Friday, February 12, 2016

Red Velvet Heart-Shaped Pancakes for Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day is on Sunday, so you have plenty of time to make these Red Velvet Heart-Shaped Pancakes for your sweetheart! You can make Red Velvet Pancakes from scratch or use a mix. Add a little extra love by using a heart-shaped pancake mold or go freehand, as in the last recipe! Hint: If you use a mold, use several and spray the molds, so the pancakes don't stick.

There are many Red Velvet Pancake Mixes. My favorite Red Velvet Pancake Mix is from The Griddle Cafe. My second choice which is still fab would be the Red Velvet Pancake Mix from Cost Plus World Market which is on sale today 2/11).

Want to make Red Velvet Pancakes from Scratch? Here are three awesome recipes. Let me know which you like best!

1. RED VELVET PANCAKES WITH CREAM CHEESE GLAZE 
(Adapted from About.com)

Pancakes:
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp Dark cocoa powder
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
8 ounces buttermilk
4 Tbsp sweet butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
1 tsp white vinegar
2 tsp red liquid food coloring
3/4 cup chocolate chips or dark chocolate chopped into chunks

Extra butter or nonstick cooking spray

Cream Cheese Glaze:
4 ounces light cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
1 Tbsp milk

Directions
Preheat griddle to medium-high heat. In bowl, whisk to combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cocoa powder and salt. Set aside.
In separate bowl, whisk eggs, then add milk, buttermilk, butter, vanilla extract, white vinegar and food coloring, whisking to combine completely. Stir dry ingredients into wet ingredients, stirring just until combined. Do not overmix.
Brush some butter or spray nonstick cooking spray on hot griddle, and spoon batter into desired sized pancakes. Cook until bubbles form in batter, the edges are dry and underside is lightly brown, about 5 minutes, then flip over and cook other side 1 to 2 minutes more. Repeat as needed until all batter is used.

As pancakes cook, make cream cheese glaze: 
In small bowl, use fork to stir together cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Add a little milk if needed to make glaze that has thin enough consistency to drizzle.

To serve, stack three pancakes on a plate and drizzle cream cheese glaze over them.

2. BISQUICK RED VELVET PANCAKES WITH CREAM CHEESE GLAZE
(recipe from Betty Crocker)


Cream Cheese Topping
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sweet butter, softened
3 Tbsp milk
2 cups powdered sugar

Pancakes 
2 cups Original Bisquick™ mix
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa
1 cup milk
1 to 1 1/2 tsp red paste food color**
2 eggs
Powdered sugar, if desired

Directions 
In medium bowl, beat cream cheese, butter and 3 Tbsp milk with electric mixer on low speed until smooth. Gradually beat in 2 cups powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, on low speed until topping is smooth. Cover; set aside.
In large bowl, stir all pancake ingredients except powdered sugar with wire whisk until well blended.
Heat griddle or skillet over medium-high heat (375°F). (To test griddle, sprinkle with a few drops of water. If bubbles jump around, heat is just right.) Brush with vegetable oil if necessary or spray with cooking spray before heating.
For each pancake, pour slightly less than 1/4 cup batter onto hot griddle. Cook 2 to 3 minutes or until bubbles form on top and edges are dry. Turn; cook other side until golden brown.
Spoon cream cheese topping into resealable food-storage plastic bag; seal bag. Cut off tiny corner of bag; squeeze bag to drizzle topping over pancakes.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar.


** Do not use liquid red food coloring in this recipe**

3. RED VELVET HEART SHAPED PANCAKES
(recipe from Food Network Kitchen)

Ingredients
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup sour cream
3 Tbsp whole milk
2 Tbsp confectioners' sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
Fine salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup melted and cooled butter, plus more for griddle
2 tsp red food coloring
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tspapple cider vinegar

Directions
Whisk cream cheese, sour cream, milk, and confectioners' sugar until smooth in medium bowl; set aside. Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt into large bowl.
Beat eggs and granulated sugar in another large bowl until pale yellow; beat in buttermilk, melted butter, food coloring, vanilla, and vinegar. Add egg mixture to flour mixture and fold just until incorporated. Transfer some of batter to squeeze bottle with 1/4-inch opening.
Heat griddle or large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Lightly coat hot skillet with melted butter and squeeze some of batter onto it in outline of heart or hearts of desired size. Fill in each outline with more batter; use spatula to spread to edges of heart. Cook each pancake until bubbles begin to pop on the surface, about 3 minutes. Carefully flip and cook until bottom is set and pancake is cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Repeat with  remaining batter. Drizzle cream cheese mixture and maple syrup on top of pancakes and sprinkle with toasted pecans.


Thursday, February 11, 2016

Valentine's Day Chocolate Heart-Shaped Truffles: Vintage chocolate molds

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 have no 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! I will have a post on all their products in the near future. For now, they're available in lots of specialty markets--I picked up a box at my local Pasta Shop! These are definitely my new favorites! So rich and decadent!

Valentine Chocolate Truffle Recipe
Makes 24 chocolate truffles

Ingredients
2 Tbsp sweet butter, chopped coarsely
9 oz Fair-trade organic 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!

Directions
1. Melt chocolate and butter in double boiler or in saucepan on top of saucepan over simmering water.
2. 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???).
3. Pour chocolate truffle filling into heart shaped chocolate mold. Level top with scraper. Put in refrigerator to set.
4. Once firm place in freezer for 5 minutes then push out of mold. Dust with sifted cocoa powder.
5. Store in cool dry place until ready to eat or give as a Valentine's Day gift.

Vintage Valentine Chocolate Molds





Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Valentine's Day PEEPS

I know you can buy all kinds of fabulous chocolates for Valentine's Day. I have a whole lot of favorites, but just thought I'd lighten it up with Valentine's Day 'chocolate' offerings from PEEPS®. 

I've blogged about PEEPS before, and I love that they've expanded their line to include many holidays besides Easter. The Valentine's Day PEEPS are great.

Eat them the way they are
Put them in your cocoa or coffee.
Decorate your Valentine's Day presents with them.
Skewer a few Raspberry Hearts and tie it to a gift of Cocoa in a Jar!
Create a diorama using PEEPS!
Stuff a Chocolate Raspberry heart between two graham crackers, and you have Valentine's Day PEEPS S'mores.
And, you can Place a Valentine's Day Peep in a cellophane bag, tie with a ribbon, and have the kids give these as Valentine's Day cards.
PEEPS are so versatile.

This season there are Valentine's Day fluffy, cherry flavored marshmallow hearts dipped in and drizzled with chocolate, Strawberry Creme flavored Chicks sitting on a bed of chocolate, and there's even a Chocolate-covered Raspberry Heart. Of course there are other non-chocolate PEEPS' hearts that you can dip yourself in some great dark or milk chocolate.

The PEEPS® pictured here:

Milk Chocolate Dipped Strawberry Crème Flavored Chicks
Milk Chocolate Covered Raspberry Heart
Chocolate Dipped Marshmallow Cherries Drizzled in Chocolate. .



Have a wonderful Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Moon Pies, Mardi Gras, & Mobile

Moon Pies are a very Southern snack food, and Moon Pies in their packaging are thrown from floats during Mardi Gras in Mobile, AL, and other towns along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. They might not have the allure or shine of purple (justice) green (faith) and gold (power) beads, but they are a tradition, and people covet them--and they're great to eat! Catching items from floats means good luck, but sometimes, as in this case, it means a tasty treat!

I have a friend from Mobile, AL, and Moon Pies are definitely a Mardi Gras throw there. The first group to throw these chocolate covered marshmallow treats were the Maids of Mirth in 1956. The Chattanooga MoonPie company supplied the MoonPies after crackerjack boxes were banned because of dangerous sharp corners, and the MoonPie became a traditional "throw" of Mardi Gras krewes in Mobile, Alabama. The westernmost outpost of the Moon Pie as an important Carnival throw is Slidell, Louisiana, which has a parade by "The Krewe of Mona Lisa and MoonPie." The Moon Pie Company actually now offers smaller bite size individually wrapped MoonPies for throwing off floats.

So what is a MoonPie? Although it's often mistaken for a Whoppie Pie, it's not the same thing at all! A moon pie is a sandwich composed of brittle soft crumbly graham crackers and thick soft spongy marshmallow and then covered with rich dark chocolate.

The Moon Pie Brand began in 1917 with its trademark registered on Jan 1, 1919 in Chattanooga. According to the MoonPie Company, the story goes that Earl Mitchell, Sr, a bakery salesman, visited a company store that catered to coal miners. The Miners wanted something solid and filling because they didn't get time to break for lunch. About how big? he asked. A miner held out his hands, framing the moon, and said, "About that big!" When Mitchell returned to the bakery, he notices some workers dipping graham cookies into marshmallow & laying them on the window sill to harden. The idea of adding another cookie and a generous coating of chocolate was tried, and samples of this new MoonPie were distributed. It had a great response and became a regular item for the bakery.

During the 1930s, the MoonPie found its place in Southern folklore as part of the 'workingman's lunch." Coal miners and laborers could enjoy the biggest snack on the rack, a MoonPie, and a 10 oz RC Cola, each for a nickle. This inspired the 1950s country music hit "Give me an RC and a MoonPie. Double Decker MoonPies with three cookies and two layers of marshmallow appeared during the 1960s, and they were easier for vending machines.

So if you're in Alabama or Louisiana for Mardi Gras today, try to catch some MoonPies!

Want to make your own Moon Pies? Recipe links.

BrownEyedBaker
TidyMom
Delish
Serious Eats