Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

How to Remove Chocolate Stains, Part II: Other Surfaces

Barclay on Heriz
The other day I posted about How to Remove Chocolate Stains from Fabrics. Now that the holidays are upon us, you might need to Remove Chocolate Stains from that Priceless Oriental Rug or from the white carpets you installed before you had kids or pets. What were you thinking? And that's not even mentioning the tile and marble in the foyer that the kids were running through with their chocolate cake. Forget about Holiday Cookies, Brownies and Cake. Let's face it: Chocolate can end up just about anywhere.

So today I bring you How to Remove Chocolate Stains Pat II: Other surfaces! As always I welcome any recommendations that you've found successful. Thanks to HowStuffWorks.com and Hints from Heloise for these suggestions.

Carpet  (Synthetic or Wool): 
Two possible treatments. Choose only one. Remember to get to the stains as quickly as possible.

I. Scrape off as much chocolate residue as you can.
Then, with a white paper towel or clean cloth, apply dry-cleaning fluid to the stain and blot.
If any stain remains, apply a solution of 1/4 teaspoon mild white detergent and 1 cup room-temperature water. Work from the outer edge of the stain to the middle -- always blotting, not rubbing.
Rinse with clear water to remove soap residue.

II. Blot up or scrape as much of excess as possible.
To prevent setting stain, flush with club soda.
Try an application of Spot Shot Carpet Stain Remover or a concentrated solution of a non-alkali carpet shampoo.
After drying and vacuuming, if stain remains:
Mix 1 tablespoon ammonia to 1 cup water and carefully drop small amounts onto the stain. (On wool carpets, test in an inconspicuous corner first, as ammonia can harm wool.)
Blot with an absorbent pad.
Flush area rugs or sponge carpeting with clear water. It is important to remove all traces of ammonia.
Place a clean absorbent pad over the area and weight it down.
When no more liquid is being absorbed, allow it to thoroughly air dry.

Alabaster and Marble
Carefully scrape excess.
Wipe with a clean cloth dipped in a solution of washing soda or detergent and water.
Rinse well and wipe dry.
If any stain remains:
Mix a few drops of ammonia with 1 cup of 3% hydrogen peroxide.
Soak a white blotter with the solution and place it over the stain.
Weight it down with a heavy object.
Continue applying the solution until the oil has been drawn out and any remaining stain bleached out.

Stone Surfaces
Granite, Brick, Concrete, Flagstone, Limestone, Masonry Tile, Sandstone, Slate, Terrazzo
Scrape to remove excess, taking care not to gouge the surface.
Wash with a solution of washing soda or detergent (never use soap) and water.
Use a cloth or a gentle brush.
Rinse thoroughly with clear water and allow to dry.

Wood
Mix dishwashing detergent in hot water and swish to make a great volume of suds.
Dip a cloth in only the foam and apply.
Rinse with a clean cloth dampened with clear water.
Polish or wax as usual.

Grout
Wipe excess with a cloth dipped in warm sudsy water.
If any stain remains:
Dip a wet toothbrush into baking soda or powdered cleanser.
Gently scrub the spot.
Rinse well and wipe dry.

Silver
Wash silver in hot sudsy water.
Rinse thoroughly in hot water.
Wipe dry immediately with a clean soft cloth to prevent tarnish.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Chocolate Banana French Toast: National French Toast Day

1919 Advertisement for Log Cabin Syrup
I love French Toast: Pain Perdu ... This wonderful food was a way to use up stale bread by dipping it in eggs and milk and frying it. I usually make French Toast with Challah, Brioche, or Sourdough, but I've been known to try other breads.

Have a look at some of the other French Toast recipes I've posted. Stuffed Chocolate French Toast, Hazelnut French Toast, Stuffed Challah Nutella French Toast.

Today in honor of National French Toast Day, I thought I'd share an easy recipe for Baked Banana Chocolate French Toast! I love Chocolate and Bananas, and this is a great make-ahead French toast recipe! OK, this French Toast is not fried, and it's a bit like a bread pudding, but it's still fabulous! You could always fry it by following the directions but pudding the chocolate between two pieces of the bread--stuffed French Toast.

CHOCOLATE BANANA FRENCH TOAST

Ingredients
4 ripe bananas
4 eggs
3/4 cups half and half
1/4 cup sweet butter, melted
4 tablespoons sugar, divided
1 teaspoon Madagascar vanilla extract
1 loaf of Challah (or Brioche) cut in thick slices
1/2 cup fair-trade dark chocolate 65-85% cacao, chopped into pieces

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Butter a 9" x 13" baking dish.
3. In large bowl, mash bananas. Add eggs, half and half, melted butter, 3 tablespoons sugar, and vanilla; mix until well beaten. Add bread and turn to coat.
3. Layer bread in prepared baking dish. Pour remaining mixture over bread.
3. Sprinkle with chocolate chunks and remaining tablespoon of sugar.
Bake 18 minutes, or until set & golden.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving Weekend: Baker's Vintage 1937 Ad & Recipes

I have posted several Baker's Ads from Life Magazine from 1936-1941. They're usually one or two page spreads that 'tell' a story. I just had to post this one from November 22, 1937Life Magazine was the most popular magazine in the U.S. at the time, with a huge readership, so these ads were well placed for the homemaker. This one for Chocolate Souffles and Between-Meal Snacks is perfect for Thanksgiving Weekend!




Saturday, November 26, 2011

Mashed Potato Chocolate Cake: Thanksgiving Leftovers

Still have leftovers from Thanksgiving? I posted Thanksgiving Leftovers Recipes for Turkey Mole and Cranberry Sauce Truffles. Here's another favorite!  Today is National Cake Day, so use what you have! I have mashed potatoes, so here's a recipe for Mashed Potato Chocolate Cake. There are lots of Mashed Potato Chocolate Cake recipes, but this one is very easy. This recipe won't work if you seasoned your potatoes with herbs or garlic. Mashed potatoes with butter or cream or cream cheese will work perfectly. In case you want to make this as it's own dish (not using leftovers), try the recipe I posted for White Chocolate Mashed Potatoes.  I've never met a potato I didn't like!

MASHED POTATO CHOCOLATE CAKE

Ingredients
4 oz. dark chocolate (65-75% cacao)
1 cup sweet butter
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 cup mashed potatoes
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. Madagascar or Mexican vanilla extract
2 cups cake flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 ounces dark chocolate chopped into chip size

Directions
Melt chocolate with vanilla; cool slightly.
Sift together flour, baking powder, soda, and salt.
In another bowl, cream butter and sugar and beat in eggs one by one.
Add chocolate and mashed potatoes.
Beat in the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk.
Fold in dark chocolate 'chips'.
Pour into a greased 13x9 x 2  inch pan (or Bundt Pan) and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for approximately 40 minutes. Cool before frosting.

OPTIONAL FROSTING
3 oz. chocolate-65-85% cacao
1-1/2 tsp. Madascar vanilla extract
1 lb. confectioners' sugar
Dash of salt
1/2 cup softened  sweet butter
Hot milk
Chopped walnuts

Melt chocolate and vanilla. Let cool slightly. Cream sugar, salt and butter. Add just enough hot milk to spread. Beat in melted chocolate. Spread on cake and sprinkle with chopped nuts.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Turkey Mole: Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey

Maybe you didn't give away all the leftover turkey from last night's dinner. So if you're like me, you have a lot left. Yes, you can invite the neighbors in for another Thanksgiving dinner or you can make sandwiches for a week, but here's another possibility: Turkey Mole! I like to use Taza Chocolate Mexicano, especially the Chipotle Chili Chocolate Mexicano in this recipe, but any good chocolate will work!

Good Food Channel has an awesome recipe by Gino D'Acampo for Turkey Mole that uses 'bitter' chocolate. I love this recipe because it uses almonds, peanuts, sesame seeds, prunes, raisins, plantains and lots of other ingredients that aren't in your (or my) usual moles.

Don't have that much time? Want to make a Quick Mole? This recipe is adapted from Paula Deen's Quick Chicken Mole, but it's great with Turkey.

Quick Turkey Mole

Ingredients
2 tablespoons good quality olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 chipotle peppers, roughly chopped
1 (10-ounce) can chicken broth
2 tablespoons peanut butter
4 ounces Taza Chocolate Mexicano, chopped
Toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds), for garnish

Directions
Heat oil in heavy saute pan over medium heat. Add onion and saute until translucent. Add garlic and spices and continue to saute to toast and develop flavor. Add diced tomatoes, peppers, chipotles, broth, peanut butter, and chocolate. Simmer for 10 minutes. Strain and puree until smooth.

Take left over Turkey and either add to oven friendly saute pan or put in another pot and then cover with the Mole sauce. Braise in 350 oven for 45 minutes.

Thanksgiving Vintage Ad

This Vintage Advertisement does not have a chocolate recipe, although it mentions chocolate layer cake, but I couldn't help but post it because it shows how far we've come--and where we've been. This is a Vintage Ad for Camels Cigarettes.

"Thanksgiving Dinner.. and then the peaceful feeling that comes from good digestion and smoking Camels. ... For Digestion's Sake--Smoke Camels." 

One of the "authorities" in this ad is a Food Editor.

Hope you didn't have a Camel after Thanksgiving Dinner.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Cranberry Truffles: What to do with left-over Cranberry Sauce!

What to do with left-over cranberry sauce? Well, of course, you can use it in sandwiches, but I would combine it with Dark Chocolate and make some awesome Cranberry Truffles.

Because the filling is soft, you might want to coat these truffles in dark chocolate. If you're coating them in chocolate, top them with some very fine toasted nuts or dried cranberries or candied orange peel or sea salt or leave plain. If you don't care that the truffles are a bit soft, skip the dark chocolate coating and just roll them in cocoa, superfine sugar, or chopped nuts and put them in the refrigerator to firm up a bit.

This recipe is a bit of trial and error, and I imagine you'll have some of the same. My first attempt was from a recipe from Elizabeth LaBau at About.com. It works very well, so be sure and refer back to it if you're a recipe follower. Her recipe is for cranberry sauce ganache truffles enrobed in dark chocolate.

The following recipe gives you two options. Both ways work. I'm O.K. with the truffles without the dark chocolate coating. Softer but delicious!

CRANBERRY SAUCE TRUFFLES

Ingredients
12 ounces dark chocolate (70-75% cacao), chopped
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup whole berry cranberry sauce
zest of 1/2 orange
1/4 cup sweet butter

Coating:
1 lb chocolate candy coating
1/4 cup finely chopped nuts, some candied orange or dried cranberries or sea salt, for decorating (optional)

Preparation:
1. Chop the chocolate into small, even pieces and place it in medium heat-safe bowl. Place the cream in small saucepan over another sauce-pan over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer, but don't allow to boil.
2. Once cream is simmering, pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate. Gently whisk it together until the chocolate melts and you have a smooth, shiny chocolate liquid--this is your ganache. Add the softened butter, the orange zest and the cranberry sauce, and whisk until they are incorporated. Press a layer of saranwrap on top of ganache and chill until firm enough to roll, about 4 hours or overnight.
3. Once ganache has firmed up, use a small candy scoop or a teaspoon to form it into small balls.

If you aren't going to coat the balls in dark chocolate, roll the balls in cocoa or fine sugar or chopped nuts and place them on foil or waxed paper-lined baking sheet. Put in refrigerator. You're done!

If you are going to coat them, return unadorned balls to the refrigerator while you prepare the dipping chocolate.

If you are going to coat them:
4. Place the chocolate candy coating in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave it until melted, stirring after every 45 seconds to prevent overheating.
5. Once coating is melted and smooth, use two forks or dipping tools to dip the truffle balls one by one. After submerging truffle in coating, tap fork against the bowl and drag the bottom across the lip of the bowl to remove excess chocolate. Replace truffle on lined baking sheet, and repeat until all truffles are coated. Optional: top truffles with sprinkling of chopped pecans or dried cranberries or candied orange peel while the chocolate is still wet.
6. Place the truffles in the refrigerator to set the chocolate, for about 15 minutes. Once set, they can be served immediately, or stored in airtight container in refrigerator for up to a week.

Cranberry Truffles have the best taste and texture when allowed to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes before serving.

http://candy.about.com/od/chocolatetrufflerecipes/r/cranberry_truffles.htm

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Spicy Chocolate Turkey Rubs: Barbecue Turkey for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is not at my home this year, so we won't be Barbecuing the Turkey. Unfortunate, because we really love the smokiness and flavor that the barbecue brings to the bird. Barbecuing the turkey also leaves the ovens free for all the side dishes and pies.

Two years ago we started barbecuing our turkeys with spicy chocolate rubs. Here are two great recipes. We've made some adaptations, but this first recipe is for Spicy Chocolate Rub Recipe from  The BBQ Report.  Just combine everything in the Cuisinart until finely ground and pat on turkey. This recipe is for chicken, so if you're planning a 20 lb. turkey, you'll need to increase the amounts.

SPICY CHOCOLATE RUB

1 cup natural unsweetened DARK cocoa powder
1/4 cup kosher salt
2 teaspoons dried red pepper flakes, chopped fine
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Want to get a little more sophisticated with the Rub? Kunde Family Estates (great wines to accompany your turkey) has a recipe for BBQ Turkey with Ancho Chile/Chocolate Rub. This recipe includes brining the turkey first. If you buy a kosher turkey it will already be brined. This recipe is for a 12-16 pound turkey, so if yours is bigger than that, you'll need to adjust the measurements.

ANCHO CHILE CHOCOLATE RUB

3 tbsp. brown sugar
2 tbsp. chile powder
1 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. onion powder
½ tsp. chipotle chile powder
2 tbsp. softened butter

In a small bowl, combine all the dry rub ingredients. Mix well. In another small bowl, mash the butter together with 2 tbsp. rub – set aside.

Place the turkey in a large roasting pan. With your fingers, gently loosen the skin over the breast meat and insert the butter/rub under the skin; gently rub over breast meat. Rub the outside of the bird well with olive oil; then sprinkle generously inside and out with rub. Loosely pack the cavity with the lemon and orange slices. Tie drumsticks together with kitchen string. Place in refrigerator and let sit; uncovered, 5 – 6 hours, or until ready to cook.

When ready to cook, prepare grill. If using a charcoal grill, prepare it for indirect cooking. For gas grills, heat to medium high. Put turkey in the roasting pan on grill; add 2 cups water; cover. Turn all gas setting to low. Grill-roast turkey, basting with pan juices and rotating the pan 180 degrees every hour, for 3 hours. (If using charcoal grill, add briquettes or mesquite every hour to maintain an even temperature). After 3 hours, insert an instant-read thermometer in the fleshy part of an inner thigh to check for doneness. Thigh meat should register 175° F and the juices should run clear when the thigh is pierced. If not done, cover and continue to cook; checking every 20 minutes for doneness.

When done, transfer turkey to a heated platter, cover loosely with foil and allow to sit for 20 minutes before carving.

Does Chocolate have a place at your Thanksgiving Table this year? Please make a comment!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Chocolate Pumpkin Trifle

Holidays are the perfect time for Trifles. I make a wicked (and easy) Trifle for the Fourth of July with sponge cake, strawberries, blueberries & kirsh. So for Thanksgiving, I thought I'd post this easy and sweet trifle recipe for Chocolate Pumpkin Trifle that combines pumpkin and chocolate.

What's a TRIFLE? The dictionary defines 'Trifle' as something insignificant, but you'll find that this dessert is anything but insignificant. I'm not trifling with you. This is a fabulous dessert! 

Trifles are traditionally made in a large clear deep bowl so you can see all the layers. I have the perfect bowl! The assembled trifle is covered and placed in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours and up to 24 hours so the flavors can mingle. This Chocolate and Pumpkin Trifle is perfect for Thanksgiving since it can feed upwards of 8 guests.

There are many variations, and you can add different things in different layers--and you can vary the size of your layers. You can follow the recipe below with cookies but stack as you please: ex, layer of pumpkin cream, layer of cookies, layer of chocolate cream, etc. This is not a science. Instead of Chocolate Wafers, you can use Chocolate Cake or Brownies or try using left over Chocolate Pumpkin Bundt Cake (as if there is any left over!) or Pumpkin Bread.
Waterford Trifle Bowl

CHOCOLATE PUMPKIN TRIFLE

Ingredients
4 ounces dark chocolate (70% cacao), chopped
4 cups heavy cream
2 teaspoons Madagascar vanilla
1 cup natural pumpkin puree
1/4 tsp pumpkin spice
1- 7.5-ounce jar of Marshmallow Fluff
6 small Heath bars, chopped (still have any left over from Halloween?)
1 1/2- 9-ounce boxes chocolate wafer cookies (or chocolate cake)

Directions (but when it comes to layering, that's up to you!):
1. In a small pot over another pot, melt chocolate with 1/2 cup cream over medium-low heat, stirring until smooth. Let cool.
2. Using electric mixer, whip 2 cups cream with 1 tsp vanilla until stiff.
3. In medium bowl, whisk together pumpkin, pumpkin spice and marshmallow cream. Fold in whipped cream in 2 parts; refrigerate.
3. Add remaining 1-1/2 cups heavy cream to mixer bowl and whip until thickened. With the machine on, slowly add the chocolate mixture and the remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla and beat until stiff but not dry.
4. Spread one-third of chocolate cream in a 4-quart clear glass trifle bowl.
5. Layer with one-third of the toffee.
6. Make a cookie (or cake) layer--be sure and stand up some cookies along the side of the bowl (it will look pretty)*
7. Make a pumpkin cream layer
8. Repeat with the remaining cookies and more pumpkin cream (depending on how thick you make the layers).
9. Add chocolate cream layer.
10. Sprinkle with chopped toffee and cover with chocolate cream.
11. Cover and refrigerate for 4-24 hours.
To serve, sprinkle with the remaining toffee (or not).

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Turkey Cakes and Turkey Cake Pans: Happy Thanksgiving

I've made a lot of Birthday and Holiday cakes in odd shapes, mostly without the use of wonderfully 'shaped' pans. Yes, Jonas, you might remember the Crab you wanted for your birthday one year, although I'm not sure why you wanted a crab. Wish I could find the photo. Lots of cutting up and piecing together with icing, but also lots of fun.

I posted several Pumpkin Cake Pans this past week.. and if you read to the end, I also posted a Turkey Cake Pan. Thought it might  be fun to post some more specialty cake pans. Most of these are readily available at local shops and on Amazon and eBay. If you don't want to use a Turkey Cake Pan, you can always make your own cake and cut it and shape it and frost it to resemble a turkey! See the links below to some fabulous photos of "Turkey Cakes" with directions and recipes. Who says you can't have cake to end the Thanksgiving meal?

TURKEY CAKE PANS

Nordicware Platinum Collection 3D Turkey Cake Pan

 Check out Baking Bites finished Turkey Cake using the Nordicware 3-D Turkey Cake Pan 

CK Products Turkey Pantastic Plastic Cake Pan
Chicago Metallic Silicone Turkey Cakelet Pan with stencils
You can also make muffins in this pan and use them for place settings!



Wilton Thanksgiving Turkey Cake Pan 
(1979/Retired-but available on Amazon and eBay)


Want to make your own Turkey Cake? Chocolate, of course! Scroll down to see the Coolest Homemade Thanksgiving Cake Ideas on Coolest-Birthday-Cakes.com


Disney Family Fun has a great recipe for Turkey Cake and how to make it. The Body of the Cake is yellow cake with the 'drumsticks' a spice cake. I would do the drumsticks in chocolate cake for the dark meat, but then I'm all about chocolate.  Here's a link to this Turkey Cake Recipe.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

How to Remove Chocolate Stains

I cook and bake with chocolate, and I eat a lot of chocolate. Needless to say, I am not always stain-free, nor is my kitchen. And then there's my couch and rugs. Yes, chocolate makes itself into every room in my household.

So, I thought I would do two posts on How to Remove Chocolate Stains. With the holidays coming up, this should be useful. Love to hear from you on your own chocolate removal techniques.

Today I'm covering Fabrics. First rule of thumb is to remove any stains immediately. However, you might have overlooked that blob of chocolate from the Chocolate Tasting or Chocolate Fountain. Always check the guidelines on the item of clothing or article. No directions? Try the following. Here's another helpful hint. If you can, try removing the stain from the opposite side of the fabric. This is not always available or practical, but thought I should mention it.

PART I: FABRICS

Washable fabrics: Cotton, Linen, Acrylic fabric, nylon, polyester, spandex

Luckily, many fabrics are washable, but you still need to take a few precautionary steps.
First, wipe off as much as possible without applying a lot of pressure. BLOT.
Rinse the stain with Club Soda. (this should be a staple in your pantry for lots of different stains)
At this point if the spot looks like it's gone, and the article can go in the washer, I'll put a little Simple Green on the spot and throw it in and wash on cold. I won't dry in the dryer, until I'm sure it's out.

However, HowStuffWorks.com adds a few steps. If the article is important to you, I suggest adding these steps and not throwing the article into the washer.
Sponge the spot with a spot lifter.
Apply a dry spotter to the stain and cover with an absorbent pad dampened with the dry spotter.
Keep the stain moist with dry spotter.
Let it stand as long as any stain is being lifted.
Change the pad as it picks up the stain.
Flush with a dry-cleaning solvent.

If any stain remains:
Apply a few drops of dishwashing detergent and a few drops of ammonia to the stain, then tamp or scrape.
Keep the stain moist with the detergent and ammonia and blot occasionally with an absorbent pad.
Flush well with water to remove all traces of ammonia.
Allow to dry or launder as usual.

Non Washable Fabrics: Acetate, Burlap, Rayon, Rope, Silk, Wool

I wear silk shirts all the time, so chocolate invariably finds its way onto these shirts. The shirts are washable. Who knew? Since I have over 25 of them in all colors, it was a wonderful discovery. What I do is blot and then use use a little dishwasher soap (very little), and rinse. I throw the shirt in the washer on cold for a short cycle, but don't dry them in the dryer until I check the spot.

HowStuffWorks.com has a more methodical way of removing chocolate stains from non-washable fabrics:
Blot up any excess, or scrape (the method of using a scraping tool to gently lift off excess solid or caked-on stains) any matter from the surface.
Flush (the method of applying stain remover to loosen staining materials and residue from stain removers) the stain with club soda to prevent setting.
Sponge (the method of using light strokes with a dampened pad working outward from the center of the stain) the stain with a spot lifter or cleaning fluid.
Then apply a dry spotter to the stain and cover with an absorbent pad dampened with the dry spotter.
Keep the stain and pad moist with the dry spotter. Let it stand as long as any stain is being removed.
Change the pad as it picks up the stain.
Flush with dry-cleaning solvent.

If a stain remains:
Moisten with an enzyme pre-soak (follow directions on label).
Cover with a clean pad that has been dipped in the solution and wrung almost dry.
Let stand at least 30 minutes.
Add more solution if needed to keep the stain warm and moist, but do not allow the wet area to spread.
When the stain is lifted, flush thoroughly with water and allow to dry.

And more from HowStuffWorks.com:

Felt and Fur: 
Different procedure to remove chocolate from the cat or dog. Since chocolate is dangerous to animals, you shouldn't allow chocolate near them!

Gently scrape to remove excess.
Mix a mild soap in hot water and swish to make a great volume of suds.
Dip a cloth in the foam and apply to the fabric.
Rinse by wiping with a clean cloth dampened with clear water.

If a grease stain remains:
Powder the stain with an absorbent such as corn meal.
Give it plenty of time to work.
Gently brush (the method of using a stiff-bristled brush to gently remove dried stains and spots) it out.
Take care not to force the absorbent further into the hairs. Repeat if necessary.

Leather and Suede: 
This is very similar to felt and fur, except for the final step with leather.

Gently scrape excess from the surface.
Mix a solution of mild soap in lukewarm water.
Swish to create a great volume of suds.
Apply only the foam with a sponge.
Wipe dry with a clean cloth.

If a stain remains:
Powder it with an absorbent such as corn meal.
Give it plenty of time to work.
Gently brush it off.
Repeat if necessary
On leather only, follow with a leather cleaner or saddle soap to condition the leather.

How to remove chocolate from other surfaces to come in another post.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Pumpkin Pie Truffles

Godiva: Pumpkin Pie Truffles
Just in time for Thanksgiving, I have another post about Chocolate and Pumpkin. Today: Pumpkin Pie Truffles.

I always have natural pumpkin in the cupboard. Besides using it for pies, truffles and cakes, it's great for doggie upset stomachs. I also have Libby's pumpkin puree because I grew up with it, and sometimes it's just what I want. I'm not much for making my own pumpkin puree. Lazy, I guess.

Truffles are so simple to make and yet seem so elegant. Pumpkin Truffles are perfect for Thanksgiving, and they make great hostess gifts. The following recipe is from the FoodNetwork for Easy Pumpkin Truffles. They are just that--easy and delicious. But in case you want to experiment, I've added some links to other Pumpkin and Pumpkin Pie Truffle recipes.

No time to experiment? At the end of this post I've listed a few Chocolate Companies that make seasonal Pumpkin Truffles. Get your order in before they run out.

Easy Pumpkin Truffles

Ingredients
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground gloves
2 cups cream
1 pound dark chocolate, finely chopped
1 ounce sweet butter, room temperature
1/4 cup Grand Marnier
6 ounces melted dark chocolate
3 ounces cocoa powder

Directions
In a medium saucepan over low heat, combine pumpkin, brown sugar and spices. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes, or until mixture reduces by half and pumpkin looks dry. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan over high heat, add cream. When cream boils, take off heat.
In a heatproof medium bowl, add chocolate and hot cream. Let the mixture sit for a minute, then slowly begin to stir, starting in the center of the bowl and working outwards.
Once the chocolate and cream are evenly mixed, add pumpkin mixture and whisk to combine.
Add the butter and liqueur, if using.
Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled.
On a parchment lined cookie sheet, scoop mixture into small balls using a melon baller.
Place in refrigerator for 1 hour, or until chilled.
Remove truffles from refrigerator and dip each in melted chocolate.
Roll in cocoa powder and serve.  (Add some orange sprinkles for color*)

Other fun Pumpkin Truffle Recipes to check out:

Pumpkin Pie Truffles from Cake, Batter, and Bowl: Robed in orange white chocolate with insides of dark chocolate pumpkin ganache. Love the walnut half as a pumpkin stem.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Truffles from The Yummy Mummy: White chocolate, gingersnaps, cream cheese and more. What's not to love?

Pumpkin Pie Truffles from Shugarysweets: Pumpkin-y centers robed in white chocolate.

Pumpkin Truffles from Cara's Cravings. Yum!

No time to make Truffles? Try these fabulous Pumpkin Truffles:
See's Pumpkin Pie Truffles

Knipschildt: White chocolate pumpkin ganache with a hint of nutmeg enrobed in rich, dark chocolate and topped with a toasted pumpkin seed. Available at Dean & DeLuca

Godiva: Pumpkin Patch Truffles filled with creamy pumpkin-spice ganache and enrobed in milk chocolate.

See's Pumpkin Pie Truffles: Sweet spicy flavors of cinnamon and allspice combine with the rich mellowness of real pumpkin in these one-of-a-kind Truffles. Enrobed in See's traditional milk chocolate.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

World's Most Expensive Chocolates

News of the world's most expensive chocolates...or at least in the U.K:  If you're looking for a gift for the chocoholic who has everything, you'll want to make it to Harrods where they are selling a box of truffles flaked with real gold for £190. I do love Harrods Food Hall, so if I were in London this holiday season, I would at least check out these Truffles. They are available online, but seeing them 'in person' would be fun!

According to Harrod's, each truffle is crafted to an 'award-winning, secret recipe', filled with champagne and topped with flakes of edible 24-carat gold. The 63 per cent Toscano Black cocoa that goes into the chocolate is sourced from a minuscule artisan chocolatier based on the outskirts of historic Pisa, Italy, and each bean is ground down using a traditional granite stone mill. The resulting chocolate was judged by the Academy of Chocolate as officially the best in the world.

Now here's where the real cost comes in: The trufffles are sold in a handcrafted box encrusted inside and out with hundreds of 450 Swarovski crystals.


Available online at www.the-chocolate.com and at Harrods, the £190 Boutique Box contains 15 chocolates, but shoppers will also be able to buy just one chocolate, encased in its own individual crystal box. As if....


Read more HERE


Although they sound lovely, and I'm sure they're delicious, I tasted some mighty fine chocolates and truffles last weekend at the San Francisco Luxury Chocolate Salon. Delicious and easier on my wallet!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Fall San Francisco Luxury Chocolate Salon Awards

I attended the Fall San Francisco Luxury Chocolate Salon Sunday, and it was yet another wonderful experience. So many new chocolate companies, chocolate flavors, chocolate truffles, chocolate toffee, chocolate bars! Oh my! The creativity in the world of chocolate is boundless. I plan to do a review of the Chocolate Salon soon, but in the meantime, I thought I'd post some of the Award Winners.

Following are the Gold Winners. For Silver and Bronze, go HERE.
 
Best Dark Chocolate: Amano Artisan Chocolate
Best Milk Chocolate: Amano Artisan Chocolate, The TeaRoom Chocolate Company
Best Truffle Jade Chocolates, Sixthcourse Artisan Confections
Top Artisan Chocolatier:  Amano Artisan Chocolate
Most Delicious Ingredient Combinations:  Au Coeur Des Chocolats
Most Artistic Designs:  Sterling Truffle Bar
Best Gift Set:  Saratoga Chocolates, Seattle Chocolate Company
Most Luxurious Chocolate Experience:  CocoTutti, Nicole Lee Fine Chocolates
Best Traditional Chocolates:  Seattle Chocolate Company
Best Flavored Chocolate:  Jade Chocolates
Best Dark Chocolate Bar:  Amano Artisan Chocolate
Best Milk Chocolate Bar:  Amano Artisan Chocolate, Jade Chocolates, Victoria Chocolatier
Best Flavored Chocolate Bar:  Jade Chocolates
Best in Salon:  Amano Artisan Chocolate, Sixthcourse Artisan Confections
Best Caramels:  CocoTutti, MDP Signature Chocolates
Top Toffee in Salon:  Toffee Talk
Best Presentation & Packaging:  Au Coeur Des Chocolats, Jade Chocolates, Saratoga Chocolates
Best Organic or Fair Trade Products:  Dandelion Chocolate
Most Gifted Chocolatier/Chocolate Maker:  Amano Artisan Chocolate
Best Comfort Chocolate or Snack Product:  Permano, Toffeeology
New Product Award:  Butterfly Brittle,  CocoTutti, Dandelion Chocolate

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

National Bundt Day: Chocolate Pumpkin Marble Bundt Cake

Photo: Sunset Magazine
Love all these food holidays. Today is National Bundt Day. According to Nordic Ware, the original makers of the Bundt Pan, "if there is a kitchen in the home, there is a Bundt pan."  Even if there's not, I think my kitchen makes up the difference. I have all kinds of bundt pans. I find the shapes so versatile and fun. I'm always buying unique bundt pans at the flea market or White Elephant Sale. Because of the popularity of the Bundt pan, Nordic Ware designated November 15 as National Bundt Day 5 years ago.

"Today, there are nearly 60 million Bundt pans in kitchens across the continent," says David Dalquist, President of Nordic Ware, and son of the company's co-founders. "Almost a Bundt pan in every pantry... the cultural embrace of The Bundt is now seen as a uniquely American phenomenon.

In honor of Nordic Ware's 65th Anniversary this year and to continue celebrating the popularity of the Bundt® Pan, Nordic Ware held its inaugural "History Hunt," intended to unearth some of the first Nordic Ware Bundt® Pans sold over 65 years ago. I'll keep you posted on the results. I'm sure I have a few packing away in my garage :-)

Here are some Nordic Ware Pumpkin Bundt Pans for the Holidays:




Nordic Ware: Great Pumpkin Bundt Pan
And in keeping with the National Bundt Day Holiday Spirit, here's a recipe from Sunset Magazine (Charity Ferreira: 2003) for Chocolate Pumpkin Marble Bundt Cake. This marbled bundt cake features two separate batters: chocolate and pumpkin. The original recipe calls for a chocolate glaze, but that's optional. The cake is rich enough as it is.

CHOCOLATE PUMPKIN MARBLE BUNDT CAKE

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups (3/4 lb.) sweet butter, room temperature
3 cups sugar
6 large eggs
2 teaspoons Madagascar vanilla
1 1/4 cups canned pumpkin (I use an all natural canned pumpkin)
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 cup Dutch-processed unsweetened cocoa
2/3 cup buttermilk

Preparation
1. In large bowl, with mixer on medium speed, beat butter and sugar until well blended. Add eggs, one at time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Scrape half mixture into another bowl.
2. To make pumpkin batter: Beat pumpkin into half the butter mixture until well blended. In another bowl, stir together 1 3/4 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture and beat on low speed or fold in with flexible spatula just until blended.
3. To make chocolate batter: In another bowl, mix remaining 1 cup flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and cocoa. Add flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk to the other half of the butter mixture (starting and ending with flour mixture), beating after each addition just until blended.
4. Spoon half the pumpkin batter into a buttered and floured 12-cup bundt-cake pan. Drop half the chocolate batter by spoonfuls over (but not entirely covering) the pumpkin batter. Repeat to spoon remaining pumpkin and chocolate batters into pan. Gently run the blade of a butter knife around the center of the pan several times, then draw the knife across the width of the pan in 10 to 12 places to swirl batters.
5. Bake in 350° regular or 325° convection oven until wood skewer inserted into center of cake comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 55 to 60 minutes. Let cake cool 10 minutes in pan, then invert onto rack, lift off pan, and cool cake completely.
Nordic Ware: Turkey Bundt Pan

Monday, November 14, 2011

Peanut Butter Toffee Cheesecake Brownies: National Peanut Butter Lovers Month

Photo: Pillsbury.com
November is National Peanut Butter Lovers Month. According to PeanutButterLovers.com, Americans will celebrate by eating more than 65 million pounds of peanut better during the Month of November.

Southern Peanut Growers, representing southeastern peanut farmers, started the celebration as Peanut Butter Lovers Day on November 4, 1990. November 4 marks the anniversary of the first patent for peanut butter, applied for by Dr. John Harvey Kellogg on November 4, 1895. It grew to a month-long celebration in 1995 when peanut butter celebrated its 100th birthday!

Recently I posted a recipe for Heath Bar Truffles using left over Halloween Candy. You can actually buy Heath Toffee bits, but if you have a bar or two around, you can always crush them and substitute. The following recipe is adapted from Pillsbury.com. These Brownies are very rich. I use natural peanut butter, but any smooth peanut butter will work. I've never tried chunky in this recipe, so if you do, let me know how it goes.  Peanut Butter Toffee Cheesecake Brownies are perfect for Peanut Butter Lovers Month.

Peanut Butter Toffee Cheesecake Brownies

INGREDIENTS
1 box (19.5 oz) Chocolate Fudge Brownie Mix
1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
1/4 cup water
2 eggs
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1 can (14 oz) Sweetened Condensed Milk
1/2 cup Creamy Peanut Butter
1 bag (8 oz) Heath milk chocolate toffee bits
1 cup dark chocolate (60-70% cacao), broken (original recipe calls for milk chocolate chips)
3 tablespoons whipping cream

DIRECTIONS
1. Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 13x9-inch pan with No-Stick Cooking Spray.
2. In medium bowl, stir brownie mix, oil, water and eggs with spoon until well blended. Spread batter in pan; set aside.
3. In large bowl, beat cream cheese with electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy. Add milk and peanut butter; beat until smooth. Fold in 1 cup of the toffee bits. Spoon mixture over batter; spread evenly.
4. Bake 30 to 40 minutes or until cheesecake layer is set and edges are light golden brown. Cool on cooling rack 30 minutes. Refrigerate 40 minutes.
5. In small microwavable bowl (or top of double boiler), microwave chocolate and cream uncovered on High 40 to 60 seconds or until chocolate is melted; stir until smooth. Spread over cheesecake layer. Sprinkle with remaining toffee bits. Cool completely.

Photo: Pillsbury.com

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Chocolate Black Pepper Cookies

November is National Pepper Month. I know there are a lot of different varieties of peppercorns. Each origin of the world produces pepper with different aromas and flavors—just like coffee beans and chocolate. For my first "Pepper" recipe of the month, I thought I'd start with Black Pepper (and there are many different varieties of black pepper, too).  I don't usually use a lot of black pepper in my baking. I'm more likely to use salt--sea salt, pink salt, kosher salt, etc, to bring out the flavors.

But, there is one cookie recipe that contains pepper that is one of my favorites: Martha Stewart's Chocolate Black Pepper Cookies. The pepper flavor really comes through. One of the tricks in this recipe is to have a fine grind. There's nothing like taking a bite of cookie and having a big chunk of black pepper to dull your palette and having you coughing. To grind my pepper, I use an old wooden pepper mill my sister brought back from Sweden over 30 years ago. Perfect! Try these cookies! You'll love them.

CHOCOLATE BLACK PEPPER COOKIES

Photo: MarthaStewart.com
Ingredients
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon finely ground pepper, plus more for sprinkling
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon good-quality instant espresso powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup sweet butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Coarse sanding sugar, for rolling

Directions
1. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, salt, pepper, espresso powder, and cinnamon into a large bowl; set aside.
2. Put butter and granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Mix in egg and vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture; mix until just combined.
3. Turn out dough onto a piece of parchment paper, and roll into a 2-inch-diameter log. Roll log in the parchment. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight.
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove log from parchment paper. Let soften slightly at room temperature, about 5 minutes. Roll log in sanding sugar, gently pressing down to adhere sugar to dough. Transfer log to a cutting board, and slice into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Place rounds on baking sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing 1 inch apart. Sprinkle each round with freshly ground pepper.
5. Bake cookies until there is slight resistance when you lightly touch centers, about 10 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool completely. Cookies can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature up to 2 days.

Thank you, Martha! Thank you, Black Pepper!

Friday, November 11, 2011

War Time Chocolate Cake: Veterans Day

Remembering our Veterans today. My father was a decorated Veteran of WWII, so I thought I would post a recipe from that era. Times were hard during the War, on the battlefield and on the Homefront. This recipe is for War Time Chocolate Cake. I think it was slightly easier to get sugar and cocoa here in the U.S. although I've seen several versions of War Time Chocolate Cake in various British war time cookbooks.  Milk and eggs were rationed, so this cake, which is quite spongy, does without.

During the Second World War, you couldn't just walk into a store and buy as much sugar or butter as you wanted. Because these items were rationed, you were only allowed to buy a small amount (even if you could afford more). The government introduced rationing because certain items were in short supply.

Some things were scarce because they were needed to supply the military - gas, oil, metal, meat and other foods. Some things were scarce because they normally were imported from countries with whom we were at war or because they had to be brought in by ship from foreign places. Sugar and coffee were very scarce. Coca-Cola even stopped production during the war because sugar in great quantities was not available.

Everyone was given a ration book that contained ration stamps for different items. Grocers and other business people would post what your ration stamps could buy that week, but it was up to the individual to decide how to spend the stamps and possibly save up the items for a cake like this.

Support our Veterans!

WAR TIME CHOCOLATE CAKE

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon white vinegar
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup cold water

Directions:
In large mixing bowl, mix flour, sugar, cocoa, soda and salt.
Make three wells in the flour mixture. In one put vanilla; in another the vinegar, and in the third the oil. Pour the cold water over the mixture and stir until moistened.
Pour into 8 x 8-inch pan.
Bake at 350°F. oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until it springs back when touched lightly.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Full Moon Brownies & Cocktails

So I was looking out my office window this morning at the Full Moon reflecting off San Francisco Bay, and it was pretty spectacular. It was an orange color.

I know that the Full Moon means so many things to so many people. It's said that people crave chocolate more during the Full Moon.  I'm not surprised because I went through a package of Taza Chocolate Mexicano yesterday. So here are two recipes to help you celebrate this or the next Full Moon.

Full Moon Brownies
From the Vosges Website: Gotta love Black Pearl Exotic Candy Bars Black Pearl: ginger + wasabi + black sesame seeds + dark chocolate, 55% cacao

Ingredients
2- 3 oz Bars Black Pearl Exotic Candy Bars
8 oz unsalted butter
3 tbsp cocoa powder
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tsp salt
1 cup all-purpose flour

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter 8 inch square baking pan, line with parchment paper, then line with 2 pieces of aluminum foil perpendicular to each other so you can lift the brownie out of pan easily after they've been baked.
2. Place chocolate and butter in medium sized, non-reactive metal bowl and set over simmering water. Stir occasionally and whisk in cocoa powder until smooth, set aside.
3. In mixing bowl, briefly whisk together eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt for about 30 seconds. Add warm chocolate mixture and then mix in flour just until combined. Be careful not to over mix.
4. Pour batter into prepared pan and cook for 35 minutes.
5. When finished, let brownies cool for at least 1 hour before removing from pan. 
Eat one and howl at the moon!

Want to drink your Full Moon Chocolate? Try this delicious cocktail.

Chocolate Full Moon Cocktail

 2 Measures Tequila
1 Measure De Kuyper Crème De Cacao (Dark)
1 Measure Cream

Method:
Pour all the ingredients into a shaker with ice and shake. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with chocolate shaving if desired.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Girl Scout Cookies Lip Balm

My favorite Girl Scout Cookie is Thin Mints, of course. That shouldn't surprise anyone who reads DyingforChocolate.com, but this piece of chocolate news might.

Aspire Brands’ Lip Smacker has teamed up with Girl Scouts of the USA to develop their latest collection. The Girl Scout Lip Smackers inspired by Girl Scout Cookie flavors, features lip balms in five favorite flavors: Thin Mints, Trefoils, Peanut Butter (Do-si-dos), Chocolate Peanut Butter (Tagalongs), and Coconut Caramel Stripes (Samoas). Sold individually or in a set of five at Wal-mart.

In 2012, they will be available in liquid lip-gloss versions.

Which is your favorite lip balm cookie flavor?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Cappuccino Creme Chocolate Truffle Pie: National Cappuccino Day

Today is National Cappuccino Day.

Grab yourself a Cappuccino and make this easy delicious recipe adapted from the Hershey's Kitchens.

CAPPUCCINO CREME CHOCOLATE TRUFFLE PIE

Ingredients
1/2 cup DARK Cocoa
1/3 cup sweet butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
1 cup Chopped Dark Chocolate (70-85% cacao)
2 eggs, slightly beaten
9-inch baked pastry crust (prepared or make your own)
(wait until ready to serve): CAPPUCCINO CREME: In mixer, combine 1 cup (1/2 pt.) whipping cream, 1-1/2 teaspoons powdered espresso, 2 teaspoons DARK Cocoa and 3 tablespoons powdered sugar; beat until stiff. About 2 cups.

Directions
Heat oven to 350°F.
Melt butter over low heat. Stir in cocoa and sugar. Add sweetened condensed milk, chocolate and eggs; stir until smooth. Remove from heat. Pour into crust.
Bake 25 to 30 minutes - until center is almost set. Cool completely.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Just before serving, prepare and top with Cappuccino Cream.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Chocolate Earthquake Cookies

Earthquakes in Oklahoma? Earthquakes in D.C.? I'm used to earthquakes in Northern California, but these 'other' locations took a lot of people by surprise. Did you know that the most powerful earthquake in Eastern U.S history was on the New Madrid Earthquake with the epicenter in Arkansas in 1812? Some sections of the Mississippi River ran backward for a short time. The shockwaves went through firm bedrock, with residents as far away as Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Norfolk, Virginia, awakened by intense shaking. Church bells were reported to ring as far as Boston, Massachusetts and York, Ontario (now Toronto), and sidewalks were reported to have been cracked and broken in Washington, D.C. The Oklahoma Quake over this past weekend  has been attributed to the New Madrid Fault.

Here in Berkeley, we've been having small quakes on the Hayward Fault. Largest so far has been 4, and I'm hoping that's it. Just to relieve a little tension on the fault and in my kitchen, I'm baking up some Chocolate Earthquake Cookies. Earthquake Cookies are called that because of the cracking on the top of these great chocolate cookies.

CHOCOLATE EARTHQUAKE COOKIES

Ingredients
8 tablespoons sweet butter
4 ounces dark high quality chocolate (75-85% cacao, freetrade)
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons Madegascar vanilla extract
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
1 cup powdered sugar

Directions
1 Melt chocolate and butter in a saucepan on top of a saucepan with simmering water.
2 Remove from heat. Cool.
3 In large bowl, whisk eggs until well beaten.
4 Whisk in sugar, vanilla, and melted chocolate mixture.
5 Add flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk until smooth.
6 Chill until firm, 2-24 hours
7 When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
8 Butter one-two baking sheets.
9 Put powdered sugar in small bowl.
10 Using teaspoon or small cookie baller, take a lump of cookie dough & roll into a ball.
11 Roll ball in powdered sugar to coat. Place on baking sheet.
12 Bake 12 minutes.
13 Cool slightly before removing to wire rack to finish cooling.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Chocolate Gingerbread: Crisco 1919

I know you'll like this recipe for "Chocolate Gingerbread" from Crisco in 1919. I grew up with Crisco, and I still use it in many recipes. Crisco was introduced by Procter & Gamble in 1911 to provide an economical alternative to animal fats and butter. Crisco was the first solidified shortening product made entirely of vegetable oil. This was the result of hydrogenation, a new process that produced shortening that would stay in solid form year-round, regardless of temperature.

I love that the Crisco Cookbook in this Advertisement was only 25 cents! Want to use butter in your Chocolate Gingerbread instead? Check out this recipe for Chocolate Gingerbread Cake that I posted last June.  This is Gingerbread season. Get Baking!



Friday, November 4, 2011

Heath Bar Truffles: National Candy Day

The other day I posted several different Ways to use Left-over Halloween Candy. Well, today is National Candy Day, and I still have a lot of leftover candy. Here's a great and easy recipe for Heath Bar Truffles. You can substitute other crunchy chocolate candy, but Heath Bars are great.

Here's candy made with Candy for National Candy Day! Recipe adapted from Susan Russo for NPR (2008).

HEATH BAR TRUFFLES
Makes about 36 truffles

1/2 cup pecans, crushed
12 ounces quality semisweet chocolate, chopped (2 cups)
3/4 cup heavy cream
5 snack-size Heath bars, crushed

1. In a small food processor, grind pecans into bits. Put in bowl and set aside.
2. Place chocolate in medium metal bowl. In small heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring cream to a simmer (tiny bubbles should appear around edges). Pour over chocolate and let stand for 3 minutes. Whisk until chocolate is smooth and silky. Add processed pecans and whisk until just incorporated. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3 hours, or until the truffle mixture is firm.
3. In food processor, grind the Heath bars into bits. Put in  bowl and set aside.
4. Line two large baking sheets with waxed paper. Using 1-inch melon baller, form truffle and roll in your hands until round. Place on lined baking sheet. Chilled truffles are easier to work with, so place the sheet of truffles in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes.
5. Drop one chilled truffle at a time in bowl of crushed Heath bits. Roll truffle in your hands, lightly pressing Heath bits until they adhere. Place on freshly lined baking sheet and chill for 1 to 2 hours, or until firm.

Truffles can be made 2 days ahead. To store, layer between pieces of waxed paper to prevent sticking, and place in an airtight container. Serve truffles on a plate or in candy-sized paper cups.

Photo: NPR 2008

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Chocolate Sandwich: Blondie's Cookbook

Today is National Sandwich Day, and although I've posted several Chocolate Sandwiches over the years, I turned to my "Tie-In" Cookbook collection and Blondie's Cook Book for today's recipe. Dagwood is the iconic King of Sandwiches.  My Dad used to make Dagwood Sandwiches... those were the sandwiches that contained every thing but the kitchen sink.  My father never added chocolate.

Dagwood Bumstead, in case you don't know, is a main character in comic artist Chic Young's long-running comic strip Blondie. He first appeared in the U.S. sometime prior to February 1933.

According to What's Cooking America, the Dagwood Sandwich  is a multi-layered sandwich with a variety of fillings. The term is used to denote a sandwich put together so as to attain such a tremendous size and infinite variety of contents as to stun the imagination, sight, and stomach of all but the original maker. Dagwood sandwiches is a term so well-known that it's in the Webster's New World Dictionary.

According to the creator of the comic strip, Murat Bernard “Chic” Young (1901-1973), the only thing that Dagwood could prepare in the kitchen was a mountainous pile of dissimilar leftovers precariously arranged between two slices of bread. Dagwood became known for his huge sandwiches he created on evening forays to the refrigerator. The comic strip is produced today under the direction of the creator's son, Dean Young, the strip has continued to keep up with the times.

Blondie's Cook Book: Chic Young's Classic Cook Book with New Comic Art Selections by His Son Dean Young (Gramercy Books, New York 1947, 1996)

This Comic says it all:


CHOCOLATE SANDWICHES RECIPE: Not sure how many sandwiches (or layers) this is supposed to make, but that's a lot of sugar. I've never made this recipe, so I'm thinking it might be a mistake.