Thursday, February 29, 2024

LEAP DAY CHOCOLATE DONUTS: Leap Day History & Recipes

Leap Day, February 29, comes every four years and is the day that keeps our calendar in alignment with the Earth's revolutions around the Sun. Julius Caesar implemented the first leap day into his Julian Calendar in 45 BCE. At that time the leap day was February 24, and February was the last month of the year. In 1582 Pope Gregory XIII introduced the Gregorian Calendar which we use today. This calendar has a more precise formula for calculation of leap years.

Leap Day is also a holiday of folklore and traditions. On February 29, according to Irish legend, it was a day when women could propose to men. This balanced things out in the same way that the leap day balanced the calendar. And if a man refused the marriage proposal on Leap Day, he was subject to a fine.

Leap Year Chocolate Cake Donuts
Recipe from allrecipes

1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 cup confectioners sugar
1 egg white
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 quart vegetable oil for frying

All ingredients should be room temperature (70 degrees F).
Beat sugar and eggs together until creamy and lemon colored.
Melt butter and chocolate together in small saucepan over low heat.
Beat into sugar and egg mixture.
In separate bowl combine vanilla and buttermilk. Stir into sugar mixture.
Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in large bowl. Stir into liquid mixture.
Chill dough slightly to make easier to handle. Roll out half dough on lightly floured board to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut into doughnuts. Allow the cut doughnuts to dry for 10 minutes.
Heat 2 inches of oil to 370 degrees F in large skillet. Dough should be at room temperature before frying. Dip metal pancake turner into hot oil each time before using to move or turn a doughnut. Transfer doughnuts to skillet, one every 15 seconds.
Fry each doughnut about 90 seconds per side. Remove doughnuts and drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining dough.

To make icing:
Beat sugar, egg white, and vanilla together until smooth.
Drizzle onto the doughnuts after they have cooled.

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

CHOCOLATE COCONUT SOUFFLE: National Chocolate Souffle´ Day!

Today is National Chocolate Souffle´ Day. If you've been reading this blog, you know that I love souffles, and I've posted many different recipes over the years. How could I have a Chocolate Blog without at least 5 Chocolate Souffle Recipes?

Here's a new old recipe from Baker's Famous Chocolate Recipes (1936) for a twist on the souffle: Chocolate Coconut Souffle.

You might not have Minute Tapioca in your pantry, but let me tell you it's worth searching out for this recipe. Check out my post on Tapioca. As far as Baker's Southern Coconut Flakes go, I wasn't sure exactly what that was, so I used Baker's Angel Flake Coconut which is slightly sweetened. Maybe that's the same as in the 1936 recipe, maybe it's another product all together. If you know, leave a comment or contact me. I'm sure there's a Food Historian out there who knows!

For Chocolate, I use high quality very dark chocolate and reduce the sugar. Depending on the chocolate you use, your souffle might vary in taste.

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

EASY KAHLUA TRUFFLES: National Kahlua Day!

Today is National Kahlua Day
. What a great day to celebrate! Kahlua is a coffee-flavored liqueur that goes very well in so many chocolate desserts from brownies to cheesecake to truffles--even in yesterday's post for Gluten-free No-bake Pistachio Chocolate Truffle Cake. So have a glass of Kahlua to celebrate today -- or if you have some time, make these very easy Kahlua Truffles, adapted from Ina Gartner.


8 oz dark chocolate (the better the chocolate, the better these will taste!)
3 Tbsp Kahlua
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup cocoa powder

Melt chocolate and butter in top of double boiler.
Mix Kahlua into chocolate and butter and beat until smooth.
Put chocolate in a refrigerator until semi-soft  (but not rock hard).
Put 1/2 cup cocoa powder on flat plate.
With melon baller, form small balls of chocolate (or roll by hand) and drop onto plate of cocoa powder. Roll around so completely covered.
Put on parchment lined plate or cookie sheet.
Repeat with all chocolate.
When truffles are set and hardened, shake off excess cocoa powder and store in sealed container -- or EAT!!

Want to make truffles with a bit more coffee in them? Try these REAL COFFEE TRUFFLES that I posted on National Coffee Day

Sunday, February 25, 2024

HAZELNUT CARAMEL TOFFEE BON BONS: National Chocolate Covered Nut Day!

Today is National Chocolate Covered Nut Day! I've posted lots of  recipes for Chocolate Covered Nuts, but here's a link to one of my favorite chocolate covered nut recipes: Hazelnut Caramel Toffee Bon Bons! This easy recipe is from the Hazelnut Council. Go Nuts Today! 


3/4 cup Hazelnuts, toasted, skin removed, divided
1/4 cup Toffee candy bits
1 1/4 cups (10oz) Semi-sweet chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
1/2 cup Heavy whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla
1/4 teaspoon Salt
20 (6oz) Caramels, unwrapped, cut in half
40 Hazelnuts, whole, toasted, skin removed

Process 1/4 cup hazelnuts and toffee in food processor or blender until finely ground; set aside.
Microwave chocolate chips and cream in small microwave-safe bowl on high for 1 to 1 1/2
minutes, stirring every 30 seconds until most of chocolate is melted. Do not overheat; lumps will melt when stirred. Stir in hazelnut mixture, vanilla and salt until blended. Cover and set aside until cool, about 1 1/2 hours.
Flatten caramel piece and wrap around one whole hazelnut forming a round ball; repeat. Dice remaining 1/2 cup hazelnuts; set aside.
Form 1 heaping teaspoon chocolate mixture around each caramel and roll in diced hazelnuts. Let
set until firm.

Tip: When handling ganache, work quickly in a cool room.

Saturday, February 24, 2024

HOMEMADE DOG BISCUITS: National Dog Biscuit Day!

Yesterday was National Dog Biscuit Day. It's never too late to celebrate. Here's 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, February 23, 2024

Chiquita Banana, Carmen Miranda, & 2 Recipes for Chocolate Chip Banana Bread: Banana Bread Day!

I've always loved Chiquita Bananas, especially the logo with Chiquita, the Tutti Frutti Hat, and the song 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 and surprisingly off the beaten track. 

So in honor of Carmen Miranda and for National Banana Bread Day, I'm reposting two recipes for Banana Bread. These are 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 Carmen Miranda in the" Tutti Frutti Hat." Here's the 1940s "Chiquita Banana" song!


Best Chiquita Banana Bread
adapted from Chiquita Bananas

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 (my addition)
1 cup unsalted Butter, soft
2 whole Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1/2 cup Walnuts
1 Tbsp Local Honey

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease large 9x5 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

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

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

Thursday, February 22, 2024

CHOCOLATE MARGARITAS: Recipes for National Margarita Day

Today for National Margarita Day,  I'm posting two recipes for Chocolate Margaritas . As always I recommend you use the best ingredients for the best flavor! Both recipes suggest chocolate rims. I add a little salt to the rim mixture to bring out the chocolate and make this a bit more like a traditional Margarita.

A simple recipe from  (Per serving)

1 1/2 ounces Tequila
1 ounce Godiva chocolate liquor
3/4 ounce cream or half & half
1 Tbsp Hershey’s syrup
2 ounces orange juice

Shaker, not blender: Throw the ingredients into your shaker for a few quick shakes and pour into a margarita glass with crushed oreos lining the rim! Enjoy!

And, from Marcela Valladolid at This recipe is for a crowd:

To rim the glasses:
Chocolate syrup
Finely chopped Mexican or bittersweet chocolate

1/2 cup chocolate syrup
1 cup (8 ounces) tequila
1/2 cup (4 ounces) chocolate liqueur
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup orange liqueur
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


To rim the glasses: Put the syrup and chopped chocolate into 2 small dishes. Moisten the rims of 4 margarita or martini glasses with the chocolate syrup. Dip them in the Mexican chocolate until coated. Set aside.

Margarita: Combine all of the ingredients, except ice, in a pitcher. Working in batches, transfer the mixture to a shaker full of ice. Shake and pour into the prepared glasses. Serve cold.

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

CHOCOLATE STICKY BUNS aka Chocolate Cinnamon Buns: National Sticky Bun Day!

Today is National Sticky Bun Day! I love Cinnamon Buns, and what could be better than Chocolate Sticky Buns! Here's a great Retro Betty Crocker Gold Medal Flour Advertisement and Recipe for Chocolate Cinnamon Buns aka Chocolate Sticky Buns.

Chocolate Sticky Buns aka Chocolate Cinnamon Buns

3/4 cup warm water (not hot - 110 to 115 degrees)
1 package active dry yeast
1/4 cup shortening
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup cocoa  (use DARK cocoa for richness)
2 and 1/4 cups sifted flour
1 Tablespoon soft unsalted butter
1 and 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
3 Tablespoons sugar
chopped pistachio nuts (or almonds or pecans)

In mixer bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add shortening, salt, sugar, egg, cocoa, and 1 cup flour. Beat 2 minutes, medium speed on mixer or 300 vigorous strokes by hand. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl. Stir in remaining flour; blend well. Scrape sides of bowl.
Cover with cloth; let rise in warm place (85 degrees) until double in bulk, about 1 hour. (If kitchen is cool, place dough on rack over bowl of hot water; cover completely with towel.)
Stir down by beating 25 strokes. Turn soft dough out on well floured cloth-covered board.
Roll into rectangle, 12 x 9". Spread with butter; sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar mixture. Roll up, beginning at wide side. Pinch edge into roll. Cut 12 pieces.
Place in greased 9" square pan. Let rise in warm place (85 degrees) until double, about 40 minutes.
Heat oven to 375 degrees (quick mod.). Bake 25 minutes.
Remove from pan, frost top immediately with icing (3/4 cup sifted confectioners' sugar moistened with cream or milk to spreading consistency.) Sprinkle with chopped nuts.
Serve warm.

Sunday, February 18, 2024


So here it is Presidents Weekend. Who doesn't remember the story about George Washington cutting down his father's Cherry Tree? He couldn't tell a lie, and for telling the truth --that he did it--his father forgave him. No punishment for cutting down the tree. O.K., we learned this at school..Alas, it's a myth that was perpetuated after Washington's death. Still, for the sake, of this blog, I'm posting a Cherry Pie Recipe. 

Many markets carry fresh cherries from Mexico and countries in South America, so check around. Or, you can always bookmark this recipe to make in the summer.

But, if you can get fresh cherries, I suggest you make Chocolate Cherry Pie this weekend. This recipe is from Allison Arevalo who posted this on Local Lemons several years ago.

This Chocolate Cherry Pie features fabulous cherries, rich dark chocolate, and a butter pie crust. I cannot tell a lie. It is positively sinful. The directions and photos on Local Lemons are outstanding.

I use pre-made pie crusts from Trader Joe's, but check the link if you want to make your own pie crust that includes graham cracker crumbs as well as a good flour.


2 pre-made deep dish pie crusts
2 1/2 pounds fresh cherries (about 2 pounds pitted)
1/2 cup agave nectar
4 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 cup shredded chocolate (Mostly dark, with some milk chocolate mixed in, also chopped in food processor)


Pit cherries using cherry-pitter and put in large bowl. Add chopped chocolate, 4 Tbsp flour, and agave nectar. Gently toss until cherries are well coated.
Preheat oven to 400F.
With pre-made pie dough that's been rolled out. Fit into 9 inch pie dish. Carefully pick up and place in dish, cutting off overhang. Fill dough with cherry mixture. Roll out second piecrust and place on top of pie. Pinch sides closed with thumb and forefinger, and use sharp knife to cut three vents into top of crust. Brush with egg wash.
Bake for 25 minutes in middle of oven. Lower heat to 350F and bake for 25 more minutes.  

Saturday, February 17, 2024


Presidents Day: Martha Washington was known for entertaining, and who better than to put forth a recipe for Devil's Food Cake than the First First Lady. Her Devil's Food Cake is a classic chocolate-buttermilk cake that has been handed down through the generations, republished (with variations) by baking chocolate companies, and appearing on thousands of websites. Presidents Day is a celebration of Presidential Birthdays, and this is the perfect Birthday Cake.

This recipe is from Capitol Hill Cooks: Recipes from the White House, Congress and All of the Past Presidents by Linda Bauer (Taylor). The collection of appetizers, entrees, sides and desserts, from two centuries worth of politicos, is a benefit for Homes for Our Troops, which helps injured veterans build or adapt their homes for handicapped accessibility.

Martha Washington's Devil's Food Cake

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 3/4 cups sugar, divided
1 1/2 cups buttermilk, divided
2 -1/2 cup cake flour, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3 eggs, well beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9-by-15-inch pan or two 9-inch cake pans.
Melt chocolate in double boiler. Add 1 cup sugar and 1/2 cup buttermilk, and stir until sugar is dissolved. Cool.
Sift flour once, measure, add baking powder, baking soda, and salt and sift together three times.
Cream butter thoroughly. Add 3/4 cup sugar gradually, and cream together until light and fluffy. Add eggs and beat well. Add about quarter of the flour mixture, mix thoroughly. Add chocolate mixture and blend. Add remaining flour, alternately with buttermilk, a small amount at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition. Add vanilla.
Pour batter into greased pan and bake for 30 minutes, or until done. Let cool. When completely cooled, trim edges and cut rectangular cake in half crosswise to make a two-layer cake. Fill and frost with icing of your choice.

Friday, February 16, 2024


What's a Mud Cake? I have many recipes for them, and I've made several, but I hadn't really thought about what exactly it is. Mud Cake is relative newcomer to the cake scene, seeming to have popped up somewhere in the 1970s when it was all the rage! The first mud cakes came from Brownies and Fudge, and originally contained marshmallow (or at least a marshmallow topping). Other derivatives of this cake are the Mississippi Mud Pie and Dirt Cake. A mud cake is a very dense, tight crumbed cake. It's made by mixing liquids into dry ingredients. You melt chocolate, butter, and other liquids in a saucepan, then add flour, cocoa, etc. Of course, like anything else, there are always variations. Here's one that adds Rum. There's another below that adds Bourbon.

(from Epicurious)

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
3 ounces fine-quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 1/2 cups strong brewed coffee
5 Tbsp bourbon (preferably 80 proof)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 275°F.
Butter 2 (7-8 inch) springform pans and line bottom of each with a round of wax paper. Butter paper and dust pans with flour, knocking out excess. Wrap bottom and 1 inch up side on outside of each springform pan with foil (to catch drips).
Melt chocolates and butter with coffee in a 4-quart saucepan over moderately low heat, stirring constantly until smooth. Remove from heat and cool 10 minutes.
Beat in bourbon, eggs, and vanilla.
Sift in flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt and stir until batter is smooth (batter will be thin).
Divide batter between springform pans (about 3 cups batter in each).
Bake cakes in middle of oven 1 to 1 1/4 hours, or until a tester inserted in centers comes out with crumbs adhering. Remove from oven and cool in pans on racks 20 minutes. Run a thin knife around edge of each pan, then remove sides. When cool, remove pan bottoms and wax paper.

Sometimes a Mud Cake is made as a sheet cake.. sometimes just a small single cake.  Here's an easy recipe from Real Simple

7 Tbsp unsalted butter, cubed, plus more for the pan
6 Tbsp all-purpose flour, plus 
more for the pan
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1/4 tsp fine salt
3 large eggs, separated
2/3 cup granulated sugar, divided
Whipped cream, for serving

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and line 8-inch round cake pan or springform pan with parchment. Butter parchment and dust lightly with flour.
Melt butter and chocolate in microwave in 1-minute increments, on half power, stirring every minute, until shiny and smooth. Stir in salt and 
set aside.
Whisk together egg yolks and 4 tablespoons of sugar until thick and creamy.
Mix egg whites in separate, clean bowl with electric mixer on high until foamy. Gradually add  remaining sugar, tablespoon at time, whipping continuously until whites are thick and glossy and hold soft peak, 3 to 5 minutes. Fold egg yolk mixture into 
chocolate. Add 1/3 of chocolate mixture to egg whites and fold in gently, until marbled. Taking care to keep the batter light and airy, fold in flour in 2 parts, alternating with remaining chocolate, until evenly combined.
Spoon batter into pan and 
bake until crispy on top and  toothpick inserted in center comes out almost clean, 25 to 30 minutes.
Cut into 
wedges and serve slightly warm with whipped cream.

Here's a classic Mississippi Mud Cake from Paula Deen

2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup cocoa 1/4 cup water
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 bag miniature marshmallows

1 stick unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons cocoa
6 tablespoons milk
1 (1-pound) box confectioners' sugar
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 13 by 9-inch baking pan.
Combine sugar, salt, and flour in large mixing bowl.
Bring butter, oil, cocoa, and 1/4 cup water to boil in saucepan. Add to flour mixture.
Beat together eggs, baking soda, buttermilk, and vanilla. Add to chocolate mixture, mix well, and pour into prepared pan.
Bake for 25 minutes.
While  cake is baking, make ticing by melting butter in cocoa and milk over low heat. Bring mixture to boil, then remove from heat. Stir in confectioners' sugar. Slowly mix in  nuts and vanilla.
Take cake from oven, and when it cools a bit, cover with miniature marshmallows.
Pour warm icing over cake and  marshmallows.
Cool cake before serving.

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

MOLTEN CHOCOLATE MUG CAKE: Valentine's Day Dessert for One

Are you spending Valentine's Day by yourself? Treat yourself! Here's a great chocolate Valentine's Day Dessert for One: MOLTEN CHOCOLATE MUG CAKE. This is so easy to make and Perfect for One!  Of course you can always make two. If you do, bake them in the microwave separately rather than two at the same time.

Molten Chocolate Mug Cake: Valentine's Day for One

1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
3 Tbsp whole milk
1 egg
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 ounce chopped chocolate  (whatever you have--truffles, chocolate bars, etc..and dark or milk chocolate--your preference)
1 Tbsp water

In 2-cup capacity microwave-safe mug or bowl, whisk together with fork, flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt until well combined. Add in melted butter, milk, egg, and vanilla. Whisk well to combine, making sure to mix in flour mixture in bottom. Put chopped chocolate in center of mug. Do not push down; it sinks as it bakes. Drizzle tablespoon of water on top of batter.

Cook in microwave on full power for 1 minute and 15 seconds until cake rises to top, edges look set but surface of center is a little wet and shiny and sticks to finger when touched. It will set up as it sits. Do NOT overbake. If the center still looks raw then give it another 5 to 10 seconds. Cake will fall after it comes out of microwave (like a soufflé). Let cool for 5 minutes to help thicken sauce in bottom.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar or add ice cream or whipped cream! 

TIP: Short mug with wide mouth works best. If not available, use a small bowl instead.  I use a vintage Pyrex Bowl. To know if your mug/or bowl is the right size, pour 2 cups of water into it and this should fill it to the top.

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Cartoon of the Day: Valentine's Day for Cats


Here's a great recipe for Valentine's Day: Cherry Port Brownies.

Want to make these special? Use a 3" heart-shaped cookie cutter to make Brownie Hearts. The photo is from Betty Crocker, and their recipe uses the Betty Crocker Brownie Mix. That's a big shortcut. It's up to you. You can always use the mix and add some dried cherries soaked in port. Another festive touch is to sprinkle with powdered cocoa or red crystallized sugar or drizzle with red icing after the brownies have cooled.


2 Tbsp port
1/2 cup dried cherries
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into pieces
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs, cold
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
4 1/2 ounces dark chocolate, chopped (about 3/4 cup)

Position oven rack in center of oven; preheat to 325 degrees F.
Line 8x8x2-inch pan with foil. Butter foil; set aside.
In small saucepan, bring port and water to boiling. Add dried cherries; cook and stir over low heat until fruit is soft and plump and liquid evaporates. Using spatula, scrape cherries into bowl; set aside to cool.
Set heatproof bowl over saucepan of barely simmering water (be sure water doesn't touch bottom of bowl). Place butter in bowl; scatter 6 ounces chocolate over butter. Heat until chocolate is almost melted (you do not want to heat the mixture so much that the butter and chocolate separate). Remove bowl from heat. Stir until butter and chocolate are smooth. Whisk in sugar until fully incorporated. Add eggs one at a time, stirring until batter is smooth and glossy. Whisk in salt. Gently whisk in flour, stirring only until it disappears into the batter.
Using spatula, stir in port-soaked cherries (and any liquid that accumulated) and remaining 4 1/2 oz. chopped chocolate.
Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth top as much as possible.
Bake 35 minutes.
Transfer pan to wire rack; cool to room temperature.
Invert brownies onto cutting board; gently peel away foil
Turn brownies over. Cut into squares or use 3" heart shaped cookie cutter. 

Monday, February 12, 2024


Valentine's Day is all about Chocolate. I love heart-shaped truffles, and they're easy to make... if you have the right molds. There are silicon heart shaped molds to make these chocolates, but I'm lucky enough to have a few Vintage heart-shaped chocolate molds I've found over the years. Scroll down for photos of Vintage Heart-Shaped Chocolate Molds.

So here's yet another recipe for Truffles--this time for Valentine Heart-shaped Chocolate Truffles. Of course, you can use any basic truffle recipe and just press into the mold. I usually melt my chocolate and butter in a double boiler, but the microwave works, too.

And, if you don't have time to make your own heart shaped truffles, buy Coeurs de truffes from Guyaux! Guyaux was founded in 1931. They produce traditional French-style truffles-in heart shape this time of year--covered with cocoa powder. Guyaux is a family run company, headed by second and third generation chocolate makers in Paris. It's now run by the grand-daughter of the founder. And, if you want to give a really special gift, buy Guyaux truffles in the traditional French Truffle Box! The basket is a replica of the one used historically to store Perigord truffles… which explains the open-weave lid. Ooo-la-la! So rich and decadent!

Valentine Chocolate Truffle Recipe
Makes 24 chocolate truffles

2 Tbsp unsalted butter, chopped coarsely
9 oz dark chocolate, chopped
1/3 cup whipping cream
1 tsp corn syrup
1/2 cup cocoa powder, sifted for dusting the finished chocolate truffles
You are only limited by your imagination or heart on decorating ideas!

Melt chocolate and butter in double boiler or in saucepan on top of saucepan over simmering water.
Remove from heat and add cream and corn syrup. Mix until combined and smooth. If you are adding flavorings add them with the cream (kirsch, bourbon, kahlua, etc???).
Pour chocolate truffle filling into heart shaped chocolate mold. Level top with scraper. Put in refrigerator to set.
Once firm, place in freezer for 5 minutes then push out of mold. Dust with sifted cocoa powder.
Store in cool dry place until ready to eat or give as a Valentine's Day gift.

Vintage Valentine Chocolate Molds

Saturday, February 10, 2024


恭賀發財 Gung Hay Fat Choy! Chinese New Year! A few years ago I tasted fabulous Chinese 5-Spice Truffles at a special event. The chef wouldn't part with his recipe, so I did a bit of sleuthing. I found several recipes on the Internet and experimented. As always the final outcome depends on the quality of chocolate, and, additionally in this case, the spices. I found some locally produced Chinese Five-Spice, and I prefer it to the 'regular' Chinese 5-spice you can get at most local markets. Five-Spice encompasses all five flavors: sweet, sour, bitter, pungent, and salty. In case you want to make your own Chinese 5 Spice, scroll down for a recipe for Chinese Five Spice. It's easy to make, and you get to control the quality and freshness (and you can experiment to please your taste).


1 lb dark chocolate, preferably 70%
1 cup heavy cream
2 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
1/2 tsp ground white pepper
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (you can mix in a bit of sparkling sugar if you want to be festive)

Melt chocolate in metal bowl over saucepan of simmering water (or in a double boiler).
Remove from stove and pour cream with spices over it.
Let stand 2-3 minutes and then whisk together until smooth.
Refrigerate for an hour.
Take out of refrigerator and scoop or spoon into balls and put on parchment-lined baking sheet.
Put baking sheets in refrigerator for a few hours to firm up.
When balls are cold and solid, roll in cocoa powder, shaking off excess.

Chinese Five Spice
Recipe from

3 Tbsp cinnamon (I use Vietnamese cinnamon)
6 star anise or 2 teaspoons anise seeds
1 1⁄2 teaspoons fennel seeds
1 1⁄2 teaspoons Szechuan peppercorns (If you don't have any, you can substitute black peppercorns)
3⁄4 teaspoon ground cloves

Combine all ingredients in blender or coffee grinder. Blend until finely ground. Store in airtight container. Keeps up to 2 months.

Tip: You can "roast" the whole spices a bit for more intense flavor -- in a dry frying pan, but watch closely, so spices don't burn. If they do, the spice will be bitter.

Friday, February 9, 2024


Looking for a Savory Chocolate Super Bowl Recipe? You'll love these Chocolate Coca Cola Chicken Wings -- fabulous for SuperBowl Sunday! This recipe is adapted from Michael Siry of Duke's Original Roadhouse and Big Daddy's Restaurant and appeared on the Today Show a few years ago along with two other chicken wing recipes.


4 cans Coca Cola
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp Worchestershire sauce
1 habanera, minced
1-1/2 cups ketchup
1/2 cup aged balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup chocolate sauce
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp. orange zest
1 stick of butter
1/2 cup white vinegar

Brined chicken wings
2 cups flour
1/4 cup salt
2 Tbsp ground black pepper

Brined chicken wings
2 cups flour
1/4 cup salt
2 Tbsp ground black pepper
Vegetable cooking spray

1. Add all ingredients (except butter and white vinegar) into 2-quart saucepan.
2. Bring to boil and simmer until 3/4 reduced.
3. Add butter and vinegar.
4. Keep sauce warm and toss with wings.

Frying recipe:
1. Drain wings from brine, toss chicken wings in flour and place on racked sheet pan.
2. Let stand for 5 minutes; during that time preheat fryer to 325 degrees.
3. Fry wings in batches for 10-13 minutes until wings start to float.
4. Place on racked sheet pan to cool.
5. Toss in sauce.

Baking recipe:
1. Drain wings from brine and toss chicken wings in flour and place on racked sheet pan.
2. Let stand for 5 minutes; during that time preheat oven to 325 degrees.
3. Spray wings with vegetable oil spray.
4. Bake wings for 20 minutes (wings should reach internal temp of 150).
5. Place on racked sheet pan to cool.
6. Toss in sauce. 

Sunday, February 4, 2024


YESTERDAY was National Carrot Cake Day! I've always loved carrots, and growing up I was called Rabbit by some family members. Following is a great 1928 Vintage ad with recipe from the Ladies' Home Journal,  for a Coconut Carrot Cake. Of course, for my recipe I had to add chocolate: Cocoa and Chocolate Chips. All the great food groups in this one, especially with the cream cheese frosting! I also baked this in one pan. "Men-folks certainly like Coconut," and so do women!


1 cup unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger
2 Tbsp DARK cocoa
1/2 cup water
1 tsp pure vanilla
2 cups shredded carrots
3/4 cups chopped nuts
1/3 cup coconut
3/4 cup chocolate chips

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 F.
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add eggs, one at a time; beating well after each addition.
Sift dry ingredients together; add to creamed mixture alternately with water and vanilla.
Fold in carrots, nuts, coconut, and chocolate chips.
Pour into 9"x13" baking pan. Bake for 45 minutes. 
Cool and frost with cream cheese frosting.

For Frosting
Combine cream cheese, butter, and vanilla and mix until blended.
Scrape down bowl and add sifted powdered sugar.
Mix until smooth.