Wednesday, August 31, 2011

S'mores Trail Mix

Today is National Trail Mix Day! Want to extend the summer? Mix up a batch of S'mores Trail Mix. Perfect for the Trail, an afterschool snack, or a lunch box treat. O.K. not the healthiest of snacks, but delicious and easy.

Teddy Grahams, Bear shaped graham cracker snacks, come in chocolate flavor, but the regular honey grahams work best for a contrast of flavor and will make your trail mix more 'S'more' tasting. There are all kinds of wonderful natural graham cereals, too.

S'mores Trail Mix

Ingredients
15 ounces Golden Grahams cereal (Teddy Graham cereal or a natural Graham Cereal)
16 ounces miniature marshmallows
12 ounces chocolate chips

Directions:
Empty all ingredients into a LARGE bowl or bag and mix.


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

National Toasted Marshmallow Day: Homemade Marshmallows

Today is National Toasted Marshmallow Day. Marshmallows date back to ancient Egypt. Pharaohs used to eat the sweet extract that comes from squeezing mallow plants. It wasn't until the 19th century that marshmallows evolved into the treats we know today.

Toasted Marshmallows are a major ingredient in S'mores. If you've been reading this blog, you know I'm a big S'mores Fan. Recently I did a S'mores Wrap Up that included lots of recipes for these wonderful campfire and now haute cuisine treat! So many ways to prepare S'mores from Cupcakes to Bars to Pie--and, of course, the humble Girl Scout S'mores.

Chocolate is a major ingredient of S'mores, so choose the very best chocolate. That being said, one of the other 'big' ingredients is Marshmallows, and they should be Toasted, preferably on an open fire, but toasted is toasted, and you can always use a kitchen torch. It's essential to S'mores to toast these guys. Saying that, you should also have a good marshmallow, and homemade marshmallows are the best. Perhaps you like them straight out of the package, but if you want to try your hand at something unique and sublime, here's a great recipe from The French Laundry Cookbook by Thomas Keller (Artisan)

HOMEMADE MARSHMALLOWS

Hint: Keep an eye on the mixer while beating because the marshmallow mixture tends to "walk" up the beaters to the motor. Scrape down frequently.
Yield: 12 large marshmallows

Ingredients:
3 envelopes of unflavored Knox gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
2 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cups corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
Confectioners' sugar for dredging

Preparation:
1. In bowl of electric mixer, sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup cold water. Soak for 10 minutes.
2. Combine sugar, corn syrup, and 1/4 cup water in small saucepan. Bring to boil and boil hard for 1 minute. Pour boiling syrup into gelatin and mix at high speed. Add salt and beat for 12 minutes. Add vanilla and incorporate into mixture. Scrape into 9 x 9-inch pan lined with oiled plastic wrap and spread evenly. (Note: Lightly oil hands and spatula or bowl scraper). After pouring marshmallow mixture into  pan, take another piece of plastic wrap and press mixture into pan.
3. Let mixture sit for few hours. Remove from pan, dredge marshmallow slab with confectioners' sugar and cut into 12 equal pieces with scissors (best tool for the job) or a chef's knife. Dredge each piece of marshmallow in confectioners' sugar.

***
O.K. From the sublime to the ridiculous. No time to even toast a marshmallow today to celebrate National Toasted Marshmallow Day? Pick up a handful of Jelly Belly Jelly Beans Toasted Marshmallows. Yum!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Roald Dahl Cookbook: Willy Wonka's Nutty Crunch Surprise

As part of a continuing feature on DyingforChocolate.com, I'm posting chocolate recipes from my collection of Tie-in Cookbooks. My collection contains Mystery Cookbooks, Music Cookbooks, Art Cookbooks, Movie & TV Cookbooks and other "Literary" cookbooks.

The first in this series of posts was for Zodiac Chocolate Cake from the Mary Poppins in the Kitchen. Today, I chose another 'children's cookbook' Roald Dahl's Revolting Recipes (Viking, 1994). Illustrated by Quentin Blake with photographs by Jan Baldwin. Recipes compiled by Josie Fison and Felicity Dahl.

According to Felicity Dahl, "Treats were an essential part of Roald's life--never too many, never too few, and always perfectly timed. . .    Revolting Recipes is an interpretation of some of the scrumptious and wonderfully disgusting dishes that appear in Roald's books."

Roald Dahl is one of the most beloved storytellers of all time. His many popular children's books include Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, The Witches, and Matilda. He died in 1990.

Quentin Blake has illustrated more than a dozen of Roald Dahl's Books, and he has collaborated with authors Joan Aiken and Russell Hoban, as well as illustrated his own picture books. He was honored with the OBE in 1988.

Willy Wonka's Nutty Crunch Surprise


Friday, August 26, 2011

Hurricane Cake

With Hurricane Irene on the way and people battening down the hatches, this Hurricane Cake is perfect.  This recipe has been around for ages. You can make it with a German Chocolate Cake Mix or a Devil's Food Cake Mix. Either way, it's really yummy. Even better after a day in the refrigerator!

HURRICANE CAKE

Ingredients
1/2 cup sweet butter
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup flaked coconut
1 (18.25 ounce) package German Chocolate Cake Mix or Devil's Food Cake Mix
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1/2 cup sweet butter
3 3/4 cups confectioners' sugar

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Melt and spread 1/2 cup butter in bottom of a 9x13 inch pan.
Sprinkle coconut and pecans evenly over the bottom of pan; set aside.
Prepare cake mix as directed on package.
Pour batter over coconut and pecans in pan.
In saucepan over low heat, melt cream cheese and 1/2 cup butter. Stir in confectioners' sugar until mixture is smooth.
Spoon cream cheese mixture randomly over top of cake batter.
Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake in the preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
Cool and serve from the pan.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

How to Make A Chocolate Book

I love these edible chocolate books so much that I posted a link to Hungry Happenings on my Mystery Fanfare blog. Yes, books and chocolate are two of my main passions. I think this post serves this site well, too.

Check out Hungry Happenings  for a great recipe for creating edible books with fruit leather and honey-scented white modeling chocolate–"the perfect treat for your book party."

Note: If you haven't made modeling chocolate before or haven't melted chocolate, you should read Hungry Happenings' chocolate making tutorial. All brands of white chocolate or white candy melts have varying amounts of cocoa butter or oil, so the recipe is just a guide. You may need to add more or possibly less honey. She used Peters White Caps which are similar to Merckens Super White Coatings or Wilton White Candy Melts. 


Photo: Hungry Happenings

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Marmite & Chocolate

You may not have tasted Marmite. Marmite is the name given to two similar food spreads: the original British version, first produced in the United Kingdom and later South Africa, and a version produced in New Zealand. Marmite is made from yeast extract, a by-product of beer brewing.

The British version of Marmite is a sticky, dark brown paste with a very distinctive and powerful flavor, which is extremely salty and savory. This distinctive taste is reflected in the British company's marketing slogan: "Love it or hate it."

But Chocolate and Marmite?

Paul A. Young makes a Marmite Truffle, and I've tried them. Very unique flavor, but perhaps you need to have grown up with marmite. I didn't. These truffles; however, are not 'tar in a jar'.  A new purveyor of Marmite Truffles is Cocoa Magic out of Cardiff. Haven't tried these yet! Found a review on For You to Love
I tried a Very Peculiar Milk Chocolate Marmite Bar at the Fancy Food Show. Can't say I loved it, but then I'm not a big Milk Chocolate fan. It was salty and sweet at the same time. I think Dark Chocolate would be better.

In the U.S., Marmite can be found at Cost Plus World Market and other specialty food stores.

Let me know if you have any Chocolate and Marmite recipes you'd care to share! Or send your Marmite experiences.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Spumoni Cake: National Spumoni Day

Today is National Spumoni Day! Spumoni, not to be confused with zamboni, is a multicolored Italian ice cream. When I was growing up, it was usually a flavorless ice cream served in Italian restaurants at the end of a meal. It wasn't until I visited Italian friends that I had really good Spumoni.

The definition of Spumoni from wiseGeek is that it's a special Italian dessert made of layers of ice cream, whipped cream, candied fruit, and nuts. In spumoni, each layer contains different flavors and ingredients. In traditional dessert kitchens, spumoni is often made of three layers of flavor: chocolate, pistachio, and cherry. Each layer of Spumoni ice cream may include more than flavored ice cream. The chocolate layer, for example, may include chocolate shavings or chunks. Sometimes the chocolate layer has crushed hazelnuts inside. Not only does the hazelnut add a lovely flavor to the chocolate, but it also compliments the pistachio layer. The pistachio layer, of course, almost always includes crushed pistachio nuts. Finally, the fruit layer of spumoni is usually made with candied fruit. The cherry layer is the most traditional fruit component to the dessert.


Edy's makes Spumoni ice-cream as a special flavor around the holidays. Yes, it's red and green and chocolate, so that makes sense. You can make your own spumoni ice cream today, but if you can't find any and you don't want to make your own, you can always make Spumoni Cake. 

The trick to making beautiful Spumoni Cake is to have layers! This can be done by baking different layers or just layering a bundt cake in the bundt pan (no swirling). Because this is such a special holiday, I'm posting an easy Spumoni Cake recipe and linking several others for those who are more adventurous or have more time!  In the first Spumoni Cake, remember you can add chopped up maraschino cherries to the Red Layer, chocolate chips or grated chocolate to the chocolate layer and crushed or chopped pistachios to the green layer. Also, you can put pistachio pudding in the green layer for flavor!

Easy Spumoni Cake
Recipe on the Duncan Hines Baker's Club Forum: Source: Our Favorite Recipes St. John Neumann Catholic Church-recipe: Emile Bernard

1 (18.25 oz.) pkg. white or yellow cake mix
4 large eggs
3/4 c. vegetable oil
1 (8 oz.) container sour cream
1 (4 serving size) pkg. instant vanilla pudding mix

Combine cake mix, eggs, oil, sour cream and pudding mix; beat until well blended.
Divide batter into 3 bowls.
To bowl #1, add and mix in 1/2 c. chopped nuts, 5-6 drops green food coloring, 1/2 tsp. almond extract.
To bowl #2, add and mix in 1 (4 oz.) jar cut up and well drained maraschino cherries, 5-6 drops red food coloring.
To bowl #3, add and mix in 2 (1 oz. each) squares melted unsweetened chocolate.
To assemble cake, grease well a large tube pan or Bundt pan. Into this pan, pour all the green batter, then the red batter, and over this the chocolate batter. Be sure NOT to swirl or mix batters.
Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes until cake tests done. Cool in pan for 10 minutes; remove from pan and cool completely.
When cool, drizzle with chocolate icing, if desired.

Here are three more recipes for very different and delicious Spumoni Cakes:

Margie Slivnske (San Jose Easy Meals Examiner)  Easy, and my personal favorite.

Bette Ubaldini's Spumoni Cake  This is another easy recipe, and it's delicious.

Celebration Generation  (a little more complicated, but worth it)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Eacy Chocolate Pecan Pie: Recipe Round-Up

Today is National Chocolate Pecan Pie Day, not to be confused with Pecan Day (4/18) or Pecan Pie Day (7/5). Since I add chocolate to just about everything, Chocolate Pecan Pie is celebrated at each holiday. Want to Drink Your Pie? Check out my recipe for Chocolate Pecan Pie Cocktail that I posted on Pecan Pie Day.

Here's a mini-round of recipes for Chocolate Pecan Pie. I really like Bourbon in my Chocolate Pecan Pies, but if you don't, try the Easy Chocolate Pecan Pie recipe that follows the round-up.

Chocolate Chunk Pecan Pie for Mardi Gras
Kentucky Derby Chocolate Pecan Pie
Kentucky Derby Bourbon Chocolate Pie
Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Pie
Fudge Brownie Pecan Pie
Kentucky Chocolate-Nut Pie Mix in a Jar  

EASY CHOCOLATE PECAN PIE

Ingredients
1 unbaked pie shell (I like Trader Joe's pie dough, but you can make your own or buy one)
3 eggs
1 cup light or dark corn syrup
1 cup sugar (can be 1/2 brown & 1/2 granulated)
2 Tbsp. sweet butter
1 tsp. Madagascar vanilla
Pinch of salt
1 1/4 cup Pecans
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (I like Ghirardelli) or 4 ounces chopped dark chocolate

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Mix eggs, corn syrup, sugar, butter, salt and vanilla in a large bowl using a spoon (not in the mixer). Fold in pecans and chocolate.
Pour into pie shell.
Bake 50 to 55 min. or until top is slightly puffy.
Cool completely before serving.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Mary Poppins in the Kitchen: Zodiac Chocolate Cake

I collect Cookbooks, special cookbooks. Well Chocolate Cookbooks, of course, but I also collect Mystery, Art, Music, Movie, TV and 'Literary' Cookbooks. This should come as no surprise to anyone who reads my blog.

I recently did a post about Killer Cookbooks on my other blog Mystery Fanfare. I'll probably repost it on this blog in the future. In the meantime, I thought I'd begin a new feature here on DyingforChocolate.com: A Different Chocolate Recipe every week from my collection of 'Tie-in" Cookbooks. Well, that's my plan, and we'll see how it goes.

So today I thought I'd start with one of my favorite characters: Mary Poppins. She of the 'book' not the film.  The author P.L. Travers (1899-1996) was a drama critic, travel essayist, reviewer, lecturer, and novelist. She wrote several other books for children and adults, but it is for the character of Mary Poppins that she is best remembered. She lived in London, England. Mary Shepard (1910-2000) illustrated P.L. Travers's Mary Poppins books for more than fifty years. She also lived in London.

Mary Poppins in the Kitchen, as you see from the illustration, is A Cookery Book with a Story. Reading the story in this volume took me back to my childhood. I didn't live in England, but I lived in a rich fantasy world where I expected Mary Poppins to alight at any time to organize the nursery and start cooking!


This recipe for Zodiac Cake is the only chocolate dish in the Cookbook! Imagine...


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Chocolate Rum Balls

Yesterday was National Rum Day. I posted a recipe for Chocolate Fudge from a 1941 Ronrico Rum pamphlet of recipes. Definitely worth a try. Well, here's a recipe for a second day of Rum Celebration. Perhaps the most popular retro chocolate and rum recipe is for Chocolate Rum Balls! 

Traditional Rum Balls contain crushed wafers or cookies, but this recipe is for a Chocolate Rum Ball that is more like a truffle, made with a rum ganache--recipe from Alex Guarneschelli of the Food Network. Yes, she's one of the judges  on Chopped and has her own show The Cooking Loft. These chocolate rum balls are simple and quick to make. I usually chill my rum balls at the end. Either way, it will work. I especially like that she uses three different types of chocolate in these Chocolate Rum Balls: Two in the ganache itself and then chocolate sprinkles to coat. Maybe that's why I like them so much!

CHOCOLATE RUM BALLS

Ingredients
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, cut into small pieces
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, cut into small pieces
1 stick sweet butter, cut into small pieces
4 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons dark rum
Chocolate sprinkles, for rolling

Directions
1. In a medium bowl, combine the 2 types of chocolate and melt over a double boiler. (Or in a metal bowl over a pot of simmering water.) Whisk in the butter pieces. Whisk in the sugar and the rum.
2. Put the sprinkles in a bowl. Roll the chocolate mixture into small balls, about 1 1/2 inches each. Roll them in the sprinkles until they are fully coated. Store them in an airtight container.

Photo: Food Network

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

National Rum Day: Retro Recipe for Rum Fudge

Today is National Rum Day. I love Chocolate and Rum, and I use rum in lots of recipes. I picked up this 1941 Ronrico Rum recipe pamphlet,  "The Rum Connoisseur", a giveaway I'm sure from Ronrico Rum. Love the graphics on the cover and title page.  So I'm renaming this Retro Rum Day!



Enjoy the Rum Fudge and Marshmallow recipes!


Monday, August 15, 2011

Easy Chocolate Lemon Meringue Pie

Today is National Meringue Pie Day and what could be better than a Chocolate Lemon Meringue Pie. I love lemon and chocolate!  (Photo is from a Vintage ad for "Jello" pie filling, but I use Meyer Lemon Curd for the filling.)

There are so many recipes for Lemon Meringue Pie.  You can make your own lemon filling and your own pie shell, but here's a simple and easy recipe that uses Chocolate Ganache (I always have some in the freezer-but you can make fresh), artisan Meyer Lemon Curd from a jar, and a pre-made pie shell (I use Trader Joe's pie dough). O.K. you'll be making the meringue, but that's o.k. it's fun and fast.

EASY CHOCOLATE LEMON MERINGUE PIE

Use a pre-made 9" pie shell. Prick and bake as directed.
Let Pie Shell Cool.
Add a layer of Chocolate Ganache (see chocolate ganache recipe). Warm it up first, so you can easily spread evenly to the edges.
Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
Warm Lemon Curd (to allow it to spread easily) and then add it to make a layer on top of the chocolate ganache. Spread gently and evenly to the edges--don't mix the two, if possible.
Top with Meringue (see directions below)
Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes.

Meringue Topping:
4 egg whites
Pinch of cream of tartar
2 tablespoons of sugar

1. Whisk together egg whites and cream of tartar in bowl of mixer. Beat whites until peaks form and then gradually add sugar. Keep beating mixture until stiff peaks form-about one to two minutes.
2. Using a spoon, place spoonfuls of meringue over surface of entire filling. Meringue should cover the filling completely to edge of crust.
3. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes --until meringue has golden tips.
4. Remove pie from oven and place on wire rack to cool before slicing.

Happy Lemon Meringue Pie Day!



Sunday, August 14, 2011

Gravenstein Apple Chocolate Bread Pudding

I'm a huge fan of Gravenstein Apples, and I've written about them before. See my recipes for Chocolate Gravenstein Apple Pie and Gravenstein Apple Chocolate Brownies.

One of the bountiful treasures of Sonoma County is the Gravenstein Apple. Yesterday I bought a box of apples to eat and another to make Gravenstein Apple Chocolate Bread Pudding (and applesauce). Gravs don't last too long, but they're so delicious--tart, tangy and sweet all at the same time. You might not be able to find these in your market if you don't live in Northern California. They don't travel well. You can substitute other apples in this recipe, but I don't. I love the tartness of the Gravs with the rich sweetness of the chocolate. So here's a recipe for Gravenstein Apple Chocolate Bread Pudding.

Gravenstein Apple Chocolate Bread Pudding

Ingredients
5 slices day-old sourdough or challah, diced (if you don't have stale bread, dry it out in the oven)
2 tablespoons sweet butter, melted
2 cups Gravenstein apples, cut in 1/4 inch thick chunks
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup dark chocolate chips or chopped chocolate pieces
5 whole eggs, beaten
1 (14 oz) can condensed milk
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon Madagascar vanilla extract

Directions
Preheat oven to 375
1. In mixing bowl, whisk together milk, condensed milk, eggs, vanilla, sugar, and cinnamon. Beat until blended. 
2. Layer bread in 8-9 inch square buttered baking pan. Pour melted butter over bread. Let soak in for 5 minutes.
3. Layer Gravenstein Apple chunks on top of the bread layer. Sprinkle with dark chocolate chips or dark chocolate chunks.
4. Pour egg/milk mixture over bread and apples, making sure to cover completely. Make more egg mixture if you need to cover.
5. Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes. Bread pudding should be springy to the touch.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Retro Crisco Chocolate Chip Cookies

I grew up with Crisco used as a shortening alternative in baking. I always wondered about this white goopy stuff. As a girl, I made many pie crusts with Crisco. Butter was always my choice, and lard was not an alternative in my mother's house. Actually all these shortenings make great pie crusts.. just different. Funny, I don't think I have any Crisco in my pantry right now.

According to Wikipedia, Crisco is a brand of shortening produced by the J. M. Smucker Co. popular in the United States. Introduced in June 1911 by Procter & Gamble, it was the first shortening to be made entirely of vegetable oil. While the term Crisco is commonly used as a synonym for all shortening, Procter and Gamble markets olive, cooking, and baking oil and a cooking spray under that trademark.

Over the years, there were lots of Crisco pamphlets and cookbooks distributed as marketing incentives. So, I thought I'd post this retro recipe for "Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies" from Crisco. The recipe calls for "Butter Flavor Crisco all-vegetable shortening". Personally I would substitute real butter for Crisco in this recipe. Crisco does have its uses, but not necessarily in chocolate chip cookies. However, if you keep kosher, you might want to try this recipe. Disclaimer: I have not made these cookies; I just love retro ads and cookbooks and wanted to share.

CRISCO ULTIMATE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

3/4 cup Butter Flavor Crisco all-vegetable shortening
1-1/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 egg
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans (optional)*

*If nuts are omitted, add an additional 1/2 cup chocolate chips.

Heat oven to 375°F. Place sheets of foil on countertop for cooling cookies.
Combine shortening, brown sugar, milk, and vanilla in large bowl. Beat at medium speed of electric mixer until well blended. Beat egg into creamed mixture.
Combine flour, salt, and baking soda. Mix into creamed mixture just until blended. Stir in chocolate chips and pecan pieces.
Drop rounded tablespoonfuls of dough 3 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheet.
Bake one baking sheet at a time at 375°F for 8 to 10 minutes for chewy cookies, or 11 to 13 minutes for crisp cookies. DO NOT OVERBAKE. Cool 2 minutes on baking sheet. Remove cookies to foil to cool completely.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Chocolate Covered Breadsticks: Bread and Chocolate

Bread and Chocolate: How I Survived in Europe on $5 a Day. Many years ago I traveled throughout Europe with a guidebook, a Eurail Pass, a baquette (frequently replenished), and a bar of chocolate. Today I'm more into the 3-4 star meals, but back then I had very little money, and there were exceptional crunchy baquettes and high quality French and Belgium chocolate to be had for a song. Filled you up--and delicious!

Today, I recreate those times... taking it up a notch with Chocolate Covered Breadsticks. I use skinny pre-made breadsticks, but if you have the time, you can make your own breadsticks. I use Italian breadsticks. Remember it's all about the quality of the breadsticks and the chocolate!

Want to get creative? After dipping the breadsticks in chocolate, sprinkle with chopped pistachios or kosher salt or sea salt. These chocolate covered breadsticks go great with a cup of coffee or tea. Want to serve them as an hors d'oeuvre? Wrap prosciutto tightly around the breadstick before dipping in chocolate. This works better with fatter, breadier breadsticks, at least for my taste.

CHOCOLATE COVERED BREADSTICKS

2.5 ounces dark chocolate (70-85% cacao)
12-15 very thin breadsticks

Melt chocolate and dip quickly up 3/4 the length of breadsticks.
Let excess chocolate drip off.
Put coated sticks on parchment lined baking sheet.
Refrigerate for 30 minutes to harden.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

S'mores Martinis: Drink Your S'mores!

Today is National S'mores Day. Every day in  summer, though, has the potential to be S'mores Day, especially if you're camping or barbecuing. There are still so many variations on the traditional S'mores that you'll be able to celebrate National S'mores Day today.  Here's a Round-up of S'mores on Memorial Day to get the summer started right. See even More recipes at the end of this post.

Today looks to be a beautiful day, and I'm sure we'll have some S'mores in some form to celebrate. One variation on S'mores I've never posted is for adult S'mores: S'mores Martinis. Following are two different recipes for S'mores Martinis!

Just a bit of history. 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.

So today in honor of the S'mores holiday, I thought you might want to Drink Your S'mores! Here are two recipes for S'mores Martinis! Both recipes make four glasses. First recipe adapted from MyFind. Second recipe adapted from the Evite Blog. Let me know which you like best!

1. S'MORES MARTINI

2 oz Chocolate Vodka
2 oz Bailey’s Irish Cream
2 oz Cream de Cacao
2 oz Vanilla Vodka
2 oz Heavy Cream
Graham Crackers, Crushed
Chocolate Syrup
12 toasted mini marshmallows or 4 large marshmallows (use a kitchen torch or skewer and hold over flame)

Dip the rim of 4 martini glasses in chocolate syrup and then into the crushed graham crackers. Chill glasses in freezer.
Pour all remaining ingredients except marshmallows into martini shaker filled with ice and shake until well blended. Strain and pour into chilled glasses.
Skewer toasted marshmallows on cocktail stick and place across rim.


2. S'MORES MARTINI

8 oz vodka
2 ozs chocolate liqueur
Graham crackers
Marshmallow creme (Marshmallow Fluff)
Miniature marshmallows

Pour vodka and chocolate liqueur into pitcher and stir. Refrigerate for several hours until the mixture is very cold.
Put crushed graham crackers in small bowl.
Lightly coat rims of martini glasses with marshmallow creme.
Dip each glass into  bowl of graham cracker crumbs. Shake bowl gently to cover marshmallow creme with crumbs.
Put prepared glasses in freezer.
Skewer and Toast marshmallows over open fire or with kitchen blowtorch.
Pour drink mixture into 4 prepared glasses. Add skewered toasted marshmallows for garnish.

Round-up of S'mores Recipes, including a History of S'mores on National S'mores Day, last year. 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

Wacky Candy Bar S'mores
Peanut Butter S'mores


Photo #1My Find
Photo #2 Evite

Monday, August 8, 2011

Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookies: National Zucchini Day

Today is National Zucchini Day. I've been blogging about zucchini all summer. That's because Zucchini is such an abundant summer crop. Plant a single plant, and you'll be picking zucchini all summer long.

So what to do with it? Add Chocolate!

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread with Pistachios.  
Geeky Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread
Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread
White Chocolate Walnut Zucchini Bread
Chocolate Chunk Zucchini Bread
Chocolate Zucchini Cake

The other day was National Chocolate Chip Day, and I did a Round-up of Chocolate Chip recipes, but alas, no Zucchini Chocolate Chip recipe! What an oversight. So here in honor of the Zucchini Day holiday, is my go-to recipe for Zucchini Chocolate Cookies!

This recipe is from Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life (2007) by Barbara Kingsolver with Steven L. Hopp and Camille Kingsolver. I've added walnuts, because I like a little crunch.  The book should be a staple on your shelf. It's part memoir, part journalistic investigation. It tells the story of how the family was changed by one year of deliberately eating food produced in the place where they live. Barbara wrote the central narrative; Steven's sidebars explore various aspects of food-production science and industry; Camille's brief essays offer a nineteen-year-old's perspective on the local-food project, plus nutritional information, meal plans and most importantly for this blog, the recipes. Being that it's mid-summer: there's a Zucchini Season Meal Plan in the book. The recipes are all fabulous, but I decided to post the recipe for Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookies. As I mentioned, I added walnuts for extra crunch.

Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup honey
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Combine in large bowl.

1 cup white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
Combine in a separate, small bowl and blend into liquid mixture.

1 cup finely shredded zucchini
12 oz chocolate chips
3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Stir these into other ingredients, mix well. Drop by spoonful onto greased baking
sheet, and flatten with the back of a spoon. Bake at 350F degrees, 10 to 15 minutes.


Saturday, August 6, 2011

Happy Birthday, Lucille Ball!

Today is Lucille Ball's 100th Birthday. In honor of the day, Google has a special doodle with classic clips from I Love Lucy.

Being that it's all about chocolate for me, my favorite scene of the archetypal Queen of Comedy is of Lucy and Ethel in the Candy Factory.

Happy Birthday, Lucy!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Colonel Mustard in the Kitchen! Chocolate Merlot Mustard Brownies

The first Saturday in August is National Mustard Day. Not only is there a national holiday, but there's also a National Mustard Museum. It's the home of the world's largest collection of Mustards and Mustard Memorabilia.

According to the website, in 1992, Barry Levenson left his job as an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Wisconsin to open this museum. There are more than 5,300 mustards from all 50 states and more than 60 countries. For the collector in me, there's the Gibbons Collection of mustard pots, antique tins & jars and vintage advertisements. Located on Hubbard Avenue in the heart of downtown Middleton, Wisconsin, the National Mustard Museum is open from 10 am to 5 pm, seven days a week — except New Years, Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. The online store never sleeps. Middleton neighbors Madison to the west, is only a 45-minute drive from Wisconsin Dells, just 2-1/2 hours from Chicago, and a mere 6,978 kilometers from Dijon, France.

But this is a Chocolate Blog, so why Mustard? Well,  you might not think of putting Chocolate and Mustard together, but actually it's a wonderful combination. Add Merlot, and you're speaking my language. What a wonderful blend of flavors.

The Napa Mustard Company has a wonderful Noyo Reserve Merlot 'n Chocolate Mustard.
It's great on pretzels and with sandwiches or just spread it on a piece of crunchy sourdough. It's sweet, salty and tangy!

Hop Kiln, one of my favorite wineries in Sonoma County, makes their own Merlot & Chocolate Mustard. It has a lovely smooth taste. Use as above.

And adapted from a recipe from the National Mustard Museum,  here's a recipe for Chocolate Mustard Brownies Created by Marliss Levin for  National Mustard Day celebration several years ago at The Mustard Museum. Mustard actually intensifies the taste of chocolate?


CHOCOLATE MERLOT MUSTARD BROWNIES

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp  Chocolate Merlot Mustard
1 tsp fresh ground espresso
1/2 lb sweet butter
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate or very dark chocolate (85% or higher), broken
2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
4 eggs
2 Tbsp Madegascar Vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips or cup of chunks of dark chocolate
Sifted powdered sugar

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix ground espresso in mustard and set aside.
Melt butter and chocolate together in top of double boiler or a pot on top of another with simmering water. Cool slightly.
Add brown sugar to chocolate mixture. Blend well.
Add flour and mix well.
Add eggs and mix until blended.
Stir in vanilla; add mustard/coffee mixture. Mix until well blended.
Fold in chocolate chips or chunks.

Spread in greased 13" x 9" pan. Bake 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
Cool and cut into squares.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Malted Milk Balls: Malted Milk Ball Ice Cream Pie

If you're like me, you've always wondered about Malted Milk Balls. What are they really?

Lots of companies make them now, but when I was growing up, I only remember one: Hershey's Whoppers Malted Milk Balls.  But there are other "old fashioned' brands such as Maltesers.  Maybe they weren't available at my candy store? Ghirardelli  makes Milk Chocolate Malt Balls.  (There's also a Kittymalt Hairball remedy that I have, but I won't go there).

Malt balls (interchangeable with malted balls but not moth balls!) are also available in a variety of flavors: There are pumpkin spice malted milk balls, dark chocolate milk balls, mint malted milk balls, cookies and cream malted milk balls, peanut butter malted milk balls and yogurt malted milk balls, and many other varities.  Want to just have the Malt Ball center:  Nuts on Line sells them for $3.99 a pound.  

These malt ball center only candies can be enrobed in the very best chocolate. You can do it yourself in the same way you make chocolate covered nuts. Just melt some chocolate and dip. I use two forks to make it easy. Dry them on a parchment lined baking sheet.

But what is a malt ball? wiseGeek (clear answers for common questions) has the answer
Malted milk balls are chocolate-coated candies often sold in milk carton packaging to promote their association with flavored milk and malted milkshakes.

The flavor of malted milk balls is often described as nutty or distinctively hearty, much like a grain cereal. The reason for this unusual flavor is the use of a grain treatment known as malting. Barley grains are allowed to germinate after harvest, which changes the sugar composition of the grain, in the same sense that germinated corn becomes more suitable for distillation. The malted barley grain is carefully dried and ground into a powder for confectionery use.

Want a fabulous use for Malted Milk Balls? Well, besides eating them at the movies? Sunset Magazine had a great recipe last month for Malted Milk Ice Cream Pie. I definitely love using candy in pies and cakes. This ice cream pie has crunchy malted milk balls on the bottom, malt ice cream above it, and a layer of dark chocolate frosting. Add some whipped cream and sprinkle with chopped and whole malted milk balls when you serve, and you're good to go.

MALTED MILK BALL ICE CREAM PIE

Ingredients
3 1/2 cups malted milk balls, divided
Cookie Crust, using chocolate wafers and a 9-in. cheesecake pan with removable sides (I've posted this recipe before)
1 3/4 qts. vanilla ice cream, softened
3 tablespoons Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups malted milk powder (Malted milk powder is made from milk, barley malt, and wheat; don't confuse it with Ovaltine, which has other ingredients added. Find it next to the chocolate milk powder in well-stocked grocery stores)
1 cup whipping cream, divided
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

Preparation
1. Arrange a tight layer of malted milk balls (3 cups) over crust. Stir ice cream with cocoa powder and malted milk powder until smooth. Spoon into crust, set on a plate, and freeze 5 hours.
2. Heat 1/2 cup cream meanwhile until simmering. Put chocolate in a small metal bowl, pour in cream, and let sit until chocolate is melted, about 2 minutes. Stir until smooth. Let cool completely.
3. Smooth chocolate ganache over top of pie and freeze until set, about 15 minutes.
  
To serve:
4. Whip remaining 1/2 cup cream and swirl onto pie. Chop some malted milk balls and drop onto pie; add a few whole balls. Remove rim and serve immediately.
 
Tips: 
Let the pie soften for 5 minutes at room temp to make slicing easier.
If you're having trouble freeing your pie from its pan, set it over a bowl of hot water for a couple of minutes and then slide a thin knife between the pan edge and the crust. It should pop right out.
Make ahead: Once the pie is fully frozen through step 3, it keeps for up to 4 days, double-wrapped in plastic wrap. Top it just before serving.


Photo: Malted Milk Ice Cream Pie: Yunhee Kim; Styling: Karen Shinto

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Pretzel M&M's Ad

Pretzel M&M's voted the 2011 Consumer Product of the Year in the snacks category. Brought to you by Mars, there's a new ad that I knew you'd want to see. Music: 80s song - Eric Carmen's "Hungry Eyes" from Dirty Dancing in this ad for Pretzel M&M's from BBDO, New York.

In case you've missed it, Pretzel M&M's have crunchy pretzel inside milk chocolate inside the colored candy shell.

Little known fact? "m" wasn't printed on the candy until 1950 and were originally black, not white.

Enjoy! Who doesn't like salty and sweet?