Thursday, August 31, 2023


Going on a hike today? Over the Holiday Weekend? Mix up a batch of S'mores Trail Mix for National Trail Mix Day. Perfect for the Trail, an Afterschool Snack, or a Lunch Box Treat.

Teddy Grahams, bear shaped graham cracker snacks, come in chocolate flavor, but the regular honey grahams cereal work best for a contrast of tastes and will make your trail mix more 'S'mores' tasting. There are all kinds of wonderful natural graham cereals, too.

S'mores Trail Mix

15 ounces Golden Grahams cereal (Teddy Graham cereal or a natural Graham Cereal)
16 ounces miniature marshmallows
12 ounces chocolate chips

Empty all ingredients into a LARGE bowl or bag and mix.

Happy Trail Mix Day! Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 30, 2023


Happy Toasted Marshmallow Day! Even if you're not out camping and toasting marshmallows by the fire, you can still celebrate the day with these Hot Chocolate Toasted Marshmallow Cookies! They're fabulous and easy! Recipe from Ghirardelli Chocolate 


3/4 cup Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Chips
1 cup plain flour/ all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon Ghirardelli Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 Tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup soft brown sugar
2 small eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Chips
16 large marshmallows

Melt chocolate gently in microwave or over pot of simmering water. Set aside to cool.
Sift all of dry ingredients together in bowl and stir together.
Beat butter and sugar together until thick and creamy.
Beat in eggs one by one.
Add in cooled melted chocolate and vanilla extract. Continue beating until ingredients are well mixed.
Fold dry ingredients into mix and fold in chocolate chips until combined.
Scoop cookie with 1 tablespoon scoop (if mix is soft, pop into fridge to stiffen up and make it easier to scoop).
Bake at 350°F for 8 - 9 minutes. Do not overbake as these cookies should be almost brownie-like.
Once baked, pop a marshmallow on top and put it back in oven on broil for 1-2 minutes for a lovely toasted effect.  (or use a mini-torch)

About The Ghirardelli Chocolate Company
The Ghirardelli Chocolate Company is a manufacturer and marketer of premium chocolate products. Incorporated in 1852, Ghirardelli has the richest heritage of any American chocolate company. Ghirardelli continues to honor its heritage to this day. Ghirardelli is one of the few companies in America that controls the entire chocolate manufacturing process, from cocoa bean to finished product. This control over the manufacturing process, combined with Ghirardelli’s proprietary bean blend and unique methods of roasting and processing, ensures that you are rewarded with the high quality and rich products.

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

LEMON JUICE: A Secret Ingredient in Chocolate Chip Cookies

Today is National Lemon Juice Day. I have several lemon trees, mostly Meyer lemons, so I could easily make lemonade for National Lemon Juice Day, but instead, I'm sharing a secret. Lemon Juice is a secret ingredient in making chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies. So if you're given lemons, make Chocolate Chip Cookies! You're not going to taste the lemon juice, but it will make for a chewier cookie. And, the reality is that since you only use a teaspoon in the batter, you can make lemonade with the rest of the juice to go with these cookies!

Chocolate Chip Cookies Secret Ingredient: Lemon Juice

1/2 cup rolled oats, ground to fine powder in blender or food processor
2-1/4 cups flour  (if you have bread flour, give it a try.. it will make an awesome cookie)
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 cup unsalted butter, softened (do not microwave)**
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp fresh lemon juice 
2 eggs
3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips or dark chocolate chopped into chunks

Grind rolled oats in blender or food processor until very fine.
Measure flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in blender jar and use blender to combine all dry ingredients.
Cream together butter and both sugars. Add eggs, lemon juice, and vanilla. Stir after each addition. Beat until fluffy.
Combine dry ingredients with wet stuff, and mix until fully combined.
Add chocolate chips and stir by hand or fold in chopped chocolate chunks (or chips).
Refrigerate dough for an hour.
Drop dough by large spoonfuls or using an ice cream scoop onto ungreased cookie sheet. Allow room for cookies to spread as they cook.
Bake in preheated  350 oven for approximately 16 minutes, or until barely golden and still slightly raw.
Cool cookies in pan for five minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Monday, August 28, 2023


Today is National Red Wine Day. I've posted many Chocolate and Wine recipes, but this is a favorite. You're going to love this perfect Chocolate Red Wine Bundt Cake! The taste will improve with good quality dry red wines and good quality cocoa.

Decorate this cake for the upcoming Labor Day Holiday:  Fill the center with whipped cream and top with strawberries and blueberries.


2 cups flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
1-1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1-3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1-1/4 cup dry red wine
Powdered sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 350°
Butter and flour 12-cup bundt pan.
In bowl, whisk flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. In large bowl, using hand-held electric mixer, beat butter and sugar together until fluffy, about 4 minutes.
Add eggs, one at time, and beat until incorporated. Add vanilla and beat about 2 more minutes.
Work in two batches, alternately fold in dry ingredients and wine, until just incorporated.
Scrape batter into prepared pan, and bake for 45 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Let cake cool in pan 10 minutes, then turn out onto rack; let cool completely.
Dust cake with confectioner's sugar.

Chocolate and Red Wine: A Great Pairing

Sunday, August 27, 2023


As I always say, you can never have too many chocolate chip (or chunk) recipes. Here's a great Retro Ad & Recipe from 1986 for Super Chocolate Chunk Cookies (Heavenly Chunks) from Baker's. You can always substitute your own favorite chocolate for Baker's. 

Saturday, August 26, 2023


Today is National Dog Day, so in celebration I thought I'd post a recipe for Homemade Dog Biscuits. This particular recipe is also good for fighting plaque build up. And, needless to say there is no chocolate in these biscuits. Chocolate is dangerous for dogs, often life-threatening.


3/4 cup powdered skim milk
1/2 cup stone ground cornmeal
1/4 cup bulghur wheat
1-1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 chicken bouillon cube
1-12/ cups boiling water
1 cup quick cooking rolled oats
1 egg, beaten

In mixing bowl, combine powdered skim milk, cornmeal, bulghur wheat, and flour. Set aside
In large mixing bowl, dissolve bouillon cube in boiling water. Add rolled oats and let stad about 5 minutes. Stir in beaten egg.
Slowly stir in dry ingredients, half cup at a time, until well blended. Blend last few cups with hands.
Divide dough into 2 balls.
Knead each dough ball on floured surface (5 minutes)
With rolling pin, roll dough between 1/4" to 1/2" thickness
Cut with Bone shaped Biscuit Cutter (or another cookie cutter) and put on baking sheet lined with foil.
Bake 50 minutes at 325.
Turn of oven and let biscuits cool for several hours or overnight, in the oven.
Store at room temperature in container with lose-fitting lid. 

Friday, August 25, 2023

S'mores Martinis for National Park Service Day!

Today is National Park Service Day. On August 25, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the act creating the National Park Service, a new federal bureau in the Department of the Interior responsible for protecting the 35 national parks and monuments then managed by the department and those yet to be established. This "Organic Act" states that "the Service thus established shall promote and regulate the use of the Federal areas known as national parks, monuments and reservations…by such means and measures as conform to the fundamental purpose of the said parks, monuments and reservations, which purpose is to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations."

An Executive Order in 1933 transferred 56 national monuments and military sites from the Forest Service and the War Department to the National Park Service. This action was a major step in the development of today's truly national system of parks—a system that includes areas of historical as well as scenic and scientific importance. Congress declared in the General Authorities Act of 1970 "that the National Park System, which began with the establishment of Yellowstone National Park in 1872, has since grown to include superlative natural, historic, and recreation areas in every region…and that it is the purpose of this Act to include all such areas in the System…."

The National Park System of the United States now comprises more than 400 areas covering more than 84 million acres in 50 states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, Saipan, and the Virgin Islands. These areas are of such national significance as to justify special recognition and protection in accordance with various acts of Congress.

So what could be better to toast the National Park Service than a S'mores Martini? Here are two recipes for an adult version of S'mores: S'mores Martinis.

Just a bit of history of S'mores. S'mores are made by sandwiching a toasted marshmallow and a piece of chocolate in between two graham crackers. The name S'mores (alternatively Smores) comes from the two words "some more," because everyone always want s'more. This American treat was developed by the Girl Scouts in the early part of the 20th century, making use of the newly mass-produced marshmallow. Marshmallows were easy to transport, as were candy bars and graham crackers, and the marshmallows could be toasted over a fire to make a fabulous campfire treat in a situation where other types of sweets would have been difficult to come by. Of course, the quality of the chocolate and marshmallow, and even the graham crackers (if you make your own) will vary, but S'mores aren't about haute cuisine, at least not at my house.

So today in honor of the creation of the National Park Service, Drink Your S'mores! Both S'mores Martini recipes make four glasses. First recipe adapted from MyFind. Second recipe adapted from the Evite Blog. Let me know which you like best!


2 oz Chocolate Vodka
2 oz Bailey’s Irish Cream
2 oz Cream de Cacao
2 oz Vanilla Vodka
2 oz Heavy Cream
Graham Crackers, Crushed
Chocolate Syrup
12 toasted mini marshmallows or 4 large marshmallows (use a kitchen torch or skewer and hold over flame)

Dip rim of 4 martini glasses in chocolate syrup and then into crushed graham crackers. Chill glasses in freezer.
Pour all remaining ingredients except marshmallows into martini shaker filled with ice and shake until well blended. Strain and pour into chilled glasses.
Skewer toasted marshmallows on cocktail stick and place across rim.


8 oz vodka
2 ozs chocolate liqueur
Graham crackers
Marshmallow creme (Marshmallow Fluff)
Miniature marshmallows

Pour vodka and chocolate liqueur into pitcher and stir. Refrigerate for several hours until mixture is very cold.
Put crushed graham crackers in small bowl.
Lightly coat rims of martini glasses with marshmallow creme (marshmallow fluff).
Dip each glass into bowl of graham cracker crumbs. Shake bowl gently to cover marshmallow creme with crumbs.
Put prepared glasses in freezer.
Skewer and Toast marshmallows over open fire or with kitchen blowtorch.
Pour drink mixture into 4 prepared glasses. Add skewered toasted marshmallows for garnish.

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

CHOCOLATE ALMOND SPONGE CAKE: Gluten Free for National Sponge Cake Day!

Today is National Sponge Cake Day, and you know what that means -- Chocolate Sponge Cake. I have several recipes for Chocolate Sponge Cake that I post for Passover, but this Chocolate Sponge Cake is fabulous all year round. It's made with almond flour.

Want to dress it up? Add some whipped cream and fresh berries, cut it in half and fill with a light chocolate buttercream, or cut it up and put it in a trifle. Easy to make and delicious.

A few hints. Fresh Almond flour is readily available where I live and online, but you can always grind your own. Use a hand grinder (a clean coffee grinder) or blender --not a food processor which could result in oil rather than flour. I've used a blender, and just did this in smaller increments, about 1/2 cup at a time. Almond and chocolate go very well together. Try using different types of chocolate to achieve the flavor you like best. Enjoy!

Because there are so many eggs to separate in this recipe, I use the 'egg trick.' Break all eggs into bowl (yes yolks and whites). Then take an empty water bottle and place the neck near a yolk and squeeze the water bottle. The yolk pops up into the bottle. Then place the water bottle over another bowl and release. So cool! Try with one egg first, just to master this simple task!


7 ounces dark chocolate (60-75% cacao), chopped
10 eggs, separated
3/4 cup white sugar
2 cups ground almonds
Almond Flour

Melt chocolate in top of double boiler or saucepan over another saucepan of simmering water. Set aside.
Beat egg yolks until thick and lemon colored. Gradually beat in sugar. Blend in chocolate and ground almonds.
Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold whites into chocolate batter.
Spoon batter into ungreased 10 inch Bundt pan or tall springform pan.
Bake at 350 for 1 hour, or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Remove from oven, invert pan, and cool about 40 minutes before removing from pan.

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

CHOCOLATE PECAN TORTE: 2 Recipes for National Pecan Torte Day!

Today is National Pecan Torte Day.  I've posted many chocolate pecan pie recipes, but a torte is not a pie. Here's a definition from Wiki:
A torte is a cake made primarily with eggs, sugar, and ground nuts instead of flour. Variations may include bread crumbs as well as some flour. Tortes are Central European in origin. The word torte is derived from the German word Torte, which was derived from the Italian word torta, which was used to describe a round cake or bread.
Tortes are commonly baked in a Springform pan. An element common to most tortes is sweet icing. (Exceptions include several French tortes, such as Gâteau Mercédès and Gâteau Alcazar.) When the cake is layered, a thick covering of icing is placed between the layers, and there is almost always icing on the tops and sides of the torte. A number of European tortes do not have layers.
Following are two recipes for Chocolate Pecan Torte. The FIRST is easier and fun to make! Lots of shortcuts. The SECOND is fabulous but much more involved. They're both very tasty! As always, a lot depends on the quality of your ingredients.

1. Chocolate Pecan Torte 
from This recipe is fun to make, as well as easy and delicious. O.K. it's not traditional, but its great!

No-stick flour and oil baking spray
1 prepared 8 or 9 inch pecan pie, thawed if frozen
1 box (about 1 pound 4 ounces) fudge brownie mix, makes a 9-by-13-inch pan
1/4 cup brewed coffee or water
2 tablespoons bourbon or other whiskey
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs, large or extra-large

Heat oven to 325F. Spray interior of 9-inch springform pan with baking spray.
Cover surface of pie with plastic wrap and top with plate. Invert pie onto plate, and remove pie tin. Invert prepared springform pan over pie and then invert whole, so that  pie slides into pan. Remove plate and, using the plastic wrap to keep your hands clean, smash pie so it fills bottom of pan.
Mix brownie mix, coffee, bourbon, oil, and eggs in medium mixing bowl until smooth and texture of wet mud. Pour over pie and smooth top. Bake until sides are firm and top is crusty but center is still soft, about 50 minutes. Cool until pan is comfortable to touch; remove sides of pan and cool completely. Cut into wedges to serve.

SECOND recipe
won the $1000 1985 Woman's Day "Yummiest Chocolate Recipe Contest." I've changed it slightly, adding more chocolate and an apricot jam filling. This torte is more traditional and reminds me of a Viennese Torte. You can substitute raspberry or peach jam.

2. Chocolate Pecan Torte

Chocolate Pecan Torte:
12 ounces dark  chocolate (70% cacao-fair trade organic)
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 1/4 cup pecans
3/4 cup softened unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
5 eggs, separated
1/3 cup sifted flour
2 Tbsp dark rum
2 tsp Madagascar vanilla

Apricot Filling:
1/3 cup apricot jam
1 Tbsp orange liqueur
2 Tbsp dark rum
2 tsp lemon juice

Chocolate Glaze:
6 ounces dark chocolate (65-70% cacao)
2 Tbsp heavy cream
2 Tbsp unsalted butter

1/2 cup pecan halves
1 Tbsp sweet butter
1 Tbsp Apricot Filling

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Butter 9" springform pan and dust with cocoa, shaking out excess. Set aside.
In top of double boiler, over hot water, melt the two chocolates together. Stir until smooth, and completely combined. Remove from heat, and allow chocolate to cool slightly.
Using food processor, grind pecans fine with about 1/2 cup of the sugar. Add butter and remaining sugar, creaming together well. Beat in egg yolks, rum, and vanilla extract. Add flour and process with the rest. Add melted and cooled chocolate, and process again. It's quite dense.
Whip egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Mix about 1/3 of beaten egg whites into thick chocolate batter, then fold chocolate mixture into remaining whites, folding thoroughly.
Spread chocolate batter into prepared springform pan, and bake in preheated 325 degrees oven for 30 minutes or more, until toothpick inserted in center comes slightly moist.
Remove torte from oven, and allow to cool and settle in pan.
Take off springform, and transfer torte to its serving dish.

Sieve apricot jam into small saucepan. Add orange liqueur, rum, and lemon juice. Bring to boil, stirring. Reduce heat and simmer a moment, then remove pan. Reserve 1 tablespoon of finished glaze for pecan trim, and spread rest over torte. Allow apricot filling to set, then top with chocolate glaze.

In top of double boiler, over hot water, melt chocolate and cream together. Remove from heat, and stir in butter, whisking till smooth. Allow glaze to cool until it will spread smoothly over torte. Use metal spatula to smooth it evenly over top, and coat sides with thinner layer.

In small sauce pan, combine apricot glaze, and butter. Melt them together. Add pecan halves, and stir until all are coated. Drain nuts, and allow to set slightly, then press around edge of torte.

Monday, August 21, 2023

SPUMONI ICE CREAM CAKE: National Spumoni Day

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

By definition, Spumoni is a special Italian dessert made of layers of ice cream, whipped cream, candied fruit, and nuts. Each layer contains different flavors and ingredients. In traditional dessert kitchens, spumoni is often made of three layers of flavor: chocolate, pistachio, and cherry. Each layer of Spumoni ice cream may include more than flavored ice cream. The chocolate layer, for example, may include chocolate shavings or chunks. Sometimes the chocolate layer has crushed hazelnuts inside. Not only does the hazelnut add a lovely flavor to the chocolate, but it also compliments the pistachio layer. The pistachio layer, of course, almost always includes crushed pistachio nuts. Finally, the fruit layer of spumoni is usually made with candied fruit. The cherry layer is the most traditional fruit component to the dessert.
Not surprisingly Ben & Jerry's has a recipe for Spumoni Ice Cream Cake. It's so easy and delicious. I've added cherries and hazelnuts.


1 pint Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia
1 pint Ben & Jerry’s Pistachio Pistachio
1 pint Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie
4 large brownies (homemade or store bought)

Toppings: Chocolate *Ganache
1 cup (8 oz) chocolate chips and 1 cup heavy cream
Cookie Crumbs – 4 chocolate sandwich cookies, crushed
Maraschino Cherries
Chopped Hazelnuts

In a silicone or metal baking pan/pie plate place a layer of brownies and push down firmly to make a thin layer of crust. Soften 1 pint of ice cream so it is soft enough to spread. Spread over crust and place in the freezer for 10-15 minutes, or until it's firm.
While that’s in the freezer, pull out another pint of ice cream to soften. Repeat step 2 for the remaining flavors until you have all three layers spread in the pan. Add either cookie crumbs or ganache as a topping, and return the cake to the freezer for at least 15 minutes.
Remove cake from freezer and cut into individual slices to serve. You may need to remove the cake and let it soften before slicing if left in the freezer for 30 minutes or longer. Add chopped hazelnuts and maraschino cherries.

*Chocolate Ganache: Place heat proof (glass or stainless steel) bowl over boiling water. Add 1 cup of cream to heat the cream to a low boil and remove from heat. Slowly add cream to chocolate pieces. Let the ganache cool, but while it’s still liquid use a spoon to drizzle the ganache over the cake. Top with Maraschino Cherries.

Sunday, August 20, 2023

Spiced Rum Chocolate Pecan Pie: National Chocolate Pecan Pie Day!

Today is National Chocolate Pecan Pie Day. Funny..since I associate pecan pies with Thanksgiving and the Kentucky Derby, neither of which is in August. Nevertheless, even though I've posted over 20 Chocolate Pecan Pie recipes, this Spiced Rum Chocolate Pecan Pie from Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum is different. I often use bourbon in my pecan pies, so rum is a great alternative. Give this one a try! 

Saturday, August 19, 2023


If you know me, you know I'm a huge fan of Beyond Good. I admire their company and how they work to make the world better! 

"Our mission is to change the way the world experiences chocolate and vanilla.It’s a world with too many middlemen who walk away with too much of the profit. A world where beans are stripped of their natural taste and farmers are treated like photo-ops. A world where people have been blinded to the beauty of what real chocolate and vanilla can be.

We’re bringing that world to an end.

By sourcing the best quality vanilla and cocoa in the world, directly from the farmers who grow it. By pioneering a business model that has the power to change the food industry, forever. And by inviting you to enjoy something that doesn’t just taste better, it feels better. This is chocolate, and vanilla, made right.

I always have a Beyond Good Madagascar 70% chocolate bar in my desk. But Beyond Good also has great quality vanilla products. So for today's Soft Serve Food Holiday,  here's a recipe from Beyond Good for (Almost) Instant 3-Ingredient Vanilla Soft Serve. Enjoy!

(Almost) Instant 3- Ingredient Vanilla Soft Serve

2 cups (500ml) whipping cream 
½ cup + 3 tbsp (100g) powdered sugar 
1 tsp Beyond Good Pure Ground Vanilla

In a ziplock bag, combine the cream, sugar, and vanilla powder. 
Seal the bag well and shake to combine. 
Press out all the air and lay the bag flat on a baking sheet. Freeze until firm. 
Break the ice cream up into chunks and place it in a blender or food processor. 
Process until the ice cream reaches a soft-serve consistency. 
Serve immediately or transfer the ice cream to a freezer-proof container and freeze until firm.

How easy is that?

Cartoon of the Day: Cake


Friday, August 18, 2023

S'mores Ice Cream Pie: National Ice Cream Pie Day!

Today is National Ice Cream Day, a perfect summer holiday. And, summer is all about S'mores, so put them together, and you have a great play on the traditional s'mores: S'mores Ice Cream Pie. I've posted S'mores Pie recipes before. They're usually made with frozen chocolate ice cream, but for this recipe uses Rocky Road ice-cream. You'll have lots more smores ingredients! How fun is that? I originally found this recipe on the Taste of Home website. I've tried other S'mores Ice Cream Pie Recipes, but this is my favorite! It's easy and delicious.

S'mores Ice Cream Pie

2/3 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 Tbsp sugar
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2-1/2 cups Rocky Road ice cream (or Chocolate), softened 
2/3 cup marshmallow creme (or marshmallow fluff)
3/4 cup miniature marshmallows

In small bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs and sugar; stir in butter. Press onto bottom and up sides of 7-inch pie plate coated with cooking spray. Bake at 325° for 7-9 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack.
Carefully spread ice cream onto crust; freeze until firm. Spread marshmallow creme over ice cream. Top with marshmallows; gently press into creme. Cover and freeze for 4 hours or overnight.
Just before serving, use a mini-torch and scorch marshmallows a bit--or broil 6 in. from the heat for 1-2 minutes or until marshmallows are golden brown.

Photo: Taste of Home

Thursday, August 17, 2023

BIRD'S CUSTARD: History and Retro Ads for Vanilla Custard Day!

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

MOCHA RUM CAKE: National Rum Day!

Today is National Rum Day! Celebrate with your favorite Rum Drink or have a piece of the classic Bacardi Rum Cake (recipe on Retro Ad to the right). But, since this is a Chocolate Blog, you can also make this easy and terrific Mocha Rum Cake. Aargh, Matey!

Mocha Rum Cake!

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

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

Tuesday, August 15, 2023


Today would have been Julia Child's 111th birthday! How to celebrate?

In The Way to Cook, Julia Child wrote that Reine de Saba was the first French cake she had ever eaten and that she never forgot it. What could be more fitting, then, than Julia Child's own favorite Chocolate and Almond Cake-- Reine de Saba with Chocolate Butter Icing? The recipe below can be found in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol. 1 and The Way to Cook.

According to the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian where Julia's Kitchen is displayed: In the hundredth episode of the television series, The French Chef, Julia made the Reine de Saba, or Queen of Sheba cake. One of the tools she used for making this special cake with the grand name was an ordinary rubber spatula. Essential for folding the smooth and shiny beaten egg whites into the batter, Julia also noted that the rubber spatula was one of America’s great culinary contributions. She kept her spatulas in a ceramic crock on a shelf above her stove.

I must admit that I haven't made this cake in years, but it's not too difficult, and it's absolutely fabulous. It's kind of like a dense brownie with creamy chocolate frosting with almonds.

REINE DE SABA [Chocolate and Almond Cake] This extremely good chocolate cake is baked so that its center remains slightly underdone; overcooked, the cake loses its special creamy quality. It is covered with a chocolate-butter icing, and decorated with almonds. Because of its creamy center it needs no filling. It can be made by starting out with a beating of egg yolks and sugar, then proceeding with the rest of the ingredients. But because the chocolate and the almonds make a batter so stiff it is difficult to fold in the egg whites, we have chosen another method, that of creaming together the butter and sugar, and then incorporating the remaining items. - Mastering the Art of French Cooking



For the cake:

4 ounces or squares semisweet chocolate melted with 2 Tablespoons rum or coffee
1/4 lb. or 1 stick softened butter
2/3 cup granulated sugar
3 egg yolks
3 egg whites
Pinch of salt
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
2/3 cup pulverized almonds
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup cake flour (scooped and leveled) turned into a sifter

For the icing:
2 ounces (2 squares) semisweet baking chocolate
2 Tb rum or coffee
5 to 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter 


For the cake:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Butter and flour the cake pan. Set the chocolate and rum or coffee in a small pan, cover, and place (off heat) in a larger pan of almost simmering water; let melt while you proceed with the recipe. Measure out the rest of the ingredients.
3. Cream the butter and sugar together for several minutes until they form a pale yellow, fluffy mixture.
4. Beat in the egg yolks until well blended.
5. Beat the egg whites and salt in a separate bowl until soft peaks are formed; sprinkle on the sugar and beat until stiff peaks are formed.
6. With a rubber spatula, blend the melted chocolate into the butter and sugar mixture, then stir in almonds, and almond extract. Immediately stir one fourth of the beaten egg whites to lighten the batter. Delicately fold in a third of the remaining whites and when partially blended, sift on one third of the flour and continue folding. Alternate rapidly with more egg whites and more flour until all egg whites and flour are incorporated.
7. Turn the batter into the cake pan, pushing the batter up to its rim with a rubber spatula. Bake in middle level of preheated oven for about 25 minutes. Cake is done when it has puffed, and 2-1/2 to 3 inches around the circumference are set so that a needle plunged into that area comes out clean; the center should move slightly if the pan is shaken, and a needle comes out oily.
8. Allow cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Run knife around the edge of the pan, and reverse cake on the rack. Allow it to cool for an hour or two; it must be thoroughly cold if it is to be iced.
9. To serve, use the chocolate-butter icing recipe below, then press a design of almonds over the icing.

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

Reprinted from Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking


Monday, August 14, 2023


Today is National Creamsicle Day. I haven't had a Creamsicle in years, but I did occasionally buy one from the Good Humor Truck when my cousin Herbie was a Good Humor Man in the summers.  Pretty exciting for us kids! When we heard the Good Humor bell, we all went running.

What exactly is a Creamsicle? A Creamsicle is a frozen dessert with a vanilla ice cream core and a fruit sherbet coating. The classic Creamsicle flavor combination is orange and vanilla. Officially, the term “Creamsicle” is a registered brand name owned by Unilever, and similar products cannot be labeled as Creamsicles. However, the original Creamsicle® is such a perennial best-seller that the term is often used generically, and the branding rights may eventually be lost due to trademark dilution. 

But since this is a chocolate blog, I thought I'd post a recipe for Creamsicle White Chocolate Chip Cookies. These cookies are soft and moist. With the addition of orange zest and orange extract, you'll taste the tartness of the citrus as it combines with the sweetness of the white chocolate chips. These cookies definitely have the flavors of a Creamsicle.

Creamsicle White Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp orange extract
2 Tbsp orange zest
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips (I like Guittard)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
In large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and creamy. Beat in egg, vanilla, and orange extract until smooth. Gradually add flour mixture until combined. Stir in orange zest and white chocolate chips.
Drop rounded teaspoonfuls onto parchment lined cookie sheets. Do not flatten cookies.
Put in refrigerator for 30 minutes (do not skip this step). This will prevent spread, and that's important to these cookies which are soft and puffy.
Bake 8 - 10 minutes or until golden brown around edges. Do not overbake! Cookies will be fat.
Cool for several minutes on cookie sheets before transferring to rack to cool completely.

Saturday, August 12, 2023

ZUCCHINI BROWNIES: How to use up your summer Zucchini harvest

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

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


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

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

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

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

Friday, August 11, 2023


Summer Afternoon (Tea in the Garden): Theo van Rysselberghe, 1901
There are few hours in life more agreeable
Than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.
--Henry James

As a tea drinker, I can confirm that I love a cuppa and a scone around 4  p.m. I'm all about Afternoon Tea. So for today's post, I celebrate Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford and lady-in-waiting to Queen Victoria, inadvertently invented Afternoon Tea in 1840. At that time, the main meal of the day shifted from midday (luncheon) to evening. English high society didn’t dine until 8 p.m. Anna needed something to tide her over, so she ordered tea with brown bread to be brought to her room around 4 p.m. Initially this meal was brought surreptiously, but after awhile she began to invite her friends to join her, and “afternoon tea” expanded, both in what was served and the number of friends who partook. When Anna Bedford returned to London, she continued her afternoon teas, and soon Afternoon Tea became the rage of the elite. In addition to brown bread and small sandwiches, there were sweets and special “tea cakes.” The custom spread and tea rooms and tea gardens opened to serve tea to all classes. 

Afternoon Tea is not the same as High Tea. Afternoon Tea is a lighter meal, and scones are almost always served. I love clotted cream with my scones, and luckily, fresh clotted cream is readily available at my market. I enjoy 'plain' scones, but these Chocolate Chip Orange Scones are delicious! Make some for your afternoon tea today!

Chocolate Chip Orange Scones

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup white sugar
Victorian postcard: Afternoon Tea
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and grated (keep cold until ready)
1 -1/3 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup miniature dark chocolate chips
3 tablespoons orange juice (1 large orange and zest from 2 oranges)

Preheat oven to 400 F.
Spray baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray or smear with butter.
In large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
With pastry blender or large fork, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. You can also do this with your hands.
Put in freezer for 5 minutes.
Take out of freezer and add cream, chocolate chips, orange juice and orange zest.
Mix together.
Turn out dough on floured surface. Pat or roll into 9 inch circle about 3/4 inch thick.
With 2 1/2 inch fluted biscuit cutter, cut out about 12 scones, pushing dough scraps together for last few, if necessary.
Transfer scones to baking sheet.
Bake in preheated oven until golden-brown, about 10-12 minutes.
Remove from oven and cool on wire rack.

Serve with clotted cream and jam.

Thursday, August 10, 2023

S'MORES SWIRL BUNDT CAKE: National S'mores Day!

Summertime and the Living is Easy. A perfect time for S'mores, but not just any S'mores. In honor of today's food holiday, National S'mores Day, here's a new twist on S'mores: S'mores Swirl Bundt Cake. I found this recipe in an old issue of Country Living Magazine. I enjoy their recipes and articles, and this recipe is so easy to make and the final product is delicious. I've adapted this recipe by reducing the sugar in the cake because I thought it was a bit too sweet.



Nonstick baking spray, for pan 

2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled 

2 1/4 tsp baking powder 

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt 

3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature 

1 - 1 1/4 cup sugar 

4 large eggs, at room temperature 

1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract 

3/4 cup whole milk 

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa, sifted 

1/2 cup fine graham cracker crumbs (from about 2 1/2 crackers) 

Chocolate sauce, crushed graham crackers, and mini-marshmallows, for serving 


Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in the middle position. Coat a 10- to 12-cup Nordic Ware Bundt pan with baking spray. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. 

Beat butter and sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 4 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating to incorporate after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Reduce mixer speed to low and beat in flour mixture and milk alternately, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Transfer half the batter to second bowl. Add cocoa; stir until fully incorporated. Fold graham crumbs into remaining batter. 

Transfer batters to separate plastic zip-top or pastry bags. Cut a 3/4-inch opening in one corner of each bag. Pipe alternating batters into grooves of prepared pan. Squeeze remaining batter in piles on top, alternating colors, then swirl with a butter knife. 

Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes. Cool in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes, then invert onto wire rack to cool. Drizzle with chocolate sauce and sprinkle with graham crackers and mini-marshmallows.

Wednesday, August 9, 2023


1899 Chocolate Ad
Today is National Rice Pudding Day, and of course, there will be Chocolate Rice Pudding at my house. The following recipes are completely different from each other, so try both and see which flavor you favor! Remember the final results will only be as good as your ingredients. Use the best! Both can be topped with fresh whipped cream.


1-1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup half and half
1/3 cup sugar
dash of salt
1 cup uncooked rice
3/4 tsp pure vanilla
3 ounces dark chocolate (65-75% cacao), finely chopped

Over low heat, bring milk, half and half, sugar, and salt to nearly scalding temperature. Hint: Milk will not simmer, but it will steam when stirred at the near-scalding point.
Add rice to milk and continue cooking over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 20 to 22 minutes, until rice is creamy and slightly soft.
Add vanilla and chopped dark chocolate to hot rice and stir until chocolate melts and becomes part of pudding.
Divide pudding into 4 ramikins or casserole dish and serve warm or chilled.


2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup DARK cocoa
1/4 cup cold milk
1- 1/2 cups hot milk
1 cup hot cooked rice
1 tsp pure vanilla

Beat eggs slightly.
Combine sugar, salt, cinnamon, & cocoa and slowly beat into eggs.
Stir in cold milk. Add hot milk and rice.
Cook until thickened, stirring constantly.
Stir in vanilla.
Pour into ramikins or put into casserole dish.
Serve warm or cold.

Tuesday, August 8, 2023

FROZEN CUSTARD DAY: History, Retro Signs, and Recipe for Cheater Chocolate Frozen Custard

Today is National Frozen Custard Day. I'm a big fan of Frozen custard. For me, Frozen Custard was never a substitute for ice cream. It was just different.

So today, in honor of Frozen Custard Day, I'm posting some Retro Ads and Signs for Tastee Freez & Dairy Queen. And, if you scroll down there's a recipe for Cheater Chocolate Frozen Custard.

The big question is what's the difference between ice cream and frozen custard? Ice cream is made from milk, cream, or a combination of the two, while frozen custard is made from milk, cream, and egg yolks. Also, while the machine used to make ice cream churns air into it to make it have a light mouthfeel, frozen custard is produced in a machine that barely incorporates air into it, which makes it denser.

History of Frozen Custard

From eHow:

The Dairy Queen Story 

According to the book The Cone with the Curl on Top, a history of Dairy Queen, J.F. McCullough and his son, Alex, opened an ice cream shop in 1927 in Davenport, Illinois. In the early 1930s, they moved to an ice cream factory in Green River, Illinois, and decided to find out if customers preferred ice cream before it was completely frozen, which was how they liked it best. The colder ice cream had less flavor than the softer version, they felt. After an experimental, all-you-can-eat sale in Kankanee, Illinois, where they found the softer ice cream was a success, they bought a machine from a street vendor in Chicago in 1939, had a machine company tweak the design, and sold their frozen custard exclusively to a store run by Sherb Noble in Joliet, Illinois, in 1940. They nicknamed the store Dairy Queen. They bought a second store in 1941, and a third that spring.

Carvel's Story 
According to National Geographic and The Nibble magazine, Carvel's sold ice cream on the street in New York. After a flat tire in Hartsdale, New York, caused his ice cream to begin to melt, he sold the partially melted product as a new treat---and his customers loved it. He opened Carvel Frozen Custard in Hartsdale in 1934 and began to build a series of frozen custard shops along highways. He built a soft-serve machine in 1939.

The McCulloughs continued to improve the design of their soft-serve machine and expand their business. Carvel continued to expand its chain aggressively, too, as did another competitor, Tastee-Freez. By 1956, soft-serve ice cream consumption was increasing 25 percent every year, according to the U.S. Department of agriculture.

That same year, Tastee-Freez had 1500 stores, and Carvel had 500.

Carvel was a true innovator: he was the first to offer “buy one, get one free”; the first to franchise an ice cream store; and his patented glass building was copied by McDonald’s. Dairy Queen opened its first soft-serve ice cream store in Joliet, Illinois in 1940. Carvel’s Flying Saucer sandwich was introduced in 1951. 


Technique adapted from John T. Edge's The Truck Food via Oprah 
Makes one quart

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 Tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups chocolate ice cream, softened

Using a handheld electric mixer, whisk cream in a large bowl until soft peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes. Add sugar and vanilla and continue whisking to make stiff peaks, about 30 seconds more.
Using a rubber spatula, stir in ice cream until well combined.
Transfer mixture to a large, resealable freezer bag and freeze until semi-firm (like frozen custard), 4 to 6 hours.
When ready to serve, remove ice cream from freezer and, if needed, knead bag until uniformly soft, about 30 seconds. (Cover bag with a towel to protect your hands from the cold.)
Snip off a corner of the bag to pipe ice cream into a cone, or simply scoop and serve.

Dairy Queen Cones