Sunday, April 30, 2023

OATMEAL TOLLHOUSE COOKIES: National Oatmeal Cookie Day

Today is Oatmeal Cookie Day. Yes, I've posted many oatmeal cookie recipes with raisins, with chocolate chips, and recipes with both raisins and chocolate chips, but here's one more! Oatmeal Tollhouse Cookies. As I always say, you can never have too many cookie recipes. Here's a great Retro advertisement with recipe to celebrate the day! 


Friday, April 28, 2023

BLUEBERRY CHOCOLATE PIE: National Blueberry Pie Day

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

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


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

Preheat oven to 450°F. Prepare Sour Cream Cookie Dough. Roll half of dough to a 12-inch circle on a well-floured surface. Line 9-inch pie plate with dough. Trim and flute edge. Line with double thickness of foil. Bake for 8 minutes; carefully remove foil. Bake 3 to 4 minutes more or until golden. Remove; Sprinkle with chocolate pieces and set aside.

Reduce oven to 375°F. Roll remaining dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut into star shapes using assorted-size cutters. In small bowl whisk together egg and 1 tablespoon water. Arrange cutouts 2 inches apart on parchment paper-lined cookie sheets. Brush cutouts with egg mixture. Bake for 7 to 9 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Remove and cool on a wire rack.

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

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

Thursday, April 27, 2023

TRIPLE CHOCOLATE SCONES: A Cream Tea in the Garden

It's so beautiful right now in my Spring Garden. I'm a major gardener with over 150 rose bushes, multiple fruit trees, and lots of other trees and flowers. We're having a bit of a heat wave that is pushing everything to bloom. It's the perfect day for a cream tea in the garden. Probably not in the nude, as in this fabulous painting by Beryl Cook. Scones with Clotted Cream are the essence of a cream tea. To celebrate the garden, here's a great recipe for Triple Chocolate Scones. Be sure and add a heaping helping of Clotted Cream

Triple Chocolate Scones 

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
6 Tbsp unsalted butter  (cold)
7-8 Tbsp whole milk  (cold)
1/2 cup chocolate chips
3 Tbsp chopped dark chocolate
Sugar Crystals 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Sift together dry ingredients in large bowl (not the chocolatae chips or chocolate).
Add chocolate chips and chopped 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 get this at King Arthur Flour or in the market in the baking section).
(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.

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.


PAINTING: Beryl Cook  (one of my favorite artists)

Wednesday, April 26, 2023


Today is National Pretzel Day. You can celebrate in so many ways. Dip pretzels or pretzel sticks in chocolate, or you can make this Chocolate Pie with Pretzel Crust! No time to make the chocolate filling from scratch? Use a Pudding Box Mix.


Pretzel Crust

12+ ounces pretzels, crushed
3 Tbsp light brown sugar
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted

Whirl pretzels in blender, so they're very fine. Add sugar and butter. Mix. Press half of mixture into 9-inch pie plate. Bake at 350 for 8 minutes. Cool. Pour in chocolate filling. Top with remaining pretzel mixture. Chill.

Chocolate Pie Filling

1/2 cup sugar
4 Tbsp cornstarch
2 1⁄2 cups milk
3 ounces dark chocolate (65-70% cacoa), chopped
3 egg yolks, slightly beaten
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Combine sugar, cornstarch, milk, and chocolate in top of double boiler. Cook over boiling water until mixture thickens, stirring constantly. Cover and cook for 15 minutes. Stir a bit of hot chocolate mixture into egg yolks in order to temper eggs and keep them from curdling. Add tempered yolks to chocolate mixture, stirring constantly and thoroughly. Cool mixture. Add vanilla extract to chocolate and mix thoroughly. Pour chocolate filling into cooled pretzel crust. Top with remaining pretzel mixture. Chill before serving.

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Chocolate Coffee Zucchini Bread: National Zucchini Bread Day

Today is National Zucchini Bread Day, but I have no zucchini in my garden. Luckily for me, it's available in my markets. If you don't find any, save this recipe for the summer when your Victory Garden is filled with zucchini!

The 'secret' ingredient in this particular Chocolate Zucchini Bread is 'Coffee.' If you've been following my daily posts, you know that coffee enhances the flavor of chocolate, and you'll find that happens in this recipe! As always, your final results will only be as good as your ingredients. Use the very best cocoa, fresh oil, and good coffee.

Chocolate Coffee Zucchini Bread 

1-1/2 cups shredded fresh zucchini (approximately 1 zucchini)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup brewed coffee, cold
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg + 1 egg white
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup unsweetened DARK cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup walnuts,  chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 350° F.
Lightly oil 9 × 5 bread pan.
Shred zucchini using fine shredding disc on food processor or hand shredder. I usually wrap the shredded zucchini in a paper towel and squeeze after shredding to get out excess moisture. Do this before measuring.
Measure 1-1/2 cups and set aside.
Beat together oil, brewed coffee, sugar, egg, and vanilla. Stir in dry ingredients until incorporated, then beat together until smooth. Fold in shredded zucchini and walnuts (optional). Once zucchini is incorporated, pour into prepared pan and bake 55 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center comes out dry. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack. Remove from pan after cooling for 15 minutes.

Monday, April 24, 2023

Cartoon of the Day: Very Dark Chocolate

Bizarro by Dan Piraro is one of my favorite comics. Clearly Dan and Andy Cowan in this cartoon from 6/30/11 have their priorities straight. Dan writes in his blog, "If you don't like chocolate, you're a brain-eating zombie... If you like chocolate and black humor, this cartoon is made to order."

Sunday, April 23, 2023

CHOCOLATE CHERRY CHEESECAKE: National Cherry Cheesecake Day!

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, April 22, 2023


Earth Day 2023! Be sure and take a walk today and appreciate our planet earth. As many of you know, I blog about mystery/crime fiction at Mystery Fanfare. I'm the Editor of the Mystery Readers Journal. We had an issue a few years ago (Volume 36:1) that focused on Environmental Crime Fiction/Mysteries. Today on Mystery Fanfare, I blog about Reservoir Noir: books that deal with intentional flooding of towns and villages because of building dams and reservoirs for water supply, irrigation, power and other reasons--a sad addition to the environmental crime fiction list.

I don’t know of a good crime novel that involves the chocolate trade. That’s a theme ripe for a good mystery. Something to think about today when you make “Cracked Earth Flourless Chocolate Cake” from the recipe below.

The recipe for the cake is adapted from Tyler Florence of the Food Network. It's his Cracked Earth Flourless Chocolate Cake. And, it's Gluten-Free.

Cracked Earth Chocolate Flourless Cake: Earth Day

1 pound organic fair-trade dark chocolate (65-85% cacao), chopped into small pieces
1 stick unsalted butter
9 large eggs, separated
3/4 cup granulated sugar, plus 1 Tablespoon
2 cups heavy cream, cold 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Butter 9-inch springform pan.
Put chocolate and butter in top of double boiler over simmering water until melted.
Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks with sugar in mixing bowl until light yellow in color.
Whisk a little of chocolate mixture into egg yolk mixture to temper the eggs - this will keep eggs from scrambling from heat of the chocolate; then whisk in rest of chocolate mixture.
Beat egg whites in mixing bowl until stiff peaks form and fold into chocolate mixture.
Pour into prepared pan (spray bottom with nonstick spray) and bake until cake is set, top starts to crack, and toothpick inserted into cake comes out with moist crumbs clinging to it, 20 to 25 minutes (and then check every five minutes after that--don't overbake).
Let stand 10 minutes, then unmold.

Friday, April 21, 2023

CASHEW CARAMEL BROWNIES: National Chocolate Covered Cashew Day!

You can never have too many Brownie recipes. Since today is National Chocolate Covered Cashew Day, I thought I'd post this easy recipe from Betty Crocker for Cashew Caramel Brownies. As always, use the very best ingredients. You can use a box mix or you your own recipe and follow the directions for the cashews and caramel. If you're making brownies from scratch, be sure to add some extra dark chocolate chips.



1 box Betty Crocker triple chunk Premium brownie mix
Water, vegetable oil, and egg called for on brownie mix box 
2/3 cup salted dry roasted cashews, chopped
2 candy bars (1.76 oz each) dark chocolate-covered nougat and caramel candy, each cut lengthwise in half, then chopped (about 2/3 cup)

Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pan). Line bottom and sides of 9-inch square pan with foil, leaving foil overhanging on 2 opposite sides of pan. Spray foil with cooking spray.
In medium bowl, stir brownie mix, oil, water, and eggs until well blended. Stir in 1/3 cup of the chopped cashews and 1/3 cup of the chopped candy bars. Spread evenly in pan.
Sprinkle remaining 1/3 cup cashews and 1/3 cup candy bars evenly over batter.
Bake 35 to 38 minutes or until toothpick inserted 2 inches from side of pan comes out almost clean. Cool completely, about 1 hour.
Remove brownies from pan, using foil to lift.
Cut into squares.

Thursday, April 20, 2023

Chocolate Pineapple Upside Down Cake: Pineapple Upside Down Cake Day

Today is Pineapple Upside Down Cake Day! Pineapple Upside Down Cake is so Retro. Here's a way to bring it into 2023: Add chocolate! The following recipe from Home Cooking Adventure is easy and delicious. Want to save time? Use a chocolate cake mix and add coconut to the batter. Want to use fresh pineapple in your Chocolate Upside Down Pineapple Cake? Try this one from Serious Eats

Here's info on the history of Pineapple Upside Down Cake.  Kitchen Historic



Pineapple Topping 

1/4 cup unsalted butter 
1/3 cup light brown sugar 
6 or 7 pineapple slices, canned 

Chocolate Coconut Cake 

1 cup 
All-purpose flour 
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut 
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 
1/2 tsp salt 
1 tsp baking powder 
1/3 cup unsalted butter, soft 
2/3 cup sugar 
3 eggs 
1 tsp coconut extract 
3/4 cup coconut milk 
3 oz semisweet chocolate, melted 


Preheat oven to 350F. 
Grease a 9 inch pan and line with parchment paper. 
In small saucepan melt butter over low heat, add sugar, and cook until sugar dissolves. 
Pour mixture in prepared pan and arrange the pineapple slices. Set aside until you prepare chocolate cake. 
In medium bowl combine flour, cocoa powder, shredded coconut, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl mix butter and sugar until thick and creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, coconut extract and mix to combine. With mixer on low, alternate adding gradually flour mixture and coconut milk until all is well incorporated. Add melted chocolate and mix to incorporate. 
Bake for 40-45 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out with a few crumbs. 
Cool in pan for few minutes minutes, then invert onto a serving platter. 
Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

CHUNKY MONKEY BITES: Banana Cookies for National Banana Day!

Today is National Banana Bread. If you're like me, you have a 100 banana bread recipes. But how many banana cookie recipes do you have? Even if you do, this recipe for Chunky Monkey Bites is terrific, Add it to your recipe file. I found this recipe at Domino's Sugar's website. It's a great place to go for easy and delicious recipes. I've adapted this recipe a bit by adding chocolate chips and dried banana pieces. Just a bit of extra crunch and sweetness!

Chunky Monkey Bites

Nonstick vegetable cooking spray
1  (14 oz.) package banana nut muffin mix 
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup Sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup banana baby food
3/4 cup chocolate chips
2/3 cup walnut pieces
1/2 cup dried banana pieces (chopped)

Preheat oven to 450°F.
Spray 2 baking sheets with cooking spray, set aside. 
In a large bowl, combine muffin mix, oil, sugar, eggs and baby food, stirring with wooden spoon until well mixed. Fold in chocolate chips, walnuts, and banana chips.
Drop heaping tablespoons of the dough on baking sheets, spacing 2" apart. Bake for 11 to 13 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool on wire rack. Makes 24 bites.

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

ANIMAL CRACKERS: Recipes, History, and More: National Animal Crackers Day!

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

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

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

Chocolate Dipped Animal Crackers

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

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

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

Recipe adapted from

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Sunday, April 16, 2023


Today is National Orchid Day. Don't worry, you didn't land on a garden site. I thought to celebrate this holiday on Dying for Chocolate, I'd mention some orchids that smell like chocolate. FYI: They don't taste like chocolate, but the smell is the next best thing, especially if you love orchids.


Sharry Baby is a chocolate oncidium that produces multiple spikes with dozens of tiny blossoms. Although the petals appear to be delicate, they're really quite firm with almost a leathery feel--and the smell, well it smells just like chocolate! The scent can be addictive, but you won't gain weight. I have a few, and I'm pretty sure I picked them up at Trader Joe's. Trader Joe's, by the way, has some very fine earth-friendly chocolate, as well as great orchids.

Heaven Scent is a cross of oncidium Sharry Baby and Mtdm. Ruffles. Mtdm. Ruffles has a light vanilla scent and the hybrid has the same chocolate smell. The plant has one very nice characteristic added from Mtdm. Ruffles in that the leaves have less spotting than Sharry baby. 

Encyclia phoenicium is a fragrant Cuban orchid that smells of chocolate and sends up a spray of flowers with small Cattleya like shape. Not as easy to find as Oncidium Sharry Baby.

Remember, you can always eat chocolate in the hothouse while tending your orchids. Warm chocolate is soooo good.

Interested in other chocolate-scented plants? Check out my post on the Chocolate Garden.

Saturday, April 15, 2023

LAST DINNER ON THE TITANIC: Titanic Remembrance Day

Today is Titanic Remembrance Day. In 2012 for the 100th Anniversary of the Titanic's maiden voyage, many restaurants and special venues held 'memorial' dinners, many of them replicating the final meal. In terms of Chocolate, the First Class Service that "last" night included Painted Chocolate Eclairs with French Vanilla Ice Cream aka Chocolate Eclairs with Creme Patissiere.  So I'm posting the recipe below. Hope you have the ingredients in your pantry. They're wonderful.

The recipe is from the cookbook Last Dinner on the Titanic. This marvellous cookbook includes recipes and facts and Titanic trivia. Originally published for the 85th anniversary of the sinking of Titanic, Rick Archbold and Chef Dana McCauley's Last Dinner On the Titanic: Menus and Recipes from the Great Liner is one part social history, one part recipe book, and one part guide to recreating one of the most famous - and most elegant - dinner parties in recent history. As one critic wrote, it's "A cookbook designed to recreate the atmosphere of dining on the famous, doomed luxury liner serves up such recipes as Lobster Thermidor, Quail's Eggs in Aspic with Caviar, and Poached Salmon with Dilled Mousseline Sauce and Cucumber."

In case you've lived your life entirely off the grid, you will know that in the early hours of the morning, April 15, 1912, the great steamship RMS Titanic met its tragic fate. At 11:30 pm on April 14, the state-of-the-art cruise ship that was on its maiden voyage across the Atlantic hit an iceberg, resulting in a 300-foot-wide rip below the waterline. The damage caused the ship to plunge two miles down to the ocean floor, leading to the deaths of more than 1500 passengers and crew members. But without knowledge of the events to come, on the evening of April 14th, the first-class passengers enjoyed what would be their final meal on the ship. And it was an extravagant and decadent meal.

As served in the first-class dining saloon of the R.M.S. Titanic on April 14, 1912

First Course
Hors D'Oeuvres

Second Course
Consommé Olga
Cream of Barley

Third Course
Poached Salmon with Mousseline Sauce, Cucumbers

Fourth Course
Filet Mignons Lili
Saute of Chicken, Lyonnaise
Vegetable Marrow Farci

Fifth Course
Lamb, Mint Sauce
Roast Duckling, Apple Sauce
Sirloin of Beef, Chateau Potatoes
Green Pea
Creamed Carrots
Boiled Rice
Parmentier & Boiled New Potatoes

Sixth Course
Punch Romaine

Seventh Course
Roast Squab & Cress

Eighth Course
Cold Asparagus Vinaigrette

Ninth Course
Pate de Foie Gras

Tenth Course
Waldorf Pudding
Peaches in Chartreuse Jelly
Chocolate & Vanilla Eclairs
French Ice Cream

Chocolate and Vanilla Eclairs 
with French Vanilla Ice Cream 
From The Last Dinner on the Titanic Cookbook

Both the pastry and the filling (standard French pastry cream) date back to the Renaissance, when the Arab art of pastry making invaded Europe by way of Italy. Making perfect choux pastry is a skill acquired through practice. Don’t be alarmed if your first attempt tastes better than it looks.
(You can always buy a nice high quality ice cream if you don't have time to make your own)*


6 egg yolks
1/2 cup granulated sugar
5 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup whipping cream

In bowl, whisk together egg yolks and 1/4 cup of sugar for 2 minutes or until pale yellow. Adding flour in 3 additions, stir until well mixed.
In saucepan, heat milk, remaining sugar, and vanilla bean over medium heat, stirring often, for 8 to 10 minutes or until sugar is dissolved and small bubbles are beginning to form around edges of pot. Stirring constantly, pour about one-third of the milk mixture into egg mixture and stir until thoroughly combined.
Pour egg mixture into remaining milk and cook, stirring for 3 to 4 minutes or until mixture begins to bubble. Continue to cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes or until mixture begins to mound and hold its shape; remove from heat. Stir in butter and remove vanilla bean.
Transfer to bowl, cover with plastic wrap touching surface of custard, and cool to room temperature.
Beat whipping cream until stiff; add a large dollop of cream to cooled pastry cream and fold in; add remaining whipped cream and fold in until almost combined.
Transfer to pastry bag fitted with 1/2-inch star tube. Place in refrigerator until completely chilled.


1 cup water
1/2 cup unsalted butter
Pinch of salt
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
5 eggs, room temperature
1 Tbsp water
3 oz. bitter sweet chocolate
Icing sugar or edible gold flakes

Meanwhile, in heavy-bottomed saucepan set over high heat, bring water, butter, and salt just to boil. Remove from heat and add flour all at once, stirring vigorously with wooden spoon until mixture comes away from sides of pan, making a smooth ball.
Reduce heat to medium-low and cook flour mixture, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes or until coating begins to form on bottom of pan. Turn into large bowl; stir for 30 seconds.
Make well in middle of dough and, using electric mixer, beat in 4 of the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Continue beating until mixture is smooth and shiny and holds its shape when lifted.
Place dough into piping bag fitted with 3/4-inch wide tip. On parchment-lined baking sheets, pipe fingers of dough about 4 inches long and 1 wide. In bowl beat together remaining egg and 1 tbsp water; brush each bun lightly, being careful not to drip down sides.
Bake in 425?F oven for 12 minutes; reduce heat to 375 F and bake for 5 minutes longer or until golden brown. With sharp knife, pierce side of each éclair twice. Turn oven off and let éclairs stand for 5 minutes, then remove and cool on rack.
Melt chocolate over barely simmering water. Brush top of each cooled éclair with enough chocolate to coat well. Cool in refrigerator for 5 minutes to harden chocolate.
Halve éclairs lengthwise. Pull out any sticky dough in center; discard. Pipe pastry cream into bottom of each éclair. Replace chocolate-covered tops.
Dust with icing sugar or edible gold flakes just before serving.
Makes 25 to 30 small éclairs.

No time to make anything? Watch Titanic.

And the Band Played On....

Friday, April 14, 2023


I love Pecans. They're filled with anti-oxidants, and they taste great. Add chocolate and carmel, and you have a winner. So since today is National Pecan Day (as opposed to Pecan Pie Day or Pecan Sandie Day), celebrate.

Several years ago I found a fabulous recipe in Sunset Magazine, December 2007, for Salted Chocolate Pecan Toffee. I've been a subscriber to Sunset for more years than some of you have been around, and they really test their recipes. This is a no-fail recipe that I've tweaked only slightly, and you'll love the results. Remember to use the freshest pecans and the best chocolate. If you have a pecan tree, that's even better! And, as always, experiment with different chocolate.

Too much work? Make Margaret Maron's Chocolate Covered Fried Pecans to celebrate the day!


2 cups pecan halves
3 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
12 ounces DARK chocolate (65-75% cacao)
2 tsp fleur de sel or coarse sea salt

Preheat oven to 350°. Place pecans on rimmed baking sheet and cook, stirring occasionally, until toasted, about 8 minutes. When cool enough to handle, chop roughly. Divide into 2 batches; chop 1 batch finely. Set both batches aside.

Put sugar, butter, salt, and 3/4 cup water in 4-qt. saucepan over medium heat. When butter and sugar are melted, increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture is deep golden brown and measures 310° on a candy thermometer, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and carefully stir in vanilla (mixture bubbles up) and finely chopped pecans. Pour into a 10x15 rimmed baking sheet. Let toffee cool until set, at least 30 minutes.

Chop chocolate and put in medium metal bowl. Fill  8x10 frying pan with 1/2 inches water and bring to boil. Take off heat and put bowl of chocolate in water. Let sit about 5 minutes. Stir chocolate until melted. Pour over toffee, and with knife or spatula, spread evenly. Sprinkle chocolate with roughly chopped pecans. Let sit 20 minutes, or until chocolate is cool but still a bit soft. Sprinkle with fleur de sel. Chill until set, about 1 hour.
To remove, gently twist pan to release toffee, then chop or break into chunks.
Store in airtight container.

A warning from Sunset, and it's true.. be careful!
Use caution when working with sugar syrup, as it can cause severe burns. Set out your baking sheet so it's ready to use, and keep ice water nearby to cool any burns.

Thursday, April 13, 2023


Peaches aren't in season yet, but I can get peaches at my market. I prefer fresh peaches when making peach pies and cobblers, but in a pinch, here's an easy recipe for Chocolate Peach Cobbler using canned peaches. Perfect for National Peach Cobbler Day! There are some wonderful organic canned peaches, so look for them. Higher quality canned peaches will enhance the flavor of this cobbler. And, of course, since this is a chocolate blog, I've added chocolate to the recipe. Make this Easy Chocolate Peach Cobbler today!


1 cup chopped chocolate
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs
3/4 cup canned peaches
1 Tbsp unsalted butter

Mix flour, sugar, and eggs with electric mixer.
Melt chocolate in small pan in microwave (melt chocolate in 10 second intervals to make sure it doesn't harden in the microwave) or in double boiler.
Arrange canned peaches evenly on bottom of buttered baking dish (8 x 8 x 2).
Top with flour mixture, and then melted chocolate.
Bake at 275 degrees, for 10-15 minutes.
Serve with ice cream or whipped cream.

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Chocolate Orange Marmalade Grilled Cheese Sandwich: National Grilled Cheese Day!

Today is National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day. I've posted many different variations on Chocolate Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, including  Grilled Cheese Nutella Sandwich, but here's a real favorite: Chocolate Orange Marmalade Grilled Cheese Sandwich! Grilled Bread, Butter, Cheese, Chocolate, Orange Marmalade! What could be better?

I love my Panini Press, but this grilled cheese sandwich should be made on the stove in an iron skillet. My mother used to make her fabulous grilled cheese sandwiches in an old iron skillet with the top of a smaller iron lid pressing down on the sandwiches. Both were inherited from my grandmother. I have the lid (with a 1950s era blue enamel handle), but not the original skillet. Interesting what we hold on to.

This recipe is great for Sunday Brunch. It's sweet-- a bar of chocolate, some goat or brie cheese--some orange marmalade--a bit or mascarpone--and place in between buttered challah or another bread. This recipe is too creamy (and oozing) for the panini press, so make it, too, in a big skillet. Reduce amounts if it's only two of you. 

Chocolate Orange Marmalade Grilled Cheese Sandwich

6 ounces Mascarpone
2 Tbsp Orange Marmalade
2 Tbsp unsalted Butter (room temperature)
8 slices Challah or Brioche (sandwich size)
8 ounces Brie (sliced 1/4 inch thick)
14 ounces Dark Chocolate (65-75% cacao, fair-trade, organic), chopped

Combine orange marmalade and mascarpone.
Butter one side of each slice of bread. Place 4 slices, buttered side down on work surface. Spread mascarpone on bread. Place brie slices over mascarpone mixture and sprinkle with chocolate chunks.
Top with remaining slices of bread, buttered side up.
Heat large skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes. Put sandwiches in pan, cover and cook for 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Watch carefully.
Turn sandwiches, pressing each firmly with spatula or heavy pot lid (smaller than the skillet).
Cover and cook for 2-3 minutes until undersides are browned.
Remove cover, turn sandwiches over and press firmly with spatula or pot lid again.
Cook until cheese has melted completely.
Remove from pan and let cool 2-3 minutes.

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Tuesday Tips: How to Use and Make Chocolate Olive Oil

Tuesday Tip: How to Use and make Chocolate Olive Oil. I often cook with olive oil,  because Chocolate and Olive Oil are such a great pairing. But did you know there's Chocolate Olive Oil? Several artisan olive oil companies make it. It's great to substitute in chocolate recipes that call for olive oil or in salad dressing (and toss in some cocoa nibs) or pour over ice-cream, quick breads, pound cake, pancakes, fruit, or waffles. In baking, it can replace butter and other oils (check measurements) as in chocolate chip cookies, brownies, cupcakes, and bread. It's even good with BBQ to add depth and nuance. I like to dip a good baquette in chocolate olive oil. So many possibilities. 

Be sure to scroll down for the Double Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe made with Chocolate Olive Oil.

Chocolate Olive Oils

Wild Groves

Chocolate Infused Certified Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Queen Creek Olive Mill

Nudo Extra Virgin Chocolate Olive Oil

(great story from Jason Gibb on Fathom)

And, you can make Chocolate Olive Oil yourself. Here's how! 

Chocolate Olive Oil
Recipe from Colavita Olive Oil

3/4 cup Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil
6 squares Perugina 85% Cocoa Extra Dark Chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp espresso powder

Position rack in middle position in oven; preheat to 275 degrees F.
Place chopped Perugina chocolate, vanilla extract, and espresso powder in heatproof measuring cup or bowl. Pour olive oil on top. Give everything gentle stir to combine.
Place heatproof bowl on baking sheet, and place in preheated oven.
Leave bowl in oven for 1 hour, stirring mixture every 15 minutes to prevent chocolate sticking to  bottom of vessel.
Remove baking sheet with chocolate olive oil mixture, and place on top of wire rack. It will bubble for a few minutes. Let cool to room temperature. Once cooled, pour mixture into serving bowl (if using immediately) or airtight container (if storing).
Note: There will be some small chocolate bits in bottom of mixture; if these bother you, pour mixture through strainer.
Store mixture in airtight container at room temperature. Some separation may occur after it sits a while, sort of like how natural peanut butter will have oil resting on top. Stir mixture to re-incorporate.

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies made with Chocolate Olive Oil
Recipe from Wild Groves

1 Cup White Flour
1 1/4 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Salt
1/2 Stick Butter Softened
1/2 Cup Chocolate Olive Oil
3/4 Cup Sugar
3/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 Large Eggs
2 Cups Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
1 Cup Walnuts Chopped (optional)

Bake at 375 Degrees F ( 9-11 min, or until golden brown)
Mix flour, baking soda and salt in bowl.
Beat chocolate olive oil, butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in larger bowl or mixer until creamy.
Add eggs (one at a time) beating well.
Slowly add in flour mixture.
Stir in chocolate chips, and nuts.
Scoop and put on baking tin.

Monday, April 10, 2023

What to do with Leftover Easter Chocolate

Today both high end and low end Easter Chocolate is on sale at 50% off. This is the perfect time to scoop up the bargains. But maybe you still have some leftover chocolate at home? Perhaps not the ears of the bunny, but body parts and decimated eggs? Put all that chocolate to tasty use!

If it's still in its wrapping, donate leftover chocolate to homeless shelters -- or if it won't melt, ship overseas to military personnel.

But if your chocolate is in pieces and chunks, here are a few ideas. Leftover chocolate goes great on ice cream or added to brownies and cookies. So many creative ways to re-purpose and re-savor Easter Candy.

Freeze for Later: Chop up chocolate bunnies and chocolate eggs. Freeze the pieces and use instead of chocolate chips in cookies and other goodies. 

Ice Cream: Melt Easter bunny parts and pour over ice cream. Add some nuts. Or just chop it up and sprinkle on ice cream. Add berries and whipped cream for a great sundae.

Milk Shake: Use any chopped chocolate with two scoops of ice cream and some milk. Blend!

S'Mores: Well they're a natural with Peeps, especially the chocolate covered ones.. but in a pinch add some chocolate bunny, a peep, a graham cracker, and put in the oven or microwave. Add another graham cracker and you're good to go!

Trail Mix: Well, duh... chop up the chocolate and add some dried fruit and nuts. I think a chopped up chocolate coconut egg would be a great addition, too! Put it in a small baggie and go for a hike!

Chocolate Covered Strawberries: Instead of dipping (unless you have a lot of chocolate), drizzle melted chocolate over fresh strawberries.

Candy from Candy: Melt Chocolate Bunnies or Easter eggs in double boiler or microwave. Once  chocolate is hot and smooth, pour into candy molds.

Chocolate Fondue: see my fondue recipes. The Bunny has never tasted so good... Retro treat with Retro Chocolate. Dip leftover PEEPS and fruit.

Hot Chocolate: Melt some chocolate. Add water or milk and heat until perfect. Add some whipped cream (or a PEEP)!

Brownies: I always add some extra chopped chocolate to my brownies, so why not some Chocolate Easter Eggs? Chop and fold into batter. 

Pancakes: Make a batch of pancakes and drop some chocolate in (do it toward the end or the chocolate will scorch) or melt some chocolate and use in place of syrup.

Muffins and Waffles: Chop up Chocolate and add to muffins or waffles.

Trifle: Layer chopped Bunnies with leftover cake or brownies, whipped cream, cookie crumbs and anything else that seems yummy to you. I like to make trifles in clear glass containers to see all the layers of delicious chocolate goodness!

Cookies: Do I really need to tell you how to do this? Chop and Drop in your favorite batter!

Cupcakes: Any way you'd use chocolate -- or use an apple corer and fill the centers.

Rice Krispies Treats: Melt chocolate, then stir in Rice Krispies. Spread on a tray. Put in Refrigerator. Cut.

Any other ideas for left-over Easter Chocolate?


Sunday, April 9, 2023


I love Vintage Advertisements. Be sure and scroll down to the 1950 Saturday Evening Post Cover of a Chocolate Easter Bunny Factory! Happy Easter!

And here's a fabulous Saturday Evening Post Cover from 1950! 

Saturday, April 8, 2023


A few years ago Jo Pratt posted this Easter recipe for Chocolate Orange Hot Cross Buns on the Mailonline. If you want to make hot cross buns and add chocolate without making a chocolate bun, you can make regular hot cross buns and add chocolate chips instead of raisins. But give this one a try. I've converted the measurements from the U.K. to the U.S. If you want to check out the original recipe with UK measurements, go HERE. Makes 12 buns.


1/2 cup milk
4 Tbsp superfine sugar (castor sugar)
5 Tbsp unsalted butter
3 1/2 cups white flour
4 tsp dark cocoa powder
1 tsp mixed spice  (combo of allspice, cinnamon, clove, coriander, ginger and nutmeg)
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 Tbsp chopped mixed peel (candied citrus peel)*
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
1 3/4 fast action dried yeast
1/2 cup or 4 ounces dark chocolate, chopped, or chocolate chips
1 egg, beaten
Flour for dusting

For the Crosses and Glaze
1/4 cup white flour
1 Tbsp sunflower oil
2-3 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp orange juice
2 Tbsp caster sugar

Place milk in saucepan over low heat. Just before it boils, remove from heat and stir in sugar and butter, until dissolved. Add 1/4 cold water and leave to cool down until you can comfortably hold your finger in it for a few seconds.

Sift together flour, cocoa, mixed spice (if you're using it), and salt in large bowl and stir in mixed peel, orange zest, and yeast. Make a well in center and pour in warm milk mixture and beaten egg. Mix together until you have a sticky dough. Add chocolate chips or chopped chocolate, and knead on a floured surface for 8-10 minutes until smooth and elastic.

Place dough in large, lightly oiled bowl, cover with damp tea towel and leave to rise in  warm place for about 1 hour, or until doubled in volume. Punch dough and knead for a couple of minutes. Divide into 12 pieces and shape into buns.

Place on greased baking sheets, leaving enough space between each for rising. Cover with tea towel and leave to rise again until doubled in size – about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 F.

For glaze, mix flour and oil with 2-3 Tbsp water until smooth.

Lightly cut cross in center of each of buns with knife to mark out your crosses. Using piping bag (or  plastic bag with corner snipped off), pipe on crosses. Cook buns for 15-18 minutes until golden and sound hollow when tapped underneath.

Place orange juice and sugar in small pan, and gently heat until sugar dissolves. As soon as  buns are out of oven, brush with glaze and leave to cool slightly on wire rack before serving warm.


Do you love Cadbury Eggs? Are they a part of your Easter tradition? Here's how to make your own!

Instructables has a great recipe for Homemade Cadbury Creme Eggs. I think they're really good. They're easy to make, although a bit time consuming. Even if they don't come out egg shaped, or the shell breaks, they're yummy! And, you can use good quality dark chocolate for even better flavor!


1/2 cup Lyle’s golden syrup or light corn syrup
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp pure vanilla
3 cup powdered sugar
yellow food coloring
12 ounces dark chocolate, chopped (or a bag of bittersweet chocolate chips)

The Filling:
Cream together corn syrup, butter, and vanilla. Sift in confectioner's powdered sugar and beat until incorporated. Separate filling into whites and yolks! Take out about third of filling and stir in some yellow food coloring. Put the two bowls in fridge to set up a little.

Shaping the Yolks:
This step is sticky! Keep your hands clean and cold. Make little yolk balls out of yellow mixture. Place them on parchment. Put them back in the fridge or freezer to firm up.
When yolks are set up, start embedding them in whites. Scoop an amount of white filling out and flatten it into circle. Place yolk ball inside, and wrap white around it. Put them in fridge.

Hint from Instructables: 
If you decide to use egg molds instead of dipping method, pipe whites and yolks into chocolate molds with  pastry bag. This would save a LOT of time. 

Filling the Molds 
Melt chocolate in double boiler or short bursts in the microwave. Fill molds with  chocolate and swirl to coat  sides. Once molds are set, put filling ball into half of each mold. Using more melted chocolate, join two halves of egg together. Let set and unmold. Use freezer to help set this up.

Alternative Method: If you aren't using molds, try this:
Melt chocolate + 2 teaspoons of butter in microwave in short bursts until just melted. Either dip fillings into chocolate with fork and let set on parchment, or skewer fillings and dip them --kind of like cake pops! Once chocolate is set, dip them again for a thick chocolate shell!

Want to see another recipe -- similar...always good to have two to compare! Check out Ashley Rodriguez's (Not Without Salt) adaptation of this recipe on Food52.

Or if you can get to the market or order online in time, buy some Cadbury Creme Eggs for Easter!

Friday, April 7, 2023


What are you doing for your Easter Centerpiece?This cake is perfect for your Easter Table: Peeps Chocolate Sunflower Cake. This is very fitting this year, too, as it shows support of Ukraine.

Peeps are an important part of the Easter tradition for so many people. I love to use Peeps in desserts. I usually check out the Peeps website for fun Peeps Recipes (and new PEEPS!). Here's an extremely easy Chocolate Sunflower Cake recipe. Perfect for Easter or Spring celebrations.

The recipe below uses shortcuts (boxed mixes and ready-made icing), but you can use your favorite from-scratch recipes.


3 packages (5 count each) Peeps Yellow Marshmallow Chicks
1 standard box cake mix – see package for additional ingredients
2 containers of chocolate frosting
1 bag chocolate chips
1 tube green decorating icing with piping tips (optional)

Prepare cake mix according to package directions for making two 8″ round cakes.
Cut thin slice off the top of each cake to make them level.
Place one round cake on a plate or cake stand and top with chocolate frosting. Place second round cake on top of frosting. Frost entire cake with chocolate frosting.
Place Peeps Yellow Marshmallow Chicks on top of cake around the diameter with their tails facing out. Place chocolate chips on top of cake in a circular pattern.
If desired, use a leaf-shaped tip to pipe green decorating icing at base of cake.

Thursday, April 6, 2023


Photo: Chocolate Bunny Cake-William Sonoma
Chocolate Bunny Cakes are the ultimate Easter Bunny Centerpieces. I've mentioned before that there are so many great places to find recipes. This Chocolate Easter Bunny Cake recipe is from the Williams Sonoma Kitchen. They no longer sell the specific pan that accompanied the recipe, but you can find it or the one I use on eBay and other sites. Williams Sonoma might still sell the Nordic Ware Standing bunny with basket that is available most places. It is a great alternative (see below). You can add PEEPS in the basket! Just bake the two halves of the cake and press together with icing. Chocolate, of course! Any of these 3-D Bunny Cakes will make a great Easter Centerpiece!

I have a totally different Easter Bunny 3-D cake pan for this cake, and there are lots of other bunny cake pans you can find. Here's a link to many different ones.

Double sided cakes aren't very difficult, and they're fun to make. The Wilton Cake Pan with the Eggs is the one in the recipe (first cake pan photo). You don't need to make the cake egg. You can make your own chocolate eggs or decorate with Jellybeans or Cadbury chocolate eggs instead. And, then there's the standup Bunny with basket. So many choices!

Alternatives: Bake a chocolate cake, cut into shapes, and cover with a buttercream 'fur' frosting and coconut! See the recipe and directions below to shape your Bunny Cake. Recipe and directions from Betty Crocker's Party Book (1960).

Wilton Cake Pan used in Recipe


For the cake:
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 tsp salt
20 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temp
2 cups sugar
5 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups milk

For the chocolate ganache:
1 lb dark chocolate (65-70%), chopped into small pieces
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups heavy cream
1 jelly bean

Have all ingredients at room temperature.

To make cake, position rack in lower third of oven and preheat to 325°F. Grease and flour bunny cake pan; tap out excess flour.

Over sheet of waxed paper, sift together flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.

Williams Sonoma Bunny Cake Pan
In bowl of electric mixer fitted with flat beater, beat butter on medium speed until creamy and smooth, about 30 seconds. Add sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes, stopping mixer occasionally to scrape down sides of the bowl. Add eggs a little at time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla just until incorporated, about 1 minute.

Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture in three additions, alternating with milk and beginning and ending with flour. Beat each addition just until incorporated, stopping mixer occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl.

Spoon batter into prepared bunny pan, spreading batter so  sides are higher than center. Bake until cake begins to pull away from sides of pan and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 35 to 38 minutes.

Transfer pan to wire rack and let cake cool upright in pan for 15 minutes. Invert pan onto rack and lift off pan. Let cake cool completely, at least 2 hours, before serving or decorating.

To make chocolate ganache: In metal bowl, combine chocolate and butter. In small saucepan over medium heat, bring cream just to boil. Immediately pour  cream over chocolate and butter. Whisk until melted and mixture is smooth.

Transfer 2/3 cup of ganache to small bowl and let cool to room temperature. Keep remaining ganache warm and fluid by placing the bowl over but not touching barely simmering water in small saucepan.

To assemble and decorate cake:  wash and thoroughly dry pan, then return both halves of cooled bunny cake to pan. Level cake by using serrated knife to gently saw off part of each cake half that rose above the edge of pan.

Line baking sheet with plastic wrap or aluminum foil, making sure it covers edges of pan, and set  wire cooling rack on sheet. Place both cake halves, cut side down, on rack. Remove any crumbs that fall off cake onto baking sheet. Slowly pour warm ganache over halves, coating completely. Tap baking sheet to allow excess ganache to drip off. Place rack on another baking sheet or piece of parchment paper. Using rubber spatula, scrape excess ganache from lined baking sheet back into bowl. Reheat over simmering water if not fluid. Set rack on lined baking sheet again and place egg cake halves on  rack alongside bunny (If you made these). Pour warm ganache over eggs.

Cut jelly bean in half and attach halves to bunny to create eyes. Place baking sheet, with rack still on top, in refrigerator until ganache has set and cake halves are firm enough to handle, at least 30 minutes.

Place one Bunny cake half, cut side up, in center of large piece of aluminum foil. Ganache on this side of bunny may smudge a little. Using small offset spatula, spread 1/2 to 2/3 cup of room-temperature ganache over  cut side. Slide  metal spatula under other cake half and carefully place cake half on top of other one. Press down on jelly bean eye to help secure halves. Use foil to help turn bunny upright, then squeeze bunny on jelly bean eyes, feet and tail to secure the halves. If there are any gaps in seam, place some warm ganache on small offset spatula and fill in gaps. Dab warm ganache on areas where you squeezed the cake and on any other exposed areas. Soften any smudged areas by heating gently with culinary torch.

Carefully slide large metal spatula under base of bunny and transfer to platter. Using spatula, transfer the egg halves to platter (if using)

This recipe and directions for a 3-D Bunny Cake from the Betty Crocker Party Cookbook (1960). This was before all the very creative cake pans out there! Although the recipe says to use a yellow or white cake mix, you can make your own Chocolate Cake (recipe above) or use a Chocolate Cake Mix. Love chocolate and coconut.. This is a simple and great cake.. and will make a lovely centerpiece!