Wednesday, August 31, 2022


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

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


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

Mix together. How easy is that?

Tuesday, August 30, 2022


Today is National Toasted Marshmallow Day, and, of course, you can make S'mores--and all the variations. But how about something other than Smores? Something easy and great for the Gluten-Free Folks? The following Flourless Chocolate Cake with Toasted Marshmallow Topping is fabulous!

You can use your favorite flourless chocolate cake recipe or try this easy Flourless Chocolate Cake recipe. For the Marshmallows, I recommend using high quality marshmallows or making your own. If you only have 'regular' marshmallows, that will work, too.

Toasted Marshmallow Flourless Chocolate Cake

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

Preheat oven to 375°F
Butter 10-inch spring form round baking pan. Line bottom with buttered wax paper.
Break chocolate into pieces.
In double boiler or metal bowl over saucepan of simmering water, melt chocolate with butter, stirring, until smooth.
Remove top of double boiler or bowl from heat and whisk sugar into chocolate mixture.
Add eggs and whisk well.
Sift cocoa over chocolate mixture and whisk until just combined.
Pour batter into pan and bake in middle of oven 35-40 minutes, or until top has formed thin crust and toothpick comes out moist but not wet.
Cool cake in pan on a rack 10 minutes.
Remove springform sides. Leave cake on bottom of pan.
Put cake (still on springform base) on cookie sheet.
Top with marshmallows while still warm (leave an inch free around edge - they spread).
Put cake back in oven at 375 for 5 minutes--until marshmallows are 'toasted'
Remove from oven.
Tip: If the marshmallows are not toasted enough, use a mini-torch (one of my favorite kitchen tools) to toast.
Cool on rack.

Monday, August 29, 2022

LEMON JUICE DAY: Recipes for Lemon Curd and Lemon Curd Brownies!

Today is National Lemon Juice Day. I have several lemon trees, including three prolific Meyer lemon trees that are perfect for making lemon curd. I love this recipe for Lemon Curd to use in Lemon Curd Brownies.

A few years ago after my Mother passed away, while going through her correspondence, I came across a note and recipe from an English friend of hers who wrote, "As promised here's the recipe and a little supply of my lemon curd for you." Unfortunately, the lemon curd was not in the cupboard or refrigerator. My mother loved lemon, and I do, too, especially with chocolate.

Since then I've been making Lemon Curd Brownies using "Elaine's Lemon Curd" recipe. Here's the recipe from "Elaine's" note. Be sure and scroll down for the Lemon Curd Brownie Recipe! Of course, you can always use store bought Lemon Curd, but try making your own. It's easy and delicious, and you can adjust the recipe as you see fit!



This recipe is very loosely adapted from Coffee & Quinoa. Go there for fabulous photos!

4 ounces dark chocolate
3/4 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups dark chocolate, chopped into chunks  (or chocolate chips)
1 cup lemon curd

Preheat oven to 350.
Line 9 x 9 baking pan with parchment and grease with cooking spray or butter.
Melt chocolate and butter in top of double boiler, or in saucepan over another saucepan over simmering water. Take off stove. Stir in sugar. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in flour and salt. Fold in chocolate chunks.
Spread 2/3 of batter into baking pan. Spread lemon curd on top. Put remaining batter on top, spreading to cover lemon curd completely.
Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out with crumbs.

Sunday, August 28, 2022

RED WINE BROWNIES: National Red Wine Day!

You can drink a glass of red wine today to celebrate National Red Wine Day, but why not accompany that Merlot or Cabernet with these fabulous Red Wine Brownies

I've posted lots of wine and port and liqueur brownies, but here's another. You can never have too many Brownie Recipes! And, you can always make Brownies from Scratch and add the red wine. Here's a recipe for Merlot Brownies from scratch, but if you don't have the time or the ingredients, here's a great easy recipe using a brownie mix:

Red Wine Brownies

1 box Ghirardelli dark chocolate Brownie Mix
1/4 cup bold Red Wine
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Grease 8″ x 8″ baking dish.
In large bowl, combine wine, oil, and egg. Mix well. Stir in brownie mix.
Spread batter in prepared pan.
Bake for 45 minutes. Cool completely.
Serve with red wine.

Saturday, August 27, 2022

KING LOUIE'S BANANA BOATS: National Banana Lovers' Day

The weather is warm and beautiful this weekend and since today is National Banana Lovers Day, I thought I'd post this fun recipe for King Louie's Banana Boats from one of my 'Theme" Cookbooks: Cooking with Mickey and Friends by Pat Baird. You'll go Ape over these. They're fun to make with the kids.

Since we barbecue all year round, I often make these on the grill, but you can just as easily follow the directions and make them in the toaster oven.

And, as Mickey reminds us, Bananas are a good source of potassium and carbohydrates. Use a good dark chocolate (chopped) or high quality dark chocolate chips, and you're adding antioxidants. Want to make S'mores Banana Boats? Add graham crackers mixed with melted butter to the chocolate chips and marhsmallows. You'll love King Louie's Banana Boats. You'll want to make more than one!

Friday, August 26, 2022


Today is National Dog Day! Every day is Dog Day here, but here's a recipe for people to celebrate. Just don't give feed this to your dogs. Chocolate is bad for dogs.

I love Walkers Shortbread Scottie Dogs. They combine two of my favorite things--pure butter shortbread and dogs. These scotties are definitely BEST IN SHOW!

Dogs tend to get muddy. No rain here in Northern California, but we have heavy fog, and the dogs often come in with muddy paws after their morning romp. So, I thought it would be fun to dip these Scottie dogs in Chocolate. I decided on milk chocolate to be more 'mud-like'. Apologies for the photo. I didn't shake the cookies off after I dipped them. That would have shown the shape better, but they still taste wonderful! 

Walkers Shortbread Scottie Dogs with Muddy Boots

4 squares of Guittard baking milk chocolate
a bit of unsalted butter

Melt chocolate and butter together in the top of a double boiler or saucepan over saucepan with simmering water. Stir so it doesn't seize.
Dip Shortbread Scottie dogs in 'mud'. Remember that Scotties are low to the ground, so dip as low as you like.  Be more professional than I was, and shake the excess chocolate from the shortbread cookie.
Put chocolate covered Scotties on parchment and place in refrigerator for 30 minutes to harden.

You can also dip in chocolate and roll in chopped nuts. You know dogs-- they pick up 'debris.'

No time to dip? Walkers also makes Shortbread Chocolate Scottie Dogs.

Thursday, August 25, 2022

TRIPLE BANANA SPLIT: National Banana Split Day!

Today is National Banana Split Day, and everyone knows a good banana split needs a good Hot Dark Chocolate Sauce. Following is a great recipe for an easy Dark Chocolate Sauce.

The Birth of the Banana Split like so many food creations does not have a clear invention history. Latrobe, PA claims that the banana split was invented by Dr. David Strickler, who in 1904 was a 23 year-old working at Tassell Pharmacy. This sundae originally cost 10 cents, twice the cost of other sundaes. Dave Strickler, a pharmacist and optician, purchased the pharmacy which was renamed "Stricklers." His banana splits were a big hit with the students from nearby Saint Vincent College and the word spread. According to his daughter, her dad "was always the great experimenter," and he even originated the first banana split dish: "There were no dishes for such a concoction, so he drew up his own," and a company in nearby Grapeville produced it.

The banana split was also showcased at the Boston convention of the National Association of Retail Druggists in 1905. Stinson Thomas, chief dispenser at Butler's Department Store in Boston promoted the banana split there. According to an article about the convention in The Soda Fountain magazine, "among all the beverages dispensed here, none was more novel with the ladies than the banana split." The magazine also quotes Mr. Thomas: "My trade here is always looking for something new and so, one day it occurred to me that I might prepare a popular fountain beverage with a banana. I sent my boy out to buy half a dozen bananas, and when he returned I cut off the ends of a banana, split it open, put a portion of ice cream on top and a spoonful of crushed strawberries. It certainly looked swell, and I believed that the public would like it. As with most new creations though, there was some trial and error. At first we left the peel on the banana in the plate, but some time ago we began removing it altogether. We found that the ladies preferred to have the peel removed."

Banana Split

"Split" Bananas (with peel on) lengthwise. Mix sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle on the cut sides of bananas. Let sit for several minutes. Grill bananas cut side down on direct heat for 2 minutes. Turn (with tongs) and cook 5 more minutes. Remove skins. Put bananas in bowl. Add vanilla ice cream. Pour Hot Dark Chocolate Sauce over. Sprinkle with nuts and add whipped cream--with a cherry on top?

Hot Dark Chocolate Sauce

1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
8 ounces Dark chocolate - 65-75% cacao, chopped
2 Tbsp superfine sugar
1/8 cup Kahlua
1/2 tsp pure vanilla

Heat cream in small saucepan until almost boiling.
Add butter and sugar. Stir to combine.
Remove from heat and pour over chocolate.
Whisk until melted and combined.
Add Kahlua and vanilla. Stir until cool to touch.
Cover with plastic wrap and set aside or refrigerate.

Illustration: Triple Banana Split Boy, written by my friend Lucha Corpi. Illustrated by Lisa Fields. (Arte Publico Press)

Wednesday, August 24, 2022


Today is National Waffle Day. If you're following my food holidays, you'll know that there are actually two Waffle Days, but I'm making waffles today to celebrate today's National Waffle Day. My waffle maker doesn't come out as often as it should, but when it does, I wonder why I don't make waffles more often. The new waffle makers are so easy to clean.

So for today's Waffle Holiday, I'm making Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Waffles with Chocolate Maple Syrup! 


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups buttermilk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup mini dark chocolate chips
Chocolate Maple Syrup (see recipe below)

Preheat waffle maker.
In large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and baking soda.
In smaller bowl, whisk together eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, and butter until well combined.
Pour wet mixture into dry mixture, fold in chocolate chips and stir with wooden spoon until just combined.
Grease waffle maker and pour batter into preheated prepared waffle iron.
Cook until steaming stops and waffles are crisp and golden, about 3 minutes (time depends on waffle maker).
Top with Chocolate Maple Syrup! 


1-1/2 cups pure maple syrup
4 Tbsp unsweetened DARK cocoa powder
1/4 cup sweet butter, chopped
Pinch of salt

Heat maple syrup in small sturdy saucepan over moderate heat until hot.
Whisk in cocoa powder, butter, and pinch of salt. Turn down to simmer and whisk for a minute.
Serve syrup warm.
Syrup keeps, covered and chilled, 1 week

Monday, August 22, 2022

ZUCCHINI BROWNIES: How to use up your Zucchini harvest!

If you planted zucchini in your garden, you're now probably wondering what to do with all that harvest. Zucchini has a reputation for multiplying beyond one's plan, often hiding underneath the leaves. Yes, you can wrap your zucchini in blankets, put them in a basket, and leave them on the church steps, as I heard Erica Jong and Marge Piercy suggest many years ago, but you'll still have a lot to dispose of. Zucchini and Chocolate.. now there's a great and healthy combination.

I've posted muffin, bread, and cake recipes, but here's a recipe a recipe for Zucchini Brownies. You can never go wrong with brownies. I like my brownies, fudgy, so I really like this recipe. You can add frosting on top, too, for more chocolate, but I don't. These brownies are moist and delicious without. This recipe is adapted from You'll want to have a look at her video and definitely read her tip below, especially if you don't want cake-like brownies. And, you might want to make her frosting recipe.


2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup DARK cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups shredded zucchini
3-4 tablespoons water
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional-but I usually add them)

*Note There are no eggs, and this will seem more like cookie-dough when you're preparing it, but it will work!

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Line 9×13″ baking pan with foil and spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
In medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
Using electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix together oil, sugar, and vanilla until well combined. Add dry ingredients and stir. Fold in zucchini. Let sit forfew minutes so batter can absorb the moisture from the zucchini. If your mixture is still powdery, add up to 5 tablespoons water (start with 1 tablespoon and work up from there, stirring well after each addition). Batter will be very thick but shouldn’t be powdery. (depends on how wet your zucchini is!) Add walnuts. Use your hands to work water in instead of  spoon. Dough is super thick. Do not add too much water! 
Spread in prepared pan.
Bake 25-30 minutes until brownies spring back when gently touched.

*Note Don't add too much water or your brownies will be cake-like (unless that's what you want)! The batter is thick and needs help spreading in the pan. If batter is liquidy or thin, you will have a more cake-like brownie.

Sunday, August 21, 2022

SPUMONI BUNDT CAKE: Definition, History, and Recipe for National Spumoni Day!

Today is National Spumoni Day! Spumoni, not to be confused with zamboni, is a multicolored Italian dessert. When I was growing up, it was usually a flavorless ice cream served in Italian restaurants at the end of a meal. It wasn't until I visited Italian friends that I had really good Spumoni.

By definition, Spumoni is a special Italian dessert made of layers of ice cream, whipped cream, candied fruit, and nuts. Each layer contains different flavors and ingredients. In traditional dessert kitchens, spumoni is often made of three layers of flavor: chocolate, pistachio, and cherry. Each layer of Spumoni ice cream may include more than flavored ice cream. The chocolate layer, for example, may include chocolate shavings or chunks. Sometimes the chocolate layer has crushed hazelnuts inside. Not only does the hazelnut add a lovely flavor to the chocolate, but it also compliments the pistachio layer. The pistachio layer, of course, almost always includes crushed pistachio nuts. Finally, the fruit layer of spumoni is usually made with candied fruit. The cherry layer is the most traditional fruit component to the dessert.
Edy's and Dreyer's make Spumoni ice-cream available all year round. Yum!

You can make your own spumoni ice cream today, but if you can't find any and you don't want to make your own, you can always make Spumoni Cake. 

The trick to making beautiful Spumoni Cake is to have layers! This can be done by baking different layers or just layering a bundt cake in the bundt pan (no swirling).

Because this is such a special holiday, I'm posting an easy Spumoni Cake recipe and linking several others for those of you who are more adventurous or have more time!

Easy Spumoni Bundt Cake
Recipe on the Duncan Hines Baker's Club Forum: Source: Our Favorite Recipes St. John Neumann Catholic Church-recipe: Emile Bernard

You can add chopped up maraschino cherries to the Red Layer, chocolate chips, or grated chocolate to the chocolate layer, and crushed or chopped pistachios to the green layer. Also, you can put pistachio pudding in the green layer for flavor!

1 (18.25 oz.) pkg. white or yellow cake mix
4 large eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 (8 oz.) container sour cream
1 (4 serving size) pkg. instant vanilla pudding mix
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate (melted)
green coloring drops
marachino cherries
red food coloring
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Pre-heat Coven to 350. Grease bundt pan.
Combine cake mix, eggs, oil, sour cream, and pudding mix; beat until well blended.
Divide batter into 3 bowls.
To bowl #1, add and mix in 1/2 cup chopped nuts, 5-6 drops green food coloring, 1/2 tsp. almond extract.
To bowl #2, add and mix in 1 (4 oz.) jar cut up and well drained maraschino cherries, 5-6 drops red food coloring.
To bowl #3, add and mix in 2 (1 oz. each) squares melted unsweetened chocolate.
Pour green batter into pan first, then the red (pink) batter, and over this the chocolate batter. Be sure NOT to swirl or mix batters.
Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes until cake tests done. Cool in pan for 30 minutes; remove from pan and cool completely.

Here are three more recipes for very different Spumoni Cakes:

Margie Slivnske (San Jose Easy Meals Examiner)  Easy, and my personal favorite.

Bette Ubaldini's Spumoni Cake  This is another easy recipe, and it's delicious.

Celebration Generation  A little more complicated, but worth it.

Saturday, August 20, 2022

CHOCOLATE PECAN PIE RECIPE ROUND-UP: National Chocolate Pecan Pie Day!

Today is National Chocolate Pecan Pie Day. I associate Pecan Pie with Thanksgiving and the Kentucky Derby, but I'm o.k. with a third holiday, especially one that is specifically Chocolate Pecan Pie.

Here's a Mini Round-up of Recipes for Chocolate Pecan Pie. Be sure and check out the following Chocolate Pecan Pie Recipes before making your decision of which to make. And, if you don't have a lot of time, I've added two more Easy Chocolate Pecan Pie recipes below and the Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum Pecan Pie in the recipe on the left.

Chocolate Chunk Pecan Pie for Mardi Gras
Kentucky Derby Chocolate Bourbon Nut Pie
Kentucky Derby Bourbon Chocolate Pie Recipe Round-Up
Fudge Brownie Pecan Pie
Kentucky Chocolate-Nut Pie Mix in a Jar  
Chocolate Pecan Torte
Frozen Chocolate Pecan Pie 
Chocolate Pecan Pie Truffles
Chocolate Pecan Pie Fudge


1 1/2 cups sugar
Dash of Salt
4 Tbsp unsweetened DARK cocoa
2 large eggs
1/2 Tbsp Madagascar vanilla
1/2 can (6 ounces) evaporated milk
4 Tbsp sweet butter
3/4 cup toasted pecan halves
1 unbaked deep dish pie shell (make yourself or prepared--prepared is faster!)

Mix sugar, salt, and cocoa together.
Whisk together eggs, vanilla, and milk; stir into dry ingredients.
Add melted butter and stir until totally blended.
Sprinkle toasted pecan halves in pie shell.
Pour filling over pecans.
Bake at 350° for 45 to 55 minutes, or until filling is set and center is just slightly jiggly (don't overbake).


1 unbaked pie shell (I like Trader Joe's pie dough, but you can make your own or buy a different pieshell)
3 eggs
1 cup light or dark corn syrup
1 cup sugar (can be 1/2 brown & 1/2 granulated)
2 Tbsp sweet butter
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla
Pinch of salt
1 1/4 cup Pecans
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips or 4 ounces chopped dark chocolate

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Mix eggs, corn syrup, sugar, butter, salt and vanilla in large bowl using spoon (not in mixer). Fold in pecans and chocolate.
Pour into pie shell.
Bake 50 to 55 minutes or until top is slightly puffy.
Cool completely before serving.

Friday, August 19, 2022


Today is National Potato Day! You might be asking yourself, "What do potatoes have to do with chocolate?' Well, check out this Retro Advertisement with a recipe for Choco-Walnut Potato Cake

Chocolate Potato Cakes are always good. Mashed potatoes make the cake moist. This ad is from Diamond Walnuts, and they're still around! Of course, you'll want to have lots of butter and milk (or cream cheese) in your mashed potatoes--no savory mashed potatoes, please! 

Check out another recipe for a Chocolate Mashed Potato Bundt Cake HERE.


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened DARK cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
4 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup sweet butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup mashed potatoes
1/3 cup milk, room temperature
3/4 cup walnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease and flour two 8-inch round cake pans.
Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
Melt dark chocolate in microwave, stirring every 15 seconds, until smooth (or melt in top of double boiler)
Warm mashed potatoes in microwave until room temperature (or cool freshly mashed potatoes).
Beat butter and sugar with electric mixer in large bowl until light and fluffy.
Add room temperature eggs one at a time, allowing each egg to blend into butter mixture before adding next.
Mix in mashed potatoes and melted chocolate.
Pour in flour mixture alternately with milk, mixing until just incorporated.
Fold in walnuts, disperse evenly.
Pour batter into buttered and floured pans, smoothing surface if needed.
Bake in preheated oven until knife or toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.
Cool cakes in pans on a wire rack.

Frost with cream cheese icing! Garnish with whole walnuts.

Thursday, August 18, 2022

MALTED MILK BALL CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM PIE: History and Recipe for National Ice Cream Pie Day

Today is National Ice Cream Pie Day, and this recipe for Malted Milk Ball Chocolate Ice Cream Pie takes the cake--or, in this case, the pie! If you're like me, you've always wondered about Malted Milk Balls. What are they really?

Lots of companies make them now, but when I was growing up, I only remember one: Hershey's Whoppers Malted Milk Balls. But now I know there were other "old fashioned' brands such as Maltesers. Maybe they weren't available at my candy store? Ghirardelli also makes Milk Chocolate Malt Balls. (There's also a Kittymalt Hairball remedy that I have, but I won't go there).

Malt balls (interchangeable with malted balls but not moth balls!) are also available in a variety of flavors: There are pumpkin spice malted milk balls, dark chocolate milk balls, mint malted milk balls, cookies and cream malted milk balls, peanut butter malted milk balls and yogurt malted milk balls, and many other varieties.

Want to just have the Malt Ball center only? Nuts on Line sells them for $3.99 a pound. These malt ball center only candies can be enrobed in the very best chocolate. You can do it yourself in the same way you make chocolate covered nuts. Just melt some chocolate and dip. I use two forks to make it easy. Dry them on a parchment lined baking sheet.

But what is a malt ball? wiseGeek (clear answers for common questions) has the answer
Malted milk balls are chocolate-coated candies often sold in milk carton packaging to promote their association with flavored milk and malted milkshakes.

The flavor of malted milk balls is often described as nutty or distinctively hearty, much like a grain cereal. The reason for this unusual flavor is the use of a grain treatment known as malting. Barley grains are allowed to germinate after harvest, which changes the sugar composition of the grain, in the same sense that germinated corn becomes more suitable for distillation. The malted barley grain is carefully dried and ground into a powder for confectionery use.

Want a fabulous use for Malted Milk Balls? Well, besides eating them at the movies? Sunset Magazine had a great recipe a few years ago for Malted Milk Ball Ice Cream Pie. I definitely love using candy in pies and cakes. This ice cream pie has crunchy malted milk balls on the bottom, malt ice cream above it, and a layer of dark chocolate frosting. Add some whipped cream and sprinkle with chopped and whole malted milk balls when you serve, and you're good to go.


3 1/2 cups malted milk balls, divided
Cookie Crust, using chocolate wafers and a 9-in. cheesecake pan with removable sides (I've posted this recipe before)
1 3/4 quarts vanilla ice cream, softened
3 Tbsp Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups malted milk powder (Malted milk powder is made from milk, barley malt, and wheat; don't confuse it with Ovaltine, which has other ingredients added. Find it next to the chocolate milk powder in well-stocked grocery stores or online)
1 cup whipping cream, divided
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

Arrange a tight layer of malted milk balls (3 cups) over crust. Stir ice cream with cocoa powder and malted milk powder until smooth. Spoon into crust, set on plate, and freeze 5 hours.
Heat 1/2 cup cream meanwhile until simmering. Put chocolate in small metal bowl, pour in cream, and let sit until chocolate is melted, about 2 minutes. Stir until smooth. Let cool completely.
Smooth chocolate ganache over top of pie and freeze until set, about 15 minutes.
To serve:
Whip remaining 1/2 cup cream and swirl onto pie. Chop some malted milk balls and drop onto pie; add a few whole balls. Remove rim and serve immediately.
Let the pie soften for 5 minutes at room temp to make slicing easier.
If you're having trouble free-ing your pie from its pan, set it over bowl of hot water for a couple of minutes and then slide a thin knife between pan edge and crust. It should pop right out.

Photo: Malted Milk Ice Cream Pie: Yunhee Kim; Styling: Karen Shinto

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

BIRD'S CUSTARD: National Vanilla Custard Day!

Today is National Vanilla Custard Day. You're probably thinking that Vanilla Custard has nothing to do with a chocolate blog, and you'd be right. But since it's a food holiday, I wanted to share one of my favorite feel-good Retro Foods: Bird's Custard.

Bird's Custard is an artificially-flavored commercial custard powder, that is not really a true custard as it is not thickened with eggs. Rather it uses cornstarch. Bird's Custard was invented by Alfred Bird and Sons Ltd. of Birmingham, England, in 1837. Bird created it because his wife was allergic to eggs, the key ingredient used to thicken traditional custard. O.K. we all have our secrets, and this is mine. I love the way it tastes.

And just an FYI, until 2009 many Bird's products, such as its instant custard powder, contained hydrogenated vegetable oil, a product now banned in some countries due to health concerns relating to heart disease. Since 2009 all Bird's custards have moved to non-hydrogenated vegetable oil.

So for your viewing pleasure today, here are some fun Vintage and Retro Ads for Bird's Custard.

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

MOCHA RUM CAKE: National Rum Cake Day!

Today is National Rum Day! Celebrate with your favorite Rum Drink or have a piece of Bacardi Rum Cake as in the Retro recipe on the right. But, since this is a Chocolate Blog, you can make this easy and terrific Mocha Rum Cake

Mocha Rum Cake

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1⁄2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3⁄4 lb bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 1⁄2 cups unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1⁄3 cup dark rum
2 cups strong brewed full-bodied coffee
2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs, beaten lightly
1 1⁄2 tsp vanilla extract
confectioners' sugar, for dusting
Sweetened whipped cream
Cocoa powder, for dusting 

Preheat oven to 300°F
Butter 12-cup bundt pan. Dust with cocoa powder, knocking out excess.
In bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt.
In large metal bowl set over saucepan of simmering water, melt chocolate and butter, stirring until smooth.
Remove chocolate from heat and stir in rum, coffee, and granulated sugar.
With electric mixer, beat in flour, 1/2 cup at a time, scraping down sides, and beat in eggs and vanilla until batter is combined well.
Pour batter into the prepared pan.
Bake cake in middle of oven until tester comes out clean, about 1 hour and 40 minutes.
Let cake cool completely in pan on rack, then turn out onto rack.
Dust cake with confectioners' sugar and serve with whipped cream.

Monday, August 15, 2022


Happy Birthday, Julia Child!  

Julia Child was born on August 15, 1912. She has inspired millions of amateur cooks and professional chefs with her skills, easy kitchen spirit (how can we forget the chicken?), and passion for learning, since her first cooking program aired on public television in 1963.

Julia Child revolutionized American cuisine through her French cooking school, award-winning cookbooks, and world-renowned television programs by presenting an approachable version of sophisticated French cooking to her eager audience for four decades.

Julia Child began with a sincere passion for good food and the pleasures of cooking, studying in France in the '50s with chef/friend Simone Beck. With the help of Louisette Bertolle, another dedicated food lover, they created a cooking school called L'Ecole des Trois Gourmandes and later, in 1961, completed their groundbreaking cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

Her book and television show that followed made the mysteries of fancy French cuisine approachable, introducing gourmet ingredients, demonstrating culinary techniques, and most importantly, encouraging everyday "home chefs" to practice cooking as art, not to dread it as a chore.

Julia Child passed away on August 12, 2004. Today would have been her 110th birthday. So in honor of the day, here's her recipe for Chocolate Mousse or Mousse a la Chocolate! Be sure and scroll to watch the video at the end from her TV series The French Cook.

Julia Child's Chocolate Mousse 

6 ounces (170g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
6 ounces (170g) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup (60ml) dark-brewed coffee
4 large eggs, separated
2/3 cup (170g), plus 1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons (30ml) dark rum
1 tablespoon (15ml) water pinch of salt

1. Heat a saucepan one-third full with hot water, and in a bowl set on top, melt together the chocolate, butter and coffee, stirring over the barely simmering water, until smooth. Remove from heat.
2. Fill a large bowl with ice water and set aside.
3. In a bowl large enough to nest securely on the saucepan of simmering water, whisk the yolks of the eggs with the 2/3 cup of sugar, rum, and water for about 3 minutes until the mixture is thick, like runny mayonnaise. (You can also use a handheld electric mixer.)
3. Remove from heat and place the bowl of whipped egg yolks within the bowl of ice water and beat until cool and thick, as shown in the photo above. Then fold the chocolate mixture into the egg yolks.
4. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with the salt until frothy. Continue to beat until they start to hold their shape. Whip in the tablespoon of sugar and continue to beat until thick and shiny, but not completely stiff, then the vanilla.
5. Fold one-third of the beaten egg whites into the chocolate mixture, then fold in the remainder of the whites just until incorporated, but don't overdo it or the mousse will lose volume.
6. Transfer the mousse to a serving bowl or divide into serving dishes, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, until firm.

Not clear enough? Watch Julia Child make this on The French Chef. This originally appeared on PBS.

Sunday, August 14, 2022


Today is National Creamsicle Day. I haven't had a Creamsicle in years, but I did occasionally buy one from the Good Humor Truck when I was a child. Fudgsicles, of course, were my favorites!

What exactly is a Creamsicle? A Creamsicle is a frozen dessert with a vanilla ice cream core and a fruit sherbet coating.

The classic Creamsicle flavor combination is orange and vanilla. Officially, the term “Creamsicle” is a registered brand name owned by Unilever, and similar products cannot be labeled as Creamsicles. However, the original Creamsicle® is such a perennial best-seller that the term is often used generically, and the branding rights may eventually be lost due to trademark dilution. 

So to honor National Creamsicle Day -- and to add chocolate -- make these Orange Creamsicle Truffles. Love this easy recipe.

FYI: You can substitute lemon juice and zest, and you have another winner--but it won't be a Creamsicle!


1/4 cup unsalted butter
Zest of 1/2 orange
3 Tbsp heavy cream
1 cup 'real' white chocolate chopped (Guittard) or white chocolate chips
1/2 tsp orange extract
1/4 cup powdered sugar

Put white chocolate in mixing bowl, set aside.
Melt butter with orange zest in small saucepan. Stir in cream and scald mixture.
Pour hot cream mixture through mesh sieve over white chocolate and using rubber spatula press zest against sieve to release orange oils into mixture. Allow mixture to rest 1 minute, add orange extract to white chocolate mixture then stir until smooth.
Cover mixture and refrigerate 2 hours or until firm enough to handle.
Scoop mixture out with small cookie scoop or teaspoon and form into balls.
Roll balls in powdered sugar.
Freeze truffles 20 minutes before eating.

Saturday, August 13, 2022


Chocolate Cosmos
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've always wanted a dedicated 'chocolate-scented' garden. Since I'm in a fairly temperate zone of California, it's certainly possible. I used to use cocoa bean hulls as mulch, and there's nothing that smells more like chocolate than this mulch when the sun hits it, 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.

What could be more delightful than a 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.

Friday, August 12, 2022

Ooey Gooey Chocolate Butter Cake: Gooey Butter Cake Day

Gooey Butter Cake
a type of cake traditionally made in St. Louis, Missouri. 
Gooey Butter Cake consists of a dry, flat base covered with a “goo” mixture. It is sticky and chewy and delicious.

According to the Missouri Historical Society, the first gooey butter cake was made accidentally by a south St. Louis German-American baker in the 1930s. The legend goes that a German baker added the wrong proportions of ingredients in the coffee cake batter he was making. It turned into a gooey, pudding-like filling. This ultra-sweet treat is a St. Louis tradition and available in local bakeries all over the city of St. Louis. The original Gooey Butter Cake was made with a yeast-raised sweet dough on the bottom, but these days most recipes use cake on the bottom. It is generally served as a type of coffee cake and not as a dessert cake.

So if Gooey Butter Cake is good, Ooey Gooey Chocolate Butter Cake is even better!


5 ¼ ounces chocolate fudge cake mix 
½ cup salted butter, melted
4 eggs, divided 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened 
5 tablespoons cocoa powder 
4 cups powdered sugar 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x13-inch baking pan. 
Mix cake mix, butter, 2 eggs, and vanilla extract in a bowl. Pat into the prepared pan. 
Mix cream cheese, cocoa powder, and remaining eggs together in another bowl with an electric mixer. Beat in powdered sugar slowly. Pour over cake layer in the pan. 
Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Let cool.

Thursday, August 11, 2022

7-Up CHOCOLATE CAKE: "Fresh up with Seven-Up!" Retro Ad and Recipe

This Beat the Heat! "fresh up"with Seven-Up!" Ad from July 5, 1948! family days at the Beach is perfect for Summer! Mom packs the picnic basket; Dad drives; and the kids fill the cooler with 7-Up. Seems like a lot of 7-Up from the photo. But they all look like they're having fun at the Beach--with 7-Up.

Another way of enjoying 7-Up, a very Retro carbonated beverage, is to use it as a leavening agent in a chocolate bundt cake. I posted 'soda' Chocolate Cake recipes for my Mad Men Marathon several years ago, but this is an easy 'from scratch" recipe. The 7-Up is the leavening agent.Camping or going to the Beach? This cake travels well!

7-Up Chocolate Cake

2 cups unsalted butter, softened
2 tsp pure vanilla
3 cups sugar
5 eggs
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup DARK cocoa
1 cup 7-Up
1 cup dark chocolate chips  (or a cup of dark chocolate, chopped)
Cream butter.
Add sugar and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy.
Add eggs, beating well after each one.
Stir in salt, flour, and cocoa. Blend thoroughly.
Add 7-UP.
Fold in chocolate chips or chunks.
Bake in greased and floured Bundt pan for 60 minutes (or until tester comes clean).
Cool on wire rack. 

Optional: Glaze when cooled with dark chocolate Dobash Frosting. 

Dobash Frosting
1 1/2 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup cocoa
pinch of salt

Combine all in saucepan and bring to a boil.
Add 1/2 cup water to make a paste. Stir into cocoa mixture with whisk over heat until it thickens. Pour while hot over cake and spread.

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

S'MORES POKE CAKE: National S'mores Day!

Today is National S'mores Day, and if you follow this blog, you know I post at least one S'mores recipe a month. I love S'mores. So for today's holiday, I'm posting an easy recipe for S'mores Poke Cake. A poke cake is basically a sheet cake in which you 'poke' holes after baking and then pour in some kind of flavored liquid or filling. In the case of this cake, marshmallow fluff. Easy and fun and delicious! And, as always, you can make your cake from scratch, if you prefer.

S'mores Poke Cake

1-16 ounce chocolate cake mix (for this recipe, more of a milk chocolate cake mix than a dark chocolate)
1- 7 ounce jar Marshmallow Fluff or Marshmallow Creme
1/4 cup whole milk
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1 package graham crackers, crushed (about 1 - 1/2 cups)

Prepare cake according to box's instructions and pour into 9"x13" pan. Bake for 35-37 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
Let cake cool for 15-20 minutes, then use back of wooden spoon (or another utensil) to poke holes (about inch apart) throughout.
Remove lid and packaging from Marshmallow Fluff (or Marshmallow Creme) and microwave for 30 seconds. Add milk and microwave for 30 seconds and stir. Pour over top of cake, filling all holes.
Let sit for 20 minutes to give Marshmallow Fluff time to slowly seep into cake.
Top with another layer of Fluff, then sprinkle with mini chocolate chips and crushed graham cracker pieces.
Refrigerate at least 2 hours to overnight, giving cake time to absorb more of Fluff.
Torch the marshmallow fluff areas lightly before serving (to give it that burnt look).