Saturday, April 30, 2022

OATMEAL RAISIN CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES: National Oatmeal Cookie Day & National Raisin Day!

Today we celebrate two food holidays: Oatmeal Cookie Day and Raisin Day. Put the two holidays and their ingredients together, add Chocolate Chips, and make these delicious Oatmeal Raisin Chocolate Chip Cookies.


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup ground walnuts
1 cup old fashioned oats
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup raisins

In small bowl mix flour, baking soda, and cinnamon.
In large mixing bowl beat butter, and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla.
At low speed, beat in flour mixture until blended.
Fold in ground walnuts, oats, chocolate chips, and raisins.
Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350.
Grease 2 baking sheets.
Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place balls 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Flatten each cookie slightly with fork.
Bake cookies until lightly browned around the edges, 10 to 12 minutes.
Transfer to flattened brown paper bags or wire racks to cool.

Tip: Dough also freezes well. Freeze dough balls on a cookie sheet and then put them in a ziploc bag in the freezer until ready to bake!

Thursday, April 28, 2022


I absolutely adore blueberries. When I was young, my Aunt Annie used to take us blueberry picking in the woods. It was such a treat. We'd return to the farm covered in blueberry juice, our mouths and teeth stained with the dark blue liquid. I remember those blueberries as the sweetest I've ever tasted.

Since today is Blueberry Pie Day, I thought I'd post a recipe for Chocolate Blueberry Pie, because this is a Chocolate Blog, after all. I've posted other Blueberry Chocolate Pie recipes, but this recipe from Better Homes & Gardens is special because it also features a Cookie Dough Crust. Of course, you can substitute a chocolate cookie crust if you'd like more chocolate. This is a great recipe for Memorial Day and Fourth of July, so be sure and save or bookmark it!


1 Recipe Sour Cream Cookie Dough
1 cup semisweet chocolate pieces
1 egg
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 Tbsp all-purpose Flour
1 lemon, juiced
6 cups fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 450°F. 

Prepare Sour Cream Cookie Dough. Roll half of dough to a 12-inch circle on a well-floured surface. Line 9-inch pie plate with dough. Trim and flute edge. Line with double thickness of foil. Bake for 8 minutes; carefully remove foil. Bake 3 to 4 minutes more or until golden. Remove; Sprinkle with chocolate pieces and set aside.

Reduce oven to 375°F. 

Roll remaining dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut into star shapes using assorted-size cutters. In small bowl whisk together egg and 1 tablespoon water. Arrange cutouts 2 inches apart on parchment paper-lined cookie sheets. Brush cutouts with egg mixture. Bake for 7 to 9 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Remove and cool on a wire rack.

For Filling: In large saucepan stir together the sugar, flour, and lemon juice. Add 4 cups of the blueberries. Cook and stir over medium heat until just thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat. Stir in remaining berries. Pour into crust. Bake for 10 minutes just until berries are heated through, covering edge of pie with foil, if necessary to prevent overbrowning. Remove to a wire rack. Top with cookie cut outs. Cool completely.

Sour Cream Cookie Dough: 
In large mixing bowl beat 1/2 cup butter, softened, with mixer on medium to high for 30 seconds. Add 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1/8 teaspoon baking soda, and a dash of salt; beat until combined. Add 1 egg yolk, 1/4 cup sour cream, and 1 teaspoon vanilla; beat until combined. Beat in 2 cups all-purpose flour. Divide dough in half; wrap and chill, if necessary, until easy to handle.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

BABY RUTH COOKIES: National Babe Ruth Day!

Everyone loves Baby Ruth. I do! I also love Retro Ads, and this Retro WWII Ad for Baby Ruth Candy Bars and Cookies  sent me in search of the Baby Ruth cookies recipe. It was fairly easy to find.

The Curtiss Candy Company claimed that the Baby Ruth candy bar was named after President Grover Cleveland's daughter, Ruth Cleveland. However, Ruth Cleveland died 16 years before the introduction of the Baby Ruth bar.

Since today is National Babe Ruth Day, I thought I'd post some more history of this special candy bar. The Curtiss Candy Company had originally negotiated a failed endorsement deal with baseball player Babe Ruth. People have suggested that secretly naming the candy bar after Ruth was a way to tie him to their product without paying any royalties. Talk about shrewd advertising, company founder Otto Schnering chartered a plane in 1923 to drop thousands of Baby Ruth bars over the city of Pittsburgh -- each with its own mini parachute. His marketing plan must have worked -- Baby Ruth has gone on to become a top brand. Today, the Baby Ruth bar is owned by Nestlé.


1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 Baby Ruth candy bars (2.1 ounces each), chopped into smallish pieces

In large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Combine flour, baking soda and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture. Stir in candy bars.
Chill 30 minutes.
Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto greased baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Immediately remove to wire racks to cool. Yield: 4 dozen.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022


Chocolate Cosmos
I spent the weekend gardening, so I thought I'd post a little diversion today from Chocolate recipes, Chocolate food holidays, and Chocolate reviews. I'm an avid gardener, mainly roses (including Hot Cocoa), and I am lucky to have several different garden areas on my property.

I have a dedicated 'chocolate-scented' garden. Since I'm in a fairly temperate zone of California, it's possible to include many varieties. I used to use cocoa bean hulls as mulch, and there's nothing that smells more like chocolate than this mulch, but if you have dogs, you'll want to skip the mulch since it can be dangerous to dogs if they eat it.

But as for real chocolate smelling plants, I love Cosmos atrosanguineus. This is a lovely maroon cosmos that actually has a heavy chocolate scent. Originally from Mexico, this plant reblooms in the San Francisco Bay Area Mediterranean climate.

I have Chocolate mint, a very hardy perennial, well it's mint, after all. Warning: it will take over the garden. Plant in containers or monitor its spread. It doesn't taste like chocolate, but definitely smells like it.

Other Plants for the Chocolate Garden: Be sure and check that these plants will grow and flourish in your zone before planting.

Chocolate Flower (Berlandiera lyrata) Looks like a daisy with yellow petals and a dark chocolate center. The aroma from the flower can be detected as far as 30 feet away. This is a night-bloomer, so the garden will smell like cocoa in the morning.

Nicotania Chocolate Smoke
Nicotiana 'Chocolate Smoke' This is a Chocolate Flower Farm exclusive and replaced Nicotiana 'Hot Chocolate.' It has a very dark flower.

Decidious (to semi-evergreen) twining Chocolate Vine (Akebia Quinata): Climbing plant with purple-red flowers that smell of milk chocolate. Warning: Can be invasive. Keep it trimmed.

Chocolate Mint (Mentha piperita): Some people think this tastes like a combo of chocolate and peppermint. Nice bronze-green leaves.. It can be used as a tea and as one of the main ingredients in Chocolate Mint Pots de Creme.

Delphinium "Kissed by Chocolate"

Dahlia 'Karma Choc': Not certain of the scent, but it has a very dark color like chocolate.

Gilia tricolor (Bird's Eyes): Annual California wildflower with wonderful fragrance. Meadow plantings. Grows to 3' (not for a small garden patch)

Columbine chocolate soldiers
Columbine comes in a chocolate-scented variety (Aquilegia 'Chocolate Soldiers')

Foxglove (Digitalis 'chocolate') now this is literally a Dying for Chocolate plant as foxglove is a poisonous plant also: Digitalis Lanata 'Cafe Creme'; Digitalis parviflora 'Milk Chocolate'

Nasturtium (Tropaeolum 'Chocolate')

Rudbeckia (R. 'Chocolate Drop')

Sweet William (Diantush 'Bittersweet William')

Carolina allspice (Calycanthus floridus): Deciduous shrub with maroon brown flowers (cinnamon-spiced, bittersweet chocolate fragrance)

Himalayan Honeysuckle: (Leycesteria formosa) is a large shrub. Dark maroon to brown flowers followed by berries with a chocolate-caramel flavor. Can be invasive.

Cosmos Astroganguineus: Plants form a medium-sized clump of dark green leaves, with deep maroon blooms that smell of dark chocolate.

Chocolate Cherry Tomatoes
Chocolate Geranium (Pelargonium 'Chocolate Joy')

Penstemon 'Chocolate Drop' How can you go wrong with penstemon?

Hot Cocoa Rose: This is not chocolate scented, but I want to include it, as I'm a rose grower (over 150 bushes). The blooms are burgundy with brown undertones.

One mustn't forget edible plants in the garden that smell (and sometimes taste) like chocolate:

Chocolate Corn, Chocolate Cherry Tomato, Chocolate Mini Bell Pepper, 'Velour Frosted Chocolate' Viola, Chocolate Nasturtium, and Milk Chocolate Calendula.

Cacao Pod - UC Botanical Garden
If your local nursery does not offer the seeds or plants, contact Chocolate Flower Farm.They also have other chocolate scented products such as candles, bath and body products, chocolate teas, sachets and other gifts.

I'd love to add to this list, so please comment on your favorite "chocolate" plants. Plants or seeds welcome.

And, here's a photo from one of the University of California Botanical Garden greenhouses of a chocolate pod. Sadly, I do not have a tropical greenhouse on my property.

Monday, April 25, 2022


Today is National Zucchini Bread Day, not to be confused with National Zucchini Day on August 8.  Be sure and bookmark this recipe for that summer food holiday when you will have a surplus of zucchini. This Kahlua Zucchini Chocolate Chunk Bread is great for toasting at breakfast, for a snack, or to take on a picnic. But here's a heads-up. This zucchini bread includes a hefty amount of Kahlua, so you might want to reserve it for adults.

You can buy Kahlua, but you can make it, too. Lots of other uses. Here's a recipe for homemade Kahlua.

Homemade Kahlua

4 cups water
4 cups sugar
2 ounces instant coffee
1 vanilla bean
Fifth of vodka or bourbon

Bring 4 cups water to a boil. Add the 4 cups sugar and cook until dissolved. Add the instant coffee. Simmer slowly - do not boil!
Add vanilla bean and 1/5 vodka or bourbon.
Bottle and cap. Leave for a month or more!

Kahlua Zucchini Chocolate Chunk Bread
This recipe makes one loaf, but it can easily be doubled. You can also substitute oil for the butter.  I love quick breads. They're fast and easy, and you only use one bowl! Because this Zucchini Bread with Chocolate Chunks has Kahlua in it, you might want to take it on an 'adult' picnic only.

2 cups flour (all-purpose, but you can use 1 cup whole wheat and 1 cup all purpose)
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup (8 Tbsp) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup Kahlua
1 cup shredded zucchini
3 ounces good quality dark chocolate, chopped into smallish chunks (or chocolate chips if that's what you have)

In medium bowl, sift flour with soda and salt. Set aside.
In large bowl of electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then Kahlua. (Don't worry if it seems curdled). Add dry ingredients and mix on low speed until blended. Stir in zucchini and chocolate chunks to distribute evenly.
Pour into greased and floured 8-1/2 × 4 inch loaf pan.
Bake at 350 degrees F, about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until wood pick inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool in pan 10 minutes.
Turn out onto wire rack and cool completely.

Sunday, April 24, 2022


Photo: Betty Crocker

A few years ago, a friend sent me this recipe for Gluten-Free Better than Almost Anything Cake from Betty Crocker It's basically a Chocolate Caramel Poke Cake made with a Flourless Chocolate Cake. Whatever you call it, it's delicious! As I always say, it's all about the ingredients. For this recipe, use the best caramel, the best chocolate, and if you're using dairy--the best whipped cream!

The original recipe uses Betty Crocker's Gluten Free Devil's Food Cake Mix. I've tried the mix by itself, and it's o.k., and the caramel really takes it up a notch. You might want to make your own Flourless Chocolate Cake. If you don't have a recipe, try one of these:

Cracked Earth Flourless Chocolate Cake
Chocolate Flourless Cake for Passover (or any time!)

For the Caramel sauce, I use FatToad Farm Goat's Milk Caramel... oh my.. it's sooo good. I have also used Recchiuti Burnt Caramel Sauce, and it's a real contender. So rich and flavorful. Both are good to have in the pantry!

For the Toffee bits, I just crush up some toffee.

I don't usually use whipped topping. This cake is delicious without a topping, but if you have to have one, use real whipped cream!


Box Betty Crocker Gluten Free Devil's food cake mix  (or make your own Flourless Chocolate Cake!) Water, butter and eggs called for on cake mix box
1 jar (12 or so ounces) Fat Toad Goat's Milk caramel topping or  Recchiuti Caramel Sauce (or whatever caramel sauce you have)
1 cup whipped cream  (the original recipe calls for frozen (thawed) whipped topping)
1/2 cup toffee bits

Heat oven to 350°F (or 325°F for dark or nonstick pan).
Make a flourless chocolate cake (recipes above) or make and bake cake mix as directed on box, using water, butter, eggs and any of the pan choices.
With handle of wooden spoon, poke top of warm cake every 1/2 inch.
Drizzle caramel topping evenly over top of cake; let stand until absorbed into cake.
Cover; refrigerate about 2 hours or until chilled.
Spread whipped cream over top of cake. Sprinkle with toffee bits.
Store covered in refrigerator.

Saturday, April 23, 2022

CHOCOLATE CHERRY CHEESECAKE: National Cherry Cheesecake Day

In celebration of National Cherry Cheesecake Day, I am reposting an easy delicious recipe for Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake adapted from Pillsbury.

I make my own tried and true Chocolate Cookie Crust! About the crust. Sometimes I bake it first, and sometimes I don't. It won't matter in this recipe, but I like it to be a bit more crunchy for texture, so I usually bake it before adding filling.


Chocolate Cookie Crust
About 40 chocolate wafers (Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers-2 cups crumbs)
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
Pinch of salt

Process cookies in food processor until finely ground.
Transfer crumbs to mixing bowl & combine crumbs, butter, salt. Stir until crumbs are moistened.
Press mixture evenly across bottom of 10-inch springform pan and all the way up sides of pan. Pack tightly so crust is even.
Bake in 350° oven for 6-8 minutes or until crisp.
Let cool completely before filling. You can put it in the refrigerator while you make the filling.

4 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened
3 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup whipping cream
20 ounces cherry pie filling  (I use Chukars Sour Cherry Pie Filling but use what you like)

(Optional) Glaze 
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 cup (or about 6 ounces) dark chocolate, chopped

Make crust as above.
In large bowl, beat cream cheese with electric mixer on medium until smooth. Add 1 egg at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in sugar and vanilla extract until smooth. Add 1/2 cup whipping cream; blend well.
Spoon 3 -1/2 cups cream cheese mixture into crust-lined pan, spreading evenly. Carefully spoon 1 cup pie filling evenly over cream cheese layer (reserve remaining pie filling for topping). Spoon remaining cream cheese mixture evenly over pie filling.
Bake 1 hour 5 minutes to 1 hour 15 minutes or until center is set. Cool in pan on wire rack 1 hour.
Serve topped with remaining cherry pie filling.

Optional: I don't think you need to add this, but if you want more chocolate!
In 1-quart saucepan, heat 1/2 cup whipping cream to boiling over medium-high heat. Remove from heat. Stir in chopped chocolate until melted.
Line cookie sheet with waxed paper. Remove side of pan. Place cheesecake on paper-lined cookie sheet. Before adding the extra cherry pie filling -- Spread chocolate glaze over cooled cheesecake, allowing some to flow down side. Refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight.

Friday, April 22, 2022


Earth Day! Celebrate with this simple and fun recipe. Make some home-made chocolate pudding or pudding from a box, crush some oreos on top, dust with a little cocoa, and stick in a sprig of mint! I use either clay pots (make sure they're clean) or glass mason jars. Use paper cups if that's all you have. Talk about easy! And cute, too! You can swap out mint extract for vanilla if you want chocolate mint pudding! Very versatile.

Celebrate Earth Day! It's the only Earth we have!

Want to make your own chocolate pudding?

Potted Chocolate Dirt Pudding

2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
3 Tbsp cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
2-1/4 cups whole milk
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp pure vanilla extract  (or mint extract)
Mint sprigs

Stir together sugar, cocoa, cornstarch, and salt in medium saucepan; gradually stir in milk.
Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils; boil and stir 1 minute.
Remove from heat; stir in butter and vanilla. Pour into individual pots or jars.
Let cool or refrigerate.
Top with crushed Oreos. Dust with cocoa (optional)
Stick spring of mint into each individual pot.

Thursday, April 21, 2022

CHOCOLATE CASHEW BUTTER: National Chocolate Covered Cashew Day

Today is National Chocolate Covered Cashew Day. Contrary to what you might think, Cashews are not nuts. They're really seeds of the cashew drupe, a member of the poison ivy family! The cashew’s seed lining contains a powerful irritant called anacardic acid (which is why they are never served or sold in their skins). The botanical name Anacardium refers to the shape of the fruit, which looks like an inverted heart.

So to celebrate National Chocolate Covered Cashew Day, here's a recipe for Chocolate Cashew Butter. Don't get confused. This is nothing like Nutella, the popular chocolate hazelnut spread. However, it can be used in the same way. It's fabulous on toast! Making your own nut spread is easy. And, since you're in charge of the ingredients, you can play around with them until you're satisfied (less sugar or honey//roasted or raw cashews, etc). The texture of Chocolate Cashew Butter is grittier than you'd expect, but that's what makes it so good! You don't want to refrigerate this nut butter, as the oil will separate. Nothing perishable in the ingredients, so don't worry. This Chocolate Cashew Butter also makes a great gift! This recipe is adapted from


1-3/4 cup cashews (roasted or raw)
1/2 tablespoon oil (mild-flavored oil is preferred--but I've tried coconut oil) If you use coconut oil, don't put it in the fridge.. well, this nut butter doesn't need to refrigerated, anyway.
2 Tbsp unsweetened DARK cocoa powder
2 Tbsp sugar (or honey)
Dash pure vanilla extract
Pinch of sea salt

In food processor, puree cashews with oil until mixture becomes creamy.
Add remaining ingredients and pulse together until totally combined.
Store in airtight container at room temperature.

Wednesday, April 20, 2022


Today is National Banana Day. Here's an easy recipe adapted from Hershey's Kitchens for Double Chocolate Banana Bread . This is one of my go-to recipes for quick bread. As always, use the very best chocolate and cocoa for the best flavor.


1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup sour cream
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup Dutch Process Cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup Dark Chocolate Chips or Dark Chocolate Chopped, divided

Preheat oven to 350°F and spray a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with nonstick spray.
In large bowl, add softened butter, brown sugar, and white sugar and beat until combined. Add egg, vanilla, bananas, and sour cream and continue to beat until mixture is smooth.
In separate bowl sift together flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda. Add flour mixture to banana mixture and stir until well combined. Mix in half of dark chocolate chips or chopped chocolate. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and evenly sprinkle remaining dark chocolate chips over loaf.
Bake for 65–70 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
NOTE: you might get a bit of chocolate on your toothpick; make sure you insert the toothpick where there are no chocolate chips.
Remove loaf pan from oven and let cool completely. Run knife around the edges of the bread and invert onto cutting board. 


Tuesday, April 19, 2022

AMARETTO TRUFFLES: National Amaretto Day

Today is National Amaretto Day. Amaretto is a sweet, almond-flavored Italian liqueur. Despite that definition, it isn't always made from almonds. It's primarily made from apricot pits and spices. The original version was made in Saronno, Italy. Amaretto is Italian for "a little bitter." Here's a link to Homemade Amaretto at


10 ounces semisweet chocolate
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
3/4 cup heavy or whipping cream
5 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup Amaretto
1 cup blanched almonds
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa

In food processor with knife blade attached, blend both kinds of chocolate until finely ground. In 1-quart saucepan, heat cream to boiling on medium-high. With food processor running, add hot cream, butter, and liqueur to chocolate, and blend until chocolate mixture is smooth.
Grease 8" by 8" metal baking pan; line with plastic wrap. Pour chocolate mixture into pan; spread evenly. Refrigerate chocolate mixture until cool and firm enough to handle, at least 3 hours, or freeze 1 hour.
Place chopped almonds in small bowl; place cocoa in another small bowl. Invert chocolate block onto cutting board; remove and discard plastic wrap. Cut chocolate block into 8 strips, then cut each strip crosswise into 8 squares. (To cut chocolate block neatly and easily, occasionally dip knife in hot water and wipe dry.)
One at a time, roll half the chocolate squares in chopped almonds to coat; roll remaining squares in cocoa.

Monday, April 18, 2022

CHOCOLATE & ANIMAL CRACKERS: Recipes and History: National Animal Crackers Day

Happy National Animal Crackers Day! The original animal crackers of my childhood didn't have a lot of flavor, but even now when I think of them I remember their unique taste during zoo and circus visits. Those trips were always exciting, and animal crackers were an important part of the experience. I remember the red cardboard boxes with pictures of animals in cages (the new packaging has them roaming free) and little flat strings to carry your box.

Today there are many different brands of animal crackers -- vegan, chocolate, chocolate covered, covered with icing and sprinkles, and so many more. There are the original Barnum's Animal Crackers, and I really like Barbara's (all natural) Snackimals Double Chocolate and Snackimals Chocolate Chip.

Want to dress up your store-bought Animal Crackers today to celebrate National Animal Cracker Day? Dip the animal crackers in Chocolate:

Chocolate Dipped Animal Crackers

Melt a good dark chocolate in top of double boiler over simmering water or in the microwave.
Dip animals and let cool on waxed paper.
You can either dip most of the animal (and use forks or special dipping tools) or just dip the feet as I did with the Walker Scottie Dogs with Muddy Boots. I like Trader Joe's Animal Crackers for chocolate dipping.

Want to get fancier? Healthy Happy Life ( has a Chocolate-Covered Vegan Animal Cookies post with great photos and recipes.

There's even a Website devoted to Animal Crackers:  Here you'll find a variety of recipes for animal crackers such as Homemade Animal Crackers, Oatmeal Animal Crackers, Classic Animal Crackers, Cheese Animal Crackers, Chocolate Animal Crackers, and many others. Animal Crackers have been a snack since the mid nineteenth century. Today they are made by numerous well known companies, such as Keebler, Nabisco, or the Stauffer Biscuit Company. Although store bought varieties can be great, you might want to try some homemade animal crackers.

Recipe adapted from

1/3 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 Cup Organic Toasted Rolled Quick Oats
1/2 Cup Softened Unsalted Butter
1 1/2 Cups All Purpose Baking Flour
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
3/4 Cup of Cold Whole Milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In blender, mix organic toasted rolled quick oats, with flour, unsweetened cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, and kosher salt.
Pulse until base mixture is completely ground up into delicate powder, and color and texture are even and consistent.
Pour this mixture into mixing bowl, and stir in cold whole milk and softened real butter. Stir until dough becomes stiff, adding any extra milk if you need to.
Roll animal cracker dough into ball on clean flat surface, then flatten out into quarter inch thickness.
Using animal cracker or other cookie cutters, make as many shapes as you can with dough.
Place your finished shapes on lightly greased baking sheet. Cook for ten to fifteen minutes, or until crackers are crisp.
Cool on wire rack for half an hour.

Waiter, there's an Animal Cracker in my soup! Animal Crackers make a great starch for soups and stews.  I've posted a recipe for a great Chicken Mole Polano made with Animal Crackers.  Or try this recipe for White Chocolate Mole with Animal Crackers.

Want a sweet chocolate soup with Animal Crackers? O. K., this is more of a dessert. This recipe was originally found on the Hershey's Cocoa Box.


3/4 cups half-and-half
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tsp cocoa
1 egg yolk

Heat half-and-half. Pour into bowl, leaving about 1/4 cup in saucepan or cup.
Add sugar, vanilla, cocoa to pan and mix until it is a syrup. Add egg yolk and stir over low heat. Gradually stir in preheated half-and-half. Stir until blended and thick. Pour into bowl.
Top with animal crackers.

Here's a link to several other Cocoa Soup recipes. All go well with Animal Crackers!

Enjoy this video clip of Shirley Temple singing Animal Crackers in my Soup!

Sunday, April 17, 2022

VINTAGE EASTER CHOCOLATE MOLDS: Bunnies and Chicks and Eggs, Oh My!

I adore Chocolate Molds, particularly the vintage metal ones. Here are a few great Chocolate Molds for Easter.  Bunnies, Eggs, and Chicks, oh My! Happy Easter!

Saturday, April 16, 2022

QUEEN OF SHEBA CAKE aka REINE DE SABA for Passover or Any Time

A few years ago a friend made a Queen of Sheba cake for Passover. This cake is also known as a Reine de Saba, and surely Julia Child is the Queen of the Queen of Sheba Cake! I've watched the episode where she makes a Reine de Saba several times. It's a perfect Passover cake -- with a few tweaks.

Julia Child writes in "The Way to Cook" that this was the first French cake she ever ate, prepared by co-author Simone Beck, "and I have never forgotten it." 

I hope you're enjoying the new HBO Max series Julia as much as I am. Perhaps making this Queen of Sheba Cake will enhance your viewing pleasure.

The following recipe will make one large Reine de Saba in an 8-inch cake pan, or make six petite versions in a large (3 1/2-inch diameter) muffin tin.

Queen of Sheba Cake

4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate (bittersweet may be used)
2 Tbsp rum or coffee
1/4 lb butter at room temperature
2/3 cup plus 2 Tbsp sugar
3 eggs, separated
2/3 cup finely ground almonds
1/4 tsp cream of tartar (the jury is out on whether or not cream of tartar is kosher for Passover--so if in doubt substitute squeeze of lemon juice instead)
1/4 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup cake flour, measured then sifted (for Passover use matzo cake meal--1/3 cup -- or Almond flour)
one good pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350F and place rack in middle.
Melt chocolate and rum or coffee in pot set over simmering water, stirring to combine. Cover, turn off heat, and leave alone. Cream butter and 2/3 cup sugar together until pale yellow and fluffy. Beat in egg yolks until pale and fluffy. Add almond extract.
In separate bowl, beat egg whites on low-to-medium until foamy, then increase speed, adding 1 tablespoon of sugar and 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar (or squeeze of lemon) until soft peaks form.
Return to melted chocolate and give it a small stir.
Beat in some of butter/yolk mixture a little at a time, stirring constantly so yolks do not curdle. Repeat until all is combined.
Combine almond meal, cake flour, and salt. Add this dry mixture to chocolate mixture, incorporating bits at a time. Then gently fold in egg whites, starting with about 1/2 a cup and working the rest in.
Immediately put 1/2 cup of your batter into each of the six muffin tins. Give a good, hard bang or two on your kitchen counter to level and remove any bubbles in batter.
Bake for 12 minutes, then watch closely until finished. A pale, chocolaty crust should form, but cakes should jiggle a little. Toothpick inserted about an inch from the edges should come out dry, but one poked into the center should not. Remove from oven and let cool for about an hour. When ready to remove from pan, run a sharp knife around the edges of the cakes, invert onto platter.
Top with chocolate glaze or dust with powdered sugar.

Icing recipe from Julia Child's original recipe in Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

2 ounces semisweet baking chocolate
2 Tbsp rum or coffee
5 to 6 Tbsp unsalted butter

Place chocolate and rum or coffee in small pan, cover, and set in larger pan of almost simmering water. Remove pans from heat and let chocolate melt for 5 minutes or so, until perfectly smooth. Lift chocolate pan out of hot water, and beat in butter a tablespoon at a time. Then beat over the ice and water until chocolate mixture has cooled to spreading consistency.
At once spread it over cake with spatula or knife, and press design of almonds onto icing.

Friday, April 15, 2022

CHOCOLATE PEEPS FOR EASTER: Bunnies and Chicks, Oh My!

"Are You My Mother?"
Of all my childhood Spring Confection memories, PEEPS stand out. My sister and I still buy each other PEEPS around Easter, although we rarely eat the sugary marshmallow-y creatures any more. She buys me purple rabbits; I buy her classic yellow chicks -- the original PEEPS. You see where this is going? I'm a purist, but since this is a Chocolate Blog, I've made room in my Easter PEEPS inventory for Chocolate PEEPS.

So, PEEPS: You love them or hate them. People do all sorts of things with PEEPS, only some of which involve giving them to kids at Easter or eating them straight from the box. For me, it's the elastic quality of the "old" PEEPS that's fun for me--pulling them apart.
Chocolate PEEPS Bunnies off to work in the fields

Chocolate: The ultimate in the ever improving PEEPS. Chocolate-Covered PEEPS are available from the original company in both Dark and Milk chocolate. These are not the small peeps packed together in rows. No, these Chocolate Peeps come in individually wrapped packages, as well as in a three pack. Sadly, in the big ones, the cool sparkly coating of sugar is missing, and I think it would have been a nice buffer between the chocolate and marshmallow to make it stand out from the rest of the chocolate marshmallow candy.

However, the Chocolate Dipped PEEPS do have the sugar. I love the three pack of PEEPS Chocolate Dipped Chicks (both dark and milk chocolate), as well as the Dark and Milk Chocolate PEEPS Chocolate Dipped Mousse Flavored Marshmallow Chicks!

I'm a fan of Chocolate Eggs, and PEEPS has a very fun individually boxed hollow milk chocolate egg with a PEEP chick inside. Maybe it's been around for awhile, but I missed it.

And, just as an aside, Jacques Torres makes fabulous chocolate, and they sell Chocolate-Covered PEEPS. Their name: Chirp'N'Dales. They are adorable. Also, Asher's Chocolates makes Milk and Dark Chocolate Dipped PEEPS.

Other great uses for PEEPS:

1. Make PEEPS S'Mores, especially with the chocolate covered ones.
2. Plop a Chocolate Covered PEEPS down in your Hot Chocolate or Coffee.
3. Decorate cakes or cupcakes with PEEPS.
4. Create Your Own PEEPS Diorama.
5. Bake PEEPS in your brownies!

Want to make your own Chocolate Covered PEEPS using the original PEEPS?

1. Melt some good dark chocolate or milk chocolate (about 16 oz/depending on how many you plan to make)
2. Remove PEEPS from package. I would use Chicks since they're the original, but the other shapes (rabbits, etc) work well.
3. Insert a lollipop stick into the Peep. If you're using the chicks, put stick in the widest part (maybe this is why they're sideways standing up in the packaged ones--and why bunnies work better). 
4. Dip the Peep into the melted chocolate. Two choices: Either cover the entire Peep or just dip one end as you would chocolate covered strawberries. Be sure and let any excess drip off.
5. Put on wax paper covered plate or cookie sheet and freeze or refrigerate for 20 minutes. 

Question? When is a PEEP, not a PEEP? When it's Chocolate-Covered.

Chocolate Dipped Peeps complete the flock!

Thursday, April 14, 2022


Here's a staple to make during Passover. These Chocolate Chip Meringues are easy and tasty and fun to make with children. I always think of Meringues as a little bit of heaven - -Light, Airy, and Sweet. You can serve them on a bed of chocolate chips to dress them up for dessert--or just stack them on a platter. Recipe from with a few tweaks.

Chocolate Chip Cocoa Meringues

1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened DARK premium cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
3 egg whites
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 300. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Sift 1/4 cup sugar, cocoa, and salt into small bowl.
In large bowl, beat egg whites with electric mixer until soft peaks begin to form. Mix in remaining 1/4 cup of sugar gradually, and beat until medium-firm peaks form. Sprinkle in cocoa mixture gradually, and continue beating until egg whites are stiff. Fold in mini-chocolate chips.
Drop mixture onto baking sheets by rounded teaspoonfuls, spacing about 1 inch apart.
Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes for crispy cookies. Cool cookies on baking sheets.

Tip: The parchment paper reduces risk of burning bottoms.

Wednesday, April 13, 2022


I love this easy Betty Crocker recipe for A Chocolate Easter Bunny Cake. You can always make your own chocolate bundt cake from scratch or use a mix. Love the Chocolate Bunnies in the photo, but if you can't find them, use whichever chocolate bunnies you have. This is so adorable, and a great Easter centerpiece! You can always elaborate on the decorations by adding chocolate Easter Eggs or chicks.

Easy Chocolate Easter Bunny Cake!


2 Tbsp cocoa
1 Betty Crocker™ SuperMoist™ dark chocolate or devil’s food cake mix
 3 eggs
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup water
1 cup good quality dark chocolate, chopped

3 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
2 to 3 tablespoons milk

Bunch fresh mint sprigs
2-3 large chocolate bunnies, unwrapped
10-12 pastel malted candy eggs

Heat oven to 350°F. (325°F for dark or nonstick pans). Generously spray 12-cup fluted tube or bundt pan with baking spray. Sprinkle with cocoa to coat pans; tap to remove excess cocoa.

In large bowl, beat cake mix, eggs, butter, and water with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds. Beat on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Stir in chocolate.

Spoon batter into pan. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until top springs back when touched lightly in center. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Place cooling rack or heatproof serving plate upside down over pan; turn rack and pan over. Remove pan. Cool completely, about 2 hours.

In medium bowl, beat powdered sugar, corn syrup, cream, and peppermint extract on low speed until blended. Beat on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Add just enough milk to the icing to make it thin enough to stick to a spoon, dripping off of the spoon slowly when tipped down toward bowl.

Spread icing onto cooled cake. Place a bunch of mint sprigs in the center of cake. Add a chocolate bunny in center of the mint sprigs. Press malted eggs around the top and sides of the cake. Press second chocolate bunny onto the side of the cake. Garnish with additional mint sprigs, as desired.

So easy! Happy Easter!