Sunday, May 29, 2011

Almond & Macaroon Museum: National Macaroon Day

May 31 is National Macaroon Day.  I did a post on Chocolate Museums the other day for National Museum Day, I forgot to mention the Almond & Macaroon Museum  in Montmorillon, France. This museum pays homage to the generations of craftsmen who built the reputation of Montmorillon, Cité of Macaroons.  The Museum reveals the history of the macaroon, from the culture of the almond tree (and the multiple uses of almonds), to the arrival of the macaroon in France.

There are informative panels, interactive terminals, and machines and old instruments used in the kitchen. At the end of the exhibition, a film summarizes the broad outlines of the visit, and dwells on the arrival of the Macaroon of Montmorillon, and on the creation of Rannou-Métivier House. The visit culminates in the opportunity for tasting in the Winter Garden of the museum.

The Macaron (French spelling) or Macaroon (English spelling) 1) is a sweet confectionery. Its name is derived from an Italian word "maccarone" or "maccherone". This word is itself derived from ammaccare, meaning crush or beat, used here in reference to the almond paste which is the principal ingredient. 2)It is meringue-based: made from a mixture of egg whites, almond flour, and both granulated and confectionery sugar.

Macaroons can be Italian merinque cookies such as amaretti or fancy and colorful French sandwich cookies filled with ganache or jam, according to The Nibble. Their common ingredient is almonds, though the nut may take the form of ground almonds, almond paste, or almond liquor. Although they originated in Italy, France is the country that has an Almond and Macaroon Museum – Musee de l’Amande et du Macaron – in Montmorillon. Spain makes its own version with hazelnuts; India uses cashews.

There are many stories about the origin of the macaroon. There's one that says they were created and served at the wedding of Catherine de Medici. Another story is that they were created by monks in France in the 18th century. The term "macaron" has the same origin as the word 'macaroni' meaning fine dough, so maybe we should have macaroni to celebrate National Macaroon Day. In any case, the first macaroons were simple cookies made of almond powder, sugar and egg whites. At the beginning of the 20th century, marcaroons went 'double-decker' with wonderful chocolate panache to stick them together. Certainly the sandwich concept for macarons was created in France by Pierre Herme, the Picasso of Pastry.   

Here are links to three CHOCOLATE MACAROON RECIPES:

CHOCOLATE MACAROONS
  
CHOCOLATE FRENCH MACARONS

CHOCOLATE CHIP MACAROONS

Memorial Day: Vintage Chocolate Ads



Saturday, May 28, 2011

S'mores: Candy Bars & Truffles

Yesterday I posted a S'mores Round-up of Recipes for the Memorial Day grilling weekend. The recipes run the gamut from Traditional to Pies to Ice Cream. Since May is National Candy Month, I thought I'd post a few ready made S'mores Candy Bars and links and recipes to S'mores Candy you can make your own.

Hershey's, the classic candy bar in the original S'mores, actually introduced a S'mores Candy Bar in 2003. The bar had a layer of graham cracker bits topped with marshmallow and coated with milk chocolate. The S'mores bar was discontinued. When it was introduced, there was a a Cooler promotion. Collect 9 box tabs and get a 12-pack Soft Cooler.. after all you're going to need it when you go camping and don't make your own s'mores.. or maybe you were meant to melt the ready made candy bars? I don't think so. :-)

Madyson's Marshmallows has its own giant hand-made Smores Candy Bar for sale on etsy.
"Bite into this delicious chocolate bar and you'll find crunchy graham crackers and our sweet, fluffy gourmet marshmallow piped right in between two layers of a very fine dark chocolate!At just over 6 ounces of sweet heaven, you will surely delight someone with this giant dark chocolate Smore's bar."

Want to make your own S'mores Candy Bars? NotSoHumblePie has a recipe for S'mores Chocolate Bars. You'll need a chocolate bar pan, but it's worth it! Yum!!

S'mores Marshmallow Chocolate Balls Candy
 These are available from several bulk chocolate places.  Copy reads:

"No need for a campfire to enjoy this twist on a classic favorite.... soft and fluffy marshmallow balls are coated in decadent milk chocolate and then rolled into crumbled graham crackers to create the ultimate taste sensation!"


 ***
And, since I'm a big truffles fan, try this S'mores Truffles recipe from the fabulous Elizabeth LaBau on about.com. Be sure and check out her other S'mores recipes, too. Isn't it amazing how versatile these three ingredients are? 

If you want a more graham cracker flavor, stir a handful of coarsely crushed crackers into the ganache itself. The truffles won’t have a smooth, creamy texture, but they’ll have a greater graham taste and an interesting crunch. As always, the quality of the truffles dependson the quality of the chocolate you use, so be sure to use a good-quality chocolate you enjoy eating. This recipe yields about 2 dozen truffles.

S'mores Truffles 

Ingredients:
9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (about 1.25 cups)
2/3 cup cream
4 graham cracker sheets
1/2 cup miniature marshmallows

Directions:
1. Prepare your materials: line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and set aside. Crush the graham crackers in a food processor or with a large knife and place them in a bowl. Put the mini marshmallows in a bowl and set those aside as well. Place the chopped chocolate in a large bowl.
2. Place the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat and scald it until bubbles being to appear around the sides of the pan. Pour the cream over the chocolate and allow it to soften and melt the chocolate for one minute.
3. Using a whisk, gently stir to combine the cream and chocolate. Do not stir too vigorously or you will incorporate air bubbles. Continue to whisk until the cream and chocolate is homogenous.
4. Cover the truffle mixture with cling wrap and allow it to cool to room temperature. Once cool, refrigerate it until it has the texture of semi-firm cookie dough, about 90 minutes.
5. To form the truffles, make sure you have all of the ingredients (ganache, graham crumbs, and marshmallows) set out. Using a small spoon, scoop up a ball of ganache about the size of a large marble. Press one or two mini marshmallows into the center of the ball, and scoop out a little more ganache with the spoon, pressing it over the marshmallows to cover them completely with chocolate. This process will be messy, and at first the truffle ball will be misshapen.
6. Drop the truffle into the bowl of graham crumbs. Roll it around until it is coated with crumbs, then pick it up and roll it between your palms until it is round. Roll it once more in the crumbs to get a good coating, then place it on the prepared baking sheet. This is done because the first layer of graham crumbs prevents the truffle from becoming too sticky when you roll it between your hands.
7. Repeat the process with the remaining ganache and marshmallows. Truffles can be served immediately, or stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. Bring them to room temperature before serving.

Photo: S'mores Truffles- About.com

Friday, May 27, 2011

S'mores Memorial Day Round-up: Traditional, Pies, Ice Cream, Cupcake, Brownies & More

Memorial Day weekend--start of summer. I can now wear white! O.K. that goes back to another era, and I recently read an article that said all the rules have changed. Winter white and grilling all year round! Memorial Day weekend is all about grilling and campfires, and what is more memorable than S'mores!

If you're not familiar with s'mores, they're made by sandwiching a toasted marshmallow and a piece of chocolate in between two graham crackers.

The name S'mores (alternatively Smores) comes from the two words "some more," because everyone always want s'more. This American treat was developed by the Girl Scouts in the early part of the 20th century, making use of the newly mass-produced marshmallow. Marshmallows were easy to transport, as were candy bars and graham crackers, and the marshmallows could be toasted over a fire to make a fabulous campfire treat in a situation where other types of sweets would have been difficult to come by. Of course, the quality of the chocolate and marshmallow, and even the graham crackers (if you make your own) will vary, but S'mores aren't about haute cuisine, at least not at my house.

I have a Round-Up of S'mores Recipes at the end of this post, but I wanted to post another fun recipe. Maybe you've already tried this on your own. Let's face it, S'mores are pretty versatile!

Wacky Candy Bar S'mores 
In this wacky recipe, you get to add whatever 'extra' candy or candybar you'd like for a gooey delicious barbecue or campfire treat. Everyone can have something different. The aluminum foil 'pocket' keeps the goey-ness inside. Lick the foil at the end. 

Ingredients
Chocolate Graham crackers (you can also use plain or honey grahams)
Milk or Dark chocolate candy bars
M&M’s
Reese's Peanut butter cups
Baby Ruth
Your favorite candy bar
Marshmallows
Aluminum foil

Directions
Heat up the grill or stoke the campfire. Place a 10" x 12" piece of foil on a flat surface.
Put chocolate graham cracker on foil. Put your favorite candy bar (or candy) on graham cracker then top with marshmallow. Top the whole thing with a chocolate graham cracker (or regular), and wrap loosely in foil.
Put on grill and heat 2 to 3 minutes, or until marshmallow is melted.

And if all this is too messy... I mean isn't that the point, after all?.. Brookstone has a S'mores Maker.
Easily make 6 gooey, delicious s'mores at a time? they're the ultimate after BBQ dessert! S'Mores Maker lets you whip up 6 gooey s'mores on the grill, in your oven or toaster oven. No more dirty campfires or burnt marshmallows! Just stack and lock your s'mores into the sturdy non-stick rack for perfect s'mores in just 5 minutes, indoors or out! Great for parties and family fun nights. Non-stick rack makes cleanup quick and easy. $19.95 
My question, since I haven't bought this, is aren't they still going to drip on the grill and on your hands? Has anyone tried this?

And here's a round-up of S'mores Recipes, including a History of S'mores on National S'mores Day, August 10.  
Original 1927 Girl Scout Recipe
Traditional S'mores on the Grill
S'mores Brownies using a Brownie Mix
Brownie S'mores from Scratch
S'mores Cupcakes
Chocolate Chip Cookie S'mores (2 recipes)
Chewy S'mores Bar Cookies
S'mores Pie 
S'mores Ice Cream Sandwich
S'mores Ice Cream Pie
S'mores in the Microwave

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Napa Luxury Chocolate Salon: June 5

2nd Annual Napa Luxury CHOCOLATE SALON, the premier chocolate show in Napa and Sonoma Valleys this decade, returns to the food capital of the Wine Country on June 5, 2011.

I'll be there as a Judge.. I know, it's a hard job but someone's got to do it! Hope to see you there.

Discover, taste and savor the finest in artisan, gourmet and premium chocolates & confections

Organized by TasteTV, the 2nd Annual Napa Luxury CHOCOLATE SALON participants include chocolatiers, confectioners, wineries and other culinary artisans, such as: The Tea Room Chocolate Company, Toffee Talk, Permano, Dove Chocolate Discoveries, Toffeology, Monterey Chocolate Company, Kollar Chocolates, Salt Side Down Chocolates, Nicole Lee Fine Chocolates, Jade Chocolates, Landru Chocolates, Seattle Chocolate Company, Extraordinary Blends, Farm Fresh To You, TasteTV and more.

Chocolate, Wine, and more.. in a fabulous setting: Napa Wine Country!


DATE AND TIME
June 5, 2011
10:00am - 5pm
Yountville Community Hall
Advance Tickets Recommended

Advance Ticket purchases or Salon information, go to www.NapaChocolateSalon.com.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Chocolate Souffle with a Twist: Alexandria Sese Guest Post

Today I welcome Alexandria Sese of Sulpice Chocolat as a guest poster with a terrific recipe for Chocolate Souffle with a Twist. You'll love this recipe and her take on the classic souffle.

Alexandria Sese is a freelance writer currently pursuing an English degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago and works for Sulpice Chocolat in Chicago, IL. Sulpice Chocolat is the preeminent maker of hand-painted gourmet chocolates featured in the 53rd Annual Grammys gift bags.
 

Chocolate Souffle with a Twist

For an ingredient such as chocolate, the light and airy nature of a soufflé is the perfect platform for this rich and luscious flavor. Soufflés are baked cakes primarily made of egg yolks and beaten egg white that act as a vessel for both savory and sweet flavors.
Most people would assume that soufflés are complicated to make and extremely fragile. However, the complexity of this simple dessert comes more into its science than the recipe itself. The soufflé’s signature puff is accomplished when the egg white base is perfectly absent of any fat—in this case: egg yolk. The fat in egg yolks prevents the egg whites from holding enough air for the soufflé to turn out puffed up later on.
Soufflés also are not as fragile as many bakers might think. They might look delicate off the oven but this dessert can stay puffed for five minutes after it is taken out of the oven. However, soufflés are still best enjoyed right after serving. Aside from their airy and delicate appearance, soufflés taste best right after baking.

It is known to chocolate lovers that chocolate can be paired with various flavors such as orange, almond, or coffee to name a few. With this recipe adapted from Sulpice Chocolat, you can serve a luscious but light chocolate soufflé with a twist:

Ingredients:
Softened butter and sugar, as needed
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
Large pinch kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 teaspoons + 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
3 large egg yolks
4 large egg whites
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
powdered sugar, optional

For the twist:
To add a note of orange in the taste, use 1 1/2 teaspoons orange liqueur (Cointreau or Grand Marnier work best) or 1 teaspoon of orange zest
For a touch of almond, use 1 ½ teaspoons of almond liqueur such as Amaretto or 1 1/2 teaspoons of almond extract
For a hint of coffee, use 1 1/2 teaspoons of coffee liqueur such as Tia Maria or Khalua, 1 teaspoon of coffee or 2 teaspoons of freshly brewed coffee

Instructions:
1. Evenly spread the inside of six 4- to 5-ounce ramekins with softened butter; sprinkle on a coating of sugar and shake out any excess. Refrigerate until ready to fill.
2. Microwave the chocolate and the 2 tablespoons butter, 15 seconds at a time, then stirring to help melt larger chunks, until just melted. Or melt in a bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Stir until smooth and fully combined. Remove from heat then stir in salt, vanilla and the appropriate ingredient for the twist flavor of your choice. Transfer to a mixing bowl and set aside.
3. In a small saucepan, bring 1 tablespoon water and the 8 teaspoons sugar to a boil; remove from heat.
4. Beat the yolks rapidly by hand or with an electric hand mixer at medium speed, then slowly drizzle the sugar syrup into the yolks, continuing to beat, until thickened and light yellow, about 3 to 5 minutes.
5. Fold the egg mixture into the chocolate. The recipe can be made ahead to this point and refrigerated. Allow to come to room temperature before continuing.
6. With a scrupulously clean bowl and stand mixer using the whisk attachment, briefly whip the egg whites at medium-high speed until foamy; add the cream of tartar and continue to beat. Slowly add the 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar, beating until the whites are glossy and hold tall, soft peaks.
7. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and spoon about 1/4 of the egg white mixture into the chocolate mixture, rapidly stirring until fully incorporated, stopping to scrape the bowl as needed. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the rest of the egg whites, but do not overwork.
8. Spoon the batter into the prepared ramekins up to the rim, then smooth. Clean the rim with your finger or damp paper towel, creating a sharp line between mixture and ramekin, which will help the rise. Cover and freeze at least 3 hours or up to 2 days.
To bake: Move the rack to the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°. Meanwhile, if using whipped cream, sweeten the heavy cream with powdered sugar to taste, whip to soft peaks and fold in zest; refrigerate. Place ramekins directly from freezer into the oven. Bake until fully risen and centers rebound when lightly touched (top will be dry), about 20 minutes (if using collars, allow 6 to 8 minutes more baking time). Dust with powdered sugar. Use two spoons to open the middle of the souffles and spoon in the whipped cream, if using, or serve the whipped cream alongside. Serve immediately.


The word soufflé is a French word for “to blow up”, perfectly embodying the appearance of this sweet dessert.

Photo: Alexandria Sese

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Happy Anniversary, Mom! Peppermint Cake Vintage Ad

Today would have been been my mother and dad's anniversary. She and my Dad were married for over 60 years, and they had a wonderful life together. My father passed away a few years ago, but during their marriage their love grew in spite of the long separation during WWII, personal tragedies, career changes and so much more. They always had the support of their extended families and the love of their children. So here's a cake for you, Mom! Happy Anniversary.



If this Vintage Baker's Cake Ad looks familiar, it's because I've posted it before (recipe here). The original ad (see below) is part of a Baker's "Chocolate Peppermint Cake Rang Wedding Bells for Janet" vintage ad. I think that's just perfect for today since it combines Wedding, Janet (me--although I came much later)... it tells us story. Gotta love these Baker Ads. Photo below is of my parents.



Monday, May 23, 2011

Chocolate Taffy: National Taffy Day

Today is National Taffy Day. I must admit that I haven't made taffy since I was a child, and then it was with my Aunt Ann. She was an inspiration for all things foodie, woodsy, and crafty, so this was a natural. She'd gather all the cousins, and we would make and pull taffy.

At the same time, I wasn't adverse to store bought candy. It was a treat, really. There was a penny candy store I used to stop at after lunch (yes, we went home for lunch at my first elementary school) and buy a penny or two of candy. One of my favorites, and I think it may have cost a nickel, was Bonomo's Chocolate Turkish Taffy. I think my favorite was banana, but I also liked chocolate. You can still buy Bonomo's Turkish Taffy online, although the price is now $1.20. Times change.

So without a chocolate taffy recipe of my own, I went to Alton Brown on the Food Network, of course. Knew he'd have one.  Love to hear if you make this one.

CHOCOLATE TAFFY

Ingredients
2 cups sugar
2/3 cup Dutch process cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons butter, plus additional for greasing pan and hands

Directions

In heavy medium saucepan, combine sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Stir until thoroughly combined. Add corn syrup, water, and vinegar to pan and place over medium heat. Stir until sugar and cocoa dissolve, raise heat to high and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to low, clip candy thermometer to side of pan and cook until mixture reaches 260 degrees F. Remove pan from heat, add the butter and stir. Butter edges of sheet pan, line with silicone baking sheet and pour on taffy. Allow to cool until you are able to handle it.

Once you are able to handle the taffy, don vinyl gloves, butter them, and begin to fold taffy in thirds using the silicone mat. Pick up taffy and begin to pull folding the taffy back on itself repeatedly twisting as you go. Taffy is done when it lightens in color, takes on a sheen, and becomes too hard to pull. Roll into log, cut into fourths, roll each fourth into a 1-inch wide log, and cut into 1-inch pieces. Making sure to keep pieces separated or they will stick to each other. Wrap individual pieces of candy in waxed paper. Store in airtight container 3 to 5 days.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Cadburys Roses Chocolates: Vintage Ads

Nothing says Spring like Roses. I'm an avid gardener, and I have over 100 roses bushes.. so I really love these Cadbury Roses Chocolates Vintage Advertisements. I've added some photos of two of my own roses. I'll be in the garden eating chocolate later today! :-)

This rose in my garden could have been the 'model' for the Cadbury ad





Saturday, May 21, 2011

Strawberries Stuffed with Chocolate Cream: Strawberry & Cream Day

Today is National Strawberries and Cream Day! I knew I had to find a way to add "chocolate" cream. Strawberries can be stuffed with all kinds of things that make them even more wonderful. I posted a recipe for Strawberries stuffed with Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Cheesecake, Tiramasu or Marscapone  all of which also included dipping the strawberries in chocolate first. So for Strawberries and Cream Day, I thought Strawberries with Chocolate Cream Stuffing would be perfect. I've made these many times, and there are lots of variations, of course, depending on the chocolate you choose and if you use Kahlua or Cream (or another liqueur). This recipe is adapted from both  RecipeZaar and Yummly,  two great sites for you to check out!

STRAWBERRIES STUFFED WITH CHOCOLATE CREAM

24-36 strawberries
1 cup dark chocolate (65-75%), chopped
2 tbsp heavy whipping cream or kahlua
4 oz cream cheese (room temperature)
14 cup powdered sugar

Wash berries, cut off stems and hollow out a bit to resemble a small cup.
Place chopped chocolate (or chocolate chips, if that's what you have) and Cream or Kahlua in a small bowl and microwave for 30 seconds on high. If not melted continue for 10 seconds each time until melted.
Set aside until cooled just a bit.
In a separate bowl, beat cream cheese and powdered sugar until fluffy.
Add chocolate mixture to cream cheese mixture and beat until combined.
Put the finished mixture into a Ziploc or pastry bag and fill strawberries. Heap the chocolate onto the top a bit and finish with a swirl :-).
Put strawberries in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

Photo: Yummly

Friday, May 20, 2011

Chocolate Strawberry Muffins

I love Strawberries, and they're everywhere right now. There's even a guy selling fabulous looking flats of strawberries on the street corner. Now that may seem normal to you, but I live in the back of beyond, and there really aren't any street corners per se. However, there's an intersection about 1/2 mile from me which is the back way into Berkeley.

Today is National Pick Strawberries Day, so I think I'll "pick" up a flat from the guy on the corner. and make these muffins. It's an easy recipe. You can add dark chocolate or white chocolate, but I prefer dark chocolate. I tend to chop the strawberries and chocolate into chunks, but that's always up to you. You may want to use chocolate chips, if that's what you have on hand. You can also use frozen strawberries in place of fresh, but if you do, don't thaw them. Just chop up the frozen ones and add to the batter.

CHOCOLATE STRAWBERRY MUFFINS

Ingredients
2 1/4 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup sweet butter
1 cup yogurt
1 egg
1/4 tsp Madagascar vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
2/3 cup chopped dark chocolate (in chunks)
9-12 strawberries chopped

Directions
Preheat oven to 350F
Melt butter in pan.
In a bowl, beat egg, baking soda, and vanilla together, then add yogurt and beat until frothy.
In a separate bowl combine flour and sugar.
Pour butter into dry ingredients. Stir until crumbly. Set aside 1/2 cup of  mixture for topping.
Add wet and dry ingredients together. Stir until combined.
Fold in chopped chocolate and chopped strawberries.
Spoon batter into greased or paper lined muffin tin (12 regular)
Sprinkle reserved topping on uncooked muffins.
Bake for 20 minutes.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Devil's Food Cake: 7 Ways: Vintage Recipes

Happy Devil's Food Cake Day!

I've posted Recipes and Vintage Ads for Devil's Food Cake & Devil's Food Cupcakes. I also posted Martha Washington's Recipe for Devil's Food Cake and another easy Devil's Food Cake recipe, but thought you'd enjoy this "7 Good Fun-to-Make Cakes using Chocolate Devil's Food Cake Mix". It's from a Betty Crocker pamphlet. It's amazing how unappetizing some of these photos in these old recipe pamphlets are, but the ideas are good! Put your personal spin on them.


Chocolate Devil's Food Cake Mix: 7 Good Fun to Make Cakes

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Chocolate Museums: International Museum Day

Today is International Museum Day, and what could be better than visiting a Chocolate Museum. I posted an original list in 2009 from Virtual Tourist of the World's Top 10 Best Chocolate Museums. I've added a few more, including the list from Wikipedia. Happy Travels. I see I have a long 'chocolate' bucket list. 

1. The Cologne Chocolate Museum: Cologne, Germany
 Located on the Rhine River, this futuristic building gives visitors three floors of chocolate history to ponder, but the real center of attention here is the famous chocolate fountain. Museum staff dip waffles in the hot liquid for salivating guests.

2. Musee les Secrets du Chocolat: Geispolsheim, France
Complete with theater, tea room and gift shop that sells chocolate pasta, chocolate vinegar, chocolate beer and decorative antique chocolate molds, this museum is every bit as elegant as the country it represents.

3. Pannys Amazing World of Chocolate, Phillip Island Chocolate Factory; Newhaven, Phillip Island, Victoria, Canada
This facility houses such tongue-in-cheek exhibits as statue of David replicas, a Dame Edna mural and an entire chocolate town. Aside from the eye candy, visitors are treated to real candy with a chocolate sample upon arrival.

4. Choco-Story Chocolate Museum: Bruges, Belgium
In addition to dedicating a section of the museum to the health benefits of chocolate, this museum also houses a quirky collection of chocolate tins that pay tribute to the Royal family.

5. Museu de la Xocolata: Barcelona, Spain
The sculptures at this museum are so impressive, you'll forget you're looking at chocolate. Subjects range from copies of serious religious works to whimsical cartoon characters.

6. The Chocolate Museum (Musee du Chocolat): St. Stephen, New Brunswick, Canada

Museum pays tribute to the Ganong Bros who were candy makers in the area and who have the distinction of introducing the world to the iconic heart-shaped chocolate box, many of which are on display here. The Museum features hands-on exhibits, interactive computer displays, collections of historic chocolate boxes and antique candy-making equipment. Chocolate treats are a staple all the time!

7. Choco-Story Chocolate Museum: Prague, Czech Republic
Chocolate may be a feast for the palate, but this museum is truly a feast for the eyes. Collections of stunning antique chocolate wrappers and demonstrations of the chocolate making process.

8. Candy Americana Museum, Wilbur Chocolate: Lititz, Pennsylvania
Started when the wife of the company president began collecting chocolate memorabilia at flea markets and antique shows, this now over-35-year old museum still admits visitors for free.

9. Chocolate Museum: Jeju-do Island, South Korea
While the chocolate workshop, "Bean to Bar" showroom and art gallery are all impressive, perhaps this museum's biggest draw is their working San Francisco-style trolley car.

10. Nestle Chocolate Museum: Mexico City, Mexico
Known more for its modern design and the speed with which it was built (by most estimates 75 days from start to finish), this futuristic building is an exhibit in itself.

11. Hershey: Hershey, PA. Do I need to say more?
Visit the Museum on Chocolate Avenue


And from Wikipedia: More Chocolate Museums:



Heindl Schokolademuseum Vienna Austria
Museum of Cocoa and Chocolate Brussels Belgium
Choco Story Brugges Belgium
Musée de chocolat Jacques Eupen Belgium
Chocolate Caseiro Prawer Gramado Brazil




Musée du chocolat de la confiserie Bromont Bromont Canada
The Chocolate Museum Havana Cuba
Kalev Chocolate Museum Tallinn Estonia
Cadbury World Birmingham England
Walker's Chocolate Emporium Museum Devon England
Chocolaterie Drakkar Nonant France
Chocolaterium Damville France
Le Paradis du Chocolat La Côte-Saint-André France
Musée du Chocolat Bovetti Terrasson-Lavilledieu France
Musée du Chocolat Des Hautot Fécamp France
Musée du Chocolat Des Lis Chocolat Nemours France



Planete Musée du Chocolat Biarritz France



Halloren Schokoladenmuseum Halle Germany
Rausch SchokoLand Peine Germany
Ritter Sport ChocoExhibition Waldenbuch Germany
Wawi Schoko-Welt Pirmasens Germany WAWI, Nappo and Moritz brands
Csokoládé-Múzeum Budapest Hungary
Museo del Cioccolato Antica Norba Norma Italy
Museo Storico della Perugina Perugia Italy
Shiroi Koibito Park Sapporo Japan
Chocolate museum Jejudo Korea
De Chocoladefabriek Amsterdam Netherlands Planned museum to open in 2013
Gemeentemuseum Weesp Weesp Netherlands Local history museum with large collection of chocolate cups and Van Houten memorabilia
Nederlands Bakkerij Museum Hattem Netherlands "Dutch Bakery Museum", exhibits include Droste chocolate memorabilia, baking and confectionery equipment and memorabilia
Cadbury World Dunedin New Zealand
Silky Oak 'Chocolate Thru' the Ages' Museum Napier New Zealand
Red October Museum of Chocolate Moscow Russia
Museo del Chocolate Villajoyosa Spain Chocolates Clavileno
Museo del Chocolate Valor Villajoyosa Spain Chocolates Valor
Museo del Chocolate de Sueca Sueca Spain Comes Chocolate




Alimentarium Vevey Switzerland Operated by Nestlé, includes exhibits on cooking, eating, purchasing food, digesting, and a history of Nestlé
Cailler-Nestlé Broc Switzerland
Shokoland Caslano Switzerland Alprose Chocolates






South Bend Chocolate Company South Bend, Indiana United States Tours of the chocolate factory and museum




Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Chocolate Cherry Cobbler: National Cherry Cobbler Day

Today is National Cherry Cobbler Day and fresh cherries are just starting to hit the market, but not all that many, so these recipes use bottled (or canned) pie filling. I did post a recipe for Cherry Chocolate Crumble last year when fresh cherries were abundant. Depending where you live and what you can find, have a look at that recipe.

However you can make these two Cherry Chocolate Cobblers using natural cherry pie filling. Check out Chukar Cherries Sour Cherry Fruit Filling. Fabulous. Whole and tangy Montmorency cherries. Red and delicious!

I suggest you try both of the following recipes. They're totally different in taste. Happy National Cherry Cobbler Day... and as I always say, everything tastes better with Chocolate!

CHERRY CHOCOLATE COBBLER

Ingredients
18 ounces Chukar's Sour Cherry Fruit Filling
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoon all purpose flour
1 cup dark chocolate, broken up into bits 

Topping
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup packed Dark brown sugar
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup sweet butter, softened (I use Kerrygold)

Directions
Preheat oven 375 degrees
Mix cherries, sugar and flour. Spread evenly into a 11 x 7 baking dish.
Sprinkle chocolate over top.

For topping
Mix together the flour, sugars and a pinch of salt.
Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly.
Sprinkle topping over cherry filling.
Bake cobbler until filling bubbles and topping is golden brown.
About 40 to 45 minutes.

****
This second recipe is all over the Internet. I've tweaked it a bit. It's easy and delicious. Again, I use Chukar Cherry Pie Filling, but use what you have!

CHERRY CHOCOLATE COBBLER II aka Cracker Barrel Cherry Chocolate Cobbler

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sweet butter
6 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup milk
1 egg, slightly beaten
About 21 ounces Chukar's cherry pie filling
1/2 cup finely chopped nuts (almonds or walnuts)

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter. Cut with a pastry blender until the crumbs are the size of small peas.
Over hot (not boiling) water, melt the chocolate. Allow to cool 5 minutes at room temperature.
Add milk and egg to the chocolate mixture; mix well. Blend into flour mixture; mix well.
Spread pie filling in the bottom of a 2 quart casserole.
Drop chocolate batter randomly over cherries. Sprinkle nuts all over top.
Bake at 350 degrees F 40-45 minutes.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Chocolate Fondue with Cheddar: Avery Aames-Book Giveaway

Contest Winners: Amy, Cyn, & Bobbi. Be sure and contact me, so Avery can send you a copy of her book.

Once again my worlds of mystery and chocolate connect! Today I welcome mystery author Avery Aames as Guest blogger.

Avery Aames is the author of A Cheese Shop Mystery series. The first, The Long Quiche Goodbye, is a national bestseller and won the Agatha Award winner for “Best First Novel.” Avery blogs at Mystery Lovers Kitchen,  a blog for foodies who love mysteries. And some of her characters show up on the Killer Characters blog.  You can order LOST AND FONDUE here. Read further for the chance to win a copy.

AVERY AAMES:
CHOCOLATE AND CHEESE What’s not to like?

For those of you who know me, you know right now I’m addicted to cheese. Okay, not addicted, but I’m experimenting with every recipe to see if I can add cheese to it.

For those of you who don’t know me, let me explain. I write A Cheese Shop Mystery series. My protagonist, Charlotte Bessette, is a cheese shop owner in the quaint fictional town of Providence, Ohio. As far as Charlotte is concerned, cheese does a body good. [Remember that old commercial, “Milk does a body good”?]

When Janet asked if I would do a guest blog on Dying for Chocolate, of course I thought of the usual suspects: chocolate cheesecake, cheesecake ice cream, goat cheese brownies. I’ve made them all, and they’re terrific, but my latest book is called LOST AND FONDUE, and I wondered whether chocolate fondue would work with cheese. I made a chocolate and cheese platter for Valentine’s Day, pairing dark chocolates with cheese, and the result was downright sensual.

But fondue? Strawberries work. Apples work. Marshmallows work. But what about cheese?

Guess what? It’s fabulous! I mean fabulous. The cheese held up under the “heat” of fondue. I used two different kinds of cheddar: Collier’s Welsh Cheddar and Hook’s.

A little tidbit about the cheeses. I honestly can’t get enough about the history of cheeses, worldwide. There are enough cheese to have a different one every day of the year (for ten years plus). I’ve barely made a dent in my tastings and I’ve probably sampled more than 200 cheeses in the past two years. For this adventure, I used an American-created cheese as well as European-created cheese.

Hooks Cheddar: The Hooks were college sweethearts. They make their cheese in Mineral Point, Wisconsin. The cheddar I used is a tangy three-year “orange” cheese. They make so many other cheeses and have won awards for them.

Collier’s Welsh Cheddar: Collier’s makes a luscious white cheddar. The recipe is from a generations-old family recipe. The Colliers were miners and cheese was one of the few foods that would last without spoiling down in the mines.

Back to the fondue. The morsels were firm and the chocolate silky and divine.

I’m giving away three signed books today to commenters: your choice of either THE LONG QUICHE GOODBYE or LOST AND FONDUE. So answer me this. Do you prefer dessert to appetizers? Do you like to dine in or out? What is the most sensual meal you can remember…ever? And if you’d like to share, with whom did you dine? I won’t tell more than five of my friends. LOL Enjoy. You have until 5/18 to post a comment. Winners announced on 5/19 on this post.

Links: Collier’s http://www.collierscheese.com/US/about.htm
Hooks: http://www.hookscheese.com/

CHOCOLATE FONDUE WITH CHEDDAR

Ingredients:
1 package (11.5 ounces) Ghirardelli 60% cocoa chips
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon brandy
4 tablespoons heavy cream
4 ounces cheddar cheese, cubed
1 apple, sliced
1 bunch grapes
4-6 cookies
4-6 strawberries

Directions:
Prepare the fruits and cheeses, dicing cheese into ½” cubes.

Prepare chocolate fondue pot. Set out the condiment dishes and heat about a ½ cup water in the lower half of the double-boiler. (I use Sterno to heat the water.)

In a microwave-safe mixing bowl, dump the chocolate chips and 2 tablespoons water.

On medium high (power #7 on my microwave), heat the chips and water for 1 minute. Remove from microwave, stir, and heat again (on medium high) for 30 seconds. The chocolate mixture should be smooth and silky.

Add brandy and cream. Stir. Pour the chocolate mixture into the ceramic fondue pot. Set the fondue pot over the warm water in the double boiler. [*If the mixture is too thick, add a little cream or water. If you prefer not to use brandy, substitute with another liqueur or water.] Keep the chocolate warm throughout the dessert.

Serve with condiments: cheese, apple, grapes, cookies, berries. Skewers required.

[*Note: I used gluten-free cookies that dipped beautifully into the chocolate mixture. This way, everyone, including celiacs, can enjoy the dessert.]

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Chocolate Chip Bars: National Chocolate Chip Day

Today is National Chocolate Chip Day! What a reason to celebrate. I've posted lots of different recipes for Chocolate Chip Cookies, Chocolate Chip Macaroons, Chocolate Chip Pancakes and Chocolate Chip Biscotti, but I'm pretty sure I haven't posted a recipe for Chocolate Chip Bars. My favorite recipe is adapted from an original Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip recipe for Chocolate Chip Pan Cookies. They're really bar cookies, and I guess it's just all about how the cookie crumbles....

Lots of options in this recipe, too. You can use nuts or not and the nuts you use can vary. You can also add dried cherries or dried blueberries. Whatever you decide, enjoy the day!

CHOCOLATE CHIP BARS

Ingredients
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt (original recipe called for 1 tsp/but I don't use as much salt)
1 cup sweet butter, softened (original recipe didn't discern sweet or salt, but I use sweet)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar (original recipe didn't stipulate dark or light)
1 teaspoon Madagascar vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
1 cup chopped walnuts

Directions
PREHEAT oven to 375° F. Grease 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan (a baking sheet with 1 inch deep sides)*.

COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in chips and nuts. Spread into prepared pan.

BAKE for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars.

Photo: Nestle's Tollhouse

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Triple Chocolate Sour Cherry Fudge

I seem to be on a fudge roll this week, so here's one more recipe for easy fudge making. I love this recipe because it is made with three different types of chocolate including Nutella (chocolate hazelnut spread). It also includes dried cherries, a staple in my pantry. This recipe is from Whole Foods Market. As I've mentioned many times, you can search the web for great recipes on food associations,
products, and market sites.

Triple Chocolate Sour Cherry Fudge

Ingredients:
1 1/4 cups milk chocolate chips (or broken up chocolate)
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons evaporated milk
1/4 cup chocolate hazelnut spread (Nutella)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1 (12-ounce) bag semisweet chocolate chips (or broken up chocolate)
1 1/2 cups dried sour cherries
3/4 cup roughly chopped pecans, toasted (or walnuts)*

Directions:
Line an 8- x 8-inch glass dish with foil; set aside.

Put milk chocolate chips, evaporated milk, chocolate hazelnut spread, vanilla, salt and semisweet chocolate chips into a medium pot and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until smooth, about 5 minutes. Stir in cherries and pecans, then transfer mixture to prepared dish. Shake and tap dish gently on the countertop to remove any air bubbles from the fudge, then smooth out the top with the back of a spoon. Cover and chill until set, about 3 hours.

Loosen fudge from dish and turn out onto a cutting board; remove and discard foil. Using a serrated knife, cut fudge into pieces and serve.

Photo: Whole Foods Market

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Walnut Fudge for National Nutty Fudge Day

Today is National Nutty Fudge Day, and I always think fudge tastes better with nuts. Last year I posted a recipe for Vanilla Macadamia Nut Fudge. I also posted Nigella's Chocolate Pistachio Fudge recipe on National Pistachio Day in January 2010. That's one of my favorites! Lots of other links to lots of other Nutty Fudge recipes over the years. So today I'm posting a simple recipe for Walnut Fudge. This recipe on the California Walnuts site is from Patty Mastracco. No candy thermometer necessary and 10 minutes to make! What could be easier?

WALNUT FUDGE
  
Ingredients
1/2 cup butter
1 (14-oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1 lb. dark or bittersweet chocolate, broken into pieces
2 (1-oz.) squares unsweetened chocolate
3/4 cup marshmallow creme
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups coarsely chopped California walnuts, toasted

Directions
Line a 9-inch square baking dish with foil. Melt butter and sweetened condensed milk together in a large heavy saucepan over low heat.
Stir in chocolate and continue to cook, stirring frequently, for 5 to 10 minutes or until chocolate has melted.
Stir in marshmallow creme and vanilla and beat with a wooden spoon until mixture is glossy; stir in walnuts.
Spread in prepared pan and let cool. Cover and refrigerate until fudge has set.
Optional: Garnish with a walnut piece on top!

Photo: California Walnuts

Chocolate Walnut Brownies

Once again a reminder to check out specific food associations and food products for fabulous recipes. I often go to Walnuts.org for new recipes because I love Walnuts! I had 40 black walnut trees in my backyard when I lived in the flatlands of Berkeley. I lived in an old Victorian in what was originally known as Oceanview, and I'll bet those trees were part of an old orchard. I used to harvest them (wearing gloves/they're messy) and use them in all kinds of recipes. Now I get my walnuts at the farmer's market! There's nothing quite like fresh walnuts.

I've adapted this recipe for Chocolate Walnut Brownies from a recipe submitted by Rebecca Friedman to the Walnuts.org website. I've posted lots of brownie recipes over the years, because I really do believe you can't have enough Brownie or Chocolate Chip Cookie recipes.

CHOCOLATE WALNUT BROWNIES

¾ cup sweet butter
¾ cup chocolate chips (or chopped chocolate)
2/3 cup unsweetened DARK cocoa powder
1 ½ cups sugar
1 cup flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
½ teaspoon Madagascar vanilla extract
4 eggs
¾ cup chopped walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Butter a 9”x9” square baking pan.
3. In a double boiler over low heat, melt butter and chocolate chips together and remove from heat.
4. In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients.
5. When the chocolate/butter mixture has cooled a little whisk in the eggs and vanilla.
6. Note: it is important to cool the chocolate/butter mixture or the eggs will cook.
7. Add the dry ingredients and whisk to combine.
8. Stir in the chopped walnuts.
9. Pour batter into prepared baking pan.
10. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a knife inserted into center comes out clean.


Brownie Photo: Walnuts.org

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Chocolate Egg Cream

Thanks to Whatscookingamerica.com for the history of the Egg Cream. Despite its name, the egg cream contains neither eggs nor cream. In the beginning, it was a soda produced almost exclusively in New York (particularly Brooklyn). The basic ingredients are milk, seltzer, and chocolate syrup. It is traditionally made in a small Coke-style glass.

True New Yorkers insist that it is not a classic egg cream without Fox's U-Bet Chocolate Syrup. It is perfectly proper to gulp down an egg cream. In fact, egg cream will lose its head and become flat if it is not enjoyed immediately.

For many years, the egg cream remained a product sold only through New York soda fountains because bottled versions were hard to replicte. The cream, chocolate, and soda had a tendency to separate and to go bad after a couple days at best, and efforts to pasteurize or preserve the product ruined the taste. Today, Egg Cream drinks are bottled by a few small companies.

In the early 1900s, Fox's U-Bet Chocolate Syrup was created. According to The Brooklyn Cookbook by Lyn Stallworth and Rod Kennedy Jr., "You absolutely cannot make an egg cream without Fox's U-Bet." The cookbook quotes Fox's grandson, David, for the story of the syrup's name:

"The name 'U-Bet' dates from the late-'20s, when Fox's grandfather got wildcatting fever and headed to Texas to drill for oil. 'You bet' was a friendly term the oilmen used. His oil venture a failure, he returned to the old firm, changing Fox's Chocolate Syrup to Fox's U-Bet. He said, 'I came back broke but with a good name for the syrup.'

Chocolate Egg Cream

Approximately 1/2 cup cold whole milk (Skim or 2% milk won't foam as well)
1 cup bottled seltzer
2 tablespoons chocolate syrup (Fox's U-Bet Chocolate Syrup)

Pour 1/2 inch of cold milk into a tall soda glass. Add seltzer or club soda to within 1 inch of the top of the glass; stir vigorously with a long spoon (this will cause it to become white and bubbly with a good head of foam).
Very gently pour 2 tablespoons of chocolate syrup slowly down the inside of the glass; briskly stir with a long spoon only at the bottom of the glass where the chocolate sits. The resulting drink should have a dark brown bottom and a 1-inch high pure white foam top (if you mix it too much, the foam disappears).

NOTE: Do not let Egg Cream sit for a long period of time-5 minutes or more; it will go flat.


The Original Brooklyn Egg-Cream

Take a tall, chilled, straight-sided, 8oz. glass
Spoon 1 inch of U-bet Chocolate syrup into glass
Add 1 inch whole milk
Tilt the glass and spray seltzer (from a pressurized cylinder only) off a spoon, to make a big chocolate head
Stir, Drink, Enjoy

Monday, May 9, 2011

Crunch Time Cookies: Diane Mott Davidson

I posted this last month on Mystery Fanfare, but it's another of those great cross-over posts... my mystery and chocolate worlds collide. Mystery author, Diane Mott Davidson wrote a book called Dying for Chocolate, so, of course, I'm fond of her titles, books and recipes!

Diane Mott Davidson has been called the "Julia Child of Mysteries" and indeed she is one of the first mystery writers to put recipes in her books. One of my first memories of Diane Mott Davidson was meeting her at Malice Domestic where she was handing out samples of her chocolate chip cookies in the bathroom. Setting aside, they were terrific. Over the years, Diane has written over 14 Goldie catering novels. Her latest is Crunch Time, and the main recipe is "to die for".

Here's a video of Diane talking about the book. The recipe from Diane Mott Davidson is on the HarperCollins author website. And, yes, it's delicious!

Davidson is on tour, so check your local bookstore to see if she's coming to a location near you! Enjoy the video! I did!



Crunch Time Cookie Recipe
by Diane Mott Davidson

Ingredients
1 cup pecan halves
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
¼ cup softened cream cheese
1 cup dark brown sugar
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2½ cups rolled oats
8 ounces (1½ cups) semisweet chocolate chips
4 ounces (2/3 cup) toffee bits (Heath toffee bits or “Bits o’ Brickle”)

Instructions
In a wide frying pan, sauté the pecans over low heat, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes, or until the nuts begin to change color, and emit a nutty scent. Turn the nuts out onto paper towels and allow them to cool, then chop them roughly and set aside.

Sift or whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and cream cheese on medium speed until the mixture is very creamy. Add the brown sugar and beat very well, until the mixture is creamy and uniform. Add the granulated sugar and again beat very well, until you have a uniform, creamy mixture. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla.

Using a large wooden spoon, stir in the dry mixture just until combined. Then stir in the oats, chocolate chips, and toffee bits, blending only until thoroughly mixed.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator until completely chilled, three hours or overnight.

When you are ready to bake the cookies, take the bowl out of the refrigerator and allow the batter to warm slightly while the oven is preheating.

Preheat the oven to 375°. Place silicone mats on two cookie sheets.

Measure the batter out by tablespoonfuls, two inches apart. Place no more than a dozen cookies on each sheet. Bake, one sheet at a time, for 9–11 minutes, until the edges of the cookies are very brown and the centers are no longer soft.

When you remove a cookie sheet from the oven, place it on a cooling rack for 2 minutes, so the cookies can set up. Then use a pancake flipper to remove the cookies to cooling racks, and allow to cool completely. Store in airtight containers or in zipped freezer bags. These cookies freeze well.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Chocolate Coconut Cream Pie

Today is National Coconut Cream Pie Day, and there are two ways you can make Chocolate Coconut Cream Pie. One easy way is by making a chocolate cookie crust and then following any recipe for Coconut Cream Pie. Another, though, is to really make a Chocolate Coconut Cream Pie with the chocolate as part of the pie filling. Of course, you can make a chocolate cookie crust and follow the rest of this recipe.

The following recipe is adapted from Hershey's. It's really easy and delicious. Two key elements in my book!

Chocolate Coconut Cream Pie

Ingredients
1 unbaked (9-inch) pie crust
1 package (4-serving size) vanilla cook & serve pudding and pie filling mix* (Do not use instant pudding mix)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup DARK Cocoa
1-3/4 cups milk
1 cup Sweetened Coconut Flakes
2 cups frozen whipped topping, thawed

Directions
1 Bake pie crust; cool completely.
2 Stir together dry pudding mix, sugar and cocoa in large microwave-safe bowl. Gradually add milk, stirring with whisk until blended.
3 Microwave at HIGH (100%) 6 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes, with whisk, until mixture boils and is thickened and smooth. If necessary, microwave an additional 1 minute; stir.
4 Cool 5 minutes in bowl; stir in coconut. Pour into baked pie crust. Carefully press plastic wrap directly onto pie filling. Cool; refrigerate 6 hours or until firm. Top with whipped topping.
Garnish with toasted coconut and grated chocolate  (or whatever you'd like)




Photo: Hershey's

Happy Mother's Day: Vintage Ads






Saturday, May 7, 2011

Mother's Day Cocoa Spiced Salmon

My Mother circa 1942
Confession: My mother is not a chocoholic. So for Mother's Day this precludes giving her Truffles or Chocolates or baking anything chocolate specifically for her. However, my mother would eat salmon every day if she could. So I was thrilled to find this easy recipe adapted from Peggy Trowbridge Filippone on about.com for Cocoa Spiced Salmon.

I love cocoa/chocolate rubs, and this one helps seal in the flavor of the salmon. We do a lot of grilling at our house, so it's perfect for Mother's Day.. or any day! If you don't have a grill, you can broil. Give it 10 minutes tops!

Tomorrow, I plan to serve this Cocoa Spiced Salmon with a green salad made with blueberries, cocoa nibs, blue cheese and spiced walnuts. I use a Strawberry vinaigrette. I'm also making a Flourless Chocolate Cake for dessert... for the other people at the table... and maybe some Chocolate Dipped Strawberries.

Mother's Day Cocoa Spiced Salmon

Ingredients:
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive oil
1 Tablespoon dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
Dash of ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika
1/2 teaspoon DARK cocoa powder
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1-1/2 pounds salmon filet

Mustard Sauce (optional)
1/4 cup dry mustard
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons hot water

Preparation:

We cook on a Weber, but if you have a gas grill, fire to medium-high heat. Smear 1 teaspoon of olive oil over the bottom of a shallow aluminum pan. (Alternatively, you may form a tray out of a double layer of heavy foil. Be sure to place it on a cookie sheet for stability.)

Whisk together sugar, dry mustard, cinnamon, paprika, cocoa powder, chili powder, cumin, pepper, and salt.

Coat both sides of the salmon filet with remaining olive oil. Place in grill pan skin-side down. Sprinkle generously with the cocoa spice mixture and pat down. (You may have some spice mix left over. Store in a glass jar in a cool, dark place up to 6 months.)

The recipe says to grill salmon about 10 minutes per inch of thickness, until salmon flakes easily with a fork. Do not overcook or it will become dry.  We cook our salmon for a much shorter period of time, but then we don't have the same control on the heat.

Mustard Sauce: Optional
Whisk together dry mustard, sugar, and hot water until smooth. Serve as a condiment with Cocoa Spiced Salmon.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Kentucky Derby Chocolate Round-Up: Derby Pie & More

Over the past few years, I've posted several chocolate recipes that are served at Kentucky Derby Parties. I've had more than one recipe for Derby Pie, the traditional chocolate, nut, bourbon pie, but I thought I'd repost three of them all in one place.

Kentucky Bourbon Chocolate Walnut Pie has been served at the annual Derby Horse Race for over 50 years. It was a special recipe that was first made at the Melrose Inn in Prospect, Kentucky. * Note: You can't legally call it a "Derby Pie" recipe. The name "Derby Pie" is trademarked, and the owners of the name are very aggressive protecting the name "Derby Pie."  This is not a commercial site, so I'm calling it Derby Pie, but with variations in the complete name. Similar recipes to the one above are sometimes called Brownie Pie or Tollhouse Pie, but it's really Derby Pie.There have been many modifications over the years, but the most important ingredient is Kentucky Bourbon.

Love to hear about your favorite Kentucky Derby Pie. Do you use Pecans or Walnuts? How much chocolate? What kind? How much bourbon? What kind?

I. Kentucky Derby Chocolate Pecan Pie

Ingredients
1 pie crust (homemade or store bought)
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup light corn syrup
4 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup bourbon
3/4 cup chocolate chips
1 1/4 cup toasted pecans or walnuts, shelled and chopped in half

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Roll crust out.
3. In a large mixing bowl, on medium speed with whisk attachment, whip butter, sugars, corn syrup, eggs, vanilla and bourbon together until frothy.
4. Remove bowl from mixer, and fold in chocolate chips and pecans or walnuts. Blend well.
5. Pour into prepared pie crust and bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes or until set.
6. Serve warm or cool completely before serving with whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

II. Kentucky Bourbon Chocolate Walnut Pie

Ingredients:
1/2 cup flour
1 cup sugar (1/2 brown/1/2 white)
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup melted butter
 2-4 tablespoons Kentucky bourbon (it's a matter of taste)
1 cup chopped English walnuts (you can vary this by using pecans)
1 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (or chopped dark chocolate)
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
dash of salt
1 - 9 " deep-dish pie shell (pre-made crust or make your own)

Preparation:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix flour and sugar. Add the eggs and melted butter; mix to combine. Stir in the bourbon, walnuts, chocolate chips, vanilla, and salt. Pour mixture an unbaked piecrust. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Pie should be chewy but not runny. 
Another variation: don't add the chocolate chips to the mix: Arrange them on the bottom of the unbaked pie shell. Pour over the chocolate chips and bake.

And, my friend Janet Appel sent her personal recipe. Leave it to someone from Kentucky to have the 'real' thing.

III. BOURBON CHOCOLATE PECAN PIE
(Originally called Derby Pie)
FROM ENTERTAINING THE LOUISVILLE WAY-QUEEN’S DAUGHTERS 1969

Ingredients:
1 stick melted butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup white corn syrup
4 eggs beaten
1 tablespoon Wild Turkey Bourbon
1 cup whole pecans
½ cup chocolate chips
1-9 or 10 inch unbaked pie shell

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

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

IV. KENTUCKY CHOCOLATE NUT PIE IN A JAR
This is great to make ahead and take to the party as a gift. Host can make it while you watch!

***
So what kind of Chocolate Candy should you make if you're not at the Derby, but you're watching at home? Well, you're drinking bourbon, so why not try these bourbon balls? This is Janet Appel's mother
-in-law's recipe.

DOLLY APPEL’S BOURBON BALLS

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

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

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

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

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

Note from Janet Appel: This recipe is at least 70 years old. It was Marty’s mother’s recipe. She loved to make chocolate candies. Fingers were used for a lot of mixing, holding, stirring. Today there are fine chocolate tools to dip with, and electric pots to melt the chocolate. Paraffin is needed no matter how good your chocolate.

If you're a mystery fan, you'll want to read my list of Kentucky Derby Mysteries because we all know there's a always murder and mayhem related to horse races.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Cinco de Mayo Chocolate Recipes

Chocolate Covered Habanero Peppers
Today is Cinco de Mayo, and I thought I'd do a Round-up of Recipes! Cinco de Mayo is a Mexican holiday celebrating the victory of the Mexican army over the French at the Battle of Puebla, May 5, 1862. Puebla's signature dish is Mole Poblano--a Chocolate spicy stew, and I've posted several recipes for moles over the years.

Chocolate and chiles are a part of many Mexican dishes, so I’ve put together my own Chocolate ‘menu’ for Cinco de Mayo. Some things you can buy, some you can make. Whatever you decide, you will be able to get your fill of chocolate on Cinco de Mayo. Be sure and scroll down for a different Mexican Hot Chocolate Truffle Recipe.

Today is also Chocolate Custard Day, so here's a nod to Chocolate Custard in the form of Mexican Chocolate Bread Pudding.

Cinco de Mayo Snacks, Entrees & Drinks: Includes Chicken Mole, Chocolate Tamales recipes and more

Cinco de Mayo Desserts: Includes Mexican Spicy Brownies, Mexican Chocolate Truffles and Mexican Chocolate Ice Box Cookie Recipes

Cinco de Mayo Desserts: Includes Chipotle Brownies, Easy Cinco de Mayo Brownies, & Spicy Hot Chocolate

More Moles: White Chocolate Mole with Animal Crackers, Chicken Mole Poblano with Animal Crackers

And, a new recipe for Mexican Hot Chocolate Truffles because you can never have enough Truffle Recipes.

Mexican Hot Chocolate Truffles

Filling:
16 oz dark chocolate, chopped (or chocolate chips)
1 cup heavy cream
4 Tbsp sweet butter
1 oz  honey
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cayenne pepper (more or less depending on your tastebuds)
1/4 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp Mexican vanilla extract

Coating Chocolate:
6 oz Dark Chocolate, chopped (or chocolate chips)
2 tsp vegetable shortening
ground cayenne pepper
ground cinnamon 

For the Filling, place chocolate in a medium bowl and set aside. Combine heavy cream, butter, honey, cinnamon and cayenne pepper in a saucepan and cook over low heat until it starts to simmer. Remove from heat and pour over the bowl of chocolate. Wait for a few minutes for the chocolate to soften. Add almond extract and vanilla extract. Using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, slowly stir the mixture until it becomes smooth and shiny. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour or until the mixture is slightly firm.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or waxed paper. Measure out tablespoonfuls of the truffle filling and drop them onto the cookie sheet. Freeze for 15 to 20 minutes and then roll into balls. Freeze again for 10 to 15 minutes more or until firm.

For the Coating Chocolate, combine chocolate and vegetable shortening in a bowl and melt over hot water. Stir until smooth. Drop the truffles into the chocolate coating one at a time, quickly coat and remove with fork. Gently shake off any extra chocolate and place truffle on cookie sheet. Sprinkle cayenne pepper and cinnamon on top. 

These are really yummy!  Have a great Cinco de Mayo!