Thursday, April 30, 2015

CHOCOLATE COVERED RAISIN BUNDT CAKE!

Have you ever had Chocolate Covered Raisin Bundt Cake? Since today is Raisin Day, I thought I'd post this easy and delicious recipe. I originally found this recipe on Cooks.com, but you'll find variations on the Internet. As always, experiment. The following recipe uses a German Chocolate cake mix, but you can always use your own recipe and add raisins.

Chocolate Covered Raisin Bundt Cake

Ingredients
1 package German Chocolate basic bundt cake mix
3 eggs
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sour cream
1/3 cup sweet butter, softened
1/2 cup raisins

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease bottom only of 9x13 inch pan.
In large bowl, blend Packet 1 (cake mix) and next 4 ingredients until moistened. Beat 2 minutes at medium speed (portable mixer use highest speed). Fold in raisins. Pour into prepared pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on cooling rack.

Now here is what I consider optional.. and if you're making your own German Chocolate Cake, you don't need to make a glaze. But this is called Chocolate Covered Raisin Cake, so you might make one from scratch or
Blend Packet 2 (glaze mix) with 1- 2/3 tablespoons warm water. Drizzle over cooled cake.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Kentucky Derby Pie Bars with Bourbon Caramel Sauce

The 141st Kentucky Derby takes place this weekend. Are you ready? I've already posted a Kentucky Derby Pie Recipe Round-Up, but here's another great and easy recipe ... this time for Kentucky Derby Pie Bars! Make them now for the weekend. Want to make them even more fabulous? Add Bourbon Caramel Sauce. Recipe at the end of post! Now you're ready to enjoy the race!

KENTUCKY DERBY PIE BARS

Pie crust
1/2 cup sweet butter
1 cup light brown sugar
2 cups flour
Pinch of salt

Filling (Topping!)
Ingredients:
1/2 cup sweet butter
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
3 Tbsp Kentucky bourbon  (or 1 tsp vanilla--if non-alcoholic)
1/2 cup flour
1 cup dark chocolate chips
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup pecans, chopped

Directions 
Preheat oven to 350.
Combine brown sugar, flour, salt and butter together in bowl.
Butter 9×12 inch or 10×13 pan. Press 'pie crust' into bottom of pan and bake for 10 minutes.
In separate bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add eggs separately until well mixed. Add Kentucky Bourbon and salt. Stir until blended.
Gradually add flour until combined.
Fold in chocolate chips and pecans.
Pour 'filling' over pre-baked crust and spread evenly.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes,  or until filling is set.
Remove from oven, cool, and cut into squares.
Serve or refrigerate until ready to serve.
Serve plain or pour Bourbon Caramel Sauce over Kentucky Derby Pie Bars!

Bourbon Caramel Sauce 

Ingredients
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp bourbon
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Directions
In small bowl, whisk together cream, bourbon, and salt. Set aside.
Combine brown sugar and water in small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to boil. Once it begins to boil watch closely and whisk until mixture starts to turn to light brown, about 5-6 minutes. When it turns brown, slowly pour in heavy cream mixture, whisking constantly and quickly. Continue to heat over medium-high until mixture thickens and is light caramel color, about 5 minutes more (don't let it get too thick, it will thicken as it sits). Remove from the heat.

Too much work? Put some ice cream on your Kentucky Derby Pie Bars and pour some bourbon over it!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Kentucky Derby Pie: Recipe Round-Up

Over the past few years, I've posted several chocolate recipes that are served at Kentucky Derby Parties. I have more than one recipe for Derby Pie, the traditional chocolate, nut, bourbon pie, so here's a repost of the three most popular --plus a Pie in a Jar to take to the party!

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

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

1. Kentucky Derby Chocolate Pecan Pie

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

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

2. Kentucky Bourbon Chocolate Walnut Pie

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

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Mix flour and sugar.
Add eggs and melted butter; mix to combine.
Stir in bourbon, walnuts, chocolate chips, vanilla, and salt.
Pour mixture into unbaked piecrust.
Bake for 35-40 minutes.
Pie should be chewy but not runny. 
Another variation: don't add the chocolate chips to the mix: Arrange them on the bottom of the unbaked pie shell. Pour over chocolate chips and bake.

***
And, my friend Janet Appel sent her favorite recipe a few years ago. Leave it to someone from Kentucky to make the 'real' thing.

3. Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Pie
(Originally called Derby Pie)
FROM ENTERTAINING THE LOUISVILLE WAY-QUEEN’S DAUGHTERS 1969

Ingredients
1 stick melted butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup white corn syrup
4 eggs beaten
1 Tbsp Wild Turkey Bourbon
1 cup whole pecans
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1- 9 or 10 inch unbaked pie shell

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

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

***
No time to bake? Going to a Kentucky Derby Party? You can assemble and take this Kentucky Derby Pie Mix in a Jar! 

For this recipe, I substitute Bourbon for the vanilla in the directions. You can always write vanilla (or Bourbon optional) on your recipe gift card.

4. Kentucky Derby Pie in a Jar!

Ingredients:
1 cup granulated sugar (or use half brown and half granulated)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup coursely chopped pecans or walnuts
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt

Directions:
Pour sugar into lightweight food storage bag. Tie bag and cut off some of the excess and fit bag into bottom of a 1 quart wide-mouth canning jar.
Pour in half of nuts, then put in layer of chocolate chips, and then add remaining nuts.
Into food storage bag, add flour and pinch of salt.
Tie with twine or ribbon and cut off excess plastic bag end, if necessary.
Fit into the top of jar and screw on top.

Directions for gift tag or label:

Kentucky Derby Pie in a Jar!

1 9-inch pastry shell, unbaked
4 ounces melted sweet butter
2 large eggs
1 tsp Bourbon

Preheat oven to 325°.
Remove bag of flour from jar; set aside.
Pour nuts and chocolate chips into pie shell, spreading evenly.
In small mixing bowl, whisk 2 eggs.
Remove sugar bag and empty sugar and flour bags into bowl, stirring to blend well.
Whisk in 1 tsp Bourbon or splash more (or vanilla) and 4 ounces melted butter. Blend well.
Pour batter evenly over nuts and chocolate chips.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until nicely browned.
Chill thoroughly before cutting.
Serve with whipped cream.

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

Monday, April 27, 2015

Mint Julep Truffles for the Kentucky Derby

This weekend is the Kentucky Derby. You'll probably be drinking Mint Juleps, the official drink of the Kentucky Derby, since 1938. Why not step it up a notch and make these fabulous Mint Julep Truffles? I'm all about easy, and the recipe below is just that!

Mint juleps are traditionally served in pewter or silver julep cups. I always love an opportunity to buy unique tableware. You can always serve the truffles in mint julep cups!

Read more about the history of the Mint Julep at whatscooking america.

MINT JULEP TRUFFLES

Ingredients
7 ounces DARK (60-75% cacao) chocolate, chopped
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 Tbsp minced fresh mint leaves
2 Tbsp sweetbutter, softened
1 Tbsp good quality bourbon
Cocoa

Directions
Put chopped chocolate in bowl and set aside.
Heat heavy cream and mint leaves in small saucepan. Bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and pour over chocolate. Stir in butter and bourbon; whisk until chocolate is melted and smooth.
Cover chocolate mixture with plastic wrap (press wrap onto surface of chocolate) and chill for two hours, or until firm.

To Form the Truffles:
Put cocoa in shallow bowl.
Using a melon baller or teaspoon, scoop out balls of chilled chocolate. Form into balls quickly between your palms.
Roll balls in cocoa to coat.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Chocolate Pie with Pretzel Crust

Tomorrow is National Pretzel Day. You can celebrate in so many ways. Dip pretzels or pretzel sticks in chocolate, or you can make this Chocolate Pie with Pretzel Crust! No time to make the chocolate filling from scratch? Use a Pudding Box Mix.

CHOCOLATE PIE WITH PRETZEL CRUST

Pretzel Crust

Ingredients
12+ ounces pretzels, crushed
3 Tbsp light brown sugar
1/3 cup sweet butter, melted

Directions
Whirl pretzels in blender, so they're very fine. Add sugar and butter. Mix. Press half of mixture into 9-inch pie plate. Bake at 350 for 8 minutes. Cool.

Pour in chocolate filling. Top with remaining pretzel mixture. Chill.

Chocolate Pie Filling

Ingredients
1/2 cup sugar
4 Tbsp cornstarch
2 1⁄2 cups milk
3 ounces dark chocolate (70-75% cacoa), chopped
3 egg yolks, slightly beaten
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract

Directions
Combine sugar, cornstarch, milk and chocolate in top of double boiler. Cook over boiling water until mixture thickens, stirring constantly. Cover and cook for 15 minutes. Stir a bit of hot chocolate mixture into egg yolks in order to temper eggs and keep them from curdling. Add tempered yolks to chocolate mixture, stirring constantly and thoroughly. Cool mixture. Add vanilla extract to chocolate and mix thoroughly. Pour chocolate filling into cooled pretzel crust. Top with remaining pretzel mixture. Chill before serving.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Retro Ad & Recipe: Marshmal-O Fudge

I just love these Retro recipes and Ads for chocolate delights! Here's an easy and delicious recipe for Marshmal-o Fudge! Of course you can always update the ingredients for even richer flavor. Pennant's Marshmal-o is no longer around, so I use Marshmallow Fluff.  The recipe calls for Hershey's 'dainties' that are miniature chocolate chips. I use chopped dark chocolate, instead.



Thursday, April 23, 2015

Myrtle's Better Than Sex Cake: Cozy Food Cookbook

I love it when my world's of mystery and chocolate cross! Here's a guest post from Nancy Lynn Jarvis. Nancy Lynn Jarvis is the editor of a brand new cookbook called Cozy Food: 128 Cozy Mystery Writers Share Their Favorite Recipes. Cozy Food has 220 recipes from 128 mystery authors. There are Italian, Australian, English, and North American recipes. There are even gluten-free and vegetarian recipes, as well as some pet treats.

Cozy Food has recipes from many Cozy Mystery authors who are found on the Cozy Mystery site. Just to name a few: Ellery Adams, Donna Andrews, Mignon F. Ballard, Juliet Blackwell, Duffy Brown, Mollie Bryan, Shelley Costa, Carola Dunn, Monica Ferris, Sally Goldenbaum, Carolyn Haines, Miranda James, Camille Minichino, Tamar Myers, Nancy J. Parra, Ann Purser, Melissa Bourbon Ramirez, and Elaine Viets. The list is a veritable Who’s Who of Cozy Mystery writing!

Nancy Jarvis:

Janet offered to share a recipe from Cozy Food: 128 Cozy Mystery Writers Share Their Favorite Recipes and asked me, as Editor, to pick one. What a difficult assignment; there are just so many chocolaty choices.

Like all good cookbooks, Cozy Food bulges in the middle with sweets and dessert recipes, many of which contain chocolate as a main ingredient. There are elegant recipes such as “Bribe Your Best Buddy French Chocolate Mousse” and “Dark Chocolate Torte with Grand Marnier.” There’s a whole sub-section of chocolate chip cookies, everyone tasty and original, and another sub-section devoted to brownies and fudge. But the recipe for you today was finally selected because it is easy, delicious, decadent, and breaks one of the quintessential rules of cozy mysteries: that sex takes place “off page.”

Here’s “Myrtle’s Better than Sex Cake” from Beef Stolen-off by Liz Lipperman which appears on page 112 of Cozy Food

Myrtle’s Better than Sex Cake 

Ingredients
1 package German chocolate cake mix
3/4 cup hot fudge sauce
3/4 cup caramel sauce
3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
12 ounces extra creamy nondairy whipped topping such as Cool Whip
4 Heath Bars (1.4 ounces each), chopped

Directions
Prepare the cake mix according to package directions and bake in a 13-by-9-by-2 pan 32-37 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool for 20 minutes on rack, then punch 20-25 holes in the top with the handle of a wooden spoon.
Microwave the hot fudge sauce for 20 seconds and then pour it into the holes.
Microwave the caramel sauce and the condensed milk separately and add one at a time just like the hot fudge sauce.
Frost with the whipped topping.
Sprinkle the Heath Bars over the whipped topping.
Refrigerate.

Nancy Lynn Jarvis thinks you should try something new every few years. Writing the Regan McHenry Real Estate Mysteries series is her newest adventure and she’s been having so much fun doing it that she’s finally acknowledged she’ll never sell another house. She let her license lapse in May of 2013, after her twenty-fifth anniversary in real estate. After earning a BA in behavioral science from San Jose State University, she worked in the advertising department of the San Jose Mercury News. A move to Santa Cruz meant a new job as a librarian and later a stint as the business manager for Shakespeare Santa Cruz at UCSC. Her husband Craig is her-go-to guy for everything computer, her initial editor (whether he wants to be or not) and co-editor of Cozy Food, although he doesn’t want credit for it. He’s the one who made the book work so you can easily find whodunit.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Earth Day Peanut Butter Chocolate Balls

So many ways to celebrate Earth Day with Chocolate. These Earth Day Peanut Butter Chocolate Balls are easy to make and fabulous to eat!

EARTH DAY PEANUT BUTTER CHOCOLATE BALLS

Ingredients
12 ounces peanut butter (organic crunchy or smooth)
1 cup organic sweet butter, softened
16 ounces powdered sugar
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla
12 ounces milk or semisweet chocolate, chopped.
Sea salt or Kosher salt

Directions
1. Mix peanut butter, butter, vanilla and sugar until well combined. Use hands or mixer. Roll mix into balls and drop onto parchment-lined cookie sheet. Freeze for one hour.
2. Melt chocolate in top of double boiler or saucepan over another saucepan over simmering water. Remove from stove.
3. Dip peanut butter balls in chocolate using two forks or special chocolate dipping tool. Put on parchment paper.
4. With clean dry hands, sprinkle salt on top before chocolate dries.
5. Put in refrigerator to set up.

Alternatively, you can coat the balls in chocolate and then roll in chopped peanuts (have 2 cups chopped peanuts ready).

Monday, April 20, 2015

Earth Day Potted Chocolate Dirt Pudding

April 22 will be the celebration of the 45th Earth Day! Celebrate with this simple and fun recipe. Make some home-made chocolate pudding or pudding from a box, crush some oreos on top, and stick a sprig of mint! I use either clay pots (make sure they're clean) or glass mason jars. Use paper cups if that's all you have. Talk about easy! And cute, too! You can swap out mint extract for vanilla if you want chocolate mint pudding!Very versatile.

Celebrate Earth Day! It's the only Earth we have!

Want to make your own chocolate pudding?

Potted Chocolate Dirt Pudding

Ingredients
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
3 Tbsp cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
2-1/4 cups whole milk
2 Tbsp butter
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract  (or mint extract)

Directions
Stir together sugar, cocoa, cornstarch and salt in medium saucepan; gradually stir in milk.
Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils; boil and stir 1 minute.
Remove from heat; stir in butter and vanilla. Pour into individual pots or jars.
Let cool or refrigerate.
Top with crushed oreos.
Stick spring of mint into each individual pot.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Chocolate Amaretto Cheesecake: National Amaretto Day

Today is National Amaretto Day.  Amaretto is a sweet, almond-flavored Italian liqueur. Interestingly enough it isn't always made from almonds. It's primarily made from apricot pits and spices. The original version was made in Saronno, Italy. Amaretto is Italian for "a little bitter." Here's a link to a Homemade Amaretto recipe from Chow.com.

I love this recipe for Chocolate Amaretto Cheesecake. I've adapted this recipe from Cooking Light, but I've added 'less' light ingredients. My feeling, if you're going to do it, do it whole hog.

Chocolate Amaretto Cheesecake

Ingredients
6-8 chocolate wafers
Cooking spray
1 cup sugar
1 cup cottage cheese
12 ounces cream cheese
6 Tbsp DARK unsweetened Scharffen Berger cocoa
1/4 cup all-purpose flour (I like King Arthur Flour)
1/8 cup Amaretto
1 Tbsp water
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1 large egg
2 Tbsp dark chocolate chopped fine (or mini-chocolate chips)

Directions
Preheat oven to 300°

Crust
Place wafers in food processor, and pulse until coarsely ground. Sprinkle crumbs into bottom of  8-inch spring form pan coated with cooking spray.

Cheesecake
Place sugar and next 8 ingredients (sugar through salt) in food processor, and process until smooth.
Add egg, and process until blended.
Pour cheese mixture into prepared pan, and sprinkle with finely chopped dark chocolate.
Bake at 300° for 55 minutes or until cheesecake center barely moves when pan is touched.
Remove cheesecake from oven, and run knife around outside edge.
Cool to room temperature.
Cover and chill at least 8 hours.

Friday, April 17, 2015

White Chocolate Molé with Animal Crackers

Tomorrow is National Animal Crackers Day, so this recipe for White Chocolate Molé with Animal Crackers is perfect! Animal Crackers are often used in mole recipes for thickening.

I posted a more traditional Molé Poblano Recipe with Animal Crackers before.. but this one is for White Chocolate Mole with Animal Crackers. Definitely worth making. Recipe from Judy Walker in the Arizona Republic several years ago.

White Chocolate Molé with Animal Crackers

Ingredients:
1/2 cup unsalted peanuts
1/4 cup sliced blanched almonds
1/4 cup walnuts
2 cups water
1 cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
2 whole cloves
1 fresh poblano chile, seeded and chopped
2 fresh serrano chiles, seeded and chopped
1 small clove garlic
1/2 white Spanish onion, cut into chunks
6 animal crackers, toasted
1/4 cup sweet butter
1/2 cup chopped white chocolate
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tspn freshly ground white pepper

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread peanuts, almonds and walnuts on a jelly-roll pan. Toast in oven, shaking the pan occasionally, until the nuts are slightly colored and fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes.

In blender, combine nuts, water, cinnamon stick and cloves; blend until nuts are very finely ground. Strain through medium-mesh sieve over bowl, pressing on solids with back of ladle or rubber spatula to release liquid. Reserve liquid and discard solids.

In blender, combine chiles, garlic, onion and nut liquid. Add animal crackers; puree until smooth. Strain through medium-mesh sieve over bowl, pressing on solids with back of ladle or rubber spatula to release liquid. Discard solids.

In large saucepan, heat butter. Stir in nut-chile liquid. Simmer, uncovered, over medium heat, scraping bottom of pan occasionally with  rubber spatula, until mixture is consistency of thick pea soup, about 15 minutes.

Stir in chocolate, salt and pepper until chocolate is melted. Use immediately.

Note: The mole without the chocolate can be made ahead and refrigerated, tightly covered, for up to a week. To serve, heat in a saucepan and stir in the chocolate.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

S'mores Indoors: Retro Ad & Recipe

I recently came across this cool Retro Ad for S'mores Indoors from golden Grahams Cereal and Nestle Chocolate Morsels. I'm a big fan of all kinds of S'mores. I'll be adding this recipe to my S'mores Recipe Round-up on National S'mores Day this summer. Of course you can change of the original ingredients using your favorite graham cereal and chocolate. So if you're not in outside camping this weekend, here's a great way to bring the great outdoors in! Who doesn't love S'mores?

Here's an updated recipe!

S'MORES INDOORS

Ingredients 
8 cups Golden Grahams™ cereal (or your own favorite graham cereal)
5 cups miniature marshmallows
1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips  (or chopped chocolate)
1/4 cup light corn syrup
5 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon Madagascar vanilla
1 cup miniature marshmallows

Directions 
Into large bowl, measure cereal. Butter 13x9-inch pan.
In large microwavable bowl, microwave 5 cups marshmallows, the chocolate chips, corn syrup and butter uncovered on High 2 minutes to 3 minutes 30 seconds, stirring after every minute, until melted and smooth when stirred. Stir in vanilla.
Pour over cereal; quickly toss until completely coated. Stir in 1 cup marshmallows.
Press mixture evenly in pan, using buttered back of spoon.
Refrigerate for an hour to firm up.
Cut into 6 rows by 4 rows.
Store loosely covered at room temperature up to 2 days.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Lemon Curd Brownies

My Mother passed away in early February, and I've been going through her correspondence and records. I came across a note from an English friend of hers who wrote, "As promised here's the recipe and a little supply of my lemon curd for you." Unfortunately, the lemon curd was not in the cupboard or refrigerator. My mother loved lemon, and I do, too, especially with chocolate.

So I thought I'd make brownies using "Elaine's Lemon Curd" recipe. I have several lemon trees, including three prolific Meyer lemon trees that are perfect for making lemon curd. Here's the recipe from "Elaine's" note. Be sure and scroll down for the Lemon Curd Brownie Recipe! Of course, you can always use store bought Lemon Curd, but try making your own. It's easy and yummy, and you can adjust the recipe as you see fit!

LEMON CURD


LEMON CURD BROWNIES

This recipe is very loosely adapted from Coffee & Quinoa. Go there for fabulous photos!

Ingredients 
4 ounces dark chocolate
3/4 cup sweet butter
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups dark chocolate, chopped into chunks  (or chocolate chips)
1 cup lemon curd

Directions
Preheat oven to 350.
Line 9x9 baking pan with parchment and grease with cooking spray or butter.
Melt chocolate and butter in top of double boiler, or in a saucepan over another saucepan over simmering water. Take off stove. Stir in sugar. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in flour and salt. Fold in chocolate chunks.
Spread 2/3 of batter into baking pan. Spread lemon curd on top. Put remaining batter on top, spreading to cover lemon curd completely.
Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with crumbs.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Chocolate Pecan Bars: Retro Advertisement & Recipe

Today is National Pecan Day! So many ways to celebrate, but I thought I'd return to a great recipe from the past. I love when I find recipes like this in the newspaper, tucked in the product, or in a magazine! Here's a great Retro Recipe for Chocolate Pecan Bars. This is so easy to make, and I always have the ingredients in the pantry. Given that it's retro, I would upgrade with the very best Cocoa, real butter, and Madagascar vanilla.


CHOCOLATE PECAN BARS
(Makes 24 to 36 bars)

Ingredients:
1-1/4 cups unsifted flour
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup DARK Cocoa
1 cup cold butter
1 (14-ounce) can Sweetened Condensed Milk (NOT evaporated milk)
1 egg
2 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups chopped pecans

Directions
Preheat oven to 350° (325° for glass dish).
In large bowl, combine flour, sugar and cocoa; cut in butter until crumbly (mixture will be dry). Press firmly on bottom of 13×9-inch baking pan. Bake 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in medium bowl, beat sweetened condensed milk, egg and vanilla; mix well. Stir in nuts. Spread evenly over crust.
Bake 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool. Cut into bars.
Store covered in refrigerator.

Tuesday Tips: How to Make Your Own Cake Flour

I often come across recipes that require cake flour rather than all purpose flour. I don't always have it in the pantry, so I'm posting a simple recipe for Cake Flour below. Love this wonderful retro advertisement that offers up the recipe (without the sifting).


How to make Cake Flour

In a cup measure, add 2 Tbsp cornstarch, then fill the cup up with flour. So basically for every cup of flour, you take out two Tbsp of the flour and add 2 Tbsp cornstarch. Sift before adding to your other ingredients. I actually sift several times for better aeration.

Want to buy the best cake flour? I like King Arthur Flour's cake flour. It's unbleached flour.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Sweet Chocolate Orange Marmalade Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Today is National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day, and, of course, I've posted many different variations on Chocolate Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, including yesterday's Grilled Cheese Nutella Sandwich. So today here's one more. Bread, Butter, Cheese, Chocolate--and Orange Marmalade! What could be better?

I love my Panini Press, but this one should be made on the stove in an iron skillet. My mother used to make her fabulous grilled cheese sandwiches in an old iron skillet with the top of a smaller iron lid pressing down on the sandwiches. Both were inherited from my grandmother. I have the lid (with a 1950s era blue enamel handle), but not the original skillet. Interesting what we hold on to.

This recipe is great for Sunday Brunch. It's sweet, so if you'd like another version, just add a bar of chocolate, some goat or brie cheese--and place in between buttered challah or another bread. This recipe is too creamy (and oozing) for the panini press, so make it in a big skillet. Reduce amounts if it's only two of you. Try this recipe to celebrate National Grilled Cheese Day.. or save it for brunch another time.

Sweet Chocolate Orange Marmalade Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Ingredients
6 ounces Mascarpone
2 Tbsp Orange Marmalade
2 Tbsp sweet Butter (room temperature)
8 slices Challah or Brioche (sandwich size)
8 ounces Brie (sliced 1/4 inch thick)
14 ounces Dark Chocolate (65-75% cacao, fair-trade, organic), chopped

Directions
Combine orange marmalade and mascarpone.
Butter one side of each slice of bread. Place 4 slices, buttered side down on work surface. Spread mascarpone on bread. Place brie slices over mascarpone mixture and sprinkle with chocolate chunks.
Top with remaining slices of bread, buttered side up.
Heat large skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes. Put sandwiches in pan, cover and cook for 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Watch carefully.
Turn sandwiches, pressing each firmly with spatula or heavy pot lid (smaller than the skillet).
Cover and cook for 2-3 minutes until undersides are browned.
Remove cover, turn sandwiches over and press firmly with spatula or pot lid again.
Cook until cheese has melted completely.
Remove from pan and let cool 2-3 minutes.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Grilled Cheese Nutella Sandwich!

"Lunch Break" by Arthur Saron Sarnoff
This month we celebrate the Grilled Cheese Sandwich. Grilled Cheese is just about my favorite sandwich, and I'm thrilled that there are now so many places that serve a variation. And, at home, well you know I've added chocolate, chocolate and strawberries, and other wonderful foods that make this crispy/gooey treat so awesome. How can you go wrong with bread, cheese, and butter?

So today with a nod to The Kitchn, here's a great recipe for a Grilled Cheese Nutella Sandwich. The Kitchn's Grilled Cheese is made in the oven, but I like the extra flavor that comes with grilling. And, it's Grilled Cheese Sandwich Month, after all. This recipe uses cream cheese, but to make it more savory, you can always use brie. I'm a big fan of melted brie. Want an even savorier (is that a word?) flavor? Use ripe soft goat cheese. Want to make it sweeter? Butter the outside of the bread and when grilling sprinkle with brown sugar (don't let it burn--just carmelize).

GRILLED CHEESE NUTELLA SANDWICH

Ingredients
4 slices Italian sweet sourdough bread
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 Tbsp Nutella
Sea Salt
Sweet butter

Directions
Butter one side of each piece of bread.
Spread cream cheese on inside of 2 slices of sourdough bread.
Spread Nutella on remaining inside of 2 slices.
Sprinkle sea salt on the Nutella.
Put sandwiches together.
Heat skillet with more sweet butter (don't burn)
Place sandwiches on hot skillet and grill.
Turn after appropriate golden-ness.
Grill second side until done!


Thursday, April 9, 2015

Dark Chocolate Biscotti: 3 Recipes

Today is National Almond Cookie Day, and for me that means Biscotti! Biscotti are twice baked Italian cookies, primarily almond cookies. After the dough is baked in a loaf, it is sliced and the slices (biscotti) are baked again. Biscotto means Biscuit or Cookie to us in the U.S., so Chocolate Biscotti are the best way to celebrate today's Almond Cookie Day! The root words "bis" and "cotto" literally mean "twice" and "baked." When Italians first created biscotti in Tuscany centuries ago, they were careful to bake the cookies twice, in order to form their unique shape and allow the cookies to develop their signature crisp texture.

Here are three great Dark Chocolate Biscotti recipes. Enjoy!

I. DARK CHOCOLATE BISCOTTI

Ingredients
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup sweet butter, softened
about 12 ounces of good dark chocolate, melted
3 eggs
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup finely chopped almonds

Directions
Heat oven to 350°F
Combine sugar and butter in large bowl; beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until well mixed; Add 2 cups melted dark chocolate, eggs and vanilla; continue beating until well mixed.
Reduce speed to low; add flour, baking powder and salt; beat until well mixed; stir in nuts by hand.
Divide dough into three equal pieces. Shape each 1/3 into a 12 " long roll.
Place rolls 5 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet (you'll probably need 2 cookie sheets); flatten each roll to 2-inch width; bake for 25 minutes or until set.
Cool on cookie sheet 15 minutes.
Reduce oven temperature to 300°F; Cut rolls diagonally into 1/2-inch slices with serrated knife.
Place on cookie sheet, cut-side down; bake for 10 minutes; turn slices; continue baking for 12 to 15 minutes or until dry and crisp; cool completely.

I also found a recipe on Eggs on Sunday which is an adaptation of Dorie Greenspan's Baking from My Home to Yours biscotti recipe. Amy gives some tips for making these biscotti that also work with the recipe above. #1 She whisks all the dry ingredients together rather than sifting to break up lumps. She then creams together the butter and sugar for 2 minutes. (Butter should be room temperature).

Check out her Step-by-Step: My Favorite Chocolate Biscotti for helpful tips and great photos.

Tip from Amy: Since you're going to bake the logs whole and then cut them into individual biscotti, score the logs about halfway down before putting them in to bake! It makes it a lot easier and with much less cracking. Use this tip with the biscotti recipe above, too!

I've changed a few things in this recipe, too

II. DARK CHOCOLATE BISCOTTI

Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (use a high grade dark cocoa)
2 Tbsp instant coffee or instant espresso powder (I keep some in the pantry for just this type of recipe)
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
6 Tbsp sweet butter, room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped almonds
4 oz dark chocolate (70% organic/fair trade), coarsely chopped

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment or use silicone baking mat.
Whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa, coffee powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
With stand mixer, cream butter and sugar on medium speed about 2 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl and add eggs and vanilla; beat for another 2 minutes. Decrease speed to low and mix in dry ingredients in 3 additions, mixing only until dough forms. Scrape down sides of the bowl and mix in chopped nuts and chocolate.
Turn dough out onto work surface and knead few times to pull dough together into ball. Divide into two portions; shape each portion into 12 x 2 inch log. Place each log on baking sheet. At this point, score log with knife where you plan to cut it into biscotti-- this helps to cut it later without it cracking. Bake for 25 minutes.
Remove sheet from oven and let cool on rack for 20 minutes. Then, slice logs diagonally into 3/4-inch thick slices and leave slices standing up on baking sheet. Return to oven for another 15 minutes of baking. (notice this is a different technique than the recipe above. If the slices are thinner, they won't stand up)
Transfer biscotti to a rack to cool.

3. TRIPLE CHOCOLATE BISCOTTI
This is Paula Shoyer's Triple Chocolate Biscotti recipe from The New Passover Menu cookbook. Paula wrote a guest post for DyingforChocolate on March 21, 2015. Be sure and read the entire post--and buy the Cookbook. Great recipes for Passover or any time!

Ingredients
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, broken into pieces
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
3 Tbsp vanilla sugar (see cookbook)
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 Tbsp potato starch
1 1/2 cups ground almonds (see cookbook)
1/4 tsp salt 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Line jelly roll pan or cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Melt chocolate. Remove chocolate from heat source, add sugar and oil, and whisk well. Add eggs and mix. Add vanilla sugar, cocoa, potato starch, ground almonds, and salt and mix well. Add chocolate chips and mix to distribute them.
Divide dough in half and shape into two loaves, each about 9 x 3 inches (23 x 7.5cm). Place both loaves on lined jelly roll pan and bake for 30 minutes. Let loaves cool for 10 minutes (do not turn off oven). Cut each loaf crosswise into 3/4 - to 1-inch-thick slices. Place cookies, cut side up, on  parchment-covered cookie sheet (or jelly roll pan again). Bake for another 14 minutes, or until  cookies are firm to touch on outside but still feel soft on tinside. Check  after 10 to 12 minutes so that you don’t overbake.
Read more about technique and ingredients HERE.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Chocolate Marble Coffee Cake: National Coffee Cake Day!

Today is National Coffee Cake Day, and there are so many wonderful recipes for Chocolate Coffee Cake, Chocolate Marble Coffee Cake, and hey, lots of pound cakes are coffee cakes. Coffee cakes are sweet cakes usually meant to accompany coffee. They are usually single layer cakes, baked in loaf or bundt pans, but other shapes are fine. I have a square chiffon cake pan that works with the following recipe.

This recipe for Chocolate Marble Coffee Cake produces a cake with a great dense texture, and it will appeal to both chocolate and white cake lovers--and it has coffee in it, so it's a perfect "Coffee Cake."  This recipe is adapted from Stephanie Jaworski's - Joy of Baking. If you're not familiar with her website, you should get acquainted. Lots of great recipes.

Chocolate Marble Coffee Cake

Ingredients
2 1/2 ounces 65-75% organic, fair-trade dark chocolate, chopped
1 Tbsp brewed coffee or espresso
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup sweet butter
1 1/4 cups granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
3/4 cup sour cream
1/3 cup milk

Directions: 
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and place rack in center of oven. Butter 10 inch bundt or tube pan.
2. In stainless steel bowl, over saucepan of simmering water, melt chocolate with coffee. Remove from heat and set aside.
3. In separate bowl sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and ground cinnamon. Set aside.
4. In bowl of electric mixer (or with hand mixer), beat butter until smooth and creamy. Gradually add sugar and continue to beat until mixture is light and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Add beaten eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Beat in vanilla extract and sour cream.
5. With mixer on low speed, alternately add flour mixture and milk to the batter, in three additions, beginning and ending with flour.
6. After preparing batter, pour half of batter into separate bowl. Stir melted chocolate into one half of batter, mixing well. Place batter into prepared pan by alternating spoons of vanilla batter and chocolate batter. Then, with flat knife almost to bottom of pan, gently draw swirls (up, over and down) through batter as you rotate pan (if you're using round bundt) to marbleize it. Don't over mix. Smooth top of batter.
7. Bake for about 50 - 60 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool for about 10 minutes before removing cake from pan to cool completely. Serve warm or at room temperature.

I think this cake is fine the way it is (not too sweet), but you can dust with powdered sugar, drip with a chocolate glaze, or frost with a chocolate ganache.

This cake will keep for a couple of days at room temperature or it can be frozen.

No time to bake today? 
Grab a slice of Starbucks: Marble Pound Cake to celebrate National Coffee Cake Day!

Monday, April 6, 2015

What to do with Leftover Easter Chocolate!


Today both high end and low end Easter Chocolate is on sale at 50% off. This is the perfect time to scoop up the bargains. But maybe you still have a lot of leftover chocolate at home? Perhaps not the ears of the bunny, but body parts and decimated eggs? Put all this chocolate to tasty use!

If it's still in its wrapping, donate leftover chocolate to homeless shelters -- or if it won't melt, ship overseas to military personnel.

But if your chocolate is in pieces and chunks, here are a few ideas. Leftover chocolate goes great on ice cream or added to brownies and cookies. So many creative ways to re-purpose and re-savor Easter Candy. Feel free to add your own leftover Easter chocolate ideas!

Freeze for Later: Chop up chocolate bunnies and chocolate eggs. Freeze the pieces and use instead of chocolate chips in cookies and other goodies. 

Ice Cream: Melt Easter bunny parts and pour over ice cream. Add some nuts. Or just chop it up and sprinkle on ice cream. Add berries and whipped cream for a great sundae.

Milk Shake: Use any chopped chocolate with two scoops of ice cream and some milk. Blend!

S'Mores: Well they're a natural with Peeps, especially the chocolate covered ones.. but in a pinch add some chocolate bunny, a peep, a graham cracker, and put in the oven or microwave. Add another graham cracker and you're good to go!

Trail Mix: Well, duh... chop up the chocolate and add some dried fruit and nuts. I think a chopped up chocolate coconut egg would be a great addition, too! Put in a small baggie and go for a hike!

Chocolate Covered Strawberries: Instead of dipping (unless you have a lot of chocolate), drizzle melted chocolate over fresh strawberries.

Candy from Candy: Melt Chocolate Bunnies or Easter eggs in double boiler or microwave. Once  chocolate is hot and smooth, pour into candy molds.

Chocolate Fondue: see my fondue recipes. The Bunny has never tasted so good... Retro treat with Retro Chocolate. Dip leftover PEEPS and fruit.

Hot Chocolate: Melt some chocolate. Add water or milk and heat until perfect. Add some whipped cream (or a PEEP)!

Brownies: I always add some extra chopped chocolate to my brownies, so why not some chocolate Easter eggs? Chop and fold into batter. 

Pancakes: Make a batch of pancakes and drop some chocolate in (do it toward the end or the chocolate or chocolate will scorch) or melt some chocolate and use in place of syrup.

Muffins and Waffles: Chop up Chocolate and add to muffins or waffles.

Trifle: Layer chopped Bunnies with leftover cake or brownies, whipped cream, cookie crumbs and anything else that seems yummy to you. I like to make trifles in clear glass containers to see all the delicious chocolate goodness!

Cookies: Do I really need to tell you how to do this? Chop and Drop in your favorite batter!

Cupcakes: Any way you'd use chocolate -- or use an apple corer and fill the centers.

Rice Krispies Treats: Melt chocolate, then stir in Rice Krispies. Spread on a tray. Put in Refrigerator. Cut.

Any other ideas for left-over Easter Chocolate?



Sunday, April 5, 2015

Mad Men Series Finale Blogtail Party: Retro Chocolate Coca Cola Cakes

Tonight Mad Men starts the final series and to enhance your experience, The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook is holding a blogtail party with bloggers all over the universe posting recipes, reviews, and more. The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook by Judy Gelman and Peter Zheutlin is a great addition to my Theme Cookbook Shelf! There are definitely chocolate recipes, but there are also great cocktail (no surprise there), appetizer, main dish, and dessert recipes that are mentioned in the show.

Want to win a copy of The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook? Post a comment about your favorite "Mad Men" retro recipe!

Want to join the party? Go here for  Food, cocktails and lifestyle bloggers worldwide.

Over the many seasons of the show, I've posted 'retro' recipes that Betty or any number of the 'women' on the show might have made. Here are two of my favorite chocolate cakes from the 60s.

The first recipe is for a Coca Cola Chocolate Cake. If you'll remember, Betty was a former model, and she returned to her 'career' to shoot a Coca Cola ad (see below). There are many versions of this Coca Cola Chocolate Cake, and if you're a Pepsi fan, you can always substitute Pepsi in the recipe. See the Retro Pepsi Ad below. Is that Don Draper in the Ad? Was it his account?

The second recipe is for 7-Up Chocolate Cake that's made from a mix. Mixes were new and 'time-saving' in the 50s and 60s. You'll love the instructions. They're pretty retro, too. I couldn't resist, though, posting three different icing recipes (and techniques). Take your pick.

So, get out your 'Pyrex' dish and bake a Retro Chocolate Cake!

COCA-COLA CHOCOLATE CAKE

Ingredients
2 cups unsifted cake flour
2 cups sugar
2 sticks butter
2 Tbsp cocoa
1 cup Coca-Cola
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt

Directions
Sift together flour and sugar. Heat to boiling point the butter, cocoa and Coca-Cola. Add to flour and sugar mixture. Stir to blend. Add buttermilk, soda, eggs, salt and vanilla. Stir with spoon until well blended. Pour into greased and floured oblong pan (Pyrex dish). Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Batter will be thin. Ice while hot.

COCA-COLA ICING

1/2 cup butter
6 Tbsp Coca-Cola
1 box confectioners' sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp cocoa

Heat to boiling point--butter, cocoa and Cola-Cola. Add confectioners' sugar and vanilla; stir to blend. Using a fork, make holes in hot cake and pour hot icing over it.

BROILED PEANUT BUTTER ICING

6 Tbsp Butter
1 cup Brown Sugar; Dark, packed
2/3 cup Peanut Butter
1/4 cup Milk
2/3 cup Peanuts; chopped

Cream Butter, sugar, and peanut butter. Add milk and stir well. Add nuts. Spread over warm cake. Place iced cake under broiler about 4-inches from heat source. Broil just a few seconds, or until topping starts to bubble. DO NOT scorch! Let cool at least 30 minutes before serving.
***

Chocolate 7-Up Cake is also perfect for tonight's party! This Chocolate 7-Up Cake recipe uses Duncan Hines Devil's Food Cake Mix and 7-Up, and the Dobash Frosting uses Ghirardelli cocoa, one of my favorites. 7-Up Cakes are light and airy.

CHOCOLATE 7-UP CAKE

Cake Ingredients
1 box Duncan Hines Devil Food cake mix
3 large eggs
1/2 cup oil
1 can 7-Up

Directions
Combine above and beat for 4 minutes with electric mixer.
Grease and flour a bundt pan.
Pour in batter.
Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes.

Dobash Frosting
1 1/2 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup Ghirardelli cocoa
pinch of salt

Combine all in saucepan and bring to a boil.
Add 1/2 cup water to make a paste. Stir into cocoa mixture with whisk over heat until it thickens. Pour while hot over cake and spread.

Are you a Dr. Pepper Fan? Read this post on Dr. Pepper and a Dr. Pepper Chocolate Cake.


Chocolate Easter Bunnies!

A Tail of Peter Rabbit...

I love the Easter Bunny. If you've been to my home you know I have a giant wooden Easter Bunny in my living room. He should be holding a basket with Easter eggs, but that function has come and gone. I got him at the Oakland Museum White Elephant sale, and although he's not chocolate, he reminds me of other Easter Bunnies I've known and loved.

Some Chocolate Bunnies are filled and some are hollow. Today a random tour through hollow and solid Chocolate Easter Bunnies. Perhaps the most famous of U.S. Hollow Easter Bunnies are those manufactured by R. M. Palmer. Back in 1948, Richard M. Palmer, Sr., designed and patented the technology that is still used today in their West Reading (PA) production facilities. Palmer's vision was to give the old, tired chocolate bunnies of the day some new and interesting characteristics and names. The early bunnies named Flopsy, Peter Candytail, and Busy Bigby were not just "sitting" rabbits. Today, the list of their different styles of hollow chocolate bunnies is endless. They come in all shapes and sizes. And, if you're thinking the output of these hopping rabbits is slim, think again. Each year the R.M. Palmer Company produces 25 million hollow rabbits that range in size from 1/75 oz/4 inch high to  a 20 oz foot tall Grandbunny Heffelflopper.

In South Africa,  the traditional Chocolate Bunny rabbit reached gigantic height and weight. Duracel built a 3 ton-4 meter tall Chocolate Bunny (Duracel symbol: Energizer Bunny) in Johannesburg. So much chocolate.What to do? Duracel put the edible giant Bunny to good use. It was chopped up and distributed to orphans. South Africa, where the AIDS virus is widespread, sadly, has a huge number of orphans because of the AIDS epidemic which has taken many of their parents.  

Watch a video of the Giant Chocolate Bunny HERE.

Some local bunnies at the Drugstores and Supermarkets: Lindt Gold Bunny (in photo at top). I like the looks of this one and captured a few at Cost Plus, Safeway and CVS. Others: Cadbury Solid Milk Chocolate Bunny. Being a dark chocolate fan, this is not my favorite. Dove Bunny: tiny little thing but tasty.

More High End Sophisticated Rabbits...are more to my taste. Anything from Jacques Torres. I love their chocolate. This year's Easter Bunny is a bit frightening in appearance. It's hand-painted with white chocolate features, bows, ear tips hands and tail. At $17, you've got to like the chocolate--and their chocolate is great. The 10 inch hollow rabbit comes in Milk and Dark Chocolate. I think the $9 Large Sitting Rabbit is more my style..a classic.

Speaking of retro, Christopher Norman Chocolates has a Racer Bunny. It's a hand-painted molded chocolate hollow bunny sitting in a woven convertible. Sooo cute. Who can eat this?


Martine's Chocolates has all kinds of lovely Bunnies, both sitting  (solid and hollow), Bunny Cartoon (solid), Bunny standing with Baskets and colored chocolate. Martine's chocolates, plus special artisan chocolate bunnies.

Vosges Rabbits: These are fabulous and this year they come in exotic flavors. These are molded with waving rabbit ears. Barcelona Bunny (Hickory smoked almonds  with grey sea salt (45% milk chocolate). Amalfi Bunny (Lemon zest and pink peppercorns and white chocolate) The Orchid Vanilla Bunny is really Tahitian vanilla bean with 62% dark chocolate. Toffee Bunny is one after my heart. He's the Vosges sweet butter toffee with pink Himalayan salt and deep milk chocolate. I've never met a toffee I didn't like, and bunny shape? Well, of course.

But I fell in love with Vosges' Mad Hare Orchestra. All five members of the Mad Hare Orchestra arrive together in solid 62% dark chocolate infused with Tahitian vanilla Bean. Each is individually wrapped in its own bag and tied with ribbon. The Mad Hare Orchestra also comes in Solid 42% Milk Chocolate with a touch of pink Himalayan salt. Problem: They're so cute, I want to put them on the shelf.. I might just need to bite off an ear now and again.
 
Locally, I'm a big fan of Charles Chocolates, and I was sad to see them leave Berkeley. A few years ago, I bought a box of their darling seated chocolate rabbits. Small individual rabbits placed in candy wrappers and boxed. I didn't find any this year. Maybe I didn't look hard enough. I did see their Bunny Collection Edible Chocolate Box. Painted chocolate collection of their Fleur de Sel and Bittersweet Chocolate Fleur de Sel Caramels. I'm sure they're excellent, but I'm into the whole Bunny shape, as well as the taste. 

See's Milk Chocolate Rabbit. A hollow, foil-covered Chocolate Bunny with a basket. 10 oz. There's also a small milk chocolate bunny in colored foil. These are a tradition, and they taste great.

I haven't really mentioned the filled Easter Bunnies: marshmallow, coconut and more exotics fillings. And, Apologies to all my chocolatier friends who provide fabulous chocolate bunnies at Easter. Couldn't get to them all, but welcome comments. Nice thing about a Blog is that I can add at any time.

And, the age-old question of what part of the Bunny do you eat first? With all the new Bunny shapes and molds, it's not an easy answer. Which part do YOU eat first?

Love to hear about your favorite Chocolate Bunnies. I bet there's a chocolatier near you that does some outstanding work.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

How to Deep Fry Cadbury Creme Eggs for Easter

Photo: Foodbeast
I live in America, the land of the deep fryer! State and County Fairs are abundant in deep fried goodies like Deep-Fried Candy Bars, Deep-Fried Oreos, Deep-Fried Ice Cream, and wackier deep-fried foods such as Deep Fried Fried Chicken in a Waffle Cone, Deep-fried Cheesecake and Deep-fried Lattes.

Being that Easter is tomorrow, I just had to post this link to Deep Fried Cadbury Eggs from Foodbeast! For the original recipe and others such as PEEPS & Nutella Shortbread S'mores, go to Oh, Bite It!

Want to make your own Cadbury Creme Eggs? Go here.

HOW TO DEEP-FRY A CADBURY EGG!
from Foodbeast

Ingredients
Cadbury eggs
Large Egg-roll wrapers
Canola Oil
Powdered Sugar
Optional: Chocolate syrup

Directions
Put unwrapped Cadbury Egg in egg-roll wrapper, brush edges of wraper with water, fold tight, put in 350 degree oil until crisp and golden.
Optional: Top with powdered sugar and chocolate sauce!

HT: Bill Crider

Friday, April 3, 2015

Chocolate Easter Bunny Cakes!

Photo: Chocolate Bunny Cake-William Sonoma
This Chocolate Bunny Cake is the ultimate Easter Bunny Centerpiece.  I've mentioned before that there are so many great places to find recipes. This Chocolate Easter Bunny Cake recipe is from the Williams Sonoma Kitchen. They no longer sell this specific pan that accompanied the recipe, but you can find it or the one I use on eBay and other sites. Williams Sonoma does sell the Nordic Ware Standing bunny with basket that is available most places. It is a great alternative (see below). You can add PEEPS in the basket! Just bake the two halves of the cake and press together with icing. Chocolate, of course! Any of these 3-D Bunny Cakes would make a great Easter Centerpiece!

I actually have a totally different Easter Bunny 3-D cake pan for this cake, and there are lots of other bunny cake pans you can find.

Double sided cakes aren't very difficult, and they're fun to make. The Wilton Cake Pan with the Eggs is the one in the recipe (first cake pan photo). You don't need to make the cake egg. You can make your own chocolate eggs or decorate with Jellybeans or Cadbury chocolate eggs. And, then there's the standup Bunny with basket. So many choices!

Other alternatives: Bake a chocolate cake, cut into shapes, and cover with a buttercream 'fur' frosting and coconut! See the recipe and directions below to shape your Bunny Cake. Recipe and directions from Betty Crocker's Party Book (1960).

Wilton Cake Pan used in Recipe
CHOCOLATE BUNNY CAKE

Ingredients:

For the cake:
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 tsp salt
20 Tbsp sweet butter, room temp
2 cups sugar
5 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/4 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups milk

For the chocolate ganache:
1 lb dark chocolate (65-70%), chopped into small pieces
6 Tbsp sweet butter, at room temperature
2 cups heavy cream
1 jelly bean

Directions:
Have all ingredients at room temperature.

To make cake, position rack in lower third of oven and preheat to 325°F. Grease and flour bunny cake pan; tap out excess flour.

Over sheet of waxed paper, sift together flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.

Williams Sonoma Bunny Cake Pan
In bowl of electric mixer fitted with flat beater, beat butter on medium speed until creamy and smooth, about 30 seconds. Add sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes, stopping mixer occasionally to scrape down sides of the bowl. Add eggs a little at time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla just until incorporated, about 1 minute.

Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture in three additions, alternating with milk and beginning and ending with flour. Beat each addition just until incorporated, stopping mixer occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl.

Spoon batter into prepared bunny pan, spreading batter so  sides are higher than center. Bake until cake begins to pull away from sides of pan and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 35 to 38 minutes.

Transfer pan to wire rack and let cake cool upright in pan for 15 minutes. Invert pan onto rack and lift off pan. Let cake cool completely, at least 2 hours, before serving or decorating.

To make chocolate ganache: In metal bowl, combine chocolate and butter. In small saucepan over medium heat, bring cream just to boil. Immediately pour  cream over chocolate and butter. Whisk until melted and mixture is smooth.

Transfer 2/3 cup of ganache to small bowl and let cool to room temperature. Keep remaining ganache warm and fluid by placing the bowl over but not touching barely simmering water in small saucepan.

To assemble and decorate cake:  wash and thoroughly dry pan, then return both halves of cooled bunny cake to pan. Level cake by using serrated knife to gently saw off part of each cake half that rose above the edge of pan.

Line baking sheet with plastic wrap or aluminum foil, making sure it covers edges of pan, and set  wire cooling rack on sheet. Place both cake halves, cut side down, on rack. Remove any crumbs that fall off cake onto baking sheet. Slowly pour warm ganache over halves, coating completely. Tap baking sheet to allow excess ganache to drip off. Place rack on another baking sheet or piece of parchment paper. Using rubber spatula, scrape excess ganache from lined baking sheet back into bowl. Reheat over simmering water if not fluid. Set rack on lined baking sheet again and place egg cake halves on  rack alongside bunny (If you made these). Pour warm ganache over eggs.

Cut jelly bean in half and attach halves to bunny to create eyes. Place baking sheet, with rack still on top, in refrigerator until ganache has set and cake halves are firm enough to handle, at least 30 minutes.

Place one Bunny cake half, cut side up, in center of large piece of aluminum foil. Ganache on this side of bunny may smudge a little. Using small offset spatula, spread 1/2 to 2/3 cup of room-temperature ganache over  cut side. Slide  metal spatula under other cake half and carefully place cake half on top of other one. Press down on jelly bean eye to help secure halves. Use foil to help turn bunny upright, then squeeze bunny on jelly bean eyes, feet and tail to secure the halves. If there are any gaps in seam, place some warm ganache on small offset spatula and fill in gaps. Dab warm ganache on areas where you squeezed the cake and on any other exposed areas. Soften any smudged areas by heating gently with culinary torch.

Carefully slide large metal spatula under base of bunny and transfer to platter. Using spatula, transfer the egg halves to platter (if using)

***
This recipe and directions for a 3-D Bunny Cake from the Betty Crocker Party Cookbook (1960). This was before all the very creative cake pans out there! Although the recipe says to use a yellow or white cake mix, you can make your own Chocolate Cake (recipe above) or use a Chocolate Cake Mix. Love chocolate and coconut.. This is a simple and great cake.. and will make a lovely centerpiece!

CHOCOLATE BUNNY CAKE!




Thursday, April 2, 2015

PEEPS for Easter: Chocolate, Chicks, Bunnies and More!

"Are You My Mother?"
Of all my childhood Spring Confection memories, PEEPS stand out. My sister and I still buy each other PEEPS around Easter, although she rarely eats the sugary marshmallow-y creatures any more. She buys me purple rabbits; I buy her classic yellow chicks --the original PEEPS. You see where this is going? I'm a purist, but since this is a Chocolate Blog, I've made room in my Easter PEEPS inventory for Chocolate PEEPS.

So, PEEPS--you either love them or hate them. People do all sorts of things with PEEPS only some of which involve giving them to kids at Easter or eating them straight from the box. For me, it's the elastic quality of the "old" peeps that's fun for me--pulling them apart.
Chocolate PEEPS Bunnies off to work in the fields

Chocolate: The ultimate in the ever improving PEEPS. Chocolate-Covered PEEPS are available from the original company in both Dark and Milk chocolate. These are not the small peeps packed together in rows. No, these Chocolate Peeps come in individually wrapped packages, as well as in a three pack. Sadly, in the big ones, the cool sparkly coating of sugar is missing, and I think it would have been a nice buffer between the chocolate and marshmallow to make it stand out from the rest of the chocolate marshmallow candy.

However, the Chocolate Dipped PEEPS do have the sugar. I love the three pack of PEEPS Chocolate Dipped Chicks (both dark and milk chocolate), as well as the Dark and Milk Chocolate PEEPS Chocolate Dipped Mousse Flavored Marshmallow Chicks!

I'm a fan of Chocolate Eggs, and PEEPS has a very fun individually boxed hollow milk chocolate egg with a PEEP chick inside. Maybe it's been around for awhile, but I missed it. LOL!

And, just as an aside, Jacques Torres makes fabulous chocolate, and they sell Chocolate-Covered PEEPS. Their name: Chirp'N'Dales. They are adorable. Also, Asher's Chocolates makes Milk and Dark Chocolate Dipped PEEPS.

Other great uses for PEEPS:

1. Make PEEPS S'Mores, especially with the chocolate covered ones.
2. Plop a Chocolate Covered PEEPS down in your Hot Chocolate or Coffee.
3. Decorate cakes or cupcakes with PEEPS.
4. Create Your Own Diorama.
5. Bake PEEPS in your brownies!

Want to make your own Chocolate Covered PEEPS using the original PEEPS?

1. Melt some good dark chocolate or milk chocolate (about 16 oz/depending on how many you plan to make)
2. Remove Peeps from package. I would use Chicks since they're the original, but the other shapes (rabbits, etc) work well.
3. Insert a lollipop stick into the Peep. If you're using the chicks, do it the widest way (maybe this is why they're sideways standing up in the packaged ones--and why bunnies work better). 
4. Dip the Peep into the melted chocolate. Two chocies: Either cover the entire Peep or just dip one end as you would strawberries. Be sure and let any excess drip off.
5. Put on wax paper covered plate or cookie sheet and freeze for 20 minutes. 

Question? When is a Peep, not a Peep? When it's Chocolate Covered.

Chocolate Dipped Peeps complete the flock!