Monday, September 22, 2014

White Chocolate Bundt Cake

Today is White Chocolate Day. Not many people, including the FDA, consider white chocolate to be chocolate. It is made with cocoa butter, but combined with sugar and milk, and sometimes vanilla, so I'm including it as chocolate. It doesn't taste like chocolate, but it does taste like 'white' chocolate! I love the flavor. I have two favorite white chocolates for baking: Guittard and Green & Black. I'm not fond of the white 'tablets' you get at crafts stores. Be sure you use 'real' white chocolate in this recipe. The cheaper white chocolates have most of the cocoa butter replaced by vegetable fats. Not tasty at all. The amazing ad in the photo is from Green & Black.

So for today's holiday, here's a recipe for White Chocolate Bundt Cake. You can always drizzle with dark chocolate, if you're so inclined, but I like my bundt cakes plain.


1 cup sweet butter, room temperature
1 Tbsp sweet butter to coat pan
2 cups granulated sugar
2 Tbsp granulated sugar for sugaring pan
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoon Madagascar vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
5 eggs, room temperature
4 ounces white chocolate, melted, still warm
4 ounces white chocolate chunks or chips
1 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Coat 10- to 12-cup Bundt pan with 1 tablespoon butter, then sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of sugar.
In medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Put remaining 1 cup butter and 2 cups sugar in large bowl and cream with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add vanilla, almond extract and eggs, one at a time, beating 20 seconds after each addition. Slowly beat in 4 ounces melted white chocolate. Scrape down bowl. Add flour mixture to butter mixture in thirds, alternating with the sour cream. Beat 45 seconds after each addition.
Place batter in prepared pan in 3 layers, separating each layer with the remaining 4 ounces white chocolate chunks or chips.
Bake in preheated oven 55 to 60 minutes or until done. DON'T OVERBAKE!
Top browns and cake tester inserted into center will come out with a few crumbs on it.
Remove cake to a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack and cool to room temperature.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Double Chocolate Pecan Cookies

Pecans and chocolate are a true marriage made in heaven! I've posted recipes for Chocolate Pecan Sandies, definitely a pecan cookie, but I thought I'd post a different one to celebrate National Pecan Cookie Day!

This recipe is adapted from Woman's Day, April 1, 2006.  As always, I suggest you use the very best ingredients. I used Toffee Talk Crumble Mumble in the recipe, and I used 15 ounces of 85% Madecasse chocolate in place of the original 2 10-oz milk chocolate bars. Also used DARK cocoa. And, an FYI, there are over 1000 varieties of pecans. Whichever you choose, you'll go nuts for this recipe!


1 cup sweet butter, softened
2⁄3 cup packed light brown sugar
2⁄3 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
2 large eggs
3⁄4 tsp baking soda
3⁄4 tsp salt
2 1⁄3 cups all-purpose flour
2⁄3 cup unsweetened DARK cocoa powder
10 oz English toffee bits (I used Toffee Talk Crumble Mumble)
1-1⁄2 cups coarsely chopped pecans
15-oz dark chocolate (70-85% cacao), chopped coarsely

Heat oven to 375°F. Have baking sheets ready.
Beat butter, sugars and vanilla in large bowl with mixer on medium speed 1 to 2 minutes until fluffy. Beat in eggs, baking soda and salt until combined. Add flour and beat on low speed until blended.
Stir in cocoa powder,  English toffee bits,  pecans and chocolate.
Drop rounded tablespoons dough about 1 1⁄2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.
Bake 8 to 9 minutes until edges are golden brown. Cool on sheet 1 to 2 minutes before removing to wire rack to cool completely.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Easy Coffee Ice Cream Pie with Chocolate Cookie Crust

Coffee Ice Cream Pie Photo: Pillsbury
Warm where you are today? Here's an easy (20 minutes to make-and then freeze) no bake recipe that has a great chocolate cookie crust that includes coconut and chopped nuts along with the chocolate wafers. It's a very versatile crust and would be great with key lime pie, as well as any other ice cream pie. This recipe is adapted  slightly from Pillsbury. As I've mentioned many times, the big 'food product' sites often have fabulous recipes. You can adapt and update as you like, and they're a springboard for ideas, so be sure and check them out!


30 chocolate wafers, crushed (about 1-1/2 cups)
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup coconut  (I like toasted coconut)
3 Tbsp finely chopped macadamia nuts (or cashews)

1 quart coffee ice cream, slightly softened

1 cup hot fudge sauce, warmed
Whole macadamia nuts (or cashews), if desired

In medium bowl, mix crushed chocolate wafers, butter, coconut and finely chopped macadamia nuts.
Press mixture in bottom and side of 9-inch glass pie plate; refrigerate 15 minutes.
Carefully spoon softened ice cream into chilled crust.
Cover and freeze about 2 hours or until firm.
Top individual servings with fudge sauce, chopped macadamia nuts, and chopped chocolate covered coffee beans.
Cover and freeze any remaining pie.

To make cutting the pie easier, remove it from the freezer about 10 to 15 minutes before serving. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

KILLER CHOCOLATE CHEESECAKE: Daryl Wood Gerber aka Avery Aames

I love when my worlds of Mystery and Chocolate collide. Today I welcome back my friend Daryl Wood Gerber aka Avery Aames. Daryl writes both the Cheese Shop Mysteries and Cookbook Nook Mysteries, so, it's only natural that her recipe for Dying for Chocolate is for Killer Chocolate Cheesecake! Be sure to read on, so you can win one of her fab books and some culinary swag!

Daryl Wood Gerber aka Avery Aames:
Killer Chocolate Cheesecake 

Do you love chocolate? And cheesecake? Have you ever had a dessert where chocolate and cheesecake mesh into something deliciously decadent? You will soon. Read on…

I can’t get enough cheesecake. It is my favorite dessert. I remember the first time I ever ate it at my grandmother’s house. It was a thick, creamy New York-style cheesecake made in a springform pan. None of those paltry cheesecakes poured into a teensy 8-inch pie tin. Uh-uh. I need it to be a hearty slice and rich with cheese and sour cream! I have used my grandmother’s recipe repeatedly over the years. To my surprise, when I ordered cheesecake at the restaurant where my husband and I met, it turned out to be the same recipe. Kid you not! The same. If you’ve ever eaten a Lindy’s cheesecake, that’s what it is like. Decadently good.

And now for making cheesecake even more decadent…

I found this recipe in a cookbook called Luscious Chocolate Desserts. I’d purchased it so I could browse for recipes that might inspire a fun recipe in the 4th installment of the Cookbook Nook mysteries, FUDGING THE BOOKS, which will come out in 2015. STIRRING THE PLOT, the 3rd in the series, comes out September 30! Whee! Anyway, I tweaked the recipe to make the crust gluten-free because that’s a necessary evil for me. I’m celiac. I promise, you won’t know the difference, but if you want to use cookies made with regular flour to make your crust, feel free!

Leave a tasty comment this week because I’ll be giving away a copy of either Inherit the Word or Final Sentence along with some fabulous culinary swag. Be sure to leave your email, so I can get in touch with you.

(ala Luscious Chocolate Desserts Cookbook) 
*tweaked the crust to make this gluten-free 


One package 4.6 ounce chocolate wafers [Cookbook recipe asks for 9-ounce package chocolate wafers; that seemed to much by me. Also, I used gluten-free chocolate cookies.] 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted or room temp

1 pound bittersweet or semisweet baking chocolate, chopped
¼ cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temp
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs pinch of salt
1 ½ cups sour cream, at room temp
2 teaspoons vanillin (Cookbook asks for real vanilla)


For crust: 
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan, place a sheet of parchment paper on the bottom. Wrap the entire outside tightly with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Have a roasting pan (can be disposable) ready. Put a kettle of water on to boil for the water bath (*see below).

Pulse the chocolate wafers in a food processor until finely ground. With the motor running, add the butter, and process until blended. Press the mixture onto the bottom of the springform pan (on top of parchment paper).

Bake the crust for 8 minutes until it is set. Let cool on a wire rack.

To make the filling: 
Melt the chocolate with the butter. [The cookbook says over simmering water – I did this in the microwave, on medium heat for 3 minutes.] Remove from microwave and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the cocoa powder. Let the mixture cool to room temp.

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar with an electric mixer, starting on low and increasing to medium-high. Beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. [Note: I put all the eggs into a measuring cup and poured one in at a time. Amazing how that works!] Beat in the pinch of salt. Beat in the chocolate mixture until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the sour cream and vanilla. Beat until smooth, scraping down the sides.

Transfer the filling to the springform pan. Set the pan in the roasting pan, place it in the oven, and carefully pour in enough boiling water to reach halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Bake for 45 minutes. Center will STILL be slightly jiggly; do not overbake—the cake will firm as it cools. Remove the roasting pan from the oven (carefully!!!) and let the cheesecake cool in the water bath for 15 minutes.

Remove the springform pan from the water bath and let cool on a wire rack, completely, about 2 hours. Remove the foil (messy) and refrigerate the cheesecake, loosely covered with saran wrap, utnil thoroughly chilled, at least 12 hours.

To serve, let the cheesecake stand at room temp for 20 minutes. Remove the pan sides, smooth the sides of the cheesecake with a table knife, and cut into wedges.

Serves at least 12 because this is SOOOO rich!

 * * * 

Below is a tidbit about STIRRING THE PLOT, the next in my Cookbook Nook mysteries. It comes out September 30! FYI, though I write a series, each book is a stand-alone and can be read first, even if you haven’t read the others in the series.

STIRRING THE PLOT (3rd in Cookbook Nook Mysteries)

Halloween in Crystal Cove, California, is a big deal, involving a spooky soiree where the Winsome Witches, a fund-raising group, gather to open up their purse strings and trade superstitions. But party magicians, fortune-tellers, and herbalists are only the beginning of this recipe for disaster. Jenna Hart has packed The Cookbook Nook chock-full of everything from ghostly texts to witchy potions in anticipation of the annual fund-raiser luncheon. But there’s one unexpected addition to the menu: murder. When the Head Priestess of the Winsome Witches is found dead, there’s plenty of blame to go around, and Jenna will have to use more than just sleight of hand to conjure up the truth…

[This is NOT a paranormal story. It is a traditional cozy mystery.]

STIRRING THE PLOT, 3rd in A COOKBOOK NOOK series, September 30, 2014

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