Sunday, February 27, 2011

Baker's Chocolate Devil's Food Cake: Vintage Ad & Recipe

Today is National Chocolate Cake Day! Celebrate with any chocolate cake that takes your fancy or try this Baker's Chocolate 1940 Devil's Food Cake!
Vintage 1940s Baker's Chocolate Ad for Devil's Food Cake

Academy Awards Chocolate: Chocolate Drizzled Popcorn, Chocolate Martinis, Cocopotamus

So how are you celebrating the Academy Awards? What chocolate creations? Last year I did a post on Chocolate Oscars. This year I thought I'd post a few of my favorite 'movie' foods. Easy and perfect for the big Night!

CHOCOLATE CHOCOLATE MARTINI

1 1/2 oz Vincent Van Gogh Dutch chocolate vodka (of course you can substitute a chocolate vodka of your choice)
1/2 oz creme de cacao

Pour both ingredients into a cocktail shaker with a few ice cubes. Shake well, strain into a cocktail glass and serve. Garnish with grated chocolate. You can also rim the chilled glass with cocoa powder but pour slowly. Even better: Rim a chilled glass with chocolate sauce and put it in the freezer until you're ready to make the drink!

CHOCOLATE COVERED POPCORN

Make a bag of popcorn (buttered or plain) and pop it according to the directions. (airpopping!)
Put the popped popcorn into a large bowl or a flat baking pan (for more even distribution).
Melt some dark or white chocolate or both (in separate bowls)  in the top of a double boiler (or in the microwave).
Drizzle the chocolate on the popcorn.
You can always add more chocolate, but you can't remove it, so use it sparingly.

What chocolate is in the Swag Bags? Cocopotamus
Cocopotamus dark chocolate fudge truffles have been chosen for the Celebrity Gift - also known as the "swag bag" - for the 83rd Academy Awards tonight.

Cocopotamus took the handmade chocolate truffles live to the celebrities for a charity event at The W Hotel in Los Angeles in the last two days preceding the actual Oscars ceremony today.

The 23 Cocopotamus flavors range from classic dark fudge "Cupcake" and the popular "Holy Cow" (their only milk chocolate fudge truffle, hand-dipped in dark chocolate) to the exotic "Hottie," with cinnamon and chili, and "Lemon Shiver," infused with zesty organic California lemon. For lovers of ultra dark chocolate, there is "Bo Beep," an 88% intense dark chocolate fudge with organic black raspberry.

Cocopotamus ships its handmade dark chocolate fudge truffles nationwide from http://www.cocopotamus.com, including gift, party, corporate and wedding chocolate. Cocopotamus is also sold in 28 states at retailers including Whole Foods Market, Mother's Natural Kitchen and Hy-Vee, and in 3 provinces in Canada.

Enjoy the Academy Awards tonight! 

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Chocolate & Pistachio Surprise Cake: National Pistachio Day

Today is National Pistachio Day! I love pistachios for their taste and for their vibrant green color. They dress up just about any chocolate treat. So in order to celebrate the day, you can make:

Chocolate Pistachio Apricots
Pistachio and Cherry Dark Chocolate Bark
Chocolate Pistachio Fudge

Chocolate & Pistachio Surprise Cake adapted from Clotilde's Chocolate & Zucchini blog. I really love this cake because it's not overly sweet. It's great just about any time, and I don't add the ganache (see the original recipe link for the ganache recipe). I like this Bundt Cake with Tea in the morning: toasted. Don't ask! It's nice and moist just the way it is, but sometimes I like "toast." Be sure and get an "All Natural" Pistachio Paste, and, of course, use the very best dark chocolate and cocoa.

Chocolate & Pistachio Surprise Cake 
(Gateau Surprise Chocolat Pistache)

Ingredients
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2/3 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups Greek yogurt or sour cream (you'll have a different taste depending on which you choose)
1 1/2 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
2 Tbsp unsweetened DARK cocoa powder
1/2 cup dark chocolate, chopped into smallish pieces
2 Tbsp pistachio paste
1/3 cup shelled pistachios, chopped 

Directions:
Preheat oven to 360 F. Grease a 10-inch Bundt pan.

Prepare the chocolate batter. In a food processor, mix together half of the sugar and half of the butter until fluffy. Add in two of the eggs, one at a time, mixing between each. Add in half of the yogurt and all the vanilla extract, mix again. In a medium bowl, combine half of the flour with half of the baking powder, half of the baking soda and all of the cocoa mixture. Add the flour mixture into the food processor and mix again until just combined. Pour the batter into the cake pan, and reserve in the refrigerator.

Prepare the pistachio batter: Rinse the bowl of the food processor. Mix together the rest of the sugar, the rest of the butter and the pistachio paste. Add in the two last eggs, one at a time, mixing between each. Add in the rest of the yogurt and mix again. In a medium bowl, combine the rest of the flour with the rest of the baking powder and baking soda, and all of the chopped pistachios. Add into the food processor and mix again until just combined.

Take the cake pan out of the fridge, and sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly over the surface of the chocolate batter. Gently pour the pistachio batter on top, and smooth out the surface with a spatula.
Swirl a knife gently through the two mixtures-only once!!!

Put into the oven to bake for about 50 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Let rest for five minutes on the counter, then turn out on a rack to cool completely.

Want to try another recipe?

Chocolate Pistachio Cake from Pioneer Woman. This recipe uses a box white cake mix and Jello pistachio pudding. I've made a similar version before, but Pioneer Woman's recipe adds some orange juice and that makes for a very nice balance. This recipe is a combination of Tunnel of Fudge and a Pistachio Chocolate Bundt... yummy!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Hazelnut Caramel Toffee Bon Bon: Chocolate Covered Nut Day

Today is National Chocolate Covered Nut Day! I've posted several recipes for Chocolate Covered Nuts, so here's a link to some of my favorite chocolate covered nut recipes. Each recipe will vary with the different chocolate and nuts you use. Try a variety. I also have a link to my post on Goobers from last year's Chocolate Covered Nuts Day! Scroll down for a new chocolate covered nut recipe: Hazelnut Caramel Toffee Bon Bons! Go nutty! Have some Chocolate Covered Nuts today!

Margaret Maron's Chocolate Covered Fried Pecans
Goobers
Candied Chocolate Almonds

And here's a fabulous easy recipe for chocolate covered Hazelnuts from the Hazelnut Council

HAZELNUT CARAMEL TOFFEE BON BONS

3/4 cup Hazelnuts, toasted, skin removed, divided
1/4 cup Toffee candy bits
1 1/4 cups (10oz) Semi-sweet chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
1/2 cup Heavy whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon Madagascar Vanilla
1/4 teaspoon Salt
20 (6oz) Caramels, unwrapped, cut in half
40 Hazelnuts, whole, toasted, skin removed

1. Process 1/4 cup hazelnuts and toffee in food processor or blender until finely ground; set aside.
2. Microwave chocolate chips and cream in small microwave-safe bowl on high for 1 to 1 1/2
minutes, stirring every 30 seconds until most of chocolate is melted. Do not overheat; lumps will melt when stirred. Stir in hazelnut mixture, vanilla and salt until blended. Cover and set aside until cool, about 1 1/2 hours.
3. Flatten caramel piece and wrap around one whole hazelnut forming a round ball; repeat. Dice remaining 1/2 cup hazelnuts; set aside.
4. Form 1 heaping teaspoon chocolate mixture around each caramel and roll in diced hazelnuts. Let
set until firm.

Tip: When handling ganache, work quickly in a cool room.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Chocolate Banana Bread: National Banana Bread Day

Today is National Banana Bread Day! Last year I posted a recipe for a traditional Banana Bread with Chocolate Chunks. Well maybe not all that traditional with the chocolate chunks. I adore Chocolate and Bananas, so any combination of these ingredients works for me. Today I thought I'd post an easy delicious recipe for Chocolate Banana Bread. This recipe is from Godiva, and since it's a Godiva Recipe, I suggest using Godiva Dark Chocolate.  You can always tweak this recipe as suits your fancy!

CHOCOLATE BANANA BREAD

Ingredients
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup alkalized unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
Pinch of salt
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream
4 bars (1.5 ounces each) Godiva Dark Chocolate, finely chopped

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter bottom and sides of 9x5x3-inch loaf pan.
2. In medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder.
3. Beat butter and sugar in mixing bowl 2 minutes or until light, using electric mixer at medium-high speed. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down sides of bowl as necessary. Add bananas and vanilla extract at low speed, mixing until combined.
4. Add flour mixture alternately with sour cream. Add chocolate and blend just for a few seconds. Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth top. Bake 55-60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of bread comes out clean. Cool in pan set on wire rack for 15 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely on rack.

Photo: Godiva Chocolate

Cream-Filled Chocolate Cookies: Pattie Tierney Guest Blogger

Today I welcome back Pattie Tierney as a Guest Blogger.  You're going to love these Cream-Filled Chocolate Cookies.. and what a fabulous photo!

Pattie Tierney is a blogger, reader, traveller, diner, jewelry-maker, and lover of all things chocolate and mysterious.  Check out her online jewelry shop; her online paper goods shop; follow her on Twitter @pattietierney or read her Blog.

PATTIE TIERNEY:

True chocoholics know the benefit of expediency where chocolate is concerned, when that craving hits you want something chocolaty and delicious, and you want it now!  Thanks to Debby Maugans and her book Small-Batch Baking, all of this is possible, and in a portion small enough for you to still remain virtuous. Is this perfect or what?  I stumbled across Maugans' book while perusing other cookbooks and was intrigued by the premise.  With just my husband and me left at home, making desserts got to be a bit of a problem when it came to portion control.  Well, no problem at all really, we ate with reckless abandon, then bought the next size up in pants. After a while this got to be expensive, so I decided smaller batches was the economical way to go.

This book fills that need perfectly. It's worth a look just to read the recipes alone because they are just so darned cute: a fourth cup of this, a tablespoon of that, a pinch of the other. It took me back to my Easy Bake Oven days. Cake recipes in this book call for their being baked in vegetable cans. Sliced and layered they look like products from Barbie's Dream Kitchen.

This was the first recipe I tried (making them from start to finish while on the phone with my daughter-in-law) and it's a winner. The yield of six cookies means you can each have three, be perfectly satisfied, and not be tempted by the leftovers in the middle of the night.

Maugan's new book Small-Batch Baking for Chocolate Lovers (she read my mind!) just became available earlier this month. I'll be sure to investigate and give a full report.

Cream-Filled Chocolate Cookies

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
About 3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2-1/2 teaspoons well-beaten egg or egg substitute

Vanilla Cream Filling (recipe follows)

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and set it aside.
Place the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl and whisk to blend.
Place 1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons of the sugar, the butter, and the beaten egg in a medium-size mixing bowl and beat with a hand-held mixer on low speed until blended, about 20 seconds.  Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 20 seconds.  Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and beat just until the dough is blended, 15 to 20 seconds.
Roll rounded teaspoons of the dough in your hands to form 12 equal balls, and place them on the prepared baking sheet, spacing them 2 inches apart.  Pour the remaining sugar (about 1/2 cup) into a small bowl.  Dip the bottom of a drinking glass into the sugar, and press the sugar-coated glass onto a ball of dough to flatten it.  Repeat with the remaining balls of dough, dipping the glass in the sugar before flattening each cookie.  Bake the cookies until they are firm, 14 to 15 minutes.
Remove the baking sheet from the oven, place it on a wire rack, and let the cookies cool completely.
Spread 1-1/2 teaspoons of the Vanilla Cream Filling over the flat side of half of the cookies.  Place the remaining cookies on top, flat side down, gently pressing down on them to squeeze the filling out to the edges of the cookies.

Vanilla Cream Filling
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon solid vegetable shortening
1/2 teaspoon milk
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

Place the butter, shortening, milk, vanilla, and salt in a small bowl and mix with a fork until a soft, smooth paste forms.  Add the confectioners' sugar and mix until the filling is well blended and smooth.  (This may take up to 5 minutes.)  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set it aside at room temperature until you are ready to use it.

Photo: Pattie Tierney

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Chocolate Margarita: National Margarita Day

Today is National Margarita Day, a holiday easy to celebrate. Of course, this being DyingforChocolate.com, it has to be a Chocolate Margarita. Following are two different recipes. Let me know which you like best! Both recipes suggest chocolate rims. How about adding a little salt to the rim mixture? Salt will bring out the chocolate and make this a bit more similar (ok, not all that similar) to a traditional margarita.

A simple recipe from Blenderking.com:  (Per serving)

I. CHOCOLATE MARGARITA

1 1/2 ounces Tequila
1 ounce Godiva liquor
3/4 ounce cream or half & half
1 Tbsp Hershey’s syrup
2 ounces orange juice
Ice

Shaker, not blender: Throw the ingredients into your shaker for a few quick shakes and pour into a margarita glass with crushed oreos lining the rim! Enjoy!

And, from Marcela Valladolid at Foodnetwork.com: This recipe is for a crowd:

II. CHOCOLATE MARGARITA

To rim the glasses:
Chocolate syrup
Finely chopped Mexican or bittersweet chocolate

Margarita:
1/2 cup chocolate syrup1 cup (8 ounces) tequila
1/2 cup (4 ounces) chocolate liqueur (recommended: Godiva)
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup orange liqueur
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Ice

Directions
To rim the glasses: Put the syrup and chopped chocolate into 2 small dishes. Moisten the rims of 4 margarita or martini glasses with the chocolate syrup. Dip them in the Mexican chocolate until coated. Set aside.

Margarita: Combine all of the ingredients, except ice, in a pitcher. Working in batches, transfer the mixture to a shaker full of ice. Shake and pour into the prepared glasses. Serve cold.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Mexican Brownies with Tequila Sauce

I've mention many times that different products and associations have great recipes on their sites. It should come as no surprise that Godiva Chocolate has some terrific recipes using their chocolate! Try this for a kick to an old favorite.

Mexican Brownies with Tequila Sauce

Ingredients
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 bars (1.5 ounces each) Godiva Dark Chocolate
17 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
4 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water
2 tablespoons tequila
3/4 cup roasted pumpkin seeds, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped

Tequila Sauce:
6 large egg yolks
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon whole milk
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
2 vanilla beans
1 1/2 tablespoons tequila

Confectioners' sugar for dusting

Make the brownies:
1. Line 9-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil, letting foil extend 2 inches over two opposite sides. Butter foil. Preheat oven to 325°F.
2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in small bowl; set aside.
3. Coarsely chop 7 bars of chocolate. Place coarsely chopped chocolate and butter in microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on medium (50% power) 1 minute. Stir. Microwave 1 minute more or until chocolate softens. Stir until smooth. Let cool.
4. Cut up remaining chocolate into 1/4-inch pieces; set aside. Whisk together eggs and sugar until well blended. Whisk in dissolved espresso powder. Whisk in melted chocolate mixture and tequila. Stir in dry ingredients until blended. Stir in pumpkin seeds, pecans and remaining chopped chocolate. Turn into prepared pan.
5. Bake 55 to 60 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out with a few moist crumbs clinging to it. Cool in pan on wire rack 30 minutes.
6. Lift brownies out of pan using foil handles. Let cool completely.

Make the sauce:
1. Whisk together egg yolks and sugar. Place milk and cream in medium saucepan. Using paring knife, split vanilla beans into lengthwise halves. Scrape out small seeds and add to milk along with pods. Heat to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove from heat and whisk about 1 cup into yolk mixture. Return entire mixture to saucepan and cook, stirring constantly, until sauce has thickened slightly. Do not boil. It is done when you can run your finger down back of coated spatula and a path remains in sauce for several seconds.
2. Remove pan from heat and immediately strain sauce through fine-mesh sieve into metal bowl that is set into larger bowl filled with ice water. Stir sauce for 10 to 15 minutes or until cool. Stir in tequila. Remove bowl of sauce from bowl of ice water. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Assemble dessert:
Invert brownies and peel off foil. Reinvert and cut brownies into 9 squares. Lightly dust with confectioners' sugar and place on dessert plate. Drizzle plate with tequila sauce.

Photo: Godiva

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Martha Washington's Devil's Food Cake for President's Day

Martha Washington was known for entertaining, and who better than to put forth a recipe for Devil's Food Cake than the First First Lady. Her Devil's Food Cake is a classic chocolate-buttermilk cake that has been handed  down through the generations, republished (with variations) by baking chocolate companies and appearing on thousands of websites. President's Day is a celebration of Presidential Birthdays, and this is the perfect Birthday Cake.

Recipe  from Capitol Hill Cooks: Recipes from the White House, Congress and All of the Past Presidents by Linda Bauer (Taylor, 384 pp., $26.95). The collection of appetizers, entrees, sides and desserts, from two centuries worth of politicos, is a benefit for Homes for Our Troops, which helps injured veterans build or adapt their homes for handicapped accessibility.

Martha Washington's Devil's Food Cake

Ingredients
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 3/4 cups sugar, divided
1 1/2 cups buttermilk, divided
1/2 cup cake flour, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3 eggs, well beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-15-inch pan or two 9-inch cake pans.
2. Melt chocolate in a double boiler. Add 1 cup sugar and 1/2 cup buttermilk, and stir until sugar is dissolved. Cool.
3. Sift flour once, measure, add baking powder, baking soda and salt and sift together three times.
4. Cream butter thoroughly. Add 3/4 cup sugar gradually, and cream together until light and fluffy. Add eggs and beat well. Add about a quarter of the flour mixture, mix thoroughly. Add chocolate mixture and blend. Add remaining flour, alternately with buttermilk, a small amount at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition. Add vanilla.
5. Pour batter into greased pan and bake for 30 minutes, or until done. Let cool. When completely cooled, trim edges and cut rectangular cake in half crosswise to make a two-layer cake. Fill and frost with icing of your choice.


Illustration: San Jose Mercury News Staff

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Grasshopper Pie: Chocolate Mint Pie Day

Today is National Chocolate Mint Pie Day, so I thought I'd do a post on Grasshopper Pie!

Grasshopper Pie is named because of its green color, although modern recipes may omit coloring the pie green. This pie was most likely invented in the 1950s in the United States, and may have been inspired by the "Grasshopper Cocktail" invented at about the same time. Grasshopper Pie is a chiffon pie usually made with a Chocolate Cookie Crust.

Chiffon pies in the 1950s were often a combination of whipping cream, gelatin, sugar, eggs, and flavoring (see vintage recipe at the end of this post). In the case of the Grasshopper Pie, common flavoring used was alcohol in the form of crème de menthe, and sometimes other alcohols like crème de cacao. For non-alcoholic pie, mint flavoring was achieved by using mint extracts instead, though these might still contain a tiny amount of alcohol. Green food coloring was a frequent addition to give the pie a light green color.

There are huge differences between classic recipes for Grasshopper Pie and modern ones. Since gelatin can be somewhat annoying to work with, many people now prepare the pie by melting marshmallows and blending them with milk or whipping cream, and sometimes cream cheese. Green food coloring can be optional. Several recipes advocate the use of specific cookies like Oreos, but I use chocolate wafers.

In the US, Grasshopper Pie tends to be most popular in the South, but other parts of the country enjoy it too. The pie rose in popularity especially up until the 1970s. Many ice cream stores capitalized on the flavor of this pie by producing their own version with mint or mint chocolate chip ice cream and a cookie crust. Some ice cream stores are particularly known for their grasshopper ice-cream pies.

Following are several different recipes for Grasshopper Pie. Let me know if you have a special family recipe. 

Simple Grasshopper Mallow Pie recipe from Kraft

Ingredients
1/4 cup green creme de menthe
1 jar (7 oz.) JET-PUFFED Marshmallow Creme
1 pt. (2 cups) whipping cream, whipped
1 OREO Pie Crust (6 oz.)

ADD creme de menthe gradually to marshmallow creme in large bowl, beating with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Gently stir in whipped cream.
POUR into crust.
REFRIGERATE 4 to 6 hours or until chilled. Store leftover pie in refrigerator.

This Frozen Grasshopper Pie Recipe is from cooks.com

FROZEN GRASSHOPPER PIE

Ingredients
1/4 c. butter, melted
2 rows Oreo cookies (lg. pkg.) crushed (you can also use chocolate cookies)

1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1/3 c. creme de menthe
1/4 c. white creme de cacao
2 c. (1 pt.) whipping cream, whipped

Directions
Combine crushed Oreos and butter and press in bottom of 9 x 13 inch pan. In large bowl combine sweetened milk, creme de menthe and creme de cacao. Fold in whipped cream.
Pour over crust. Cover. Freeze 6 hours or until firm. Garnish with chocolate curls. Return leftovers to freezer.

Expert Grasshopper Pie From Bon Appétit

Ingredients
Crust:
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
22 chocolate wafer cookies
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

Filling:
1 cup whole milk
Pinch of salt
3 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons cornstarch
6 ounces good-quality white chocolate (such as Baker’s or Lindt), chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons green crème de menthe
2 tablespoons light crème de cacao
3/4 cup chilled whipping cream
Shaved white and dark chocolates

Directions
  1. For crust: Spray 9-inch-diameter glass or ceramic pie dish with nonstick spray. Finely grind chocolate cookies and sugar in processor. Blend in butter. Press crumb mixture onto bottom and up sides of prepared dish. Freeze.
  2. For filling: Combine milk and salt in heavy small saucepan. Bring to simmer. Whisk egg yolks and cornstarch in medium bowl to blend well. Gradually whisk in hot milk mixture. Return mixture to same saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat until mixture thickens, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat. Add white chocolate and butter; whisk until smooth. Transfer custard to large bowl. Whisk in crème de menthe and crème de cacao. Set custard over another large bowl of ice water until cold and thick but not set, stirring often, about 30 minutes.
  3. Whip cream in medium bowl until stiff peaks form. Stir 1/3 of whipped cream into custard. Fold in remaining whipped cream. Pour filling into crust. Freeze at least 5 hours or up to 2 days. Garnish with shaved chocolates.

And one more, Vintage Cookbook Recipe for Grasshopper Pie that includes gelatin!



Want to make the Classic Grasshopper Cocktail?

Grasshopper Cocktail
1/2oz. Green Creme de Menthe
1/2 oz. White Creme de Cacao
1/2 oz. Cream


Combine in a blender with 1 cup of crushed ice. Blend until smooth (about 30 seconds). Serve in a Collins glass.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Mamie Eisenhower's Million Dollar Fudge

President's Weekend, and I 'll definitely have a few more recipes, but today I wanted to mention this fun cookbook I came across recently. Some of you know that I collect mystery, literary, art and movie tie-in cookbooks. Politics & Pot Roast is 'a flavorful look at the Presidency', compiled by Sarah Hood Salomon. It features original or favorite recipes of U.S. Presidents and First Ladies. This bi-partisan cookbook contains tested and tasty recipes, including James Monroe's Minted Fruit Cordial, L.B.J.'s Pedernales River Chili, and Mamie Eisenhower's Million Dollar Fudge. Each recipe is accompanied by unusual presidential facts and amusing anecdotes. So make some of Mamie's Million Dollar Fudge this weekend!

Mamie Eisenhower's Million Dollar Fudge 

Ingredients:
12 ounces semisweet chocolate bits
12 ounces German sweet chocolate, broken into bits
1 pint marshmallow cream
pinch of salt
1 can (13 ounces) evaporated milk
4.5 cups sugar
2 cups chopped walnuts (or pecans)
2 tablespoons butter

Directions:
In a large bowl, combine both types of chocolate, marshmallow cream and salt. Put milk and sugar in a large pot. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook, stirring mixture over the chocolate. Add nuts and butter and beat until the chocolate is melted and the fudge is creamy. Pour into buttered 9"x9" pan and let cool at room temperature for a few hours before cutting into squares. Store in an airtight container. Makes about 5 pounds of fudge.

Historic Note:
President Eisenhower was so fond of this desert that he named it "Mamie's Million Dollar Fudge."

Café au Lait Coffee Cake: National Café au Lait Day

February 17 is National Café au lait Day! Café au lait is French for "coffee with milk" and refers to a specific French coffee drink, although like most things there are multiple varieties. Don't confuse it, though, with a Caffe latte. To celebrate today, go to your local cafe or brew a cup at home, or you can make this sensational Café au Lait Coffee Cake from Nicole at MadebyNicole. Her recipe is fool-proof, and it's filled with Chocolate Chips. As always, you can use any good quality chocolate, chopped into small chunks in place of chocolate chips.

For those of you lucky enough to live in New Orleans, pop on over to the Café du Monde on February 17 for a Café Au Lait. They make it with chicory, which gives it a strong, bitter taste. The bitterness of the chicory offsets the sweetness of the powdered-sugar-covered beignets which of course you'll want to have. O.K., getting ahead of myself. Chocolate Beignet recipe will be posted closer to Mardi Gras. :-)

Café Au Lait Coffee Cake 
Recipe by Nicole Maki

Crumb Topping:
1 tsp instant coffee
1/2 C brown sugar
2/3 C flour
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
6 Tbsp cold butter
1 C chocolate chips
1 1/4 C pecans

Cake:
1/2 C softened butter
1 C sugar
2 eggs
1 C sour cream
2 Tbsp instant coffee
2 Tbsp warm water
2 3/4 C flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 C milk

Glaze:
1/2 C icing sugar
milk or cream to desired consistency
vanilla (optional)

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9x13 pan
Make crumb topping: Stir together dry ingredients, cut in butter, add chocolate chips and nuts.
In a large bowl beat sugar and butter until light. Add eggs, then sour cream and then coffee dissolved in water.
In a small bowl whisk together dry ingredients. Gradually stir into moist ingredients starting with 1/3 of dry mixture, 1/2 of milk, 1/3 dry, 1/2 milk final 1/3 dry mixture.
Spread half of batter into pan. Sprinkle with 1 1/2 C of topping. Cover with remaining batter and finish with crumb topping.
Bake for 60 – 65 minutes

(Optional) Cool and drizzle glaze off a fork onto the top of the cake.

Photo: Nicole Maki Thanks, Nicole

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Room Made of Chocolate

Talk about a Chocolate Valentine's Day Dinner!

A chocolate lover's dream was unveiled in Lithuania just in time for Valentine's Day. It is an entire room made of chocolate assembled at a supermarket in Vilnius. The flowers, glasses, chairs, walls and even a cat were made from chocolate.

The sculptor who created the room said it was because, to him, chocolate is associated with the sweet senses and he thought about a couple having dinner in the room on Valentine's Day.


Monday, February 14, 2011

Brownie Bites with Cherry Jubilee Sauce

Love this idea from King Arthur Flour, my go-to site for everything baking (and more!). King Arthur Flour's Brownie Bites recipe is fabulous, and for Valentine's Day, how about dressing the Brownie Bites up by cutting them in a different shape and decorating with cherries! These brownie bites can be cut with a round biscuit cutter, but for Valentine's Day, how about a heart shaped biscuit cutter?

This photo is from the King Arthur Flour website, and since there wasn't a Cherry Sauce recipe to accompany the brownie bite recipe, I thought I'd mention one of my favorites: Chukar Cherry Jubilee Sauce which is a three cherry sauce and all natural. Fabulous with Brownie Bites.

February is Cherry Month, so this dessert does double duty!

Brownie Bites with Cherry Jubilee Sauce

Ingredients
1 cup unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups Double-Dutch Dark Cocoa or Dutch-process cocoa
1 tablespoon espresso powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 cups chocolate chips (or dark chocolate chopped up)

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 10" x 15" jelly roll pan or a 9" x 13" pan. For guaranteed easy removal of the brownies, line the greased pan with parchment, and grease the parchment.
1) In a microwave-safe bowl, or in a saucepan set over low heat, melt the butter.
2) Add the sugar, stirring to combine. Remove from heat.
3) Stir in the cocoa, espresso powder, salt, baking powder, and vanilla.
4) Whisk in the eggs, stirring until smooth.
5) Add the flour, chips, and optional nuts, again stirring until smooth.
6) Spoon the batter into the prepared pan.
7) Bake the brownies for 28 to 34 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. The brownies should feel set on the edges, and barely set in the center.
8) Remove the brownies from the oven, and cool for at least 1 hour before cutting.
9) Use a 1 1/2" round (or heart shaped) biscuit cutter to cut as many circles or heaarts as possible (about 46) out of the brownies in a 10" x 15" pan. You'll get about 38 from a 9" x 13" pan.
10) Just before serving, pour Cherry Sauce over the Brownie Bites



Photo: King Arthur Flour

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Chocolate Marshmallow Hearts: Valentine's Day

Soft marshmallow centers covered with rich chocolate can be the "Heart' of Valentine's Day. Lots of choices out there. You can make these yourself, dipping heart shaped marshmallows in dark chocolate, as you would any fruit or nut. You can make the marshmallows yourself and form them in heart shaped molds or cut out with cookie cutters, or you can buy Chocolate Covered Marshmallows from various purveyors or even buy Peeps, possibly a last resort, unless you like that hit of gummy nostalgic Peeps marshmallow.  So many ways to combine Chocolate and Marshmallows to say I love you.

1. Kraft makes Strawberry (artificially flavored) Jet-Puffed HeartMallows that you can buy at your local drugstore, Walgreen's, Walmart or Target. Dip them in chocolate! Melt some chocolate in a double boiler or the microwave and dip half the heart marshmallow into the chocolate. Dry on wax paper.

2. Make your own Marshmallows. Goodlife Eats has a fabulous recipe for Chocolate Raspberry Vanilla Bean Marshmallows. Once you've made your own marshmallows, you'll never go back. The Marshmallows in Katie Goodman's recipe contain crushed, freeze dried raspberries. This gives them a pink color and fruity flavor. For another option, you can use dried strawberries. Dip the marshmallow hearts in chocolate when you're done, and you have the perfect pairing!


3. And, for an old standby, Peeps, the mother of all things marshmallow, has special Dark and Milk Chocolate Covered  Heart Shaped Peeps  (raspberry flavored). Available all kinds of places.

4. Martha Stewart has a Hot Chocolate with Marshmallow Hearts suggestion for Valentine's Day. Cut Marshmallows into Heart Shapes. Start by greasing a heart-shaped petit four cutter or aspic cutter with vegetable oil or cooking spray. Cut several marshmallows in half horizontally, and then press the cutter into the center of each one. Float the marshmallows and the cut-outs on hot chocolate. Perfect for your morning cocoa on Valentine's Day!

5. One last chocolate/marshmallow combination. BarbaraBakes follows Nigella Lawson's recipe for Valentine Rocky Road Crunch Bars. Fabulous.


Vintage Valentine Chocolate Molds

I love Vintage Chocolate Molds, and I have a few, but alas no hearts! Nevertheless, I thought you'd enjoy seeing these Vintage Heart Molds for Valentine's Day!


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Red Velvet Cupcakes for Valentine's Day

Nothing says Valentine's Day quite like Red Velvet Cake. It combines that nice deep red Valentine color with Chocolate.

I've posted "Natural Red Velvet Cake Recipes"  that don't use red food dye, but real Southern Red Velvet Cake cries out for the artificial red dye! One of my favorite no fail recipes (make it in a bundt pan or mini-bundt pans) is Marge's Red Velvet Cake which does use red food coloring.

Some people don't think of Red Velvet Cake as a chocolate cake but you use cocoa, so it's a cake deserving of this blog. Red Velvet Cake is made with cocoa, white vinegar, baking soda, and buttermilk, and it gets its deep color from red food dye. For some very 'Southern' tips and things about Red Velvet Cake that will surprise you, read Adrian Velez's post for CafeMom at The Stir.

So for another recipe, because variety is the spice of life, here's a slightly adapted Paula Deen recipe for Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting! You can't get more Southern than Paula! I added more cocoa, because I do like them to taste a bit more chocolate-y. These are perfect for your Sweetie this holiday, and you can make ahead. Be sure and scroll down for a link to a very special Red Velvet Cake Surprise from CakeSpy!

RED VELVET CUPCAKES

Ingredients
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 tbsp DARK cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 tablespoons red food coloring
1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
1 teaspoon Madagascar vanilla extract

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 pound cream cheese, softened
2 sticks butter, softened
1 teaspoon Madagascar vanilla extract
4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 (12-cup) muffin pans with cupcake papers (or use mini-cupcake pans and double).
2. In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In a large bowl gently beat together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla with a handheld electric mixer. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet and mix until smooth and thoroughly combined.
3. Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tins about 2/3 filled. Bake in oven for about 20 to 22 minutes, turning the pans once, half way through. Test the cupcakes with a toothpick for doneness. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth. Add the sugar and on low speed, beat until incorporated. Increase the speed to high and mix until very light and fluffy.

Paula Deen tops her cupcakes with nuts, but I suggest sprinkling with Red Velvet Cake Crumbs!

Want to try something really wacky and delicious? CakeSpy has a fabulous recipe for a Red Velvet Shake! Forget about your arteries. Ice-cream, milk, and a big piece of red velvet cake! Heaven. Now you know what to do with that last cupcake or piece of cake!

Hat Tip: Doc Quartermass who loves Red Velvet Milkshakes and anything chocolate!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Cream Cheese Brownies: National Cream Cheese Brownie Day

Last year I posted a recipe for Cream Cheese Brownies for National Cream Cheese Brownie Day that used a  Brownie Mix. This year I thought I'd post a From Scratch Brownie Recipe, because really there's not all that much difference in the work, and you can control the quality of the chocolate. Philly Cream Cheese is usually my cream cheese of choice since I'm from Philly originally, but I've been known to substitute local rich California Cream Cheese. The extra dark chocolate chips are a great addition, and you can actually add more than 1/2 cup. I chop up high quality chocolate. Celebrate! Make Cream Cheese Brownies today!

Cream Cheese Brownies

Brownies
1/2 cup sweet butter
4 oz 85-95% good quality chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup sugar
1 tsp Madegascar vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup dark chocolate chunks or chips

Cream Cheese Layer
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp Madegascar vanilla extract
1 large egg

Directions
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
1. Line a 9 x 9 inch square baking pan with aluminum foil across the bottom and up two opposite sides of the pan.
2. In  stainless steel bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water, melt butter and chocolate.
3. Remove from heat and stir in the sugar and vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Use a spoon. Stir in flour and salt and beat, until the batter is smooth and glossy and comes away from the sides of the pan (about a minute).
4. Remove 1/2 cup of the brownie batter and set it aside.
5. Fold chocolate chips (broken up chocolate) into the remainder of the brownie batter and then pour batter evenly onto the bottom of the prepared pan.
6. Using mixer or food processor, whip cream cheese until smooth. Add tugar, vanilla, and egg and process just until smooth.
7. Spread cream cheese mix over the brownie layer. Spoon small clumps of reserved brownie batter on top of the cream cheese filling. Then with knife or wooden skewer, swirl two batters without mixing them.
8. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes or until the brownies start to pull away from the sides of the pan and edges just begin to brown.
9. Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool.
10. Refrigerate brownies until firm enough to cut into squares (at least two hours).
11. Once chilled, remove brownies from pan by lifting with  ends of foil and transfer to cutting board. 12. With sharp knife, cut into squares.
Brownies can be stored in the refrigerator for several days.

Want to try some variations on Cream Cheese Brownies?
Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies with Heath Bars from Recipe Girl
Nibby Cream Cheese Brownie Cupcakes from The Spice Life
Bailey's Cream Cheese Brownies from Tasting Spoons

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Chocolate Soufflés for Valentine's Day

There's nothing more romantic or delicious than a Chocolate Souffle right out of the oven. Many years ago a friend and I made a Valentine's Day dinner for our significant others. We each made two dishes for four and  swapped. I made Coquille St Jacques and Chocolate Soufflés in small ramekins. She made the salad and roasted vegetables. I think she got the better of the deal. Nevertheless, it was one of my first forays into souffle making, and luckily I chose a recipe that couldn't fail. Both of us compared notes the next day and declared it was one of the best meals we had ever had.

I posted a recipe for Chocolate Soufflé for Bastille Day a few years ago. It's my go-to recipe, adapted from Bon Appetit. It's easy and delicious. But I'm always looking for new recipes. My source for this Valentine's Day Chocolate Soufflés: Sunset Magazine. They've been producing the best recipes for years.

Valentine's Day Chocolate Soufflés
adapted from Sunset Magazine

Prep and Cook Time: 25 minutes.  You can fill the soufflé dishes up to 1 day before baking and chill them (allow up to 5 extra minutes to bake). Here's a helpful hint from Sunset: increase or decrease the number of soufflés with this simple formula: For each soufflé, use 1/2 tsp. butter, 1 tbsp. sugar, 1 oz. chocolate, 1 tbsp. milk, 1/2 egg yolk, 1 egg white, and a small pinch of both salt and cream of tartar.
Yield: Makes 6 individual soufflés

Ingredients
1 tablespoon sweet butter, plus more for dishes
6 tablespoons sugar, plus more for dishes
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped (use the very best quality)*
6 tablespoons milk
3 egg yolks
6 egg whites
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

The Sunset recipe tops the soufflés with Vanilla Bean Cream, but I use fresh whipped cream or just eat as is. Keeping it easy. :-)

Preparation
1. Preheat oven to 375°. Generously butter six 8-oz. soufflé dishes. Sprinkle butter with sugar to coat. Put dishes on a baking sheet and set aside.
2. Bring 1 in. water to a boil in a medium frying pan. Put chocolate, milk, and 1 tbsp. butter in a small metal bowl. Put bowl in water and take pan off heat. Stir occasionally until chocolate melts. Remove bowl from water, mix in egg yolks, and set aside. (you can melt chocolate in a different way, if you'd like, but this is an interesting technique and controls the heat well.)
3. In a large clean bowl, beat egg whites, salt, and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Sprinkle in 6 tbsp. sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.
4. Whisk 1/4 of beaten egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Fold chocolate mixture into the remaining egg whites. Divide mixture evenly among prepared soufflé dishes and bake until set but still soft in the center, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve immediately, with whipped cream.
5. Serve with demitasse spoons to savor every bite (Hat Tip to Bobbie Mumm)

Remember, you can fill the soufflé dishes up to 1 day before baking and chill them (allow up to 5 extra minutes to bake). 

Photo: Leo Gong, Sunset Magazine

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Vintage Valentine's Day Chocolate Advertisements

Valentine's Day is all about Chocolate, and if you're reading this blog, so are you.

Here are a few Vintage Valentine's Day Chocolate Ads. Say it with Chocolate!



Dark Chocolate Healthier Than Fruit Juice

Reported in the Chemistry Central Journal last week, dark chocolate may be healthier than fruit juice. This doesn't surprise me, but with any study, look at the facts and look at who funded the study. The study reported that dark chocolate and cocoa have more anti-oxidant capacity than fruit juice. You probably already know that chocolate products also have more heart-healthy flavanols and polyphenol. 

"When looking for a sweet snack, a square of dark chocolate might, in fact, be your healthiest choice," said Suzanne Steinbaum, a cardiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan. She wasn't surprised by the findings, noting the anti-oxidants keep arteries in tip-top shape and help prevent heart disease. The study, conducted by the Hershey Company, compared cocoa powder and products with fruit-based powders and juices. Cocoa came out ahead on the anti-oxidant scale over blueberry, cranberry and pomegranate powder.

The differences between pomegranate juice and dark chocolate weren't significant, researchers found.
Still, dark chocolate exceeded other juices in the anti-oxidant test.

"Cacao seeds should be considered a 'superfruit' and products derived from cacao seed extracts, such as natural cocoa powder and dark chocolate, as 'superfoods,'" the researchers said.
Dark chocolate long has been touted for its health benefits, including lowering blood pressure.

So grab a piece of dark chocolate and wash it down with pomegranate juice!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Chocolate Covered Stuffed Strawberries: Cheesecake, Cookie Dough, Marscapone

With Valentine's Day only a week away, I thought I'd start posting some of my favorite easy recipes.

I love Strawberries, and I think you can't get more romantic than Chocolate Covered Strawberries. Last year I posted a recipe for Chocolate Covered Strawberries to Die For.. the extra kick is the ancho chile powder!

This year, I'm suggesting you get even more imaginative and stuff the strawberries with something wonderful such as cheesecake filling, marscapone, tiramasu, or cookie dough! Yes, cookie dough!

There are no real directions on how to do this, but I have a few hints. Pick lovely whole plump strawberries. Wash them and pat dry with paper towels. Melt the chocolate (good quality) with a little cream or butter..or just chocolate.. see past recipes. Dip in the chocolate (3/4 way up) before stuffing and put chocolate covered strawberries on a waxpaper covered cookie sheet. Put in the refrigerator for a few hours before cutting and stuffing. For stuffing: Fill a baggy or pastry bag with your filling of choice (that has been chilled).

Now for stuffing. Cut off the stem of strawberry and hollow out the inside. Take a pastry bag or plastic bag with a corner cut out and pipe in the filling.

Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries: You can make regular cream cheesecake filling and add some crushed graham crackers for authenticity, or not. Straight Cheesecake filling is great, too!  Make it easy on yourself, and buy something like Ready to Eat Cheesecake Filling or whip some cream cheese with a little vanilla and cream and sugar. No exact measurements. Tasting is the best judge! Be sure and leave enough time to chill the Cheesecake Filling before stuffing and the finished Chocolate Covered Strawberries.

For the Cookie Dough Strawberries, follow the same procedure. You might want to dip these strawberries in milk chocolate and sprinkle with mini chocolate chips. I'm a dark chocolate fan, no matter what, but it's a suggestion!

Get Creative: For the Marscapone or Tiramasu fillings, follow the same directions as for Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Chocolate Guinness Truffles for Super Bowl Sunday

Here's another recipe for Super Bowl Sunday. Beer, Chocolate & Pretzels! I love Truffles, and they're so easy to make. I've used different types of alcohol, but since I posted a recipe the other day for Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes, I thought Chocolate Guinness Truffles would be terrific for a Super Bowl party! For my Super Bowl, I'm going to roll them in Crushed Pretzels, but you can use crushed peanuts or beer nuts. If you're a purist, you can always roll them in cocoa!

CHOCOLATE GUINNESS TRUFFLES

Ingredients
3/4 cup Guinness
1 pound semisweet chocolate -- chopped
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
Optional coatings: Salted pretzels, crushed; Nuts, or Cocoa

Directions
Melt chocolate in top of a double boiler over simmering water.
Gradually stir in cream.
Gradually add Guinness, stirring gently to blend.
Cover and chill overnight.
Shape mixture into 3/4 inch balls, using about a tablespoon of ganache.
Roll in crushed salted pretzels or nuts or cocoa.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Nutella Brownie Muffins: World Nutella Day

Today is World Nutella Day. According to the World Nutella website, "Nutella is more than just a “chocolaty hazelnut spread,” it is a way of life." Whether or not you believe that, be sure and check the World Nutella Day website for recipes and links to blogs and Facebook. Follow Twitterstream @nutelladay for updates.

Since it's the weekend, you might want to take a look at my post last year for Stuffed Challah Nutella French Toast. Perfect way to start this day!

Here's a great easy recipe for Nutella Brownie Muffins adapted from Sunset Magazine.

NUTELLA BROWNIE MUFFINS

Ingredients
About 1/2 cup butter
2 ounces unsweetened or very dark (85-90% cacao) chocolate, chopped
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened DARK cocoa powder
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup Nutella

Preparation
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Generously butter 8 muffin cups.
2. Microwave 1/2 cup butter in a heatproof bowl to melt. Add chocolate, stirring until melted, then add sugar and cocoa and stir to blend. Whisk in eggs, vanilla, and salt. Add flour and stir until smooth. Spoon batter evenly into muffin cups.
3. Using a small spoon, make a depression in each portion of batter 1 in. wide and 1/2 in. deep. Spoon 1 tbsp. nutella spread into each.
4. Bake until a toothpick inserted into brownie part comes out with just a few moist crumbs, 20 to 24 minutes. Let cool on a rack about 10 minutes. Using a small metal spatula, loosen brownies from pans, move to rack, and cool completely.

Muffin Photo: Thomas J. Storey for Sunset

Friday, February 4, 2011

Super Bowl Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes

Planning a Super Bowl Party? You'll want to get in a lot of beer and chocolate! How about in one Super Bowl dish? Celebrations, a party planning website, recommends Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes: Beer & Chocolate!  I've posted recipes for Guinness Cakes and Brownies, usually around St. Patrick's Day, but this recipe is from Amy Berman, Chef &a Co-Owner of Vanilla Bake Shop. I love the Guinness Buttercream Frosting!

Other Super Bowl Chocolate Links below. Be sure and scroll down!

So who are you cheering for? I'm cheering for these  

Super Bowl Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes!

Ingredients
1 Cup Guinness Extra Stout
1 1/2 Sticks Sweet Butter
3/4 Cup Unsweetened Chocolate Chunks
2 Cups All Purpose Flour
2 Cups Sugar
1/2 Tablespoon Baking Soda
3/4 Teaspoon Salt
2 Large Eggs
3/4 Cup Sour Cream

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Bring stout and butter to a simmer in a large saucepan over medium heat. Do not boil.
Add unsweetened chocolate chunks to hot stout/butter mixture. Whisk until chocolate melts. Turn heat off and let cool.
Add sugar to chocolate mixture and whisk to combine.
Sift flour, baking soda and salt.
In a stand-alone mixer with a whisk attachment, combine the eggs and sour cream on medium speed.
Add stout-chocolate mixture to the egg mixture and combine on medium-low speed until encorporated.
Slowly add flour mixture in thirds to chocolate mixture with whisk attachment. Scrape the sides with your whisk to make sure you get all the dry ingredients combined.
Place cupcake papers in pan and divide batter into cups evenly. Fill about 2/3 of the cup.
Bake for 18-24 minutes or until the tops are firm to the touch, and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the cupcake.
Let cool on wire rack before frosting.

Guinness Buttercream Frosting 
Ingredients
1 Cup Sweet Butter (room temperature)
2 1/2 Cups Sifted Powder Sugar
1/4 Cup Milk
1/2 Whole Scraped Vanilla Bean
1/2 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
1 Cup Guinness Extra Stout

Directions
In a sauce pan, simmer Guinness on low heat for 10-15 min, until it stout becomes reduced and thicker in consistency. Similar to a syrup. *Tip: keep your eye on the store, so stout does not over cook. Let cool.
In a stand alone mixer, cream your butter for 1 minute
Slowly add the powder sugar in thirds, alternating with a little milk each time till mixture is creamy.
Add scraped vanilla bean and vanilla extract.
Slowly add reduced Guinness a little at a time. Taste test to desired flavor. You may not use all the Guinness reduction.
Place buttercream in a piping bag with a French star tip, frost cupcakes and enjoy! Or just slather on the icing!

Want some other Chocolate Super Bowl treats?  Check out:

Sarah Sprague's Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Pretzel Cookies
LaFuji Mama has Super Bowl Chocolate Crunchie Munchies

How about some Chocolate Cola Wings? Chef Michael Siry of Duke's Original Roundhouse and Big Daddy's restaurant.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Chocolate Chow Mein & Other Chocolate Treats for Chinese New Year

Gung Hay Fat Choy! This is the Year of the Rabbit. Last year's post included a link to the Chocolate Great Wall of China and Chocolate Warriors, and I also had a recipe for Chinese Noodle Nut Clusters.

My recipe today for Chocolate Chow Mein for Chinese New Year adds butterscotch chips. You'll really need salted peanuts to offset the sweetness of the chocolate and butterscotch chips. You can also drop this batter from a spoon onto a greased cookie sheet.

Be sure and scroll down for links to other chocolate treats for Chinese New Year. Are you posting a chocolate recipe or candy? Let me know, and I will add a link!

CHOCOLATE CHOW MEIN

Ingredients
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips or 2 cups dark (70-85% cacao) chocolate, chopped into small pieces
2 cups butterscotch chips
2 1/2 cups dry-roasted salted peanuts
4 cups chow mein noodles

Directions
1. Butter a 9x13 inch dish.
2. Melt chocolate and butterscotch chips in top of double boiler over simmering water.
3. Remove from heat and stir in peanuts.
4. Stir in noodles until all is well coated.
5. Press into prepared dish. Chill until set; cut into squares.

New Asian Cuisine has a great recipe for Chocolate Kumquat Spring Rolls, and yes, you fry them!  Recipe includes kumquats, chocolate, Grand Marnier and whipping cream. Fabulous! Kumquats are a symbol of good fortune (kum is a homonym for 'gold' in Chinese)

L.A. Burdick has Milk Chocolate Bunnies (almond ganache) or Dark Chocolate Bunnies (tangerine ganache) for the Year of the Rabbit. Each wood box stamped with a gold "Good Luck" wax seal and tied with "Gung Hay Fat Choy" ribbon.








Chocolate Chow Mein Photo: Gwynne Kloch

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Ground Hog Day Chocolate Cupcakes

I love to decorate cupcakes and cakes for special occasions. February 2 is the day when Punxsutawney Phil peaks his head out and if he sees his shadow and returns to his hole, it means there will be another 6 weeks of winter, but if he doesn't see his shadow and comes out, Spring is on its way. This holiday was brought to international attention by the film Ground Hog Day with Bill Murray.

Last year Gourmet Mom on the Go had a fabulous recipe for Punxsutawney Phil Hot Chocolate.  This year for Ground Hog Day, I found an adorable decorating suggestion for Cupcakes for Young and Old to enjoy.  This is from Food.com.  (not my photo, alas, but Marg on Food.com). She did a great job, don't you think? For this holiday, you can make your own cupcakes or buy rich chocolate-y ones at your favorite bakery!

Groundhog Day Cupcakes (decorating)

Ingredients:
12 baked chocolate cupcakes
6 Almond Joy candy bars
10 white jelly beans
3 watermelon slice candy
48 brown miniature M&Ms
4 chocolate cookies
white frosting
black decorating gel

Directions:
1. Remove a piece of cake the width of an Almond Joy candy from the center of a baked cupcake.
2. Set candy bar upright in hole, then spread a layer of white frosting on the cupcake.
3. For groundhog's eyes, trim ends from a white jelly bean, stick them in place with frosting, then dot them with black decorators' gel.
4. Add a tiny triangle cut from a watermelon slice candy for a nose, brown M&Ms Minis for ears and cheeks, and a tiny rectangular piece of white jelly bean for teeth.
5. Sprinkle chocolate cookie crumbs around the partially emerged groundhog, for dirt!

Photo: Marg (Cayman Designs)Food.com

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

King Arthur Flour Cocoa Page: Self-Saucing Chocolate Cake

February is Chocolate Month, and I have fabulous recipes this month. Lots of holidays, too, such as Valentine's Day, Chinese New Year and so many more!

I've often mentioned that I love the King Arthur Flour website, newsletter and products. Now they have a new page: All About Cocoa. Great information about Cocoa, Origins, Dutch or Natural and Specialty Cocoas.

Here's a great and easy gluten-free recipe from King Arthur Flour for Self-Saucing Chocolate Cake.. kind of like a lava cake, but a different recipe from ones I've posted. This chocolate treat can be dressed up with ice cream, whipped cream, or Irish Cream. I've used Kahlua!

SELF SAUCING CHOCOLATE CAKE

Batter
1/2 cup King Arthur Unbleached All Purpose Flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup Double-Dutch Dark Cocoa, Cocoa Rouge, or Dutch-process cocoa
1/4 cup almond flour or hazelnut flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons melted butter or vegetable oil
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk

Topping
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons Double Dutch Dark Cocoa, Cocoa Rouge, or Dutch-process cocoa
pinch of salt
1 cup hot milk or hot water

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease four 1-cup ramekins or oven-safe mugs.
2. To make the cake: Mix together the flour, sugar, cocoa, nut flour, salt, and baking powder.
3. Whisk in the vanilla, melted butter or oil, egg, and milk.
4. Divide the batter between the prepared ramekins or mugs, using about 1/3 cup batter in each.
5. To make the topping: Whisk together the sugar, cocoa, and salt.
6. Divide among the ramekins or mugs, using two heaping tablespoons for each.
7. Top each ramekin or mug with 1/4 cup boiling water. Place on a baking sheet.
8. Bake the cakes for 18 to 22 minutes. The cake should be puffy, with some liquid boiling up around the edges.
9. Serve hot or warm. Top with whipped cream, a toasted marshmallow, ice cream, or a splash of Irish Cream (or Kahlua!).

Yield: 4 servings.

Photo: King Arthur Flour