Saturday, September 29, 2012

COFFEE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

Today is National Coffee Day. So many ways to celebrate, especially if you add Chocolate. You can always have a Cafe Mocha, Chocolate Coffee Fudge, Chocolate Clouds in your Coffee, Irish Coffee Chocolate Cake, Irish Coffee Truffles, or pick up some Chocolate Covered Coffee Beans. Chocolate goes great coffee!

In honor of the day, I thought I'd re-post one of my favorite recipes for Coffee Chocolate Chip Cookies. Everyone loves chocolate chip cookies. What I love about Chocolate Chip Cookies are the infinite varieties.

As I've mentioned before, your final product is only as good as your ingredients. Use the very best Chocolate, Espresso (or Coffee) Beans, Vanilla, Flour, Butter and other ingredients! This recipe calls for a baking stone. You can use a pizza stone. If you don't have one, you can make these Coffee Chocolate Chip Cookies the traditional way. The stone helps makes them gooey on the inside and crispy on the outside. I've adapted this recipe from ehow.com.

COFFEE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES 

Ingredients
1 cup Sweet Butter, softened
2 fresh Large eggs (room temperature)
2 cup Brown Sugar
6 Tbsp Granulated Sugar
5 tsp Pure Madagascar Vanilla Extract
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Sea Salt
3- 1/2 cups flour
4 tsp Ground Espresso Beans (or finely ground coffee beans). Try this recipe with ground chocolate covered Coffee beans. Gives it just a bit more chocolate!
16 oz Dark chocolate (65-85% cacao) chopped (or dark chocolate chips)
Baking Stone

Directions
1. Toss butter in microwave for 20 seconds to SOFTEN not melt the butter. (or leave out in advance, so it's already softened)
2. Cream butter and sugars together until fluffy. Mixture should be well blended but firm.
3. Add 2 eggs. Beat. Add Vanilla. Mix well. Set aside.
4. Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt into another bowl. Add ground coffee or ground espresso beans.
5. Add dry ingredients to wet mixture, beating in a little at a time. Fold in chocolate pieces (or chips). Possible to add walnuts, if you want them. I didn't put them in the ingredients above, but I always like chopped walnuts in my chocolate chip cookies.
6. Put Cookie Dough in refrigerator for 2 hours to firm up. Put wax paper on top to prevent drying.
7. Pre-heat oven to 350. Put hot stone in Oven.
8. Take hot stone out of oven. Drop cookie balls (use a small scoop or form balls) onto stone, smashing with fork after dropping. Put back in oven on stone.
9. Cook for about 8 minutes. Depends on your oven, of course.
10. Transfer with spatula to Wire Rack.
Hint: Check the first one. If the cookies fall apart or aren't cooked all the way, give them another minute.

Friday, September 28, 2012

PAKE OR FUNNY CAKE?

Stacy, Jane's best friend on Drop Dead Diva, gave up acting and started a new business this past season. If you don't watch the show, I'll fill you in.

Stacy is now in the bakery business but with only one product, kind of like the Cupcake only bakeries. Stacy accidentally created the Pake, Part cake/Part pie, when two pages in a cookbook stuck together. If you think that was the end of it, it wasn't. First she had to contend with a business partner played by Kim Kardashian who ran off with her start up money. Then, a patent troll looking for profits from the Pakery, took her to court. Poor Stacy, of course, forgot to send in the papers even though her roommate is a lawyer. But Stacy proved that she invented the Pake in a courtroom bake-off (Episode 12, Season 4). The 'pretender's' Pake imploded. His baking skills were way too deficient--and, of course, he didn't create the Pake.

O.K., so why am I bringing this up? Well in my Retro Research, I came across a recipe for Funny Cake. It's a Swans Down recipe and advertisement from September 21, 1953. "It's a cake and a pie... and it's 'wonderful good'!"  Sorry, Stacy, but Swans Down already offered the world the recipe for this Pennsylvania Dutch treat. How come Jane didn't find this ad in researching your claim?

So here's the Swans Down Ad and Retro Recipe. Watch out, Drop Dead Diva, this Funny Cake is a cake baked in a pie shell. The sauce goes on the top and ends up in a layer right at the very bottom of the cake. And, there are three variations for the sauce--Butterscotch Sauce, Chocolate Sauce, and Orange Sauce. It's a cake in a pie. It's a Pake! Here's the Recipe!




Thursday, September 27, 2012

National Chocolate Milk Day: Chocolate Milk Cocktails

Today is National Chocolate Milk Day. Everyone knows that chocolate milk is a sweetened, cocoa-flavored milk drink that can be purchased pre-mixed or made at home. Lots of ways to make chocolate milk, and lots of different ingredients can be added to give it a special flavor. And, as always, remember it's the quality of the chocolate that will make a big difference--and the milk: 2 %, whole, etc.

For you Adults out there who want a different kick in your chocolate, scroll down for 2 Chocolate Milk Cocktail recipes.

***
Here's an easy chocolate milk recipe. As always, use the very best chocolate. Basically you make a chocolate syrup first, then add the milk.

1. Chocolate Milk

11 ounces milk
1 ounce water
1-1/2 teaspoons cocoa
2 tablespoons sugar

Put sugar, cocoa, and water in microwavable 12 oz glass.
Microwave for 30 seconds or until sugar and cocoa dissolve.
Add cold milk and stir.

Want something a little more unusual? Sunset (1994) had a wonderful Ultimate Chocolate Milk Recipe (Nicaraguan Chocolate Milk). This is not a classic, but it might soon be for you. Preparation takes some time, so you won't be drinking this today.

2. Nicaraguan Chocolate Milk (Orchata de cacao)

1-1/2 cups long-grain white rice
2 cups (about 2/3 lb.) cocoa beans
4 cups water
3 cinnamon sticks (each about 3 in.), broken into 1-inch pieces
8 cups whole, low-fat, or nonfat milk
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla
1 cup sugar
Ice (optional)

Place rice in bowl, cover with cool water, and let stand to soften somewhat, up to 24 hours; drain.
Place cocoa beans in 9-inch metal baking dish. Bake in 500 degree oven 5 minutes. Shake beans. Continue to bake until beans smoke and some skins have split, 5 to 8 minutes longer.
In blender, place half rice, cocoa beans, water, and cinnamon. Whirl until ingredients are very finely pureed. Place large, fine strainer over a bowl; pour cocoa mixture into strainer and stir to extract liquid. Discard residue. Repeat with remaining rice, cocoa, water, and cinnamon.

Rinse strainer, then line with a double thickness of damp cheesecloth. Pour cocoa liquid through strainer into bowl, stirring to extract all liquid; discard residue.

To cocoa liquid, add milk, vanilla, and sugar; stir until sugar dissolves. Serve plain or over ice. If making ahead, chill, covered, up to 3 days. Stir to serve Makes about 10 1/2 cups, 10 servings.

3. Salted Chocolate Milk

Two years ago, I paid homage to one of my favorite TV sitcoms, Modern Family. I'm so glad they were honored again this year at the Emmys. In the premier episode two years ago, Manny is studying with a girl he has a crush on. She comes to his house where Manny's doting Columbian Mama Gloria (Sofia Vergara) makes the kids chocolate milk. The young girl with whom Manny is smitten says that they always add salt to chocolate milk at her home. Gloria, threatened by another 'woman' in Manny's life,  says she doesn't like it that way.  Of course, when she tries it without the two in the room, she really loves it.

I've posted lots of reviews and recipes that call for salt and chocolate. Salt gives chocolate a certain pop, and I think you'll find it very refreshing in chocolate milk. Just don't add too much. A pinch will do.

The Modern Family Chocolate Milk with Salt Showdown:
Gloria: So how is it going?
Manny: Great, Kelly's moving her stuff into my notebook.
Gloria: This is sudden.
Kelly: It just felt right. Oh, you know what you should do, put a pinch of salt in the chocolate milk, it really brings out the flavor.
Gloria: Salt is for the popcorn.
Manny: Sounds good.
Gloria: You wouldn't like it.
Kelly: Maybe we should let Manny decide.
Gloria: Okay, here's the salt. We'll see what he likes.
Manny tries both:
Manny: Wow! It's great! Try it, Mom.
Gloria: I don't care for it.

Her best line of the episode, defeated and with her accent, she tells the camera and the viewers, "It was delicious."

So moving from the youngsters to the oldsters, here are two very easy cocktail recipes for Adult Chocolate Milk Cocktails!

1. Chocolate Milk Cocktail

Glass of Chocolate Milk
Couple Splashes Kahlua
2 or 3 ice cubes

Add Kahlua to chocolate milk and add ice

2. Chocolate Milk Cocktail

1/2 shot Kahlua
1/2 shot milk
Dash of Amaretto

Put the milk in the bottom, pour the liqueur on top and add dash of amaretto. Do not mix.
Serve in a tumbler. 

 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Chocolate Marble Coffee Cake for Break the Fast

Yom Kippur starts tomorrow night, and although I'd love to bring a Chocolate Babka to the Breaking of the Fast the following evening, I know that's not going to happen. Babka is a yeast bread. If you feel so inclined and are invited to a Breaking of the Yom Kippur Fast, here's a link to a great Babka recipe. So, I'm now into substitute mode. Why not an easy Chocolate Marble Coffee Cake?  The following recipe includes butter and sourcream, so check to see if your hosts are Kosher and whether or not they're planning a meat or dairy meal. And, everyone else, this is a fabulous chocolate marble coffee cake for just about any time! It even tastes great toasted!

I would love to say this is an original recipe, but it's not. Yes, I've tweaked it a bit, but it's almost exactly as it appeared as "Chocolate Ripple Coffee Cake" by Carole Walter in Fine Cooking, October 29, 2008. You're going to love it! It's one of my favorite go-to recipes! I'll bet you have most of the ingredients on your shelves. I do.

CHOCOLATE MARBLE COFFEE CAKE

INGREDIENTS

For the cake:
3 cups sifted cake flour
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
1-1/4 cups sweet butter, slightly softened
1-1/2 cups superfine sugar
4 large eggs
2 tsp. Madagascar vanilla extract
2 cups sourcream

For the filling:
1/2 cup toasted pecans
6 oz coarsely chopped dark chocolate (64-75% cacao)
3 Tbsp granulated sugar
3 Tbsp light brown sugar
3 Tbsp Dutch-processed or natural cocoa powder  (Tip: Natural vs Dutch-processed


For the streusel topping:
4 Tbsp sweet butter
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
2 Tbsp light brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp table salt  


DIRECTIONS

Position rack in center of oven -- 350ºF.
Butter and flour 10-inch tube pan with removable bottom.

Make topping: In 2-quart saucepan, heat butter over medium heat until almost melted. Remove from heat and cool to tepid. In medium bowl, combine flour, pecans, both sugars, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt and stir with fork. Add flour mixture to butter and stir until evenly moistened and crumbly.
Make filling: In food processor, pulse pecans, chopped chocolate, both sugars, and cocoa until chocolate is finely chopped, 12 to 14 pulses. Set aside 1/2 cup of tmixture as additional topping.
Make cake: In medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add sugar slowly, beating until combined. Scrape bowl. Beat in eggs one at a time, blending each one completely before adding  next. Scrape bowl and blend in tvanilla. On low speed, alternate adding dry ingredients and sour cream, adding flour in four parts and sour cream in three parts, beginning and ending with flour, and scraping  bowl as needed.

Layer and marble batter and filling: Spoon 2 cups of batter into prepared pan. Smooth with back of big spoon, spreading batter to side of pan first and then to center. Sprinkle 1/2 cup filling evenly over batter. Cover filling with about 2 cups batter, dropping chunks around pan and smoothing with spoon. Sprinkle another 1/2 cup filling evenly over batter and cover with 2 more cups batter. Layer on another 1/2 cup filling and then remaining batter. (four layers of batter and three layers of filling.) Insert table knife 1 inch from side of the pan straight into  batter going almost to bottom. Run knife around pan two times, without lifting up blade, spacing circles about 1 inch apart. Smooth top with the back of spoon.

Top and bake the cake: Take a handful of streusel crumbs and squeeze firmly to form a large mass. Break up mass into smaller clumps, distributing streusel evenly over batter. Repeat with remaining streusel. Clump reserved chocolate filling mixture together with your hands and sprinkle over tstreusel. Press both toppings lightly into surface of the cake. Bake until top of cake is golden brown, the sides are beginning to pull away from pan, and skewer inserted into center of the cake comes out clean, 70 to 75 minutes. Transfer towire rack and let cool for an hour before removing from pan.


 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

White Chocolate Cheesecake for WHITE CHOCOLATE DAY

Today is White Chocolate Day. By definition, white chocolate is not actually chocolate.White chocolate doesn't contain any cocoa solids (chocolate liquor) and does not have 'chocolate' flavor. But I like the unique creamy flavor good white chocolate does have--of course that depends on the brand and that varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. (see below)


White chocolate contains cocoa butter, a product of the cocoa bean used to make chocolate. White chocolate used in baking and candy making is a blend of milk, cocoa butter, sugar and often vanilla. This is what you'll find in milk chocolate, except without the cocoa. If you are using white chocolate, make sure to buy the very best. Cheap white chocolate often has the cocoa butter replaced by vegetable fat. Check the ingredients on the package. It should have a cacao percentage just as other chocolate bars.

Examples of good white chocolate:
E. Guittard has 31% Cacao White Chocolate wafers. Great for baking (and eating)
Green & Black's uses cocoa butter, pressed directly from the crushed cocoa beans. They also use a blend of milk and Bourbon vanilla. Available in 3.5oz bars.
Askinosie has bean to bar white chocolate and uses goat's milk instead of cow's milk. The main ingredient in their white chocolate is 34% natural, non-deodorized cocoa butter. The cocoa butter is pressed in their factory, and they are the first small-batch chocolate maker to do this. After pressing theibeans to create the cocoa butter, they combine them with goat's milk powder and organic cane juice, and then craft it for days in their 85-year old German melanguer, making their white chocolate one of the only single origin white chocolates in the world. It has a very unique buttery/nutty flavor, less sweet than many other white chocolate.

Because it's comprised mainly of cocoa butter, white chocolate can be used in so many ways. Check past posts for White Chocolate Mashed Potatoes, White Chocolate Brownies, White Chocolate Coffee Cake, White Chocolate Truffles and a host of other white chocolate candies and baked goods.

My favorite White Chocolate Recipe, though, is for White Chocolate Cheesecake! Here's an easy recipe adapted from the Betty Crocker Cookbook. I changed the original graham cracker crust to a Chocolate Cookie Crust (see below)... much better, I think, but then I like chocolate.

WHITE CHOCOLATE CHEESECAKE WITH CHOCOLATE COOKIE CRUST

Ingredients for Filling:
1 cup chopped white chocolate (make sure it's good white chocolate that's made with cocoa butter)
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
16 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 egg yolks
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream

Directions
1. Move oven rack to lowest position. Heat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease bottom and side of springform pan, 8 x 3 inches.
2. Prepare Chocolate Cookie Crust (see below). Baking 6-8 minutes and cooling.
3. Place chopped white chocolate in top of double boiler (or saucepan on top of another saucepan over simmering water). Heat over low heat, stirring frequently, until white chocolate is melted. Remove from saucepan.
4. Increase oven temperature to 475ºF.
5. Beat melted white chocolate, 3/4 cup sugar and flour in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until blended. Beat in cream cheese and egg yolks until smooth. Continue beating, adding eggs one at a time, then add sour cream until blended. Pour batter carefully into crust. Cover pan with aluminum foil.
6. Bake 20 minutes; remove foil. Reduce oven temperature to 300°F. Bake 1 hour. (If cheesecake browns too quickly, cover loosely with aluminum foil during last 30 minutes of baking.)
7. Turn off oven and leave cheesecake in oven 15 minutes. Cool on wire rack 15 minutes. Run metal spatula along side of cheesecake to loosen before and after refrigerating. Cover tightly and refrigerate at least 8 hours, but no longer than 5 days. Run metal spatula along side of cheesecake to loosen; remove side of pan. Place cheesecake on serving plate. Refrigerate if you plan to serve later.

I like my cheesecake unadorned, but you can always add fruit or chocolate sauce.

Chocolate Cookie Crust:
Ingredients
30 chocolate wafers (to yield about 1-1/2 cups crumbs)
5 tablespoons sweet butter, melted and slightly cooled
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Directions
1. Put cookies in food processor; process until finely ground.
2. Transfer crumbs to mixing bowl; combine crumbs, butter, salt, and vanilla; stir until crumbs are moistened.
3. Press mixture evenly across the bottom of a 9-inch spring form pan and all the way up the sides of the pan; pack tightly so crust is even and compacted.
4. Bake in 350° oven for 6-8 minutes or until crisp.
5. Let cool completely before filling.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Whipped Chocolate Pudding: Retro Ad & Recipe

I do so love these Retro Ads and Recipes. This is a Carnation Evaporated Milk Ad that appeared in Life Magazine April 26, 1963. Do you think Don Draper tried this? Maybe when he was still with Betty?

"The secret is Carnation...the milk you can whip like cream--and at 1/2 the cost." You might want to try real whipping cream in the recipe. Of course you have to have cake lying around... kind of like cake pops. You have to make or buy a cake to morph into another form. In this case: Whipped Chocolate Pudding.



Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Chocolate Poster of the Day

I love Vintage Chocolate Posters almost as much as I love Retro and Vintage Chocolate Ads. Here's one of my favorites:

Compagnie Francaise des Chocolats et des Thes. Art by Theophile-Alexandre Steinlen, 1895.




Tuesday, September 18, 2012

LEMON CHEESECAKE BROWNIES: Yves Fey Guest Post

I so enjoy when my loves of literature and chocolate collide. Today I welcome author Yves Fey with a guest post for Lemon Cheesecake Brownies. Thanks, Yves, and feel free to post again!

FLOATS THE DARK SHADOW is Yves Fey's first historical mystery, set in the dynamic and decadent world of Belle Époque Paris.  Yves Fey has an MFA in Creative Writing from Eugene Oregon, and a BA in Pictorial Arts from UCLA. She has read, written, and created art from childhood. A chocolate connoisseur, she's won prizes for her desserts. Her current fascination is creating perfumes. She's traveled to many countries in Europe and lived for two years in Indonesia. She currently lives in the San Francisco area with her husband and three cats. Writing as Gayle Feyrer and Taylor Chase, she previously published unusually dark and mysterious historical romances.

YVES FEY:
Lemon Cheesecake Brownies

These came about because I liked the idea of baking a topping right on the brownie and tried various flavors, a peppermint topped brownie, and a peanut butter topped one.  I particularly liked this very sophisticated brownie, with its tart lemon top and moist, bittersweet chocolate bottom.  If you want to get very fancy, you could top the cheesecake with a chocolate layer, or serve it with a raspberry sauce. In the photos, my friend Kim Beeman provided the yellow plum and Meyer lemon ice cream to counterpoint the brownies.

Chocolate brownie base:
6 ounces semisweet chocolate
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup flour

Lemon cheesecake top:
8 ounces cream cheese
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons cream
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 8” or 9” square baking pan, and line it with buttered foil.
In a double boiler, over hot not simmering water, melt together the two chocolates. Remove from the heat, stir to blend, and allow to cool somewhat.
Cream together the butter and the sugar. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Add the flavorings. Combine the mixture thoroughly with the melted, cooled chocolate. Spread the brownie base into the prepared pan. Set aside.
Beat the cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Whip in the sugar. Beat in the cream and then the lemon juice and grated lemon rind. Pour the cream cheese mixture over the brownie base.
Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until the cheesecake is barely set. Allow the brownies to cool completely. Chill if desired. Cut into squares or rectangles and serve.

I made these in a pie pan for this blog, thinking the wedge would be prettier than the square. They were tasty as always, but I think a square or round pan is better, so the cheesecake top doesn’t spread out so much. I was also lazy and didn’t do a pan liner. After I refrigerated them, they glued themselves to the pan. Perfectly yummy, but they had to be pried out. Be warned.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Dark Chocolate Covered Pomegranate Seeds for Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, started last night, and I posted recipes for Honey Truffles and Chocolate Honey Cake for a sweet New Year. On the second night of Rosh Hashanah,  a "new fruit" is eaten. It's usually a fruit that has recently come into season but that you haven't yet had the opportunity to eat. Traditionally, one says the shehechiyanu blessing thanking God for keeping you and yours alive and bringing you to this season. This ritual reminds everyone to appreciate the fruits of the earth and being alive to enjoy them. So for today's recipe and to taste this evening, I suggest you make Dark Chocolate Covered Pomegranate Seeds.

A pomegranate is often the new fruit. In the Bible, the Land of Israel is praised for its pomegranates. It is also said that this fruit contains 613 seeds just as there are 613 mitzvot (commandments). Another reason given for blessing and eating pomegranate on Rosh Hashanah is that one wishes that good deeds in the ensuing year will be as plentiful as the seeds of the pomegranate.

For this recipe, I buy packages of Pomegranate seeds at Trader Joe's, but you can always go the old fashioned way and buy two whole pomegranates and remove the seeds. Rich sweet dark chocolate goes very well with the tart pomegranate flavor, and the textures meld well. Even if you're not celebrating the Jewish New Year, Chocolate Covered Pomegranate Seeds make a great snack, and you'll enjoy the benefits of both sources of antioxidants. 

DARK CHOCOLATE COVERED POMEGRANATE SEEDS

Ingredients
Pomegranate Seeds
About 7 ounces (depending how many seeds you have) of good quality Dark Chocolate, chopped

Directions
1. Line cookie sheet with wax or parchment paper.
2. Melt dark chocolate in double boiler or a pot on top of a pot of simmering water. Stir to make sure the chocolate doesn't burn.
3. Add dry pomegranate seeds (so if they've been in the refrigerator make sure to dry them) to melted chocolate and fold gently with rubber spatula until the seeds are thoroughly covered.
4. Spoon clusters of mixture onto wax or parchment paper.
5. Place wax or parchment papered cookie sheet in refrigerator and let chocolate covered seeds cool for several hours or overnight.
Keep refrigerated. Will last 3-4 days.

No time to cook? Trade Joe's sells chocolate covered pomegranate seeds. They're in very small clusters.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Chocolate Honey Cake for a Sweet New Year

As I've mentioned in several posts, September is National Honey Month, so here's another Chocolate Honey Cake Recipe. I posted a Chocolate Honey Cake recipe before, and I really like that Chocolate Honey Cake. It's quite different from the one below.  Either of these cakes would also be great to make to celebrate Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, that begins tomorrow night. Honey is a traditional food that symbolizes a Sweet New Year. Add Chocolate, and the year is bound to be sweet!

If you read my blog, you'll know I'm quite taken with many of Nigella Lawson's recipes, especially those with chocolate. Here is my adaptation of her Chocolate Honey Cake, aka Honey Bee Cake. She decorates her Chocolate Honey Cake with the most adorable marzipan bees, but I never seem to find the time to make these. Too bad, because they're really beautiful. Just an FYI: honey cake doesn't have to be dry and heavy. This cake is incredibly moist! As I've mentioned before, though, your final product will be different depending on the type and brand of chocolate and the type of honey you use.

Chocolate Honey Cake

Ingredients

Cake:
4 ounces dark chocolate (50-65% cacao), chopped
1-1/3 cups soft light brown sugar
2 sticks soft sweet butter
1/2 cup local honey
2 eggs
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon DARK cocoa
1 cup boiling water

Sticky Honey Glaze:
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup honey
6 ounces dark chocolate (50-65% cacao), finely chopped
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar

Directions
1. Have all ingredients at room temperature.
2. Melt chocolate from cake ingredients list in large bowl, either microwave or bowl over saucepan of simmering water. Set aside to cool slightly.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, and butter and line 9-inch springform pan.
4. Beat together sugar and softened butter until airy and creamy, and then add honey.
5. Add 1 of the eggs, beating in with tablespoon of lour, and then other egg with another tablespoon of flour.
6. Fold in  melted chocolate, and then rest of flour and baking soda.
7. Add cocoa pushed through tea strainer to ensure no lumps, and last, beat in the boiling water.
8. Mix everything together well to make a smooth batter and pour into prepared springform pan.
9. Bake for up to 1 -1/2 hours, but check cake after 45 minutes. If getting too dark, cover top lightly with aluminium foil and keep checking every 15 minutes.
10. Let cake cool completely in pan on rack.

Glaze: 
1. To make glaze, bring water and honey to boil in pot, then turn off heat and add finely chopped chocolate, swirling  around to melt in hot liquid.
2. Leave for a few minutes, then whisk together.
3. Add sugar through sieve and whisk again until smooth.

Putting it together:
1. Choose your plate or stand, and cut 4 strips of parchment paper and form a square outline on the plate. Reason: So when you put cake on it and ice it, icing won't run all over plate (you can always cut the excess off later).
2. Unclip springform pan and set thoroughly cooled cake on prepared plate.

3. Pour glaze over cold chocolate honey cake. It might dribble a bit down the edges, but don't worry too much about it. The glaze stays tacky for some time (which is what gives it its melting goeyness) so ice in time for glaze to harden a little, at least an hour before serving.

Nigella Lawson decorates this great cake with marzipan bees. For the recipe for them, and for her exact recipe, go HERE.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Honey Truffles for a Sweet New Year

Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, starts Sunday night. Apples dipped in honey are a traditional food for this holiday, but what about Chocolate and Honey? Honey Truffles are a pretty sweet way to start the New year.

I had some great honey truffles at BeeKind in Sebastopol (Sonoma County) last weekend. Honey does change the flavor of a 'traditional' truffle. See photo below.

Want to make Chocolate Honey Truffles yourself? Follow the easy recipe below. You can always add other 'flavors' including liqueurs, coconut, nuts, etc. These Chocolate Honey Truffles will also change their taste depending on the type of honey you use, as well as the brand of chocolate and amount of cacoa. Here's what I used the last time I made these.

Chocolate Honey Truffles

Ingredients:
4 ounces 70% Guittard dark chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon Sonoma County Spring Wildflower Honey
1/3 cup of heavy whipping cream
Some unsweetened Dark cocoa powder
A pinch of salt

Directions
1. Melt the chopped dark chocolate with whipping cream in top of a double-boiler or a saucepan on top of saucepan of simmering water.
2. Continue to whisk mixture until chocolate is fully blended with cream.
3. Continue stirring as you add honey and salt.
4. Either transfer the chocolate mixture to a bowl or put pot you're using in the refrigerator for a few hours (or the freezer for a shorter time if you're in a hurry). Be sure and cover with aluminum foil.
5. Take out when chocolate hardens but is still soft enough to shape into balls.
6. Have shallow bowl or plate ready with the cocoa.
7. Using melon baller, shape chocolate into small balls.
8. Drop chocolate balls into powder and roll around until well coated.

Now make them again with a different type of honey and a different type of chocolate!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Chocolate Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies: National Peanut Day

Today is National Peanut Day. I love peanuts, and if truth be told my nickname as a kid was Peanut. Only one person called me that, but she was so special to me, and I remember her calling my name and chuckling. And, I used to love to go down the Shore to the Boardwalk to shake hands with Mr. Peanut. I'm sure I believed he was a large peanut.... but that's another post. So if you want to celebrate today's Food Holiday, eat some chocolate covered peanuts. It's easy to dip them in chocolate.. of course, remove the shell. The saltiness of the peanuts goes so well with dark chocolate.

But if you want to take it a step further, make this recipe for Chocolate Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies. I love Whoopie Pies whatever their origin. See a previous post on Whoopie Pies.  The following recipe is from Martha Stewart's recipe for miniature Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies. As always use the very best chocolate, and in this case the best cocoa. Same goes for the peanut butter. The better the products, the better the taste.

Here's a tip for Presentation: Serve the Chocolate Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies on a bed of peanuts. And, you can also sprinkle the Whoopie Pies with confectionary sugar!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies

For the Cookies:
1 - 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened DARK cocoa powder, not Dutch-process  (I used Ghirardelli)
1- 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt (Kosher salt)
1 tablespoon sweet butter, softened
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
1 large egg
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon pure Madagascar vanilla extract

For the Filling:
2/3 cup natural, creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup sweet butter, softened
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
Coarse salt, optional

Directions
1. Make cookies: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in small bowl; set aside.
2. Put butter, shortening, and sugars in bowl of electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on high speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add egg; mix until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in half tflour mixture, then milk and vanilla. Mix in remaining flour mixture.
3. Drop rounded tablespoons of dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake until cookies spring back when lightly touched, 12 to 14 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks 10 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks using a spatula; let cool completely.

Or you can use a Whoopie Pie Pan (I have several): Whoopie Pie Pan post

4. Make filling: Put peanut butter and butter in bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Mix on high speed until smooth. Reduce mixer speed to low. Add confectioners' sugar; mix until combined. Raise speed to high, and mix until fluffy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Season with salt, if desired. I like this**

5. Assemble cookies: Spread 1 scant tablespoon filling on the bottom of 1 cookie. Sandwich with another cookie. Repeat with remaining cookies and filling. Cookies can be refrigerated in single layers in airtight containers up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Oreo Puddin' Poke Cake

One of the easiest and yummiest cakes to make is a Poke Cake, aka Puddin' Poke Cake. Obviously this is a very moist cake. A poke cake is usually made with a boxed cake mix and a pudding mix. You poke holes in the cake after it's been baked, but still warm, and you pour the pudding over it. How easy is that?

You'll probably find you have some or all the ingredients for this Oreo Poke Cake in your cupboard and fridge. The following recipe is all over the internet, but I've adapted the one from The Country Cook. You'll probably make your own modifications over time, and I can guarantee you'll make this more than once. Some people add cool whip as a topping before adding more crushed Oreos, but I don't. Still I posted the option below.

OREO POKE CAKE

Ingredients
1 Box Chocolate Cake Mix and (eggs, oil and water for the cake mix)  I like Duncan Hines
2 (4 ounce) packages of Instant Oreo pudding
4 cups whole milk
Bag of Oreo Cookies, chopped or crushed (use the whole bag)

Directions
Make cake mix according to directions (but add a cup of the chopped oreos to the batter). Bake according to directions in a well-greased 9x13 pan.
Just before cake is done, start making pudding.
In medium bowl, add milk to pudding mixture and continue to whisk until most of the lumps are removed. Let pudding mixture sit for about 2 minutes. Thicken slightly but don't let it get too runny or too thick.
When cake is finished, while still warm, quickly poke holes all over top of cake, about 1-inch intervals using chopsticks, bottom of a wooden spoon, or straw.
Pour pudding mixture all over warm cake. Top with 1/2 the chopped Oreos.
Put cake in refrigerator to cool. About an hour.
Once Oreo Poke Cake is set, top with rest of crushed or chopped Oreo cookies (or at this point you can add a container of Cool Whip--once cake is completely cooled-- and then add the rest of the chopped Oreos)
Keep cake refrigerated.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Swans Down's "Mix Easy" Honey Fudge Cake: Retro Ad & Recipe

September is Honey Month. Honey and Chocolate go so well together, and I often substitute honey for sugar. This recipe for Swans Down's New "Mix-Easy" Honey Fudge Cake is just perfect! It's not a cake mix recipe--just a 'mix-easy' recipe.

This Retro Ad from April 7, 1947 offers 30 Lucky Winners the possibility of a new "Servel Gas Refrigerator" installed in their home! All they had to do to win was write 25 words about a Swans Down Cake! "Entries will be judged for originality, sincerity, and aptness, not on fancy or elaborate presentation."

Let me know what you think of Swans Down's New "Mix-Easy" Honey Fudge Cake circa 1947.




Monday, September 10, 2012

NEWTREE Lavender Chocolate Mousse: Chef John Hutt

Today I welcome Chef John Hutt of NEWTREE, a recently opened Belgian Chocolate cafe in San Francisco. I love Newtree Chocolate, especially the NEWTREE Lavender Chocolate.  Be sure and add your email address to enter. Thanks, John, for this delicious guest post! You'll love the subtle flavor of the lavender in this mousse, and the secret kick at the end of the recipe--and in your mouth.

***GIVEAWAY--NEWTREE is offering 3 bars of its fabulous Lavender Chocolate to one person who comments below. You'll be able to make this mousse--or you can always eat the NEWTREE CHOCOLATE***

CHEF JOHN HUTT:

My name is John Hutt, and I am lucky enough to be the chef at NEWTREE, a Belgian chocolate café in the heart of downtown San Francisco. We strive to offer deliciously healthy and interesting alternatives in a city that I consider the best spot in the world to be a chef because of the wide range of local ingredients available at my fingertips.

This is especially poignant to me because I came to San Francisco from Scotland where the potato is the finest crop available and the weather is freezing cold all the time. Prior to being the chef at NEWTREE, I worked at a variety of restaurants in the US and Europe. My chef career began in an effort to support my ponderous literary career, where I found out it was much easier to make money creating delicious food for people than getting my avant-garde play published. Although both careers are equally rewarding, they are not as dissimilar as one would think with the level of creativity, curiosity and restraint required.

Now on to the chocolate. Our Belgian founder, Benoit de Bruyn was passionate about having a mousse on the menu before our café even had a location. The perfect mousse is a balance between rich, intense flavor and a texture that disappears almost immediately as it hits your tongue. Benoit is acquainted with a French chemist, Hervé This (the father of molecular gastronomy) who came up with a recipe using only water and chocolate. As a chemist himself, this appealed to Benoit and was an innovation we could use to make a healthier mousse (it was also the impetus for our dark chocolate spreads that contain no oil). We then decided on the Provençal flavor of lavender from Benoit’s European roots to put our own spin on this dessert favorite.

LAVENDER CHOCOLATE MOUSSE

Serves 6
Ingredients (we use all organic & local whenever possible):
3 fresh eggs
1 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons sugar
3 bars (2.82oz) of NEWTREE Lavender chocolate
1 vanilla pod

Equipment needed:
a whisk, 2 small bowls, 2 mixing bowls, small pot for boiling water, an electric mixer (or good arm muscles)

Preparation:
First, an overview: basically what we are going to do is make a creme anglaise and add melted chocolate to it, then fold in egg whites to give an airy texture. Creme anglaise is a preparation that pastry lovers will stand in good stead. At our café, we add interesting herbs and spices to make unique versions of classic dishes. I like to put ginger and cayenne in for a savory creme brulee; this lavender chocolate mousse is another example.

To start, separate the eggs into two small bowls. Create a double boiler - fill the pot half up with water and place your mixing bowl on top. To prepare the creme anglaise, stir the milk and sugar together in the mixing bowl on low to medium heat and let the mixture get hot enough for the sugar to dissolve.

Cut the vanilla pod in half and scrape the insides into the milk/sugar mixture and stir. Remove the mixing bowl from the heat and add the egg yolks, whisking constantly until combined. Return the bowl to the pot over low heat and stir, stir, stir. You are making custard; it should become thick and coat your whisk. A good way to test if you have the correct consistency is to gently tap the surface of your custard - if the whisk leaves an imprint, it's time to take it off the heat.

Break the chocolate into small pieces and add to the warm custard. Whisk! Continue thoroughly mixing the chocolate into the mixture until it's a homogeneous color and consistency. Set this to one side to cool (you have made chocolate pudding at this point).

Next, put your egg whites in your electric mixer on a vigorous setting (4 out of 8 for example). You will see the whites begin to foam up and thicken, but keep going until it has the look of the top of a bubble bath with very tiny bubbles. It needs to be stiff and you should be able to pick it up with your whisk.

Once the chocolate mixture has cooled, slowly and gently fold the egg whites into it until a uniform color and texture is achieved.

Pipe or spoon into cups and place in the fridge for a few hours to set. I like to add a little port, brandy, sherry, or even whisky, to the bottom of the cup and add the mousse on top. A little fiery bite at the bottom of a soft, sweet mouthful is divine.

Cheers to savoring life!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Retro Date Nut Bread with Chocolate Chunks Recipe & Ad

Happy Date Nut Bread Day! Last year I blogged about Date Nut Bread with Chocolate Chunks. Dromedary Date Nut Bread (in a can) had a Jingle Contest in 1940 to win nylon hose. Well, there were winners. So here's that post again.. with a follow up Ad with the Winners. Be sure to go to the end. And, in case you're wondering. Add some chocolate chunks to your own homemade Date Nut Bread for a great healthy dessert or sandwich.
***

Today is Date Nut Bread Day. Has this wonderful quick bread fallen out of favor? I think not. It's a great bread to smother with cream cheese.. or more upscale marscapone. Date Nut Bread makes fabulous sandwiches, and it's also great toasted and smeared with sweet butter. Add some chocolate chunks to the recipe, and it belongs on this blog!

This wonderful advertisement from 1940 not only reflects the popularity of this quick bread in the U.S., but it's an historical testament to nylon hose and prepared foods at that time. Want to sell a product in the 1940s? Appeal to women. To win a pair of nylons, all you needed to do was finish the jingle. 1000 lucky women won nylons.

n 1939  DuPont introduced nylon stockings at the New York World's Fair, whose theme was the "World of Tomorrow." DuPont then went into full scale production, and "by May 1940, nylon hose was a huge success and women lined up at stores across the county to obtain the precious goods."  Just an FYI, nylon went to war in 1942  to be used  as parachutes and tents (as silk had been before nylon) and became in short supply.

Dromedary Date Nut Bread in a Can is no longer in production, but isn't the concept and ad fabulous. I used to bake a lot of quick breads in a can, but they didn't come already baked in a can, right on the shelves. FYI: Dromedary Date-Nut Bread in a can did not contain chocolate.

Dromedary Dates, which were also sold at the market, had a recipe on the back of the package for Date-Nut Bread. Here's a recipe that's pretty close to the original Dromedary Date-Nut Bread Recipe -- with the addition of Chocolate Chunks. If you want your finished Date-Nut Bread to look similar to the ad above, bake the date-nut breads in 4 soup cans!

DROMEDARY DATE-NUT BREAD WITH CHOCOLATE CHUNKS

Ingredients
3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 cup chopped pitted dates (Dromedary chopped dates from the original recipe- one package-8 ounces-equals 2 cups)
1 1/2 teaspoon Baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tbsp oil  (or 3 tbsp melted butter-original recipe mentions margarine, but I don't use margarine)
3/4 cup boiling water
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup sifted flour, unbleached
1/2 cup dark chopped chocolate chunks

Directions
Preheat Oven to 350.
With fork, mix walnuts, dates, soda + salt in a bowl.
Add oil and boiling water. Let stand 20 minutes.
 With fork, beat eggs slightly, add vanilla.
Stir in sugar and sifted flour.
Mix in date mixture.
Fold in chocolate chunks.
Do Not Overmix.
Place in greased 9x5x3 inch loaf pan (or a coffee can or soup cans).
Bake at 350 for 1 hour until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool in pan 10 minutes.
Move to wire rack to finish cooling. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Pudding Ice Cream: Retro Friday

I love to post Retro Ads for Chocolate. Since it's still summer where I live, I thought I'd post this advertisement for Royal Instant Pudding from June 2, 1954. Notice that Howdie Doody is on the package.

So according to this ad you can make Ice Cream from Instant Pudding, not to mention Pops and Cups.


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Nutty Chocolate Chip Caramel Squares: Guest Post

Photo: Donna Fasano
Today I welcome award winning Romance author Donna Fasano. Donna has written over 30 novels that have sold over 3.6 million copies worldwide. And, she loves Chocolate!

Donna Fasano:

Love and Chocolate. Nothing goes better together…well, almost nothing. I wrote romance novels for Harlequin for over 20 years. I've been cooking with chocolate for as long as I can remember. I would never call myself a writing expert or a cooking/baking expert, but all those years of experience have to count for something, right?

I can’t tell you how many times over the course of my long career as a published romance author I have been asked, “When are you going to write a real book? You know, a [insert genre of choice: mystery, family saga, historical, thriller, horror, western, etc].” So I’d like to take this opportunity to tell readers why I write romance novels.

I suffered a lot of tragedy while I was growing up, the worst of which was losing my mother just as I was entering my teens. I felt as though I went from 13 to 35 overnight, and when my friends were off having fun, I was cooking and cleaning and helping my little brother with his homework. Romance novels were an escape for me. The Wolf and the Dove, The Far Pavilions, Whitney My Love, Rebecca, The Thorne Birds…if the book featured one man and one woman falling in love, I read it! Romance novels offered me hope for a happy future filled with love (hokey, yes, but I was young). As a young wife and mother, I discovered Silhouette Romance Novels. These books were short and sweet and uplifting. Each and every story put a smile on my face, and the happily-ever-after endings always boosted my spirits. Are romance novels real? No. Does every relationship end in HEA? Of course not. But if I wanted doom and gloom, I’d watch the evening news.

As an author, I can’t think of a better way to use my talent than to bring pure enjoyment to my readers. I tell people that I write cotton candy for the mind. Think about that. When you were a kid and you put a small cloud of that wispy confection on your tongue, what did you do? You smiled. And maybe you even laughed. That’s the reaction I’m going for with my short, upbeat stories. That’s why I write romance novels. So if you’re looking to get lost for a few hours in a fun, cheery story, I hope you’ll try one of my books. Another of my favorite escapes over the years has been cooking and baking. I collect cookbooks and have been known to page through one while enjoying my morning coffee. I love to imagine how the ingredients on the written page will look and taste once I've put them all together, and I always have fun fiddling with recipes to make them my own. Below is a recipe I've come up with—it's very rich and sweet and should be served in small portions with a cup of hot coffee or afternoon tea.

Nutty Chocolate Chip Caramel Squares 

The original recipe for this chocolatey, gooey, nutty, and delectable dessert can be found on the Kraft Foods website. I'd like to thank my friend, Allie, for alerting me to this one! As usual, I've fiddled with the recipe, and I offer you the final chocolatey, rich, and delicious result.

1/2 cup butter, melted
1 box Dark Chocolate Fudge cake mix, 16.5 oz.
1/4 cup evaporated milk, undiluted
1 egg, slightly beaten

Preheat oven 350 degrees.
Stir together the butter, the cake mix, ¼ cup evaporated milk and the egg. Mix until thoroughly combined.
Press half the mixture into the bottom of a 13" x 9" baking pan and bake for 15 minutes. This is the crust of the squares.
Set aside remaining uncooked fudge cake batter.

1 bag Kraft caramels, 14 oz.
1/3 cup evaporated milk, undiluted

While crust bakes, unwrap caramels and place in a microwave-safe bowl.
Add 1/3 cup evaporated milk and melt in microwave for 3-4 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes, until caramel is completely melted. Stir until smooth and set aside.

Now it's time to assemble. 

1 cup walnut pieces
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chunks

Sprinkle 1/2 cup nuts and 1/2 cup chocolate chunks on the hot crust.
Drizzle melted caramel over the nuts and chocolate chunks, being careful to spread caramel to the edges.
Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup nuts and 1/2 cup chocolate chunks over the caramel.
Drop spoonfuls of the remaining fudge cake batter onto the caramel, pressing into caramel with the back of a spoon.
Bake an additional 30 minutes.
Cool before cutting into small squares.

 ~ ~ ~
About Donna Fasano's latest book: Her Fake Romance
"Mom, get a life!" Her teenage daughter's words were daunting. True, struggling single mom Julia Jones hadn't had a date in over a decade, but she could still catch a man–if she needed to! So Julia, who claimed not to want a husband, found herself entangled in a fake romance. Ryan Shane was tall, dark, and devastatingly handsome. And he just so happened to need a no-strings date himself. Their plan was perfectly thought out. Until a conveniently staged good-night kiss turned into very inconvenient passion… This sweet romance novel contains bonus material that includes several delicious recipes! 

You can find Donna on the web at www.DonnaFasano.com, or on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/DonnaFasanoAuthor, or on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/DonnaFaz. Her books are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, Sony, and Apple iBooks.

Monday, September 3, 2012

John Cleese in Israeli Chocolate Commercial

Actor John Cleese was recruited by one of Israel’s most-popular chocolate spread producers, Hashahar Ha’oleh, to promote their spreads, Israel Hayom reported.

A set of commercials were filmed in August at Cleese’s home in Monaco, under the direction of the Inbar, Merhav, Shaked Advertising agency.

Cleese was recently cast in Reshef Levy’s new movie “Hunting Elephants.” He had to turn the part down, however, due to medical reasons. Patrick Stewart will play the role.

Hashahar Ha’oleh was not prepared to give up on Cleese and because he could not fly to Israel, they flew to his home in Monaco. The entire production staff was flown out from Israel to make the commercials, with Cleese apparently receiving $50,000 for his participation.

This ad shows John Cleese as a Western General who gives the IDF the go ahead to perform and air strike against an anonymous Middle East enemy. Odd for a commercial for a Nutella type chocolate spread. 

"We need your approval of the attack," an Israeli in the war room says. "I promise you, we will be in and out in 33 minutes...we have the right to defend ourselves!"

A distracted Cleese then grabs a jar of HaSachar Haole's Sababa Egozim spread, messily licks the wrapper, and then announces a Hebrew phrase that the Jerusalem Post translates as "Great stuff" but what appears to be the company's official YouTube account translates as "Let's get nuts!" Generals high five; Cleese doesn't notice the residual chocolate smudge on his nose.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Labor Day Triple Fudge Cake

I love Food Holidays, but I also love Holidays and the foods that go with them. This recipe is from Betty Crocker's Party Book: More than 500 recipes, menus and how-to-do-it tips for festive occasions the year 'round (Golden Press, 1960).

I forgot that this cookbook actually has a Labor Day Triple Fudge Cake recipe! What a surprise. I've actually made this recipe for Triple Fudge Cake many times, but always in a Bundt pan. I don't think it was called Labor Day Triple Fudge Cake, but it's fun to see it again in this retro cookbook. I know the cake might taste better if I made it from scratch, but it's pretty yummy this way, too. I usually use a Duncan Hines cake mix (sorry, Betty) and really good dark chocolate for the third chocolate in this recipe. Pudding.. well I always have a box in the cupboard. 

Also love the Continental Vegetable Casserole recipe (The French call it "Ratatouille").. pretty radical in 1960!