Pages

Thursday, January 27, 2022

HERSHEY'S 'PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE' CHOCOLATE CAKE: National Chocolate Cake Day!

Today is National Chocolate Cake Day, and what better chocolate cake to make than Hershey's "Perfectly Chocolate" Chocolate Cake? It always works, and it's rich and chocolatey!

This "Perfectly Chocolate" Chocolate Cake  lends itself to so many variations. See below!


HERSHEY'S 'PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE' CHOCOLATE CAKE

Ingredients
2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

Directions
Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.
Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.
Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.
Frost with "PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE" CHOCOLATE FROSTING. 10 to 12 servings.

"PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE" CHOCOLATE FROSTING 

Ingredients
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2/3 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Directions
Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency. Add small amount additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla. About 2 cups frosting.  

***
VARIATIONS on HERSHEY'S 'PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE" CHOCOLATE CAKE 

ONE-PAN CAKE: Grease and flour 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Heat oven to 350° F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely. Frost.

THREE LAYER CAKE: Grease and flour three 8-inch round baking pans. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake 30 to 35 minutes. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost.

BUNDT CAKE: Grease and flour 12-cup fluted tube pan. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 50 to 55 minutes. Cool 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely. Frost.

CUPCAKES: Line muffin cups (2-1/2 inches in diameter) with paper bake cups. Heat oven to 350°F. Fill cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake 22 to 25 minutes. Cool completely. Frost. About 30 cupcakes.

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

CHOCOLATE PEANUT BRITTLE: Peanut Brittle Day


Today is National Peanut Brittle Day. Peanut Brittle is delicious, and it's that's much better if you add chocolate! As always, the finished product will reflect its ingredients, so use the very best! This recipe is adapted from Hershey's!

CHOCOLATE PEANUT BRITTLE

Ingredients
1-1/4 cups salted peanuts
1/4 cup Dark Cocoa 
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup whipping cream
1 cup sugar

Directions
Lightly butter cookie sheet; set aside. Stir together cocoa and baking soda in small bowl; add butter. Set aside.
Stir together sugar, corn syrup, and whipping cream in heavy 2-quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until sugar is dissolved. Stir in peanuts. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until mixture reaches 300°F. on candy thermometer or until syrup, when dropped into very cold water, separates into threads which are hard and brittle. (Bulb of candy thermometer should not rest on bottom of saucepan.)
Remove from heat; stir in cocoa mixture. Immediately pour onto prepared cookie sheet. With tongs or wooden spoons, quickly spread and pull into 1/4-inch thickness. Place cookie sheet on wire rack; cool completely.
Snap into pieces!



Tuesday, January 25, 2022

IRISH COFFEE CHOCOLATE BUNDT CAKE: Irish Coffee Day!

Today is National Irish Coffee Day, and I have an easy recipe for Irish Coffee Chocolate Cake to celebrate! If you're a purist, you'll want to substitute your own chocolate cake and pudding recipes for the box mixes. If you're in a hurry, though, this is a great easy recipe! A terrific way to celebrate the day. No time to bake? Head on over to your favorite Irish Pub and raise a glass of Irish Coffee. Have some chocolate in your pocket. Stir it in!

Irish Coffee is a very San Francisco drink invented in 1952 at The Buena Vista Cafe. The recipe was a collaborative effort between Jack Koeppler, the Buena Vista’s owner, and Stanton Delaplane, a well-known international travel writer and San Francisco Chronicle columnist. Here's the original recipe. Irish Coffee at the Buena Vista is still made the same way.

The official story of Irish Coffee tells of the perseverance and repeated attempts of Koeppler & Delaplane and even a trip to Shannon Airport, where a forerunner of Koeppler’s vision was served. The whipped cream posed a problem, but the input of a prominent dairy farmer turned Mayor of San Francisco, solved the problem: Age the cream for 48 hours and froth it to a precise consistency so it would float on top of the hot coffee, to Koeppler’s specifications.

So if you're in San Francisco today, it's a big day at the Buena Vista. Stop by and raise a glass!


IRISH COFFEE CHOCOLATE BUNDT CAKE

Ingredients
1 box chocolate cake mix (Duncan Hines Devil's Food Cake)
1/2 cup oil
4 eggs
3 tablespoons instant coffee
3/4 cup Irish whiskey
1/2 cup water
1 small package instant chocolate pudding
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate
Whipped cream

Directions
Combine cake mix, oil, eggs, instant coffee, whiskey, water, and pudding mix. Blend well. Fold in chocolate chips/chopped chocolate. Pour into greased and floured bundt pan.
Bake at 350 degrees F for about 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Remove from pan and cool completely.


Monday, January 24, 2022

Cartoon of the Day: Eating Indoors

Love this New Yorker cartoon!


 

 

EXTRA NUTTY PEANUT BUTTER FUDGE BROWNIES: National Peanut Butter Day

Today is National Peanut Butter Day! Here's a great and easy recipe for Extra Nutty Peanut Butter Fudge Brownies adapted from a Pillsbury recipe. I don't usually use boxed mixes, but this is a great recipe. Of course you can make your own brownies and just add the layer of peanut butter fudge and 1/2 cup chopped peanuts. I really like the clean salty taste of plain roasted peanuts, rather than the recommended honey-roasted peanuts in the original recipe. I also add chocolate chips to the recipe and cut down on the peanut butter chips. You can never have enough chocolate!

Have a Peanut Buttery Day!

EXTRA NUTTY PEANUT BUTTER FUDGE BROWNIES!

Ingredients
2 (15.8 oz) package fudge brownie mix with chocolate syrup
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup water
2 eggs
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated)
7 ounces peanut butter chips
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup roasted salted peanuts, coarsely chopped

Directions
Heat oven to 350°F. Spray with nonstick cooking spray or grease bottom only of 13x9-inch pan.
In large bowl, combine brownie mixes, chocolate pouches from mixes, oil, water and eggs; beat 50 strokes with spoon. Fold in chocolate chips. Pour about half of batter into sprayed pan.
In large saucepan, combine condensed milk, peanut butter chips, and peanut butter; cook over low heat for 5 minutes or until chips and peanut butter are melted, stirring constantly.
Spoon and spread peanut butter mixture over batter.
Drop remaining half of batter over peanut butter layer.
Sprinkle with chopped peanuts.
Bake at 350°F. for 35 to 40 minutes or until edges begin to pull away from sides of pan. DO NOT OVERBAKE. 
Cool 2 hours.
Cut into bars.

Sunday, January 23, 2022

GONE TO HEAVEN CHOCOLATE PIE: National Pie Day

Today is National Pie DayNational Pie Day was created by the American Pie Council in 1986 to commemorate Crisco's 75th anniversary of "serving foods to families everywhere." National Pie Day is a special day that is set aside to bake and cook all of your favorite pies. But most importantly, it's a day to eat pies! 

A few years ago I posted an easy recipe for a Chocolate Silk Pie in my Wedding Pie article. Here's a different recipe for this pie that I've adapted from Hershey's Kitchen. It's called Gone to Heaven Chocolate Pie. I make my own chocolate crumb crust instead of a frozen or store bought, but if you don't have time, use a pre-made crust. Since this is a Hershey's recipe, I've used their dark chocolate chips. If you have other chocolate lying around, just chop it up, so you have about the same amount, and substitute.

Gone to Heaven Chocolate Pie
Pie Shell: 
I would make a chocolate crumb crust. You can do this ahead to save time. Make two and freeze one, and you'll have one for next time! This one makes a 9" pie. 

Ingredients 
Nonstick vegetable oil spray 
6 tablespoons unsalted butter 
1 ounce bittersweet (not unsweetened) chocolate, chopped (70-85% cacao) 
30 chocolate wafer cookies 

Directions:
Spray a 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish with nonstick spray (or butter it). 
Stir butter and chocolate in heavy small saucepan over low heat until melted. 
Finely grind cookies in processor. 
Add chocolate mixture. 
Process until crumbs are moistened. 
Press crumb mixture into prepared pie dish. 
Freeze until firm, about 30 minutes. 

Pie Filling: 

Ingredients:
2/3 cup sugar 
1/3 cup cornstarch 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
4 egg yolks 
3 cups milk
2 tablespoons butter, softened 
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract 
2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) Hershey's special Chocolate Chips, divided 
Sweetened whipped cream (optional) 

Directions: 
Bake pie shell; cool. Stir together sugar, cornstarch and salt in 2 quart saucepan. Combine egg yolks and milk in container with pouring spout. Gradually blend milk mixture into sugar mixture. 

Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Boil and stir 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in butter and vanilla. Add 1-3/4 cups chocolate chips; stir until chips are melted and mixture is well blended. Pour into prepared pie shell; press plastic wrap onto filling. Cool. 

Refrigerate several hours or until chilled and firm. Top with whipped cream and remaining chocolate chips. (optional) 

Saturday, January 22, 2022

DAGWOOD'S BLONDIES: National Blondie Brownies Day

Today is National Blondie Brownies Day. Now this is a misnomer because Blondies aren't really BrowniesBlondies are all about the butter and brown sugar, and as with their versatile cousin, chocolate brownies, you can add other ingredients such as macadamia nuts, cocounut, white chocolate chips, pecans, or other goodies.

This year I'd like to celebrate National Blondie Brownies Day with a recipe that features Blondie, that wonderful comic strip woman known for her baking and sandwich making! Created in 1930 by Chic Young, Blondie and Dagwood appear together in blissful love and happiness in over 2300 newspapers all around the world and translated into 35 different languages in 55 countries and read by an estimated 280 million people every day.

This recipe isn't from the Blondie Cookbook (I posted a recipe from the cookbook for a Chocolate Sandwich, of course). This recipe for Dagwood's Blondies is from the Lurpak Butter Company.  Enjoy!

Dagwood’s Blondies

Ingredients
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 oz (1 cup or 16 Tablespoons) Unsalted Butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Combine flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside. On medium speed, beat butter and both sugars until pale and fluffy.
Add eggs, one at a time and then vanilla.
Lower speed and stir in flour mixture
Fold in nuts and chocolate chips or pieces.
Transfer batter to 9 x 13" non-stick or sprayed baking pan.
Bake for 45 minutes.
Cool completely in pan before cutting into 2-inch squares.

Friday, January 21, 2022

CHOCOLATE BROWNIE PIE: Retro Ad with Recipe

This Retro Chocolate Brownie Pie is truly wonderful and simple! This recipe is from a Retro Betty Crocker Gold Medal Flour advertisement. It really "Tastes like Chocolate Brownies!"

You can modernize and improve this recipe by using an excellent dark chocolate (cut down on the sugar), and make your own pie crust.

CHOCOLATE BROWNIE PIE

Ingredients
2/3 cup unsalted butter
5 oz unsweetened baking chocolate (or good dark chocolate -and cut down the sugar)
1-1/4 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
1 cup flour
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
1 frozen deep dish pie crust
Whipped cream, if desired

Directions
Heat oven to 350º.
In 1-quart saucepan, melt butter and chocolate over low heat, stirring constantly. Cool 5 minutes.
In medium bowl, beat sugar, vanilla and eggs with electric mixer on high speed 5 minutes. Beat in chocolate mixture on low speed, scraping bowl occasionally. Beat in flour just until blended, scraping bowl occasionally. Stir in walnuts. Spread in frozen pie crust.
Bake 37 to 42 minutes or until toothpick inserted halfway between center and edge of pan comes out almost clean. Cool in pan on wire rack, at least 2 hours. Cut into wedges.
Serve with whipped cream, if desired.

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Cartoon of the Day: Grilled Cheese

 Happy Cheese Lovers Day!


 

CHEESE AND CHOCOLATE PAIRINGS & RECIPE FOR CREAM CHEESE CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES: Cheese Lovers Day

Today is National Cheese Lovers Day. Chocolate and Cheese go perfectly together. You just have to have the right pairing.

Here are a few guidelines for the perfect CHEESE and CHOCOLATE pairing. Foods with similar flavor profiles work best together. For Darker Chocolates, choose a more complex, aged cheese. For Milk Chocolates choose a buttery cheese such as a Triple Brie. For Fruity Chocolates pair with a sharper cheese. For Nuttier chocolates pair with cheese high in butterfat. Spicy chocolates pair with sharp cheeses,

A few examples of Savory-Sweet Pairings:
Dark chocolate (80% or more cocoa) with a delicious true Blue cheese.
Burnt caramel chocolates with a beer-washed Cheese.
Bordeaux-style chocolate with a creamy triple crème Brie.
Citrus-y chocolate with a semi-hard, buttery table cheese (feta or havarti).

Here's an easy recipe for Cream Cheese Chocolate Truffles. You might also want to try my recipes for Goat Cheese Truffles or Blue Cheese Truffles, too.

Cream Cheese Chocolate Truffles

Ingredients
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
8 ounces softened cream cheese
4 ounces unsweetened or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup DARK cocoa powder, for rolling (or ground/chopped walnuts)

Directions
Pour cocoa powder or nuts into a shallow pie pan and set aside.
Chop chocolate into small pieces and melt in top of doubleboiler (or a pot over a pot of simmering water), stirring after every 45 seconds to prevent overheating. Set chocolate aside.
In large bowl of electric mixer, beat softened cream cheese. Gradually add powdered sugar. Beat mixture on medium speed for a few minutes, until well-blended.
Stop mixer and stir in melted chocolate. Beat until well combined.
Remove bowl from mixer, cover it with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm enough to scoop, about 20-30 minutes.
Once candy is firm but not hard, scoop into 1 inch balls using teaspoon or candy/cookie scoop.
Roll truffles in cocoa powder or ground/chopped walnuts.
Serve truffles at room temperature, but if you're not eating right away, put in airtight container and keep in refrigerator.

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

CHOCOLATE CARAMEL POPCORN BALLS: National Popcorn Day

Today is National Popcorn Day! I usually post popcorn recipes around the time of the Academy Awards, but I came across this recipe a few years ago on the Taza Chocolate website and love it! You may recall that I always have a bar of Taza Mexicano chocolate in my desk. It's a favorite. I love the stone ground texture.  

So, I've saved this slightly adapted recipe for Chocolate Caramel Popcorn Balls to post today. As I've mentioned before on this blog, you can find great recipes at food and food association sites. I love the crunchy salty-sweet taste of these Chocolate Caramel Popcorn Balls, and they're so easy to eat. Great for parties for both kids and adults!

CHOCOLATE CARAMEL POPCORN BALLS
Makes 15 popcorn balls

Ingredients
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup popcorn kernels
pinch of salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
8 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup Taza Roasted Cacao Nibs
2 bars Taza Dominican 70% Dark Stone Ground Chocolate, chopped
Wood skewers or popsicle sticks
Sprinkles, to garnish

Directions
Grease large mixing bowl with oil or kitchen spray. In large lidded pot with lid on, heat vegetable oil, popcorn, and pinch of salt over high heat while continuously shaking pot and listening for popping. Remove from heat when popping is less frequent than every 3 seconds and pour into greased bowl.

In saucepan combine sugar, brown sugar, honey, and butter over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until temperature reaches 300 degrees measured on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat and carefully add baking soda (be careful, the sugar will bubble and expand!), then pour over popcorn carefully using a spatula to toss and coat the popcorn. Add cacao nibs.

When popcorn is cool enough to handle, but still warm, wet hands and form popcorn into balls, sticking each one with skewers or popsicle sticks.

Place chocolate in heat proof bowl, then place on top of bowl of simmering water until chocolate is warm and melted then drizzle over popcorn balls. Top with sprinkles if desired. Allow to cool before serving.

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

WINNIE THE POOH CHOCOLATE CHIP HONEY SCONES: Winnie the Pooh Day

Today is Winnie the Pooh Day. We all know that Winnie the Pooh loves Honey (Hunny) Well, most bears love honey, don't they? And, Winnie the Pooh loves a good tea party, so here's a great recipe for Chocolate Chip Honey Scones to celebrate Winnie the Pooh Day!

“I don’t feel very much like Pooh today," said Pooh.
"There there," said Piglet. "I’ll bring you tea and honey until you do.”
A.A. Milne,
Winnie-the-Pooh 

Winnie the Pooh Chocolate Chip Honey Scones 

Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 tablespoon honey
3/4 cup ricotta cheese
2/3 cup milk or cream

Directions
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Line baking sheet with parchment paper. In large mixing bowl, add flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Stir to combine.
Cut in cold butter with pastry cutter (or fork), and mix with pastry cutter or fork until mixture has the texture of coarse sand.
Add chocolate chips, honey, ricotta cheese, and milk. Stir with wooden spoon until batter forms and all ingredients are combined. DO NOT OVERMIX.
Lightly flour board and place ball of dough on floured surface. Gently pat dough down into disk, about 1 inch thick. With knife, cut disk into 8 approximately equal pieces. Place pieces on prepared baking sheet.
Bake at 425 for about 15-17 minutes, or until scones are lightly golden and baked through.
Cool. 

Monday, January 17, 2022

HOT BUTTERED RUM COCOA: National Hot Buttered Rum Cocoa!

Today is National Hot Buttered Rum Day. It's cold and crisp today, and I know some areas of the U.S. are blanketed with snow, so this is the perfect drink to celebrate the day!

This recipe for Hot Buttered Rum Cocoa is from the Wisconsin Cheese Board. So many Food associations have great recipes. Be sure and check them out.

If you don't have time to make Hot Buttered Rum Cocoa, you can always celebrate this food holiday with Seattle Chocolates' Hot Buttered Rum Milk Chocolate Truffle Bar. Fabulous! This bar is buttery, smooth with a light hint of rum and toffee crunch in milk chocolate.

Hot Buttered Rum Cocoa

Ingredients
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 cup dark rum
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup cocoa
4 cups milk

Directions
Combine butter, brown sugar, and seasonings in small bowl, mixing until well-blended. Drop six spoonfuls onto plastic wrap-lined plate; chill while preparing beverage, then form into balls.
Combine rum, sugar, and cocoa in 2 quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat until mixture boils, stirring constantly. Simmer 1 minute; add milk. Cook until heated through; do not boil.
Pour into six mugs; place one butter ball in each cup.

Sunday, January 16, 2022

CHOCOLATE FIG BON BONS

Don't you just love the term Bon Bons? Good-Good. Oui! Oui!  Bon Bon is the word for candy in French, so Bon Bon would include all types of candy from hard candy to taffy to chocolate-covered confections. But I don't live in France, so the Bon Bons I'm referring to in today's post have a hearty fig filling covered in chocolate! This is a classic Bon Bon. This recipe is adapted from the Valley Fig Growers site.


Chocolate Fig Bon Bons
 Makes about 25 bon bons

Ingredients
8 ounces Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid Calimyrna or Mission Figs, stems removed
2/3 cup (3 oz.) toasted hazelnuts or almonds
8 vanilla wafer cookies, crushed
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup rum
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
5 ounces dark chocolate (65% cacao +)
Vegetable oil

Directions
Process figs, hazelnuts, and vanilla wafers in food processor until finely ground.
Add powdered sugar, rum, and orange peel; process until mixed.
Dampen hands and shape mixture into 1 1/4-inch balls.
Arrange close together on a baking sheet.
In small, deep, microwave-safe bowl, heat chocolate on High 1-2 minutes, stirring after 1 minute. Add a few drops of vegetable oil if needed to make chocolate thin enough (if needed) to dip.
Dip each ball in chocolate holding between two forks, letting extra chocolate drip off.
Put chocolate dipped Fig Bon Bons on second baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Refrigerate until chocolate is set.
Eat or Store in airtight container up to 1 week.

Saturday, January 15, 2022

STRAWBERRY ICE CREAM CHOCOLATE HEART SANDWICHES: National Strawberry Ice Cream Day!

Today is Strawberry Ice Cream Day. This seems a little odd coming in the middle of a cold January, but ice cream is available all year round, so why not?

I chose a recipe for today's holiday that will also be great for Valentine's Day, so be sure and bookmark it. Recipe is from Martha Stewart. Her recipe calls for homemade vanilla, which is really lovely, but if you don't have time for that, you can always use whatever vanilla you have. I will be doing a post on vanilla in the near future. Stay tuned. I have lots of heart shaped cookie cutters, but you can use any cookie-cutter shape you'd like for these ice cream sandwiches. I especially like strawberry ice cream that has bits of strawberry in it. Much richer and luscious.

STRAWBERRY ICE CREAM CHOCOLATE HEART SANDWICHES

Ingredients 
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
12 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
1 -1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 Tbsp milk 2 to 2 1/2 pints strawberry ice cream, softened

Directions
In medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt, and set aside.
In bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter, vanilla, and sugar. Add eggs and milk, and mix until combined. Add reserved flour mixture, and mix on low speed until incorporated, scraping sides of bowl at least once.
Divide dough in half, and shape each half into flat disk. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap, and chill until firm, about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll dough out on floured surface, sliding offset spatula under the dough to release every few turns of rolling pin. Roll dough to 1/8 inch thick.
Cut dough using variety of heart-shape cookie cutters 2 1/2 to 3 inches in diameter, making sure each cookie has a match to make a sandwich.
Place hearts on parchment-lined baking sheet; chill until firm, about 30 minutes.
Remove from refrigerator; use fork to prick the cookies all over with holes. Bake until just firm, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool on baking sheet; transfer to a wire rack.
With underside of half cookies face up, spoon softened strawberry ice cream about 1/2 inch thick to cover one side. Place matching cookie on top of ice cream, top side facing out. Transfer immediately to freezer to harden; repeat with remaining cookies and ice cream. Serve directly from freezer.
Sandwiches can be kept stored in an airtight container in the freezer for 3 to 4 days.

Thursday, January 13, 2022

GLUTEN-FREE BROWNIES: National Gluten Free Day!

Today is Gluten-Free Day. Because so many of my friends are Gluten Free, I try to post several chocolate recipes a year that are Gluten Free. It's been a few years since I posted one of my favorite gluten-free recipes: Ghirardelli Gluten-free Brownies. 

I've often mentioned that product websites are great places to find terrific recipes. Ghirardelli Chocolate has many Gluten-Free Chocolate Recipes on their website, including this fabulous recipe for Gluten-Free Brownies. Only thing I'd add to this recipe would be more chocolate chips (or chopped chocolate chunks) when you add the walnuts or pecans, but then I'm big on extra chocolate. There's also a great recipe for a Gluten-Free Walnut Torte. Be sure to check out all the recipes.

GHIRARDELLI GLUTEN-FREE BROWNIES

Ingredients
1 cup 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips (or chunks)
1/2 cup whole almonds (or 2/3 cup almond flour)
1/3 cup brown rice flour
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs

Directions
Preheat oven to 325°F with rack in lower third of oven.
Line pan across bottom and up two sides with parchment paper.
If using whole almonds, add them to food processor with rice flour and pulse until nuts are finely ground. If using almond flour, mix with rice flour. Set aside.
Place chocolate, butter, and salt in top of large double boiler over barely simmering water. Stir frequently until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Remove bowl and let cool for 5 minutes. Stir in sugar and vanilla. Stir in eggs, one at a time. Add almond and rice flour mixture and stir until moistened, and then mix briskly, about 40 strokes. Stir in walnuts or pecans if using. Scrape batter into prepared pan and spread evenly.
Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until brownies are slightly puffed all over and toothpick inserted into center comes out moist but clean.
Cool pan on rack. Run knife along unlined sides of pan to detach brownies. Lift edges of parchment paper to remove brownies. Cut into squares

You can substitute Ghirardelli Bittersweet 60% Chocolate Chips with 1-1/2 bar of Ghirardelli Bittersweet 60% chocolate, broken into small pieces.

You will love this recipe--even if you're not gluten-free. 

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

CHOCOLATE MARZIPAN COVERED CHERRIES: National Marzipan Day!

Today is National Marzipan Day. I love marzipan, and I usually have some around, so for today's holiday, here's an easy recipe for Chocolate Covered Marzipan Cherries. Be still my heart! This recipe would also be great for Valentine's Day, so be sure and bookmark it.

What exactly is marzipan? It's an elastic paste made with almonds and powdered sugar. It's like an edible dough, and you can make shapes with it, and, of course, enrobe it in chocolate.

History of Marzipan from Serious Eats:

The invention of marzipan is usually attributed to Lübeck, Germany. Legend has it that during a 15th century famine when flour for making bread became scarce, the senate of Lübeck ordered bakers to create a replacement. Using eggs, sugar, and stores of almonds, the clever bakers came up with marzipan. But cities like Venice, Florence, Konigsberg and more all lay claim to inventing marzipan and put forth similar stories with different dates, making it hard to determine where the sweet actually came from.
Although the origin of marzipan is fuzzy, it has clearly been embraced by many different cultures and is enjoyed worldwide. Marzipan is a traditional food to eat on weddings and religious feast days in Italy, Greece, and Cyprus.
In Latin America, a popular marzipan-like treat which replaces the almonds with peanuts is called "mazapan." In Mexico, pine nuts and pistachios are other substitutes for almonds in marzipan. You can find marzipan in the Middle East, too, usually flavored with orange-flower water. In Germany and throughout much of northern Europe it is considered good luck to receive a marzipan pig on Christmas or New Year's Day. The Spanish and Portuguese are big consumers of marzipan too. But perhaps the form of marzipan that Americans are most familiar with are the cute little miniature fruit shapes that pop up all over.

Whatever the origins, there is nothing quite like chocolate and marzipan! And, these chocolate covered Marzipan Cherries and delicious and easy to make. Don't want to use Maraschino Cherries? Try Chukar Cherries. They're natural and delicious.

CHOCOLATE MARZIPAN COVERED CHERRIES

Ingredients
Cherries (Maraschino or Chukar's Cherries)
Marzipan
Chocolate (dark..use any melting technique on this blog)

Directions
Drain Cherries
Take a piece of marzipan bigger than the cherry and wrap it around the cherry.
Continue until all cherries are covered.
Melt chocolate in double boiler or pan over pan with simmering water.
Dip Marzipan Covered Cherry Balls in chocolate.
Put Balls in Refrigerator to set.

How easy is that?

 

Want to make your own Marzipan? Here's an easy recipe from Epicurious. 2 pounds in 5 minutes!

Five - Minute Marzipan 
(from Liz Gutman & Jen King's The Liddabit Sweets Cookbook)

Ingredients 
3 cups (24 ounces) almond paste
2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, plus extra if needed
1 Tablespoon kirsch or other brandy (see Note), plus extra if needed

Directions
If using a stand mixer: Combine almond paste, confectioners' sugar, and 1 tablespoon brandy in mixing bowl. Mix on low speed until everything is completely incorporated and dough is smooth and pliable, about 5 minutes. If using hands: Form almond paste into flat round on work surface. Dust half of confectioners' sugar over round and begin kneading it into paste, folding paste over on itself repeatedly. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of brandy over dough and knead in. Once incorporated, dust    remainder of sugar over dough and knead untilcompletely incorporated.

Dough should be uniform and pliable. If dry, add a few more drops of flavoring (or warm water) and knead until at desired consistency; if sticky, a little more confectioners' sugar. Store marzipan, wrapped very well in plastic wrap, in refrigerator for at least 3 months.

Note: Kirsch is brandy distilled from cherries. Cherries particularly complement almonds since the two are related, and cherry pits have an almond like flavor that is imparted to the liquor (and works well with the cherry recipe above)

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

CHOCOLATE MILK AND CHOCOLATE MILK COCKTAILS: National Milk Day!

Today is National Milk Day. Make Chocolate Milk! Everyone knows that chocolate milk is a sweetened, cocoa-flavored milk drink that can be purchased pre-mixed or made at home, but there are lots of ways to make chocolate milk, and lots of different ingredients can be added to give it a special flavor. As always, remember it's the quality of the chocolate  that will make a big difference. That goes for the milk, too: 2%, whole, skim, soy, almond milk, etc.

So to celebrate the day, I have Three Chocolate Milk recipes and two Chocolate Milk Cocktail Recipes! Take your choice!

***
Basically you make a chocolate syrup first, then add the milk.

1. Chocolate Milk

11 ounces milk
1 ounce water
1-1/2 teaspoons cocoa
2 tablespoons sugar

Put sugar, cocoa, and water in microwavable 12 oz glass.
Microwave for 30 seconds or until sugar and cocoa dissolve.
Add cold milk and stir.

***
Want something a little more unusual? Sunset (1994) had a wonderful Ultimate Chocolate Milk Recipe (Nicaraguan Chocolate Milk). This is not a classic, but it might soon be for you. Preparation takes some time, so you won't be drinking this today.

2. Nicaraguan Chocolate Milk (Orchata de cacao)

1-1/2 cups long-grain white rice
2 cups (about 2/3 lb) cocoa beans
4 cups water
3 cinnamon sticks (each about 3 in.), broken into 1-inch pieces
8 cups whole, low-fat, or nonfat milk
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla
1 cup sugar
Ice (optional)

Place rice in bowl, cover with cool water, and let stand to soften somewhat, up to 24 hours; drain.
Place cocoa beans in 9-inch metal baking dish. Bake in 500 degree oven 5 minutes. Shake beans. Continue to bake until beans smoke and some skins have split, 5 to 8 minutes longer.
In blender, place half rice, cocoa beans, water, and cinnamon. Whirl until ingredients are very finely pureed. Place large, fine strainer over a bowl; pour cocoa mixture into strainer and stir to extract liquid. Discard residue. Repeat with remaining rice, cocoa, water, and cinnamon.

Rinse strainer, then line with a double thickness of damp cheesecloth. Pour cocoa liquid through strainer into bowl, stirring to extract all liquid; discard residue.

To cocoa liquid, add milk, vanilla, and sugar; stir until sugar dissolves. Serve plain or over ice. If making ahead, chill, covered, up to 3 days. Stir to serve Makes about 10 1/2 cups, 10 servings.

3. Salted Chocolate Milk

A few years ago, I paid homage to one of my favorite TV sitcoms, Modern Family. In the premier episode Manny is studying with a girl he has a crush on. She comes to his house where Manny's doting Columbian Mama Gloria (Sofia Vergara) makes the kids chocolate milk. The young girl with whom Manny is smitten says that they always add salt to chocolate milk at her home. Gloria, threatened by another 'woman' in Manny's life, says she doesn't like it that way. Of course, when Gloria tries it without the two in the room, she really loves it.

I've posted lots of reviews and recipes that call for salt and chocolate. Salt gives chocolate a certain pop, and I think you'll find it very refreshing in chocolate milk. Just don't add too much. A pinch will do.

The Modern Family Chocolate Milk with Salt Showdown:
Gloria: So how is it going?
Manny: Great, Kelly's moving her stuff into my notebook.
Gloria: This is sudden.
Kelly: It just felt right. Oh, you know what you should do, put a pinch of salt in the chocolate milk, it really brings out the flavor.
Gloria: Salt is for the popcorn.
Manny: Sounds good.
Gloria: You wouldn't like it.
Kelly: Maybe we should let Manny decide.
Gloria: Okay, here's the salt. We'll see what he likes.
Manny tries both:
Manny: Wow! It's great! Try it, Mom.
Gloria: I don't care for it.

Her best line of the episode, defeated and with her accent, she tells the camera and the viewers, "It was delicious."

So moving from the youngsters to the oldsters, here are two very easy cocktail recipes for Adult Chocolate Milk Cocktails!

1. Chocolate Milk Cocktail

Glass of Chocolate Milk
Couple Splashes Kahlua
2 or 3 ice cubes

Add Kahlua to chocolate milk and add ice

2. Chocolate Milk Cocktail

1/2 shot Kahlua
1/2 shot milk
Dash of Amaretto

Put milk in bottom, pour liqueur on top and add dash of amaretto. Do not mix.
Serve in tumbler. 

 

HOT TODDY DAY: Make it Chocolate!

There's no real cure for the flu or cold and don't get me started on covid, but a Hot Toddy will do the trick to make you feel better, even if only temporarily--a traditional Hot Toddy, that is. See the Retro Ad on this page. So because today is Hot Toddy Day, I'm offering up a recipe with a chocolate spin.

Hot Toddy might be an old fashioned name, but the Hot Toddy has served for centuries as a therapeutic drink. If you add chocolate, you get all those chocolate benefits, too. Alcohol and chocolate: a great combination.

What exactly is a Hot Toddy?
A toddy is a drink made typically with a spirit base, water, some type of sugar, and spices. A hot toddy is usually a mixture of whiskey, cinnamon, hot water, honey, and lemon. A Hot Toddy may have tea as the spice (or in addition to the spice). 

Where did it come from?
The word “toddy” itself stretches back to the British colonial era and is taken from the Hindi word tārī, which was a drink made from the fermented sap of toddy palm, hence the name. The British Toddy was served cool and, for awhile this was the tradition. The toddy eventually made its way across the ocean to the American South where plantation owners would drink their own version of a toddy with rum, spices, and locally-available sugar. This mixture was cooked, then cooled and consumed. While derived from the British colonial toddy, this drink was called a bombo or bimbo. That’s great and all, but you said you’d be talking about hot toddies. 

The hot toddy that we know now found its roots in Scottish tradition. No surprise there. This Hot Toddy was made with whisky, hot water, honey, and spices such as nutmeg or clove, and was touted as a cold cure. The Scots claim that the name toddy came from the origin of the water used for the drink: Tod’s Well in Edinburgh. Legend states that during the Revolutionary War, colonists would use toddies as liquid courage, drinking round after round to get up the nerve to fight. The biggest difference in the American toddy from the Scottish was the use of rum or brandy in comparison to whiskey. The colonists were working with what they had — which was more often the brandy they were making at home or the rum that was being imported from the Caribbean. The presentation of the toddy was also different. The drink was typically made in a punch bowl in large amounts to accommodate the crowds that would gather at local taverns and then served in a specific type of stemmed glassware, which was itself at some point named a toddy. So there you have it, the hot toddy, which wasn’t all that hot at first.

But this is a Chocolate Blog, so here's a recipe from Sunset for Brandied Hot Chocolate, a great Hot Toddy to drink today!

Chocolate Hot Toddy!

Ingredients
1- 1/2 cups grated dark chocolate (65-75% organic, your favorite)
1/2 cup dry milk powder (not something I have on hand except for this)
4 cups whole milk
4 Tbsp Armagnac
Whipped cream or marshmallows, for garnish

Directions
In medium bowl, mix grated chocolate and dry milk powder.
In medium saucepan, heat whole milk over medium heat. Once heated, stir in chocolate mixture and whisk until chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth and hot.
Pour 1 Tbsp Armagnac into each mug (four mugs total), then fill each mug with smooth, hot chocolate mixture.
Serve hot, garnished with fresh whipped cream or fresh marshmallows.

Monday, January 10, 2022

BITTERSWEET CHOCOLATE BUNDT CAKE: National Bittersweet Chocolate Day

Today is Bittersweet Chocolate Day. Since I review, eat, and bake chocolate, the word bittersweet isn't really part of my lexicon. Although I have purchased chocolate that is labeled bittersweet, I buy chocolate based on its origins, fair-trade, maker, and amount of cacao. Bittersweet is just too vague a term for me.

According to Wikipedia, Bittersweet chocolate is chocolate liquor (unsweetened chocolate not liqueur) to which some sugar (typically a third), more cocoa butter, vanilla and sometimes lecithin has been added. It has less sugar and more liquor than semisweet chocolate, but the two are interchangeable in baking. Bittersweet and semisweet chocolates are sometimes referred to as 'couverture' (chocolate that contains at least 32 percent cocoa butter); many brands (the ones I like) print on the package the percentage of cocoa (as chocolate liquor and added cocoa butter) contained. The rule is that the higher the percentage of cocoa, the less sweet the chocolate will be. The American FDA classifies chocolate as either "bittersweet" or "semisweet" that contain at least 35% cacao (either cacao solids or butter from the cacao beans).

So using this definition, almost any of my recipes will work since I use mostly very dark chocolate.

Here's a recipe for Bittersweet Chocolate Bundt Cake adapted from Nestle Toll House's Chocolate Pound Cake recipe. It's easy and delicious. If you use Unsweetened Chocolate Baking Bars, be sure and add more sugar to the recipe.

I don't usually make a glaze, but I've included the recipe in case you'd like to. Sometimes I sprinkle this cake with powdered sugar, as in the photo. This cake goes well with ice cream or whipped cream, too!

BITTERSWEET CHOCOLATE 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 (something you'll only use for this)*
8 ounces dark chocolate (75%-85%), chopped, divided (save 2 oz for glaze if you're making it)
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp pure vanilla
3 large eggs

CHOCOLATE GLAZE:
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
2 Tbsp water
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:

FOR CAKE:
1. PREHEAT oven to 325 degrees F. Grease 10-inch Bundt pan.
2. COMBINE flour, baking soda, and baking powder in small bowl. Bring water and coffee granules to boil in small saucepan; remove from heat. Add 6 ounces chocolate; stir until smooth.
3. 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.
4. 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.
Optional: Drizzle with Chocolate Glaze or Sprinkle with Powdered Sugar

** Sometimes I pour the glaze over the bundt cake while it's still a bit warm. The cake absorbs the glaze, and it's extra chocolatey delicious!

FOR CHOCOLATE GLAZE: Melt remaining 2 ounces of chocolate with butter in small, saucepan over low heat, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat. Stir in powdered sugar alternately with water. Stir in vanilla extract. Drizzle over cake.

Sunday, January 9, 2022

WHITE CHOCOLATE APRICOT SCONES: National Apricot Day!

It's a cold crisp day today with scones right out of the oven. I've posted many scone recipes, but since today is National Apricot Day, I thought I'd post this easy recipe for White Chocolate Apricot Scones. There are no fresh apricots this time of year, at least not growing in my local area, so this recipe is perfect since it calls for dried apricots. I always have dried apricots in the refrigerator or pantry. I serve these scones with clotted cream (or unsalted butter if I don't have the cream) and a nice pot of tea!

WHITE CHOCOLATE APRICOT SCONES

Ingredients
2/3 cup unsalted butter
3 1⁄2 cups flour
1⁄4 cup sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
2⁄3 cup finely chopped dried apricots
1 cup white chocolate chips (make sure it's 'real' white chocolate!)
2 eggs
2⁄3 cup half-and-half
1 teaspoon vanilla
Optional (sugar for sprinkling)

Directions 
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In large bowl cut together butter, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt using pastry blender (or use 2 table knives crisscrossing ingredients in opposite directions)until mixture is crumbly.
Stir in apricots and white chocolate chips.
Add eggs, half & half, and vanilla so dough separates from side of bowl and forms a ball.
Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and knead lightly 10 times (don't overwork).
Divide dough into two equal portions.
On greased baking sheets pat each portion of dough into an 8" circle, and cut each circle into 8 wedges.
Optional: Sprinkle with sugar
Bake about 15 minutes, until golden. Serve warm.

Saturday, January 8, 2022

ENGLISH TOFFEE RECIPE: English Toffee Day

January 8
is a world-wide holiday: English Toffee Day. I absolutely adore English Toffee, and I'm a Toffee Judge at the International and San Francisco Chocolate Salons.

I first had English Toffee on the Boardwalk in Atlantic City. Don't ask! Yes, there was salt water taffy, but I was drawn to the English Toffee and White Chocolate. Both were rarities in our household, so they were special treats --easily accessible on the Boardwalk.

English Toffee has several definitions, but for me it's any confection made by boiling sugar with butter or milk, surrounded by chocolate and nuts. What's your definition? Some people call this brittle. Whatever it is, you have the hard, soft, and chewy all in one.

The preparation for making English Toffee is much like that for making candy barks. English Toffee can be made with dark chocolate of varying amounts or even milk chocolate or a mixture of both. Nuts can range from almonds to peanuts to filberts to hazelnuts. Such range. Every time you make English Toffee, you can vary the ingredients to come up with a completely different taste. How fun! One thing, though, be sure and use real butter!!!

I've adapted this easy recipe from Epicurean. You will need a candy thermometer.

ENGLISH TOFFEE

Ingredients:
1 cup unsalted butter (best quality)
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp pure vanilla
6 oz semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (60% cacao or higher)
2 oz milk chocolate (40-55% cacao)
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans,walnuts, filberts, or hazelnuts (you choose)

Directions:
Combine butter, sugar, water, and salt in a heavy 2- 1/2 qt pan. Cook over medium-high to high heat, stirring often, until candy thermometer reads 305 degrees. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Immediately pour into heavily buttered 9-inch square pan, spreading to fill pan. Cool completely.

Melt semisweet and milk chocolate in top of double boiler stirring until smooth. Spread half of chocolate over 1 side of toffee and sprinkle with half of nuts Refrigerate until chocolate is firm.

Reheat remaining chocolate until flowing. Turn toffee over and spread other side with chocolate and sprinkle with remaining nuts. Refrigerate until firm. When chocolate is set, break toffee into pieces. Store in airtight container in a cool place.

Cooking for Engineers has another great and similar recipe with photos.


Thursday, January 6, 2022

MARY BERRY'S CHOCOLATE TWELFTH NIGHT KING CAKE: Epiphany

The Twelve Days of Christmas comes to an end today with Epiphany. For many centuries this involved a feast, including the King Cake. Whoever found the bean hidden inside was the Lord of Misrule until midnight. 

This version of Twelfth Night King Cake is made from puff pastry and filled with almond and chocolate cream. Serve warm, decorated with a gold paper crown for the Lord or Lady of Misrule to wear for the night. This recipe for King Cake comes from the Queen of Cakes, Mary Berry! And, what's more fitting for a King Cake than Chocolate?

No time to make this? Make a chocolate bundt cake and put a bean or chocolate coin inside.  Use a 'castle' shaped Bundt pan.

 

MARY BERRY'S CHOCOLATE TWELFTH NIGHT KING CAKE

Makes one large tart: 

Measurements are UK..but you can easily convert to US with an online calculator

Ingredients:

750g ready-made butter puff pastry, chilled 

For the filling 

100g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), chopped 

100g unsalted butter, softened 100g caster sugar 

1 large free-range egg, plus 1 yolk, at room temperature 

100g ground almonds 

50g flaked almonds 

 ¼ teaspoon almond extract 

1 ceramic or dried bean  (or chocolate coin! After all, this is a chocolate blog!)

beaten egg, to glaze 

1 baking sheet, lined with baking paper 

Directions:

Roll out half the pastry on a lightly floured worktop until slightly thinner than a pound coin. Cut out a round about 24 cm in diameter. Set on the lined baking sheet and cover with clingfilm. Roll out the rest of the pastry in the same way and cut a second round. Set this on top of the clingfilm, then cover the whole lot with clingfilm. Chill while making the filling. 

Put the chocolate into a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of steaming hot but not boiling water (don’t let the base of the bowl touch the hot water). Leave to melt gently. Remove the bowl from the pan. Stir the chocolate until smooth, then leave to cool. 

Beat the butter until creamy with a wooden spoon or electric mixer. Beat in the sugar, then beat thoroughly until the mixture looks pale and fluffy. Beat the egg with the yolk until just combined, then gradually add to the butter mixture a tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition. When the mixture is very light in colour and texture gently, stir in the ground almonds, flaked almonds and almond extract followed by the cooled chocolate. Cover the bowl and chill for 15 to 20 minutes. 

When ready to assemble uncover the pastry, and remove the top round and clingfilm. Spoon the chocolate filling onto the pastry round on the baking sheet, mounding it slightly in the middle, and leaving a 2 cm border uncovered all around the edge. Push the bean into the filling, not too close to the centre.

Brush the pastry border with beaten egg, then gently lay the second pastry round over the filling. Press the edges firmly together to seal. Holding a small knife blade at right angles to the side of the pastry, ‘knock up’ the edge all around by making small indentations in the pastry. Then scallop the edge by pulling the indentations in at 2 cm intervals with the back of the knife. Brush the top of the pastry very lightly with beaten egg to glaze and chill for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan/425F/gas 7

Brush the top a second time with the beaten egg glaze, then score a diamond pattern with the tip of a sharp knife. Make a couple of small steam holes in the centre. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the pastry is a golden brown and crisp. Leave to cool slightly before serving. 

TIP Remember to tell guests to look out for the inedible bean!

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

MILK, DARK, AND WHITE CHOCOLATE WHIPPED CREAM: National Whipped Cream Day!

Today is National Whipped Cream Day. I've posted many recipes that call for whipped cream including chocolate whipped cream for National Cream Puff Day. Today I have three recipes for Chocolate Whipped Cream -- milk, dark, and white.

Chocolate Whipped Cream is terrific to add to desserts, fill cream puffs, and even add to your coffee. There are so many creative uses. Whipped Cream is easy to make, and it's delicious. You can use it as an icing or filling. You can use it with just about anything you would use regular whipped cream for, including Chocolate Strawberry Short Cake!

The first recipe for Milk Chocolate Whipped Cream is from Martha Stewart. Martha uses chocolate whipped cream for the filling of chocolate sandwich cookies. Fabulous! I love these Chocolate Sandwich Cookies with Chocolate Whipped Cream, and you can use any chocolate cookie recipe!

The second Chocolate Whipped Cream Recipe uses a lot more chocolate, and it's dark chocolate. Which chocolate you choose depends on what you like and what you have.

The third Chocolate Whipped Cream is from the Queen of Chocolate, Alice Medrich. It's for White Chocolate Whipped Cream. Of course, Medrich has great recipes for Dark and Milk chocolate, too, so check out her recipes online and in her many cookbooks.

The Retro Advertisement is for Reddi-Wip! Don't use a can if you have the ingredients and time to make your own. It's so much better!

Photo: Martha Stewart

1. CHOCOLATE WHIPPED CREAM  
(from Martha Stewart)

Ingredients
4 ounces milk chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 cups heavy cream
3 Tbsp sugar

Directions
Place chocolate in medium bowl; set aside.
Heat sugar and 1 cup cream in small saucepan over medium heat. Cook until sugar has dissolved.
Pour cream mixture over chocolate; stir until chocolate has melted. Let cool.
Transfer chocolate mixture to electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Add remaining cup heavy cream and beat on medium speed until thick and fluffy.

How easy is that?

2. DARK CHOCOLATE WHIPPED CREAM (from Sherry Yard)

I really love this recipe from Sherry Yard for Chocolate Whipped Cream. It's definitely more of a rich whipped ganache, but then isn't that what it's all about? Sherry Yard was the executive pastry chef at Wolfgang Puck's Spago in Beverly Hills and shared this recipe on Cookin' with Good Morning America (December 25, 2003). It's also in in her book Secrets of Baking: Simple Techniques for Sophisticated Desserts.

Ingredients
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2 cups heavy cream
1 Tbsp sugar

Directions
Using serrated knife, finely chop the chocolate into 1/4 inch pieces and place in medium heatproof bowl.
Bring cream and sugar to boil in small saucepan over medium heat. Immediately pour hot cream over chopped chocolate. Tap bowl on counter to settle chocolate into cream, then let sit for 1 minute.
Using rubber spatula, slowly stir in circular motion, starting from center of bowl and working out to sides. Stir until all chocolate is melted, about 2 minutes.
Pour ganache into medium container, cover, and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight. It should be consistency of peanut butter.
Once ganache has chilled, transfer to large bowl. Using balloon whisk, whip ganache by hand until it just reaches soft peaks, about 2 minutes. Be sure to lift whisk out of cream with each pass to bring in as much air as possible. Do not overwhip. Don't worry if cream doesn't seem firm enough. It will have consistency of mustard but will solidify more after it sets in the refrigerator. You can also use a hand mixer.
Use this cream immediately to fill pastries, tarts, and cakes. After dessert is filled, refrigerate for about 1 hour to set the Chocolate Whipped Cream.

3. White Chocolate Whipped Cream from Alice Medrich

Ingredients
4 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped
3/4 cup heavy cream
3 Tbsp water
A pinch or two of salt (optional)

Directions
Put chocolate in medium bowl.
Bring cream and water to simmer in saucepan and pour over chocolate. Let stand for 30 seconds, then stir well.
Let stand for 15 minutes to finish melting chocolate, then stir again until every last bit of chocolate is melted into cream. Let cool. Taste and add salt, if desired.
Cover and refrigerate for at least several hours, or until completely chilled.
To serve, whip the cream with electric mixer until it holds a shape.
Use immediately or refrigerate until needed.

And, as always, your final product will only be as good as your ingredients. Use the best. Here's one of my favorite whipping creams!



Tuesday, January 4, 2022

MIDWINTER CARNIVAL MARBLE CAKE: Retro Ad with Recipe

Midwinter Carnival! Here's a cake that's perfect for this time of year, and it's so Retro. Notmany people celebrate Midwinter Carnival any more, but they did when this advertisement was created. 

This Retro Ad & Recipe is from Betty Crocker with a nod to Gold Medal Flour (General Mills). This Midwinter Carnival Marble Cake uses Betty Crocker's "Double-Quick new method!"

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


Monday, January 3, 2022

LIFE IS JUST A BOWL OF CHOCOLATE COVERED CHERRIES: National Chocolate Covered Cherry Day!

Life is just a Bowl of Chocolate Covered Cherries! Because there's nothing quite like a chocolate covered cherry, I thought I'd post 4 recipes for Chocolate Covered Cherries Day. Don't have time to make these? Buy your favorite chocolate covered cherries to celebrate!

When I was growing up, I always wanted the chocolate covered cherry in the Whitman Sampler Box.

According to National Day, in the 1700s in England, cherries were enrobed in chocolate with a little kirsch liqueur. After finding their way to the United States, Americans received them quite well, delighting in the little bit of alcoholic cordial surrounding the fruit dipped in chocolate. Although originally made with the liqueur, cordials/chocolate covered cherries are more commonly made with a sugar syrup flavored with cherries. The pitted cherries have been cooked in sugar syrup and jarred.

I can buy fresh cherries in January at Berkeley Bowl, my favorite produce market here in Berkeley, but if you're a locavore, you may not want to buy Chilean Cherries or even have them available where you live, so I've also provided recipes for dried or maraschino cherries. If you decide to use maraschino cherries, be sure and dry them thoroughly or your chocolate will seize. And, if you're using maraschino cherries, save the juice from the jar to make the Chocolate Covered Cherry Cocktail in this post! My favorite jarred cherries are Chukar Cherries. So many varieties. Any of these recipes would be great for Valentine's Day, so bookmark this page!

1. Chocolate Covered Fresh Cherries

Personally I like dark chocolate with cherries, but if you're a milk chocolate fan, go for it! As always, use the very best quality, organic, fair trade chocolate! Hint: If the melted chocolate starts to harden  before you’re done dipping, put it back on the stove for a few minutes and give it a good stir.

Ingredients
8 ounces of fair-trade chocolate (I use Guittard 65%)
1/2 pound fresh, sweet cherries

Directions
Wash and dry cherries.
Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
Melt chocolate in top of double boiler or in saucepan over saucepan over simmering water.
Stir chocolate until completely melted and smooth.
Remove chocolate from heat.
Grab each cherry by stem and dip into chocolate. Swirl cherry clockwise, coating bottom 3/4. It's always nice to see the cherry showing at the top.
Place cherry on parchment paper covered baking sheet.
Repeat with remaining cherries.
Place in refrigerator until chocolate hardens.
If not eating right away, put chocolate covered cherries in covered container and keep in refrigerator for a few days.

2. Chocolate Covered Marschino Cherries

Use the above recipe with maraschino cherries. Just be sure and dry cherries thoroughly before dipping.

3. Chocolate Covered Dried Cherries

Ingredients
8 ounces Dark or Milk Chocolate
1 cup dried Cherries (Chukar or Trader Joe's)

Directions
Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
Melt chocolate in double boiler as above or glass bowl in microwave. Once melted, remove from heat.
Add cherries to chocolate. Stir until coated.
Remove clumps of coated dried cherries with two forks or slotted spoon (this works very well), shaking off excess chocolate on side of bowl. Transfer to lined baking sheet.
Put baking sheet in refrigerator until chocolate hardens, about 20 minutes.
Store in refrigerator.

Feel like something alcoholic to celebrate National Chocolate Covered Cherry Day? Want to drink your Chocolate Covered Cherries?

And here's a fourth easy recipe for Chocolate Covered Cherries from Santa Barbara Chocolate

4. Easy Chocolate Covered Cherries

Ingredients
60 maraschino cherries with stems
3 tablespoons butter softened
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 1/2 pounds candy-making chocolate

Directions
Drain cherries thoroughly on paper towel. Combine butter, corn syrup, and salt. Stir in powdered sugar; knead mixture till smooth (chill mixture if too soft).
Shape 2 teaspoon of the sugar mixture around each cherry. Place coated cherries on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper (or parchment paper), chill.
In a heavy 1 quart saucepan, melt chocolate over low heat, stirring constantly (use the microwave on low to melt more quickly). Holding by the stems, dip coated cherries, one at a time, into chocolate coating. Spoon chocolate over cherries to coat to ensure the center is fully encased. Place cherries on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper (or parchment paper). Chill. Store in refrigerator in a covered container. Let candies ripen in refrigerator for one or two weeks before serving.....If you can wait!
***
Want to drink your Chocolate Covered Cherries? 

Chocolate Covered Cherry Cocktail

Fill a tall glass with ice.
Add 1/2 ounce Bailey's, 1/2 ounce Kahlua.
Add a few drops maraschino cherry juice.
Shake.
Strain into another glass with ice.
Add a Chocolate Covered Maraschino Cherry for garnish!






Sunday, January 2, 2022

CHOCOLATE CREAM PUFFS: National Cream Puff Day!

Today is National Cream Puff Day. Cream Puffs are one of the easiest pastries to make, and incredibly versatile. You can stuff them, top them, add flavoring to the choux, and really change them up in so many different ways! For example, during the holidays, you can make a Croquembuche, a pyramid of cream puffs drizzled with chocolate or spun sugar. You can stuff Cream Puffs with all manner of sweet and savory fillings.

A Cream Puff is just a baked puffed shell of choux pastry. In spite of the Betty Crocker Vintage Ads from the 1950s for Cream Puff mixes displayed below, they're really simple to make from scratch. Following is an easy basic recipe for Cream Puffs and Chocolate Cream, as well as a recipe for non-traditional Chocolate Cream Puffs.

CREAM PUFFS

Ingredients
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup water
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup all-purpose flour (some people use bread flour and that will really give these a different taste and texture, give it a try)
4 eggs

Directions
Preheat Oven to 425.
In large pot, bring water and butter to rolling boil.
Stir in flour and salt until mixture forms a ball. Transfer dough to large mixing bowl.
Using wooden spoon or mixer, beat in eggs one at time, mixing well after each.
Drop by tablespoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheet.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in preheated oven, until golden brown. Centers should be dry.
When the shells are cool, split and fill.
How easy is that!

Chocolate Cream Filling

Ingredients 
14 ounces dark chocolate (65-85% cacao), finely chopped
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar 

Directions

Place chocolate in top pot of double boiler over simmering water in lower pot (or in a saucepan over another saucepan that has simmering water). Stir just until chocolate melts, then remove from heat.
Pour cream into bowl. Using electric mixer set on high speed, beat until soft peaks form. Add 1/4 cup sugar and beat until stiff peaks form, about 20 seconds.
Pour all of melted chocolate into whipped cream quickly, continue to mix on high speed until evenly combined, about 1 minute.
Place chocolate cream in clean pastry bag fitted with 1/2-inch plain tip. Pipe into bottoms of cooled cream puffs. Replace tops on filled bottoms and serve immediately. Alternatively, spoon cream onto bottoms being careful not to put too much. Of course, it looks pretty when it's piped!
***

Or you can make Chocolate Cream Puffs. The following recipe adds cocoa to a traditional cream puff (choux) recipe. Stuff with sweetened whipped cream. You don't need to add the sugar in the cream puff recipe, but I find the chocolate cream puffs taste a little better since there's no sugar in the cocoa. Of course, you could try this recipe with sweetened cocoa. Let me know what you think if you do that.

CHOCOLATE CREAM PUFFS

Ingredients
1 cup water
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp cocoa
2 Tbsp sugar
4 eggs

Directions
Preheat Oven to 400.
Combine flour, cocoa, and sugar in small bowl.
In heavy saucepan over medium heat, bring water, butter, and salt to a boil.
Stir in flour, cocoa, sugar mixture, until smooth ball forms. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat until smooth and shiny.
Drop by heaping tablespoonfuls (golf ball size), 3 inches apart onto greased (or parchment lined) baking sheets.
Bake (in middle of oven) at 400 degrees F for 30-35 minutes or until set and browned.
Remove to wire racks. Let cool before splitting.
Cool puffs completely before filling with Whipped Cream, Ice Cream, or whatever!