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Saturday, April 20, 2024

KEY LIME PIE WITH CHOCOLATE MACAROON CRUST: Passover

There are so many creative Passover dessert recipes that include Chocolate, and I've been posting a few. Here's a recipe for Key Lime Pie with Chocolate Macaroon Crust. You can either buy a Manischewitz chocolate macaroon pie shell or make your own. Easy recipe follows. Of course this Key Lime Pie is great any time!

KEY LIME PIE WITH CHOCOLATE MACAROON CRUST

Ingredients
Chocolate Macaroon Pie Shell
1/2 cup crumbled chocolate macaroons
1/4 stick unsalted butter, softened

Key Lime Filling
3/4 cup fresh Key Lime Juice (rather than in a bottle!)
6 egg yolks
14 ounces sweetened condensed milk (see directions below for Kosher for Passover condensed milk to make yourself)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350

For Pie Shell:
Crush macaroons in food processor. Remove to medium size bowl. Add softened butter (or margarine) and mix well.
Press mixture into bottom and up sides of 9 inch tart or pie pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 7 minutes until set.
Cool on rack.

For Filling:
In stainless steel bowl, whisk egg yolks with condensed milk and add in lime juice a few teaspoons at a time stirring constantly.
Pour mixture into pre-baked pie shell and bake in 325 oven for 10 minutes.**
Chill for one hour.

Looking for the meringue? Cream of tartar which would be used in the meringue is not Kosher for Passover, so I've skipped it. If I'm wrong, let me know. It's about the rising thing.

**NOTE** some people think you have to cook key lime pie because of the raw eggs. That's why I went back and added a 10 minute bake; however, if you're not worried about the egg thing, there's no need to bake this custard.

If you want to ensure that this is Kosher, here's a recipe for Kosher for Passover Condensed Milk:  
1 1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk =1 cup instant nonfat dry milk, 2/3 cup sugar, 1/3 cup boiling water and 3 tablespoons margarine. Blend all the ingredients until smooth. To thicken, let set in the refrigerator for 24 hours.

Friday, April 19, 2024

CHOCOLATE MOUSSE PIE WITH PECAN CRUST: Passover

Passover
starts Monday night, and Chocolate Mousse Pie with Pecan Crust would be great for the seder--or any other night. I found it several years ago on About.com. You can make this any time, not just for Passover. And, it's gluten-free.





CHOCOLATE MOUSSE PIE WITH PECAN CRUST

Ingredients
2 cups chopped pecans
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup brown sugar
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 cup superfine sugar
3/4 cup dark chocolate, melted
2 tsp pure vanilla
1-1/2 cups heavy cream
2 Tbsp superfine sugar

Directions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
In medium bowl, combine pecans, brown sugar, and melted butter. Mix well. Press into 9" pie pan. Bake at 375 degrees F for 8-9 minutes until just set. Cool on wire rack until completely cooled.
In large bowl, combine cream cheese, cocoa powder, and 1 cup superfine sugar. Beat until smooth and fluffy. Add melted chocolate and vanilla. Beat until smooth.
In medium bowl, combine heavy cream and 2 Tbsp superfine sugar until stiff peaks form. Beat spoonful of mixture into chocolate mixture to lighten. Fold remaining whipped cream into chocolate mixture to combine.
Pour into cooled pie shell.
Cover and chill until firm, about 4-6 hours.
Serve plain or with whipped cream.

How easy is this? 

Thursday, April 18, 2024

FLOURLESS CHOCOLATE WALNUT COOKIES FOR PASSOVER

Here's a recipe I posted a few years ago. Perfect for Passover -- or for anyone who's looking for a great Gluten-Free cookie.

This is a great recipe from pastry chef Francois Payard for Passover Flourless Chocolate Walnut Cookies -- or for any time -- and these cookies are Gluten-free. As always the quality depends on the cocoa! 

Flourless Chocolate Walnut Cookies

Makes about twelve 4-inch cookies

Ingredients
1/2 cup plus 3 Tbsp Dutch-process cocoa powder
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
Pinch of salt
2-3/4 cups walnuts, toasted, and roughly chopped
4 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Directions
Place racks in upper and bottom thirds of oven and preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

Combine cocoa powder, confectioners’ sugar, salt, and walnuts in bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Mix on low speed for 1 minute.

With mixer running, slowly add egg whites and vanilla. Mix on medium speed for 3 minutes, until mixture has slightly thickened. Do not overmix or egg whites will thicken too much.

With 2-ounce cookie or ice cream scoop or generous tablespoon, scoop batter onto prepared baking sheet, to make cookies that are 4 inches in diameter. Scoop 5 cookies on each pan, about 3 inches apart so they don’t stick when they spread. If you have extra batter, wait until first batch of cookies is baked before scooping next batch.

Put cookies in oven, and immediately lower temperature to 320°F. Bake for 14 to 16 minutes, or until small thin cracks appear on surface of cookies. Switch pans halfway through baking. Pull  parchment paper with cookies onto wire cooling rack, and let cool completely before removing cookies from paper. Store in airtight container up to 2 days.
****

François Payard is a third generation pastry chef, who, after honing his skills by his family’s side and in the finest pastry kitchens in France, moved to New York where he was named “Pastry Chef of the Year” by the James Beard Foundation. Francois Payard has won numerous awards, such as the “Ordre du Mérite Agricole” by the French Government in 2004, he became a member of Relais Desserts International in 2006, an association of the 85 best pastry chefs in the world and in 2010 received the Dom Perignon Award of Excellence. 

Not just a chef, François is also the author of the popular cookbooks Bite Size: Elegant Recipes for Entertaining, Simply Sensational Desserts and Chocolate Epiphany: Exceptional Cookies, Cakes, and Confections for Everyone and PAYARD DESSERTS.

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

BANANA DAY: Banana Bread, Chiquita Banana, Carmen Miranda, and More!

Today is National Banana Day! I've always loved Chiquita Bananas, especially the logo with Chiquita and her Fruit Hat that was popularized by Carmen Miranda. There was something so foreign and exotic about Chiquita -- and Carmen Miranda.  I was so taken by all the Carmen Miranda Hollywood productions that when I was in Rio several years ago, I made a pilgrimage to Carmen Miranda's home on Avendida Rui Barbosa. Very fun! Lots of memorabilia.

So in honor of Carmen Miranda and to celebrate National Banana Day, I'm reposting two recipes for Banana Bread from Chiquita Bananas. I added chocolate chips to both of the following recipes because I love chocolate and bananas. You can also add nuts. And, the second recipe is gluten free! Be sure to scroll down to see the video of Carmen Miranda in the "Tutti Frutti Hat." Here's the 1940s "Chiquita Banana" song!

THE CHIQUITA BANANA SONG



Best Chiquita Banana Bread
adapted from Chiquita Bananas

Ingredients
4 whole Chiquita Bananas
1 cup All-purpose flour
1 cup Unprocessed wheat bran
1 1/2 tsp Baking soda
1/2 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Brown sugar
3/4 cup Chocolate chips
1 cup unsalted Butter, soft
2 whole Eggs
1 tsp pure Vanilla extract
1/2 cup Walnuts
1 Tbsp Local Honey

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease large 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.
Whip 2 Chiquita Bananas and sugars until mix is creamy (about 3 minutes).
Add butter, eggs, and vanilla and whip until smooth.
Mix in all dry ingredients until blended.
Fold in walnuts and Chocolate Chips.
Slice two Chiquita Bananas and toss with honey until Chiquita Bananas are well coated.
Pour mix in loaf pan and place honey coated bananas on top.
Bake in oven for 60 minutes.
Let cool for 5 minutes then place plate on top of pan and flip pan upside down so loaf falls onto plate.

Gluten Free Banana Bread 
with Chocolate Chips
adapted from Chiquita Banana Bread, recipe idea Alisa Bennett

Ingredients
3 large Chiquita bananas
3 large Eggs
1/4 cup Coconut oil (melted)
1 Tbsp Vanilla extract
2 cups Almond meal
2 Tbsp Coconut flour
1 tsp Baking soda
1/4 tsp Salt
1/2 cup chopped Walnuts
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Instructions
Puree egg, oil, vanilla, and bananas in blender.
In separate bowl, blend dry ingredients.
Add banana and egg mixture to dry ingredients and mix well.
Fold in chopped walnuts and chocolate chips.
Pour batter into a greased loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees F for 50-55 minutes.

"THE LADY IN THE TUTTI-FRUTTI HAT" from Busby Berkeley's Welcome to Banana Island

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

PASSOVER CHOCOLATE BROWNIES: 4 Recipes

Passover begins Monday night, and if you observe the Passover holiday (8 days) you won't be eating any leavened food products. So in terms of chocolate baking you need to tweak some things, starting with not using flour. This doesn't mean you can't have Chocolate Cake, Brownies, or Cookies ..  just an adjustment. And, if you're gluten-free, you'll love the first recipe. Baking without flour shouldn't be a problem (there's always matzo meal), and these recipes are great any time, not just for Passover.

So for Passover week, here are 4 different recipes for Passover Brownies. Think of them as Flourless Brownies! You love Flourless Chocolate Cake, right? Try all the recipes and let me know which you like best. Do you have your own favorite recipe for Passover Brownies? Be sure and share in comments.

These first two recipes I adapted from recipes I found on Chowhound in 2008.

Passover Chocolate Brownies #1

Ingredients
8 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
5 eggs, separated
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped (not chocolate chips)
8 ounces finely chopped or ground almonds (or almond flour)
Pinch of salt

Directions
Cream butter and sugar together. Mix in egg yolks.
Melt chocolate over double boiler (or over saucepan over saucepan with simmering water). Cool and add to butter mixture. Add finely ground almonds.
Beat egg whites until stiff but not dry. Fold into batter.
Pour into 9" square greased baking tin.
Bake in a preheated 350 oven for 45-50 min.
Cool and cut into squares.

Passover Chocolate Brownies #2

Ingredients
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup of matzo cake meal
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup DARK cocoa
3 large eggs
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Directions
Mix oil and sugar.
Add eggs and mix again.
Sift matzo cake meal and cocoa together and add to mixture.
Fold in nuts and mix thoroughly.
Grease 8 x 8 pan and pour in batter.
Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.
Cool and cut in squares.

This third recipe is originally from Gourmet 2000 ( Epicurious). It calls for a Chocolate-Wine Glaze, and you might want to try that. I like my brownies unadulterated, but I've tried the chocolate-wine glaze, and it's delicious. Nothing quite like Chocolate and Manischewitz!

Passover Chocolate Brownies #3

Ingredients
6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup unsalted margarine (if keeping brownies pareve) or butter, cut into pieces
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
Pinch of Salt
2 tsp finely grated fresh orange zest
3/4 cup matzo cake meal
3/4 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line bottom and sides of a 9-inch square baking pan with wax paper or greased foil.
Melt chocolate and margarine (or butter) in metal bowl over saucepan of simmering water, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and cool 5 minutes.
Beat eggs, sugar, and salt in large bowl with electric mixer on high until pale and thick. Beat in chocolate in 3 batches on low speed. Stir in zest, matzo meal, and nuts just until blended.
Spread batter in baking pan and bake in middle of oven until firm and tester comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.
Cool in pan on rack, then invert onto a platter and remove paper or foil.
Cut into Squares.

Passover Chocolate Brownies #4

Ingredients
2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips (or dark chocolate, chopped)
1/2 cup unsalted butter or margarine
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup matzoh cake meal
2 Tbsp unsweetened DARK cocoa powder
2 Tbsp potato starch
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Directions
Preheat oven to 350. Grease 8-inch square baking dish.
Melt chocolate and butter in double boiler or in saucepan on top of another saucepan with simmering water. Set aside to cool slightly.
In mixing bowl, stir together cake meal, cocoa powder, and potato starch.
Combine eggs, granulated sugar, and vanilla in large bowl. Beat with electric mixer until light and creamy – about 3 to 5 minutes. Beat in chocolate mixture until smooth, then add cake meal mixture, beating on low speed just until combined. Batter is thick.
Fold in chopped nuts and spread in prepared baking dish.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or just until entire surface has puffed slightly. Brownies will still be moist in center.
Remove from oven and cool before cutting into squares.

I especially love Passover Brownies #4--very, very fudgy!!! Of course, always use high quality chocolate! It really makes a difference!!!

Sunday, April 14, 2024

SALTED CHOCOLATE PECAN TOFFEE: National Pecan Day!

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

I found a fabulous recipe for Salted Chocolate Pecan Toffee in Sunset Magazine, December 2007. 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. 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.

SALTED CHOCOLATE PECAN TOFFEE

Ingredients
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

Directions

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.

Saturday, April 13, 2024

EASY CHOCOLATE PEACH COBBLER: Peach Cobbler Day

Fresh peaches aren't in season yet, but I can them 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 recipe today or try the one in the Retro Ad on the right (no chocolate in that one). 

EASY CHOCOLATE PEACH COBBLER

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

Directions
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.

Friday, April 12, 2024

DARK CHOCOLATE GRILLED RICOTTA PARMESAN CHEESE SANDWICH: Grilled Cheese Day

I've posted many recipes for Chocolate Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, but this is one of my favorites. As always, experiment, but I have to share this recipe since today is Grilled Cheese Day. As always use the very best ingredients! Please don't use Parmesan from the can--either grate your own or buy it at a specialty shop where it's just been grated. Recently I've been favoring a Wisconsin Parmesan--not too salty and fabulous flavor. And, of course a good Parmesan/Reggiano would be great in this Grilled Cheese Sandwich!

Dark Chocolate Grilled Ricotta Parmesan Cheese Sandwich

Ingredients
4 slices brioche or sweet sourdough
Butter, for bread
2 Tbsp Ricotta cheese
1 1/2 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions
Lightly spread one side of each bread slice with butter. Evenly divide ricotta between two bread slices and then evenly sprinkle the Chocolate and Parmesan over the ricotta. Top with remaining bread slices.
Heat skillet over medium-low heat. Place sandwiches in warm skillet and cook on one side until golden brown and cheese begins to melt, 2 to 4 minutes. Flip sandwich over and cook until golden brown and cheese is completely melted, 2 to 4 additional minutes.
Let cool 2 minutes before cutting in half. 

Thursday, April 11, 2024

CHOCOLATE BROWNIE PIE: Retro Ad with Recipe

This Retro Chocolate Brownie Pie is easy and delicious! The recipe is from a Betty Crocker Gold Medal Flour advertisement. It really "Tastes like Chocolate Brownies!"

You can modernize and improve this recipe by using an excellent dark chocolate (cut down on the sugar), and make your own pie crust.

CHOCOLATE BROWNIE PIE

Ingredients
2/3 cup unsalted butter
5 oz unsweetened baking chocolate (or good dark chocolate -and cut down the sugar)
1-1/4 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
1 cup flour
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
1 frozen deep dish pie crust
Whipped cream, if desired

Directions
Heat oven to 350º.
In 1-quart saucepan, melt butter and chocolate over low heat, stirring constantly. Cool 5 minutes.
In medium bowl, beat sugar, vanilla and eggs with electric mixer on high speed 5 minutes. Beat in chocolate mixture on low speed, scraping bowl occasionally. Beat in flour just until blended, scraping bowl occasionally. Stir in walnuts. Spread in frozen pie crust.
Bake 37 to 42 minutes or until toothpick inserted halfway between center and edge of pan comes out almost clean. Cool in pan on wire rack, at least 2 hours. Cut into wedges.
Serve with whipped cream, if desired.

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

ROCKY ROAD CAKE: Retro Ad with Recipe

I'm a sucker for Retro Food Ads, especially those with recipes. This recipe is pretty odd, but still tasty. I've made it, but I leave out the raisins and add chocolate chips instead. What I really love about this 1983 Best Foods Ad is the use of "Blue Danube" dishes. I have over 25 sets of dishes, and, of course, I have Blue Danube. They were all the rage and pretty inexpensive at the time. Not any more. They fetch a pretty penny on eBay. This ad appeared in McCall Magazine.

So if you're interested in a Rocky Road Cake, give this recipe a try! Let me know what you think!

Sunday, April 7, 2024

CHOCOLATE ECLIPSE CAKE: 2024 SOLAR ECLIPSE

Unless you've been living in a vacuum, you know that North America will experience a total Solar Eclipse on April 8. Yes, the path of totality will differ in different areas, but unless you're sleeping, you can't miss it. The moon will cover the sun, and you will be able to see the corona. Remember to wear special glasses!

What better cake to celebrate the Solar Eclipse than Mollie Katzen's Eclipse Cake! It's a big chocolate pudding cake that feeds a lot of people, so if you're having an Eclipse Party, it's perfect! It's fun to make..and watch come together..and it's delicious. Note: This cake tastes better the longer you wait to eat it, but I know that might be difficult. Your kitchen will smell divine! Try to wait at least 1/2 hour. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

Molly Katzen's Chocolate Eclipse Cake
from Mollie Katzen's Still Life with Menu Cookbook

Ingredients
2 tablespoons butter
2 ounces (2 squares) unsweetened chocolate
2 cups buttermilk*
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
21/2 cups unbleached white flour
21/4 cups (packed) brown sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
21/2 cups boiling water

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking pan.
Melt  butter and chocolate together.
In separate saucepan, heat buttermilk gently until just a little warmer than body temperature (don't boil or cook it). Remove from heat, and combine with chocolate mixture and vanilla.
In large mixing bowl combine flour, 1 cup of the brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix well (use your hands, if necessary) to break up any little lumps of brown sugar, making as uniform a mixture as possible.
Stir in chocolate chips, if desired.
Pour in wet ingredients, and stir until well combined. Spread into prepared pan.
Combine remaining 11/4 cups brown sugar with the unsweetened cocoa in a small bowl. Sprinkle this mixture as evenly as possible over the top of the batter. Pour on the boiling water. It will look terrible, and you will not believe you are actually doing this, but try to persevere. Place immediately in the preheated oven.
Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the center is firm to the touch. Cool for at least 15 minutes before serving. Invert each serving on a plate so that the fudge sauce on the bottom becomes a topping. Serve hot or at room temperature, with vanilla ice cream.

* No buttermilk in the fridge? Mix 2 cups whole milk with 2 tsp vinegar

Saturday, April 6, 2024

SOUR CREAM CHOCOLATE CAKE: Retro Flour Bag Recipe

I found this recipe for One Step Sour Cream Chocolate Cake in a bunch of clippings from my mother-in-law. It looks like she cut it out from the back of a flour bag, in this case, surely a Gold Medal Flour bag. Well, I've made this Betty Crocker recipe, and I must say it's still delicious. Ok, who doesn't love sour cream in a cake? Makes it most and delicious. The original recipe calls for 'shortening' and that is most likely Crisco. I rarely use Crisco, so I substitute butter. If you do this, use 'regular' unsalted butter, not French butter. I also use a high quality dark chocolate (70 % cacao and cut down on the sugar) instead of unsweetened chocolate.


Friday, April 5, 2024

SEA SALT CARAMEL BROWNIES: 2 Recipes for National Caramel Day!

Today is National Caramel Day! My favorite truffles are sea salt caramel, and the same goes for brownies! Salt, caramel, and chocolate are a great combination. So for Caramel Day, here are two recipes for Sea Salt Caramel Brownies -- one uses a fudge brownie mix and the other is for brownies from scratch.You can make or buy the caramel sauce. Both recipes are easy, and it just depends on what you have on hand and how much time you have!

1. SEA SALT CARAMEL BROWNIES FROM SCRATCH

Ingredients
1 cup unsalted butter
5 ounces good quality dark (60-75% cacao) chocolate
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp instant espresso powder 
2 ounces chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
1/4 cup good quality caramel sauce
1 tsp good quality sea salt

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 F
Grease 9 x13 inch baking pan.
In saucepan over another saucepan with simmering water, melt butter and chocolate, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and stir in sugar. Cool slightly.
In large bowl, beat eggs one at time. Stir in vanilla.
Fold in chocolate mixture.
Combine flour, 1/2 tsp salt and espresso powder (if using). Add to chocolate mixture.
Fold in chocolate chips or chopped chocolate pieces
Spread batter evenly into prepared pan.
Drizzle caramel on top of batter
Using knife, swirl over surface.
Sprinkle sea salt over caramel.
Bake 30-40 minutes.
Cool in pan on wire rack.

2. Sea Salt Caramel Brownies using a Brownie Mix
This recipe is from Morton Salt. I always check product sites for recipes. Did you know that Morton Salt has an excellent Sea Salt? Found this recipe on their site. Of course, you can always use your own sea salt. I'm partial to Ghirardelli and Duncan Hines Brownie Mixes, but whatever you have on hand.

Ingredients
1 package fudge brownie mix
Eggs
Vegetable oil
Water
20 individually wrapped caramels
2 Tbsp milk
1 teaspoon Morton® Coarse Sea Salt

Directions 
Heat oven and prepare brownie mix as instructed on box.
After placing brownie mix in 8 x 8 baking pan, set aside.
Make caramel sauce as instructed below (or use a prepared caramel sauce), then drizzle sauce on top of brownie batter.
Bake brownie batter as instructed on package.
Remove brownies from oven.
Sprinkle with Morton Coarse Sea Salt.
Cool brownies before cutting.

Caramel Sauce:
Place unwrapped caramels and milk in microwave safe bowl.
Microwave on high for 1 minute and then in 10 second intervals, until caramels are easily whisked. Whisk until caramel mixture is smooth and thoroughly combined.

***
HOMEMADE CARAMEL SAUCE 

Ingredients
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbsp heavy cream
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Directions
In small saucepan over medium heat, bring sugar and 2 Tbsp water to boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium-high and cook without stirring, occasionally swirling pan and brushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush, until sugar is deep amber color (5-8 minutes). Remove caramel from heat. Add cream and butter and whisk to combine. Let cool slightly in pan.

Thursday, April 4, 2024

Cartoon of the Day: Carrot Cake

Happy Carrot Day!!


DOUBLE CHOCOLATE CARROT CAKE: National Carrot Day!

Today is National Carrot Cake Day. I love carrots, especially when they're a major ingredient in a chocolate cake! I used to bake carrot cakes in coffee cans. Remember coffee cans? Now my coffee beans come in recyclable paper bags, so no baking in those. I make my carrot cake in a bundt pan, but you can use a square 8" pan or 2 small loaf pans (1 large) for this recipe. You'll love this Double Chocolate Carrot Cake. This recipe is adapted from Southern Food. My adaptation makes it a bit more chocolatey.. no big surprise!

At my market we have quite a variety of carrots, however you can use regular carrots in this cake.

Double Chocolate Carrot Cake

Ingredients
1-1/2 cup finely grated carrots
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup boiling water
1 1/2 cup wholewheat flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (best quality, of course)
1-1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1-1/2 handfuls of dark chocolate, chopped (or chocolate chips): 65-75% cacao

Directions
Pre-heat oven to 350F.
In large bowl, combine carrots, sugar, and oil. Pour water over mixture.
In separate bowl, combine rest of ingredients. Add to carrot mixture & mix well.
Pour 1/2 of batter into non-stick or lightly oiled 8" square pan or bundt pan or loaf pan.
Throw in chopped chocolate pieces.
Pour rest of batter over this.
Bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Cool for 10 minutes... if you can wait.

The original recipe called for frosting, but it doesn't need it. Plus, this is a great cake to toast for breakfast! If you decide on frosting, make a cream cheese frosting. Yum!

Happy Carrot Day!
 

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

NO BAKE CHOCOLATE MOUSSE PIE: National Chocolate Mousse Day

Today is National Chocolate Mousse Day. Chocolate Mousse is easy to make and easy to enjoy! I came across this recipe for No Bake Chocolate Mousse Pie a few years ago. What a great way to enhance chocolate mousse -- add more chocolate! The cookie crust made with Italian wafer sandwich cookies is fab and adds some zip, but you can also make a regular chocolate cookie crust if you don't have any Italian sandwich cookies! You can also make an oreo cookie crust. This recipe is adapted from Fine Cooking, a great resource for recipes.



NO BAKE CHOCOLATE MOUSSE PIE

Ingredients
1 ounce unsalted butter, melted; more for the pan
8 ounces Italian chocolate wafer sandwich cookies (Quadratini) (if you don't have these you can use Famous Chocolate Wafers or Oreos)
9 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped (about 1-1/2 cups); more for garnish
1-1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Pinch kosher salt
3-3/4 cups heavy cream

Directions
Butter 9-inch springform pan.

Grind cookies in food processor until they resemble wet sand, 20 to 30 seconds; you will have about 1-3/4 cups. Transfer to small bowl and mix in butter. Spread crumbs in pan, cover with plastic wrap, and press evenly into bottom. Refrigerate.

Combine chocolate, 1/2 tsp of vanilla, and salt in large bowl. In small saucepan, bring 3/4 cup of cream to barely a simmer. Pour cream over chocolate, let sit for 1 minute, then whisk until smooth. Cover and refrigerate for about 30 minutes to cool.

Beat 1-1/2 cups of cream in medium bowl with electric mixer on medium-high speed to stiff peaks, about 2 minutes. Whisk chocolate mixture to loosen, and fold into whipped cream with large silicone spatula until no streaks remain.

Carefully peel plastic wrap off crust and scrape mousse into pan, gently spreading to edges. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours.

Just before serving, beat remaining 1-1/2 cups cream and 1 tsp vanilla in medium bowl to medium-stiff peaks. Run knife around pie to loosen edges and then remove side of pan. Slide spatula under crust and transfer pie to serving plate. Mound whipped cream over mousse and top with chocolate curls, shards, or shavings. To serve, dip knife into hot water and dry before slicing.

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

PEANUT BUTTER & JELLY BROWNIES: Three Recipes for National Peanut Butter & Jelly Day!

Today is National Peanut Butter & Jelly Day. This all American combination is usually thought of as the ultimate kid's sandwich. Not by me. I was a fussy eater as a kid... so glad that's behind me. At summer camp, if a camper didn't like lunch or dinner food, they were given peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Well, I didn't like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Of course, if they had added chocolate, it might have been a different story!

I still don't like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, but I always grab the chance to pair up these foods with chocolate. So here are three recipes for Peanut Butter & Jelly Brownies. As always, you can substitute the very best ingredients to achieve that perfect brownie!

PEANUT BUTTER & JELLY BROWNIES

#1 Peanut Butter & Jelly Brownies
from the Nestle Very Best Baking site: 1st Prize winning recipe created in the kitchen of Jim Bradley of Chicago, IL

Ingredients
1/2 cup NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
1/4 cup sweet butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup creamy or chunky peanut butter
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Premier White Morsels
1/2 cup NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Peanut Butter & Milk Chocolate Morsels
1/3 cup strawberry jam

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 9-inch-square baking pan.
Place semi-sweet morsels and butter in large, microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on HIGH (100%) power for 1 minute; STIR. The morsels may retain some of their original shape. If necessary, microwave at additional 10- to 15-second intervals, stirring just until mixture is melted. Add brown sugar and peanut butter to chocolate mixture; beat on medium speed for 1 minute or until well mixed. Beat in eggs and vanilla extract. Gradually stir in flour. Stir in white and peanut butter & milk chocolate morsels. Spread into prepared pan. Drop jam by spoonfuls onto batter. Swirl with a knife.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out still slightly sticky. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars.

#2 Peanut Butter & Jelly Brownies
From Kraft Recipes

Ingredients
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
6 squares BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup strawberry jam

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Beat sugar, peanut butter and butter in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add eggs and vanilla; mix well. Add flour and salt; beat until well blended. Stir in chocolate.
Line 9-inch square baking pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides of pan. Grease foil. Spread batter into prepared pan. Drop jam by spoonfuls over batter; swirl with knife to marbleize.
Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out with fudgy crumbs. (Do not overbake.) Cool in pan. Lift dessert from pan, using foil handles. Cut into 24 squares to serve. 

#3 Peanut Butter & Jelly Brownies 
from James Boyce, chef-owner of Cotton Row, Huntsville, Alabama. His brownies and jam are homemade, and he uses chunky peanut butter for crunch. This recipe appeared in Spirit Magazine, Southwest Airlines

Ingredients:
2 sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed melted butter
4 two-inch square brownies
4 Tbsp peanut butter (crunchy is best!)
4 Tbsp strawberry jam
4 Tbsp chocolate chips

Directions:
Lay one sheet of dough on work surface and brush with butter. Top with another sheet, brush with butter, then cut into four 8-by-8 inch squares. Place one brownie on each square.
Top each brownie with one tablespoon each of peanut butter and jam, then sprinkle with chocolate chips. Cinch dough around brownies and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Bake at 425ºF for 5 minutes, or until dough starts to brown.

Monday, April 1, 2024

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE SOURDOUGH LOAF: National Sourdough Day: Guest Post by Sarah Husmann


Today I welcome back my friend Sarah Husmann, amateur baker extraordinaire. 


Sarah Husmann:

I’m Sarah, and I love cats and books (mostly thrillers but am rediscovering my love of fantasy). I’m an amateur cook and baker, mostly breads and desserts/sweets. I’m also a cross stitcher and love seeing movies on the big screen.

Happy National Sourdough Bread Day!!

Perfect timing since I tried a new sourdough bread recipe last week. I find it interesting and fun looking for different flavors to add to my sourdough. One that I’ve looked at in the past was a chocolate sourdough but hadn’t seriously considered making it yet. Until I accidentally came across this recipe while looking for a butterfly pea flower sourdough recipe (another winner). It was fun to make and really quite easy. Since this was my first time making this Double Chocolate Sourdough Loaf, I halved the recipe. The texture turned out perfect and the crumb was beautiful! The loaf was soft but still had that delicious chewy texture and the chocolate flavor was prominent but not overwhelming. And, since this recipe called for some chocolate chips, you’ll occasionally get a bite of one. More chocolate! Enjoy!

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE SOURDOUGH LOAF

This recipe for Double chocolate Sourdough Loaf is from Spellbound Sourdough, with a few tweaks:

https://www.spellbound-sourdough.com/post/template-how-to-write-a-recipe-post-2




Sunday, March 31, 2024

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? Leave a comment.

 


Saturday, March 30, 2024

CHOCOLATE COVERED STRAWBERRY 'CARROTS' in CHOCOLATE DIRT: The Perfect Easter Centerpiece!

Photo Credit: Driscoll's
Searching for the Perfect Edible Easter Centerpiece? You've found it! These Chocolate Covered Strawberry 'Carrots' in Chocolate Dirt are adorable and easy to make. Thanks once again to Driscoll's Strawberries for the recipe and for their always perfect strawberries! These Chocolate Covered Strawberry Carrots in Chocolate Dirt are also great for a Spring Table!

This has to be the best presentation I've seen in awhile. I actually use these little tin buckets for my succulents, so I have plenty. Don't have tin buckets? You can use small mason jars.

CHOCOLATE COVERED STRAWBERRY 'CARROTS' IN CHOCOLATE DIRT

Pudding 
1 cup sugar
4 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
4 cups whole milk, divided
6 Tbsp cornstarch

Dirt Topping
2 cups chocolate wafer cookie crumbs (about 40 cookies)

Strawberry Carrots 
1 package (16 ounces) Driscoll's Strawberries (the 8 largest from the package for dipping)
11 ounces white chocolate (make sure it's 'real' white chocolate--made with cocoa butter)
Gel food coloring (red and yellow)

Directions

Pudding 
In double boiler melt bittersweet chocolate. Set aside.
Whisk together 1 cup milk and cornstarch.
Bring remaining 3 cups milk, sugar, cocoa, and salt just to simmer over medium heat. Stir cornstarch mixture then add to milk mixture in saucepan and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Cook 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in melted chocolate and vanilla. Divide pudding between 8 food safe 6 oz stainless steel mini pail buckets or small 6 - 8 oz jars or glasses. Cover surface directly with plastic wrap to prevent skin from forming. Chill.

Preparing strawberries
Rinse and dry strawberries. You do not want water on the berries when you dip them in chocolate. For best results berries should be at room temperature for dipping to ensure that the chocolate will adhere to berry.

Melting the Chocolate 
To melt chocolate on stovetop, put white chocolate in double boiler (or saucepan over saucepan) over simmering water.

Dipping and Decorating
Line baking sheet with wax paper or parchment paper. Once chocolate has melted, add 4 drops of yellow gel food color and 4 drops of red food gel color and stir well until thoroughly blended into chocolate.
Holding strawberry by green leaves, dip it into chocolate swirling the strawberry until coated. Coat about 3/4 of the way up the strawberry leaving some strawberry showing. Shake off excess chocolate and place on prepared baking sheet to set.

After dipping strawberries, take remaining chocolate and gently reheat until fully melted again. Prepare pastry bag fitted with piping tip and fill bag with remaining chocolate. With berries lying on baking sheet, start at tip of each berry and pipe lines half way across strawberry, alternating starting from left, then right until up to chocolate line below the calyx (strawberry stem). Repeat with remaining berries. If you don't have a pastry bag, you can dip  fork into the melted chocolate and drizzle the lines on--or you can use a ziploc with corner cut out.
Place decorated strawberries in refrigerator until chocolate is firm.
Before serving, remove plastic wrap from pudding and sprinkle tops of each pudding with cookie crumbs.
Once finished, add chocolate covered strawberry to center. Serve immediately.

Friday, March 29, 2024

EASTER CHOCOLATE MOLDS: Bunnies, Chicks, and Eggs, Oh My!

I love Chocolate Molds, particularly the vintage metal ones. Here are a few great Chocolate Molds for Easter: Bunnies, Eggs, and Chicks, Oh My!