Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Chocolate Red Wine Bundt Cake

Today is National Wine Day. Thought you needed a special day for wine? Here's a link to the American History Museum and an explanation of National Wine Day. Today is the 40th Anniversary of National Wine Day, and it all started with a Paris Tasting. 

I've posted many Chocolate and Wine recipes, but this is a favorite. You're going to love this perfect Chocolate Red Wine Bundt Cake!

The taste will improve with good quality dry red wines (I like Zinfandels) and the quality of the cocoa!

Want to decorate this cake for the upcoming Memorial Day Holiday? Fill the center with whipped cream and top with strawberries and blueberries.


2 cups flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
1-1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sweet butter, softened
1-3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1-1/4 cup dry red wine
Powdered sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 350°
Butter and flour 12-cup bundt pan.
In bowl, whisk flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. In large bowl, using hand-held electric mixer, beat butter and sugar together until fluffy, about 4 minutes.
Add eggs, one at time, and beat until incorporated. Add vanilla and beat about 2 more minutes.
Work in two batches, alternately fold in dry ingredients and wine, until just incorporated.
Scrape batter into prepared pan, and bake for 45 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Let cake cool in pan 10 minutes, then turn out onto rack; let cool completely.
Dust cake with confectioner's sugar.

Chocolate and Wine: A Great Pairing

Monday, May 23, 2016

S'mores Blondie Pie

Memorial Day is coming up, and I'll be posting a great Memorial Day Weekend recipe every day this week.

For your Memorial Day celebration, maybe you plan on making S'mores on the Grill or the campfire. But, just maybe, you want to make your Memorial Day S'mores ahead, so you can enjoy the party! This S'mores Blondie Pie tastes like Summer. It's an easy dessert recipe from Hershey's Kitchens. And, as much as I love high-end chocolate, when it comes to S'mores, I prefer Hershey's!

S'mores Blondie Pie

6 HERSHEY'S Milk Chocolate Bars (1.55 oz. each), divided
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 teaspoon baking powder
1-1/2 cups marshmallow creme (marshmallow fluff)
1/4 teaspoon shortening (do not use margarine, butter, spread or oil)

Heat oven to 350°F. Grease 9-inch pie plate. Unwrap chocolate bars; break into pieces.
Beat butter and sugar until blended in medium bowl. Add egg; beat until light and fluffy. Stir in flour, graham cracker crumbs, and baking powder; beat until well blended.
Press half of dough onto bottom and up sides of pie plate. Spread marshmallow creme over bottom of crust. Set aside 1 tablespoon chocolate bar pieces; sprinkle remaining pieces evenly over marshmallow creme.
Form remaining dough into ball; place on sheet of waxed paper. With fingers, flatten and shape into 9-inch circle. Pick up waxed paper, supporting dough with hands. Flip dough onto pie surface; peel off waxed paper. Pinch edges of dough together and form crust edge.
Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Melt remaining chocolate bar pieces with shortening; drizzle over top of pie.
Optional: torch some mini-marshmallows and put them on top of the pie!

To serve, microwave slices at HIGH (100%) 15 to 20 seconds or until slightly warm and marshmallow starts to melt.

TURKISH TAFFY: National Taffy Day

Today is National Taffy Day. I haven't made taffy since I was a child, and then it was with my Aunt Annie. She was an inspiration for all things foodie, woodsy, gardening, and crafty, so this was a natural. She'd gather all the cousins, and we would make and pull taffy.

At the same time, I wasn't adverse to store bought taffy. It was a treat, really. There was a penny candy store I used to stop at after lunch (yes, we went home for lunch at my first elementary school) and buy a penny or two worth of candy. One of my favorites, and I think it may have cost a nickel, was Bonomo's Chocolate Turkish Taffy. My favorite was Banana, but I also liked CHOCOLATE. You can buy Bonomo's Turkish Taffy online, although the price is more like a dollar. Times change.

Invented in Coney Island in the 1940s by Victor Bonomo, Bonomo's Turkish Taffy is a mixture of corn syrup and egg whites that are cooked, then baked. It's a hard taffy-like bar that you hit on the surface and eat the smaller broken pieces--or if you're like me--you just suck the whole thing into a sticky mess.  

FYI: Bonomo's Turkish Taffy is neither Turkish nor Taffy, but a kind of nougat, although Bonomo was a Sephardic Jew who traced his ancestry to Turkey. Bonomo died in 1999 at his home in Bal Harbour at the age of 100. He sold the company 40 years ago. It changed hands a few times becoming part of Tootsie Roll Industries of Chicago, which stopped making the candy in 1989, but it was revived in 2010 and is now available in vanilla, chocolate, strawberry and banana. This is truly a retro candy! Read more of the history at Old Time Candy.

So without a chocolate taffy recipe of my own, I went to Alton Brown on the Food Network, of course. Knew he'd have one. Love to hear if you make this one---or if you have a taffy recipe of your own.


2 cups sugar
2/3 cup Dutch process cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon water
1 tsp white vinegar
1 1/2 Tbsp butter, plus additional for greasing pan and hands

In heavy medium saucepan, combine sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Stir until thoroughly combined. Add corn syrup, water, and vinegar to pan and place over medium heat. Stir until sugar and cocoa dissolve, raise heat to high and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to low, clip candy thermometer to side of pan and cook until mixture reaches 260 degrees F. Remove pan from heat, add the butter and stir. Butter edges of sheet pan, line with silicone baking sheet and pour on taffy. Allow to cool until you are able to handle it.

Once you are able to handle the taffy, don vinyl gloves, butter them, and begin to fold taffy in thirds using the silicone mat. Pick up taffy and begin to pull folding the taffy back on itself repeatedly twisting as you go. Taffy is done when it lightens in color, takes on a sheen, and becomes too hard to pull. Roll into log, cut into fourths, roll each fourth into a 1-inch wide log, and cut into 1-inch pieces. Making sure to keep pieces separated or they will stick to each other. Wrap individual pieces of candy in waxed paper. Store in airtight container 3 to 5 days.

And, for your viewing pleasure, a Bonomo Turkish Taffy TV Ad from the 1950s