Monday, August 31, 2009

Dark Chocolate Biscotti


Dark Chocolate Biscotti

There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea. --Henry James

Henry James was talking about English tea with scones and clotted cream, finger sandwiches and sometimes much more. I'm a tea drinker and spent time in Italy when I was younger, so I think there's nothing better than a biscotti with my afternoon (or morning) tea. Here are two great recipes for Dark Chocolate Biscotti. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup butter, softened
about 12 ounces of good dark chocolate, melted
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla (I use real vanilla--Madagascar vanilla is great)
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup finely chopped hazelnuts or almonds

Directions

Heat oven to 350°F
Combine sugar and butter in large bowl; beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until well mixed; add 2 cups melted chocolate chocolate, eggs and vanilla; continue beating until well mixed.
Reduce speed to low; add flour, baking powder and salt; beat until well mixed; stir in nuts by hand.
Divide dough into three equal pieces. Shape each 1/3 into a 12 " long roll.
Place rolls 5 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet (you'll probably need 2 cookie sheets); flatten each roll to 2-inch width; bake for 25 minutes or until set.
Cool on cookie sheet 15 minutes.
Reduce oven temperature to 300°F; Cut rolls diagonally into 1/2-inch slices with serrated knife.
Place on cookie sheet, cut-side down; bake for 10 minutes; turn slices; continue baking for 12 to 15 minutes or until dry and crisp; cool completely.

I also found a recipe on Eggs on Sunday which is an adaptation of Dorie Greenspan's Baking from My Home to Yours biscotti recipe. Amy gives some tips for making these biscotti that also work with the recipe above. #1 She whisks all the dry ingredients together rather than sifting to break up lumps. She then creams together the butter and sugar for 2 minutes. (Butter should be room temperature).

Check out her Step-by-Step: My Favorite Chocolate Biscotti for helpful tips and great photos.

For me the best tip: Thanks, Amy. Since you're going to bake the logs whole and then cut them into individual biscotti, score the logs about halfway down before putting them in to bake! It makes it a lot easier and with much less cracking. Use this tip with the biscotti recipe above, too!

I've changed a few things in this recipe, too

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I like a high grade dark cocoa)
2 tbsp instant coffee or instant espresso powder (ok, this is something I don't have hanging about. Not sure you do, but you can buy this especially for this recipe)
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
6 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped nuts --either hazel nuts or walnuts.
4 oz dark chocolate (over 70% organic/fair trade), coarsely chopped

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone baking mat.
Whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, coffee powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
With a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the eggs and vanilla; beat for another 2 minutes. Decrease the speed to low and mix in the dry ingredients in 3 additions, mixing only until a dough forms. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix in the chopped nuts and chocolate.

Although you can add dried fruit at this point, too, I wouldn't. Guess just having the nuts is enough for me.

Turn the dough out onto a work surface and knead a few times to pull the dough together into a ball. Divide into two portions; shape each portion into a 12 x 2 inch log. Place each log on the baking sheet. At this point, score the log with a knife where you plan to cut it into biscotti this helps to cut it later without it cracking. Bake for 25 minutes.

Remove the sheet from the oven and let it cool on a rack for 20 minutes. Then, slice the logs diagonally into 3/4-inch thick slices and leave the slices standing up on the baking sheet. Return to the oven for another 15 minutes of baking. (notice this is a different technique than the recipe above. If the slices are thinner, they won't stand up)

Transfer biscotti to a rack to cool.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Oreo Cheesecake

I follow lots of bakers, foodies, cooks and chefs on Twitter. Yesterday a link struck my fancy. I was at Food & Fizz, a great site for "food porn" with links to the blogs and websites. Food porn is not what you're thinking. Food porn refers to great photos of food.

The first photo on Food & Fizz was for an Oreo Cheesecake. Clicking the link I went to Stick to Your Hips. Now that's a very apt name for this blog. I spent some time on this site, but I was really impressed by my first click: the Oreo Cheesecake. Great and easy recipe. Good comments about cheesecake, in general. I love a good cheesecake, and I can't wait to make this one!

There was no email link for this blogger, so I wasn't able to ask permission to use the recipe and photo. I tried to post a comment, but it wouldn't post. Maybe it's Blogger, maybe it's me. Anyway, here's the link to: Oreo Cheesecake. You won't be sorry. Unless, of course, it Sticks to Your Hips!

Photo copyright: Sticks to Your Hips

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival

It's such a delight to know that there are so many Chocolate Festivals held around the world. I will do a round-up one of these days, but in the meantime, I thought I'd mention a San Francisco treat: Ghirardelli Chocolate. Chocolate is the real treat--forget Rice-a-Roni. I don't know anyone in San Francisco who makes it or ever has. Ghirardelli Chocolate has its roots in San Francisco. As America's longest continuously operating chocolate manufacturer, Ghirardelli has established its position as one of America's premium chocolate company for more than 150 years.

The 14th Annual Ghirardelli Square Chocolate Festival, benefiting Project Open Hand, will take place September 12 and 13, 2009, from noon to 5 p.m. This will be a weekend chocolate celebration featuring renowned chocolatiers, artisans and chefs showcasing countless chocolate delicacies and decadent desserts. The Festival is free with a minimal charge for tastings.

A few details:

• Bravo TV’s Season 3 Top Chef finalist Casey Thompson will lead the ever-popular cooking demonstrations. Chef Demonstrations will take place in Ghirardelli Square’s West Plaza. Casey will be on stage at 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. For a schedule of other chef demos visit www.GhirardelliSQ.com.

• Other fun activities are planned throughout the weekend, such as the Cadillac Ride & Drive. Cadillac will be displaying their luxury vehicles in the Square and offering visitors an opportunity to test-drive the All-New 2010 SRX. Each Visitor that participate in the Cadillac Ride & Drive will get to build their own mini Ghirardelli ice cream sundae after their test drive, while supplies last.

Crown & Crumpet’s Tea Party includes a tea and chocolate pairing on Saturday and Sunday at 3 p.m., highlighting three types of chocolate tea paired with food items such as chocolate chip scones, tea-infused truffles and chocolate-hazelnut tea sandwiches for just $12.

• The inaugural debut of Gourmet Fudge Infusions, created through a joint partnership between The Cookie Tree & Bella’s Fudge. The new Gourmet Fudge Infusions use Ghirardelli Chocolate in their products and will be launched at the Ghirardelli Square Chocolate festival. Attendees will have the first chance to taste the delicious treats.

• More than 40 delicious chocolate vendors!

All proceeds generated during the festival will go to Project Open Hand, a San Francisco non-profit organization that provides meals and groceries to senior citizens and seriously and critically ill individuals. Over the past 13 years, the Ghirardelli Square Chocolate Festival has raised a total of more than $500,000 for Project Open Hand.

“Ghirardelli Square has a long-standing commitment to the community and this year has been especially difficult for non-profits including Project Open Hand. The Annual Chocolate Festival is just one of the ways in which we can support the local community as well as provide residents and visitors with an opportunity to enjoy the recently revitalized Square and all of its great new shops,” said Lindsay Maxon, Ghirardelli Square’s marketing and events manager. “We’re delighted to host so many talented Bay Area chocolate artisans and chefs and feel fortunate that everyone is working together towards another successful year of raising money for Project Open Hand.”

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Philly: The Chocolate City

Who knew that Philadelphia was a Chocolate City? I guess I shouldn't be surprised. Once I left Philly, the town obviously developed into a full-fledged foodie mecca. I, of course, left for California, and Berkeley, specifically, the epicenter of the modern food movement.

My memories of Philadelphia chocolate were of Hershey's, of course, and we visited the factory many times. O.K. Hershey, PA, is not in Philadelphia. Then there was Whitman's! I loved Whitman Samplers, especially since there was a 'map' in the top of the box that showed you which candies were where (unless of course your sister moved them!). I loved the Fudge on the Boardwalk in Atlantic City, but I don't remember too many actual chocolate shops, but then I was a kid. I was big on penny candy, and most of that was not chocolate. Limited budget, limited allowance.

So, I was thrilled when Twitter Buddy Janice Bashman (yes, my mystery and chocolate worlds collide again) sent me a link to an article on Chocolate City in today's Philly.com. Lots of wonderful info on indie chocolate makers and an industry that is still booming despite the economic downturn.

Read the article Chocolate City, here.

Italian Thick Hot Chocolate from Max Brenner from the Chocolate City Article.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

For the vanilla cream:

2 tablespoons cornstarch

2 1/2 cups milk, divided

1/2 cup sugar

2 large egg yolks

1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the hot chocolate:

1 cup of milk

7 ounces semisweet chocolate (2 chocolate bars)

1. Sprinkle the cornstarch over 1/2 cup of the milk in a small bowl and whisk to dissolve. Add the sugar and egg yolks and whisk well.

2. Bring the remaining 2 cups of the milk and the vanilla bean just to a simmer in a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan over low heat. Remove the bean, scrape the vanilla seeds into the milk, and discard the bean. Gradually whisk the egg yolk mixture into the milk.

3. Cook, whisking often, until the sauce comes to a boil, about 3 minutes. If using vanilla extract, stir it in now. Strain through a wire sieve into a bowl.

4. After the vanilla cream is prepared, combine it with the chopped chocolate chunks and a cup of milk, brought just to a boil. Mix until smooth.


Note: Any flavor can be added - raspberry, cinnamon, holiday ginger spice, marshmallows. You can substitute milk or white chocolate for the semisweet chocolate.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Grilled Chocolate Sandwich

O.K. I've posted recipes for Chocolate Cheesecake Grilled Sandwiches, the Grilled Bread and Chocolate, or the Grilled Panini with Strawberries and Chocolate, but King Arthur Flour had a recipe the other day for a Grilled Chocolate Sandwich that was just a bit different. Too good not to post here. If you haven't discovered King Arthur Flour, go out and get some. Their Blog is called: Bakers Banter: Hot Stuff from King Arthur's Hearth.

So the recipe in question is Grilled Chocolate: a new take on a comfort-food classic. Basically it's two slices of vanilla pound cake, dark chocolate in between, grilled until the cake is golden and the chocolate melted. How can you go wrong?

You can buy pound cake, but this recipe looks easy and not too time consuming. Golden Vanilla Pound Cake.

Lightly grease an 8” square x 2” deep cake pan, and line with greased parchment, if desired, for a guaranteed good release. Spoon the prepared cake batter into the pan.

Bake the cake for 40 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.Transfer the cake from the pan onto a rack, and let it cool.

Meanwhile get out your chocolate bar. You’ll want one that tastes good, and breaks into little squares or rectangles. Hershey’s Special Dark (three 6.8 ounce chocolate bars) is the King Arthur Flour favorite, but many of the organic earth friendly chocolate companies have great bars 70% cacoa and up that break up nicely.

Cut the cake into slices about 3/8” thick. Have some softened butter on hand.
Butter one side of all the slices of cake.

Space the chocolate on the unbuttered side of the cake slices. Top with another slice of cake, buttered side up.

Cut the long cake slices into more manageable individual pieces (cutting between the chocolate). Each piece should contain one chocolate rectangle if you're using the Hershey's.

Grill over medium heat, turning once, till both sides are golden, and the chocolate is melted.

Serve as is or with whipped cream.. or ice cream.. or fudge sauce .. or berries..

For fabulous photos of the entire process, go here.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

More S'Mores: Brownie Smores from Scratch

Summer isn't over, so there's still time to make S'more Brownies. In July, I had an easy S'Mores Brownie recipe using a brownie mix. For those of you who like to do everything from scratch, here's a Killer Smores Brownie Recipe from the Food Network.

Killer S'more Brownies

Ingredients

Crust:

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups crushed graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Pinch fine salt
Brownies:
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (I use Madagascar vanilla)*
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 4 large cold eggs
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

Topping:

  • 4 cups large marshmallows

Directions

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and heat oven to 325 degrees F. Line an 8 by-8-inch square baking pan with foil so it hangs over the edges by about 1 inch.

For the crust: Lightly butter the foil with some of the melted butter. Stir the rest of the butter together with the crumbs, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Press the crumb mixture evenly over the bottom of the pan. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the brownies. Put the butter and chocolate in a medium microwave safe bowl. Melt in the microwave on 75 percent power for 2 minutes. Stir, and microwave again until completely melted, about 2 minutes more. Alternatively, put the butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Bring a saucepan filled with 1 inch or so of water to a very slow simmer; set the bowl on the pan without touching the water. Stir occasionally until melted. Stir the light brown and white sugars, vanilla and salt into the melted chocolate. Add the eggs and beat vigorously to make a thick and glossy batter. Add the flour and stir until just incorporated.

Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake until the top is crispy and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out mostly clean, with a few crumbs, about 40 to 45 minutes.

Remove from the oven and carefully position a rack about 6 inches from the broiler and preheat on low. Layer marshmallows across the top and toast under the broiler until golden, (keep an eye on it, it can go quick), about 2 minutes. Cool on a rack, gently removing the brownies from the pan using the aluminum flaps. Carefully separate any marshmallow from the foil and fold away. Cut into 12 (2-inch) squares.

photo: Food Network


Monday, August 24, 2009

Rocky Recchiuti Brownies


Recchiuti is one of my favorite chocolatiers. Last week we made Recchiuti in the Ferry Building Marketplace in San Francisco one of the major chocolate stops on our TeamBuilding Unlimited Bar to Bar to Bar Scavenger Hunt (chocolate, coffee, alcohol).

So today, I thought I'd go their website recipes and post one of my favorites. Michael has a recipe for Rocky Recchiuti Brownies that utilizes Recchiuti great chocolate and their special Vanilla Bean Marshmallows. You can order their chocolate (and marshmallows) online, or buy it at their shop or your local fine chocolate purveyor.

From Chocolate Obsession: Confections and Treats to Create and Savor, by Michael Recchiuti and Fran Gage. Click here to purchase a signed copy.

Ingredients:

Flavorless vegetable oil for the pan

5-1/2 ounces 100% unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped, divided

10 tablespoons unsalted butter with 82% butterfat, cut into 1-inch slices

2/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, preferably Madagascar Bourbon

1-1/3 cups granulated cane sugar

1/3 cup walnut halves, roasted and roughly chopped

6 Vanilla Bean Marshmallows, cut into quarters

Method

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line the bottom of an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper and liberally coat the paper and the pan sides with flavorless vegetable oil.

Put 3 ounces of the chocolate and the butter in a medium stainless-steel bowl and set over a pot of simmering water. Heat, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate and butter melt and are fully combined and the mixture is smooth. Lift the bowl from the pot. Set aside.

Sift the flour and salt together into a bowl. In another bowl, combine the eggs and vanilla extract and whisk together by hand until blended. Whisk in the sugar.

Whisk the egg mixture into the chocolate. Add the flour and the remaining 2 ½ ounces chocolate to the batter and, using a rubber spatula, mix well. Then mix in the walnuts.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Spread it evenly with a small offset spatula. Scatter the marshmallow pieces evenly over the surface and push them halfway into the batter. The tops should remain uncovered.

Bake on the middle shelf of the oven until the marshmallows are browned and a skewer inserted into the center of the brownie sheet comes out with some batter clinging to it, about 45 minutes. Let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold.

Run a table knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the sides of the brownie, and then slide the brownie, still on the paper, onto a work surface. Using a ruler to guide you and a sharp knife, cut into sixteen 2-inch squares. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three weeks.

Oh, my, these are fabulous!!!

Photo: Recchiuti


Friday, August 21, 2009

Aztec Chill

Vosges has an awesome website. Lots of information on care and keeping of chocolate, how to eat chocolate, how to pair wines with chocolate and a lot more. What I particularly like are the recipes!

Yesterday I had an email from Vosges that included a simple but delicious cooler recipe. Made it last night. So easy. Great for warm weather.

Aztec Chill!
Ingredients:
1 1/3 cup Vosges Aztec Elixir Couture Cocoa
1 1/3 cup milk
14 ounce ice

Directions:
Bring milk to a boil in a medium pan. Turn heat to low, add the cocoa and stir with a whisk until completely melted and velvety smooth. Pour cocoa in a blender and add ice. Blend until combined until ice is in small particles. Serve with a tall, wide straw for a quick-sipping chocolate chill.

Where does the Aztec come in? That would be Vosges Aztec Elixir Couture Cocoa.This is a mixture of ancho & chipolte chillies, Ceylon cinnamon, Madagascar vanilla bean, cornmeal, and dark chocolate. I love it hot or cold.

You could also make this a Parisienne Chill using La Parisienne Couture Cocoa, voted #1 by Rachael Ray out of 75 contenders.

Want to try a Bianca Breeze? Here's the recipe.

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup Bianca cocoa
  • 1 1/4 cup milk or soy milk
  • ice
Directions:
Bring milk to a boil in a medium pan. Turn heat to low, add the cocoa and stir with a whisk until completely melted and velvety smooth. Cover and steep for 5 minutes. Strain the cocoa and refrigerate until at least room temperature. Pour cocoa into a martini shaker with ice and shake for 30 seconds (put some groove in your shake). Serve in a martini glass.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Panini with Strawberries and Chocolate


One of my Twitter buddies posted a reminder of this all time favorite decadent panini from Giada De Laurentiis of the Food Network.
  • 1/4 cup Nutella (chocolate-hazelnut spread)
  • 12 (1/2-inch) thick slices pound cake
  • 6 fresh strawberries, hulled and very thinly sliced
  • Butter-flavored nonstick cooking spray --or real butter**

Heat panini grill to medium according to the manufacturer's instructions. Spread the chocolate-hazelnut spread over 1 side of all of the pound cake slices. Arrange the sliced strawberries over 6 cake slices. Cover with the remaining cake slices, chocolate side down.

Spray panini grill with nonstick spray and grill each panino until the pound cake is crisp and golden and the fillings are warm, about 2 minutes. Cut each panino in half and serve.


You can also make this in a heaving frying pan with a press (or pot lid)* You can also substitute your favorite chocolate for the Nutella. Trial and error on that until you get it right.

Thanks to: @redwhiteandgrew on Twitter


National Chocolate Pecan Pie Day


It's National Chocolate Pecan Pie Day, just another reason to celebrate. I had several different recipes for Derby Pie that use pecans. July 12 was National Pecan Pie Day, so I just had to make that a Chocolate Pecan Pie. That was an adaptation of Derby Pie and included bourbon.

So today, I thought I'd give a recipe that's quick and easy. First, use a frozen crust. I like Trader Joe's frozen pie crusts, but Pillsbury or another will work. Of course, you can always make your own.

Chocolate Pecan Pie

1 unbaked 9″ pie crust
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup light Karo syrup
3 large eggs, beaten
1 1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 cup pecan halves
1 cup broken up dark chocolate or chocolate chips.
(you can add 2 tbsp of good bourbon if you're so inclined)

In a saucepan, brown butter until golden. Don’t let it burn. Set aside to cool. Then add sugar, salt, vanilla, syrup and eggs. Mix well. Add lemon juice, pecans and chocolate pieces/chips.
Pour into unbaked pie shell and bake at 425 for 10 minutes. Then, reduce heat to 325 and bake for 55 minutes.

When you serve, top with real whipped cream!

You'll love this pie! Have a great National Chocolate Pecan Pie Day today!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Cherry Bonbon Cookies

Some of my favorite recipes are found on the back of the box of specific products such as chocolate chips or butter or sugar. You can also find some great recipes on product websites. Let's face it, anything a company can do to have you use their products is fair game. So this recipe is for Cherry Bonbon Cookies from C&H Sugar. How can you go wrong with cherries and chocolate! I've adapted the original recipe just a bit. I know this recipe appears on cooks.com and elsewhere, but I'm using C& H sugar!

Ingredients
1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder, unsweetened (pick a high quality cocoa)
1/2 cup butter, unsoftened
1 cup C&H Pure Cane Granulated Sugar (Ok, I felt I should put this in since it's a C&H recipe)
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 large egg
1 2/2 tsps. vanilla extract
48 fresh cherries, pitted
1 cup chocolate chips (6 oz) or chopped dark chocolate (70% or more)
1/2 cup condensed milk

Instructions:
Pre-heat oven to 350 F. Combine flour and cocoa; set aside. In large bowl, beat butter, sugar and baking powder until blended. Add egg and vanilla; beat until well combined. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Shape dough into 1 inch balls; place 1/2 inch apart on ungreased baking sheet. Press down center of each ball with thumb to create a small hollow. fill each center with a cherry. In small pan over low heat (or above another pan), combine chocolate chips (or chunks) and condensed milk; heat until chocolate is melted. Spoon and spread 1 tsp chocolate mixture over each cherry. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until done. Cool on wire rack. Yum!!

And, in case you think I'm giving preferential treatment to C&H, Domino Sugar is a sister company on the East Coast. Recipes there, too.

photo: Cooks.com

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

National Bourbon Day: Add Chocolate

I totally missed National Bourbon Day on Sunday, but I've had a lot of chocolate and bourbon recipes on this blog. I'll just reprint one recipe and refer you to some of the others. It's never too late for a great chocolate and bourbon combo!

First there was the recipe for the Dolly Appel's Infamous Bourbon Balls. These are fabulous!

DOLLY APPEL’S BOURBON BALLS


1 ½ pounds pecans
8 oz of Maker’s Mark Bourbon
2 oz water
2 pounds confectioners’ sugar
3 pounds semisweet chocolate
3 oz paraffin

Break and combine pecans with bourbon, cover and set aside for 4 hours or more. Sift confectioners’ sugar and add pecans, adding sugar gradually to a working consistency until a small ball can be made ½ to ¾ inch in diameter. Water is to be used only to bring mixture to desired consistency. Add water only to prevent ball from falling apart. Mixture should be semi-dry. Prepare balls and place on a waxed papered cookie sheet. Place in freezer to cool. (Approx. 2 hours)

Melt chocolate and paraffin and mix well. Chocolate should not be too hot, just warm enough to work up. The warmer the mix, the thinner coating the bourbon balls will have.

Remove formed balls from the freezer when ready to coat with chocolate. With fingers dip each ball to cover half of ball and return to cookie sheet. After this step return to refrigerator to harden chocolate. (Approx. 1 hour)

To coat top half of ball when ready insert toothpick in the bottom that has already been coated and dip top in chocolate. Remove toothpick and return ball to cookie sheet. Refrigerate again to harden chocolate.

Store bourbon balls in refrigerator.

Try these other recipes:

Kentucky Derby Bourbon Chocolate Pie.

And, check out this recipe for Chocolate Bourbon Popsicles! Perfect for the summer.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Chocolate Books this Fall

Publishers Weekly reviewed several new coffee table-worthy books on chocolate, along with many other great Baking Books coming this Fall.

Little, Brown is bringing out Chocolate: A Love Story: 65 Chocolate Dessert Recipes from Max Brenner’s Private Collection by Max Brenner and Yonatan Factor. This book includes instructions on making some of the most popular chocolate treats from the Brenner restaurant chain. Click here for a recipe for Innocent Meringue Kisses.


La Maison du Chocolat: Timeless Classics with a Twist by Gilles Marchal, Veronique Durruty (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, Sept.) highlights another chocolate boutique, La Maison du Chocolat


Absolutely Chocolate: Irresistible Excuses to Indulge by Fine Cooking magazine (Taunton)


Simply Chocolate: 60 Chunky, Nutty, Creamy Creations by Southern Living magazine (Oxmoor House)



Rustic Taza Chocolate Chunk Cookies


I was directed to the Taza Chocolate Blog the other day, where there's an awesome recipe for Rustic Taza Chocolate Chunk Cookies. First I should say that Taza is not like other chocolate, so you must use Taza Chocolate in this recipe. Here's a link to my review of Taza Stone Ground Organic Chocolate.

So back to these unbelievable cookies! The Blog says the recipe is a version of one that ran in the NYT June 2008. It was adapted from Jacques Torres, but it's been honed into a Taza recipe.
It starts with tips, and I always appreciate that. You're never too old to learn.

1 Make sure all your wet ingredients are at room temperature.
2 Make sure butter is soft but not melted.
3 Take EXTRA time in creaming butter and sugar. After enough time, the mixture will change consistency and lighten dramatically. Wait until it happens before proceeding.
4 Don't overwork the dough
5 Let the dough rest at least 12 hours, and up to 72 hours. (this was very hard for me, since I like cookie dough, although I never eat it raw any more.. .well almost never. Maybe it only refers to commercial refrigerated dough?)

Recommended: 70% Dark Bar (Taza only). The blog also says not to be shy with the salt--and you can used flavored salt. Try different kinds with different batches. I did.

For the recipe, go here.

The final direction says, "Serve very warm, with milk, ice cream, stout or bourbon. How can you go wrong. As I said before, waiting the 12-72 hours is the hardest part. So in the meantime, eat some Taza Chocolate to hold you over!

Photo: Taza Blog

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Jessica Conant-Park: Seven Layer Bars

My worlds of mystery fiction and chocolate collide more often than one would think. I have another blog: Mystery Fanfare, so I combine the two every now and again. Today, I asked Jessica Conant-Park who writes the Gourmet Girl mystery series to guest blog.

Jessica Conant-Park is the co-author of The Gourmet Girl mystery series that she writes with her mother, Susan Conant. The books follow a twenty-something gourmand and are set in the Boston restaurant scene, and blend mystery, humor, romance, chick lit, and food. The fifth in the series, Cook the Books, will be out in Feb/March 2010. She is currently shopping around her first young adult book and working on an outline for a second.

JC-P: I was raised by a chocoholic, so I really can’t be held responsible for my cravings. Whatever side of the nature/nurture argument you take, I was doomed (or blessed?) either way. So I blame my mother. Very Freudian of me, huh? Not only did I likely inherit a genetic predisposition for chocolate, but I grew up watching her order chocolate desserts at restaurants, whip up glorious chocolate mousse, and rifle through Valentine’s Day heart boxes in search of the smooth truffles. Nuts and nougats be damned—she was, and is, a purist.

We spent a few summers in France when I was a teenager and you can imagine the enthusiasm we had for the gorgeous treats in the patisseries. Even my father, who has always claimed he doesn’t care for dessert (liar), was enamored with French offerings. I can’t deny that the fruit tarts were stunning, with rows of expertly sliced, glistening fruit atop luscious custard on buttery crust. Sure. Wonderful. But it’s really hard to pay attention to fruit when there is chocolate present. Chocolate croissants, cakes, mousse, torts, cookies, galettes… All done up with fancy twists and twirls, decorations beyond what you’d find in most American pastry shops. It’s a rough day when your biggest challenge is selecting which chocolate delight is to be yours.

One afternoon in France, my parents and I found ourselves at a small café in rural Burgundy. Being a classic moody, ungrateful teenager, I was in the midst of some idiotic hormonal fit about something. Probably having to do with my boredom at being lugged around Europe with my (eye roll) parents, and forced to look at (ick) art, and castles, and ruins, and landscape. The tragedy. I believe this is the trip during which I bitterly muttered, “You’ve seen one alp, you’ve seen ‘em all.” (My parents later did admit that, in fact, this is rather true. But you see how you react when every two minutes your mother interrupts your reading of “Gone With the Wind” to scream, “Look the alps! Look at the alps!”) So anyway, there we were, all miserably seated at this café while I huddled near tears at my undefined misery. My father had the sense to stay out of things, but my mother was clearly pissed off. Rightfully so, since I suspect I was behaving rather monstrously. But, by the time our gorgeous café had arrived, it was clear that neither of us knew what the hell the fight was about, but it was unclear how to end it.

My mother’s café au lait had come with a wonderful treat: a small, hard chocolate dome filled with rich whipped cream. In what I still consider the most generous act of kindness, my mother insisted that I, her bratty daughter, should have the treat. But I, playing the aggrieved martyr, insisted she should have it. Tears streamed down our faces as we insisted the other was more worthy of this European chocolate…You can imagine the drama. Finally my father insisted that one of us better eat it, or he would.

So we split it. Because chocolate fixes almost everything.

Unlike my mother, I am not a chocolate purist, and love chocolate in, on, around, and under things. So here is my recipe for Seven Layer Bars. Nothing fancy, but that’s one of the things that makes chocolate great: you can dress it up, or play it down, and it’s all good…

Seven Layer Bars
4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 lb. melted butter
1 lb. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 lb. butterscotch chips
1 lb. dark chocolate chips
1 lb. shredded coconut
2 14oz cans condensed milk

Use 8 1/2 x 11 inch baking pan.

Preheat conventional oven to 350 degree.

Spray pan with non-stick spray. Melt butter and mix with graham cracker crumbs. Layer evenly on bottom of pan. Sprinkle the chips evenly over the crumbs. Layer coconut evenly over top of chocolate. Pour condensed milk evenly over top
Place in oven and cook for approximately 30 minutes, until the top is browned (the center should be lighter in color to ensure moistness.)

Jessica Conant-Park
Author of the Gourmet Girl mystery series
Food Fiction Website

Chocolate and Cheese Pairing

You may not think that chocolate and cheese go well together, but you should have another think. Recchiuti here in San Francisco has been doing a series of chocolate tastings that pair their excellent chocolates with other types of foods. The other day they proved that chocolate and cheese do go together. This is part of their Taste Project series that involves opening the Recchiuti kitchen and tasting room to the public for a series of events in partnership with other local artisans of savory food and drink from beer and wine to cheese and mushrooms. I hope to make the Bread and Chocolate event in October, although both sessions are sold out. Maybe some more tasting events will open up-- or there will be a cancellation. Hope springs eternal.

This last session on Chocolate and Cheese was sold out, too, so I was glad to see Tamara Palmer's review in SF Weekly.

Michael Recchiuti and Doralice Handal (The Cheese Shop in Healdsburg) combined their expertise for a unique six-course pairing of chocolate and cheese.

Check out the courses for these very unique Pairings. Wish I had been there.

Photo from SF Weekly.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Chocolate Scented Gardens


I am lucky to have several different garden areas on my property, but I've always longed for a dedicated 'chocolate-scented' garden. Since I'm in a fairly temperate zone of California, it's certainly possible. I've always used cocoa bean hulls as mulch, and there's nothing that smells more like chocolate than this mulch. There's a problem using the mulch, though, because dogs can become sick from eating the hulls. I've been lucky. None of my dogs has been even mildly interested in this great mulch.

But as for real chocolate smelling plants, I've been given (and time to get more) Cosmos atrosanguineus. This is a lovely maroon cosmos that actually has a heavy chocolate scent. Originally from Mexico, this plant reblooms in our Mediterranean climate.

I've also had Chocolate mint, a very hardy perennial, well it's mint, after all. Warning: it will take over the garden. Plant in containers or monitor its spread.

Today I found a great article online about Growing a Chocolate-Scented Garden by Deb Babcok in Steamboat Today. Her climate in Steamboat Springs is harsher than mine and the growing season is shorter, but she has a great list of chocolate scented plants. I decided to add to this list, so here are several plants that smell like chocolate. What could be more delightful than a chocolate garden. Be sure and check that these plants will grow and flourish in your zone.

Chocolate Flower (Berlandiera lyrata) Looks like a daisy with yellow petals and a dark chocolate center. The aroma from the flower can be detected as far as 30 feet away. This is a night-bloomer, so the garden will smell like cocoa in the morning.

Nicotiana 'Chocolate Smoke' This is a Chocolate Flower Farm exclusive and replaced Nicotiana 'Hot Chocolate'. It has a very dark flower.

Decidious (to semi-evergreen) twining Chocolate Vine (Akebia Quinata): climbing plant with purple-red flowers that smell of milk chocolate. Warning: Can be invasive. Keep it trimmed.

Chocolate Mint (Mentha piperita): Some people think this tastes like a combo of chocolate abd peppermint. (Peppermint patties?) Nice bronze-green leaves.

Dahlia 'Karma Choc'. Not certain of the odor on this but it has a very dark color like chocolate.

Gilia tricolor (Bird's Eyes): annual California wildflower with wonderful fragrance. Meadow plantings. Grows to 3'

Columbine comes in a chocolate-scented variety (Aquilegia 'Chocolate Soldiers')

Foxglove (Digitalis 'chocolate') now this is literally a Dying for Chocolate plant as foxglove is a poisonous plant

Nasturtium (Tropaeolum 'Chocolate')

Rudbeckia (R. 'Chocolate Drop')

Sweet William (Diantush 'Bittersweet William')

Carolina allspice (Calycanthus floridus): Deciduous shrub with maroon brown flowers (cinnamon-spiced, bittersweet chocolate fragrance)

Cosmos Astroganguineus: Plants form a medium-sized clump of dark green leaves, with deep maroon blooms that smell of dark chocolate.

Chocolate Geranium (Pelargonium 'Chocolate Joy')

Penstemon 'Chocolate Drop' How can you go wrong with penstemon?

One mustn't forget edible plants in the garden that smell (and sometimes taste) like chocolate:
Chocolate Corn, Chocolate Cherry Tomato, Chocolate Mini Bell Pepper, 'Velour Frosted Chocolate' Viola, Chocolate Nasturtium, and Milk Chocolate Calendula).

If your local nursery does not offer the seeds or plants, contact Chocolate Flower Farm.They also have other chocolate scented products such as candles, bath and body products, chocolate teas, sachets and other gifts. They're located in Langley, WA.

I'll be adding to this list from time to time, so please send me information on your favorite chocolate scented plants. Plants or seeds welcome, too!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

M & M Man Kidnapped

How could I not share this story? My three worlds: mystery, chocolate, and collectibles.

M&M Man Kidnapped from Gas Station.

A life-sized, candy-dispensing M&M Man was stolen from an Arnold (St. Louis, MO) gas station July 31.

The theft occurred after a failed attempt by the suspect to negotiate the purchase of the M&M Man. Read more here.

The "victim" was last seen wearing white gloves, white shoes and a yellow-coated shell.

Monday, August 10, 2009

National Rice Pudding Day: Make it Chocolate

O.K. I must admit that I have never had chocolate rice pudding, but being that it's National Rice Pudding Day, I thought I'd investigate. Rice pudding is the ultimate comfort food for me, as is chocolate, so the marriage of the two is certainly inviting.

I found an EASY recipe on AllRecipes, but I've doctored it a bit based on my 'regular' rice pudding recipe. I omitted raisins, added almost a cup of chocolate chips (or broken chocolate bits) and substituted cream for 1/2 the milk in the original AllRecipes version. So I know what I'm having later today.

CHOCOLATE RICE PUDDING

INGREDIENTS

3/4 cup uncooked white rice
1 1/4 cups water
1/2 cup cream (or half and half)
1 cup milk
1/3 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips (or chopped dark chocolate)

DIRECTIONS
1. In a saucepan bring water to a boil. Add rice and stir. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
2. In the top of a double boiler over simmering water, combine 1 1/2 cups cooked rice, milk, cream, sugar, vanilla, butter and cocoa. Cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the chopped chocolate and stir until melted.

Spoon into serving bowls and refrigerate for several hours.

Not too sure about when to add the chocolate chips, but at the end seems to make sense. You can also vary this recipe using different types of rice, adding some orange liqueur or zest. Lots of possibilities.

Have a great National Rice Pudding Day!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Yummy Chocolate Cookies

On July 7, I had a recipe for Ice-Cream Sandwiches. I usually use Pepperidge Farm Brownie Cookies since they're in the pantry, because I always go for the easy way! However, today in Parade Magazine, Sheila Lukins has a recipe for "Yummy Chocolate Cookies" to use in Ice Cream Sandwiches. I haven't tried these yet, but they certainly look like winners. I would definitely add broken pieces of dark chocolate to the batter near the end.

Yummy Chocolate Cookies

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp espresso
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease 2 baking sheets.
2. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, espresso, and salt into a bowl. Reserve.
3. In another bowl, cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until it is light and fluffy. Add the egg and the vanilla, then mix well.
4. Add the reserved dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
5. Form 1/4-cup portions of dough into 8 balls. Arrange 4 balls on each cookie sheet and flatten with a spatula.
6. Bake in the center of the oven until set, about 10 minutes. Let stand on the baking sheet for 2 minutes before removing with a spatula to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes 8 cookies. Serves 4.

Here's a link to my Ice-Cream Sandwiches.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

National Zucchini Day: Chocolate Zucchini Cake


So today is National Zucchini Day, not to be confused with National Zucchini Bread Day which was April 25. I had a great Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread recipe, so I was trying to think what would be special for today's 'celebration.' Even if you only have one zucchini plant, you know that it produces endless zucchini, and just when you think there are no more, you discover one the size of a three year old child under the leaves. If you're not growing your own zucchini, the farmer's markets are loaded! Go for the smaller ones for flavor, but if you have a big one in the garden grate it and throw it into these cakes. Waste not, want not.

This first recipe is an adaptation from Bon Appetit. I have no idea when, but if you have the original, you know it has mutated.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cup flour
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch cocoa or your favorite Dark Chocolate cocoa
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup plain yogurt or buttermilk
1 tsp cinnamon
2 cups shredded zucchini
1/2 cup unsalted butter room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup chopped walnuts (you can also use pecans)
1 1/2 cups broken (chopped) dark chocolate (70% cacao or higher)

Preparation:
Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease and flour a bundt pan or a 13 x 9 x 2 baking pan.

Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a bowl. In a separate bowl, cream together the butter, oil and sugar. Add in eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Add in vanilla and zucchini. Add flour alternately with the milk to the zucchini mixture. Stir in the chocolate chunks and nuts last. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 50 minutes to an hour or until done. Leave in cake pan for 10 minutes before turning out onto cooling rack.

Here's a Second Recipe that uses a Chocolate Pudding Cake mix with very moist results. It's adapted from Southern Food: Easy Chocolate Zucchini Cake By Diana Rattray on about.com This chocolate zucchini cake is easy to make and loaded with chocolate chips, shredded zucchini, and nuts.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter, softened
4 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 cup sour cream
1 chocolate fudge cake mix with pudding in the mix, about 18.25 ounces
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 medium zucchini, shredded, about 1 1/2 cups shredded
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips or broken dark chocolate chunks
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Preparation:
Grease and flour a 12-cup Bundt cake pan or 10-inch one-piece tube cake pan. Heat oven to 325° (350° for a light-colored pan).

In a mixing bowl with electric mixer, beat the butter until light; beat in eggs and flavorings. Beat in the sour cream and cinnamon, then slowly beat in the cake mix. Stir in the zucchini, chocolate chips, and pecans.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean when inserted in the center of the cake. Cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Invert the cake onto a serving plate to cool completely. Frost the cake or dust with powdered sugar.

If I were to frost either of these cakes--but they really don't need frosting--I would use chocolate ganache.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Frozen Chocolate Bananas


Mary Kennedy asked me the other day for a recipe for Frozen Chocolate Bananas. This is easy and something to do all year round. As with all recipes, I encourage using the very best dark chocolate.

Frozen Chocolate Bananas:


8 medium bananas, peeled (unlike this fun photo)* (I use firm bananas)
8 wooden popsicle sticks
32 ounces dark chocolate 70% or higher, chopped
4 tablespoons unsalted butter

Directions

Line a sheet pan with waxed paper. Cut 1-inch off the end of each banana. Insert a popsicle stick into the cut-end of each banana, pushing the stick halfway in, leaving the other end exposed for use as a handle. Place the bananas on the sheet pan and freeze 1 hour.

Melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring occasionally. (You can probably do this in the microwave, but I usually do the bowl over saucepan method)

Working with 1 banana at a time, dip it in the chocolate and turn to completely coat (spoon some on, if needed). Transfer to the sheet pan, and return to the freezer.

Once frozen, store the bananas in an airtight container--or eat right away!

Some people use vegetable oil instead of butter, but I always go for the real thing. I'm also a purist when it comes to extras, but you can add chopped pecans or walnuts or sprinkles after dipping in the chocolate (roll the chocolate covered bananas in the decorations before refreezing).

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

National Waffle Day: Chocolate Waffles

Today is National Waffle Day, so of course I have a recipe for Chocolate Waffles. The following is from Alton Brown from The Food Network, so you know you can't go wrong. Hope you have a waffle maker.

Ingredients
7 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 1 1/2 cups
1 3/4 ounces sugar, approximately 3 tablespoons
1.5 ounces cocoa powder, approximately 1/2 cup
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 whole eggs, beaten
2 ounces unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
16 ounces buttermilk, room temperature
4 ounces chocolate chips, approximately 3/4 cup
Vegetable spray, for waffle iron

Directions
Preheat waffle iron according to manufacturer's directions.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. In another bowl beat together the eggs and melted butter and vanilla, and then add the buttermilk. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir in the chocolate chips just until combined. Allow to rest for 5 minutes.

Ladle the recommended amount of waffle batter onto the center of the iron. Close the iron top and cook until the waffle is crispy on both sides and is easily removed from iron. Serve immediately or keep warm in a 200 degree F oven until ready to serve.

If the first waffle seems too runny, add more flour to your batter. Personally I would add more chocolate. What a surprise?

How easy is this? You can add strawberries, bananas, nuts, etc, on top--whatever you like with your waffles, or serve these plain.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

National Chocolate Chip Day: Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

August 4 is National Chocolate Chip Day. This is not to be confused with Chocolate Chip Chip Cookie Day. The other day I did a great recipe for Chocolate Chip Cheesecake for National Cheese Cake Day. On Chocolate Chip Cookie Day, I did a little History on the Toll House Cookie with several recipes for Chocolate Chip Cookies including Overload Chocolate Chip Cookies.

I've also had several chocolate recipes and reviews of chocolate bars that include bacon, so for Chocolate Chip Day, I thought I'd add Sal Towse's comments for Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies that was on the original blog, as well as a recipe for Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies. You can decide how much bacon and how many cups of chocolate chips when you make your own. Either way, they are going to be delicious.

Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups high quality Dark Chocolate Chips (65% or more cacao)
10-12 slices Smoked Bacon, cooked to a crisp and then finely chopped

PREHEAT oven to 375° F.
Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Add chopped, cooked Bacon and mix for 1 minute. Stir in Chocolate Chips. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.
Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes then remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Here are Sal Towse's comments on her own Chocolate Chip Bacon Cookies:

1C dark semi-sweet chips and 3/4C (i.e. 3/4 lb uncooked) bacon bits. The recipe I was working from also added 1C white chocolate chips (of which I had none) and used 2C (2lbs!!! uncooked) bacon bits so the ratio I used was about the same, but I do like to have a =little= dough in between my bits of chocolate and bacon. Recipe says NOT BACOS only real bacon bits. The fat in the dough is butter. I cooked the cookies almost all the way and cooled them on racks, then put them back on a cookie sheet (2 1/2 cookie sheets worth onto one cookie sheet). Right before dessert, I put the cookies back in a 350 degrees F oven for three minutes. Guests thought I'd somehow miraculously been baking cookies while we ate dinner.

Combine the two, and you have a great new recipe for Chocolate Chip Bacon Cookies.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Brownie Month: Brownie Bloggers Unite


This month is National Brownie Month, and I thought it would be great to invite various food bloggers and mystery authors to contribute their favorite brownie recipe. Interested? All you have to do is send me a recipe or review to post on DyingforChocolate.com--or post on your blog and let me know, and I'll repeat it with a link to your blog.

I'm calling this Brownie Bloggers Month. Not into blogging recipes? How about reviewing your favorite bakery brownies or online brownies or brownie desserts at your favorite restaurant? Anything else brownie related is welcome.

At the end of the month, I'll have a Wrap-Up Brownie Blog.

Lots of ways to do this. I'm open. Let me know what you think.

Brownie Pops

Thanks to my friend Louise at Months of Edible Celebrations I found out that August is National Brownie Month, as well as Brownies for Brunch month. The second holiday is pretty weird, but I love brownies, and I guess I would eat them for brunch. I believe every month should be brownie month, and I've blogged about brownies over the past year.

Louise also sent me a link to Brownie Pops--brownies on a stick. It's a logical progression from the Chocolate Bourbon Popsicles, only these aren't frozen. Who doesn't love brownies and lollipops? You can order these fabulous Browniepops from Browniepops.com in basic chocolate brownie or with other flavor enhancements (Toffee, Peppermint, Coconut, etc) Basically this is a scoop of brownie, with a flavor element, coated in hard chocolate, with added decoration, and put on a stick. For a full review of Browniepops, go to The Nibble. These little Browniepops are great for weddings, parties, and special events. They're also a great pick up food.There are seasonal and special occasion decorations.

Want to make your own? Wilton makes a silicon Brownie Pop Mold that's really cool and easy to use, but you could also use a mini-muffin pan.

Mix up your favorite Brownie Recipe. Spray the Brownie Pop Mold with nonstick spray and fill each cavity about 1/2 way. Place mold on baking tray and bake according to your own recipe. Let cool completely before removing brownies. (This is a must or they'll fall apart). Insert stick into flat end of brownies. Dip in chocolate and whirl in sprinkles or decorate in another way for the occasion.

The Wilton pan comes with slightly different directions, so I thought I should post here. It says to fill each mold cavity 2/3 with batter. Place on level baking sheet. Bake according to recommended temperature on recipe for 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and insert cookie sticks into brownies. Continue baking for 10-15 minutes or until brownies are done. Place pan on cooling grid and cool completely. FYI: If you're not using your own recipe, and you're using a mix, you should know that one 8 x 8 'in size brownie mix makes 24 brownies. You'll need to buy three Wilton silicone pans.

One way to make sure the stick is secure is to completely cover the brownie in melted chocolate. I would probably do that anyway. There are so many ways to decorate these brownie pops. You can also make these brownie pops in different shapes--hearts, stars and so many others. All you need is the right pan and a great recipe! These are definitely something fun for a picnic, special event or school lunch box.