Tuesday, March 31, 2015

CHOCOLATE COVERED FIGS for PASSOVER: 3 RECIPES

The other day I saw a recipe in the Wall Street Journal for Chocolate Covered Figs for Passover. This jolted my memory of all the fig recipes I've posted in the past. Figs are great any time of year and for any and all holidays! You can use fresh or dried! You have plenty of time to make any of the following recipes or you can buy Vice Chocolates' Dark Chocolate Bar with Fig & Anise. It's one of my favorite chocolate fig combinations!

The first two recipes are for Chocolate Covered Dried Figs. The first is alcoholic, because who doesn't love a drunken fig? The second recipe calls for stuffing the dried figs with walnuts, but contains no alcohol. Actually you can mix and match these recipes to come up with whatever you think is perfect for you! The third recipe is for Chocolate Covered Fresh Figs. They're in my market, so be sure and check to see if you can get them. Love the taste and texture of figs and chocolate! As always, use the very best chocolate and figs! Different chocolate, different figs, different tastes!

1. Chocolate Covered Drunken Dried Figs

Ingredients
20 dried figs
Rum
10 ounces 65-75% dark chocolate, chopped fine
1/4 cup sweet butter
pinch of sea salt

Directions
Put figs in bowl and cover with rum. Let soak, covered, overnight in refrigerator.
Next day, drain well and pat dry.
Put chopped chocolate into top of double boiler, stirring. Add butter, stirring until smooth.
Take figs by stems and dip in chocolate several times, covering completely.
Put figs on rack over cookie sheet to catch drips.
Sprinkle sparingly with sea salt
When finished dipping, chill figs in refrigerator.

2. Non-Alcoholic Chocolate Covered Figs Stuffed with Walnuts

Ingredients
9 figs, dried
9 walnut halves
5  Tbsp dark chocolate (60-75%), chopped

Directions
Make small incisions in bottoms of 9 dried figs and stuff each with walnut half.
Melt chocolate in double boiler until smooth.
Holding stem, dip stuffed figs into chocolate.
Let them drip from rack over cookie sheet, or place on plate or wax paper.
Put the chocolate covered figs on the plate or waxed paper in the refrigerator for 10 minutes or more until chocolate hardens.

3. Chocolate Covered Fresh Figs I don't have any 'real' measurements for this, but it's pretty basic and easy!

Line a cookie sheet with waxed or parchment paper. 
Melt dark chocolate (I like very dark chocolate, but anything 60% cacao or over would be great) in microwave or on top of double boiler over simmering water, until smooth.
Hold top of fig with your fingers and dip into melted chocolate, covering only bottom part.
Place chocolate covered fig on cookie sheet covered with parchment.
Repeat with remaining figs.
Put chocolate covered figs in refrigerator for 15 minutes or so until chocolate is set.
Serve.
If you're not eating them right away, keep them in the fridge for up to 12 hours.

As different types of figs come into the market, experiment.
You might want to dip the chocolate covered figs in chopped nuts before putting on the cookie sheet.
Use different figs, different chocolate.
You can't go wrong!  

Photo: Vice Chocolates Dark Chocolate Bar with Fig & Anise

Monday, March 30, 2015

Easter Chocolate Molds: Bunnies, Eggs & Chicks, oh my!

I adore Chocolate Molds, particularly the older metal ones. Here are a few great Chocolate Molds for Easter!  It's all about Bunnies, Eggs and Chicks, oh My!




Happy Birthday to Me!

Happy Birthday to Me! Happy Birthday to Me! So for today's Birthday, I'm posting several Retro Birthday Cake Ads!




Sunday, March 29, 2015

Homemade Cadbury Creme Eggs

Do you love Cadbury Eggs? Are they a part of your Easter tradition? Want to make your own?

Instructables has a great recipe for Homemade Cadbury Creme Eggs. I think they're really good. They're easy to make, although a bit time consuming. Even if they don't come out egg shaped, or the shell breaks, they're yummy! And, you can use good quality dark chocolate for even better flavor!

HOMEMADE CADBURY CREME EGGS

Ingredients
1/2 cup Lyle’s golden syrup or light corn syrup
6 Tbsp butter, softened
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
3 cup powdered sugar
yellow food coloring
12 ounces dark chocolate, chopped (or a bag bittersweet chocolate chips)

The Filling:
Cream together corn syrup, butter and vanilla. Sift in confectioner's powdered sugar and beat until incorporated. Separate filling into whites and yolks! Take out about third of filling and stir in some yellow food coloring. Put the two bowls in the fridge to set up a little.

Shaping the Yolks:
This step is sticky! Keep your hands clean and cold. Make little yolk balls out of yellow mixture. Place them on parchment. Put them back in the fridge or freezer to firm up.
When yolks are set up, start embedding them in whites. Scoop an amount of white filling out and flatten it into circle. Place yolk ball inside, and wrap white around it. Put them in fridge.

Hint from Instructables: 
If you decide to use egg molds instead of dipping method, pipe  whites and yolks into chocolate molds with a pastry bag. This would save a LOT of time. 

Filling the Molds 
Melt chocolate in double boiler or short bursts in the microwave. Fill tmolds with  chocolate and swirl to coat  sides.  Once molds are set, put filling ball into half of each mold. Using more melted chocolate, join two halves of egg together. Let set and unmold. Use the freezer to help set this up.

Alternative Method: If you aren't using molds, try this:
Melt chocolate + 2 teaspoons of butter in microwave in short bursts until just melted. Either dip fillings into  chocolate with a fork and let set on parchment, or skewer fillings and dip them --kind of like cake pops! Once  chocolate is set, dip them again for a thick chocolate shell!

Want to see another recipe -- similar...but always good to have two to compare! Check out Ashley Rodriguez's (Not Without Salt) adaptation of this recipe on Food52.

No time to make these? Buy yourself some Cadbury Creme Eggs!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Charoset Ice Cream for Passover

O.K. I have your attention. Yes, you've heard of Passover Brownies and Cakes, but Charoset Ice Cream? Tantalizing, yes! And, a perfect topping for your chocolate desserts! Unfortunately Charoset Ice Cream, a Ben & Jerry's Israel Limited Edition flavor is only available in Israel. This ice cream is a mixture of vanilla, apples, walnuts and honey. What's not to love?

Charoset is one of the symbolic foods on the Passover plate. It's made with apples, cinnamon, honey, and sweet wine. Charoses is a reminder to those at the Passover seder of mortar that their brick-laying ancestors made as slaves in Egypt.

I don't have a recipe for Charoset Ice-Cream, but you can always use vanilla ice cream and mix in some of your own charoses! Why not? Want to make sure you'll like it? Use your charoset as a topping!

I make Charoses from chopped apples (Macintosh), chopped walnuts, some sweet red wine, a bit of cinnamon, and some honey. I like it chunky, but if you're going to put it on ice-cream, maybe chop the nuts and apples finer. Make your Charoses ahead and refrigerate for best flavor.

Yesterday I posted several recipes for Passover Brownies. Check them out here! Charoset Ice Cream would be a perfect addition (if it's a dairy meal)... or for later. Passover doesn't mean going without great desserts!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Passover Flourless Brownies: Recipe Round-Up

Passover begins next Friday, April 3, and if you observe the Passover holiday (8 days) you won't be eating any leavened food products. So in terms of chocolate baking you need to tweak some things, starting with not using flour. This doesn't mean you can't have Chocolate Cake, brownies or cookies.. just an adjustment.


I've posted several Chocolate Passover recipes over the years, and I'll post some more next week. In any case, baking without flour  shouldn't be a problem, and these recipes are great any time, not just for Passover. And, all you gluten-free folks will love these recipes.

Because you might be baking dessert for a Seder, whether you're Jewish or not, you'll want to be sensitive and bring a Kosher for Passover dessert. That means not using flour and probably using margarine (or oil as in one of the following recipes) in lieu of butter unless you know the seder meal won't contain meat. I prefer using butter in most of my baking, so this is a hard one. However, if you plan to have sweets around at home during the Passover holidays or just want to make some new Brownie recipes, you'll love these. Use butter.

So I'm starting off this Passover Season with 4 different recipes for Passover Brownies. Think of them as Flourless Brownies! You love Flourless Chocolate Cake, right? Try all the recipes and let me know which you like best. Or do you have your own recipe for Passover Brownies? Be sure and link below.

These first two recipes I adapted from recipes I found on Chowhound in 2008.

Passover Brownies #1

Ingredients
1 stick sweet butter, softened
1 cup sugar
5 eggs, separated
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped (not chocolate chips)
8 ounces finely chopped or ground almonds
Pinch of salt

Directions
Cream butter and sugar together. Mix in egg yolks.
Melt Chocolate over double boiler (or over saucepan over saucepan with simmering water). Cool and add to butter mixture. Add finely ground almonds.
Beat egg whites until stiff but not dry. Fold into batter.
Pour into 9" square greased baking tin.
Bake in a preheated 350 oven for 45-50 min.
Cool and cut into squares.

Passover Brownies #2

Ingredients
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup of matzo cake meal
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup DARK cocoa
3 large eggs
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Directions
Mix oil and sugar.
Add eggs and mix again.
Sift matzo cake meal and cocoa together and add to mixture.
Fold in nuts and mix thoroughly.
Grease 8x8 pan and pour in batter.
Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.
Cool and cut in squares.

This third recipe is originally from Gourmet 2000 ( Epicurious). It calls for a Chocolate-Wine Glaze, and you might want to try that. I like my brownies unadulterated, but I've tried the chocolate-wine glaze, and it's yummy. Nothing quite like chocolate and Manischevitz!

Passover Brownies #3

Ingredients
6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup unsalted margarine or (if not keeping brownies pareve) butter, cut into pieces
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
Pinch of Salt
2 tsp finely grated fresh orange zest
3/4 cup matzo cake meal
3/4 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line bottom and sides of a 9-inch square baking pan with wax paper or greased foil.
Melt chocolate and margarine in a metal bowl over saucepan of simmering water, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and cool 5 minutes.
Beat eggs, sugar, and salt in large bowl with electric mixer on high until pale and thick. Beat in chocolate in 3 batches on low speed. Stir in zest, matzo meal, and nuts just until blended.
Spread batter in baking pan and bake in middle of oven until firm and tester comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.
Cool in pan on rack, then invert onto a platter and remove paper or foil.
Cut into Squares.

Passover Brownies #4

Ingredients
2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips (or dark chocolate, chopped)
1/2 cup sweet butter or margarine
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup matzoh cake meal
2 Tbsp unsweetened DARK cocoa powder
2 Tbsp potato starch
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Directions
Preheat oven to 350. Grease 8-inch square baking dish.
Melt chocolate and butter in double boiler or in saucepan on top of another saucepan with simmering water. Set aside to cool slightly.
In mixing bowl, stir together cake meal, cocoa powder, and potato starch.
Combine eggs, granulated sugar, and vanilla in large bowl. Beat with electric mixer until light and creamy – about 3 to 5 minutes. Beat in chocolate mixture until smooth, then add cake meal mixture, beating on low speed just until combined. Batter is thick.
Fold in chopped nuts and spread in prepared baking dish.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or just until entire surface has puffed slightly. Brownies will still be moist in the center.
Remove from oven and cool before cutting into squares.

I especially love Passover Brownies #4--very, very fudgy!!! Of course, I use very good chocolate! It really makes a difference!!!

Easter Egg Cake: Retro Advertisement & Recipe!

Love this Retro Advertisement and recipe from 3/30/53. "Quick Like a Bunny Make this Gay Easter Egg Cake."

This is a "Golden Yellow" Cake with Chocolate Icing. Easy and pretty. You can, of course, update the recipe to make your own yellow cake and your own icing, but the idea is there. Most kitchen and craft stores will have special pans to create an egg shape, but if you want to go retro, follow this recipe and cut the egg into shape!


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Flourless Chocolate Walnut Cookies for Passover

Top pastry chef Francois Payard makes keeping kosher for Passover easy, offering a range of non-leavened, gluten-free desserts for the holiday. This is a fabulous and easy recipe for Passover or any time. As always the quality depends on the cocoa! Thanks, Chef Francois, for the recipe and photo!

Flourless Chocolate Walnut Cookies

Ingredients
1/2 cup  plus 3 tablespoons (68 grams) Dutch-process cocoa powder
3 cups (350 grams) confectioners’ sugar
Pinch of salt
2 3/4 cups (272 grams) walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
4 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 tsp (15 grams) pure vanilla extract

Directions
Place a rack in upper and bottom thirds of oven and preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

Combine cocoa powder, confectioners’ sugar, salt, and walnuts in bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Mix on low speed for 1 minute.

With mixer running, slowly add  egg whites and vanilla. Mix on medium speed for 3 minutes, until mixture has slightly thickened. Do not overmix or egg whites will thicken too much.

With 2-ounce cookie or ice cream scoop or generous tablespoon, scoop batter onto prepared baking sheet to make cookies that are 4 inches in diameter. Scoop 5 cookies on each sheet (these are big cookies, about 3 inches apart so they don’t stick when they spread. If you have extra batter, wait until first batch of cookies is baked before scooping next batch.

Put cookies in oven, and immediately lower temperature to 320°F. Bake for 14 to 16 minutes, or until small thin cracks appear on surface of the cookies. Switch pans halfway through baking. Pull parchment paper with cookies onto wire cooling rack, and let cool completely before removing cookies from paper. Store in airtight container for up to 2 days.

****

François Payard is a third generation pastry chef, who, after honing his skills by his family’s side and in the finest pastry kitchens in France, moved to New York where he was named “Pastry Chef of the Year” by the James Beard Foundation. Francois Payard has won numerous awards, such as the “Ordre du Mérite Agricole” by the French Government in 2004, he became a member of Relais Desserts International in 2006, an association of the 85 best pastry chefs in the world and in 2010 received the Dom Perignon Award of Excellence. 

Branches of Payard have opened at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Japan and Korea. In November 2009, the François Chocolate Bar opened in New York City. Described as “a chocolate jewelry shop,” this shop was devoted to Chef Payard’s chocolate creations. In September 2010, François opened FPB, a casual bakery on West Houston Street in downtown New York City. FPB is the first of several collaborative projects from François and restaurateur Marlon Abela of Marlon Abela Restaurant Corporation (MARC), whose portfolio also includes the A Voce restaurants in New York City, as well as other restaurants in the U.S. and London. A second location of FPB opened in Battery Park City in October 2012 and a third location opened in May 2012 at Columbus Circle. Francois opened his first FP Patisserie at the Plaza Hotel in the Todd English Food Hall in the spring of 2012. In October 2012, he opened his flagship location of FP Patisserie on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. FP Patisserie features an elegant bar, pastry shop and salon de thé. 

Not just a chef, François is also the author of the popular cookbooks Bite Size: Elegant Recipes for Entertaining, Simply Sensational Desserts and Chocolate Epiphany: Exceptional Cookies, Cakes, and Confections for Everyone. His most recent cookbook, PAYARD DESSERTS, was released in 2013.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookie Brittle

Today is National Pecan Day. You can make Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies or a Chocolate Pecan Pie, but for today's holiday, I decided to post this recipe for Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookie Brittle. Yum! This recipe is from MyRecipes.com. It first appeared in Southern Living in 2007 and was from Oxmoor House. This Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookie Brittle is great for holiday giving, but really you can make an enjoy this any time. Who doesn't love a cookie brittle? Crisp chocolate chip cookies that break into pieces after baking! You can change the taste of this cookie brittle with the type of chocolate mini-chips you use.

PECAN CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE BRITTLE

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter, melted and cooled slightly
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
1 cup semisweet chocolate mini chips
1 cup pecan pieces, toasted
1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut, toasted

Directions
Combine first 4 ingredients; set aside.
Stir together butter and next 3 ingredients in large bowl; add flour mixture, stirring until smooth. Stir in chocolate chips, pecans, and coconut. (Dough will look crumbly.)
Press dough evenly into lightly greased 15" x 10" jelly-roll pan, pressing almost to edges.
Bake at 350° for 19 minutes or until lightly browned and cookie "slab" seems crisp. Cool completely in pan. Break cookie into pieces.
Note: You can toast pecan pieces and coconut in the same pan at 350° for 8 minutes.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Oatmeal Chocolate Covered Raisin Cookies

I like oatmeal cookies, and I usually add chocolate chips rather than raisins, but this recipe for Oatmeal Dark Chocolate Covered Raisin Cookies from Gold Medal (via BakerMama) combines the best of both. It's perfect for Chocolate Covered Raisins Day!

Oatmeal Chocolate Covered Raisin Cookies

Ingredients
1 cup sweet butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla
1 cup Gold Medal™ all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda 1
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1-1/4 cup dark chocolate covered raisins

Directions
Preheat oven to 375°F.
In bowl of electric mixer, beat butter and sugars until light and creamy, about 2 minutes.
Add eggs and vanilla and mix until well combined.
Add flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
Mix until just combined.
Stir in oats and dark chocolate covered raisins.
Drop dough by heaping tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake about 10 minutes or until light brown.
Let cookies rest on cookie sheets for 5 minutes then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Ben & Jerry's Top Chocolate Flavors!

I can't help but repost this! Why mess with perfection! Ben & Jerry's Top Chocolate Flavors. I must tell you I haven't had Peanut Butter Fudge Core, so I've put it on my shopping list!

Take a spin through their list to see all the chocolate flavors you’ve tried (or want to try). These flavors have chocolate ice cream as the base only, and aren’t mixed with other flavors, such as vanilla in Half Baked.

Which is your favorite?

The following is from the Ben & Jerry website!

***

8. Chocolate Peanut Buttery Swirl
  • Chocolate Peanut Buttery Swirl
    We don’t know who first combined these two flavors. Was it you? In case it was – thank you so much! You are an inspiration. Chocolate ice cream and creamy peanut butter swirls were simply meant for each other, but if you want a taste you’ll have to visit your local Scoop Shop.
  •  
  • 7. S’mores
    Campfires make sense when you’re out camping, but just try starting one up in the middle of the kitchen and see how fast your roommates flip. Trust us. We learned the hard way. That’s why we took all the S’mores ingredients and put them in a pint. It’s safer this way. 
  •  
  • 6. Peanut Butter Fudge Core
    Do you remember that time we thanked you for being the first person to combine chocolate and peanut butter? We’d like to thank you again, because this Core is full of both.  
  •  
  • 5. Chocolate Peppermint Crunch
    Chocolate Peppermint Crunch
    We’ve got Mint Chocolate Cookie Balls and we’re not afraid to use them! The same goes for peppermint and fudge swirls. We combined these three ingredients with a chocolate base and came up with one minty masterpiece.
  •  
  • 4. Chocolate Therapy
    Chocolate Therapy
    Chocolate on top of chocolate on top of chocolate. No, this isn’t a dream.  It’s our cure for what ails you. So please, have a seat and grab a spoon. Are you comfortable? Good. Now take a bite and tell us what’s on your mind. 
  •  
  • 3. New York Super Fudge Chunk
    New York Super Fudge Chunk
    There comes a time in every man’s life when he says, “It’s time I packed a pint with more chunks than ever before!” For Ben and Jerry, that time came when they created this mix of chocolate ice cream with white and dark fudge chunks and a mix of nuts.
  •  
  • 2. Phish Food
    Look who’s in the freezer! It’s a stash of milk chocolate ice cream with fudge fish and gooey marshmallow and caramel swirls. Take one bite and you’ll be sharing in the groove. 
  •  
  • 1. Chocolate Fudge Brownie
    Chocolate Fudge Brownie
    When we decided to pair our chocolate ice cream with the fabulously fudgy brownies from New York’s Greyston Bakery, we knew we had a winner. Some would go so far as to say we made an instant classic. Call us modest, but we agree.
 ***
O.K., so which is your favorite?

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Carrots in Chocolate Dirt

Photo Credit: Driscoll's
Yesterday was California Strawberry Day, and I forgot to post this absolutely adorable recipe and presentation. Perfect for the Easter Table...and any time! So cute and easy to make. Thanks once again to Driscoll's Strawberries. They're always perfect! Recipe only slightly adapted!

This has to be the best presentation I've seen in awhile. I actually use these little tin buckets for my succulents. 

CHOCOLATE COVERED STRAWBERRY CARROTS IN CHOCOLATE DIRT

Pudding 
1 cup sugar
4 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
4 cups whole milk, divided
6 Tbsp cornstarch

Dirt Topping
2 cups chocolate wafer cookie crumbs (about 40 cookies)

Strawberry Carrots 
1 package (16 ounces) Driscoll's Strawberries(the 8 largest from the package for dipping)
11 ounces white chocolate (make sure it's 'real' white chocolate-made with cocoa butter)
Gel food coloring (red and yellow)

Directions

Pudding 
In double boiler melt bittersweet chocolate. Set aside.
Whisk together 1 cup milk and cornstarch.
Bring remaining 3 cups milk, sugar, cocoa and salt just to simmer over medium heat. Stir cornstarch mixture then add to milk mixture in saucepan and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Cook 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in melted chocolate and vanilla. Divide pudding between 8 food safe 6 oz stainless steel mini pail buckets or small 6 - 8 oz jars or glasses. Cover surface directly with plastic wrap to prevent skin from forming. Chill.

Preparing strawberries
Rinse and dry strawberries. You do not want water on the berries when you dip them in chocolate. For best results berries should be at room temperature for dipping to ensure that the chocolate will adhere to berry.

Melting the Chocolate 
To melt chocolate on stovetop, put white chocolate in double boiler (or saucepan over saucepan) over simmering water.

Dipping and Decorating
Line baking sheet with wax paper or parchment paper. Once chocolate has melted, add 4 drops of yellow gel food color and 4 drops of red food gel color and stir well until thoroughly blended into chocolate. 
Holding strawberry by green leaves, dip it into chocolate swirling the strawberry until coated. Coat about 3/4 of the way up the strawberry leaving some strawberry showing. Shake off excess chocolate and place on prepared baking sheet to set.

After dipping strawberries, take remaining chocolate and gently reheat until fully melted again. Prepare pastry bag fitted with piping tip and fill bag with remaining chocolate. With berries lying on baking sheet, start at tip of each berry and pipe lines half way across strawberry, alternating starting from left, then right until up to chocolate line below the calyx (strawberry stem). Repeat with remaining berries. If you don't have a pastry bag, you can dip  fork into the melted chocolate and drizzle the lines on--or you can use a ziploc with corner cut out.
Place decorated strawberries in refrigerator until chocolate is firm.
Before serving, remove plastic wrap from pudding and sprinkle tops of each pudding with cookie crumbs.
Once finished add the chocolate covered strawberry to the center. Serve immediately.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Paula Shoyer -The New Passover Menu: Triple Chocolate Biscotti

Today I welcome one of my favorite cookbook authors, Paula Shoyer. Paula's Holiday Kosher Baker is one of my favorites, and it's perfect for any and all occasions! You'll love her latest cookbook, The New Passover Menu--chocolate and non-chocolate recipes alike! Scroll down to read more about the cookbook and Paula Shoyer. Thanks, Paula, for sharing your story--and recipes--at DyingforChocolate.com. Pick up a copy of The New Passover Menu now!

Paula Shoyer:
Triple Chocolate Biscotti

It was November 2013, and I had just started my book tour for the Holiday Kosher Baker when my editor called and asked if I would write a Passover food cookbook. I was surprised as I was sitting in a hotel in San Diego about to start my book tour. As they wanted the new book out for Passover 2015, I only had six months to write the entire cookbook. The reason I was able to write the book so quickly was that most of the recipes in The New Passover Menu were in my head.

I am a very precise baker and I spend my days developing dessert recipes and writing copious notes, and varying small amounts of ingredients to achieve the results I am seeking. In the evenings, however, I open the fridge and create dinner for my family out of whatever ingredients happens to be inside. Over the years, I have developed certain recipes that I created haphazardly but make over and over again, both for Passover, Shabbat and holidays and in between. The New Passover Menu is a collection of the recipes that I finally measured out and tested.

Every Shabbat, I design interesting menus, some seasonal, some connected to holidays and others influenced by places I have traveled to. It is not unusual for the Shoyer household to host a Japanese, French, Cambodian, Hungarian, Moroccan or a Persian-themed dinner around Purim. I enjoy exposing my family and guests to tastes from around the world, all made kosher.

When it comes to the major Jewish holidays, however, I have a different approach. I want my family to associate Jewish holidays with Jewish food so I always make some traditional Ashkenazi dishes such as stuffed cabbage, noddle kugel, chicken soup, gefite fish and rugelach, apple cake or strudel. These dishes that they enjoy every year connect them to the generations of Jewish cooks before me and create lasting Jewish food memories. At the same time, I endeavor to make those dishes healthier and more interesting than they have been in the past to appeal to contemporary palates.

The New Passover Menu is divided into eight menus, has equipment lists and prep times in every recipe, all designed to make holiday planning and cooking easier. There are two Seder menus, one menu each for Shabbat and Yom Tov, and four diverse weekday menus. In addition, there is a chapter on breakfast and lunch foods and one on desserts that includes fifteen new recipes, most of which are gluten free.

Some examples of updated traditional recipes are the chicken meatballs in lieu of matzoh balls. They look just like matzoh balls but are gluten-free and healthier. Do not worry – there are recipes for flavored traditional matzoh balls as well. I combine frozen gefilte fish loaves with fresh salmon to create a lovely fish terrine. There are lots of fresh salads and recipes from Peru and Morocco, and some of the latest food trends are represented as well such as kale Caesar salad, cauliflower slabs and smashed potatoes.

The New Passover Menu may be labeled a Passover cookbook, but these are the recipes I come back to all year long. Although I do not make charoset on a regular basis, I did have to make a batch of the banana charoset one Friday morning for a photo for the book. That night we discovered that charoset tastes great shmeared on challah. Who knew??

Triple Chocolate Biscotti
As a baker, I was very excited to create new dessert recipes. One of my favorites is the triple chocolate biscotti. I combine melted Swiss bittersweet chocolate, cocoa and chocolate chips to create chewy cookie that you will want to eat all year long.

Triple-Chocolate Biscotti 
{ gluten-free }
makes 24–36 cookies

Prep time 10 minutes
Bake time 44 minutes
Advance prep May be made 5 days in advance
Equipment Measuring cups and spoons • Jelly roll pan or cookie sheet • Microwave-safe bowl or double boiler • Whisk • Silicone spatula • Knife • Cooling rack

These cookies are both chewy and crunchy at the same time; the outside is a little hard, but the center remains soft. I double this recipe because these cookies disappear so fast.

Ingredients
4 ounces (115g) bittersweet chocolate, broken into pieces
1 cup (200g) sugar
1/2 cup (120ml) vegetable oil
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons (40g)
vanilla sugar (see cookbook)
1/2 cup (40g) unsweetened cocoa
1 tablespoon potato starch
1 1/2 cups (180g) ground almonds (see cookbook)
1/4 teaspoon salt 1 cup (170g) semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions

PREHEAT oven to 350°F (180°C).

LINE a jelly roll pan or cookie sheet with parchment paper.

MELT the chocolate using one of the methods described in the box below. Remove the chocolate from the heat source, add the sugar and oil, and whisk well. Add the eggs and mix. Add the vanilla sugar, cocoa, potato starch, ground almonds, and salt and mix well. Add the chocolate chips and mix to distribute them.

DIVIDE the dough in half and shape into two loaves, each about 9 x 3 inches (23 x 7.5cm). Place both loaves on the lined jelly roll pan and bake for 30 minutes. Let the loaves cool for 10 minutes (do not turn off the oven). Cut each loaf crosswise into 3/4- to 1-inch-thick (2- to 2.5- cm) slices. Place the cookies, cut side up, on a parchment-covered cookie sheet (or the jelly roll pan again). Bake for another 14 minutes, or until the cookies are firm to the touch on the outside but still feel soft on the inside. Check them after 10 to 12 minutes so that you don’t overbake the cookies. LET COOL for 5 minutes on the pan and then slide the parchment and cookies onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

Melting Chocolate 
To melt chocolate, you can use the top part of a double boiler or a microwave oven. A double boiler is a specially designed saucepan that has a top bowl that fits snugly over a saucepan. For either method, first break or chop the chocolate into 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces. To melt the chocolate over a double boiler, you place water in the bottom of the saucepan and the chopped chocolate in the insert. When you bring the water to a simmer, it gently melts the chocolate in the insert. You can create your own double boiler by placing 2 to 3 inches (5 to 8 cm) of water in a medium saucepan and resting a medium-size metal bowl containing the chopped chocolate on top. Stir the chocolate occasionally, until all of it has melted. To melt chocolate in a microwave oven, place the chocolate pieces in a microwave-safe bowl, such as a large glass bowl. Heat the chocolate for 1 minute at high power. Remove the bowl from the microwave oven and give the chocolate a good stir, mixing the melted pieces into the unmelted ones, for 30 seconds. Heat for another 45 seconds and stir well again. If the chocolate is not completely melted, heat it for another 30 seconds and stir. Repeat this process for another 15 seconds if necessary. Do not heat the chocolate in the microwave oven for several minutes straight or it will burn.

***
Paula Shoyer, THE kosher expert and best-selling author, celebrates Passover by sharing creative and tasty recipes that combine the nostalgic pleasures of family favorites with contemporary creations. THE NEW PASSOVER MENU (Sterling/January 2014; Hardcover; $35.00) takes a fresh look at a holiday known for heavy, tasteless food. The book is organized by menus to make the holiday super easy and includes gorgeous table settings to provide hosts ideas to make their tables as inviting as the food. 

Implored by fans for years to write a food book, Paula says “I have always loved to cook and after days of meticulous measuring to develop desserts, I come into the kitchen to cook dinner and create gourmet meals out of whatever I have around. These recipes have been inside my head for years. As a book of 65 recipes, it offers not every possible Passover recipe but rather the best possible versions of food and desserts adapted for the Passover holiday.” 

The New Passover Menu is a modern recipe book with dishes you might see at the hip restaurant down the street, but with others that traditional cooks would embrace. There are enough familiar recipes to remind people of their childhoods, but here they are updated, lighter and more flavorful. 

Included are inventive menus for the two Seders, elegant Shabbat and Yom Tov menu as well as four diverse menus for the weekdays during the long eight-day holiday. Paula’s fabulous baked goods are found in the Breakfast and Dessert chapters. The book includes features that make planning and preparing for Passover cooking easy such as equipment lists for every recipe as well as prep and cook times. As with all of Paula’s cookbooks, recipes are beautifully photographed and include helpful tips and techniques.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Vanishing Oatmeal See's Bridge Mix Cookies: National Oatmeal Cookie Day!

Today is Oatmeal Cookie Day, and usually I'd post a recipe for Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies, but this recipe is even better! My friend Harriet Stay told me about a recipe from See's Candies that uses a 1 pound box of their Bridge Mix. Bridge Mix is made up of almonds, pecans and raisins mixed with mini Molasses Chips, See's Caramel, California Brittle and more.. and all coated in milk and dark chocolate. Harriet  noted that the recipe is exactly the same as the one on the top of the Quaker Oats box called "Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies" substituting the See's Candies Bridge Mix for the raisins. I didn't find that exact recipe from See's, but I did find the Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies recipe. Of course, you might not have See's Bridge Mix at hand, but you can always use other chopped up candy in place of See's Bridge Mix.

VANISHING OATMEAL SEE'S BRIDGE MIX COOKIES

Ingredients:
1/2 cup plus 6 tablespoons butter, softened
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups Quaker Oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)
1 cup SEE'S BRIDGE MIX

Directions
Heat oven to 350°F.
In large bowl, beat butter and sugars on medium speed of electric mixer until creamy.
Add eggs and vanilla; beat well.
Add combined flour, baking soda, and salt; mix well.
Add oats and See's Bridge Mix. Combine well.
Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until light golden brown.
Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to wire rack. Cool completely.

Variation: 
Bar Cookies: Press dough onto bottom of ungreased 13 x 9-inch baking pan. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Bailey's Irish Cream Fudge for St. Patrick's Day!

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Here's an easy recipe for Bailey's Irish Cream Fudge. This recipe is adapted from Fantasy-Ireland.com. As I've mentioned, you can find some great recipes in some unusual places: Food Associations, Travel Sites, and other product sites.

Bailey's comes in different 'flavors', and your fudge will change flavor, too, when you use Mint Bailey's Irish Cream or Coffee Irish Cream or Creme Caramel Irish Cream. Try them all.



BAILEY'S IRISH CREAM FUDGE

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

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

Monday, March 16, 2015

GUINNESS STOUT BROWNIES

Happy St. Patrick's Day! It's the perfect day for Guinness!  I've already posted recipes for Guinness Chocolate Cake. Here's an easy and delicious recipe for Guinness Stout Brownies, adapted from About.com. The texture of these brownies is great: mousse, candy, fudge, cake. You won't actually taste the beer (although it will make these brownies moist), so have a pitcher or mug on hand to drink.

GUINNESS STOUT BROWNIES

Ingredients
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I like Scharffen Berger)
1/4 tsp salt
6 Tbsp sweet Irish butter, cut into cubes
8 ounces dark 60-75% organic free trade chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup white chocolate (make sure it's cocoa butter white chocolate), chopped
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup superfine or granulated sugar
1-1/4 cups (10 ounces) Guinness Extra Stout beer (see Note below)
1 cup 60 % chocolate, chopped into small pieces (or chocolate chips)
optional: 1/8 cup confectioners' sugar for dusting

Directions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Line 9 x 13-inch baking pan with aluminum foil.
In medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, and salt until evenly combined. Set aside.
Melt butter, dark chocolate, and white chocolate in double-boiler over simmering water, stirring constantly until melted. Remove from heat.
In large mixing bowl, beat eggs and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Add melted chocolate mixture, beating until combined.
Beat reserved flour mixture into melted chocolate mixture.
Whisk in Guinness stout beer. Batter will seem thin.
Drop chocolate smaller bits  (or chips) evenly on top of batter (some will sink in).
Pour into prepared baking pan.
Bake 25 to 30 minutes on center rack in the oven, until toothpick inserted in center comes out almost clean.
Let brownies cool, uncovered, to room temperature.
Optional: Frost with Guinness Buttercream Frosting (I like mine plain)

Note: Guinness should be at room temperature. This recipe uses a little less than a standard 12-ounce bottle of Guinness stout beer. Do not include foam in the measurement. Spoon off foam or let rest until foam subsides. 

Guinness Buttercream Frosting 

Ingredients
1 cup sweet butter (room temperature)
2 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/2 whole scraped vanilla bean
1/2 Tbsp Madegascar vanilla extract
1 cup Guinness extra stout

Directions
In saucepan, simmer Guinness on low heat for 10-15 min, until stout becomes reduced and thicker in consistency--similar to syrup. *Tip: keep your eye on the store, so stout does not over cook. Let cool.
In stand alone mixer, cream butter 1 minute.
Slowly add powdered sugar in thirds, alternating with some milk each time till mixture is creamy.
Add scraped vanilla bean and vanilla extract.
Slowly add reduced Guinness a little at a time. Taste test to desired flavor. You may not use all the Guinness reduction.
Spread on cooled brownies.

Pour yourself a big mug of Guinness and drink while making ... or drink with Brownies!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Chocolate Guinness Cakes for St Patrick's Day

1938 Guinness Poster
For St. Patrick's Day every year, I post a lot of Guinness recipes. No big surprise because when I think of Ireland, I think shamrocks and leprechauns...and Guinness. Guinness Beer was founded in 1759 when Arthur Guinness signed a 9000 (!) year lease on a brewery in Dublin. That brewery is still the center of Guinness operations, and all the Guinness sold in the UK, Ireland and North America is brewed there! FYI for those of you in the U.K., Guinness is served chilled in Ireland and the bottles read "Serve Extra Cold."

St. Patrick's Day calls for a Chocolate Guinness Cake! I've put together three recipes. One of my favorite Chocolate Guinness Cake Recipes is from the New York Times (12/8/04). There are several other recipes I like, including an "Easy" Chocolate Guinness Cake made from a cake mix--and a whole bottle of Guinness. The final one on today's post is from Chef Brian Leth of Vinegar Hill House and appeared in People Magazine in 2012 (see below). My friend Loanne Heavey Slapar swears by it. It's pretty similar to the one from the NYT, but I'll bet it all comes down to the cocoa .. and a bit of technique.

1. CHOCOLATE GUINNESS CAKE
Recipe from NYT (see above)

Ingredients
Butter for pan
1 cup Guinness stout
10 Tbsp sweet butter
3/8 cup unsweetened DARK cocoa
2 cups superfine sugar
3/8 cup sour cream
2 large eggs
1 Tbsp Madagascar vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking soda

Directions
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter 9-inch springform pan and line with parchment paper.
In large saucepan, combine Guinness and butter. Place over medium-low heat until butter melts, then remove from heat. Add cocoa and superfine sugar. Whisk to blend.
In  small bowl, combine sour cream, eggs and vanilla; mix well. Add to Guinness mixture. Add flour and baking soda, and whisk again until smooth. Pour into buttered pan, and bake until risen and firm, 45 minutes to one hour. Place pan on wire rack and cool completely in pan.
Remove cake from pan and place on platter or cake stand.
Ice the top with cream cheese icing.

The NYT recipe uses a white cream cheese icing. If you use a white cream cheese icing, you can ice the top of cake only, so that it resembles a frothy pint of Guinness. If you use chocolate, well.... you'll be eating more chocolate!

Don't have the time or inclination to make a cake from scratch? This Chocolate Guinness Cake is even easier and calls for more Guinness!!! This recipe is from Canela and CominoDon't worry about the taste or smell of the Guinness because you're using the whole bottle. You'll only have a tang from the Guinness and no yeasty smell, just great chocolate aroma!

2. EASY CHOCOLATE GUINNESS CAKE

Ingredients
1 box of dark chocolate cake mix (one with pudding in the mix)
1 bottle of Guinness Stout
1/2 cup of Canola oil
3 eggs
4 ounces Bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Directions
Preheat oven to 350F.
Combine cake mix, Stout, oil, and eggs in mixing bowl. Mix on medium speed just until combined. Add bittersweet chocolate and gently stir in. Divide between two 8” cake pans, coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean when stuck in middle.
Remove from oven and cool in pans for about 15 minutes, then transfer to  cooling rack. Once cooled, frost with a rich Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting.  (see recipe above or use canned)

3. CHOCOLATE GUINNESS CAKE
From People Magazine/Vinegar Hill House:


Saturday, March 14, 2015

Pi Day: Grasshopper Pie for Pi(e) Day and St. Patrick's Day

Today is National Pi Day. Since St. Patrick's Day is March 17, I thought I'd post a 'Green Pie' to celebrate both holidays.

Pi Day is an annual celebration commemorating the mathematical constant Pi. Pi has been calculated to over one trillion digits beyond its decimal point. As an irrational and transcendental number, it will continue infinitely without repetition or pattern. Pi Day is observed on March 14 (or 3/14), since 3, 1 and 4 are the three most significant digits of Pi in the decimal form. In 2009, the U.S. House of Representatives supported the designation of Pi Day.

Grasshopper Pie is named because for its green color, although modern recipes may omit coloring the pie green. That would be a shame, though, since it's what makes it a classic. This pie was most likely invented in the 1950s in the U.S, and may have been inspired by the "Grasshopper Cocktail" invented at about the same time. Grasshopper Pie is a chiffon pie usually made with a Chocolate Cookie Crust, so you see why it's perfect for DyingforChocolate.com.

Chiffon pies in the 1950s were often a combination of whipping cream, gelatin, sugar, eggs, and flavoring (see vintage recipe at the end of this post). In the case of the Grasshopper Pie, common flavoring used was alcohol in the form of crème de menthe, and sometimes other alcohol like crème de cacao. For non-alcoholic pie, mint flavoring was achieved by using mint extracts instead, though these might still contain a tiny amount of alcohol. Green food coloring gave the pie a light green color.

There are huge differences between classic recipes for Grasshopper Pie and modern ones. Since gelatin can be  annoying to work with, many people now prepare the pie by melting marshmallows and blending them with milk or whipping cream, and sometimes cream cheese. Several recipes advocate the use of specific cookies like Oreos in the crust, but I use chocolate wafers.

In the US, Grasshopper Pie tends to be most popular in the South, but other parts of the country enjoy it too. The pie rose in popularity especially up until the 1970s. Many ice cream stores capitalized on the flavor of this pie by producing their own version with mint or mint chocolate chip ice cream and a cookie crust. Some ice cream stores are particularly known for their grasshopper ice-cream pies.

Following are several different recipes for Grasshopper Pie. As I said, this is perfect for Pi Day and St. Patrick's Day! Let me know if you have a special family recipe. Grasshopper Pie is so Retro!


Simple Grasshopper Mallow Pie  
 from Kraft

Ingredients
1/4 cup green creme de menthe
1 jar (7 oz.) JET-PUFFED Marshmallow Creme
1 pt. (2 cups) whipping cream, whipped
1 OREO Pie Crust (6 oz.)

ADD creme de menthe gradually to marshmallow creme in large bowl, beating with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Gently stir in whipped cream.
POUR into crust.
REFRIGERATE 4 to 6 hours or until chilled. Store leftover pie in refrigerator.

Frozen Grasshopper Pie
from cooks.com

Ingredients
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 rows Oreo cookies (lg. pkg.) crushed (you can also use chocolate wafers)

1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup creme de menthe
1/4 cup white creme de cacao
2 cup (1 pt.) whipping cream, whipped

Directions
Combine crushed Oreos and butter and press in bottom of 9 x 13 inch pan.
In large bowl combine sweetened milk, creme de menthe and creme de cacao.
Fold in whipped cream.
Pour over crust. Cover.
Freeze 6 hours or until firm. Garnish with chocolate curls. Return leftovers to freezer.

Expert Grasshopper Pie  
From Bon Appétit

Ingredients
Crust:
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
22 chocolate wafer cookies
3 Tbsp sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

Filling:
1 cup whole milk
Pinch of salt
3 large egg yolks
2 Tbsp cornstarch
6 ounces good-quality white chocolate (such as Baker’s or Lindt), chopped
2 Tbsp sweet butter
2 Tbsp green crème de menthe
2 Tbsp light crème de cacao
3/4 cup chilled whipping cream
Shaved white and dark chocolates

Directions 
For crust: Spray 9-inch-diameter glass or ceramic pie dish with nonstick spray. Finely grind chocolate cookies and sugar in processor. Blend in butter. Press crumb mixture onto bottom and up sides of prepared dish. Freeze. 

For filling: Combine milk and salt in heavy small saucepan. Bring to simmer. Whisk egg yolks and cornstarch in medium bowl to blend well. Gradually whisk in hot milk mixture. Return mixture to same saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat until mixture thickens, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat. Add white chocolate and butter; whisk until smooth. Transfer custard to large bowl. Whisk in crème de menthe and crème de cacao. Set custard over another large bowl of ice water until cold and thick but not set, stirring often, about 30 minutes.
Whip cream in medium bowl until stiff peaks form. Stir 1/3 of whipped cream into custard. Fold in remaining whipped cream. Pour filling into crust. Freeze at least 5 hours or up to 2 days. Garnish with shaved chocolates.

And one more,  
Vintage Cookbook Recipe for Grasshopper Pie that includes gelatin!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Gluten-free Chocolate Chip Cookies: Two recipes

We're on day four of Chocolate Chip Cookie Week, and it's time I posted a recipe for my gluten-free friends. I've posted many recipes for gluten-free baked goods, but these two Gluten-free Chocolate Chip Cookie recipes are my favorites.

The first recipe for Gluten-free Chocolate Chip Cookies is from King Arthur Flour. This is my favorite. I definitely want vanilla in my chocolate chip cookies! If you're not following King Arthur Flour on Twitter or Facebook, it's time. I get their emails, too. Their photos are enticing but even more, their products and recipes are fantastic! 

1. Gluten-free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients
1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp gluten-free vanilla extract
1 tsp salt
2 large eggs
2 1/3 cups King Arthur Gluten-Free Multi-Purpose Flour
2 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups chopped nuts, optional

Directions
Beat butter, sugars, vanilla and salt till fluffy.
Beat in eggs one at a time, being sure to scrape down sides and bottom of bowl midway through to make sure everything is well combined.
Whisk together flour or flour blend, xanthan gum, baking powder, and baking soda.
Beat dry ingredients into butter mixture, then blend in chocolate chips and nuts. Again, scrape  bottom and sides of bowl to be sure everything is well blended.
Cover bowl and refrigerate for 1 hour, or for up to 2 days.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a couple of baking sheets, or line with parchment.
Scoop tablespoon-sized balls of dough onto prepared baking sheets; a tablespoon cookie scoop works well here. Leave space betweencookies so they can spread.
Bake cookies for 9 to 11 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oven and let rest on baking sheets for 5 minutes, to set, before transferring to racks to cool completely. Or allow to cool right on baking sheets.

This second Gluten-free Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe is from Rachael Ray. It's quick and easy. As I've said before, you can never have enough recipes for Chocolate Chip Cookies, especially Gluten-Free. Try both recipes and see what you think!

2. Rachael Ray's Easy Gluten-free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 egg
2 1/4 cups of gluten-free baking flour
1 tsp baking soda 1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup chocolate chips
3/4 cup of crushed pecans

Directions
Pre-heat oven to 375°F. Grease baking sheet.
In medium sized bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add egg and stir until blended. Slowly add  gluten-free flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.
Drop teaspoon sized cookies onto prepared baking sheet and bake in preheated oven for about 8 minutes or until slightly brown and not wet.
Let cookies cool for 5 minutes before taking them off sheet.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

DoubleTree Chocolate Chip Cookies

Not everyone chooses a hotel by its cookies, but on check-in, the DoubleTree by Hilton offers up fresh chocolate chip cookies from a heated drawer. Some DoubleTree hotels offer a Chocolate Chip Martini at the Bar, and I posted a recipe for that sweet cocktail a few years ago. But what about the Cookie itself. It's really a good cookie, and I'm a bit of a cookie maven. And, this is Chocolate Chip Cookie Week, after all.

I'll be getting my cookie on check-in at Left Coast Crime today, but Suppose you just want the cookie and not the stay? You can order DoubleTree Chocolate Chip Cookies from The Christie Cookie. Some of the DoubleTree Hotels also have the cookies for sale.

DoubleTree by Hilton gives out approximately 60,000 chocolate chip cookies each day adding up to more than 21 million cookies annually. Since 1986, the DoubleTree started handing out cookies to all its guests. Since 1995, the Christie Cookie has been the keeper of the "secret" cookie recipe. Every DoubleTree by Hilton hotel follows this recipe and exact baking instructions to the letter to ensure each guest gets the same experience no matter which DoubleTree they visit. Cookies are baked fresh every day at every hotel, all over the world, from Canada to China. Each cookie is approximately two full ounces and is filled with an average of 20 chocolate chips. In addition, DoubleTree has donated more than 1,000,000 cookies to acknowledge and honor members of the communities where we operate hotels. Doctors and nurses, homeless shelters and orphanages, food banks and firefighters have all been given DoubleTree signature Chocolate Chip Cookies.

This 'copycat' recipe is available on the Internet from multiple sources. The secret ingredient? Well, not so secret anymore--pulverized oats. Here's the recipe for DoubleTree Chocolate Chip Cookies that you can enjoy at home. Don't want to bake? Order the cookies from The Christie Cookie.

DOUBLETREE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

Ingredients
1/2 cup rolled oats
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp lemon juice
2 eggs
3 cups semi-sweet, chocolate chips
1-1/2 cups chopped walnuts

Directions
1. Grind oats in food processor or blender until fine. Combine ground oats with flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in medium bowl.
2. Cream together butter, sugars, vanilla, and lemon juice in another medium bowl with electric mixer. Add eggs and mix until smooth. Stir dry mixture into wet mixture and blend well. Add chocolate chips and nuts to dough and mix by hand until ingredients are well blended.
3. For best results, chill dough overnight in refrigerator before baking cookies.
4. Spoon rounded 1/4 cup portions onto ungreased cookie sheet. Place scoops about 2 inches apart. 

5. Bake in 350°F oven for 16-18 minutes or until cookies are light brown and soft in middle. 
Store in sealed container when cool to keep soft.


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Honey Chocolate Chip Cookies: Chocolate Chip Cookie Week!

Since this is Chocolate Chip Cookie Week, I'm posting a Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe every day! I like honey a lot, so today I'm posting two recipes for Honey Chocolate Chip Cookies. I usually use local honey since I buy it in bulk (great to control pollen allergies!), but you might want to try some specialty honeys such as lavender honey. It will change the taste a bit, but that's always a nice surprise!

And since I'm posting Honey Chocolate Chip Cookies, I thought I'd post some honey tips, particularly when substituting honey for sugar.

HONEY TIPS

1. Generally you can substitute 2/3 cup honey for each cup of sugar in a recipe, but you'll probably want to reduce the amount of liquid by 1/4 cup for each cup of honey.
2. If you're baking, you'll want to reduce the heat by about 25 degrees to prevent burning.
3. And, here's one you might not know. If you're substituting honey in baking, add 1/2 tsp baking soda for each cup honey used.

From the Empire State Honey Producers comes this recipe (slightly adapted) for Honey Chocolate Chip Cookies

1. Honey Chocolate Chip Cookies 

Ingredients
1/2 cup local honey
1/2 cup sweet butter
1 egg
1/2 tsp Madagascar vanilla
1-1/2 C flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1 cup chocolate chips or dark chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup chopped or ground walnuts (optional)

Directions
Cream honey and butter together. Add egg and vanilla.
In bowl, sift flour, soda, powder and salt together. Add to wet honey mixture. Mix.
Fold in nuts and chocolate chips (or chopped chocolate). Stir slightly.
Drop onto cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.

The following recipe for Honey Chocolate Chip Cookies is adapted from fraichement via Food52. It's for small batch baking and makes about 12 cookies. Since I'm prone to eat them all, this is a great recipe. :-) The cookies will be thin, so watch your time!

2. Honey Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients
1 cup unbleached flour
1+ cup dark chocolate chips
1 egg
4 Tbsp sweet butter, softened
1/3 cup + 1 Tbsp white, granulated sugar
2 Tbsp agave-maple syrup
2 1/3 Tbsp honey
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Directions
In large mixing bowl, cream butter then add sugar, agave-maple syrup, and honey. Whisk in egg. When totally blended, add vanilla, baking soda, and pinch of salt. Add flour. Once dough is formed, fold in chocolate chips.
Cover with plastic wrap and chill for several hours.
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Make 1 inch balls (or slightly larger) and place on parchment lined cookie sheet--2 inches apart.
Bake 5 minutes, then rotate and bake for another 5 minutes.
Allow the cookies to set and cool for 8-10 minutes.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Toll House Cookies: Vintage Ad & Original Recipe

Who doesn't love chocolate chip cookies? This week is National Chocolate Chip Cookie Week. Here's the recipe for the original Chocolate Chip Cookie: Toll House Cookies. Here's a link to a post about Ruth Graves Wakefield, the originator of the Tollhouse Cookie (synonymous with chocolate chip cookie!)

These are the Chocolate Chip Cookies I grew up with. Thought I'd post this Vintage Ad for Toll House Cookies! Guess I'm Vintage! Recipe for Toll House Cookies below!


Nestle Chocolate Chips Bag with Toll House Cookie recipe

Original Toll House Cookie Recipe

Ingredients:
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened (sweet)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
1 cup chopped nuts

Directions:
PREHEAT oven to 375° F.
COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.
BAKE for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.