Thursday, March 31, 2011

Auntie Anne's Best Chocolate Cake: Guest Post by Bobbi Mumm


Yesterday was my birthday, and I know that Bobbi Mumm baked this especially for me. She sent this post and the photo on my birthday, so I know I'm right! Sadly, it was virtual since she lives in Saskatoon. I've been longing for this recipe since she first mentioned it on Facebook, so I'm so glad to welcome Bobbi Mumm as a guest blogger. Bobbi is a "mystery/chocolate cross-over" social media friend. That's a mouthful, and so is this chocolate cake!  

Bobbi Mumm is a mystery and thriller writer in Saskatoon, Canada where she works half-time as an event planner at the University of Saskatchewan. Married to a nuclear physicist, she has four children, two of whom are college-age. The twins remain at home. Bobbi practices Karate, as do her kids.

A year ago, Bobbi completed her first novel, Cream with Your Coffin. This past year, she signed with a U.S. literary agent and is seeking a publishing home for the novel. Bobbi was thrilled this week to learn that Cream with Your Coffin is now a quarter-finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. An excerpt can be read here  
http://tinyurl.com/amazoncreamcoffin   Almost finished her second novel, thriller De Rigueur Mortis, Bobbi has fallen in love, all over again, with the mystery that is Paris.

BOBBI MUMM:

Thanks to Janet Rudolph for her tireless championing of mysteries and chocolate. I happen to know that she knows a whole lot about corporate team-building and event planning, too.

In Cream with Your Coffin, American event planner and mother of twins, Lucy Beam, is determined that, by fair means or foul, she’s going to carve out a new life in bucolic Saskatoon, Canada. But juggling social climbing with the parenting of twins—on top of being a Yank oddity—in this, oh-so-Canadian university town is a lot to handle and outspoken Lucy Beam’s fresh start is doomed from the get-go. Pickled neighbours and philandering vets drowned in vats of milk are only the beginning of her troubles.

In spite of her trials, Lucy spends time in her kitchen, cooking for her family and friends. There are five of Lucy’s recipes in Cream with Your Coffin. The most important recipe—the one that helps Lucy uncover the identity of the murderer—happens to be chocolate cake.

This is not any old chocolate cake recipe but one that has been handed down in my family for generations. You’ll see in its simple ingredients how it would have been a standby for the early homestead wives on the prairies.

This photograph was taken by my friend, Eve Kotyk, photographer, writer, and artist extraordinaire. http://tagonist.net Eve and I spent a lovely afternoon photographing the cake and then eating it with our mystery writer friend, Larry. I hope you enjoy it, too.

Auntie Anne’s Best Chocolate Cake
(From Lucy Beam’s recipes in Cream with your Coffin)

2 tbsp vinegar in 2 cups milk
2 eggs
2 cups sugar
2½ cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
6 tbsp cocoa (sifted)
½ tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup melted butter or oil

Line bottoms of round pans with waxed paper or butter and flour to prevent sticking. Add vinegar to milk to start milk souring. Cream sugar and eggs until fluffy. In a separate bowl mix dry ingredients. Mix everything together and beat two minutes with hand electric mixer or 1 minute with a stand mixer.

Bake at 350˚F until toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean, around 40 minutes for two round layer cake pans, around 20 minutes for cupcakes.

In layer cake use raspberry jam as filling. Makes two 8 inch rounds or 24 cupcakes.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Birthday Bonanza Cake!


Today's My Birthday! Here's a Vintage Ad & Recipe to Celebrate!
  BIRTHDAY BONANZA!
OLD FASHIONED SOUR CREAM CHOCOLATE FUDGE CAKE

INGREDIENTS

Cake
2 1/4 cups Swans Down cake flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 1/4 cups firmly packed brown sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
3 unsweetened Baker's chocolate squares, melted and cooled
1 cup sour cream
1 cup boiling water 

Frosting
5 unsweetened Baker's chocolate squares, melted and cooled
3 cups icing sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup hot water
1 egg

DIRECTIONS

Cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degF.
Sift together flour, baking soda and salt, set aside.
Cream butter, then add brown sugar and continue beating for 5 minutes.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Add vanilla and chocolate.
Alternately blend in flour mixture and sour cream, 1/3 at a time on low speed of electric mixer.
Add boiling water, blending well (batter will be thin).
Pour into 2 greased and floured 9" round layer cake pans.
Bake at 350 F for 35- 40 minutes or until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool in pans for 10 minutes; remove and finish cooling on racks.

Frosting: 
Combine chocolate, icing sugar, butter, hot water and egg.
Blend; then beat at medium speed of electric mixer for 2 minutes.
Chill until of spreading consistency.
Carefully ice cake (cake crumb is very tender).

Frosting has raw egg in it, so consider another chocolate frosting.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Melting Moments Cookies

Kerrygold produces one of my favorite butters. I mentioned this at St. Patrick's Day, but thought I'd mention again, especially as we're entering Spring. When I was growing up, you always knew what the cows were eating by the flavor of the butter and milk. Kerrygold may not be a local butter, but it's delicious and worth searching for (I buy it at Trader Joe's).

The Irish Dairy Board was established in 1961 to band together a handful of small dairy farms throughout Ireland and harness their collective expertise. That fateful year resulted in the creation of the Kerrygold brand, a premium line of crafted cheese and butter made all across Ireland but sold under one brand name. Now, more than 40 years later, Kerrygold sales are nearly $2 billion with products available in over 80 countries. Kerrygold still adheres to the same small farm approach and still rely on independent dairy farmers . It's why each one of their products really are a little slice of Ireland itself.

As I've mentioned many times, you can find terrific recipes on dairy sites, food product sites and associations. This recipe is from the Kerrygold site. I've made these Melting Moments Cookies several times, and there's nothing like a butter cookie with a real buttercream filling, especially when chocolate is added to the buttercream. Melting Moments is a great name for these cookies! You'll remember them, as they melt in your mouth!

MELTING MOMENTS COOKIES

Cookies:
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cake flour
3/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (6 ounces) Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter at room temperature
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Buttercream Filling:
1/4 cup (2 ounces) Kerrygold Unsalted Butter at room temperature
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 ounce dark bittersweet chocolate, melted

For Cookies:
Position a rack in the middle of the oven. Heat oven to 300° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, sift both flours, cornstarch, baking powder and salt and set aside. In a large bowl and using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter, powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth and lightened slightly in color, 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed during the mixing. Mix in the flour mixture just until the flour is incorporated and a smooth dough forms.

For each cookie, roll a level tablespoon of dough between the palms of your hands into a smooth ball. Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheets, spacing them 2 inches apart. Use a fork to gently flatten the cookies to 1 1/4-inch disks and to make an impression of the fork tines in the top of each.

Bake the cookies one sheet at a time until the tops feel firm but do not darken, about 30 minutes. The cookie bottoms will be lightly browned. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets for 10 minutes. Use a wide metal spatula to transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

For Buttercream Filling:
In a medium bowl, use a large spoon to stir the butter, powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth. Stir in melted chocolate. Turn half of the cooled cookies bottom side up. Use a thin metal spatula to spread a rounded teaspoon of filling evenly over the flat bottom of each. Gently press the flat bottom of the remaining cookies on the filling. Serve at room temperature. Cookies can be stored in a tightly covered container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Makes 16 Sandwich Cookies.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Prince William's Groom's Cake: Chocolate Biscuit Cake

Prince William has chosen a Wedding Cake made of Cookies. There will be 1700 McVitie's Rich Tea Cookies and 17 kilos of chocolate!

Sweet-toothed Prince William has personally requested a "groom's cake" made of cookies (biscuits) and chocolate to be served alongside the couple's official wedding cake. The groom's cake is a wedding tradition associated with the southern United States (Remember the Red Velvet Armadillo Groom's Cake in Steel Magnolia's?). Prince William is said to have “chosen an old family favorite, made of McVitie’s Rich Tea biscuits and chocolate.”

Guests at the Buckingham Palace reception on April 29 will be able to choose between the "chocolate biscuit cake," as it is commonly known in the UK, and a classic fruitcake.

The groom's cake will be made by British cookie-makers McVitie's, using a secret recipe given to them by royal insiders. What is known is that huge cake will contain 17 kilos of chocolate and some 1,700 of the company's "Rich Tea" brand cookies -- enough to feed all 600 guests.

"It's going to be literally covered in chocolate decoration," Paul Courtney, the cake head chef at McVitie's said. "It's going to be beautiful."

Kate has organized the main wedding cake, commissioning luxury cake designer Fiona Cairns to make a huge multi-tiered fruit cake decorated with cream and white floral decorations.

So there will be two wedding cakes: Which cake is likely to go first?

You can make your own Chocolate Biscuit Cake. It's really just a lot of melted chocolate and broken digestive biscuits. I'm sure the 'official' cake will have breath-taking chocolate decorations, though. This recipe doesn't. As always, use the best quality of chocolate.  Here's a link to a wonderful (and easy) Chocolate Biscuit Cake recipe from The Daily Spud.

Photo: Chocolate Biscuit Cake: TheDailySpud

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Individual Black Forest Cakes: National Black Forest Cake Day

March 28 is National Black Forest Cake Day! What an odd but delicious holiday.

I'm a huge fan of Clover Stornetta, for their products, as well as their fabulous advertising. I feel Clo is a personal friend, and I've followed her billboards for years. But seriously, Clover products are fabulous. Rich, natural, the best! I'm a Sonoma County girl at heart, if only a part time resident. The Clover Stornetta website has some great recipes, and I know you'll enjoy this fun dessert.

Individual Black Forest Cakes

1/4 cup CLOVER BUTTER, room temperature
1/3 cup plus 3 Tbsp packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cup drained jarred sour cherries (1 tsp juice reserved)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 large CLOVER EGG YOLK
3 Tbsp CLOVER WHOLE MILK
1/4 cup CLOVER HEAVY WHIPPING CREAM
2 tsp rum

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Put 1 tablespoon of butter, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon cherry juice in the bottom of each of two 8-ounce ramekins. Microwave until butter and brown sugar are melted and bubbling, about 1 minute. Arrange cherries in a tightly packed layer in the bottom of each ramekin.

In a small bowl, whisk together flower, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. In another small bowl, stir together 2 tablespoons butter and 1/3 cup brown sugar with a spoon until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Stir in egg yolk, then flour mixture and milk. Divide batter between ramekins.

Place the ramekins on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of the cake comes out with only a few crumbs attached, approximately 30 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, beat cream, 1 tablespoon brown sugar and rum until soft peaks form. Run a knife around edge of each cake and invert onto a plate. Top cakes with rum whipped cream.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Chicken Mole Poblano with Animal Crackers

Recently, I'm not sure where, I read or saw something about making mole with animal crackers. I began to research this, since it makes sense. The animal cracker give the mole body and texture and a certain amount of sweetness, but using animal crackers was new to me!

Since I'm in Santa Fe for Left Coast Crime, this seemed like the perfect time to post this recipe. I've posted mole recipes before, specifically around Cinco de Mayo, so be sure and search for those recipes to compare.

I found a great recipe for Chicken Mole Poblano at Kendall Jackson. I love Kendall Jackson wines, and the wine pairing suggestion for Chicken Mole Poblano is to serve with Kendall-Jackson Grand Reserve Malbec. Good choice!

The complex flavors from toasted spices and Mexican chocolate pair wonderfully with the spicy black pepper flavors in the Malbec. The secret ingredient, animal crackers, adds a hint of sweetness and also helps to thicken the sauce.

CHICKEN MOLE POBLANO

For the chicken:
1 whole chicken
3 quarts water
½ onion
3 garlic cloves
2 bay leaves
2 Tbsp. kosher salt
1 Tbsp. freshly ground black pepper
¼ tsp. oregano

Place all ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 1 hour or until chicken is done. Strain and reserve the liquid and chicken.

For the mole sauce:
4 Tbsp. rice oil (or other neutral flavored oil)
8 dried mulato chilies, stems and seeds removed
4 dried pasilla chilies, stems and seeds removed
4 dried ancho chilies, stems and seeds removed
2 dried cascabel or chipotle chilies, stems and seeds removed
12 almonds
¼ cup peanuts
3 garlic cloves
¼ large onion
½ plantain, diced
12 animal crackers
5 raisins
3 whole black peppercorns
2 cloves
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp. sesame seeds, toasted
5 cups reserved chicken stock
2 slices bacon
½ bar (1½ oz.) Mexican chocolate (Ibarra)

In a large heavy bottomed pan over medium heat, add the oil and sauté the chilies for approximately 3 minutes. Stir the chilies constantly, being careful not to burn them. Using a slotted spoon, remove the chilies and reserve.

Add the almonds and peanuts and cook for 2 minutes or until golden brown. Add the garlic, onions and plantains and cook until golden brown, approximately 3 minutes. Add the animal crackers and cook for 2 minutes or until golden brown.

Add the raisins, peppercorns, cloves and cinnamon and cook until aromatic. Remove from the heat and place in a blender, add the chilies, 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds and the chicken stock. Purée until the sauce is a smooth consistency.

In a small pan, cook the bacon until the fat has rendered. Remove the bacon and all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the pan (bacon can be eaten or reserved for another use). Add the chocolate to the pan. Once the chocolate has dissolved, cook for 2 minutes or until aromatic. Add the bacon fat and chocolate mixture to the purée and stir to combine.

To serve: Slice the chicken onto a platter and cover with mole sauce. Garnish with remaining sesame seeds. Serve with Mexican rice and tortillas on the side.

The extra mole sauce can be frozen for up to 2 months.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Aunt Vera's Chocolate Oatmeal Pie: Sara Sue Hoklotubbe

As I've mentioned before, my mystery and chocolate worlds often collide. Mystery Writer Sara Sue Hoklotubbe's latest novel, The American Cafe, mentions Oatmeal Pie on pages 64-65, so I contacted her about the recipe.  Here's an original recipe from Sara's late aunt, Vera Youngblood Robertson. Sara modified the recipe a bit to fit with the chocolate theme, and it’s delicious (in fact, Sara and her husband, Eddie, just emailed to say that they had practically eaten a whole pie this afternoon!)



Aunt Vera’s (Chocolate) Oatmeal Pie

Ingredients
2 eggs
3/4 c. red syrup (her aunt's term for pancake or waffle syrup)
1/2 c. coconut (flaked or shredded)
1/2 stick butter
1/2 c. milk
3/4 c. rolled oats
1/2 c. semi-sweet mini chocolate chips
1/2 c. chopped walnuts

Mix ingredients together and pour into pie shell. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour. Let cool before serving. Enjoy!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Strawberry Extra-Chocolatey Brownies: California Strawberry Day

Today is California Strawberry Day. It's also the first day of Spring, so it's a great day to celebrate! California is the nation's leading producer of strawberries. The coast of California has a unique environment with its western ocean exposure with moderate temperatures year round -- warm sunny days and cool foggy nights - the perfect combination for growing delicious, beautiful strawberries!

Last year on California Strawberry Day, I posted a recipe for Strawberry Chocolate German Pancake. I've also posted recipes for Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake, Chocolate Covered Stuffed Strawberries, and 'regular' Chocolate Covered Strawberries. There have been others, too.

Visit California Strawberries for more facts, recipes, and apps.

I find that in the market, I can always depend on Driscoll's for fresh delicious California Strawberries, so it's no surprise I consult their website for special strawberry recipes (and other berries). In this recipe for Strawberry Extra-Chocolatey Brownies (recipe adapted from Driscoll's website), chopped strawberries add a fresh touch of fruity tartness to rich fudgy brownies. This is a quick and easy recipe. Use the finest ingredients-- California Strawberries, the best chocolate-- and you'll have a winner!

Strawberry Extra-Chocolatey Brownies

Ingredients
1 pkg. Driscoll’s Strawberries
4 oz. Unsweetened chocolate (I use Guittard)
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1- 1/4 cup Granulated sugar
2 Eggs
1 tsp. Madagascar Vanilla
2/3 cups All-purpose flour
1/2 cup Dark Chocolate chips or chopped Dark chocolate

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 12 muffin cups, or coat with cooking spray.
2. Rinse and dry strawberries. Stem and chop 8 ounces berries (half the container, 1-1/2 cups chopped), reserving the smallest berries for garnishing.
3. Place chocolate and butter in a medium mixing bowl. Microwave on medium power 2-3 minutes until butter is melted; stir until chocolate is completely melted. (or melt in a double boiler)*
4. Stir in sugar, eggs and vanilla.
5. Mix in flour, chopped strawberries, stirring just until combined.
6. Scoop batter into muffin cups, filling one half full.
7. Bake 15-17 minutes until brownies are just set on top and no longer shiny. Remove from oven and sprinkle about 1-1/2 teaspoons chocolate chips (or chopped chocolate) on tops. Return to oven 1-2 minutes until chocolate softens. Spread chocolate with the back of a teaspoon or knife.
8. Cool completely in pan. Run a knife around edges and lift to remove from pan. Before serving, halve remaining strawberries and place one on top of each brownie.

Pan Brownies Variation
1. Use a 8-inch square pan instead of muffin pan. Bake 25-30 minutes as directed above. At end of bake time sprinkle chocolate chips on top; return to oven for 1-2 minutes. Evenly spread chocolate. Cool. Cut into squares and garnish with strawberries.

Photo: Driscoll's

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Chocolate Swiss Army Knife

On my other blog, Mystery Fanfare, I occasionally post objects that are other than what they seem. So, too, with chocolate. I particularly love this Chocolate Swiss Army Knife! The Swiss army knife is one of those tools I carry around in my purse (along with duct tape). It always come in handy. This Chocolate Swiss Army Knife will, too, as a pick-me up, AND it's more airport friendly.



This Swiss Chocolate Knife is made of  Swiss chocolate and is filled with hazelnut praline and features the Victorinox Swiss Army logo.

Ingredients: Sugar, Cocoa Butter, Powdered Whole Milk, Hazelnuts (13%), Cocoa Fat, Vegetable Fat, Soy Flour, Emulsifiers, Natural Vanilla Flavoring, At least 35% Cocoa

Length (Closed): 3.5 inches; Weight: 28 grams (Approx. 1 ounce)

You can order this at the Swiss Knife Shop

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Warm Chocolate Caramel Cakes

Today is National Chocolate Caramel Day! Don't you just love these food holidays?

Be sure and read  last year's post for Chocolate Caramel Day: Caramel Filled Chocolate Cookies, Milk Duds, and a short review of some local chocolatiers' chocolate covered caramels.  I also had a post for Chocolate Caramel Trifle at Thanksgiving.

One of my favorite caramel sauces is Recchiuti's Burnt Caramel Sauce. This sauce is perfect in the following recipe, and you can order it online.   Of course, the Recchiuti Fleur de Sel Caramels are a real favorite of mine. Each dark chocolate caramel is a perfect balance of salty and sweet. They are addictive. Great for today's Chocolate Caramel celebration!

As in any recipe I post, I hope you'll experiment with different chocolate, cocoa, and other ingredients. This easy recipe is adapted from a recipe in one of my favorite magazines: Country Living. The final warm chocolate caramel cakes is a variation on molten chocolate cakes. Your guests--and you--will love the surprise when you bite into them! Caramel and chocolate goes so well together.

WARM CHOCOLATE CARAMEL CAKES

Ingredients:
Butter, softened
1 jar good-quality caramel sauce (Recchiuti)
1 1/2 cup sifted cake flour
1/3 cup Dutch-process cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup strong brewed coffee, warm
1/3 cup light olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoon Madagascar vanilla extract
1 tablespoon aged balsamic vinegar  (the best quality**)

Directions:

1. Coat six 6-ounce ramekins with softened butter. Chill in the freezer for about 10 minutes, and brush with a second coat of butter. Pour 3 tablespoons caramel sauce into the bottom of each ramekin and transfer to the freezer for 1 hour.

2. Whisk the cake flour, cocoa, baking soda, sugar, and salt together in a large bowl and set aside. Stir the coffee, oil, vanilla, and vinegar together and whisk into the flour mixture just until smooth.

3. Fill each ramekin with 1/3 cup of batter. Bake at 400 degrees F until the cake is set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, and the caramel has bubbled up the sides, about 20 minutes.

Photo: Country Living

Friday, March 18, 2011

Chocolate Hamentaschen for Purim

This year the Holiday of Purim starts on March 19 (lunar calendar). The traditional food served during this Jewish Holiday is Hamentaschen. They're made to resemble Hamen's (the villain of the story) hat!  Traditionally, hamentaschen were filled with prune, apricot or munn (poppyseed). But what's to say that Hamen's Hat couldn't be made of or filled with chocolate? I must mention that this holiday is about a Jewish woman who saves her people. How can you not love a holiday that honors a strong clever woman?

In the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar, on its thirteenth day ... on the day that the enemies of the Jews were expected to prevail over them, it was turned about: the Jews prevailed over their adversaries. - Esther 9:1
And they gained relief on the fourteenth, making it a day of feasting and gladness. - Esther 9:17
[Mordecai instructed them] to observe them as days of feasting and gladness, and sending delicacies to one another, and gifts to the poor. - Esther 9:22

The holiday of Purim appears in the Book of Esther. The story is read from the Megillah. So as not to give you the whole 'megillah' here, the story goes that Esther, a beautiful young Jewish woman living in Persia, and her cousin Mordecai, who raised her as a daughter, was taken to the house of Ahasuerus, King of Persia, to become part of Ahasuerus' harem. King Ahasuerus loved Esther and made Esther queen, but the king did not know that Esther was Jewish. The king’s aide, Haman, wanted to kill the Jews. Esther tells the king that  Hamen is plotting to have her killed-- well he's plotting to have all the Jews killed. When she tells the King that she is Jewish, the king kills Haman instead and saves the Jews. During Purim, everyone eats  hamantaschen. They are supposed to be modeled after Haman’s three pointed hat. In Israel it's said they're shaped like Hamen's ears (oznei Haman), but I feel better about eating hats than ears. :-) So on with the Chocolate!

Following are two great recipes for Chocolate Hamentaschen for Purim. You'll find them quite different, and I suggest you try both. Although the holiday starts this weekend, there's no reason that these great pastries (cookies) can't be made and consumed now!

Victoria Sutton at MyJewishLearning has a really wonderful recipe for Decadent Chocolate Hamantaschen. (Victoria Sutton has a BA from Barnard College, and the Grand Diploma in Classic Pastry Arts from the French Culinary Institute. She works as a freelance chef in New York City.) When I made these I filled them with Nutella. Great addition. So many possibilities. The second recipe has a darker chocolate pastry (I use dark cocoa), and the hamentaschen are filled with jam. The second recipe is from Emily at Voila! Adventures in the Kitchen with Emily. Another taste treat  is to fill these with peanut butter.  Of course, you can make your own family recipe for Hamentaschen and fill them with chocolate. Any way you make them, have fun!

Before you begin, here are some tips for making good hamantaschen.
Dough: Be sure and chill your dough. If you're not quick about it, put the dough back in the fridge for a short time. Be sure and refrigerate the dough before rolling it out. Roll out dough between pieces of parchment or wax paper rather than adding more flour, so the final product isn't too dense and doughy.

Tip for shaping: Put a dollop of filling in the middle of each circle. Fold up the sides to make a triangle, folding the last corner under the starting point, so that each side has a corner that folds over and a corner that folds under. Folding in this "pinwheel" style will reduce the likelihood that the last side will fall open while cooking, losing its filling. It also makes a better triangle shape.

I. Decadent Chocolate Hamentaschen
Recipe from Victoria Sutton at MyJewishLearning 

Chocolate Pâte Sucree:
3/4 cup granulated sugar
4 ounces butter, softened
1 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
1 egg
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup DARK cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
3-4 Tablespoons heavy cream

Chocolate Ganache Filling:
8 1/2 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
8 ounces heavy cream
Dash salt
Rum to taste (optional)

Chopped cherries, cranberries, nuts, or toffee (optional)

To prepare sucree: Cream butter, sugar, salt, and almond extract if using until light and fluffy. Add egg and mix until incorporated. Combine flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder. Add to butter mixture in two stages, alternating with the heavy cream. More or less cream might be needed depending on the consistency of the dough. Turn dough out onto plastic wrap, and form a flattened disc. Chill for at least one hour.

To prepare ganache: Over a double boiler, heat cream and chopped chocolate. When chocolate is mostly melted, lightly whisk until ganache is smooth and shiny. Whisk in rum (optional) and salt. Chill for several hours.

To form hamantaschen: Roll chilled chocolate sucree to slightly more than 1/8 inch thick. Using a round cutter or glass rim dipped in flour, cut circles of about 3 inches in diameter. If adding dried fruit or nuts, sprinkle a small amount in the center of the cut discs.

Remove ganache from fridge, and using either a small ice-cream scoop or by hand, form about 1 inch round balls and place in center of sucree circles. Carefully fold in the edges to form a triangular shape, and pinch the corners to seal.  Ensure there are no gaps or tears in the dough, to prevent filling from oozing out during baking.

Bake hamantaschen on greased cookie sheets at 350 F for about 15 minutes, until crust is baked through. Ganache will liquify during baking, but will set as hamantaschen cool. 

This second recipe features a really dark chocolate pastry,  and these hamentaschen are filled with jam. This recipe is adapted from Emily at Voila! Adventures in the Kitchen with Emily. Another great taste treat is to fill these with peanut butter.

II. CHOCOLATE HAMENTASCHEN 
Recipe from Emily at Voila! Adventures in the Kitchen with Emily.

Ingredients
Recipe originally adapted from Coconut and Lime
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 egg
1 teaspoon Madagascar vanilla
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup DARK cocoa
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup of any flavor jam, divided

Directions
Preheat oven to 350. Grease or line with cookie sheet with parchment paper
1. In a large bowl, cream together the sugar and butter until fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat thoroughly.
2. Add flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt and mix until a thick dough forms. Refrigerate the dough for about 10 minutes.
3. Sprinkle a clean work area with powdered sugar. Roll out the dough until about 1/4 inch thick. Cut out 2 to 3 inch rounds. Place them on the cookie sheets about 2 inches apart.
4. Spoon 1-2 tsp of jam (or peanut butter) in the middle and fold the sides to create a triangle shape. Pinch the corners and lightly smoosh them down so there isn’t a visible seam. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

Photo 2: Chocolate Hamentachen: Voila!Adventures with Emily

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Bailey's Chocolate Trifle: St. Patrick's Day

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Besides all the Guinness recipes I've posted this week, there have been several for Bailey's Irish Cream: Bailey's Irish Cream Truffles, Bailey's Irish Cream Fudge, Bailey's Irish Cream Chocolate Cheesecake. Today I have another. This time it's for Bailey's Chocolate Trifle.

As an aside, Bailey's has produced fun promotional collectibles over the years. I love these Winking "yum" cups, creamers, sugar, cookie jars, egg cups and teapots. You can still find them on eBay and etsy.

Back to recipes: I often clip recipes from newspapers and magazines, only to find them years later, yellowed by age but not necessarily by taste. With the Internet, we're so lucky that these 'one of a kind' recipes are posted. No paper, no fuss. No forgetting where they are.. well, maybe if you're like me and you don't bookmark them right away.  Here's winner Marlene Moore's top recipe from the Mercury (Pottstown, PA) EATS contest. This is perfect for St. Patrick's Day. As I mentioned the other day, Bailey's Irish Cream comes in several flavors: Original Irish Cream, Mint Bailey's Irish Cream; Coffee Irish Cream; or Creme Caramel Irish Cream. You can make this trifle using different flavors for completely different tastes! Just an FYI: I usually make trifle in a clear bowl. The layers look beautiful.

Bailey’s Chocolate Trifle
By Marlene Moore

1 (18.25 pk.) Devil’s Food cake mix
1 cup Bailey's Irish Cream
2 (3.4 oz.) instant chocolate pudding mix
3 1/2 cups cold whole milk
3 cups frozen whipped topping, thawed  (possible substitute: fresh whipped cream)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare the cake according to package directions. Bake in a greased 13 x 9 inch pan. Cool 1 hour on a wire rack. Poke holes in the cake about 2 inches apart with a meat fork. Carefully pour the Irish cream over the cake. Refrigerate 1 hour.

In a medium bowl whisk the pudding mix and milk together until smooth. Let stand 2 to 3 minutes, or until soft set. Cut the cake into 1-1/2-inch cubes. Place one-third of the cubes in a trifle bowl. Top with one-third of the pudding and one-third of the whipped topping. Repeat the layers two times. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Makes 14-16 servings

**
Since it's St. Patrick's Day, you might want to read some Crime Fiction set during St. Patrick's Day. Here's a link to a list on my other blog, Mystery Fanfare.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

You Make Me Want to Stout Cupcakes: Scharffen Berger Adventure Contest 2010

Scharffen Berger's Adventure Contest 2010 Winners couldn't have been awarded at a better time. Elaine Barbee from Missouri won the contest for "You Make Me Want to Stout Cupcakes". Perfect for St. Patrick's Day!

As part of the contest, bakers were invited to develop an original cupcake recipe using Scharffen Berger chocolate and one or more of 14 “adventure ingredients.”  The $10,000 Grand Prize went to “You Make Me Want To Stout” by Elaine Barbee. Her deeply rich chocolate cupcake included stout as the only adventure ingredient, used in four different ways, and was unanimously chosen as the winner among over 2,000 recipe entries. See recipe below.

The culinary judging panel included Top Chef: Just Desserts guest judge and award-winning chef Elizabeth Falkner; Scharffen Berger chocolate co-founder John Scharffenberger; chocolate expert and award-winning cookbook author Alice Medrich; award-winning food blogger, photographer and art director Matt Armendariz of MattBites.com; and baking expert and blogger Angie Dudley of Bakerella.com. Cupcakes were judged on creativity, spirit of adventure, ease of preparation, appearance and flavor.

"Stout adds an extra depth of flavor to Scharffen Berger chocolate; the notes play off of, without smothering, one another. And, the winning recipe uses stout impressively within four unique components - the batter, the filling, a reduction and the frosting,” said Chef Falkner. “The innovation of using only one secret adventure ingredient to highlight the various flavor profiles of Scharffen Berger chocolate made it the clear winner.”

“It was the kind of cupcake we all wanted to eat and keep eating and then eat again!” said Matt Armendariz. “The stout in the cupcake and filling added a malty, sharp note that complimented the chocolate so well. It was interesting and unique, and stood out among all the entries.”
 
Second Place Recipe: Spicy Dulce de Leche and Chocolate Cream Stout Cupcakes with Chile Ganache and Candied Serrano Chiles

Third Place: Beer Bellies: Cocoa Stout Cupcakes with Beer-Malt Frosting and Spicy Pretzel Crumbles

You Make Me Want To "Stout" Cupcakes

Creator: Elaine Barbee / MO
Adventure Ingredient: Stout Beer
Servings: 36
 


INGREDIENTS

Batter:
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2/3 cup Scharffen Berger Unsweetened Natural Cocoa Powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups milk stout beer, room temperature and divided
  • 2/3 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups dark brown sugar
  • 2 eggs

Filling:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup milk stout beer, room temperature
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon good quality bourbon vanilla extract

Stout reduction:

  • 1/2 cup milk stout beer, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar buttercream frosting:
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 6 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2-3 Tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup stout reduction
  • 2 teaspoons good quality bourbon vanilla extract
  • edible gold stars, optional

PREPARATION

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. For the cupcakes: Line cupcake pans with paper liners and set aside.
  3. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  4. In a medium saucepan bring the stout up to a simmer on medium heat.
  5. Leave the saucepan on the stove and turn off the heat.
  6. In a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar.
  7. Add the eggs and mix until well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  8. Set the mixer speed on low and slowly begin pouring in 1 cup of hot stout.
  9. Add the dry ingredients to the creamed butter mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, until all of the dry ingredients have been incorporated.
  10. With the motor running, pour the remaining cup of hot stout into the batter and mix until just combined. The batter should be thin.
  11. Pour the batter into the liners about 2/3 of the way and bake for about 16-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cupcakes.
  12. Poke a hole into the center of each cupcake with end of a wooden spoon and remove the cupcakes from the pans onto a cooling rack. Set aside.
  13. For the filling: In a medium saucepan whisk together the cream, stout, eggs, sugar, flour and salt until smooth.
  14. Place the pan over medium heat and bring to a slow boil, constantly whisking until the mixture thickens, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  15. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter and vanilla until fully incorporated.
  16. Allow the mixture to cool slightly before spooning the mixture into the holes of the cupcakes.
  17. For the reduction: Place the stout and sugar in a small saucepan, stir and bring to a boil.
  18. Once the mixture has come to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for about 15 minutes until the mixture reduces by half.
  19. Remove the mixture from the heat and set aside. The reduction will thicken as it cools.
  20. For the frosting: Place the butter in a standing mixer or in a bowl using a hand mixer and cream until light and fluffy. Begin adding the sugar to the butter, 1/2 cup at a time until all of the sugar has been used. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  21. Add 2 tablespoons of cream and the vanilla to the butter mixture and continue beating on medium speed.
  22. Slowly pour the reduction into the frosting until fully incorporated and the frosting is light and fluffy. If the frosting is stiff add the remaining tablespoon of cream into the frosting.
  23. Scoop the frosting into a piping bag and pipe the frosting onto each cupcake.
  24. If using edible stars, place them on the top of the frosting at them time and serve.
*Note: If you can't find milk stout this can easily be replaced with creamy stout for the same results.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Guinness Chocolate Silk Pie

Continuing with St. Patrick's Day recipes, specifically those containing Irish beer or Whiskey, here's a recipe for Guinness Chocolate Silk Pie. You can use any stout, of course, but Guinness is easily available and so very Irish! I make a chocolate cookie crust, but you can use a graham cracker crust or a vanilla wafer crust.

So many great ways to use Guinness with Chocolate. I think the stout brings out the chocolate.

GUINNESS CHOCOLATE SILK PIE

Chocolate Cookie Crust
Ingredients:
30 chocolate wafers (Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers)
5 tablespoons sweet butter, melted and slightly cooled
Dash of Salt
1/2 teaspoon Madegascar vanilla extract

1. Whirl cookies in food processor until tfinely ground.
2. Put crumbs in mixing bowl; combine crumbs, butter, salt, and vanilla; stir until the crumbs are moistened.
3. Press mixture evenly across the bottom of a 9-inch pie plate and all the way up the sides of the pan; pack tightly so crust is even and compacted.
4. Bake in a 350° oven for 6 minutes until crisp.
Cool before filling.


Filling:
12 ounces dark chocolate (70-75% cacao), broken up
24 large marshmallows
Pinch of salt
2/3 cups Guinness
1/3 cup evaporated milk
1 teaspoon Madegascar vanilla
1 tablespoon creme de cacao or Kahlua

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Make the crust (see above)

1. Place chocolate, marshmallows and salt in a blender or food processor. Blend until well mixed and chocolate is finely ground.
2. In two separate pans, heat Guinness and evaporated milk until very hot, but not boiling.
3. Slowly pour hot Guinness  over marshmallows and chocolate in blender. Add the hot cream. Cover and blend for one minute.
4. Add vanilla and creme de cacao or Kahlua. Blend for one minute.
5. Pour into the cooled crust and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

Top with Whipped Cream or Guinness Ice Cream

Monday, March 14, 2011

Bailey's Irish Cream Truffles

With St. Patrick's Day approaching, I thought I'd post a recipe for Bailey's Irish Cream Truffles. The other day I posted a recipe for Bailey's Irish Cream Fudge. Both recipes are good and easy, so take your choice.

As I mentioned, great recipes are sometimes found in unusual places. The Fudge recipe and the one below for Bailey's Irish Cream Truffles have been adapted from Fantasy-Ireland.com, a travel website.

I use Kerrygold sweet butter in much of my baking, so I thought I might mention this Irish butter here. It is imported from Ireland, and can be found in many supermarkets and specialty stores throughout the U.S. The flavor is exceptional. There will be a Kerrygold whipped butter out this Spring. Delicious, but not for baking. Use 'regular' butter, not whipped butter for baking.

Bailey's comes in different 'flavors', and using different ones in your truffle batches will give you a lot of variety: Mint Bailey's Irish Cream; Coffee Irish Cream; or Creme Caramel Irish Cream.

These Bailey's Irish Cream Truffles are simple to make and great for St. Patrick's Day or any day! Just an FYI: Bailey's markets its own Truffles, so if you don't have time, pick up a box.

BAILEY'S IRISH CREAM TRUFFLES

Ingredients:
12 oz dark chocolate (65-85% cacao), chopped
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon Kerrygold sweet butter
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup Baileys Irish Cream liqueur

Directions:
1. Melt chocolate, Baileys and heavy cream together over very low heat.
2. Whisk in yolks, one at a time; mixture will thicken. Whisk in butter.
3. Refrigerate overnight, or until firm.
4. With spoon (or small scoop) make small balls. Roll in cocoa (or nuts or sprinkles)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Santa Fe Chocolate Trail

Planning on going to Santa Fe? I know lots of my friends will be there for Left Coast Crime next week. Many mystery people  have two passions: Crime Fiction & Chocolate, so they'll definitely want to go on The Santa Fe Chocolate Trail. My Twitter friend @santafetraveler aka Billie Frank posted this great "Santa Fe Chocolate Trail" article (complete with her own favorites) on her website The Santa Fe Traveler or her blog.  Santa Fe Travelers. Thanks, Billie, for this guest post with DyingforChocolate.com

Exploring The Santa Fe Chocolate Trail
by Billie Frank, The Santa Fe Travelers (reprinted with permission)

Chocolate should be a food group, it’s that simple. If that statement resonates with you, and you’re in The City Different, check out the delicious Santa Fe Chocolate Trail. The four shops on the trail each put their own spin on the bean, including use of that New Mexico staple, chile. If you’re not planning to be in Santa Fe anytime soon, these unique shops do mail order and all but one are on the web.

Kakawa Chocolate House
1050 E. Paseo de Peralta
Santa Fe, NM
505-983-0388

Kakawa Chocolate House, located in an old adobe building on Paseo de Peralta in the historic area of town, is dedicated to the ancient art of chocolate. Their name is derived from the Aztec word for chocolate; their specialty, Mayan elixirs. They also offer European versions of this New World drink brought to the Continent by returning Spanish explorers. The good news, these restorative drinks come in wafers that can be taken home or easily shipped. You don’t have to live in Santa Fe to enjoy these.

Kakawa’s website offers 19 different wafers in three categories. The Mesoamerican-style wafers are infused with native herbs or their modern equivalents. Most are unsweetened. The European varieties use sweeteners. The latest addition is a selection of contemporary wafers; a modern interpretation of European-style elixirs adapted to 21st century taste-buds. And great news for health-conscious chocolate lovers, Kakawa uses honey and agave syrup as sweeteners. The shop also offers a selection of hand-rolled, hand-dipped truffles made in-house. The selection varies depending on what they are creating at the moment. There is almost always a New Mexico chile truffle available. Kakawa sources many of their ingredients locally.

Favorite: dark chocolate, chile truffle.

Chocolate Smith
851A Cerrillos Road
Santa Fe, New Mexico
(505) 473-2111

Chocolate Smith occupies a modern, antiseptically clean shop on Cerrillos Road. Featured on the Food Network’s Road Tasted with the Neelys, the shop’s unusual specialty is chocolate pâté. Ganache is shaped, chilled and then hand-dipped ten times in the same European-style wax that coats Gouda cheese. The pâté comes in six flavors including a local ancho chile version. There are a variety of shapes; red and green chiles are a staple. There are also animals, southwestern themed shapes and seasonal ones for holidays. Their web-site offers the pates, Signature Selections which include the Dark Chocolate Chile Sampler, the Santa Fe Sampler and the Chile Bark Sampler; Custom Selections and more.

Favorite: White chocolate, lemon, lavender bark. While technically not chocolate (it’s made from cocoa butter, not cocoa) it’s addictive

CG Higgins Confectioners
847 Ninita Street
Santa Fe, NM
(505) 820-1315

CG Higgins Confectioners is easier to find on the Internet than in person. The small shop is at the intersection of St. Francis Drive and tiny Ninita Street; you can easily drive right past it. Ever since the shop was featured on Road Tasted with the Neelys (same episode as Chocolate Smith) people go out of their way to get there. The business, originally called Chuck’s Nuts (after owner Chuck Higgins) had a name-change in 2007 to better reflect the shop’s new direction, candy making. Besides chocolates Higgins makes caramel corn, fudge and brittles.

Their website offers chocolate drinks, fudge, caramel corn, brittles and a variety of non-food items. Higgins says he makes the best brittles in North America. He attributes this to the altitude (baking soda reacts differently at 7,000 feet), the dry climate and that the candy is made in small production batches by hand.

Favorite: Chile pecan brittle

Todos Santos
125 E Palace Ave # 31
Santa Fe, NM 87501-2042
(505) 982-3855

Walking into Todos Santos, a tiny shop in the courtyard at historic Sena Plaza is like stepping into a shop south of the border. The décor is funky Mexican. Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) heads, milagros (symbols used when praying for miracles), Mexican cut paper decorations, flowering over-head branches dripping with kitsch and more decorate every inch of the small space. The shop’s been featured on the Food Network’s Giada’s Weekend Getaways, and Food Finds. It was also a Santa Fe stop on HGTV’s Dream Home 2010 giveaway show.

Owner Hayward Simoneaux incorporates the gold and silver leaf techniques he learned as a picture-framer in his signature edible gold and silver leaf covered milagros. Also house-made: toffees, a signature chocolate bar and nut clusters. The shop also offers marzipan, nougats, hard-candies, caramels and more sourced from France, Italy and Belgium. Shoppers will also find confections from small artisanal producers Simoneaux has discovered in the United States. Simoneaux is not an Internet kind of guy. He doesn’t even have an email account. If you want to buy his unusual offerings, you have to phone the shop and chat. Hours are roughly 10-6, Sundays by chance. If the spirit moves him, Simoneaux may lock the door and take off.

Favorite: Dark chocolate truffles

***
Any other favorite Santa Fe chocolate shops to recommend? Be sure and leave a comment.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Chocolate Irish Soda Bread Pudding with Guinness Ice Cream

As I mentioned the other day, travel websites are a good resource for local recipes. This may not be served in any pub in Ireland, but it is served at my house! Celebrate St. Patrick's Day with Chocolate Irish Soda Bread Pudding! I love this vintage advertisement for Guinness.

This great recipe for Chocolate Irish Soda Bread Pudding comes from www.karott.com. Their site is all about the Irish: Guinness, Gaelic Language, Travel.  I've never made the Guinness Ice Cream. I've added Vanilla Ice Cream or Whipped Cream to this Soda Bread Pudding, but the Guinness Ice Cream sounds great. I've included the ice cream recipe in case you have the time and inclination. This is perfect for St. Patrick's Day!

Chocolate-Irish Soda Bread Pudding

Ingredients:
2 loaves of Irish soda bread
4 ounces butter, melted
6 eggs
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup raisins
1 quart heavy cream
8 ounces semi sweet chocolate (chopped)

Directions:
Cut 1 loaf or half of the bread in cubes. Process the remaining half in a food processor.
Place bread cubes and crumbs in a bowl and cover with melted butter, toss and set aside.
Place cream in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Place chopped chocolate in a bowl and set on top of the cream and let it act as a double-boiler to melt the chocolate.
In another bowl beat eggs and sugar until pale and thick.
When the cream comes to a boil pour it over the chocolate whisking quickly. Then temper the chocolate-cream mixture into the egg mixture. this isn't as difficult as you're thinking :-)
Mix in the raisins.
Pour this mixture over the bread, mix well, and let it soak overnight or at least 2 hours. There should be a sense of moistness. If the mixture looks dry add another 1/2 cup of heavy cream.

Preheat oven to 375 Degrees F.
Butter a 9 inch cake pan. Pour mixture into pan. Place in a hotel pan and fill 3/4 up the sides of cake pan with cold water.
Bake at 375 for 1/2 hour. Turn pan, reduce heat to 325 F and bake for another 1/2 hour or until a toothpick inserted comes out dry.

Top with Vanilla Ice Cream, Whipping Cream or Guinness Ice Cream

Guinness Ice Cream

Ingredients:
12 ounces Guinness
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
6 egg yolks

Directions
1. In a large saucepan, simmer the Guinness until reduced by 3/4 in volume, about 8 minutes. Combine the cream, milk, and sugar in a medium, heavy saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the pan and add the vanilla bean halves. Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat. Remove from the heat.

2. Beat the egg yolks in a medium bowl. Whisk 1 cup of the hot cream into the egg yolks. Gradually add the egg mixture in a slow, steady stream, to the hot cream. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon and reaches 170 degrees F. on an instant-read thermometer, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and strain through a fine mesh strainer into a clean container. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing down against the surface to keep a skin from forming. Chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

3. Remove from refrigerator and add the Guinness reduction, whisking until well blended. Pour into the bowl of an ice cream machine and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze until ready to serve.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Bailey's Irish Cream Fudge

St. Patrick's Day is right around the corner, so I thought I'd post an easy recipe for Bailey's Irish Cream Fudge. This recipe is adapted from Fantasy-Ireland.com. As I've mentioned, you can find some great recipes in some unusual places: Food associations, Travel Sites, and other product site.

Bailey's comes in different 'flavors', and your fudge can change, too, if you use their Mint Bailey's Irish Cream or the Coffee Irish Cream or Creme Caramel Irish Cream. Try them all. Want to make your own Irish Cream? There's a recipe below.

BAILEY'S IRISH CREAM FUDGE

Ingredients:
2-12 oz milk chocolate (35-45% cacao), chopped, or 2-12 oz packages of milk chocolate chips
12 oz. dark chocolate (65-85% cacao), chopped or a 12 oz. package semisweet chocolate chips
2-7oz. jars of marshmallow creme
2 teaspoons of Madagascar vanilla extract
2/3 cups of Bailey's Irish Cream
2 cups of chopped nuts (optional)
4 1/2 cups of granulated sugar
1-12oz. can of evaporated milk
1/2 pound of unsalted butter, softened

Directions:
1. In a very large bowl, combine the milk chocolate chips, semisweet chocolate chips, marshmallow cream, vanilla extract, Irish Cream, and nuts (if you are adding them). Set this mixture aside.
2. Line a 10 X 15 baking pan with foil and spread lightly with butter.
3. In a medium saucepan, combine granulated sugar, evaporated milk, and butter. Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat and cook slowly, stirring constantly for about 10 minutes.
4. Pour the milk mixture into the the chocolate chip mixture. Stir slowly by hand to combine. It is very important to do this by hand and NOT use any kind of mixer.
5. Pour the fudge into the prepared pan and chill until set.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Cupcake Evening Bags

I'm a fan of things that are other than they seem, and that would include handbags (purses to me). Today Oddee.com has a series of 12 Strange Handbags. Thought you might enjoy seeing these Cupcake Evening Bags. Of course, I've chosen to display the Chocolate Cupcake. You, too, can have one for only $4295. But that's only if you can find one. They've pretty much sold out everywhere, although the Strawberry Cupcake is available for pre-order (not shown since it's not chocolate!).

Claiming to be the world’s most expensive cupcake (not edible), it's quite the accessory. Called Cupcake Evening Bag from Judith Leiber, it is covered in choco colored rocks and diamonds and can offer a room for your designer gloss and accommodate a few other things. Measurements: 3.5" wide, 3.75" tall and 3/5 " deep.

If you can't wait to find one, Judith Leiber offers a Silver plated key fob with crystal chocolate cupcake ornament for $295.

Cupcake Evening Bags were created by Judith Leiber, an artist who founded her own business in 1963 and quickly established herself as an industry leader at the cutting edge of luxurious fashion. Sold at exclusive boutiques around the world, her handbags cost several thousand dollars and have become a status symbol for many women including several Presidential First Ladies. Classic examples of her work can be found on permanent display at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, and at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, UK. And, of course, on Sex and the City!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Top 50 Chocolate Blogs

If you're reading this blog, you're bound to love chocolate. Elizabeth Wright at EducationDegrees.com has put together a great list of the Top 50 Chocolate Blogs. Wonderful Compilation! One correction. Elizabeth uses the term Chocolatier.. the chocolate blog enthusiasts are not all chocolatiers, although they may be 'chocolateers'.

Thanks, Elizabeth, for including DyingforChocolate.com

She's divided the list into Top Chocolate Blogs by a Group, Top Chocolate Blogs by a Reviewer, Top Chocolate Blogs by an Individual, Top Chocolate Plus Blogs, Top Chocolate Candy Blogs, Top Other Chocolate Blogs.

Here's the list of Top Chocolate Blogs by a Group:

1. Chocolate Wrap
Stop here for the official blog of Lake Champlain Chocolates which is located in Burlington, Vermont. With over 20 years in operation, they are best known for their Chocolates of Vermont. Blog entries often show readers how to make their own professional chocolate dishes at home.
2. Chocablog
Based in London with a dedicated team of writers from around the world, their mission is to find and review the best chocolate in the world. They will keep you up to date with all the latest chocolate news, shared recipes, and generally chocolate talk. Everything from recipes to reviews and more are featured.
3. The Chocolate Life
The tagline of this blog is “discover chocolate and live la vida cocoa.” It is made up of an online community of chocophiles and those who aspire to become them. Check out the travels, events, videos, and much more all with chocolate in mind.
4. Chocolate Television
Get a whole internet channel dedicated to chocolate here. This new food, cooking, and lifestyle program takes on everyone’s favorite culinary delight. Many blog entries are featured as videos.
5. National Confectioners Association
The NCA has been representing the candy, chocolate, and gum industry since 1884. There are items for consumers, the industry, and even health professionals. You can also click on The Fun Stuff with items for fans of chocolate.
6. The Little Chocolatiers
This TLC show chronicles the true story of little people who are also chocolatiers. Although not an official blog, there are loads to keep any chocolate lover happy. Clips of shows often include many useful items.
7. Chocolate Obsession
Think chocolate is all fun and games? It is, but still this blog contains many news items on chocolate, along with reviews. It’s been a while since the last post, but it is still worth a look.
8. Chocolate Guild
A special spot just for chocolatiers is a standout feature here. You can also get a Recipe of the Week and more with a visit. Categories are divided into baking, dessert, bon bons, and hot chocolate recipes.

To read the entire list, go HERE.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Mardi Gras: Bugnes, Beignets & Beads & Chocolate Doberge Cake

Today is Mardi Gras! Fat Tuesday! If you haven't already indulged in Pancakes (it's also Shrove Tuesday), you might want to try these Mardi Gras Treats!

Try some Beignets today!

Sugared Chocolate Beignets are perfect for Mardi Gras!
Lara Ferroni has a great recipe for Beignets with Fudgy Chicory Coffee Sauce! 

Chocolate Bugnes
The other day I had Chocolate Bugnes at the Hotel Sofitel. These were wonderful classic French Mardi Gras treats that originated in central-Eastern France (not necessarily chocolate). They're closely relgated to beignets, so they're perfect for Mardi Gras! Here's a recipe from O. Buisson. Haven't made these, so if you do, let me know. I've only tasted the ones at the Hotel Sofitel, and they were fabulous!

Want something else that embraces Coffee & Chicory? This is a fabulous recipe that reflects New Orleans cuisine: Chocolate Cupped Cakes with Coffee & Chicory?

Mardi Gras is full of coins and beads, and you've got to to to HungryHappenings to find out how to make fabulous Chocolate Truffle Beads!

Mardi Gras isn't complete without King Cake, but I don't have any recipes for Chocolate King Cake. Another Louisiana/Alabama favorite cake is Doberge Cake (pronounced alternately as “DOUGH-bash”, “Doh-BAREzh” and as “Dow-BAWHzh”), and here's a recipe adapted from Mardigrasday.com for Chocolate Doberge Cake! Just an FYI: Doberge Cake is a very popular Birthday Cake in the New Orleans area.

Chocolate Doberge Cake

Cake:
2 cups cake flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
10 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs, separated, whites beaten until stiff
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 (1-ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate, melted
1 1/4 teaspoons Madagascar vanilla
1 teaspoon almond extract

Filling
2 1/2 cups evaporated milk
2 (1-ounce) squares semi-sweet chocolate (60-65% cacao)
1 1/4 cups sugar
5 Tablespoons flour
4 egg yolks
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/4 teaspoon Madagascar vanilla
1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Frosting
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup evaporated milk
1 1/2 (1-ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate
4 Tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon Madesgascar vanilla

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Grease and flour 2 nine-inch round cake pans. In a medium bowl, sift the flour, soda, and salt 3 times. Cream the margarine and sugar in a large mixing bowl, and add egg yolks, one at a time. Gradually alternate adding the flour mixture and buttermilk, then add chocolate and mix well by beating about 3 minutes. Fold in the 3 beaten egg whites, vanilla, and almond extracts. Bake for 45 minutes or until done. After the cake cools, split each layer in half to make 4 thin layers.

To make the filling, put milk and chocolate in a saucepan and heat until chocolate is melted. In a bowl, combine sugar and flour. Make a paste by adding hot milk chocolate by Tablespoons to the sugar and flour, then return to saucepan. Stir over medium heat until thick. Add 4 egg yolks all at once and stir rapidly to completely blend. Cook 2 or 3 minutes more. Remove from heat, and add butter, vanilla, and almond extract. Cool and spread on cake, layering as you go. Do not spread on top layer.

For frosting, combine sugar and milk in a heavy saucepan, and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer for 6 minutes without stirring. Remove from heat and blend in chocolate. Add margarine and vanilla and return to medium-low heat, cooking 1 or 2 minutes. Place in refrigerator to cool. Beat well, then spread on top and the sides of the cake.

This is a special dessert of Louisiana that's worth every minute of time and effort.

Cooking with Herb Absinthe  has another recipe for Chocolate Doberge Cake: Check it out here!

Shrove Tuesday: Chocolate Pancakes all ways

Today is Pancake Day: Shrove Tuesday. Shrove Tuesday gets its name from the ritual of shriving, when the faithful confessed their sins to the local priest and recieved forgiveness before the Lenten season began.

As far back as 1000 AD, "to shrive" meant to hear confessions. (Trivia note: the term survives today in the expression "short shrift" or giving little attention to anyone's explanations or excuses.)

Historically, Shrove Tuesday also marked the beginning of the 40-day Lenten fasting period when the faithful were forbidden to consume meat, butter, eggs or milk. However, if a family had a store of these foods they would certainly spoil by the time the fast ended on Easter Sunday. What to do? Solution: use up the milk, butter and eggs no later than Shrove Tuesday. And so, with the addition of a little flour, the solution quickly presented itself in... pancakes.

Today, the Shrove Tuesday pancake tradition lives on in Western Europe, the United States, Canada and Australia. It is most associated with the UK, where it is simply known as Pancake Day with a traditional recipe that looks to all the world more like a French crepe rather than the 'mile-high' stack so popular on National Pancake Day in America.

In many places in the world, there are pancake flipping contests. You may not be an expert flipper, but you can certainly enjoy making the following pancakes today!

For Shrove Tuesday, Pancakes are in order, and I suggest:

Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Chocolate Chip Bacon Pancakes

Chocolate Blueberry Pancakes

Chocolate Cherry Pancakes in a Jar

Strawberry Chocolate German Pancake

Monday, March 7, 2011

Chocolate Cereal: National Cereal Day

I'm not going to say that Chocolate Cereal is healthy, but since you'll probably add some milk, you'll be getting your calcium. It beats grabbing a candy bar for breakfast, but probably not by much. Nevertheless, since today is National Cereal Day, I thought I'd list some of the Chocolate Cereals that have hit the supermarket shelves over the years. None of these were in the cereal snackpacks I had as a kid. Have any favorites? Leave a comment.

Want to make something yourself? Check out my recipe for Chocolate Granola. There are also some healthy chocolate granolas on the market. Or you can make Chocolate Oatmeal with Chocolate Chips.



Post Cocoa Pebbles. O.K. you may remember this one because it is a cereal tie-in with the Flintstones.



Kellogg's Cocoa Krispies. Rice Krispies has all kinds of fruity flavors, but this one is for Chocolate Fans. Snap, Crackle & Pop and full of cocoa!

General Mills Cocoa Puffs: Chocolate Flavor Frosted Corn Puffs.



General Mills Count Chocula. Love this chocolate themed Monster cereal. This cereal actually incorporates marshmallow bits with wagon wheel shapes and coats it all in chocolate.



General Mills Reese's Puffs: What can I say? Candy for breakfast. Not sure this is still made, but when it was, yum!


Ralston  (General Mills) Cookie Crisp: Cereal is made up of little cookies. You can easily make this at home. Miniature chocolate chips, anyone?


Kellogg's Smorz: Combination of graham cracker, chocolate & marshmallow. A classic, if not empty calorie, S'mores Cereal. Oh, and I'm a stickler for spelling, so what were they thinking?


Quaker Cap'n Crunch's Oops! Choco Donuts: Never tried these, but I've heard their similar to Dunkin' Donuts in flavor.



General Mills Chocolate Chex: Standard whole grain cereal with the addition of chocolate.


Kellogg's Cocoa Hoots: Basically Chocolate flavored Cherios.


Post Chocolate Honeycomb: "sweetned corn and oat cereal with artificial chocolate flavoriing"


Special K Chocolatey Delight: "Crunchy rice and wheat flakes with chocolatey pieces"


Kellogg's Frosted Mini-Wheats Little Bites Chocolate. Billed as excellent for fiber.


Thanks to Gunaxin.com and CandyAddict for reminding me of some of these Chocolate cereals.