Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Chocolate Pumpkin Toffee Trifle: An Alternative to Pumpkin Pie

Holidays are the perfect time for Trifles. I make a wicked (and easy) Trifle for the Fourth of July with sponge cake, strawberries, blueberries & kirsh. So for Thanksgiving, I thought I'd post this easy and sweet trifle recipe for Chocolate Pumpkin Toffee Trifle that combines pumpkin and chocolate.

What's a TRIFLE? The dictionary defines 'Trifle' as something insignificant, but you'll find that this dessert is anything but insignificant. I'm not trifling with you. This is a fabulous dessert!

Trifles are traditionally made in a large clear deep bowl so you can see all the layers. I have the perfect bowl! The assembled trifle is covered and placed in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours and up to 24 hours so the flavors can mingle. This Chocolate and Pumpkin Trifle is perfect for Thanksgiving since it can feed upwards of 8 guests.

There are many variations, and you can add different things in different layers--and you can vary the size of your layers. You can follow the recipe below with cookies but stack as you please: ex, layer of pumpkin cream, layer of cookies, layer of chocolate cream, etc. This is not a science. Instead of Chocolate Wafers, you can use Chocolate Cake or Brownies or try using left over Chocolate Pumpkin Bundt Cake (as if there is any left over!) or Pumpkin Bread.

CHOCOLATE PUMPKIN TOFFEE TRIFLE

Ingredients
4 ounces dark chocolate (70% cacao), chopped
4 cups heavy cream
2 tsp Madagascar vanilla
1 cup natural pumpkin puree
1/4 tsp pumpkin spice
1- 7.5-ounce jar Marshmallow Fluff
6 small Heath bars, chopped (still have any left over from Halloween?)
1 1/2  9-ounce boxes chocolate wafer cookies (or chocolate cake)

Directions (but when it comes to layering, that's up to you!)
In small saucepan over another saucepan, melt chocolate with 1/2 cup cream over medium-low heat, stirring until smooth. Let cool.
Using electric mixer, whip 2 cups cream with 1 tsp vanilla until stiff.
In medium bowl, whisk together pumpkin, pumpkin spice, and marshmallow cream. Fold in whipped cream in 2 parts; refrigerate.
Add remaining 1-1/2 cups heavy cream to mixer bowl and whip until thickened. With machine on, slowly add the chocolate mixture and the remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla and beat until stiff but not dry.
Spread one-third of chocolate cream in a 4-quart clear glass trifle bowl.
Layer with one-third of the toffee.
Make cookie (or cake) layer--be sure and stand up some cookies along the side of the bowl (it will look pretty)*
Make pumpkin cream layer
Repeat with remaining cookies and more pumpkin cream (depending on how thick you make the layers).
Add chocolate cream layer.
Sprinkle with chopped toffee and cover with chocolate cream.
Cover and refrigerate for 4-24 hours.
To serve, sprinkle with the remaining toffee (or not).

North America's Best Chocolate Truffles!

Never too early to purchase your holiday truffles! Are you making a list and checking it twice? Well, here's a great reference for the Best of North American Truffles. I was so lucky to be a judge at this International Chocolate Salon Truffle tasting. I can't remember when I tasted so many wonderful truffles. Hard decisions had to be made, and I was glad I was only one of the panel. I have my favorites, but thought I'd share this list, so you can start stocking up on stocking stuffers and gifts.

TasteTV and the International Chocolate Salon have selected some of the Top Chocolate Truffles - and the artistry behind them - in North America. These truffles come from the East Coast, the West Coast, the Middle Plains, and Canada. Their colors range from chocolate brown to butterfly incandescent, and some of the packaging is as elaborate as a Tiffany's jewelry box.

If you are looking for some of the best on the continent, take a look at these and the results from our tasting panel's luscious experience.

To see more about the Truffles and the Truffle Awards, as well as rankings in categories such as Taste, Design, and Ingredient Combinations, go to www.TruffleAwards.com or www.artisanchocolateawards.com


4.5 STARS 
flying noir out of country
JARDI chocolates Herbs de Provence
Colleen Heidecker Pure Culinary Orange Theory
Éclat Chocolate Peruvian



4.0 STARS 
CocoVaa Chocolatier Cardamom Pear
JARDI chocolates Passion Fruit Marshmallow
Cochu Chocolatier Margarita
Éclat Chocolate Ginger Caramels
Inspiration Chocolates Aztec Spice
CocoVaa Chocolatier Hazelnut Macchiato
Truffles by Tiffany Rosemary caramel layered on Lavender Honey Ganache
Delysia Chocolatier Truffle Sampler
Cochu Chocolatier Balvenie Scotch Whisky & Prune
Colleen Heidecker Pure Culinary DC Strawberry #12


3.5 STARS 
Inspiration Chocolates Maple Walnut Supreme
Bella Sophia Chocolates Coffee Caramel
Cochu Chocolatier Cherry Gin
SELEUSS Chocolates French Brandy
CocoVaa Chocolatier Sayari Cocoa (planet cocoa)
Romeo Chocolates Raspberry & Rose Water Truffle
JARDI chocolates Coffee Toffee
SELEUSS Chocolates Bourbon Whiskey Maple
Éclat Chocolate Salted Dark Caramel
TinyB chocolate Raspberry Dark Chocolate


3.0 STARS 
Romeo Chocolates Espresso Crunch Truffle
Inspiration Chocolates Cherry Jubilee
TinyB Chocolate Mint Dark Chocolate
SELEUSS Chocolates Matcha Green Tea
Chip in a Bottle LLC Black Cherry Dark Chocolate
Chip in a Bottle LLC Thai Coconut Caramel with Nougat
GerDan Chocolates Tamarind Rainforest
Rainy Day Chocolate Rainy Day Chocolate

Chocolate Gingerbread Cake: National Gingerbread Day

According to The Nibble today is National Gingerbread Day, but June 5 is also designated as National Gingerbread Day. I think today is more in keeping with Gingerbread Day. (Just an FYI, December 12 is Gingerbread House Day). I associate Gingerbread with Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the Fall/Winter season in general. That being said, I hate to miss posting a chocolate holiday recipe, so I know you'll like this recipe for "Chocolate Gingerbread" from 1919 Crisco Advertisement.

I grew up with Crisco, and I still use it in many recipes. Crisco was introduced by Procter & Gamble in 1911 to provide an economical alternative to animal fats and butter. Crisco was the first solidified shortening product made entirely of vegetable oil. This was the result of hydrogenation, a new process that produced shortening that would stay in solid form year-round, regardless of temperature.

I love that the Crisco Cookbook in this Advertisement was only 25 cents (or 10 cents in stamps)! Check out this recipe for Chocolate Gingerbread Cake. Gingerbread season is almost upon us. Get Baking!



Monday, November 20, 2017

Spicy Chocolate Turkey Rubs: Barbecued Turkey for Thanksgiving

I live in Northern California, and we barbecue turkey all year round, so it's not surprising that we also barbecue the turkey for Thanksgiving. I love the smokiness and flavor that the barbecue brings to the bird. Barbecuing the turkey also leaves the ovens free for all those side dishes and pies.

Several years ago we started barbecuing our turkeys with spicy chocolate rubs. Here are two great recipes. We've made some adaptations, but the first recipe for Spicy Chocolate Rub Recipe is adapted from  The BBQ Report. Just combine everything in the Cuisinart until finely ground and pat on turkey. Very easy!

This recipe is for chicken, so if you're planning a 20 lb. turkey, you'll need to increase the amounts.

1. SPICY CHOCOLATE RUB

Ingredients
1 cup natural unsweetened DARK cocoa powder
1/4 cup kosher salt
2 tsp dried red pepper flakes, chopped fine
1/2 tsp ground cloves
2 Tbsp granulated sugar

**
Want to get a little more sophisticated with the Rub? Kunde Family Estates (great wines to accompany your turkey) has a recipe for BBQ Turkey with Ancho Chile/Chocolate Rub. This recipe includes brining the turkey first. If you buy a kosher turkey it will already be brined. This recipe is for a 12-16 pound turkey, so if yours is bigger than that, you'll need to adjust the measurements.

2. ANCHO CHILE CHOCOLATE RUB

Ingredients
3 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp chile powder
1 Tbsp unsweetened DARK cocoa powder
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp chipotle chile powder
2 tbsp softened butter

Directions

In small bowl, combine all dry rub ingredients. Mix well. In another small bowl, mash butter together with 2 Tbsp rub – set aside.

Place turkey in large roasting pan. With fingers, gently loosen the skin over breast meat and insert butter/rub under skin; gently rub over breast meat. Rub the outside of bird well with olive oil; then sprinkle generously inside and out with rub. Loosely pack  cavity with lemon and orange slices. Tie drumsticks together with kitchen string. Place in refrigerator and let sit; uncovered, 5 – 6 hours, or until ready to cook.

When ready to cook, prepare grill. If using charcoal grill, prepare for indirect cooking. For gas grills, heat to medium high. Put turkey in roasting pan on grill; add 2 cups water; cover. Turn all gas setting to low. Grill-roast turkey, basting with pan juices and rotating pan 180 degrees every hour, for 3 hours. (If using charcoal grill, add briquettes or mesquite every hour to maintain an even temperature). After 3 hours, insert instant-read thermometer in fleshy part of inner thigh to check for doneness. Thigh meat should register 175° F and the juices should run clear when thigh is pierced. If not done, cover and continue to cook; checking every 20 minutes for doneness.

When done, transfer turkey to heated platter, cover loosely with foil and allow to sit for 20 minutes before carving.

Does Chocolate have a place at your Thanksgiving Table this year?