Friday, July 31, 2009

Chocolate Bourbon Popsicles

My friend Marty Appel sent me a copy of the latest Fine Cooking eLetter with an easy adults-only treat: Bittersweet Chocolate-Bourbon Pops. What could be better on a hot day? Of course, you can always make these Popsicles without the Bourbon.

Bittersweet Chocolate Bourbon Popsicles

1/2 cup granulated sugar
3-1/2 oz. bittersweet chocolate (70% - 72%), chopped
2 Tbs. Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/8 tsp. table salt
2 Tbs. good-quality bourbon (like Knob Creek)

Put the sugar, chocolate, cocoa powder, salt, and 2 cups water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. Transfer to a 4-cup glass measure (or any container with a spout for easy pouring). Let cool at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Stir in the bourbon and divide the mixture among eight 3-oz. pop molds or wax-lined paper cups. Freeze until just set, about 3 hours. Insert craft sticks and freeze until completely set, about 4 hours more. When ready to serve, unmold or peel off the paper cups.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

National Cheesecake Day: July 30


Today is National Cheesecake Day. I've always loved cheesecake, and they're relatively easy to make if you have the right 'tools'. YumSugar tells you what you'll need and how to do it. Great tips.

Two styles of cheesecake: New York Style or Philadelphia? I'm from Philadelphia, and for some reason I've always preferred New York style. Guess I didn't know the differences when I lived there. New York style cheesecake is heavy and rich and features cream cheese, heavy cream, and other fattening ingredients. Philadelphia style is generally considered to be creamier and lighter than New York style cheesecake, but also has lots of fattening ingredients. So if you're thinking of celebrating today, you're warned that it's not on anyone's diet.

No time to cook? Junior's sends its famous New York cheesecakes in a 'stay-fresh container'.

Being that this is a chocolate blog, I have a recipe for Chocolate Chip Cheesecake that you'll love. It's from Diana Rattray at About.com.

Here's a delicious easy chocolate chip cheesecake with a chocolate wafer cookie crumb crust.

Ingredients:
1 1/4 cups chocolate wafer cookie crumbs
1/3 cup melted butter
24 ounces cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups miniature semisweet chocolate chips, divided
1/2 cup whipping cream

Preparation:
Combine chocolate cookie crumbs and butter, stirring well. Firmly press mixture evenly over the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake at 350° for 5 minutes.

Beat cream cheese at high speed of an electric hand-held mixer until light and fluffy; gradually add sugar, beating well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Stir in vanilla and 2/3 cup chocolate chips. Pour mixture into crust. Bake at 350° for 40 minutes; turn oven off and leave oven door ajar.

Leave cheesecake in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool a on a wire rack. Cover cheesecake, refrigerate, and chill 8 hours.

If you want for topping: Melt remaining 2/3 cup chocolate chips in top of double boiler; gradually stir in whipping cream. Stir over low heat until thickened and smooth. Remove from heat and spread over cheesecake. Chill thoroughly.

Want a variation? Make an oreo cookie pie crust.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

National Milk Chocolate Day

Today is National Milk Chocolate Day--not to be confused with Chocolate Milk Day. A holiday is a reason to celebrate. But, let's face it. Who needs a holiday to eat chocolate?

Milk chocolate contains cacao, cocoa butter, vanilla, milk solids and lecithin. It must contain at least 10% cacao (chocolate liquor), 3.7% milk fats, and 12% milk solids to be considered milk chocolate by the FDA. Like all chocolate, the quality varies from brand to brand. The better brands usually contain a higher percentage of cacao.

European milk chocolate usually contains condensed milk, but American and British milk chocolate contains a milk/sugar combination. Milk chocolate is heat sensitive because of its high sugar content, and should never be substituted for semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate in recipes.

Dark Milk Chocolate Bars. I know this may seem weird, but several companies make milk chocolate bars that contain a higher amount of cacao and are considered Dark Milk Chocolate Bars. Bars with 40% or more cacao are known as 'dark' milk chocolate. They look darker and taste more chocolaty, but they are still milky. I think you have to eat one to understand. These are usually the ones I like best.

Valrhona has Jivara, Scharffen Berger has one, Plantations has one (38%) and Michel Cluizel's Mangaro Lait is 45%. There are also several single origin dark milk chocolate bars from Cluizel and Bonnat--and others. My favorite, though, is Amano. They won the Best Milk Chocolate Bar at the San Francisco Chocolate Salon.

I confess I'm not a big fan of milk chocolate, so I'm partial to the Dark Milk Chocolate Bars, but every once in awhile I just love a Hershey's Milk Chocolate Bar. I guess I'll have to try a few more milk chocolate bars before National Milk Chocolate Day rolls around again.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Wanted: Volunteers to Eat Chocolate Every Day

Now here's my idea of a dream job: Volunteers needed to eat chocolate every day.

Researchers studying the potential health benefits of dark chocolate at UEA in Norwich, Norfolk, need 40 women to test specially made bars.

But there's a catch. Isn't there always? Participants must be post-menopausal and have type 2 diabetes to help see whether flavonoid compounds in chocolate can reduce the risk of heart disease.

O.K, I don't qualify, but I'll be waiting to learn the results on this test.

To read the entire article, go here.

The chocolate is made by a Belgian chocolatier and is said to have a bitter taste. High in cacao content? I'll have to find out more. In terms of diabetes, this seems to be right up there with the camel milk chocolate.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Camel Milk Chocolate

O.K. You know about milk used in chocolate making. I'm not talking milk chocolate, here, but milk, primarily from cow's and sometimes from sheep or goats--but rarely in chocolate making. But now there's camel's milk. The world's first camel's milk chocolate will be available in the U.S. soon said a spokesperson for Al Nassma, the maker of camel's milk chocolate.

In the UK it will be sold at Harrods and in the US at Chocolate Covered, one of my favorite chocolate stores. It will also be available online. The first markets will be Saudi Arabia, followed by Bahrain, Qatar, and Kuwait. Al Nassma is also looking at the Japanese market.

Camels' milk is seen to be healthier than cows' milk since it contains 5x more vitamin C, less fat, less lactose and more insulin. Doesn't that open up a lot of possibilities.

One hundred tons of chocolate will be produced a year in partnership with Austrian chocolate maker Manner. Al Nassma manufactures the end product in Dubai. All chocolates are produced without preservatives or chemical additives with a range of locally popular spices, nuts and honey.

3000 camels in Dubai produce the milk, but how many can go through the eye of a needle?

Friday, July 24, 2009

National Tequila Day - Chocolate Tequila Mousse

Today is National Tequila Day. Yes, tequila is made mostly in Mexico, near the city of Tequila, where you’ll find blue agave, the plant that gives tequila its distinctive flavor, but America is still very much a nation of tequila drinkers, especially in California. So how to celebrate?

Around Cinco de Mayo I did several blogs about Mexican foods including chocolate, and I included an entry on Tanteo's Chocolate-Infused Tequila. It's absolutely fabulous. It's made with 100% agave blanco tequila and infused with cocoa beans and jalapeno. It works. There's a real earthy flavor and the chocolate goes well with the agave. Of course the extra kick from the jalapeno works for me. This is not a sweet syrupy drink.

O.K. so now you have something to drink, but what to eat to celebrate the day?
I found a wonderful Chocolate Tequila Mousse recipe by Ingrid Hoffman on the Food Network website.

Ingredients
6 ounces semisweet chocolate
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 cup heavy cream, cold
2 large egg yolks
1 ounce tequila
1 bar semisweet chocolate (use a high quality dark chocolate 70% or more)
Fresh mint, for garnish

Directions
1. Put the semisweet chocolate in a large bowl and place in the microwave. Microwave on high for 1 minute, give the chocolate a stir, then microwave for another 30 seconds until completely melted. Set aside.
2. In clean bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer at high speed until it holds medium peaks. Set aside.
3. In a chilled clean bowl, beat the cream with an electric mixer at high speed until it holds medium peaks.
4. Mix the yolks and tequila into the melted chocolate. Fold in 1/3 of the egg whites first to lighten the mixture, add the remaining 2/3 of the egg whites and fold gently to keep the air in the beaten egg whites. Add the whipped cream and fold in gently, taking care not to over mix.
5. Spoon the mousse into 4 martini glasses. Using a vegetable peeler, shave chocolate on top of the mousse. Garnish with mint. Chill for at least 1 hour or up to a day ahead.

*RAW EGG WARNING Food Network Kitchens suggests caution in consuming raw and lightly-cooked eggs due to the slight risk of Salmonella or other food-borne illness. To reduce this risk, we recommend you use only fresh, properly-refrigerated, clean, grade A or AA eggs with intact shells, and avoid contact between the yolks or whites and the shell.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Chocolate Bread and Butter Pudding

The three main food groups for me are chocolate, bread and butter, so what could be better than a Chocolate Bread and Butter Pudding. A bread and butter pudding is an easy way to use stale bread, but fresh will work, too. There's never stale bread at my house.

Basically you make a custard and then add brioche or challah. You can use other breads, but I'm sticking with the good eggy breads for this recipe. Cover the bottom of baking dish with chopped dark chocolate. O.K. that's always here at DyingforChocolate. Slice and butter the bread. Tear into pieces and put on top of chocolate. Sprinkle more chocolate on top and pour custard over the whole thing. Bake in a water bath for about an hour. So easy! It looks great and tastes divine!

Ingredients:
Butter (for the baking dish)
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 slices challah or other soft, rich bread (crusts removed), cut 1/2 inch thick
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup or so of broken dark chocolate pieces (70% or higher)

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch square baking dish.
2. In a large bowl, whisk eggs, egg yolks, and brown sugar. Add cream, milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt, whisking well to combine them.
3. Spread one side of bread with softened butter. Tear bread into smaller pieces.
4. Sprinkle the chocolate over bottom of baking dish. Arrange bread, buttered sides up, on the chocolate. Be sure and overlap pieces. Sprinkle more chocolate on the bread. Pour the custard into the dish. With a rubber spatula, press the mixture so the bread soaks up the liquids.
5. Set the dish in a roasting pan. Pour warm tap water into roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the baking dish.
6. Bake pudding for 1 hour or until the custard is set and bread is puffy and slightly brown. Let pudding cool for 15 minutes.

Optional: Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar. Serve with plain, whipped or clotted cream.

The proof is in the pudding!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Hershey's WWII chocolate

I did a little more research--Wikipedia-- on the WWII Hershey chocolate bar I found in the research vessel:

"When provided as a morale boost or care package, military chocolate is often no different from normal store-bought bars in taste and composition. However, they are frequently packaged or molded differently. The World War II K ration issued in temperate climates sometimes included a bar of Hershey's commercial-formula sweet chocolate. But instead of being the typical flat thin bar, the K ration chocolate was a thick rectangular bar that was square at each end (in tropical regions, the K ration used Hershey's Tropical Bar formula)." Yep, that's what I found and tasted.

"When provided as an emergency field ration, military chocolate was very different from normal bars. Since it was provided as a quick emergency food source, officials initially outlined that it should not be a tempting treat that troops might eat before they needed it. But even as attempts to improve the flavor were made, the heat-resistant chocolate bars never received rave reviews. Emergency ration chocolate bars were made to be high in energy value, be easy to carry and to withstand high temperatures. Withstanding high temperatures was extremely important, since infantrymen would be outdoors, sometimes in tropical or desert conditions, with the bars in their pockets against their bodies. These conditions would make any normal chocolate bar melt within minutes."

What about the taste? I imagine it tasted great to the military personnel.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Low-Calorie, No-Melt Chocolate

How could I have a Chocolate Blog and not mention Callebaut's new low-calorie, no-melt chocolate. Vulcano is the internal code name for this new product by Swiss chocolate manufacturer (dare I say chocolatier?). It's all very top secret, and I'm a little curious about how they did it, but really, who wants to eat chocolate that doesn't melt? There's something wrong here.

This product was developed by an international team of food engineers (key word: food engineer), and has 90% fewer calories than the average chocolate product. It is also heat-resistant to temperatures of up to 55C (131F). Most chocolate starts to melt at 30 degrees C. Not surprisingly, the company aims to target calorie-conscious European and US markets as well as emerging markets in Asia and Africa where high temperatures hinder the spread of chocolate.

"It's called Vulcano because it can be eaten when it's hot [outside], and it's airy and full of bubbles, like volcanic rock," said Gaby Tschofen, a spokeswoman for Barry Callebaut, which annually makes 1.1m tons of cocoa and chocolate-based products for customers around the world, including Cadburys and Nestlé. WARNING!!

Maybe low calorie is good, but really, no melt? Is there any cocoa butter left in the chocolate? What about the taste?

Food engineer Simone Cantz told Swiss television, "Suddenly we realised we'd produced a very special chocolate, of a crispy, light consistency, like an airy foam, and we thought let's see if we can develop this further." Tschofen said she could not give away Vulcano's recipe, but she had tried it also, "It's nice and chocolatey, with a strong aroma, and crispy rather than creamy.

Does this sound like something you want to try? Call me a sceptic, but I eat chocolate because it is rich and creamy and, well, fabulous. I'm not much for 'airy foam.'

Callebaut says, "It does melt in the mouth, but it is the enzymes in saliva rather than the heat of the tongue that causes it to dissolve." I love chocolate that is already a little warm when I eat it. And, as far as volcanos go, I like them in Hawaii and in my own volcano chocolate cake, using real chocolate.

FYI: Hershey experimented with a melt-proof chocolate during WWII. The article I read said it didn't go into production commercially, but I have tasted it. Yes, some 30 years or so after the war, I was living on an old de-commissioned WWII research vessel, and we found army (navy?) rations. I don't know enough about the kind of rations they were (C?), but there was a Hershey bar in each package. Not your usual Hershey bar, but a small squat bar that tasted, sorry Hershey's, like a mix between chalk and baker's chocolate. O.K. it was really, really old. Maybe it tasted better when it was first made. Maybe. It certainly had a long shelf-life.

What's the shelf-life on this new Callebaut chocolate? Too long for my taste.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Chocolate Crockpot Cake


A few months ago I blogged about Cake in a Mug. How simple was that? But suppose you're having company, and you need--want?-- more. This recipe for Cake in a Crockpot is simple and easy--but not fast. But... you can put the ingredients in the crockpot in the morning, set the time, and come back to an incredibly delicious moist rich chocolate cake.

CROCK POT CHOCOLATE CAKE
1 pkg dark chocolate cake mix
8 oz sour cream
1 pkg chocolate pudding (instant or cooked)
1 cup or 8 oz chocolate chips (or broken chocolate bits/I put in more, but I'm a chocoholic)
4 eggs
3/4 cup oil
1 cup water

Mix all ingredients together. Pour into lightly greased crock pot. Cover.
Cook 3-4 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low.
Serve with whipped cream or ice-cream!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Chocolate Sponge Cake

One of my friends asked for a Chocolate Sponge Cake recipe that might go well in the Black Forest Trifle from Cerapeno that I blogged about yesterday. Here's one from Cooks.com that's incredibly easy. Remember to let the eggs warm to room temperature.

Chocolate Sponge Cake

7 eggs, separated
2/3 c. plus 2 tbsp. sugar
Pinch of salt
2 tsp. vanilla
1/3 c. plus 2 tbsp. sifted cocoa (really good quality dark cocoa)*

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line jelly roll pan or cookie sheet with sides (or 2 cake pans) with foil, overlapping the ends. Grease and flour foil.

Beat egg yolks and 2/3 cup sugar until thick and tripled in volume. Beat in vanilla. In clean, large bowl beat egg whites until foamy; add remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and pinch of salt. Beat until stiff peaks form.

Fold 1/3 of whites into yolks to lighten. Sift cocoa over top of this mixture and fold in gently. Fold in remaining whites.

Spread in prepared pan and bake 15 minutes. (until cake springs back when touched).

You can use a chocolate sponge in just about anything.. all kinds of ways.. cut it into shapes, layer it, or just eat it, but try using it in the Black Forest Trifle or a Trifle of your own making!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Black Forest Trifle

If you haven't been following Cherapeno, you need to start.

Yesterday Nicisme posted a simple recipe she calls Black Forest Trifle. She layers chocolate ganache, chocolate sponge cake, fresh cherries marinated in kirsh (the juice and liqueur poured over the cake), and tops the trifle with whipped cream--you can also add grated chocolate. What could be easier and better. Luckily fresh cherries are in abundance here in Berkeley. Are they near you?

I really love a good trifle, and this recipe is terrific!

Be sure and check out the terrific photos on her site. Photo by Nic with her permission.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Seattle Int'l Chocolate Salon Awards


The Second Annual Seattle Chocolate Salon Awards were selected Sunday a team of expert panelists. This year’s Taste TV again sponsored the Seattle Luxury Chocolate Salon. A variety of chocolatiers from throughout the US, including many locals, had products on display and available for sampling. Chocolate making is a fascinating process limited only by the skill, imagination and access to raw materials available to the maker, and that was apparent at this event.

Sample Chocolate Salon Awards

Best Dark Chocolate: Amano Artisan Chocolate
Best Truffle: Suess Chocolates
Most Artistic Designs: William Dean Chocolates
Best Flavored Chocolate: Posh Chocolat
Best Flavored Chocolate Bar: Divine Chocolate
New Product Award: Amano Artisan Chocolate / Posh Chocolat / Marco Polo Designs' Chocolate Jewelry

For the complete awards, go here.

Next up is the LA. International Chocolate Salon in October. San Francisco has its Chocolate Salon in March, and I'll be there! I was a judge this past year, and I hope to be again!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Chocolate Raspberry Beer Brownies with Truffle Ganache


I've had several recipes for chocolate and beer brownies, but I came across this recipe in examiner.com yesterday, and I think it looks fabulous. I need to find raspberry beer. Don't think I'll have a lot of problem finding it since I live the Bay Area-lots of microbreweries and lots of stores that stock unique beers.

I found this recipe on Lisa Cason's Kansas City Baking Examiner
but the recipe is from Emily, the author of the Visions of Sugar Plum blog. She gave me permission to reprint it here. Her Blog is awesome, so be sure and check it out.

Belgian Raspberry Beer Brownies with Truffle Ganache (Recipe By Emiline)

Ingredients:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup raspberry beer
1/4 cup seedless raspberry preserves
5 ounces coarsely chopped bittersweet chocolate
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup dark cocoa powder (Hershey's Special Dark)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Ganache:
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
5 ounces coarsely chopped dark chocolate truffles (Lindt)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line an 11x8-inch baking dish with foil; coat with cooking spray.

Melt 1/2 cup butter in a small saucepan over medium heat; stir in beer and raspberry preserves. When mixture is hot, and starts to bubble, turn heat off, and stir in bittersweet chocolate, until melted, and well combined; set aside.

In a medium sized mixing bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, and salt.
In a large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer on high speed, beat together granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla, for 3 minutes.
Reduce mixer speed to low, and beat in melted chocolate mixture, until well combined.
Stir in flour mixture, until just combined.
Scrape batter into prepared dish,
Bake at 375 degrees F, for 20-25 minutes, or until set.
Plunge dish into a larger baking dish, filled with ice water, until brownies are cool.

To make the ganache, melt 1 tablespoon butter, in a small saucepan set over medium heat; stir in cream. When mixture starts to bubble, reduce heat to low, and stir in chopped truffles, until melted, and smooth. Pour ganache over brownies, and smooth the surface, using a rubber spatula.
Freeze the brownies until ganache is set, about 15 minutes. Lift the foil-lined brownies out of dish, and slice into bars, using a sharp knife.

Yield: 14 brownies

Check out Emily's: Chocolate-Hazelnut Cake with Raspberry Preserves & Chocolate Ganache

Positively Sinful!

Photo: Lisa Cason

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Bastille Day: Chocolate Souffle


Bastille Day: I suppose I should have a recipe for chocolate cake today. Let Them Eat Cake! and all, but I was thinking about France. Yes, that I'm not there, but having gotten over that, I thought what what would be more French than a Chocolate Soufflé? Here's a very easy recipe for Chocolate Soufflé that you can whip up for dinner. It won't be as high as most souffles, but it's fast and easy--and delicious.

Chocolate Soufflé adapted from Bon Appetit.



4 tbsp unsalted butter
10 ounces + bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup unsalted butter
5 large eggs, separated
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Preparation

Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter eight 3/4-cup ramekins or custard cups; coat ramekins or cups with sugar, tapping out excess sugar. Stir chopped chocolate and butter in large metal bowl set over saucepan of simmering water until mixture is melted and smooth. Remove chocolate mixture from heat; cool slightly.

Using electric mixer, beat egg yolks, 1/3 cup sugar, and cocoa powder in medium bowl until thick ribbons of mixture form, about 3 minutes. Gently fold into chocolate mixture. Using electric mixer with clean dry beaters, beat egg whites in medium bowl until foamy. Add lemon juice to beaten egg whites and beat until soft peaks form. Fold into chocolate mixture in 3 separate additions. Divide among prepared ramekins.

Bake soufflés until puffed above edges but still soft in center, about 18 minutes. Dust with powdered sugar and serve immediately.

I know there’s no vanilla in this--or Grand Marnier. Sorry. I have a much more complicated recipe that calls for vanilla—and a lot more egg whites, but this is easy and works!

Viva La France!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Chocolate Chip Scones


I don't think I've given a recipe for Scones on Dying for Chocolate. One that I really like and that I've been making for years is from Biscuits & Scones: 62 Recipes from Breakfast Biscuits to Homey Desserts by Elizabeth Alston (1988). The Chocolate Chip Scone recipe is from Plum's in NYC, developed by Kevin O'Brien (Don't know if Plum's is still there). Over the years I've changed a few things such as using broken pieces of chocolate instead of chocolate chips and using a little less sugar. I mostly use buttermilk, but the original recipe says you can use plain yogurt. I've used Greek yogurt.

Chocolate Chip Scones

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
12/ pound unsalted butter (room temp)
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp granulated sugar (I only use a 1/4 cup)
3 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt (I like buttermilk but Greek yogurt gives a nice tang)
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips (I now use broken pieces of high quality dark chocolate)

Mix flour and baking powder in a bowl. In large bowl of electric mixer, beat butter on high until creamy. Add sugar and beat 3 to 5 minutes until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each.
Scrape sides of bowl; reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture; mix only until blended. Remove the bowl from the machine. Sprinkle chocolate pieces (or chips) over the batter and fold in.
Scoop 1/3 cupfuls of dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet, placing the mounds about 2 inches apart. (I use an ice-cream scoop)
Loosely cover dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate about 45 minutes (or freeze, and when hard, remove to a plastic bag and freeze for up to 6 weeks)
Heat oven to 350. Uncover scones and bake 15 minutes. Turn heat down to 325 and bake about 13 minutes longer, or until pale golden brown. Cool, uncovered on wire rack.

And, yes, you can add nuts to this scone recipe. I've used pieces of walnuts.
These scones go well with clotted cream.

Have a recipe for chocolate related scones? Send a comment with a link.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

National Pecan Pie Day

Another day, another holiday. Today is National Pecan Pie Day. August 20 is National Chocolate Pecan Day. And, on Derby Day, I featured several variations on Derby Pie. Here's my friend
Janet Appel's personal recipe. Leave it to someone from Kentucky to have the 'real' thing.

BOURBON CHOCOLATE PECAN PIE
(Originally called Derby Pie)

FROM ENTERTAINING THE LOUISVILLE WAY-QUEEN’S DAUGHTERS 1969

1 stick melted butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup white corn syrup
4 eggs beaten
1 tablespoon Wild Turkey Bourbon
1 cup whole pecans
½ cup chocolate chips

1-9 or 10 inch unbaked pie shell

Mix the above ingredients and pour into the pie shell. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes until fairly firm at 350 degrees. Let cool and set up before serving. Garnish with sweetened whipped cream. Serves 6 to 8.

Notes: We soak the pecans in bourbon over night and use a jigger of bourbon. We still add the tablespoon of bourbon to the mixture. White corn syrup is Karo.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

National Blueberry Muffin Day: Chocolate Blueberry Muffins

I'm a major blueberry person from way back, even before I knew they were healthy with antioxidants and flavonoids and vitamins. I grew up back East, and when we went to the 'country', my Aunt Annie used to take us blueberry hunting in the woods. It was great fun. We'd all come back with blue-stained hands and mouths. Those blueberries were small and juicy and sweet as wild blueberries should be. I still crave blueberries, and I can't wait until they're in season. Local blueberries at the farmers' markets are in right now. I usually freeze my own blueberries, but in a pinch the wild blueberries from Trader Joe's are very tasty. Of course, I can get fresh blueberries all year round from other countries, but local is the way to go.

For National Blueberry Muffin Day, use fresh blueberries in these muffin recipes. I am partial to plain muffins with blueberries and chocolate chunks, so the first recipe is the one I use. But since this is a chocolate blog, I found a recipe for chocolate blueberry muffins. I haven't made that one, so let me know what you think if you do. It comes from a very reputable source.

Here's my recipe for Blueberry Chocolate Chunk Muffins. I like my muffins firm with a crusty top and soft inside--and not too sweet. I think you'll like these. I use a 1/2 cup of sugar, but if you want them a little sweeter use 3/4 cup.

Blueberry Chocolate Chunk Muffins


Ingredients
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup white sugar
pinch of salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup canola oil
1 large egg
1/3 cup whole milk
blueberries (maybe a cup?)
dark chocolate broken into pieces

Preheat oven to 400. Grease your muffin cups or use liners.
Combine flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Make a well in the center.
Put oil into a 1 cup measuring cup; add the egg (already whipped) and enough milk to fill the cup to the brim. Pour into the well and mix with flour mixture. Do not overmix.
Fold in blueberries and as much of the dark chocolate as you'd like. I like a lot, but you want to be able to taste the blueberries.
Fill the muffin cups right to the top.
Bake for 20-25 minutes in the preheated oven-- or until done.

So that's my favorite, but for those who want a chocolate muffin with blueberries, here's a recipe from Yankee Magazine. As I mentioned, I haven't tried it, but it looks easy and good.

Chocolate Blueberry Muffins (from Yankee Magazine)

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
3 squares (3 ounces) unsweetened chocolate
1 cup sugar (I'd probably use less)
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup fresh blueberries
2 squares (2 ounces) semisweet chocolate, melted

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a medium-size saucepan, melt the butter and unsweetened chocolate over medium heat until smooth. Remove from the heat and cool slightly. Stir in the sugar, egg, buttermilk, and vanilla. In a small bowl, combine the flour and baking soda. Gently mix with the liquid ingredients. Fold in the blueberries. Spoon the batter into well-greased muffin cups, filling to the top. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer the muffins to a wire rack to cool. Drizzle the cooled muffins with the semisweet chocolate.

Have a great Blueberry Muffin Day--make it Chocolate!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Chocolate Bunny Wars


I saw a hare today, and it got me remembering that I didn't report on the Chocolate Bunny Wars (Great title for a mystery!). In June the European Court of Justice handed back to Austria a long-running dispute between Swiss chocolate maker Lindt and Sprungli, maker of gold-wrapped Easter bunnies since the 1950s, and Austrian chocolate company Hauswirth.

Lindt trademarked its design-a Golden Easter bunny with a red ribbon around its neck (see the exclusive Harrod's bunny on the left) in 2000, and in 2004 took action action against Hauswirth claiming that its rival rabbit (lower right) was an infringement. Hauswirth also makes golden bunnies with red ribbons around their necks, and they questioned whether the Lindt trademark is valid since chocolate bunnies have been on the market for decades. Lindt insists the Hauswirth bunny must change its colors. They suggested bronze wrapping instead of gold and a green ribbon instead of red.

The ECJ said in June that the matter hinges on whether a company knew others were producing similar products at the time it applied for a trademark. It is now for the Austrian courts to decide if Lindt's trademark was obtained in bad faith.

For more info, go here.

Personally I think the Lindt rabbit is better looking! Anyone want to comment on the chocolate?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Kisses! Kisses!


Hershey's Kisses celebrated its 102nd birthday Tuesday and who better to blog about the "Kiss" than Louise at Months of Edible Celebrations. Hershey's Kisses celebrated their centennial in 2007 and the USPS even issued a postage stamp. Check out Months of Edible Celebrations for fun facts, pictures and recipes.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Chocolate Band-aids


Let's face it, many of us count on Chocolate as a major First-Aid for lots of trying situations. I know, I do. So you can imagine how excited I was to come across this cool product.

Candy Blast, Inc. has developed a line of molded chocolate band-aids that they call Chocolate First Aid. So many uses. #1 eat and feel better, #2 add to a gift basket, #3 send to a sick friend.

After a previous supplier of chocolate band-aids discontinued their product, Candy Blast founder, Yvonne Marsh, developed her own line of chocolate band-aids for Candy Blast to use in their own get well themed candy gift baskets and candy bouquets.

“Chocolate First Aid, The Ouchless Cure for Life’s Little Hurts” can be purchased by consumers on the web site or by phone. Wholesale case pack pricing is available to qualified businesses.

What other uses do you see?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Easy Ice Cream Sandwiches

Easy Ice Cream Sandwiches

Strawberry Ice Cream Sandwich with Chocolate Cookies

Freeze 12 Big Chocolate chunky cookies (I use Pepperidge Farm Brownie cookies) that you've frozen at least a day ahead of time or some of your own chocolate fudgy cookies.
Lay out 6 of the cookies, flat side up.
Scoop strawberry ice cream (I like Ben & Jerry's Strawberry ice cream) onto the cookies.
Using a butter knife gently spread ice cream to the edge.
Layer fresh strawberries cut into small pieces onto the ice cream. (sometimes I use thick strawberry preserves if fresh aren't available)
Cover with another cookie, flat side down.
Press down lightly. Repeat with other cookies.
Spread chocolate chips or small pieces of broken chocolate on a plate.
Roll the sides of the sandwich in the chocolate chips until covered.
Wrap each sandwich and freeze.

Chocolate Banana Ice Cream Sandwich with Chocolate Cookies
I'm a big fan of chocolate and bananas. My particular favorite ice cream is banana with chocolate chunks and walnuts: Ben and Jerry's Chocolate Monkey (Fairtrade). Repeat as above, leaving the strawberries out and substituting the banana chocolate chunk ice cream.

Let's face it. Almost any good ice cream would work. Try Ben & Jerry's Chocolate Macadamia or Cherry Garcia or Mint Chocolate Chunk.

So none of this is really home-made, although you always have that option. These taste treats are fast, easy and delicious. The chocolate 'chips' I add are premium high end dark chocolate from the best chocolate makers! Really adds to the taste.

No photos. The last batch was eaten before I could find the camera or the phone.

Yum!!!

Monday, July 6, 2009

S'mores Brownies

Here's a really easy and fast recipe for Smores Brownies from About.com. You don't need to be outdoors, either. What could be easier?

Ingredients:
1 box chocolate fudge brownie mix
1/3 cup water
3 eggs
3 Tbsp. canola oil
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 Tbsp. butter, melted
2 cups miniature marshmallows

Preparation:
Be careful when topping the brownies with the graham cracker mixture and the marshmallows. The sides of the pan will be hot!
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9 x 13 pan with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Beat brownie mix, water, eggs and oil together, about 50 strokes.
3. Pour into prepared pan. Bake 10 minutes.
4. Mix together graham cracker crumbs and butter. Sprinkle evenly over brownies. Return to oven and bake 10-15 more minutes, until a toothpick inserted 2 inches from the side of the pan comes out nearly clean.
5. Turn on broiler or turn oven temperature up to broil. Sprinkle the marshmallows evenly over the brownies. Place brownies about 6 inches under the broiler, and toast marshmallows 1 to 2 minutes. Watch carefully! The marshmallows burn easily. Let cool 15 minutes before cutting.

You can add chocolate chips or pieces of chocolate into the brownie mix for extra chocolate!

Be sure and check out all the past S'mores recipes: S'mores Cupcakes, S'mores on the Grille, Chocolate Chip Cookie S'mores and easy Spicy S'mores.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

S'mores Cupcakes


Over the past few weeks, I've blogged about all kinds of S'mores. Chocolate Chip Cookie S'mores and a variation on S'mores to make in the microwave. and yesterday for Fourth of July S'mores on the Grille.

Now Eating Suburbia has a recipe for Deceptively Simple: Smores Cupcakes. Mrs. B gives a step by step quick and easy, straight-from-the pantry way of recreating smores in cupcake form in your own kitchen. No waiting for that trip to the cabin or the beach. Of course, you could do it all from scratch, but this is fun and there are so many variations.

The Three elements of S'mores: Graham Cracker, Chocolate, Marshmallow.

You can layer the ingredients with variations in the layering order until you get what tastes perfect to you. For the graham cracker portion, crush the graham crackers and use as a crust on the bottom of the cupcake. The chocolate is a boxed fudge brownie mix. Lots of choices on how to apply the marshmallow (after cupcakes have cooled)-either as icing, torched melted marshmallow, etc. You can also add chocolate chips for some added chocolate (or broken pieces of chocolate). And, of course, you can add part of a chocolate bar into the toasted marshmallow. Did I say rich?

For the complete recipe with measurements and instructions for the cupcakes and homemade marshmallow frosting, go to Eating Suburbia.

Photo: Eating Suburbia

Saturday, July 4, 2009

S'mores on the Grill


Today is the Fourth of July and National Barbecue Day! Lots of things to do on the Grill with Chocolate. My earlier post was for Bay Area Bites' Banana Boats on the Grill, but since I mentioned S'mores recently (Here and Here) what could be more American? We do a lot of grilling at our house, and how perfect is it to make dessert at the same time. S'mores it is!

Get out your aluminum foil, so you don't have chocolate and gooey marshmallow all over the grille.

This recipe is adapted from RecipeZaar.

Ingredients:
Heavy duty aluminum foil (cut in sheets about 8 x 12)
4 Graham Cracker Squares divided in half crossways
2 ( 1- 1/2 oz) Dark Chocolate high quality candy bars
4 large marshmallows


Directions
1. Top graham cracker square with one candy bar half, one marshmallow and another graham cracker square. Repeat for remaining grahams.
2. Center one s'more on each foil sheet
3. Wrap and seal to form four packets. Leave room for heat circulation inside packets
4. Grill, indirect heat, 4-5 minutes in covered grill (until marshmallows melt)
5. Open carefully and enjoy!

Banana Boats: More chocolate for 4th of July

Bay Area Bites (Stephanie Im) had a fabulous simple dessert the other day--great for the Fourth of July and any barbecue day! So simple, and kids can participate.

Banana Boats: This is a no-fuss dessert that can include chocolate or not. this is an "ooey gooey" dessert. Bay Area Bites thanks Bartender Bill from Orson for this treat!

Ingredients:
Bananas (As many as you need. Estimate 1 per person)
Chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, peanut butter chips, sweetened coconut (Or whatever other toppings you fancy.)
Foil

Preparation:
1. Choose your bananas. Ripened until perfectly spotted are sweeter.
2. Slit the banana lengthwise.
3. Stuff them with any combination of toppings you desire. Dark chocolate and butterscotch go well together.
4. Line your grill with foil, and place the bananas on top.
5. Grill with the cover on until toppings get melty and delicious.
6. Eat with a spoon.

Since I have so much dark chocolate around, I tried different chocolate in different bananas. Yowza, yowza. You're going to love this. So easy and soooo good!

Be sure to stop by Bay Area Bites: Culinary Rants & Raves from Bay Area Foodies & Professionals

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Fourth of July Chocolate!


If you read my blog, you know that I’m big on Chocolate for the Holidays. Well, the Fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays, so how could I not put together a few easy chocolate recipes? Let me know what you are making or if you have any special Fourth of July chocolate recipes to share.

What could be more American than Red Velvet Cake? Here’s a recipe from About.com for Red Velvet Cupcakes. Frost with cream cheese icing and add some red, white and blue sprinkles.
You can also use this recipe to make red velvet cake. Simply pour into greased 9-inch baking pans and bake 30 minutes.

Cupcake ingredients:
1/2 cup butter
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 oz. red food coloring (2 bottles)
2-1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. baking soda
1 Tbsp. white vinegar

Preparation:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin tins with cupcake liners.
2. With an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar together until creamy. Beat in eggs.
3. Stir cocoa powder into red food coloring, then add to the sugar mixture.
4. Stir flour and salt together in a small bowl. Add one-third of the flour mixture to the batter, then one-third of the buttermilk, and so on, alternating, until all is incorporated into the batter.
5. Dissolve the baking soda into the vinegar and add that to the batter.
6. Pour into prepared cupcake liners. Bake 18-22 minutes.
7. Frost with cream cheese frosting.
Cream cheese frosting with red, white & blue sprinkles is the perfect topping for these red velvet cupcakes, but maybe you have another idea?

STRAWBERRIES.

Easy Chocolate Covered Strawberries are perfect for the Fourth of July.

12 oz. chopped high quality dark chocolate (70% or more)
3 Tbsp. butter
1 quart fresh strawberries, washed and dried completely with a paper towel

Preparation:
1. Line a cookie sheet with waxed paper. You will place your chocolate covered strawberries on this sheet to cool.
2. Place chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe container. Heat on 50% power for 1 minute. Stir and continue heating on 50% power in 30-second increments until melted.
3. Holding the strawberry by the stem, dip in the chocolate mixture, then shake it a bit to get excess chocolate off, dip in sprinkles (if you're going for the red, white and blue), then lay on the waxed paper to harden. Refrigerate chocolate covered strawberries when finished.

White Chocolate Covered Strawberries

12 oz white baking chips or 2 cups of premium broken white chocolate bars
1 Tbsp butter
18 large strawberries with stems and/or leaves

Same directions, basically as above.
1. Cover cookie sheet with waxed paper. Heat white baking chips and 1 tablespoon shortening in 2-quart saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly, until chips are melted.
2. For each strawberry, grab by stem and dip three-fourths of the way into melted white chocolate leaving top of strawberry and leaves uncoated. Quickly (and gently) roll in red, white and blue sprinkles to coat all sides (optional).
3. Place on waxed paper-covered cookie sheet.

Helpful Hints for Chocolate Covered Strawberries
Make sure strawberries are well-dried, so the chocolate can adhere.
Make sure they're big and beautiful-they'll look better.
Use a the best-quality chocolate you can find.
Work quickly.

Here's a link to a great page on 4th of July Chocolate Strawberries and Cupcake Decorating Ideas.

And what could be more American than S'mores. Check out the S'mores recipes here and here on DyingforChocolate.com.

Need a good mystery to read on the Fourth of July? I have a list on Mystery Fanfare. Enjoy!

Have a Great Independence Day!!

Recchiuti & Creativity Explored


Recchiuti of San Francisco released a brand new collection of art-adorned chocolates. This is the third in the Creativity Explored series featuring the work of Vincent Jackson, Bay Arae artist and long-time CE studio contributor.

Pieces of Burnt Caramel chocolate serve as tiny canvases inspiring the artist to create beautiful compelling images.

Vincent Jackson was born in 1961 and is a San Francisco native. He has been an artist in the Creativity Explored studio since 1984. He is known for large-scale figurative oil pastels with heavy layers of color and thick defining lines. The translation onto the chocolates is fabulous!

Recchiuti is donating $2 from the purchase of each box goes directly to Creativity Explored, a nonprofit visual arts center where artists with developmental disabilities create, exhibit and sell art.

These chocolates are beautiful and delicious, and Creativity Explored is a wonderful organization. Hats Off to Recchiuti for supporting CE.

If you're in the San Francisco Bay Area, you can Meet the Artist on July 2. Reception at the Ferry Building. 10-2. Free.