Sunday, May 1, 2016

May Day: Queen of the May Chocolate Cake, Maypole Parfaits

I love May Day with its Maypole, Morris Dancing, and all the traditions I grew up with. Chocolate Cake on May Day, alas, was not one of them. Nevertheless, here I am many years later,  and I still love everything about May Day.

Check out my list of May Day Crime Fiction and Morris Dancing Mysteries on Mystery Fanfare.

This Retro Baker's Chocolate Advertisement above fills that void of chocolate treats with these recipes in Ladies Home Journal for Queen of the May Chocolate Cake and Maypole Parfaits. FYI: I was never the May Queen, although I did dance around the Maypole.

Be sure to scroll down for a history of May Day, Queen of the May, and Alfred Lord Tennyson's poem "The May Queen"



From Wikipedia:

The May Queen or Queen of May is a term which has two distinct but related meanings, as a mythical figure and as a personification of the holiday, and of Springtime.

Today the May Queen is a girl who must ride or walk at the front of a parade for May Day celebrations. She wears a white gown to symbolise purity and usually a tiara or crown. Her duty is to begin the May Day celebrations. She is generally crowned by flowers and makes a speech before the dancing begins. Certain age groups dance round a Maypole celebrating youth and the spring time.
Sir James George Frazer found in the figure of the May Queen, a relic of tree worship:
According to popular British folklore, the tradition once had a sinister twist, in that the May Queen was put to death once the festivities were over. The veracity of this belief is difficult to establish, but while in truth it might just be an example of anti-pagan propaganda, frequent associations between May Day rituals, the occult and human sacrifice are still to be found in popular culture today. The Wicker Man, a cult horror film starring Christopher Lee, is a prominent example of these associations.


The May Queen
 by Alfred Lord Tennyson

You must wake and call me early, call me early, mother dear;
To-morrow 'ill be the happiest time of all the glad New-year;
Of all the glad New-year, mother, the maddest merriest day;
For I'm to be Queen o' the May, mother, I'm to be Queen o' the May.

There's many a black, black eye, they say, but none so bright as mine;
There's Margaret and Mary, there's Kate and Caroline:
But none so fair as little Alice in all the land they say,
So I'm to be Queen o' the May, mother, I'm to be Queen o' the May.

I sleep so sound all night, mother, that I shall never wake,
If you do not call me loud when the day begins to break:
But I must gather knots of flowers, and buds and garlands gay,
For I'm to be Queen o' the May, mother, I'm to be Queen o' the May.

As I came up the valley whom think ye should I see,
But Robin leaning on the bridge beneath the hazel-tree?
He thought of that sharp look, mother, I gave him yesterday,--
But I'm to be Queen o' the May, mother, I'm to be Queen o' the May.

He thought I was a ghost, mother, for I was all in white,
And I ran by him without speaking, like a flash of light.
They call me cruel-hearted, but I care not what they say,
For I'm to be Queen o' the May, mother, I'm to be Queen o' the May.

They say he's dying all for love, but that can never be:
They say his heart is breaking, mother--what is that to me?
There's many a bolder lad 'ill woo me any summer day,
And I'm to be Queen o' the May, mother, I'm to be Queen o' the May.

Little Effie shall go with me to-morrow to the green,
And you'll be there, too, mother, to see me made the Queen;
For the shepherd lads on every side 'ill come from far away,
And I'm to be Queen o' the May, mother, I'm to be Queen o' the May.

The honeysuckle round the porch has wov'n its wavy bowers,
And by the meadow-trenches blow the faint sweet cuckoo-flowers;
And the wild marsh-marigold shines like fire in swamps and hollows gray,
And I'm to be Queen o' the May, mother, I'm to be Queen o' the May.

The night-winds come and go, mother, upon the meadow-grass,
And the happy stars above them seem to brighten as they pass;
There will not be a drop of rain the whole of the live-long day,
And I'm to be Queen o' the May, mother, I'm to be Queen o' the May.

All the valley, mother, 'ill be fresh and green and still,
And the cowslip and the crowfoot are over all the hill,
And the rivulet in the flowery dale 'ill merrily glance and play,
For I'm to be Queen o' the May, mother, I'm to be Queen o' the May.

So you must wake and call me early, call me early, mother dear,
To-morrow 'ill be the happiest time of all the glad New-year:
To-morrow 'ill be of all the year the maddest merriest day,
For I'm to be Queen o' the May, mother, I'm to be Queen o' the May.


Thursday, April 28, 2016

Chocolate Blueberry Pie: Blueberry Pie Day

From The Blueberry Pie Elf by Jane Thayre
Today is National Blueberry Pie Day! My market always has fresh blueberries, but you can always use fresh frozen wild blueberries from Trader Joe's. Love them! Or you can save this recipe for the summertime when there are fresh local blueberries in your market!

You're probably used to strawberries and chocolate and raspberries with chocolate. I've posted plenty of blueberry and chocolate recipes for scones and muffins and chocolate covered blueberries. This recipe for Chocolate Blueberry Pie is so easy, especially if you use pre-made pie crusts! Don't use the ones in the shells. I like pie crusts from Trader Joe's. I keep them in the freezer, so I'm always ready!

Illustrations for this post are from the 1959 children's classic The Blueberry Pie Elf by Jane Thayre, illustrated by Seymour Fleishman.

CHOCOLATE BLUEBERRY PIE

Ingredients
6 cups blueberries
1/2 cup sugar
3 1/2 ounces DARK chocolate, chopped
Juice of half a lemon  (I use Meyer lemons from my tree)
2 pre-made pie dough crusts (I use Trader Joe's pie crusts--but you can always make your own)
Butter

Directions 
Preheat oven to 350.
Line 9 inch pie plate with one of crusts.
In large bowl, smash some of blueberries with fork (leave most whole).
Sprinkle sugar and lemon juice over blueberries. Let sit 10 minutes.
If mixture is too watery remove some of liquid.
Mix in chocolate and pour mixture into prepared pie pan.
Top with remaining crust and pinch crusts together, make a few slits.
Brush top crust with butter.
Bake 60 - 65 minutes or until golden.
Let sit 15+ minutes before serving.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Chocolate Chip Macaroons: Retro Ad & Recipe

Have a birthday in April? Here's a Retro Ad from Baker's Chocolate for an April Birthday Party. Snowdrop Birthday Cake, Animal Cracker Place Cards, Chocolate Chip Macaroons and more! Happy Birthday to my April Birthday Friends.

Baker's has a one bowl Chocolate Chip Macaroon recipe in this ad. Simple and delicious. There are even some substitute ideas for the macaroons. Of course, you can use any fabulous ingredients you'd like, but I've copied the recipe as it was printed in April 1962. Recipe below.


Chocolate Chip Macaroons 

Ingredients
1 cup Semi-Sweet Baker's Chocolate Chips
2 cups Baker's Angel Flake Cocoanut
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp salt
*1 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk

Directions
Combine chocolate chips, coconut, baking powder, and salt. Add vanilla and condensed milk and mix well. Drop from teaspoon on lightly greased baking sheet and bake in slow oven (325 F) 12 minutes, or until "deliciously" browned. Makes about 26 macaroons.
* One teaspoon grated orange rind may be added with vanilla. Or 1/2 teaspoons peppermint extract may be substituted for vanilla.