Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Toasted Marshmallow Flourless Chocolate Cake: Toasted Marshmallow Day

Today is National Toasted Marshmallow Day, and, of course, you can make S'mores--and all the variations thereof. Here's a link to a S'mores Round-up on National S'mores Day that I posted last year. I've added lots of other Smores recipes since then.. but it's a start.

But how about something other than Smores? Something easy and great for the Gluten-Free Folks? The following Flourless Chocolate Cake with Toasted Marshmallow Topping is fabulous!

You can use your favorite flourless chocolate cake recipe or try this easy Flourless Chocolate Cake recipe. For the Marshmallows, I recommend using high quality marshmallows or making your own. Here's a link to Michael Recchiuti's Marshmallow recipe. If you only have 'regular' marshmallows, that will work, too.

Toasted Marshmallow Flourless Chocolate Cake

Ingredients 
8 ounces dark chocolate 70-75% cacoa
1 cup sweet butter
1-1/2 cup sugar
6 large eggs (room temperature)
3/4 cup unsweetened DARK cocoa
25 marshmallows 

Directions
Preheat oven to 375°F
Butter 10-inch spring form round baking pan. Line bottom with buttered wax paper.
Break chocolate into pieces.
In double boiler or metal bowl over saucepan of simmering water, melt chocolate with butter, stirring, until smooth.
Remove top of double boiler or bowl from heat and whisk sugar into chocolate mixture.
Add eggs and whisk well.
Sift cocoa over chocolate mixture and whisk until just combined.
Pour batter into pan and bake in middle of oven 35-40 minutes, or until top has formed thin crust and toothpick comes out moist but not wet.
Cool cake in pan on a rack 10 minutes.
Remove springform sides. Leave cake on bottom of pan.
Put cake (still on springform base) on cookie sheet.
Top with marshmallows while still warm (leave an inch around edge free - they spread).
Put cake back in oven at 375 for 5 minutes--until marshmallows are 'toasted'.
Remove from oven.
If they're not toasted enough, use mini-torch (one of my favorite kitchen tools) to toast.
Cool on rack.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Milky Way Brownies: Back to School

I like this Retro Milky Way Ad. Students don't really look like this anymore (nor do the Milky Way bars), but it got me thinking about school days. My friend Donna always had Milky Way bars in her freezer, and I'd stop by her house on the way to school and have one. Her mother never minded! I frozen Milky Way Bars. When we were older, Donna and I got a ride to high school with a neighbor. While we waited for him, we availed ourselves of the Milky Way bars on his family's coffee table! Maybe this wasn't particularly healthy, but it was a delicious way to start the day!

Now, I buy miniature Milky Way bars to give out at Halloween. We don't get many kids where I live, so I put the 'extras'  (that would be all of them) in the freezer. How to use them up? In Brownies, of course. And, these two recipes for Milky Way Brownies are great for back to school! One's for home, and the other's for a crowd!


1. EASY MILKY WAY BROWNIES!

Make your favorite Brownie Mix (I like Ghirardelli), following directions by adding the 1/3 cup vegetable oil, 1 egg, and 1/3 cup water. At 20 minutes into the baking (350F), put about 7 ounces of chopped up miniature Milky Way Bars or Milky Way Bites on top. Bake another 20 minutes. Oh yum! Gooey back to school love!

2. MILKY WAY BROWNIES FOR A CROWD!

Have a crowd coming over after school? Baking for the college crowd? Want to make a batch of Milky Way Brownies from scratch? This recipe is the Bees Knees! Love the Vintage Ad above!

Ingredients: 
1 pound sweet butter, cut into pieces
1 pound dark chocolate (70% cacao), chopped
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate (or very dark - 90%), chopped
2 Tbsp instant espresso powder
7 large eggs
2 Tbsp Madagascar vanilla
2 1/4 cups granulated white sugar
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
12 ounces miniature Milky Way bars, chopped
2 Milky Way Bars, sliced

Directions: 
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour 12x18x1-inch pan. Line with foil that hangs over sides (butter the parchment). This makes it easier to get brownies out.
In metal bowl or saucepan over saucepan of simmering water, heat butter and chocolate until melted and smooth; cool slightly.
In large bowl, whisk together eggs, espresso powder, vanilla, and sugar. Stir egg mixture into slightly cooled chocolate mixture. Cool to room temperature.
In medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt, then add to batter. Stir chopped mini Milky Way bars into chocolate mixture. Then pour into prepared baking pan and smooth top with rubber spatula.
Place slices of full-size Milky Way Bar on top of brownie batter.
Bake 25 to 35 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Do not overbake!
Let cool completely, then cover tightly and chill overnight. These are very gooey, so be sure to chill if you want to cut them!


Sunday, August 28, 2016

Dark Chocolate Pudding with Strawberry Roses

Photo: Driscoll's
The other day I was at a food event and one of the caterers served chocolate pudding, decorated with fresh strawberries. I was going to ask for the recipe when I remembered that Driscoll's, my favorite berry people, had posted a wonderful Dark Chocolate Pudding recipe with Strawberry Roses. Being a rose aficiando (I have over 130 rose bushes in my garden), I meant to re-post this earlier. The technique for creating strawberry roses is awesome and easy. It really elevates the chocolate pudding both in beauty and taste.

I recently made these Strawberry Roses to put on top of Strawberry Short Cake. So there are all kinds of uses. Here's the recipe and instructions for Dark Chocolate Pudding with Strawberry Roses.

DARK CHOCOLATE PUDDING WITH STRAWBERRY ROSES

Pudding 
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
2 cups whole milk
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
Pinch salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Topping
1 package Driscoll's Strawberries (16 ounces)
8 fresh mint leaves

Directions

Pudding
Melt Chocolate.
Whisk together 1/2 cup milk and cornstarch.
Bring remaining 1- 1/2 cups milk, sugar, cocoa, and salt just to a simmer over medium heat. Stir cornstarch mixture then add to milk mixture in saucepan and bring to boil, whisking constantly. Cook 1 minute.
Remove from heat and stir in melted chocolate and vanilla.
Spoon into 4 glasses.
Cover surface directly with plastic wrap to prevent skin from forming. Chill.

Topping 
Before serving, hull 16 strawberries by removing the green calyx.
Take 4 strawberries and cut top off of strawberries. These strawberries will be used as the center for the roses.
For the remaining strawberries, slice into 1/8: sections to use for the rose petals.
Begin arranging sliced strawberries around pudding making sure ends of slices are facing out and extend slightly beyond rim of glass.
After first circle of strawberries is placed, begin making second circle of strawberries but position slightly more forward toward the center of glass.
Continue with third layer.
Once finished add cut strawberry to center and garnish with mint leaves.
Serve immediately.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Chiquita Banana, Carmen Miranda, & Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

I've always loved Chiquita Bananas, especially the logo with Chiquita and her Fruit Hat that was popularized by Carmen Miranda. There was something so foreign and exotic about Chiquita -- and Carmen Miranda.  I was so taken by all the Carmen Miranda Hollywood productions that when I was in Rio several years ago, I made a pilgrimage to Carmen Miranda's home on Avendida Rui Barbosa. Very fun!

So in honor of Carmen Miranda and for National Banana Lovers Day, here are two  recipes for Banana Bread. These are from Chiquita Bananas. I added chocolate chunks to both of the following recipes because I love chocolate and bananas. You can also add nuts. The second recipe is gluten free! Be sure to scroll down to Carmen Miranda in the" Tutti Frutti Hat" Here's the 1950s "Chiquita Banana" song!

THE CHIQUITA BANANA SONG



Best Chiquita Banana Bread
adapted from Chiquita Bananas

Ingredients
4 whole Chiquita Bananas
1 cup All-purpose flour
1 cup Unprocessed wheat bran
1 1/2 tsp Baking soda
1/2 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Brown sugar
3/4 cup Dark Chocolate, chopped (or chocolate chips)
1 cup Unsalted butter, soft
2 whole Eggs
1 tsp Madegascar Vanilla extract
1/2 cup Walnuts
1 Tbsp Local Honey

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease large 9x5 inch loaf pan.
Whip 2 Chiquita Bananas and sugars until mix is creamy (about 3 minutes).
Add butter, eggs, and vanilla and whip until smooth.
Mix in all dry ingredients until blended.
Fold in walnuts and Chopped Chocolate (or chocolate chips).
Slice two Chiquita Bananas and toss with honey until Chiquita Bananas are well coated.
Pour mix in loaf pan and place honey coated bananas on top.
Bake in oven for 60 minutes.
Let cool for 5 minutes then place plate on top of pan and flip pan upside down so loaf falls onto plate.

Gluten Free Banana Bread 
with Chocolate Chunks
adapted from Chiquita Banana Bread, recipe idea Alisa Bennett

Ingredients
3 large Chiquita bananas
3 large Eggs
1/4 cup Coconut oil (melted)
1 Tbsp Vanilla extract
2 cups Almond meal
2 Tbsp. Coconut flour
1 tsp Baking soda
1/4 tsp Salt
1/2 cup chopped Walnuts
1/2 cup dark chocolate, chopped into chunks

Instructions
Puree egg, oil, vanilla, and bananas in blender.
In separate bowl, blend dry ingredients.
Add banana and egg mixture to dry ingredients and mix well.
Fold in chopped walnuts and chopped chocolate.
Pour batter into a greased loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees F for 50-55 minutes.

"THE LADY IN THE TUTTI-FRUTTI HAT" from Busby Berkeley's Welcome to Banana Island