.

History of Ice Tea: The story goes that at the St. Louis World's Fair, Englishman Richard Blechynden was introducing Americans to the new India and Ceylon black tea. There was a heat wave at the time and lines were not forming to try his steamy hot beverage. After a few days of frustration, he tried adding ice to the tea in order to entice people in. It was the hit of the fair and a new way of drinking tea had instantly taken hold!

How to Brew Ice Tea:
To brew a quart, place either 4 to 5 bags or teaspoons of loose tea in a pitcher. Bring 2 cups of cold, tap water or filtered water to a boil. Pour the boiling water directly over the tea and steep for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove tea bags or strain and then add 2 more cups of cold water. Serve over ice.

Sun Brewed Iced Tea
Fill a container with 4 cups of cold water, preferably filtered. Place 6 bags or 6 teaspoons of tea and cover or cap lightly. Place in direct sunlight for 2 to 4 hours (depending on desired strength). Remove bags or strain and serve over ice.

Cold Water Method
Fill a container with 4 cups of filtered cold water. Put 6 bags or 6 teaspoons of tea and cover or cap lightly. Place in refrigerator for 8 hours. Remove bags or strain and serve over ice.

There are so many Chocolate Teas available now, some with black tea, some with rooibos or other herbs. The following is a random list. Let me know your favorites, and, especially, if you like chocolate teas better hot or cold!

Republic of Tea
Peppermint Cuppa Chocolate Tea Bags:  peppermint, rich chocolate and smooth, caffeine-free rooibos
Cocoanut Cocoa Cuppa Chocolate Tea Bags:  coconut, chocolate and caramel malted barley
Double Dark Chocolate Mate: roasted Yerba Maté blended with organic dark cocoa powder
Red Velvet Cuppa Chocolate Tea Bags: Rooibos blended with chocolate and beet root bits
Strawberry Cuppa Chocolate Tea Bags: chocolate paired with a hint of strawberry. Rooibos (red tea) provides the base.

Mighty Leaf Tea
Mayan Chocolate Truffle
Masala Chocolate Truffle
Chocolate Chip Truffle
Chocolate Mint Truffle Rooibos
Chocolate Orange Truffle
Mocha Truffle Pu-erh

Kalahari: Choco Latte: Red Tea Raspberry Truffle

Stash Tea: Chocolate Mint Wuyi Oolong Tea

Teavana: Haute Chocolate Rooibos Tea, Cacao Mint Black Tea

TeaFrog: Chocolate and Cream

Harney & Sons:   (one of my favorite sources for black tea): Chocolate tea

Tea Forte:  Coco Truffle
  
American Tea Room: Choco Late, CocoLoco
  
Tea Guys:  Chocolate Delight

Here's a tea for the Spring & Summer, and yes, I do have Chocolate Mint growing in my "Chocolate Garden."

CHOCOLATE MINT ICE TEA

Ingredients
4 cups fresh chocolate mint, chopped
16 cups water
1 cup local honey

Directions
Boil water, add chopped mint leaves, and simmer in covered stockpot with tight-fitting lid for 10 mins.
Add honey or simple syrup, stirring until dissolved.
Remove from heat.
Cover and let steep 3-4 hours or longer.
Refrigerate overnight.
Strain before serving.


Thursday, June 9, 2022

STRAWBERRY RHUBARB PIE: National Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Day!

Today is National Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Day. Strawberry and Rhubarb go together like Peanut Butter and Jelly. Here's one of my favorite Strawberry Rhubarb Pie recipes! Strawberry Fields Forever! Of course I make this pie with a Chocolate Cookie Crust.

A little info on rhubarb: In culinary use, fresh raw petioles (leaf stalks) are crisp (similar to celery) with a strong, tart taste. Most commonly, the plant's leaf stalks are cooked with sugar and used in pies and other desserts. Rhubarb is usually considered a vegetable. In the United States, however, a New York court decided in 1947 that since it was used in the United States as a fruit, it counted as a fruit for the purposes of regulations and duties. And, a warning: Do not eat or use the leaves. They are deadly.

The following recipe is easy and great. Most people do a two crust pie.. the top crust being a lattice; however, I don't think this works with a chocolate crust. You can always do a regular crumble on top! Or make a traditional pie crust and add a lattice crust on top. As always, it's your choice! Enjoy and celebrate the day!

STRAWBERRY RHUBARB PIE 
with CHOCOLATE COOKIE CRUST

Chocolate Cookie Crust

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

Directions 
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 sides. Bake for 10 minutes at 325. Let cool.  

Filling
3-1/2 cups rhubarb stalks, in 1/2 inch slices
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1-1/2 tsp orange zest
1/4 cup cornstarch
Dash of salt
3 1/2 cups strawberries, cleaned, hulled, quartered (or thinly sliced)

Directions
Combine filling ingredients in bowl and toss well.
Spread into prepared crust and bake for 45-50 minutes at 350 degrees or until rhubarb is tender and filling is bubbly.

So easy! Make this today!

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

DAISY CAKE: Retro Ad with Recipe

My high school had a graduation custom: The Daisy Chain. In Sophomore year, a group of girls (yes, not the boys) would go into the surrounding countryside and pick wild daisies and make a daisy chain. In Junior year, the girls, wearing white dresses, would carry the chain at the commencement procession. I'm not sure exactly how 'daisy chain' girls were chosen, probably based on leadership, grades, and activities. I don't think we thought about it, but it was an honor.

Since it's June, and there are a lot of graduations, this Retro Ad with Recipe for Daisy Cake reminded me of the Daisy Chain tradition. This recipe is for a Crisco Daisy Cake. Crisco was a staple in our household. Not so much in mine now, but I do have it in the pantry. I would replace the almond/gumdrop daisies with real daisies (at the last minute when you're serving) or make sugar daisies. The cake is really good, so I wouldn't downgrade it with the daisies in the recipe, unless you want to go retro! Of course, you can always use your favorite recipe for thick chocolate icing!

DAISY CAKE



Tuesday, June 7, 2022

CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM: 3 Recipes for National Chocolate Ice Cream Day

I scream! You scream! We all scream for Ice Cream! Make it chocolate! To celebrate National Chocolate Ice Cream Day, here are several 3 easy recipes for Chocolate Ice Cream. As always use the very best ingredients for the best flavor.

CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM RECIPE #1

Ingredients
1-1/2 cup whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions
Whisk together milk, cocoa powder, and sugar to combine.
Stir in heavy cream and vanilla extract.
Refrigerate chocolate ice cream base for at least 30 minutes before putting in your ice cream freezer, so it is completely cold. This will help freeze faster, improving texture, and allow cocoa powder to become fully hydrated by the milk and cream.

CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM RECIPE #2

Ingredients
1 cup Dutch process cocoa powder, unsweetened
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
2/3 cup white sugar
1-1/2 cups whole milk
31/4 cups heavy cream
2 Tbsp vanilla extract

Directions
In bowl, combine cocoa and both sugars, whisking to combine well. Add milk and whisk until sugars are dissolved. Stir in heavy cream and vanilla. Pour mixture into freezer bowl of ice cream maker. Let run for 30 minutes, or until mixture is thick, soft, and creamy.
Transfer to airtight container and freeze at least 2 hours.

CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM RECIPE  #3 (without ice cream maker)
This recipe is for Magic Chocolate Ice Cream -- recipe from Borden's Elsie the Cow

Ingredients
1 square unsweetened chocolate
2/3 cup Sweetened Condensed Milk
2/3 cup water
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup whipping cream

Directions
Melt chocolate in top of double boiler. Add sweetened condensed milk and stir over rapidly boiling water 5 minutes until thick. Add water, mix well. Chill. Add vanilla. Whip cream to custard-like consistency. Fold into chilled mixture. Freeze until half-frozen. Take out of container and beat until smooth but not melted. Replace in freezer until frozen.

Sunday, June 5, 2022

CHOCOLATE COGNAC TRUFFLES: 3 Recipes for National Cognac Day!

Yesterday was National Cognac Day, and I forgot to post these recipes for Cognac Truffles! Cognac is a brandy that comes from the Cognac region in France. Distilled for a long time, it's the aging process that gives Cognac its very distinctive taste. Only brandy that is produced in Cognac can be labeled Cognac. 

Cognac goes so well with Chocolate, especially in Cognac Truffles. I always opt for easy truffle recipes. I've posted two of these great recipes in the past, but I've added a third which includes orange zest! The second recipe includes raw eggs (although they heat up a bit in the chocolate), so if that's a problem for you, make the first or third recipe. I have tried many different types of chocolate (brands and amounts of cacao), and as always the flavors will change with the chocolate. These recipes are basically ganache truffles, so no tempering needed. You can roll them in cocoa or chopped nuts.

1. COGNAC TRUFFLES

Ingredients
8 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp Cognac
unsweetened cocoa or chopped nuts

Directions
Put chopped chocolate in bowl. On low heat warm cream and butter until nearly boiling. Pour cream and butter over chocolate and mix gently and thoroughly until chocolate is melted. You can always just melt all ingredients together in the top of a double boiler, if you're careful.
Cool and add cognac, mixing into chocolate mixture.
Cover and refrigerate 3 hours or more.
Using a melonballer or spoon, scoop chocolate into balls. Then roll in hands to smooth out the ball.
Roll balls in cocoa or nuts and refrigerate until ready to serve.

2. COGNAC TRUFFLES

Ingredients
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1-1/4 cup confectioners sugar
1/3 cup unsalted butter
3 egg yolks
2 Tbsp cognac
cocoa or chopped nuts

Directions
Melt chocolate.
Combine sugar and butter in bowl then cream together.
Add egg yolks 1 at a time then stir in melted chocolate and cognac.
Chill mixture at least one hour then scoop out and form into balls.
Roll in coating of your choice and dry for 1 hour.

3. COGNAC TRUFFLES

Ingredients 
6 ounces DARK chocolate, chopped
3 ounces heavy cream
1 Tbsp cognac
1-1/2 Tbsp grated orange zest
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Directions
Bring cream to simmer in saucepan over medium-high heat. Set aside. Add chocolate and stir until smooth. Add cognac and orange zest and stir well. Cover and chill it refrigerator for 4 hours until stiff.
With scoop or teaspoon, make small balls.
Put cocoa powder in bowl and roll truffles in it.
Chill for half an hour and serve.

No time to make these today? Coco Delice has great Cognac Truffles!