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Sunday, July 31, 2022

EASY CHOCOLATE RASPBERRY CAKE: National Raspberry Cake Day!

I love chocolate and raspberries, especially when they're together in a cake. So here's an easy recipe for Chocolate Raspberry Cake for National Raspberry Cake Day! Recipe below from BUTTER with a side of BREAD. Main ingredients you need - a chocolate cake mix (I like Duncan Hines) and a bag of frozen raspberries. And, you can make this in a bundt pan, so it's also pretty. You can frost or not. Of course, if you're a purist, here's a link to my all time favorite 'from scratch' Chocolate Raspberry Cake from Martha Stewart. Not only does it use fresh raspberries, but there's a splash of of raspberry liqueur in the recipe! Two choices to celebrate the day!

EASY CHOCOLATE RASPBERRY CAKE 

Ingredients
1 chocolate cake mix
3 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup oil
1 (12 oz) bag frozen raspberries

Directions
Partially thaw raspberries  (set out for 20-30 minutes before making cake).
Mix cake mix, eggs, sour cream, and oil together with electric mixer.
Fold in frozen raspberries (Tip: Use electric mixer for about 5-10 seconds to chop up raspberries a bit but still have some larger pieces of raspberry in cake).
Pour into well-greased Bundt pan and bake at 350 for about 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Let cool 10-15 minutes before inverting pan and placing the cake on plate.

(optional)
CHOCOLATE FROSTING

Ingredients
5 Tbsp butter
1/3 cup milk
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions
In medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.
Add milk and sugar and bring to boil, stirring constantly. Boil for one minute and then remove from heat.
Stir in chocolate chips until completely melted and smooth.
Let set for minute or two to set up a little bit, making it the best consistency to pour/spread on cake.

And, as I mentioned above, you can always make a Chocolate Raspberry Cake from Scratch using fresh raspberries.

Saturday, July 30, 2022

OREO CHEESECAKE: National Cheesecake Day!

Today is National Cheesecake Day, and what could better way to celebrate than with an Oreo Cheesecake. This recipe combines two of my favorite food groups! Oreos and Cheesecake. O.K., a little liberty there on actual food groups. But, the great thing about this recipe is it's quick and easy. No bake! Recipe modified from Philadelphia Cream Cheese at Kraft.


OREO CHEESECAKE

Ingredients

Crust
2 cups Oreo crumbs (about 20 Oreos)
1/4 cup butter, melted

Filling 
24 oz (three 8-oz packages) cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
8 ounces Cool Whip
1 1/2 cups Oreo crumbs (about 16 Oreos)
7-10 Oreos, chopped, optional additional

Directions

Crust
Combine 20 Oreo crumbs with melted butter.
Press into bottom and halfway up sides of 9 inch springform pan.
Set in refrigerator to firm.

Cheesecake
Mix cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla in large bowl until smooth and combined.
Stir in Cool Whip.
Add rest of Oreo crumbs and chopped Oreos and gently mix until well combined.
Pour filling into crust and smooth top.
Top with additional Oreo crumbs.
Refrigerate for about 4 hours or until firm.


Friday, July 29, 2022

Thursday, July 28, 2022

MILK CHOCOLATE CAKE WITH MILK CHOCOLATE FROSTING: National Milk Chocolate Day

Today is Milk Chocolate Day! I'm a dark chocolate fan, but every once in awhile I crave a Hershey's milk chocolate bar. So what exactly is Milk Chocolate?

Here's a good explanation from HowStuffWorks.com:

Milk chocolate, the most common eating chocolate in the United States today, actually arrived on the scene fairly late in the history of chocolate.
 
Milk chocolate's development was made possible with the invention of powdered milk by Swiss chemist Henri Nestlé in 1867. Previous attempts at mixing whole (liquid) milk and chocolate liquor didn't turn out well. But in 1879, a Swiss chocolate manufacturer and neighbor of Nestlé by the name of Daniel Peter decided to try combining the newly invented powdered milk with chocolate liquor -- and true milk chocolate was born.

Milk chocolate is made by combining chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, sugar, flavorings, and sweetened condensed or powdered whole milk (which one is used depends on the individual manufacturer's formula and production methods). The sugar and milk are first blended together, then they're mixed with chocolate liquor and flavorings and dried to create a substance called "milk chocolate crumb." Next, additional cocoa butter is blended with the crumb, and the mixture is sent through the standard conching and refining processes.
 
All milk chocolate made in the United States must contain at least 10 percent chocolate liquor and at least 12 percent milk solids. Bars of fine milk chocolate typically have a cacao content of between 30 percent and 45 percent, while less-expensive products may have considerably less. Milk chocolate has a sweeter and far more mellow chocolate flavor than dark chocolate, and since a higher cacao content gives a chocolate bar more "snap," milk chocolate tends to be less crisp than dark chocolate.

***
Here's a great recipe for Milk Chocolate Cake with Milk Chocolate Frosting.  This is essentially a three layer chocolate butter cake. Recipe was developed by Sylvia Thompson -- The Birthday Cake Book (1993).

MILK CHOCOLATE CAKE WITH MILK CHOCOLATE FROSTING

Milk Chocolate Cake

Ingredients
3 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
1/2 Tbsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 Tbsp salt
6 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
1 cup water
1 cup unsalted butter, softened to consistency of mayonnaise
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light-brown sugar, lumps crushed, packed
1 1/2 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
6 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk or soured milk, room temperature
Milk Chocolate Frosting

Directions
Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in bowl.
In medium heat-proof bowl over barely simmering water, melt chocolate in water, stirring occasionally until perfectly smooth. Remove from heat.
In large mixing bowl, beat butter on medium speed until creamy. Continue beating while sprinkling in granulated and brown sugars, 1 tablespoon at time. Add vanilla and beat until very light. Add eggs one at a time, beating until thoroughly blended after each, then beat until very light and creamy. Blend in chocolate. Add flour in 3 parts by sprinkling over bowl. Alternate with buttermilk in 2 parts. Beat on lowest speed just until each addition disappears. Fold batter with large flexible rubber spatula just until thoroughly blended.
Divide batter into buttered 9-inch round cake pans with bottoms lined with wax paper. Smooth tops, then push batter slightly up against sides. Bake 2 layers on middle oven rack and 1 layer on lower oven rack at 350 degrees. Stagger so top pans are not directly over bottom pan.
Bake until wood pick emerges clean from center of cake, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool in pans on racks 15 minutes. Then turn out onto racks, top sides up, to cool completely.
Up to 6 hours before serving, set thickest layer on platter, bottoms up. Spread with 2/3 cup frosting. Repeat with second layer. Place last layer top side up. Frost top and sides. Keep cool. Do not refrigerate.

Milk Chocolate Frosting 

Ingredients
14 ounces milk chocolate
5 cups powdered sugar, sifted
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa (not Dutch-processed)
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
7 - 8 Tbsp milk
2 Tbsp vanilla

Directions
In medium heat-proof bowl over (not touching) barely simmering water, melt chocolate, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove from heat.
In food processor or mixing bowl, blend sugar and cocoa. Melt butter with 7 Tbsp milk at MEDIUM  in microwave or over low heat.
Add hot butter to sugar with chocolate and vanilla. Process or beat until smooth. Do not overprocess. If too thick, beat in remaining tablespoon hot milk. If too thin, add sugar. Spread at once.

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Single Malt Scotch Peanut Chocolate Truffles: National Scotch Day

Today is National Scotch Day! I've participated as a judge in Scotch/Chocolate pairings. It's often difficult to decide which chocolates pair best with which Scotch, but since today is National Scotch Day, I thought I'd post a recipe for Single Malt Scotch Peanut Chocolate Truffles. It's the ultimate pairing of not two but three distinct flavors. You can choose your own chocolate and your own Scotch. Keep the chocolate semi-sweet, so you have some sugar in there. I tend to go very dark, but not in this recipe. Recipe adapted from one by Florence Fabricant that appeared in the New York Times in 2008.

I love truffles. They're easy to prepare and look and taste great!

Single Malt Scotch Peanut Chocolate Truffles

Ingredients
1 pound--12 ounces dark chocolate (55-65% cacao-needs to be semisweet to offset the salted peanuts & Scotch)
2/3 cup heavy cream
1-1/2 tsp honey (original recipe calls for floral honey)
3 Tbsp Single Malt Scotch Whisky
6 Tbsp salted peanuts, coarsely chopped
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Directions
Break 8 ounces chocolate into small pieces and place in metal bowl. Heat cream to a simmer and pour over chocolate. Stir until chocolate has melted and is smooth. If necessary, place bowl briefly over low heat to finish melting.
Stir in honey, Scotch, peanuts, and vanilla. Chill until firm, 2 hours.
Use small ice cream scoop to scoop small amounts of chocolate mixture. Quickly roll into 1 inch balls. Place on platter or baking sheet lined with parchment. Put in freezer to firm up (about 30 minutes).
Break up remaining chocolate and place 16 ounces in microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on full power 2 to 3 minutes, stirring a few times, until melted. Remove from oven. Stir in remaining chocolate until melted. With two forks hold truffles and gently dip in melted chocolate to coat. Place on parchment-lined baking sheet at room temperature 15 minutes. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

S'MORES SHOTS: Glamping!

Here's an easy recipe to take your Glamping Drinks up a notch: S'mores Shots!  These are great for glamping... or serve S'mores Shots in small tin mugs at home for that fun glamping experience or in shot glasses! This is not the only recipe for S'mores Shots, but it's easy and delicious. As always, experiment. Change it up as it pleases you! And, of course, make some S'mores to accompany your S'mores Shots!

S'MORES SHOTS!

Ingredients:
1/2 ounce Vodka
1/2 ounce Chocolate Liqueur
3/4 ounce cream or half and half
Chocolate syrup
Graham cracker crumbs
Mini-marshmallows

Directions:
Pour 1/4 chocolate syrup into bottom of glass.
Combine vodka, half and half, and chocolate liqueur in shaker with ice and shake for 15 seconds. Pour into glass. Add graham cracker crumbs and mini-marshmallows.

Optional: You can also do marshmallow/graham cracker rim (dip in marshmallow creme and roll in graham cracker crumbs) You can also add a skewered marshmallow over the top (take a torch to the marshmallows for authenticity!)

Monday, July 25, 2022

HOT FUDGE SUNDAE CAKE: National Hot Fudge Sundae Day!

Today is National Hot Fudge Sundae Day! The classic Hot Fudge Sundae is a creation of vanilla ice cream, hot chocolate sauce ("hot fudge"), whipped cream, nuts, and a single maraschino cherry on top. A Hot Fudge Sundae can be made with any flavor of ice cream, but vanilla is preferred!

There are many variations about the origins of the Hot Fudge Sundae. According to Wikipedia, a frequent theme is that the dish arose in contravention to so-called blue laws against Sunday consumption of either ice cream or ice cream soda (the latter invented by Robert M. Green in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1874). The religious laws are said to have led druggists to produce a substitute for these popular treats for consumption on Sunday. According to this theory of the name's origin, the spelling was changed to sundae to avoid offending religious conventions. Since I grew up in Philadelphia, I remember the Blue Laws, although at that time they pertained mostly to alcohol and not ice cream, although the food markets were closed.

In support of this idea, Peter Bird wrote in The First Food Empire: A History of J. Lyons and Co. (2000) that the name 'sundae' was adopted as a result of Illinois state's early prohibition of ice cream consumption on Sundays, because ice cream with a topping that obscured the main product was not deemed to be ice cream. However, according to documentation published by the Evanston, Illinois Public Library, it was the drinking of soda, not the eating of ice cream, that was outlawed on Sundays in Illinois.

Other origin stories for the sundae focus on the novelty or inventiveness of the treat or the name of the originator, and make no mention of legal pressures.

You don't really need a recipe for a hot fudge sundae. I gave the ingredients above. However, like anything else, it's all about the quality of the ingredients. 

Hot Fudge Sundae Cake is a great variation on this traditional treat, and it can be made in a pan in the oven or in a Slow Cooker. See recipe HERE.

Following is a recipe adapted from Betty Crocker for Hot Fudge Sundae Cake in a pan. It's an easy one bowl/pan recipe. What's especially delicious about this cake is that as the cake bakes it separates into a chocolate cake and a dark fudgy sauce. Now that's what Hot Fudge Sundaes are all about! Add the ice cream and you're all set.

Hot Fudge Sundae Cake

Ingredients
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons DARK unsweetened cocoa
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened DARK cocoa
1 3/4 cups very hot water

Vanilla Ice cream

Directions
Heat oven to 350ºF.
Mix flour, granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons cocoa, baking powder, and salt in ungreased square pan, 9x9x2 inches. Mix in milk, oil, and vanilla with fork until smooth. Stir in nuts. Spread in pan.
Sprinkle brown sugar and 1/4 cup cocoa over batter. Pour water over batter.
Bake about 40 minutes or until top is dry.
Spoon warm cake into dessert dishes. Top with ice cream. Spoon sauce from pan onto each serving.

Rather have Hot Fudge Sundae Cupcakes? Check out Joy the Baker's recipe and photos.

Want Hot Fudge Sundae Macarons? Barbara Bakes has the perfect recipe!


Sunday, July 24, 2022

TEQUILA BROWNIES: National Tequila Day

Today is National Tequila Day! Have a shot of Tequila, or, better still, make these fabulously rich Tequila Brownies.

I use Reposado Tequila in this recipe. Reposado or "rested" Tequila is aged in wood tanks or casks for a minimum of 2 months. The higher-quality Reposados are aged from 3-9 months. Reposado tequila has a robust flavor and is the best-selling in Mexico and can be either 100% agave or mixto. Of course, you can use whatever type of Tequila you have on hand.

TEQUILA BROWNIES

Ingredients
1/2 cup unsalted butter
12 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 - 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup flour
2 Tbsp Reposado Tequila
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup walnuts, chopped

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease 8x8x2" square pan. 
Heat butter and chocolate in saucepan over saucepan over simmering flame. Stir until melted.
In bowl, combine cocoa, sugar, flour, tequila, baking powder, salt, and eggs.
Pour in chocolate/butter mixture, mixing just until combined.
Stir in walnuts.
Spread mixture in pan.
Bake 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
Cool before cutting.

Saturday, July 23, 2022

FROZEN S'MORES BARS for a hot summer day!

Summer S'mores! Here's a variation on traditional S'mores that's so easy and perfect for a hot day at home this summer: FROZEN S'MORES BARS. You can glam these up by making your own graham crackers and using fabulous chocolate and making your own Marshmallow Fluff (recipe below). But, if you're in a hurry and just want a yummy treat, use store bought grahams, Marshmallow Fluff, and your favorite chocolate.

How to make these: 
Basically you're freezing marshmallow cream between two graham crackers, dipping the'sandwiches'  in melted dark chocolate and then freezing! How easy is that?

Want to be more precise?

FROZEN S'MORES BARS

Put graham crackers bottom side up on parchment lined cookie sheet. Pipe (use a ziplock with a corner cut out or piping bag) marshmallow cream onto graham crackers and top with graham crackers. Put in freezer to harden (30 minutes).
Melt chocolate in double boiler or microwave. Let cool a bit (can't be too hot or will start to melt the cream).
Keep cookies in freezer until ready to use. Take a few out and dip halfway in chocolate. Put back in freezer. Continue to dip. Freeze until hard.

Want to make your own Marshmallow Fluff?

Ingredients
3 egg whites, room temp
2 cups lite corn syrup
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 Tbsp Madagascar vanilla

Directions
In bowl of stand mixer with whisk attachment, add egg whites, corn syrup, and salt.
On high speed whisk for 5 minutes, until thick and doubled.
On low speed, add powdered sugar. Mix until blended. Add vanilla and blend.

Want to make Chocolate Graham Crackers for triple the chocolate?
Here's a link to my recipe for Chocolate Graham Crackers!

Friday, July 22, 2022

PENUCHE FUDGE: National Penuche Fudge Day

Today is Penuche Fudge Day. This tasty fudge is sometimes called Penuche Fudge, sometimes Brown Sugar Fudge, Creamy Praline Fudge, New England Fudge, and even Sucre a la Creme (in Canada)! Whatever you call it, it's fabulous.

Historically, Penuche Fudge has been attributed to New England (New England Fudge) as well as some places in the South (Creamy Praline), but there are many variations in nearly every part of the world. Milk is usually boiled down to thick fudge and brown sugar is then added to it to create the distinctive butterscotch taste. This fudge is very similar to Mexican Cajeta which is also a kind of sweetened thickened goat’s milk with the same dull brown color of penuche. There are also many Indian versions of the same dish using thickened milk called as peda or milk fudge burfi. The only difference between the different regional variations is the thickness of the eventual dish. Cajeta is liquidy and can be used a as a spread, while penuche is semi-soft like a fudge and pedas or milk burfis are stiffer. But the basic ingredients in the penuche fudge recipe and preparation process are the same. Dulce du leche is another very popular version where condensed milk is thickened with hours of cooking resulting in a thick paste. Different versions of this dish are very popular all over Latin America and France even though they are given different names.

O.K. I meant to mention that there's no chocolate in Penuche Fudge. So if you want Chocolate Fudge, check out my National Fudge Day Recipe Round-Up!

Penuche Fudge

Ingredients
4 cups brown sugar
1 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1-2/3 cups chopped pecans

Directions
Combine brown sugar, cream, and butter in medium saucepan. Stir until dissolved. Heat to between 234 and 240 degrees F.
Remove from heat and stir until mixture loses its gloss (or process in food processor 30 seconds) Quickly stir in vanilla and nuts and spread into 9 x 9 inch dish.
Chill before cutting into squares.

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Chocolate Creme Brûlée: National Creme Brûlée Day!

Celebrate National Creme Brulee´ Day, today's food holiday, with Chocolate Creme Brûlée. My favorite no fail Recipe for Chocolate Creme Brulee comes from Paula Deen. I love her recipe because it's easy, contains alcohol (Chocolate Liqueur), and tastes fantastic. Because this recipe calls for egg yolks only, use the extra egg whites to make Chocolate Meringues.

Chocolate Creme Brûlée

Ingredients
1 quart heavy cream
1 cup sugar
1 ounce chocolate liqueur (recommended: Godiva Liqueur)
1/2 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
2 ounces dark cocoa powder
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate (remember the best quality makes a difference)
11 large egg yolks

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In medium sized saucepan over medium-high heat, add heavy cream, sugar, liqueur, and vanilla. When mixture is warm add cocoa powder and chocolate and whisk until blended.
Place egg yolks in large stainless steel bowl.
Slowly add warm chocolate mixture to eggs a little at time while whisking.
Strain and pour into individual porcelain ramekins.
Place ramekins in a large baking pan.
Pour enough hot water into pan to come half way up sides of ramekins.
Bake until firm in center, about 30 minutes.
Remove ramekins from water bath and let cool completely.
Place in refrigerator for 2 hours.
Dust with sugar and caramelize with propane torch. Serve immediately.

If you've never carmelized sugar with a torch, read about it at The Kitchn on Apartment Therapy. I use a small torch from the hardware store, but you can find torches at kitchen shops and online. It's a great little tool to have on hand. You can also use the torch to finish your s'mores!

Read 5 facts about Creme Brulee at Foodimentary.

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

BLUEBERRY CHEESECAKE WITH CHOCOLATE CRUST: National Blueberry Month

I love blueberries, so any chance to add them to chocolate is fine by me. They're plentiful at the farmers markets right now, so why not make this fabulous Blueberry Cheesecake with Chocolate Crust.

BLUEBERRY CHEESECAKE WITH CHOCOLATE CRUST

Chocolate Crumb Crust:
1 1/2 cups chocolate crumbs
 2 Tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted

Cheesecake:
16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup granulated sugar

Blueberry Topping:
2 cups fresh blueberries
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch

Crust:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease glass pie plate with butter. Melt butter in small saucepan over low heat.
Mix together crumbs, sugar, and cinnamon. Mix butter in and form crumbly texture. Press into pie plate. Place into preheated oven and bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove and place on cooling rack. Reduce oven temperature to 325 F.

Filling:
Put cream cheese in large mixing bowl and using electric mixer, beat until smooth. Add sour cream, vanilla, and sugar and mix to combine. Add eggs and mix in until well combines. Transfer to prepared pie crust. Place in preheated oven and bake 40-45 minutes. Center will be jiggly. Outside edges should be set, but not brown. Remove and put on cooling rack. Cool to room temperature, then put into refrigerator. Cover with plastic wrap and let cool before putting blueberry topping on for at least an hour. Remove from refrigerator, pour room temperature blueberry sauce on top, cover again, place into refrigerator and set at least 4 hours or overnight.

Topping:
Place berries, water, and sugar into heavy bottom saucepan. Bring  mixture to boil. As soon as it starts to boil, turn down to low. Simmer for about 3-4 minutes stirring as needed so as not to stick to pan. Meanwhile; stir cornstarch into 2 tablespoons of water. Stir cornstarch mixture into blueberry mixture. Turn heat back up and bring to boil, stirring whole time. Cook for a minute or so. Mixture will thicken quickly. Remove from heat, transfer to glass bowl, and let cool to room temperature. Remove chilled cheesecake pie from refrigerator, pour blueberry sauce on top.
Place in refrigerator, cover, and set for 4 hours to overnight.

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

THREE UNIQUE CHOCOLATE DAIQUIRI RECIPES for National Daiquiri Day!

Today is National Daiquiri Day, and how better to celebrate than with Chocolate Daquiris! And, instead of one recipe...here are three recipes with different fruits and flavors. Perfect for the summer.

FYI: A traditional Daiquiri is a cocktail that usually combines rum, citrus (usually lime), and sugar or another sweetener.

Chocolate Daiquiri 

4 parts Light Rum
2 Parts Dark Cacao Liqueur
2 parts lime juice
1 part simple syrup

Fill shaker with ice cubes. Add all ingredients. Shake and strain into chilled daiquiri glass.

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Daiquiri

3 ounces chocolate vodka
1 cup fresh strawberries

Combine ingredients in blender. Blend well. Pour into chilled daiquiri glass. Garnish with chocolate covered strawberry!

Chocolate Banana Daiquiri

2 cups ice
1 banana, chopped in pieces
2 ounces golden (or white) rum
2 ounces creme de banane (this should be on your bar shelf!)
juice of 2 limes
2 Tbsp chocolate syrup

Blend ice and banana and blend on high speed. Then add all other ingredients to blender. Pulse until everything evens out and then blend on high until smooth. Serve in daiquiri or high ball glasses.
OMG.. this is fabulous!!




Monday, July 18, 2022

WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN VANILLA ICE CREAM AND FRENCH VANILLA ICE CREAM?

July is Ice Cream Month. I often serve vanilla ice cream with brownies and cakes, and I often wondered "What's the Difference between Vanilla Ice Cream and French Vanilla Ice Cream?" Now I Know!

French Vanilla Ice Cream is a different color than Vanilla Ice Cream, and that's due to the process rather than the vanilla bean varieties, named for where they’re grown, like Madagascar, Tahiti, and Mexico. French Vanilla refers not to a vanilla variety but to the classic French way of making ice cream using an egg-custard base. The eggs give French Vanilla ice cream a smoother consistency and subtle yellow color. I definitely think that French vanilla ice cream is richer.

Vanilla Ice Cream is made with just milk and cream, without eggs, and is called Philadelphia-style vanilla ice-cream. Having grown up in Philadelphia, this was news to me.

The French Connection: Actually French Vanilla ice cream dates back to colonial times. Both Thomas Jefferson and George Washington used ice cream recipes that include egg yolks. Jefferson's family's ice cream recipe which calls for six egg yolks per quart of cream may have originated with his French butler.

Jefferson's recipe for French Vanilla Ice Cream: Handwritten recipe below is from the Library of Congress collection. Recipe from www.monticello.org

Thomas Jefferson's Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe

Ingredients:
2 Bottles of Good Cream
6 Yolks of eggs
1/2 pound sugar

Directions
Mix the yolks and sugar put the cream on a fire in a casserole, first putting in a stick of vanilla.

When near boiling, take it off and pour it gently into the mixture of eggs and sugar. Stir it well.

Put it on the fire again, stirring it thoroughly with a spoon to prevent it from sticking to the casserole.

When near boiling, take it off and strain it through a towel. Put it in the Sabottiere [the inner canister in an ice bucket], then set it in ice an hour before it is to be served.

Put into the ice a handful of salt, put salt on the coverlid of the Sabotiere, and cover the whole [thing] with ice. Leave it still half a quarter of an hour. Then turn the Sabottiere in the ice [for] 10 minutes.

Open it ... with a spatula [and remove] the ice from the inner sides of the Sabotiere.

Shut it and replace it in the ice. Open it from time to time to detach the ice from the sides.

When well taken, stir it well with the spatula.

Put it in moulds, justling it well down on the knee. Then put the mould into the same bucket of ice. Leave it there to the moment of serving it.

To withdraw it, immerse the mould in warm water, turning it well [until] it will come out and turn it into a plate.

Visiting Mt. Rushmore? The Memorial Team Ice Cream shop serves up the original recipe.

Which is your favorite? Vanilla Ice Cream or French Vanilla Ice Cream

Sunday, July 17, 2022

NO CHURN PEACH ICE CREAM: National Peach Ice Cream Day

Today is National Peach Ice Cream Day. This recipe is so easy, and you won't need an ice cream maker! Also no eggs and no cooking! How easy is that? Add your favorite dark chocolate sauce, and you have an elegant dessert! So here's the recipe for a hot summer day! Enjoy!

NO CHURN PEACH ICE CREAM

  • Ingredients
  • 5 extra ripe peaches (before you ask--you don't have to peel them unless you want to)
  • 2 cups chilled heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk (chilled)

Directions


Wash peaches, quarter, and remove pits. Puree in food processor until smooth. Set aside.
Whip chilled whipping cream, vanilla, and salt until stiff peaks form. 
Add sweetened condensed milk and mix well to combine.
Add peach puree and mix well to combine. 
Pour into a chilled freezer safe container (a metal loaf pan works well) and freeze 3-6 hours.  
Tip, if it's too hard, leave out for a few minutes to soften. 

Drizzle your favorite dark chocolate sauce on the dished up peach ice cream.



Saturday, July 16, 2022

THREE RECIPES FOR CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM: National Ice Cream Day

I scream! You scream! We all scream for Ice Cream! Make it chocolate! To celebrate National Ice Cream Day (and Ice Cream Month), here are 3 easy recipes for Chocolate Ice Cream. As always use the very best ingredients. Be sure and try all three and let me know which is your favorite!

CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM RECIPE #1

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

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

CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM RECIPE #2

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, July 15, 2022

KICKED UP CHOCOLATE TAPIOCA PUDDING: National Tapioca Pudding Day!

Today is National Tapioca Pudding Day... not to be confused with National Tapioca Day (June 28) when I posted two Chocolate Pudding Tapioca Recipes. This recipe is 'kicked up' with the addition of Rum! Now we're talking. Recipe from Emeril Lagasse. It's easy, fast, and delicious!

KICKED UP CHOCOLATE TAPIOCA PUDDING

Ingredients
1/2 cup sugar
3 Tbsp quick cooking tapioca
3 cups whole milk
1 large egg, beaten
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3 ounces DARK chocolate
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp dark rum

Directions 
In medium saucepan, combine sugar, tapioca, milk, and egg. Let stand for 5 minutes.
Add cinnamon and chocolate to saucepan and cook over medium heat until pudding comes to full boil, stirring continually to prevent burning.
Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and rum.
Cool for 20 minutes. Stir for creamy texture.
Serve warm or chilled.

Thursday, July 14, 2022

GRAND MARNIER TRUFFLES: Bastille Day & Grand Marnier Day!

Today is Bastille Day, but it's also Grand Marnier Day, so here's an easy recipe for Grand Marnier Truffles to celebrate both.

Grand Marnier, an orange flavored brandy, has been an icon of authentic French "joie de vivre" for over 150 years. Still owned by the Marnier Lapostolle Family, this acclaimed liqueur has a luxurious taste and still uses the same secret recipe. Grand Marnier is a blend of Cognac, distilled essence of bitter orange, and sugar.

One of the most important ingredients in Grand Marnier is Citrus Bigaradia Oranges. This variety of tropical orange stands apart from the sweet oranges we usually eat as it is bitter and has an intense aroma. Though the Citrus bigaradia is not a particularly rare orange, the way in which the oranges are harvested and then distilled to obtain the orange essence that goes into Grand Marnier® liqueur is very specific. The oranges are handpicked while they are still green -- when they are at their most aromatic. In order to preserve optimal concentration of the aroma of the peels, they are left to dry naturally under the Caribbean sun for several weeks on the Marnier Lapostolle family plantation. Their slow distillation extracts an orange essence that is particularly aromatic.

GRAND MARNIER TRUFFLES

Ingredients
2/3 cup heavy cream
1tsp fresh orange zest
12 ounces dark chocolate (65-75% cacao), chopped
1 Tbsp plus 1-1/2 tsp Grand Marnier
1/3 cup DARK cocoa

Directions
In saucepan over medium heat, bring the heavy cream and orange zest just to a boil.
Remove from heat.
Add chopped chocolate and Grand Marnier and stir until smooth.
Chill chocolate mixture (ganache) until hard enough to roll into balls.
Using two spoons or melon baller, extricate chocolate and roll into ball.
Roll ball in cocoa powder and chill.

This recipe can be doubled.

Experiment with different chocolate -- brands and amounts of cacao -- for different flavors.

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

CREPES A LA BASTILLE: Bastille Day!

Tomorrow is Bastille Day, so you'll want to make something "French." I have lots of 'French' recipes, but what could be more French than Crepes for Bastille Day? Just as the bricks came tumbling down when the French stormed the Bastille, ice cream and chocolate will tumble from your fork when you cut into these fabulous Triple Chocolate Crepes for the Bastille Day Holiday. Triple Chocolate Crepes a la Bastille!

CREPES A LA BASTILLE

Crepes

Ingredients
2 cups whole milk
2 eggs
2-1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 ounce dark chocolate (65-75% cacao), melted
1-1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup high quality DARK cocoa 

1/3 cup sugar
pinch of salt


Making the Crepes
Melt butter & chocolate together, mixing to combine and smooth out chocolate. 

In large bowl, combine milk and eggs. 
In separate bowl, combine dry ingredients.
Whisk together milk and eggs with dry ingredients, continue whisking incorporating butter and chocolate mixture.
Cover and refrigerate at least an hour, or overnight. 

Be sure to re-whisk batter before cooking the crepes.

Cooking the Crepes
Butter a hot frying pan (small or medium) or crepe pan, then wipe out excess butter with paper towel so it is sort of dry

Pour in small amount of crepe batter and tilt pan as needed so batter spreads and covers bottom of pan. As edges begin to turn up, flip crepe with spatula for few seconds to cook other side.

Chocolate Sauce

Ingredients
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp honey
3 ounces Dark chocolate (65-75% cacao), chopped

Directions
Combine cream and honey in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook 3 minutes or until tiny bubbles form around edge of pan, stirring frequently (do not boil).
Remove from heat. Stir in chocolate until smooth.

Fill Crepes with Dark Chocolate Ice Cream or Chocolate Ganache and Drizzle with Chocolate Sauce.
Viva La France!

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Elsie the Cow: History & Retro Recipes for National Cow Day

Today is National Cow Day, and my favorite cow is Borden's Elsie! 

History of Elsie the Cow: In the 1930s, the dairy industry saw publicized price wars between farmers and dairy processors that caused larger dairies to be portrayed unfavorably. The cartoon Elsie was created by Borden’s advertising agency in 1936 to help make the brand more friendly and approachable to the public. The company first started advertising in medical journals, which featured a variety of cartoon cows with several different names, including Mrs. Blossom, Bessie, Clara and Elsie. A typical ad showed a cow and calf talking in a milk barn.

In the 1930s, milk was not the drink we know today. Much that was sold in the U.S. during the early part of the century was disease-laden. In 1907, the Department of Agriculture revealed that dairy cows frequently carried tuberculosis and that unsanitary conditions on farms meant other illnesses were carried in the milk supply as well. Most milk was shipped to stores without any form of processing.

The Borden Company was in the forefront of change. They had purchased a dairy in New Jersey that was among the first to install equipment for pasteurization.  However, the world changed slowly when it came to perceiving that “processed” (pasteurized) milk was better than regular cow’s milk.

Chicago was the first city to require pasteurizing of milk (1908) but the first state-level mandate did not occur until 1947 when Michigan passed such a law.

This meant that in 1930s dairy processors like Borden had their work cut out for them to convince the public that their milk was more worthy—and safer—than the dairy cow on a family farm.

Borden ad man Stuart Peabody knew his first approach to selling Borden milk needed to be through the medical establishment. If doctors understood that pasteurized milk wouldn’t make people sick, they would start recommending it to their patients.

Peabody felt the ads needed to be light in tone.  His first ads were in the form of Letters to Mama: “Dear Mama, I’m so excited I can hardly chew! We girls are sending our milk to Borden’s now. Love Elsie.” These ads were accompanied by artist Walter Early’s illustration of a perky, friendly cow. (The Advertising Age Encyclopedia of Advertising credits Walter Early; the Borden site attributes David Reid with having created the image of Elsie.

As early illustrations show, Elsie had a kindly face, huge brown eyes, and wore a chain of daisies around her neck. She generally wore an apron, and whatever she was doing, she had her calves around her. Husband Elmer, later the face of Elmer’s Glue, took orders from her, repairing things around the house.

In 1938, Peabody expanded Elsie ads into some consumer publications, and he began buying radio time for her as well.  Elsie took off quickly. A survey done in the 1940s found that 98 percent of the American public recognized the Borden cow.

So in honor of National Cow Day, here's an August 8, 1941 Retro ad and recipe from Borden's Eagle Brand for Magic Chocolate Ice Cream. I love Elsie the Cow, and I'm definitely take her advice on bringing "homemade ice cream to the social." Luckily, I have an automatic refrigerator! Gotta love these 'story' ads. "If it's Borden's, it's got to be good."






Monday, July 11, 2022

BLUEBERRY CHOCOLATE CHIP MUFFINS: National Blueberry Muffin Day!

Today is Blueberry Muffin Day, and this month is Blueberry Month, so celebrate! I'm a major blueberry person from way back, even before I knew they were healthy with antioxidants and flavonoids and vitamins. I grew up back East, and when we went to the 'country,' my Aunt Annie used to take all the children blueberry gathering in the woods. It was great fun. We would all come back with blue-stained hands and mouths. Those blueberries were small, juicy, and sweet just as wild blueberries should be. I still crave blueberries. Local blueberries are at the farmers' market right now, and for frozen blueberries the wild blueberries from Maine at Trader Joe's are very tasty.

For National Blueberry Muffin Day, use fresh blueberries in these muffin recipes. I am partial to plain muffins with blueberries and chocolate chips, so the first recipe is the one I use. But since this is a chocolate blog, I have a recipe for chocolate blueberry muffins, too.

I like my muffins firm with a crusty top and soft inside -- and not too sweet. In the first recipe I use a 1/2 cup of sugar, but if you want them a little sweeter use 3/4 cup. Don't want your blueberries to sink to the bottom? Dust them with flour before putting them in the batter.

1. Blueberry Chocolate Chip Muffins


Ingredients
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup white sugar
pinch of salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup canola oil
1 large egg
1/3 cup whole milk
fresh blueberries (maybe a cup?)
chocolate chips

Directions
Preheat oven to 400. Grease your muffin tin or use liners.
Combine flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Make a well in the center.
Put oil into a 1 cup measuring cup; add the egg (already whipped), and enough milk to fill cup to brim. Pour into the well and mix with flour mixture. Do not overmix.
Stir in blueberries and as many of the chocolate chips as you'd like. I like a lot, but you want to also be able to taste the blueberries--and the muffin, itself.
Fill muffin cups right to top.
Bake for 20-25 minutes in preheated oven-- or until done.
***

The one above is my favorite, but for those who want a chocolate muffin with blueberries, here's a recipe from Yankee Magazine.

2. Chocolate Blueberry Muffins

Ingredients
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3 ounces unsweetened or very dark chocolate
1 cup sugar (I'd probably use less)
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 cup buttermilk
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup fresh blueberries
2 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted

Directions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In medium saucepan, melt butter and unsweetened chocolate over medium heat until smooth. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Stir in sugar, egg, buttermilk, and vanilla. In small bowl, combine flour and baking soda. Gently combine with liquid ingredients. Fold in blueberries. Spoon batter into well-greased muffin cups, filling to top. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Transfer muffins to wire rack to cool. Drizzle cooled muffins with semisweet chocolate.

Have a great Blueberry Muffin Day--make it Chocolate!

Sunday, July 10, 2022

TEDDY BEAR TRIPLE CHOCOLATE SCONES: Teddy Bear Picnic Day!

Today is National Teddy Bear Picnic Day. You may not think that's a food holiday, but when I was little I always had teddy bear tea parties, and I always served them scones. My grandparents were married in London, and I got my love of tea with milk and sugar -- and tea with scones and clotted cream -- from them. So for today's Teddy Bear Picnic Day, here's a recipe for Teddy Bear Triple Chocolate Scones. Of course you might want to add some honey on your scones. Bears love honey!

Teddy Bear Triple Chocolate Scones 

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

Directions 
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Sift together dry ingredients in large bowl (not the chocolate chips or chocolate). Add chocolate chips and dark chocolate.
Cut butter into dry ingredients until size of peas.
Put vanilla into small bowl and add milk.
Pour most of milk mixture into dry mix and stir to moisten. Dough should be moist enough to form a soft ball, but not sticky.
If needed, additional milk can be added 1-2 teaspoons at time.
Turn dough onto lightly floured cutting board and press out with hand to approximately 1/2 inch thickness. (makes 10-12 scones or 8-12 wedges)
Do not over-knead dough. Use as little flour as possible to keep dough from sticking to board.
Cut into desired shapes and place on lightly greased baking sheet.
Lightly brush tops with milk (or not).
Sprinkle with sugar crystals (you can find this at King Arthur Flour or in the baking section of the market). (If using a biscuit cutter or glass, dip the cutting edge in flour first)
Bake for 10-15 minutes depending on size. Start checking at 9 minutes. Do not overbake!
Sprinkle again with large sugar crystals while scones are still hot for visual appeal.

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

Saturday, July 9, 2022

CHOCOLATE SUGAR COOKIES: 3 Recipes for National Sugar Cookie Day!


There's nothing quite like a Sugar Cookie. Add Chocolate, and it's that's much better! Of course, one can never have too many recipes for this perfect cookie. So today for National Sugar Cookie Day, here are three recipes for Chocolate Sugar Cookies. Be sure and try them all!

1. CHOCOLATE SUGAR COOKIES

Ingredients
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1-1/2 cups plus 2 Tbsp flour
3/4 cup unsweetened DARK cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
14 Tbsp unsalted butter
1-3/4 cups dark brown sugar (packed)
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In shallow bowl, put granulated sugar on plate. Set aside.
In bowl, stir together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and baking powder.
In large bowl, melt 10 Tbsp butter in microwave. Do not overheat; microwave butter until just melted. Stir in remaining 4 Tbsp butter until melted. Allow butter to cool for 10-15 minutes.
Whisk brown sugar, vanilla and salt into melted butter until smooth. Whisk in egg and egg yolk until smooth. Stir in flour mixture until just combined.
Roll dough into balls -- 2 Tbsp for each cookie. Roll balls in white sugar and place on lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheets.
Flatten cookies to 1/4-inch thick.
Sprinkle cookies with more white sugar.
Bake 12-14 minutes. Don't overbake.
Transfer to wire rack to cool.

2. CHOCOLATE SUGAR COOKIES

Ingredients
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
5 ounces unsweetened or very dark Chocolate, chopped
1 cup unsalted butter
1-1/2 cups sugar, divided
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions
Mix flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside. Melt chocolate and butter together in a stainless steel bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (or in a double boiler).
Add 1 cup sugar, egg, and vanilla; mix well.
Stir in flour mixture until well blended.
Refrigerate 15 minutes or until dough is easy to handle.
Heat oven to 375°F.
Shape dough into 1-inch balls; roll in remaining sugar.
Place, 2 inches apart, on baking sheets.
Bake 8 to 10 min. or until centers are set.
Cool on baking sheets 1 minute.
Remove to wire racks; cool completely.

This third cookie recipe is for Chocolate Caramel Sugar Cookies! This easy recipe is adapted from Kraft. Use Kraft products such as their caramels and Planters Pecans-- or use your favorite caramels and nuts.

3. CHOCOLATE CARAMEL SUGAR COOKIES

Ingredients
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
4 ounces very dark chocolate, chopped
1 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cups sugar, divided
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup chopped Planter Pecans
14 ounces KRAFT caramels
2 Tbsp milk

Directions
Mix flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside. Microwave chocolate and butter in large microwaveable bowl on High for 2 minutes or until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Add 1 cup sugar, egg, and vanilla; mix well. Stir in flour mixture until well blended.
Refrigerate 15 minutes or until dough is easy to handle.
Heat oven to 375°F.
Shape dough into 1-inch balls; roll in 1/2 cup chopped Pecans.
Place, 2 inches apart, on baking sheets. Make indentation in each ball.
Bake 8 to 10 min. or until centers are set.
Microwave 1 package Kraft Caramels with 2 Tbsp milk in microwaveable bowl on High for 3 minutes or until caramels are melted..stirring after 2 minutes.
Spoon into centers of cookies.
(Drizzle with extra melted chocolate, if you feel inclined)
Cool on baking sheets 1 minute.
Remove to wire racks; cool completely.

Friday, July 8, 2022

CHOCOLATE COVERED BLUEBERRIES: National Blueberry Day

Today is National Blueberry Day and July is National Blueberry Month! Chocolate goes so well with blueberries--wild, cultivated--even frozen! I've posted different blueberry recipes over the years, but thought the easiest to start a series of blueberry recipes would be Chocolate Covered Blueberries. I make them pretty much the same way I make chocolate covered raisins--in clumps, but you can also dip fat blueberries individually into dark chocolate.. sort of like having blueberry candy.

FYI: Until 1911, blueberries were picked from the wild, or bushes were dug from the wild that might or might not survive when planted elsewhere. But true domestication—reproduction at the will of a grower and breeding to improve desirable traits—was beyond reach. This makes blueberries among the most recently domesticated crops and one of the few that originated in North America, although they are now grown all over the world.

U.S. Department of Agriculture botanist Frederick Coville set the stage for commercial production by solving the mystery of why blueberries could not be cultivated well when he showed, in 1910, that the plants must be grown in moist, very acidic soil. Soon after, he made the first successful crosses designed to improve important traits, such as berry size and flavor. The blueberry was tamed. Coville's records which are at the National Agricultural Library provide a fascinating look at the USDA research effort that took blueberries from a crop picked from the wild and sold for 14 cents a quart in 1912 to a commercially grown crop worth more than $530 million today.

Dark chocolate and blueberries are great anti-oxidants, and coconut oil is great to fight inflammation, so think of this recipe as very healthy! I do. :-)

CHOCOLATE COVERED BLUEBERRIES

Ingredients
Pint of fresh Blueberries
2 cups dark chocolate, chopped
1 tsp coconut oil

Directions
Wash blueberries and dry well (at least an hour before you dip them in chocolate or the chocolate will seize). Pat them dry.
Line a baking sheet with wax paper.
Combine Chocolate and Coconut Oil in the top of a double boiler -- or a saucepan or stainless steel bowl over another saucepan of simmering water. Stir until just smooth. Remove from heat.
Dip berries (about 3-6 at a time-to make clumps) into chocolate to coat  (you can also use a special tool for dipping.. or two forks or two slotted spoons). Take berries out of chocolate with a spoon and put on baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the blueberries. You can always add a bit more coconut oil to the chocolate if it starts to thicken up.
Put baking sheet in the refrigerator for at least 10 minutes to set.
Eat!


Thursday, July 7, 2022

GUITTARD BEST BROWNIES EVER: World Chocolate Day!

Today
is World Chocolate Day. There is great chocolate made all over the world, but my favorite baking chocolate is Guittard, a company close to home.

The Guittard Chocolate Company, a San Francisco company now based in Burlingame, CA, has been in business for over 150 years, so it's not surprising that they have developed some fabulous chocolate. They've been crafting chocolate for five generations, using a combination of time-tested craft, innovative techniques, long-standing relationships, and a complete obsession with making a premium chocolate that delivers a spectrum of flavors for a variety of applications.

I often use their cocoa, bars, chips, and wafers in my baked goods. I really love their Collection Etienne Chocolate. Their 100 percent cacao bars are amazing, but they also make 64 and 70% bars--all fair trade-certified, non-GMO, kosher, and whatever else you want from your chocolate. Their baking chocolate is also available as wafers. I love this company! So here are two recipes from Guittard for their incredible Collection Etienne Brownies. You will marvel at the intense chocolate flavor in both. The first recipe is my favorite, since it's fudgy. The second recipe is more cake-like, but equally fab...just different. Let me know which you prefer.

Incredible Collection Etienne Best Brownies Ever!

Ingredients
6 ounces Guittard Collection Etienne unsweetened chocolate (100-percent cacao), broken into pieces
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 large eggs
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

Directions
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 9-by-9-inch pan with foil, covering bottom and extending up sides.
In double boiler set over hot, not boiling water, melt chocolate and butter, stirring occasionally until smooth. Set aside.
Using electric mixer, beat eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt at high speed for 2 to 3 minutes, until light and creamy. Blend in melted chocolate at low speed, stopping to scrape sides as needed. Add flour just until incorporated.
Spread batter into prepared pan. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until top is puffed and cracked, and toothpick inserted in center test moist. Brownies will set as they cool. Cool before cutting.

Best Cake-Like Collection Etienne Brownies

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups (8 oz) Collection Etienne 74% Cacoa Organic Bittersweet Chocolate Wafers
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups evaporated cane sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
4 large eggs, room temp
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour.

Directions
Preheat oven to 350. Line 8-inch square pan with foil
Melt chocolate and butter in double boiler until smooth and melted.
Transfer to large bowl of electric mixer. Mix in sugar, salt, and vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, blending until smooth and glossy, stopping to scrape sides as needed. Add flour until just incorporated.
Spread into prepared pan. Bake 25-30 minutes or until puffed around edges and cater tests most. Do not overtake. Cool before cutting.



Tuesday, July 5, 2022

CHOCOLATE GRAHAM CRACKERS: National Graham Cracker Day!

Today is National Graham Cracker Day, and since it's only one day past the Fourth, this great WWII Ad with Uncle Sam that features all the 'recommended' National Biscuit Company (Nabisco) crackers, cookies, and biscuits is perfect.

I've made chocolate graham cracker crusts for pies, and I've used graham crackers in most of my S'mores recipes, so this recipe for Chocolate Graham Crackers is perfect. These are easy to make and delicious. I've seen lots of recipes, but this one from King Arthur Flour is one of the best.

CHOCOLATE GRAHAM CRACKERS

Ingredients
1/2 cup Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
3/4 cup Whole Wheat Flour, Traditional or White Whole Wheat
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa
1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar or glazing sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons cold milk

Directions
Preheat your oven to 325°F. Have two baking sheets and parchment paper to line them at the ready.
In medium-sized bowl, whisk together flours, salt, cocoa, sugar, and baking powder. With pastry blender, two knives, or your fingertips, cut the butter into flour mixture until evenly crumbly.
In separate bowl, combine honey and milk, stirring until honey dissolves. Add liquid to dry ingredients and toss lightly with fork until dough comes together. Add additional milk, if necessary.
Turn dough out onto well-floured surface and fold over gently 10 to 12 times, until smooth.
Divide dough in half.
Work half the dough at a time, keeping remaining dough covered. Transfer one piece of dough to  piece of parchment. Roll into a rectangle a bit larger than 10" x 14"; dough will be about 1/16" thick. Trim edges and prick dough evenly with a dough docker or fork.
Repeat with  remaining dough and parchment. Place rolled-out dough pieces, on their parchment, onto baking sheets. Bake crackers for 15 minutes, or until you begin to smell chocolate. Remove them from the oven, and immediately cut them into rectangles with pizza wheel knife.
Transfer to rack to cool.
Store cooled crackers tightly wrapped for up to a week, or freeze for up to one month.

Monday, July 4, 2022

EASY FOURTH OF JULY STRAWBERRY PIE

For me, Fourth of July is all about Strawberries and Whipped Cream. Here's an Easy Fourth of July Strawberry Pie, but of course I want chocolate with that, so I'm making a Chocolate Cookie Crust. Sprinkle blueberries to the whipped cream topping, and you'll have stars!

EASY FOURTH OF JULY STRAWBERRY PIE

Chocolate Cookie Crust

25-30 chocolate cookie wafers (I use Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers), 4 Tbsp sweet butter, melted and cooled. Heat oven to 350°F.  Whirl cookies in food processor until crumbs are fine. Put in medium bowl, add melted butter, and mix until combined. Press crumb mixture into a 9-inch pie plate evenly and firmly on bottom and up sides. Bake at 350 for 10 to 15 minutes. Cool (on wire rack) before filling.

Filling & Topping

Mash 2 cups of strawberries (chunky not macerated) (put aside a cup of sliced strawberries). Place strawberries in small saucepan. Add sugar (to taste-depends on strawberries-about 1/2 cup?), 1/4 cup corn starch, dash of salt, 1 tsp vanilla or 1 Tbsp  lemon juice (or both). Bring to simmer until thickened. Cool completely. Add rest of strawberries (cut up or sliced) and put in baked cooled Chocolate Cookie Crust. Put in fridge for 2 hours to set. Top with whipped cream, big whole strawberries, and blueberries!

Happy Independence Day!

Sunday, July 3, 2022

Chocolate Coca-Cola Cake: Fourth of July!

What could be more "American" than Coca-Cola? Here's a great Chocolate Coca-Cola  'Soda' cake for the Fourth of July. I love this Retro Ad for Coke. So, get out your 'Pyrex' dish and bake a Retro Chocolate Coca Cola Cake for the holiday! I've also included a recipe for Chocolate Coca-Cola Icing.


CHOCOLATE COCA-COLA CAKE

Ingredients
2 cups unsifted cake flour
2 cups sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter
2 Tbsp cocoa
1 cup Coca-Cola
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt

Directions
Sift together flour and sugar. Heat to boiling point the butter, cocoa, and Coca-Cola. Add to flour and sugar mixture. Stir to blend. Add buttermilk, soda, eggs, salt, and vanilla. Stir with spoon until well blended. Pour into greased and floured oblong pan (Pyrex dish). Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Batter will be thin. Ice while hot.

COCA-COLA ICING

1/2 cup butter
6 Tbsp Coca-Cola
1 box confectioners' sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp cocoa

Heat to boiling point -- butter, cocoa and Cola-Cola. Add confectioners' sugar and vanilla; stir to blend. Using a fork, make holes in hot cake and pour hot icing over it.