Saturday, December 31, 2022
You won't have any bubbles in these Champagne Truffles for New Year's Eve, but you will taste the Champagne.. and the Cognac. This is my favorite Champagne Truffle recipe. This recipe uses more champagne than most Champagne Truffle recipes, and the Cognac adds zip. If you're in a pinch, you can use a different type of sugar or cocoa to coat the truffles. The sanding sugar, though, gives it a festive New Year's Eve appearance!
No time to make these? Here's a link to Champagne Truffles you can buy to ring in the new year!
Martha Stewart's Champagne Truffles
Makes about 3 dozen
1/2 cup heavy cream
8 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup plus 1 Tablespoon Champagne
1 Tablespoon Cognac
Coarse sanding sugar, for rolling
Bring cream to boil in small saucepan over medium-high heat. Immediately pour hot cream over chocolate in medium bowl; stir until smooth. Stir in Champagne and Cognac. Refrigerate until chocolate mixture is firm enough to roll into balls, about 1 hour. (or more!!)
Using small melon baller or ice-cream scoop, form 1-inch balls. Roll each ball in coarse sanding sugar and transfer to rimmed baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate truffles at least 30 minutes or up to 3 days before serving.
You can also use unsweetened cocoa or confectioner's sugar if you don't have sanding sugar. This recipe was in Martha Stewart's wedding section, so the sparkly white sugar looks great for weddings and holidays, but cocoa tastes just as good.. just different.
What Is Sanding Sugar?
Sanding sugar is large crystal sugar used as edible decoration that will not dissolve when subjected to heat. Also called pearl sugar or decorating sugar, sanding sugar adds "sparkle" to cookies, baked goods and candies. The sparkling affect is achieved because the sugar crystal grains are large and reflect light. You can order Sanding Sugar online or buy it in cake decorating departments.
Friday, December 30, 2022
16 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
12 Tbsp unsalted butter, cubed, plus extra for buttering pan
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/4 cup flour
1 cup champagne
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter 9 x 9 inch baking pan and line with parchment paper (leave extra overhanging edges for easy removal).
Melt chocolate and butter in saucepan over saucepan over simmering water (or double boiler).
Beat salt, vanilla, eggs, and sugar into melted chocolate and beat thoroughly to incorporate.
Add flour and mix just until blended.
Add champagne and continue mixing batter until it becomes shiny and pulls away from sides of bowl. (2-3 minutes on high for a stand mixer.)
Turn into prepared pan and bake 45-50 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
Want to be festive? Cut these brownies into stars or decorate with edible gold...
Serve with your favorite Champagne!
Thursday, December 29, 2022
Champagne Chocolate Cake
2 cups sifted cake flour
1/4 cup DARK cocoa
1 1/2 cups sugar (superfine is best, regular is ok), divided
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup Champagne
5 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
7 large egg yolks
7 large egg whites, at room temperature
Preheat oven to 325F. Use an ungreased 10" Bundt Pan.
In large bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, sugar (reserving 2 Tbsp), baking powder, and salt.
In medium bowl, whisk together champagne, vegetable oil, vanilla, and egg yolks, then pour into dry ingredients and whisk until just smooth.
In another large bowl, using electric mixer, beat egg whites to stiff peaks. Add remaining 2 Tbsp of sugar gradually, starting when whites begin to get foamy.
Once egg whites have reached stiff peaks (do not overheat), gently whisk 1/4 of egg whites into champagne batter. Gently, working in two additions, fold remaining beaten whites into champagne batter until no streaks of egg white foam remain visible and batter is uniform color. Be sure to scrape sides and bottom of bowl well.
Pour into ungreased bundt pan and bake for 50-60 minutes, until top of cake springs back when gently touched and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
Invert onto wire rack and let cool completely.
Once cooled, run knife around the edges and turn cake out onto a serving platter.
Dust with powdered sugar or cocoa.
Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
Wednesday, December 28, 2022
So what exactly is an Oh Henry! Bar?
Oh Henry! is a chocolate bar containing peanuts, caramel, and fudge coated in chocolate. It was first introduced in 1920, by the Williamson Candy Company of Chicago, Illinois. According to legend, Oh Henry! was originally named after a boy who frequented the Williamson company, flirting with the girls who made the candy. The name is also said to be a homage to American writer, O. Henry. However, there is no definitive explanation as to the exact origin of the name.
Another theory is that the candy bar was invented by a man named Tom Henry of Arkansas City, Kansas. Tom Henry ran a candy company called the Peerless candy factory, and in 1919 he started making the Tom Henry candy bar. He sold the candy bar to Williamson Candy Company in 1920 where they later changed the name to "Oh Henry!". Henry's family now runs a candy factory in Dexter, Kansas that sells "momma henry" bars, which are nearly identical to the original candy bar.
In 1923, an employee of Williamson, John Glossinger, announced that he was going to make the Oh Henry! bar a national best seller. Company officials said it was impossible and denied him the funds for an advertising campaign. Glossinger went into the streets and pasted stickers saying merely "Oh Henry!" on automobile bumpers. People became curious as to what an Oh Henry! was and sales for the bar rose quickly.
|1926 Oh Henry! Advertisement|
Want to make your own Oh Henry! Bars? Here are three different recipes. Funny, but several of them include oats. I'm partial to #3 because it doesn't include oatmeal, but that's just me. The first two recipes really capture the flavor. Why not try all three?
1. Oh Henry!Candy Bars
4 cups oatmeal
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup butter (melted)
1 cup chocolate chips
3/4 cup peanut butter
Mix together oatmeal, brown sugar, white sugar, and melted butter.
Press into greased 9 x 13 pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Melt chocolate chips and peanut butter.
Spread over baked bars.
Put in fridge so frosting hardens completely.
2. Oh Henry! Candy Bars
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter
1/2 cup white Karo syrup
2 cups oatmeal
Melt butter, sugar ,and syrup.
Press in well buttered 9 x 13 inch pan. Bake 12 minutes at 350 degrees.
1 c. crunchy peanut butter
1 (6 oz.) chocolate chips
Cool bottom layer and spread mixture over the top.
Cut in squares.
3. Oh Henry! Candy Bars (my favorite recipe)
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup water
3/4 cup peanut butter
Combine over heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved.
Cook until it reaches the hard boil stage (265 degrees).
Add peanut butter.
Stir, then shape into rolls 3/4 inch thick and 1 inch long.
1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 pounds peanuts, chopped fine
8 oz. dark chocolate, chopped
Cook corn syrup and sugar together until it reaches the hard boil stage (265 degrees).
Dip candy from first mixture into second mixture, then roll in peanuts while still hot.
Melt dark chocolate and dip rolls into melted chocolate
Place on parchment paper.
Tuesday, December 27, 2022
If you're like me, you're saying Fruitcake? Why bother? It's just an over-inebriated rock hard cake with artificial fruits that gets passed around the family kind of like a white elephant gift? Well, it doesn't have to be. There are actually some wonderful recipes for Chocolate Fruitcake. Aha, your eyes and tastebuds have already picked up.
Of course, I'm all about easy, so here's an easy recipe for Chocolate Fruitcake. One caveat, you won't be able to eat this today. Fruitcake really does need to ferment a bit. Following is a recipe for Chocolate Fruitcake adapted from Diana Rattray at Southern Food. This recipe originally called for candied red and green cherries, but I really don't like those. I use dried cranberries or dried cherries or dried apricots (or a mix), lots of nuts, and different alcohol. This is quite a versatile recipe. The original recipe didn't use booze, but what's a fruitcake without alcohol? Another recipe for Chocolate Fruitcake that I really like is David Lebovitz's Chocolate-Cherry Fruitcake.
Either way, if you like chocolate, you'll find this chocolate twist on an old holiday standard quite to your liking! And, you can make this today for serving New Year's Eve!
1 cup unsalted butter
6 ounces dark chocolate (65-75% cacao, fair-trade), chopped
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup dried cherries, chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
1-1/2 cups combination of walnuts and pecans, chopped
1/2 cup rum, whiskey, or amaretto.. (or whatever you like)
A day ahead, plump the dried fruits by tossing them in 1/2 cup of amaretto, rum or whiskey (or whatever alcohol you like!), cover for later use in the cake.
To Make Cake:
Melt butter and chocolate in large heavy saucepan over low heat, stirring often. Remove from heat, and cool for 15 minutes.
Stir in sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, stirring well after each addition. Add flour and salt, stirring until blended. Stir in chopped boozy fruits and chopped nuts. Spoon mixture into 4 greased and floured 5 x 3 x 2-inch loaf pans.
Bake at 350° for 35 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes
Poke lots of small holes in cakes with skewer. Pour 3 Tbsp liquor (see above) onto each cake. Let cool for another 10-15 minutes or so.
Remove from pans, and cool on wire racks.
Wrap in plastic and store for up to 7 days.
If you're making these Fruitcakes ahead, you can brush with more liquor every day. Don't freeze if you're adding alcohol.
Monday, December 26, 2022
According to Wikipedia, Boxing Day is traditionally the day following Christmas when wealthy people and homeowners in the United Kingdom would give a box containing a gift to their servants. It's now a National Bank Holiday. Read more on my other blog: Mystery Fanfare, where I also have a list of Boxing Day mysteries.
Here's a lovely British recipe to celebrate Boxing Day: Pear and Chocolate Trifle. What could be better for Boxing Day than a trifle? This recipe is from John Torode in BBC Good Food Magazine. I've adjusted the measurements for American Cooking. If you're just too tired to bake another thing after the holidays, a shortcut would be to use leftover Chocolate Cake in the trifle.
BOXING DAY PEAR AND CHOCOLATE TRIFLE
7 ounces dark chocolate, broken into chunks
1 cup unsalted butter
2 cups superfine (if you don't have golden caster) sugar
5 large eggs, separated
FOR THE POACHED PEARS
6 firm pears, peeled
1 vanilla pod, split
FOR THE MASCARPONE LAYER
2 large egg yolks
4 tbsp golden caster sugar
5 ounces marsala
2 - 9 ounce tubs mascarpone
3.5 ounces dark chocolate, grated
5 tbsp very strong coffee (or espresso)
2. Whisk the sugar and egg yolks until very pale and thick, about 5 mins. Fold in the chocolate mix using a large metal spoon. Put the egg whites and a pinch of salt into another bowl and, with clean beaters, whisk until you have medium peaks. Fold this gently but thoroughly into the chocolate mix with your metal spoon, then spoon into the tin and bake for 1½ hrs until risen all over. Insert a skewer into the middle of the tin to test; it should come out with just a few damp crumbs but no wet mix. The cake will sink once it cools. Can be frozen up to 1 month ahead.
3. While the cake cooks, put the pears, vanilla pod and 4 cups water into a saucepan. Weigh the pears down under the surface with a small plate, then simmer for 20 mins, covered, until tender. Leave to cool in the liquid if you have time. Cut each pear into 6 long slices, then remove the stalk and the core. Can be cooked up to a week ahead and kept chilled in some of their poaching liquid.
4. For the mascarpone layer, half-fill a medium saucepan with water, then bring to a simmer. Put the yolks, sugar and 6 tbsp of the Marsala into a large bowl, sit it over the just-simmering water, then whisk for 5 mins until the mixture is thick and holds a trail for a few secs. Put the mascarpone into a bowl, beat with 2 tbsp more Marsala to loosen, then whisk in the egg mix in 2 batches, until smooth, thick and light. Can be made ahead and kept in the fridge. Keep no longer than 2 days in total.
5. You're now ready to assemble the trifle. Cut the cake in half - it will be squidgy, so don't worry if it breaks up. Spoon some of the mascarpone layer into the bottom of a dish, then top with a few pears and a sprinkling of grated chocolate. Put half of the cake on top, then sprinkle with a little of the remaining Marsala and coffee. Spoon more of the mascarpone over, then top with more pears and more chocolate. Top this with the next piece of cake, spoon over more Marsala and coffee, then spoon the remaining mascarpone mix over the top. Finish with the remaining pears. Chill for at least 2 hrs, or up to 2 days. When ready to serve, scatter with the last of the grated chocolate.
Sunday, December 25, 2022
Just an FYI: You can assemble mini-trifles in glass mugs or mason jars for individual servings. Stick a candy cane into the mug for a festive touch.
#1 Chocolate Peppermint Trifle
1 chocolate cake (or brownies) cut up into cubes
1 large box of chocolate pudding (add a couple of drops of Peppermint Schnapps to the pudding). Make the pudding.
Ghirardelli (or another--Trader Joe's--or your own) Peppermint Bark, chopped into chunks
Whipped Cream (I always whip my own with a little sugar)
Cake on the bottom, then add a layer of pudding, then a layer of the chopped up Peppermint Bark, then a layer of whipped cream. Then repeat.
Top it off with finely crushed candy canes or a bit more chopped up Peppermint Bark.
O.K. I'm not much for proportions, but most trifles aren't. Use what you have, and I'm sure you won't go wrong.
#2 Chocolate Peppermint Trifle
This is the longer of the two recipes, but absolutely delicious. I've adapted Martha Stewart's recipe for Triple-Chocolate Peppermint Trifle. She has a chocolate cake recipe, but you can skip it and make a good chocolate cake from a mix, then follow the rest of this recipe.
You can make the trifle components the day before you assemble the trifle. Be sure and refrigerate everything in separate airtight containers.
FOR THE SYRUP
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup chocolate flavored liqueur, such as Godiva
FOR THE MOUSSE
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
12 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped (the highest quality)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped peppermint candies or candy canes
FOR THE PUDDING
8 ounces chocolate 40-65% cacao, finely chopped
2 cups heavy cream
3 large egg yolks, room temperature
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup chopped peppermint candies or candy canes
Make the syrup: Bring sugar and 1/4 cup water to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Let cool completely. Stir in liqueur.
Make the mousse: Prepare an ice-water bath; set aside. Bring 1 cup cream just to a boil in a small saucepan. Place white chocolate in a food processor; with machine running, pour in hot cream in a slow, steady stream, and process until smooth. Transfer to a medium bowl set in ice-water bath. Let cool, stirring occasionally, until thick enough to hold ribbons on surface, about 15 minutes.
Beat remaining 1 1/2 cups cream to nearly stiff peaks. Fold into chocolate mixture, then fold in candies. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until thickened and almost firm, 4 to 6 hours.
Make the pudding: Put chocolate into a large bowl; set aside. Bring cream almost to a boil in a small saucepan. Whisk yolks in a bowl. Pour in hot cream in a slow, steady stream, whisking.
Pour mixture back into pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 1 minute. Pour through a fine sieve over chocolate; whisk until smooth. Set bowl in ice-water bath. Let cool, stirring occasionally, until thick enough to hold ribbons on surface, about 15 minutes. Place plastic wrap directly on surface; refrigerate until set, about 3 hours.
To assemble: Spread one-third of the mousse into bottom of a glass trifle bowl that is 8 to 10 inches in diameter. Top with a cake layer, and brush with half the syrup.
Top with half the pudding, then another third of mousse. Place remaining cake layer on top; brush with remaining syrup. Top with remaining pudding, then mousse. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate 12 hours.
Beat cream and sugar until soft peaks form. Top trifle with the whipped cream, and sprinkle with crushed peppermint candy or crushed candy canes.
This recipe is divine.
As with most recipes, you don't have to add alcohol, but a true trifle should have it.
Saturday, December 24, 2022
This amazing recipe is from Amy Guittard's Guittard Chocolate Book...no surprise there! I love Guittard Chocolate, and the recipes in Amy's cookbook are fantastic. These brownies are absolutely delicious! If you already have brandy in your eggnog, you don't need to add more... And, as always, use the very best chocolate and Eggnog!
Decadent Eggnog Brownies
6 ounces Guittard 100% Cacao Unsweetened Chocolate, chopped
1 cup + 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
4 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk, divided
2 1/2 cups plus 4 Tbsp granulated sugar, divided
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp salt
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup eggnog
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Line 9x9x2 inch pan with foil covering the bottom and extending up sides.
Melt unsweetened chocolate and butter in medium microwave safe bowl at medium power (50% or level 5) mixing at 30-second intervals until smooth and all of chocolate is melted. Set aside.
In large bowl of stand mixer, fitted with paddle attachment, beat eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt at high speed for about 2-3 minutes or until light and creamy. Blend in melted chocolate at low speed, stopping to scrape sides as needed. Add flour just until incorporated.
Spread two-thirds of the batter into prepared pan and transfer remainder to a small bowl.
Clean bowl and paddle of stand mixer and refit to mixer. Beat egg yolk on medium-high until frothy. Stir in 4 tablespoons granulated sugar, eggnog, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Beat in cream cheese until mixture is smooth.
Top brownie batter with cream cheese eggnog mixture, using spatula to level out mixture. Spoon remaining brownie batter over cream cheese eggnog layer, again using spatula to spread evenly. Drag the spatula through pan to create marbled effect.
Bake about 45 minutes to an hour or until top is puekered and cracked and toothpick inserted in center is moist (DO NOT OVERBAKE!)
Cool before cutting.
Friday, December 23, 2022
Dark Chocolate Eggnog Truffles
3/4 cup eggnog
11 ounces dark chocolate 65%+ cacao, chopped
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, chopped
2 Tbsp superfine sugar
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
Heat eggnog over medium heat almost to boiling point, whisking constantly. Do not boil.
Immediately remove pan from heat, turn heat to low. Add chocolate and butter to eggnog. Stir until chocolate is completely melted, returning to low heat if necessary.
Pour mixture into mixing bowl and beat with electric mixer at high speed for 5 minutes. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until mixture is firm but pliable.
In small bowl, mix superfine sugar with nutmeg and cinnamon; set aside. (you can also add cocoa)
Take 1 teaspoon of chocolate mixture and roll into ball, then roll in sugar mixture.
Place truffle in foil cup or on waxed paper tray (I don't use cups but they look festive if you do). Repeat.
Store truffles in airtight container in refrigerator.
Don't have time to make Eggnog Truffles?
Godiva has them in their 12 piece Truffle Holiday Box.
Check with your local chocolatier!
Thursday, December 22, 2022
Wednesday, December 21, 2022
Tuesday, December 20, 2022
With the Winter Solstice and Christmas holidays upon us, I'm reposting a recipe for Bûche de Noël aka Yule Log. I've tried various recipes for Bûche de Noël, but I really like this one. Bûche de Noël is the traditional dessert served at the Solstice and during the Christmas holidays in many countries. Basically it looks like a log ready for the fire, hence the Yule Log.
The traditional Bûche de Noël is made from a Genoise (see recipe below) filled and frosted with buttercream. The Bûche de Noël is often iced to look like a piece of the branch has broken off. Sometimes there are fresh berries and meringue or marzipan mushrooms. Bûche de Noël is one of my favorite holiday desserts. The log represents the hearth -- the center of the house, and this yule log (Bûche de Noël) will be the center of your holiday table.
Stuck for time? Check out your local bakery and order one!
Bûche de Noël aka Yule Log
(recipe adapted from allrecipes.com)
2 cups heavy cream (cold)
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 egg yolks (eggs at room temperature)
1/2 cup white sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 egg whites (room temp)
1/4 cup white sugar
Confectioners Sugar for Dusting
Meringue Mushrooms (see recipe below)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line 10x15 inch greased jellyroll pan with greased (sprayed) parchment paper. In large bowl, whip cream, 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, 1/2 cup cocoa, and 1 teaspoon vanilla until thick and stiff. Refrigerate.
In large bowl, use electric mixer to beat egg yolks with 1/2 cup sugar until thick and pale (about 5 minutes). Blend in 1/3 cup cocoa, 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla, and salt. In large glass bowl, using clean beaters, whip egg whites to soft peaks. Gradually add 1/4 cup sugar, and beat until whites form very stiff peaks. Immediately fold yolk mixture into whites. Spread batter evenly into the prepared pan.
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes in preheated oven, or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Dust heavily clean dishtowel with lots of confectioners' sugar. Run a knife around the edge of pan, and turn warm cake out onto silicone baking mat (or towel, but the mat works better!). Remove and discard parchment paper. Let cool before rolling. Starting at short edge of cake, roll cake up with towel. Use the towel as the rolling agent. Cool for 30 minutes. Unroll cake, and spread filling to within 1 inch of the edge. Roll cake up with filling inside. Place seam side down onto serving plate. Ice with remaining filling. Run tines across to simulate bark. Refrigerate until serving. Dust with confectioners' sugar before serving.
Add meringue mushrooms before serving (do not refrigerate the mushrooms) or use some 'real' holly leaves.
3 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup superfine sugar
1/2 cup (3 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips, melted
2 teaspoons cocoa
Combine first 5 ingredients; beat at high speed with electric mixer until foamy. Add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form and sugar dissolves (2 to 4 minutes).
Spoon mixture into decorating bag fitted with large round tip. Pipe 32 (1 1/4-inch-wide) mounds to resemble mushroom caps and 32 (1-inch-tall) columns to resemble stems onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
Bake at 200° for 1 1/2 hours; turn oven off. Let meringues stand in closed oven 2 hours.
Spread thin layer of melted chocolate on flat side of caps. Trim rounded end of stems to make them flat; press stems against chocolate to attach them to caps. Sprinkle meringues lightly with cocoa.
When I was little, we went on long turnpike rides to visit family during the holidays. On the way, we always stopped at Howard Johnson's, the roadside retreat, and my treat was Peppermint Stick Ice Cream. It didn't matter what the weather was like outside, that Peppermint Ice Cream was delicious -- rich and creamy, filled with lots of crunchy peppermint pieces. It was served in simple cones then, but this recipe for Peppermint Ice Cream Pie takes it one step further. This is a great last minute dessert when you have unexpected company during the holidays--or plan on it!
Even though it's freezing outside, this shouldn't keep you from making this simple delicious Peppermint Ice Cream Pie. As a matter of fact, now's the time to make this when the Limited Edition flavors hit the frozen dairy case. Dreyer's Ice Cream (Edy's in the Midwest and on the East Coast) has a very good Peppermint Ice Cream. Fenton's, a local favorite, has terrific Peppermint Ice Cream, too. Of course, you can use any Peppermint Ice Cream you like! You can even make your own! Scroll down for an easy no-churn recipe for Peppermint Stick Ice Cream.
Tip: Be sure and put the pie crust in the freezer rather than refrigerator for an hour before filling, so it doesn't get soggy.
Peppermint Ice Cream Pie
Peppermint Oreo Pie Crust
2 1/2 ounces of melted unsalted butter
Pour mixture into 9 inch pie pan and press into the bottom and up the sides evenly.
Smooth surface with the back of a spoon.
Freeze pie crust for at least an hour.
1 carton (1.5 quarts) Peppermint Ice Cream (leave out for 10-15 minutes to soften)
2 candy canes, crushed
Spread softened ice cream evenly on frozen crust.
Sprinkle with crushed candy canes.
Freeze for several hours until firm.
Cut into wedges to serve.
Monday, December 19, 2022
Happy Holidays! I love this recipe for Double Chocolate Coca Cola Christmas Cake. It's really good and easy. So Retro to use Coca Cola, but obviously Santa likes it! Honestly, it tastes great! Very Retro! Santa loves it.
Sunday, December 18, 2022
Hanukkah (aka Chanukah) starts tonight, and these fabulous Chocolate Marshmallow Dreidels are perfect for the holiday. They are easy to make and delicious to eat!
A Dreidel is a four-sided spinning top with a Hebrew letter on each side. During Chanukah (Hanukah, Hanukkah), children play a game that involves spinning the dreidel and betting on which Hebrew letter will show when the dreidel stops spinning. Children usually play for a pot of 'gelt' -- chocolate coins covered in gold colored foil.
You won't be spinning these tops unless you want chocolate all over the floor, but making these Chocolate Marshmallow Dreidels is a fun activity to do with children.
This recipe is adapted from Martha Stewart's recipe for Chocolate Marshmallow Dreidels. If you want to take it up a notch, make your own marshmallows or buy some high end marshmallows made with natural ingredients like those from Recchiuti. I usually use whatever dark chocolate I have, but you can use any good dark chocolate. For the white chocolate I use Green & Black's White Chocolate that's made with Madagascar vanilla. I also use Paul Newman's Own Organic pretzel sticks. They are a little long, so I snap them in half. Or, you can use a short lollipop stick.
Apologies for the poor calligraphy. Practice makes perfect, and I'm very out of practice. :-)
CHOCOLATE MARSHMALLOW DREIDELS
12 chocolate kisses (I use Hershey's Kisses)
8 ounces melted dark chocolate
12 marshmallows (homemade or whatever you have)
12 thin pretzel sticks (I use Newman's Own)
2 ounces melted white chocolate (I use Green & Black)
Dip bottom of chocolate kiss in melted semisweet chocolate. Press onto marshmallow; transfer to parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat to make 12 dreidels. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.
Cut small slit in bottom of each marshmallow or just one thin pretzel stick into the marshmallow. Dip dreidels in dark chocolate, and return to baking sheet. Refrigerate until set, about 15 minutes.
Fill plastic bag (or pastry bag) with melted white chocolate; cut a tiny opening in corner, and pipe Hebrew letters onto 3 sides of each dreidel. I used a pastry bag with a tip, but I should have practiced a bit first so I wouldn't have any drips.
Refrigerate at least 5 minutes or up to 8 hours before serving.
Saturday, December 17, 2022
CHOCOLATE-GLAZED MAPLE SPICE CAKE
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup solid vegetable shortening
1 cup packed dark-brown sugar
3/4 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon imitation maple flavor
3/4 cup milk
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon imitation maple flavor
1 1/2 - 2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 heaping Tbsp unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp vanilla
Whole walnuts, to garnish
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat three 8 x 2-inch round layer-cake pans with shortening; dust with flour, discarding excess.
Whisk flour, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, and salt in bowl.
Beat shortening in second bowl until smooth and creamy. Beat in sugar and maple syrup. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each. Add maple flavor; beat until smooth. On low speed, beat in half of the flour mixture, then milk, then remaining flour mixture.
Spread batter in prepared pans, dividing evenly.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 to 28 minutes, until golden brown. Cool in pans on rack 10 minutes. Remove cakes directly to rack to cool completely.
Beat cream cheese, butter, and maple flavor in bowl until smooth. Add sugar; beat until good spreading consistency.
Place cake layer on serving dish. Top with 1-1/4 cups filling. Place second cake layer on top, then remaining 1-1/4 cups filling. Top with third layer.
In saucepan, heat cream just to a simmer. Pour over chocolate and cocoal in small bowl; whisk until smooth. Add vanilla and stir. Cool 5 minutes, until thicker but still pourable. Pour over cake, spreading to allow some to dribble down sides. Top with walnuts.
Refrigerate 15 minutes before serving.
For sparkly walnuts, brush with corn syrup; dust with gold sanding sugar, available at: countrykitchensa.com.
CRUSHED PEPPERMINT CHEESECAKE
12 ounces creme-filled chocolate sandwich cookies, (Oreos or Trader Joe's Candy Cane Joe Joes) broken into pieces
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1- 1/2 pounds cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup sour cream
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup coarsely crushed peppermint candy
Place cookies in heavy zip-lock plastic bag and crush with rolling pin. Pour into buttered 9-inch round springform pan and pour melted butter over crumbs; mix to coat, then press evenly over bottom and about 1/2 inch up sides of pan. Bake in 300° oven until crust is slightly darker and looks a bit dry, about 10 minutes (leave oven on).
Meanwhile, in bowl, with mixer on medium speed, beat cream cheese and sugar until well blended. Beat in sour cream. Add eggs one at a time, beating to blend after each addition. Beat in flour, vanilla, peppermint extract, and salt until smooth. Pour cream cheese mixture into pan over baked crust.
Bake until edges are just golden and center jiggles slightly when pan is gently shaken, about 1 hour. Run knife around edge of pan rim. Place pan on wire rack and cool cheesecake completely in pan. Cover and chill until cold, at least 4 hours or up to 2 days. Run knife around rim again, then release rim. If any liquid has pooled on surface of cheesecake, blot dry gently with paper towel.
Decorate top of cake with crushed peppermint candy, pressing it in gently with hands.
Friday, December 16, 2022
Chocolate Gingerbread Cookie Recipe
This awesome recipe is from Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito - Food & Wine Magazine
1/3 cup unsweetened DARK cocoa powder
1 tablespoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup solid vegetable shortening (Crisco)
1/2 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1/2 cup molasses
2 ounces dark chocolate (65-70% cacao), melted and cooled
Gingerbread Cookie Icing Tips!!
You can make Royal Icing or try this Recipe for Mascarpone Filling that doubles as Decorating Icing. Put it in a bag and pipe! Or use Wilton Decorating Icing in the squeeze bottles.
Decorate your cookies. Let stand until icing dry, about 30 minutes.
Make Ahead: Chocolate gingerbread cookies can be kept in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
GINGERBREAD MEN COOKIE CUTTERS
Yoga Cookie Cutters Set 1: Lotus Group from Patti Paige Baked Ideas
Yoga Cookie Cutters Set 2: Down Dog from Patti Paige Baked Ideas
GingerDead Men Cookie Cutters:
Fred ABC Cookies Cutters: Which part do you eat first?
And for some vintage Cutters:
Sufganiyot (singular: sufganiyah) is one of the special foods made during Hanukkah: deep fried donut balls stuffed with jelly, or custard (for this blog that would be chocolate custard) and topped with sugar. Of course, you can also stuff them with dark chocolate! I didn't grow up with this tradition, but any food that's fried and stuffed is good in my book. Sufganiyot are really an Israeli tradition, but they've gained popularity in the U.S.
There are many recipes for Sufganiyot. Go here for a yeasted Sufganiyot Dough recipe or here on Epicurious (remember to stuff with chocolate) or this recipe from Amanda Gold in the Chronicle.
I'm a huge fan of Katrina's Vosges Haut-chocolate blog, and she posted this fabulous recipe for Sufganiyot, chocolate filling, of course, in 2009. Be sure and visit her blog for insights. She, like I, thinks that Sufganiyot are a lot like Beignets. So you might want to check out this simple no frying, no yeast dough recipe I posted for Chocolate Beignets. Make them ahead and pop them in the oven when your guests get there.
Chocolate Sufganiyot from Vosges Haut-chocolat
3/4 cup warm water (about 100 degrees)
1 envelope active dry yeast (1 scant tablespoon)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1/4 cup sugar, plus 1/2 cup for coating
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs, separated
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature (in place of margarine in original recipe)
peanut oil, for frying plus more for bowl
1/4 cup Vosges Haut-Chocolat Candy Bar
In large metal bowl, stir together warm water and yeast. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Add 3/4 cup flour, 1/4 cup sugar, and salt; mix until well combined. Add egg yolks and remaining 1 3/4 cups flour. Mix until combined, then knead dough in bowl until all flour is incorporated. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured work surface; knead a few minutes until smooth. Knead in butter until incorporated.
Transfer dough to a well-oiled bowl; turn dough several times to coat entirely with oil. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.
About 30 minutes before you’re ready to form doughnuts, remove dough from refrigerator to let come to room temperature. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out dough into an 11 inch square about 1/8 inch thick. Using a 2 inch cookie cutter (or a glass), cut out about 24 rounds, dipping cutter in flour as needed to prevent sticking. Re-roll scraps and cut out about 16 more rounds.
Line a baking sheet with a clean kitchen towel. In a small bowl, lightly beat egg whites. Brush edge of a dough round with egg white, then mount 1/2 teaspoon chocolate bar pieces in center, or both. Top with another round and press edges to seal. Repeat process with remaining rounds. Transfer to prepared baking sheet; let doughnuts rise until puffy, 20 to 30 minutes.
Heat a few inches of oil in a large (4-5 quart) heavy pot until it registers 360 degrees on a deep-fry thermometer or a scrap of dough sizzles upon contact. Working in batches of 4 to 5, carefully slip doughnuts into hot oil. Fry, turning once until golden brown about 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer doughnuts to paper towels to drain.
Place remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a medium bowl. While doughnuts are still hot, toss them in sugar, turning to coat. Serve immediately.
Thursday, December 15, 2022
Swiftn'ing, by the way, was a lard-based product, developed by Swift & Company during the 1940s. It was marketed as an all purpose shortening and contained a mixture of both animal and vegetable fats.
Wednesday, December 14, 2022
CHOCOLATE GUINNESS TRUFFLES
3/4 cup Guinness
1 pound dark chocolate (65-75% cacao), chopped
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
Melt chocolate in top of double boiler or saucepan over another saucepan with simmering water.
Gradually stir in cream.
Gradually add Guinness, stirring gently to blend.
Cover and chill overnight.
Shape mixture into 3/4 inch balls, using about tablespoon for each.
Roll in cocoa (or roll in red and green decorating sugar for Christmas)
Tuesday, December 13, 2022
"Now! Bring us some figgy pudding and bring some out here!"
How long have you been singing this Christmas Carol? Have you ever had Figgy Pudding aka Christmas Pudding? And what, exactly is it?
One other question you might ask, can you add chocolate? Yes! Scroll down for Ghirardelli's recipe for Chocolate Figgy Pudding.
Figgy Pudding is pretty much exactly what it sounds like -- a pudding/cake with figs in it. The reason that it's in such high demand, though, has more to do with its inedible ingredients. Coins, rings and other trinkets were often hidden in the Christmas pudding and each supposedly predicted the recipient's fortune for the coming year. For example, if you found a coin, you would become wealthy. If you found a ring, you'd get married ... and so on. Think of it as an Old English fortune cookie.
In actuality, figgy pudding is more of a cake than a pudding. There have been recipes for it since the 15th century, although its popularity as a Christmas dessert probably reached its peak during the late 19th century. Several factors have significantly hampered the wholesale expansion of the figgy pudding industry, including an interminably long cooking time, an exotic ingredients list and a cringe-inducing dependency on saturated fats for texture.
Ghirardelli Chocolate Figgy Pudding
1-1/2 cups brown sugar
4 cups soft bread crumbs
1 cup finely chopped suet (I use unsalted butter)
2 Tablespoons flour
1-1/2 cups chopped dried figs
3/4 cup Ghirardelli's Ground Chocolate
1/2 cup hot milk
3/4 tsp salt
Beat eggs, add sugar, bread crumbs, suet, figs (dredged with flour), chocolate mixed with hot milk, and salt, stir thoroughly.
Steam three hours in a greased mold.
Serve hot with a hard sauce.
Hard sauce: Great recipe at The Pioneer Woman
Monday, December 12, 2022
Want to know the difference between Natural and Dutch Process Cocoa? Click HERE.
Following are variations on classic Cocoa/Hot Chocolate. Some recipes are for one, some for four, and some for a crowd. Some use cocoa powder, others use chocolate bars, some use both, but all are delicious. If you have a favorite cocoa recipe, comment below with a link! Be sure to skim back through the blog for many, many other Cocoa recipes.
Peppermint Hot Cocoa
1 cup milk
1/2 cup cream
1 Tbsp vanilla
3/4 cup granulated sugar
8 ounces 70-80% cacao chocolate, chopped
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp peppermint oil
Directions: Add milk, cream, vanilla, and sugar to pot and place over medium heat. When milk mixture is hot, add chopped chocolate and stir constantly. Continue stirring, adding remaining ingredients. When mixture is starting to simmer, take off heat and serve.
Eggnog Hot Cocoa
What would the holidays be without eggnog? Try this and let me know what you think!
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup water
3 Tbsp unsweetened Dark Cocoa powder
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
Directions: In blender or processor, combine egg, milk, water, cocoa, and nutmeg, blend until well mixed. Transfer mixture to top of double boiler. Hear stirring occasionally, until mixture is steaming. Do not boil.
Argentinian Hot Cocoa
4 cups whole milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp Madagascar or Mexican Vanilla
4 ounces good quality dark chocolate, broken into 1 ounce pieces
Directions: Heat milk, sugar, and vanilla in pan until almost boiled. Remove from heat and divide into 4 mugs. Immediately, put piece of chocolate in each mug. It will melt and have a fabulous taste.
Mexican Hot Chocolate
2 tsp good-quality ground DARK cocoa
1 tsp sugar, plus extra to taste
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground almonds. You can add more if you want a thicker texture.
1 cup milk
Directions: Mix all ingredients, except milk, together in empty, clean glass jar. Shake until completely combined. Heat milk in a pan and add chocolate mix. Bring to boil and reduce heat. Simmer for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly; use small whisk to froth milk. Serve hot.
Mexican Hot Chocolate II
5 ounces dark Mexican Chocolate
2 Tbsp honey
1/4 cup hot water
Pinch of salt
1 tsp instant coffee
2 cups whole milk
1 egg (optional)
1/4 tsp Mexican vanilla extract
1 dried red chile pepper, smashed
Ground cinnamon for sprinkling
Directions: In saucepan over medium-low heat, add Mexican chocolate, honey, hot water, salt, coffee, and chile pepper. Heat, stirring constantly, until mixture just begins to boil; reduce heat to low and let simmer, stirring constantly, for another minute. Carefully stir in milk and let sit over low heat until chocolate is too warm to touch. In bowl, beat egg until frothy. Add vanilla extract and beat in well. Pour hot chocolate mixture over the frothed egg and beat for about 15 seconds. (until you have about foam on top) Pour into mugs. Sprinkle mugs with ground cinnamon and shaved chocolate.
Honey Hot Cocoa
The flavor of your cocoa will change with the variety of honey. Try lavender honey, sage, wildflower.
4 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
4 Tbsp honey
4 cups milk
Directions: Combine ingredients in medium-size sauce pan. Heat over low heat, stirring occasionally until hot.
Hot Cocoa with Brown Sugar
4 oz unsweetened chocolate
1/3 cup water
4 cups hot milk
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
dash of salt
Preparation: In double boiler (or saucepan over a saucepan), melt chocolate and water together. Slowly mix in milk, sugar, and salt. Whisk until chocolate is smooth and blended.
Parisian Warm Chocolate
I'm not sure where I found this recipe, but it works! Anything French works! Lots of varieties on this. Experiment!
1 cup whole milk
1/3 heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
6 oz chocolate- 65-75% cacao, chopped
Directions: Simmer milk, cream, and sugar together until just boiling. Stir in chocolate until melted. Don't let it boil. Serve warm in mugs.
Spicy White Hot Cocoa
4 cups milk
7 ounces good white chocolate (Guittard, Ghirardelli, Green & Black), chopped
1 egg, beaten
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
Directions: Put white chocolate in medium metal bowl or saucepan over another saucepan of simmering water, or in top part of double boiler. Melt chocolate, stirring occasionally until smooth. Stir in cayenne pepper and cinnamon. Whisk in egg until smooth. Gradually whisk in one cup of milk until completely incorporated (2-3 minutes). Gradually whisk in remaining milk, and heat until hot, but not simmering. Put in mugs and sprinkle with cinnamon or chocolate.
Peppermint White Chocolate Cocoa
8 ounces white chocolate, chopped
3 1/2 cups whole milk
6 hard peppermint candies, crushed fine
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
2/3 cup whipping cream
Directions: Beat chilled cream with crushed mints until stiff peaks form. Refrigerate for about 1 hour. Heat milk to simmer, them mix in chocolate, whisking until chocolate is melted and smooth. Add mint extract and stir through. Pour into mugs and top with minty whipped cream.
Candy Cane Cocoa
variation on recipe from Sean Paajanen at About.com
4 cups whole milk
3 ounces 60-85% cacao chocolate, chopped
4 red and white striped peppermint candies crushed
4 small red and white striped candy canes
Directions: In sauce pan bring milk to simmer. Add chocolate and crushed candies. Whisk until smooth. Divide hot cocoa between mugs and garnish with whipped cream and serve with candy cane stirring stick.
Brandied Hot Cocoa
4 cups milk
4 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
2 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp chili powder
5 Tbsp brandy
6 Tbsp whipped cream
4 tsp unsweetened DARK cocoa powder, sifted
In saucepan, bring milk just to boil. Remove from heat.
Put chocolate in small saucepan and add 2 Tbsp hot milk. Stir over low heat until chocolate has melted, then stir chocolate mixture back into hot milk.
Add and stir in sugar. Stir in brandy and pour into four heatproof glasses.
Top each with whipped cream and sprinkle with sifted cocoa.
Kahlua Hot Cocoa
1/2 ounce semisweet chocolate
3/4 cup whole milk
1/2 cup coffee
2 Tbsp cocoa
1/2 tsp Madagascar vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp Kahlua
Melt chocolate in saucepan over another saucepan over simmering water.
Once melted, add all other ingredients except Kahlua.
Raise heat to medium high, whisking constantly, until mixture is smooth and just starting to bubble (2-3 minutes).
Remove from heat, stir in Kahlua.
Pour into mug and serve.
Add marshmallows or whipped cream as you see fit.
English Toffee Cocoa
4 cups milk
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
8 ounces dark chocolate (70% cacao), chopped
1 tsp Madegascar vanilla extract
1/4 cup English toffee, crushed
Unsweetened cocoa powder
Combine milk, water, and sugar in saucepan and sttir over medium heat until just boiling.
Remove from heat, and stir in chocolate and vanilla.
Beat with whisk until chocolate is melted and mixture is frothy.
Pour hot chocolate into 2 big mugs.
Top with whipped cream and crushed English toffee. Sprinkle with cocoa powder.
Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate
4 cups whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup Dark Cocoa (I like Ghiradelli)
1/3 cup water
1 tsp Madagascar Vanilla
2 tsp Sea Salt
2 Tbsp Hazelnut Syrup (or Toffee Nut Syrup from Starbucks)
2 Tbsp Caramel Sauce, Caramel Drizzle
Whipped Cream (or Reddi Whip)
Mix Sugar, Cocoa, and 1 tsp Salt. Add water and boil for 1 minute. Add milk and heat until warm. Mix in Vanilla, Hazelnut Syrup and Caramel Sauce Pour into coffee cup and top with whipped cream, caramel drizzle, and sea salt
About the photo: This Vintage Advertisement for Cadbury Cocoa is special to me. My sister, Judie Siddall, is the President of the Transferware Collectors Club and sells antique blue and white transferware (pottery), similar to what is pictured in this advertisement, although, her wares are much older. She can be found at Merlin Antiques. She also blogs at Dishy News.