Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Chocolate Truffle Cookies with Sea Salt

Photo: Ghirardelli
Tomorrow is Homemade Cookies Day, and I thought I'd get a jump on the holiday and mix up a batch of Chocolate Truffle Cookies with Sea Salt. This recipe is from local chocolate company Ghirardelli. They have some great recipes online and in their new Cookbook.

Ghirardelli: In 1849, during the California Gold Rush, Italian-born Domingo Ghirardelli moved to America and opened a store in a mining camp. After discovering the miners were starved for luxuries and needed something to spend their gold dust on, he starting stocking chocolate delicacies. In 1852, the enterprising immigrant founded a confectionery shop in San Francisco, which eventually became the modern-day Ghirardelli Chocolate Company.

Today, Ghirardelli is America’s oldest continuously operating chocolate maker. Their products are sold in stores everywhere and online, and they also have their own chocolate and ice cream shops across the country.

CHOCOLATE TRUFFLE COOKIES WITH SEA SALT

Ingredients
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Baking Chips, for melting into the cookie dough
2 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Baking Chips, for mixing into the prepared cookie dough
2 to 3 tablespoons coarse sea salt

Directions
In heatproof bowl over double boiler, melt chocolate and butter until smooth. Turn off stove and let chocolate sit over warm water.
Combine flour, baking powder, and salt and mix to combine.
In another bowl, mix together sugar and eggs, combine thoroughly with whisk and slowly add warm chocolate mixture. Stir to combine. Add vanilla extract and mix. Stir in flour mixture.
Cool for a few minutes (if batter is warm, chocolate chips will melt). Stir in chocolate chips. Chill for 10-15 minutes.
Pre-heat oven to 350°F.
Scoop rounded tablespoons of batter and place on baking tray. Sprinkle each cookie lightly with a pinch of sea salt.
Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 7-8 minutes until the outside looks slightly cracked. Be very careful not to over bake cookies because they will continue to bake as they cool once removed from the oven. Cookies should be soft and gooey in the center.

For a chunky and different twist add one of the following: 3/4 cup toasted pecans or pistachios, 1/4 cup chopped candied ginger or 1/3 cup sweetened coconut

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Coffee Gateau: Retro Ad & Recipe

Today is National Coffee Day. Here's a great Retro Ad & Recipe to celebrate. This one is from Nescafe for Luscious Coffee Gateau. Coffee is used in the cake, the Mocha Icing, and the Creamy Coffee Filling. See the recipes below. Of course, I would substitute 'real' coffee in the recipes to bring it up to date and flavor!

Nescafe, by the way, is the name of an instant coffee made by Nestle. It comes in different forms. It was first introduced by nestle in 1938. The name was used in the U.S. until the late 1960s when Nestle introduced a new brand called Taster's Choice.

So grab a cup of coffee while you make this fun Coffee Gateau!



Monday, September 28, 2015

Blood Moon Eclipse Brownies

Last night there was a total eclipse of the Blood Moon. Red and fabulous! I had a great viewing point, and luckily the San Francisco fog cooperated. It got me thinking... I've posted a recipe for Full Moon Brownies, but what about Beet Brownies? Many chocolate cakes such as Red Velvet Cakes can be made with beets. So in honor of the Blood Moon Eclipse, here's a great recipe for Blood Moon Eclipse Brownies. Great name, too, for Halloween!

BLOOD MOON ECLIPSE BROWNIES

Ingredients 
1/2 pound fresh beets, scrubbed
1 cup unsalted butter, plus more for buttering parchment paper
8 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
1 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour  (I buy this from King Arthur Flour)
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
3 eggs, room temperature
1 tsp Madagscar vanilla extract
1 cup packed light brown sugar

Directions
Put beets in saucepan and add water to cover by ½ inch. Set over medium heat and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 25-35 minutes, until tender. Drain and transfer to ice bath until cool. Transfer cool beets to food processor and pulse until minced.
Preheat oven to 350°
Line 9-inch by 9-inch brownie pan with parchment paper; lightly coat with butter.
Cut sticks of butter into chunks and put in heavy saucepan. Add chopped chocolate and cook over simmering water, stirring constantly until chocolate begins to melt.
Remove pan from heat and stir until smooth. Set aside to cool.
In medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In bowl of stand mixer with whisk attachment, gently mix eggs for about 30 seconds. Add vanilla and brown sugar; mix on medium-high until light and airy, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed and add minced beets then slowly add chocolate mixture and mix just until combined.
Slowly add flour mixture and amix just until combined.
Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth top with rubber spatula.
Bake 30-35 minutes, until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool brownies in pan for 5-10 minutes then transfer to cooling rack.
Cut and serve.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Frozen Neapolitan Delight: Retro Ad & Recipe

I love Retro Ads & Recipes. Here's one from Reynolds Wrap. I've always stuck with brands, and I still buy Reynolds Wrap Aluminum Foil. We called it Silver Foil. There are so many uses, including costumes. One year in Sunday school, I went as a Dime. I divided the dime into all the charitable ways it could be used, and I decorated my dime costume with Aluminum Foil. So you see why this Retro Ad, probably from my childhood, touched me.

Frozen Asset: The Triple-dividend dessert. Elegant...luscious.. and easy!

Frozen Neapolitan Delight:
This recipe calls for 1 pint Neapolitan brick ice cream. Do you remember Neapolitan Ice Cream? Neapolitan ice cream is made up of blocks of vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice cream. Neapolitan ice cream actually goes much farther back.

From Foodtimeline.org

Although Italian ice and granita trace their roots to ancient times, Neapolitan ice cream seems to be a 19th century phenomenon. Recipes for the fancy molds (bombes) or bricks of vanilla, chocolate and strawberry (sometimes pistachio) were often included in 19th century European and American cook books. This was a function of technology (refrigeration advancements) and collective gastronomy (preference for complicated presentations). Why "Neapolitan?" The peoples of Napoli are credited for introducing their famous ice creams to the world in the 19th century. At that time, pressed blocks composed of special flavors were trendy. The best ones were made with "Neapolitan-style" ice creams.

A survey of historic cookbooks confirms the term "Neapolitan," as it relates to ice cream, denotes both a recipe (for ice cream) and method (combining several flavors in a mold). It also reveals there is no "official" triumvirate of flavors. Most often cited are vanilla, chocolate, strawberry and pistachio. It is not unusual to include a sherbet or fruit-flavored ice as well. 

And here's the recipe for Frozen Neapolitan Delight from the Reynolds Wrap Aluminum Foil Retro Ad:


Saturday, September 26, 2015

Dark Chocolate Avocado Truffles

O.K. You read the subject of this blog, and you're saying, "What? Avocado? No way." But when you try these, you'll discover that avocado in these truffles enriches the flavor. These truffles are fabulous and heart-healthy. The avocado replaces the heavy cream without losing any 'creaminess in texture,' and there's only a hint of the avocado taste .. and that's delicious. These truffles are vegan and gluten-free, too.

Dark Chocolate Avocado Truffles

Ingredients
1 ripe avocado (about 1/3 cup mashed avocado)
5 ounces dark chocolate (60-75% cacao), chopped
1 Tbsp dark brown sugar (optional)
1/2 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
Pinch Kosher salt (or regular if you don't have Kosher salt)
2 1/2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

Directions
Pit and mash avocado until completely smooth.
Melt chocolate in pot over another pot over simmering water.
Once melted, stir in mashed avocado, brown sugar, vanilla extract, salt, and 1-1/2 Tbsp cocoa powder until thoroughly combined.
Cover truffle mixture with plastic wrap and put in refrigerator for 30-40 minutes until partially set.
Scoop out to create truffles and then form balls with your hands.
Roll in remaining 1 Tbsp of cocoa powder.

Store in refrigerator..but always serve truffles at room temperature. They'll taste so much better!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Chocolate Chip Blueberry Pancakes Two Ways: National Pancake Day

Tomorrow is Pancake Day, so thought I'd give you a jump on the holiday and the weekend, to make sure you have all your supplies ready.  Enjoy Chocolate CHIP Blueberry Pancakes--two ways-- to celebrate this fun food holiday.

This first recipe is from Cooking Light for Perfect Buttermilk pancakes. I've added blueberries and chocolate to tweak the recipe! I usually have fresh blueberries around, but if you don't, you can use frozen blueberries. Trader Joe's has great wild blueberries that go great in this recipe.

BUTTERMILK BLUEBERRY CHOCOLATE CHIP PANCAKES

Ingredients
1 cup all purpose flour
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 tsp vegetable oil
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Cooking spray
1 cup Blueberries (less if frozen.. I like the frozen Wild Blueberries from Trader Joe's)
1/2 cup Dark Chocolate chips

Directions
1. Spoon flour into dry measuring cup; level with knife. Combine flour and next 4 ingredients (flour through salt) in large bowl, and make well in center of mixture. Combine buttermilk, oil, and egg; add to flour mixture, stirring until smooth.
2. Spoon about 1/4 cup batter onto hot nonstick griddle or nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray. 3. Add Blueberries and Chocolate Chips. Turn pancakes when tops are covered with bubbles and edges seem cooked.
***

So that's what you'll make fresh today! I'm also fond of Mixes in a Jar. Here's a quick and delicious recipe for Chocolate Blueberry Pancakes in a Jar. You can have this on hand or to give as a gift. One helpful hint, when making mixes in a jar, really pack the ingredients in. Use a tamper, if you have one...except for the dried blueberries and chocolate.

CHOCOLATE CHIP BLUEBERRY PANCAKES IN A JAR

Ingredients:
2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
4 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup dried Blueberries
2/3 cup mini dark chocolate chips

Layer flour, then sugar, then baking powder mixed with baking soda and salt in 1-quart wide-mouth jar.
Add blueberries, then chocolate chips.
Seal Jar.
Cover jar with burlap or other fabric and tie with raffia or a bow.
Attach gift tag with the following instructions:

Chocolate Blueberry Pancakes 
Makes 25 pancakes
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup sweet butter, melted
Contents of Jar of "Chocolate Chip Blueberry Pancakes"
1-1/2 to 2 cups whole milk (or buttermilk)

Mix eggs and melted butter in large bowl. Add contents of jar. Stir until well blended. Add 1-1/2 cups milk. Stir until dry ingredients are moistened.

Heat griddle or skillet. Pour batter onto hot griddle 1/4 cup at a time. Cook pancakes until golden on both sides.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Torte: Guest post by Susan Bernhardt

My Mystery and Chocolate worlds collide again. Today I welcome mystery author Susan Bernhardt who writes the Kay Driscoll series. Like Kay Driscoll, in her cozy mystery, The Ginseng Conspiracy, Susan is a retired public health nurse who volunteers at her local free clinic. An avid reader of mysteries, she is a member of Sisters in Crime. Susan's town in northern Wisconsin is the inspiration for the quaint setting of her novel. Ninety-five percent of American ginseng is grown in this region. When not writing, Susan loves to travel, bicycle, kayak, and create culinary magic in her kitchen. She works in stained-glass, daydreams in her organic garden, stays up late reading mysteries, and eats lots of chocolate.

Susan Bernhardt:

As Halloween is drawing near...the days are shorter, there's a chill in the air, time for some hot tea, and a thrilling mystery. Curl up with a killer. THE GINSENG CONSPIRACY.

In the Halloween cozy THE GINSENG CONSPIRACY, Kay Driscoll and her friends, the free-spirited herbalist Deirdre and the untamed modern woman Elizabeth, discuss new clues over tea and pastries at Sweet Marissa's Patisserie, their crime-fighting headquarters.

Below is Kay's favorite chocolate dessert. She had two pieces of this shockingly rich, chocolate torte at Sweet Marissa's as she agonized over the frightening events that occurred the evening of a Halloween Ball, when she witnessed a murder.

CHOCOLATE RASPBERRY TRUFFLE TORTE 

INGREDIENTS
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 cups sugar
Pinch of salt 3/4 cup boiling water
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, cut into pieces, at room temperature
6 large eggs, at room temperature
1 Tbsp Chambord or other raspberry-flavored liqueur or 2 tsp. vanilla extract
Cocoa powder, for garnish
Raspberries, for garnish

DIRECTIONS
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly butter the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Line the bottom of the pan with a round of parchment paper. Butter the paper and the sides of the pan.
2. Combine the chocolate, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and process until the chocolate is finely ground. With the processor running, add the boiling water through the feed tube and process for about 15 seconds, until the chocolate is completely melted. Scrape down the sides of the processor bowl, then add the butter and process for about 5 seconds, until the batter is smooth. Add the eggs and Chambord and process until smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
3. Bake for 50-55 minutes, or until the edges of the torte are puffy and cracked and the center is just set (it will still look moist). Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool for 30 minutes (the torte will sink as it cools). Cover the pan and refrigerate for 3 hours.
4. Remove the sides of the springform pan and invert the torte onto a flat serving platter. Lift off the bottom of the pan and peel off the parchment paper. Cover and refrigerate until ready to garnish the torte.
5. Sprinkle with cocoa powder and garnish with the raspberries.

The Ginseng Conspiracy (A Kay Driscoll Mystery Book 1)
On her way to attend a Halloween Ball, Kay Driscoll, a newcomer to town, witnesses the murder of a local professor. When the official coroner's report rules the cause of death to be accidental and the community accepts the judgement, Kay decides to uncover the truth for herself. Through her personal investigations, Kay exposes a complex conspiracy, woven deep within the thriving local ginseng industry, that involves some of the more prominent figures and families of Sudbury Falls.

With her new friends, the free-spirited herbalist Deirdre and the untamed modern woman Elizabeth, Kay discusses new clues over tea and pastries at Sweet Marissa's Patisserie, their crime-fighting headquarters. As Kay gets closer to the heart of the conspiracy, additional murders happen in quick succession. Before long, Kay learns that the villains are gunning for her, too. Phil, her musically talented but preoccupied husband, determined to keep her safe, withholds from her the one thing she needs most: the truth.

Murder Under the Tree (A Kay Driscoll Mystery Book 2)
While Kay attends a Christmas tea at Hawthorne Hills Retirement Home, a beloved caretaker dies from an allergic reaction to peanuts. When the official coroner's report rules the cause of death to be accidental, a small group of residents suspect foul play and call upon Kay to investigate.

Kay uncovers sinister plots of corruption at the Home. During this season of peace on earth, good will to men, additional murders occur. Despite multiple attempts on her life, and with the support once again of her best friends, Elizabeth and Deirdre, Kay continues her quest for bringing justice for the victims.

Kay's first Christmas in Sudbury Falls is an unforgettable one, with equal amounts of celebration and danger. 'Tis the season to be sleuthing!

Murder by Fireworks (A Kay Driscoll Mystery Book 3) – Coming in November.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

White Chocolate Brownies

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

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

Examples of good white chocolate:

E. Guittard has 31% Cacao White Chocolate wafers. Great for baking (and eating).
Green & Black's White Chocolate uses cocoa butter, pressed directly from the crushed cocoa beans. They also use a blend of milk and Bourbon vanilla. Available in 3.5 oz bars.
Divine makes an awesome White Chocolate Bar. All natural without coloring or preservatives. 
Askinosie has a bean to bar white chocolate and uses goat's milk instead of cow's milk. The main ingredient in their white chocolate is 34% natural, non-deodorized cocoa butter. The cocoa butter is pressed in their factory, and they are the first small-batch chocolate maker to do this. After pressing the beans to create the cocoa butter, they combine them with goat's milk powder and organic cane juice, and then craft it for days in their 85-year old German melanguer, making their white chocolate one of the only single origin white chocolates in the world. It has a very unique buttery/nutty flavor, less sweet than many other white chocolate.
Merckens chocolate makes a great 2 pound bar, terrific for baking (or eating). Available through King Arthur Flour
Trader Joe's has good (and inexpensive) white chocolate for baking, as well as terrific white chocolate chips.

***

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

WHITE CHOCOLATE BROWNIES

Ingredients
8 ounces white chocolate, chopped
1 Tbsp Madagascar vanilla extract
1/2 cup sweet butter, softened
1-1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 eggs
3/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup white sugar
1 cup dark chocolate chips

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x9 inch baking pan.
Melt white chocolate and butter in the top of double boiler, over simmering water. Stir occasionally until smooth. Set aside to cool.
In large bowl, using electric mixer, beat eggs until foamy. With mixer running, gradually add sugar and vanilla. Slowly add melted white chocolate mixture.
Combine flour and salt; Add white chocolate mixture using rubber spatula.
Fold in chocolate chips.
Spread batter evenly into prepared pan.
Bake for 25 minutes in preheated oven, or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean.
Cool pan on wire rack.
Cut into squares.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Chocolate Chip Apple Bundt Cake for the Fall Equinox

Photo: All Recipes (Sunset)
I love Fall with its infinite variety of apples.  Here's a great way to make the most of the apple harvest. This fabulous Chocolate Chip Apple Bundt Cake (originally from Sunset Magazine) is a great way to celebrate the Fall Equinox. I use tart apples in this recipe, but I like the combination of tart and sweet. Try different apple varieties. Also, you can use your favorite dark chocolate instead of chocolate chips. Chop into chips.

Chocolate Chip Apple Bundt Cake

Ingredients 
1 cup sweet butter, softened
1 1/2 cups white sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup water
1 Tbsp Madagascar vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
2 cups apples - peeled, cored and diced
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Grease and flour one 9 or 10 inch Bundt Pan.
In large bowl, cream butter with sugar. Beat in eggs. Add water and vanilla.
Stir flour, cocoa, baking soda, ground cinnamon, and ground nutmeg together. Beat this mixture into creamed mixture.
Fold in chopped apples and semisweet chocolate chips.
Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake at 325 degrees F for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until cake tests done when toothpick is inserted near center.  Do not overbake. Start checking at one hour.
Transfer to a rack to cool.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Chocolate Cream Pie: Retro Ad & Recipe

Love these Retro Ads. Here's a Baker's Chocolate'story' ad for Chocolate Cream Pie. Just as easy a recipe today as it was then.... Thanks "Miss Betty Linton"


CHOCOLATE CREAM PIE

Ingredients
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
2 (1 ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate (or substitute your favorite chocolate)
3 egg yolks
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (9 inch) pie shell, baked

Directions
Combine sugar, flour, milk, and chopped up chocolate in 2 quart saucepan. Stirring constantly, cook over medium heat until mixture begins to bubble. Continue stirring for 2 minutes.
Mix a little of the hot mixture into the egg yolks, beating rapidly to avoid cooking the yolks. Stir the warm yolk mixture into the remainder of the chocolate mixture, and cook for an additional 90 seconds. Remove from heat, and stir in butter or margarine and vanilla.
Pour filling into pie shell, and chill until set. Top with whipped topping, and a little grated chocolate.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Chocolate Chip Cookie in a Mug

I am so fond of Mug Cakes...Chocolate Cake in a Mug, Red Velvet Cake in a Mug, and the like. But here's a new favorite that will haunt you.. and one that will satisfy that late night chocolate chip cookie craving. As with all the "Mug" recipes, you need to be precise or it will be too dry or too wet...or just awful. This Chocolate Chip Cookie in a Mug is so quick. 5 minutes to prep and less than a minute to cook! And, you'll find you have all the ingredients in your pantry. Perfect for that moment when you just want one cookie!

Chocolate Chip Cookie in a Mug

Ingredients 
1 Tbsp Butter
1 Tbsp White Sugar
1 Tbsp firmly packed Dark Brown Sugar
1/8 tsp Madagascar Vanilla Extract
Pinch of Kosher Salt
1 Egg Yolk (room temp)
3 Tbsp All Purpose Flour
2 Tbsp Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips

Directions
Choose a microwave-safe mug. It doesn't have to be tall. This is a cookie not a mug cake. You can even use a ramekin.
Put butter in mug and melt in microwave. Do not boil. Add sugars, vanilla, and salt. Stir to combine. Add yolk to cup. Stir to combine. Add flour and stir. (if too runny add a pinch more flour-think cookie dough) Add chocolate chips, and give a final stir.
Cook in microwave 30-50 seconds, start checking at 30 seconds but do not cook longer than 50 seconds. Cookie continues to cook after you take it out. Less time will produce a moister better cookie.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Creme de Menthe Brownies

Yesterday was Creme de Menthe Day. Creme de Menthe is a sweet mint-flavored liqueur, primarily derived from Corsican mint or dried peppermint. You can make your own Creme de Menthe (recipe below) or use a good brand in this recipe for Creme de Menthe Brownies. Since they're three layers, they really look great when they're cut! And, of course, you can never have too many brownie recipes. Here's an easy Creme de Menthe Brownie recipe adapted originally from Hershey. Of course, you can substitute the chocolate of your choice--or the brownie recipe of choice.

HOMEMADE CREME DE MENTHE

Ingredients
1 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves (divided)
1 1/2 cups vodka
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup water
1-2 drops green food coloring (optional)

Directions
Take 1 cup of mint leaves and tear them in quarters. Put mint leaves in sealable glass jar and pour vodka on top. Shake and steep for 12 hours.
After steeping, strain mint leaves from infused vodka. Return infused vodka to the jar.
Bring water and sugar to boil, and let simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool, then add syrup to mint-infused vodka.
Take additional 1/2 cup of mint leaves, tear them, and add them to jar. (Optionally at this point you can add the 1-2 drops green food coloring). Shake and let steep for 10 hours.
Strain twice to remove all mint leaves, keep in resealable bottle.

CREME DE MENTHE BROWNIES

BROWNIE LAYER: 
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
4 eggs, beaten
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup flour
1 can Hershey syrup

CREME DE MENTHE FILLING:
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cup confectioners' sugar
2 Tbsp green creme de menthe

CHOCOLATE GLAZE:
6 ounces semisweet dark chocolate chips (or dark chocolate, chopped)
6 ounces butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

BROWNIE LAYER: 
Cream butter and sugar until smooth. Add beaten eggs, one at a time, mix thoroughly. Add vanilla, salt and flour. Mix until well blended. Add Hershey syrup. Mix well.
Pour into greased 13"x9" baking pan.
Bake for 20 to 30 minutes.
Cool completely.

MINT FILLING:
Use mixer for adequate consistency.
Cream butter and confectioners' sugar until smooth, adding small amount of milk if needed. Add creme de menthe and mix thoroughly until of spreading consistency.
Frost brownie layer with mint filling.
Refrigerate to harden mint filling, approximately 15 to 20 minutes.

CHOCOLATE GLAZE:
Melt butter and chocolate chips over low heat, stirring constantly until smooth. Cool to room temperature.
Spread over mint filling covering entire layer.
Cool until glaze hardens.
Score with sharp knife to prevent cracking glaze.
Cut carefully into 1" squares.
If you don't eat them right away, refrigerate or freeze.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Agatha Christie Cake: Delicious Death

Happy Birthday, Agatha Christie! So many celebrations in honor of Agatha Christie's 125th birthday this week. I posted a bit about Agatha Christie today on my other blog, Mystery Fanfare. Be sure and check it out. It includes a link to a 1955 BBC interview with the Queen of Crime.

As many of you know, I collect 'literary' cookbooks, tie-in cookbooks and the like. The only Agatha Christie cookbook I have is Cremes & chatiments: recettes delicieuses et criminelles Agatha Christie by Anne Martinetti et Francois Riviere (in French). It's been reissued, and I'll post the only chocolate recipe in the book later today or tomorrow. Anne Martinetti has been overseeing cooking sessions in honor of Agatha Christie this week at the Festival in Torquay.

When I think of Agatha Christie, chocolate doesn't come to mind. More scones and finger sandwiches, perhaps, an omelet or two, but not many that I would consider deliciously chocolate, although certainly for Poirot there might be some Belgian chocolate.

In honor of Agatha Christie's 120th birthday celebration Jane Asher created a chocolate cake she calls Delicious Death. Jane Asher, a long-time fan of Agatha Christie and actor in many Christie productions, was asked by Christie's grandson, Mathew Prichard, to create a recipe for the celebration.

"There is nothing more indulgent than afternoon tea. I have particularly fond memories of the lazy afternoons spent with my grandmother at Greenway as she tried out her latest ideas on us over a pot of tea and delicious cakes," said Prichard, calling Asher's invention "truly decadent".

Asher's cake was inspired by a passage in Christie's Miss Marple novel A Murder is Announced in which émigré housekeeper Mitzi bakes it for Dora Bunner's birthday tea. "'Impossible to make such a cake. I need for it chocolate and much butter, and sugar and raisins,'" she tells her employer, Miss Blacklock, who suggests using a tin of butter sent from America and raisins that were being kept for Christmas, along with a "slab of chocolate and a pound of sugar".

Mitzi is delighted. "'It will be rich, rich, of a melting richness! And on top I will put the icing – chocolate icing – I make him so nice – and write on it Good Wishes. These English people with their cakes that tastes of sand, never never, will they have tasted such a cake. Delicious, they will say – delicious'" - but is not so impressed with the name which is dubbed Delicious Death because it's so rich. It becomes an apt name though when Dora Bunner is found dead from poisoning after her birthday tea.

Basing her recipe on the ingredients mentioned in the 1950 novel, Jane Asher created her own version of Delicious Death. From the Guardian: "It has an intense, forbidding dark Belgian chocolate centre which is lifted by the unexpected sharp zing of its brandy-soaked cherry and ginger filling," she said. "The glorious assault on the senses doesn't end there: the cake is decorated with flecks of pure gold, sprinklings of crystallised rose and violet petals, and swirls of ganache piping. This paragon of a cake is as beautiful to look at as it is delicious – and deadly? – to eat."

So in honor of Agatha Christie's 125th Birthday Celebration, I am reprinting this recipe.
This cake was served at Greenway in Devon throughout Agatha Christie Week in 2010. It is also  on the menu at Brown's Hotel in Mayfair, said to be the inspiration for At Bertram's Hotel.

Agatha Christie's Delicious Death by Jane Asher

Ingredients
175g dark chocolate drops (50-55% cocoa solids)
100g softened or spreadable butter
100g golden caster sugar
5 large eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

100g ground almonds
1/2 tsp baking powder

For the filling:
150ml rum, brandy or orange juice
150g raisins
55g soft dark brown sugar
6-8 glacé cherries
4-6 pieces crystallised ginger
1 tsp lemon juice

For the decoration:
175g dark chocolate drops (50-55% cocoa solids)
150ml double cream
2 tsps apricot jam
10g crystallized violet petals
10g crystallized rose petals
A small quantity of gold leaf

Directions
Pre-heat the oven to 150C, (300F, 135C fan-assisted). 
Grease an 8" deep cake tin and line the bottom with baking parchment or silicone.

Prepare the filling: in a small saucepan, combine all the ingredients and stir over heat until the mixture is bubbling. Allow to simmer gently, while stirring, for at least two minutes, or until most of the liquid has evaporated and the mixture is thickened. Allow to cool.

In a small heatproof bowl, melt the chocolate drops over simmering water or in a microwave, being careful not to let it overheat. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.

Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until very pale and fluffy. Separate the eggs, setting aside the whites in a large mixing bowl, and, one by one, add 4 of the yolks to the butter/sugar mix, beating well between each one.

Add the melted chocolate and fold in carefully, then stir in the vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, mix together the ground almonds and baking powder, then stir them into the cake mix.

Whisk the egg whites until peaked and stiff, then fold gently into the chocolate cake mix.

Spoon the mix into the prepared cake tin, leveling the top, and bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 55-65 minutes, or until firm and well risen. Allow the cake to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning it out on to a rack to cool completely.

Using a serrated knife, slice the cake in half horizontally. Spread the cooled fruit filling onto one half and sandwich the two halves back together.

To decorate: put the chocolate and cream in a heatproof bowl and melt them together over simmering water or in a microwave. Spread the cake all over with warmed apricot jam and place on a rack over a baking tray. Keeping back a couple of tablespoonfuls, pour the icing over the whole cake, making sure it covers the top and the sides completely, scooping up the excess from the tray with a palette knife as necessary. Add any surplus to the kept back icing. Carefully transfer the cake to a 10" cake board or pretty plate.

Once the reserved icing is firm enough to pipe, place it in a piping bag with no. 8 star nozzle and pipe a scrolling line around the top and bottom edges of the cake. Leave for two to three hours to set.

Place the violet and rose petals into a plastic bag and crush them into small flakes. Sprinkle these liberally around the chocolate scrolls. Finally, with a cocktail stick, pull off some small flakes of gold leaf and gently add them to the top of the cake.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Honey Chocolate Brownies: National Honey Month

September is National Honey Month. I'm a huge fan of HONEY, as you know from reading this BLOG.

This Honey Chocolate Brownies recipe won the 2000 Huron County Fair Blue Ribbon. I've adapted it slightly. Just as different cocoa will change the taste of these brownies, so will the honey. Try these brownies with different honey and chocolate combinations. I buy local honey from my favorite beekeepers.


HONEY CHOCOLATE BROWNIES

Ingredients
1 cup softened sweet butter
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups honey
1 cup flour
3 eggs beaten
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 tsp Madagascar Vanilla extract
1/3 cup dark cocoa

Directions
In mixer, beat butter until creamy.
Slowly add honey, mixing constantly.
Add eggs, vanilla, and salt.
Add cocoa.
Add flour.
Fold in nuts.
Make sure the batter is mixed completely.
Pour batter into greased 9x13x2 inch. deep pan and bake at 350 for 30 to 35 minutes.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Chocolate Honey Truffles for Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, starts tonight. Honey is often eaten for a Sweet New Year, and last week I posted a recipe for Chocolate Honey Cake, one of my favorites! Honey Truffles are also a pretty sweet way to start the New year.

Want to make Chocolate Honey Truffles? Follow the easy recipe below. You can always add other 'flavors' including liqueurs, coconut, nuts, etc. These Chocolate Honey Truffles will also change their taste depending on the type of honey you use, as well as the brand of chocolate.

Chocolate Honey Truffles

Ingredients
4 ounces 70% dark chocolate, chopped
1 tsp local Honey
1/3 cup of heavy whipping cream
Some unsweetened Dark cocoa powder
A pinch of salt

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

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

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Chocolate Covered Pomegranate Seeds for Rosh Hashanah

Vintage New Year's Card -- Magnes Museum Collection
Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, starts tomorrow night. I've already posted a recipe for Chocolate Honey Cake for a sweet New Year, but here's another. This time for Chocolate Covered Pomegranate Seeds.

On the second night of Rosh Hashanah,  a "new fruit" is eaten. It's usually a fruit that has recently come into season but that you haven't yet had the opportunity to eat. Traditionally, one says the shehechiyanu blessing thanking God for keeping you and yours alive and bringing you to this season. This ritual reminds everyone to appreciate the fruits of the earth and being alive to enjoy them.

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

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

DARK CHOCOLATE COVERED POMEGRANATE SEEDS

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

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

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

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Chocolate Honey Cake for Rosh Hashana

September is National Honey Month, so here's a wonderful recipe for Chocolate Honey Cake from Nigella Lawson. Honey Cake is a great treat to celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, that begins Sunday night. Honey is a traditional food that symbolizes a Sweet New Year. Add Chocolate, and the year is bound to be sweet!

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

Chocolate Honey Cake

Ingredients

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

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

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

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

Putting it together:
1. Choose plate or stand, and cut 4 strips of parchment paper and form square outline on plate. Reason: So when you put cake on it and ice it, icing won't run all over the plate (you can always cut the excess off later).
2. Unclip  springform pan and set  thoroughly cooled cake on prepared plate.
3. Pour glaze over cold chocolate honey cake. It might dribble a bit down the edges, but don't worry too much about it. Glaze stays tacky for some time (which is what gives it its melting goeyness) so ice in time for glaze to harden a little, at least an hour before you want to serve it.

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

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Chocolate Rugelach for Rosh Hashana

Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, starts Sunday night, so I thought I'd get a headstart on chocolate recipes. First up: Chocolate Rugelach. I adore Rugelach, and I must admit, I usually buy them at the bakery, but sometimes you just want to make your own. Rugelach are made with a cream-cheese dough that is wrapped around a filling. Sometimes the filling is nuts or jam, but, of course, for me it's always chocolate!

This recipe for Chocolate Rugelach is adapted from Giora Shimoni on Kosherfood.com.  She calls them Israeli Chocolate Rugelach, because she says Americans tend to fill their chocolate rugelach with mini-chocolate chips, while Israelis make their own filling. Since I always have chocolate around,  I make my own filling. This is a go-to recipe. It's easy. Be sure to scroll down for Giora's tips on rugelach making. Even if you're not celebrating Rosh Hashana, you'll love these pastries for breakfast or brunch or with morning coffee. Yum!

CHOCOLATE RUGELACH 

DOUGH:
7 ounces sweet butter
8 ounces cream cheese
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour

CHOCOLATE FILLING
1 Tbsp DARK cocoa
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup grated bitter-sweet chocolate  (65-85% cacoa)
butter, melted

TOPPING
1 egg
1/8 cup sugar  (if you don't add cinnamon, use 1/4 cup sugar)
1/8 cup cinnamon (optional)

DIRECTIONS
1. In mixing bowl, cream butter and cream cheese together. Add sugar and vanilla, and mix until smooth. Add flour and mix lightly. Refrigerate dough for an hour or more.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
3. Divide dough into four balls. On floured surface, using floured rolling pin, roll one ball out into circle until about 1/8 inch thick.
4. In small bowl, mix first four filling ingredients together (cocoa, cinnamon, sugar, grated chocolate). Spread some melted butter on center of the circle. Sprinkle the chocolate mixture on top.
5. Cut pastry into pie-shaped wedges. For bite-size and nice looking rugelach,  thick end of wedge should be about 1 to 1-1/2 inch wide.
6. Start at wide edge of wedge and roll dough up toward point.
7. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper. Place each pastry, seam side down, on paper.
8. Brush each pastry with egg and sugar/cinnamon.
9. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden.
  
And here are some great tips from Gloria for making perfect rugelach.

TIPS:
1. Using too much filling leads to messy looking rugelach.
2. A pizza cutter makes it easier to cut the dough into pie-shaped wedges.
3. If you don't want to use parchment paper, you can spray the cookie sheets with non-stick spray.
4. After rolling dough up and placing on parchment paper, you can stick them in your freezer. When you need fresh rugelach, take them right from the freezer into the oven and add a few minutes to the baking time.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Kahlua Date Nut Bread with Chocolate Chunks: National Date Nut Bread Day!

Today is National Date Nut Bread Day. I love nut breads of all kinds, and I think you'll enjoy this spin on a traditional Date Nut Bread. Yesterday I posted an easy recipe for No Bake Kahlua Pie. I love Kahlua! So, for today's holiday, here's a recipe for Kahlua Date Nut Bread with Chocolate Chunks. How can you go wrong with Kahlua and Chocolate and Dates and Nuts? And, this is so easy and quick! It's a Quick Bread! I love this bread toasted in the morning with my tea.

Kahlua Date Nut Bread with Chocolate Chunks


Ingredients:
1 cup chopped, pitted dates
1/2 cup Kahlua
2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp sweet butter, softened
1 large egg
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1/2 cup dark chocolate (65-75% cacao), chopped into chunks (or dark chocolate chips)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°
Combine Dates and Kahlua. Set aside and let the dates absorb the Kahlua. Yum!
Beat sugar, butter, and egg together until creamy.
In separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt.
Alternate adding flour mixture and date mixture to sugar mixture.
Stir in pecans (or walnuts) and dark chocolate chunks.
Put batter in sprayed/greased loaf pan (s).
Let batter stand in pan(s) for about 5 minutes.

Bake until done.
For a regular loaf pan, bake 60 to 70 minutes.
For medium loaf pans, bake 50 to 60 minutes.
For small loaf pans, bake 45 to 50 minutes.

Monday, September 7, 2015

No Bake Kahlua Pie

Photo: Serious Eats
It's Labor Day, and hotter than you know what. Not a day to be baking. So I thought I'd post this simple recipe for a No-Bake Kahlua Pie. I first saw the recipe on Serious Eats (a favorite site). The recipe is from Yvonne Ruperti, author of One Bowl Baking: Simple from Scratch Recipes for Delicious Desserts (2013). Check out the cookbook for more easy chocolate recipes. You'll love this cookbook!

No Bake Kahlua Pie

Ingredients
44 chocolate wafers, divided, finely ground (I use Nabisco Famous Wafers)
8 Tbsp sweet butter, melted
2 Tbsp granulated sugar, divided
Pinch salt
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
3/4 tsp powdered gelatin
7 Tbsp Kahlua, divided
3 1/3 cups heavy cream, chilled, divided

Directions
Pulse 36 wafer cookies in food processor until finely ground. Place crumbs in large bowl and stir in melted butter, 1 tsp sugar, and 2 tsp water until thoroughly moistened. Firmly press into bottom and sides of 9-inch pie plate. Pulse remaining 8 cookies until finely ground and set aside.
Place chocolate in large heatproof bowl and melt over a pan of barely simmering water, stirring, until smooth. Remove from heat.
Add 1 Tbsp water to small microwave safe bowl and sprinkle gelatin over top. Let sit 5 minutes to soften. Heat in microwave on high power until just melted, 10 to 20 seconds.
Whisk 6 Tbsp Kahlua into melted chocolate. Whisk in melted gelatin.
Whip 2 1/3 cups cream with 1 Tbsp sugar to medium peaks. Fold cream into chocolate in 3 batches, until just combined. Gently fold in reserved chocolate wafer crumbs. Pour into pie shell and chill until set, about 3 hours.
Whip remaining cup cream with remaining 2 tsp sugar to soft peak. Fold in remaining Tbsp coffee liquor. Serve on side.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Labor Day Chocolate Ricotta Icebox Cake

Chocolate Ricotta Icebox Cake is perfect for Labor Day. Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart (2006), this Icebox Cake is great to make for a cookout. It's egg-less, so no worries about raw eggs in this dessert. Let your refrigerator do the baking! This cake is labor and egg free!

Love this Vintage Refrigerator Ad from the 30s. I imagine your 'icebox' is a bit more up-to-date.

Chocolate Ricotta Icebox Cake

Ingredients
14 ounces dark chocolate (55-70% cacoa) - do not use chocolate chips
30 ounces part-skim ricotta cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup heavy cream
9 ounces chocolate wafers

Directions

Prepare pan:
Line 9″ springform pan with plastic wrap (or waxpaper) so that it completely covers bottom and sides of pan. Allow 4″ overhang over the sides of the pan (you'll fold this over the top the cake as it chills).

Make Chocolate Ricotta Mixture:
Break 12 ounces of chocolate into pieces.
Place in heatproof medium bowl set over pan of simmering water. Cook, stirring occasionally, until chocolate has melted, 8 to 10 minutes.
In food processor, blend ricotta until very smooth, about 1 minute, scraping down sides of bowl.
Add warm chocolate; blend until smooth.
In large bowl, beat cream until stiff peaks form.
With a rubber spatula, gently fold in chocolate-ricotta mixture.

Assemble cake:
Arrange half the cookies in an overlapping pattern to cover bottom of pan. Spoon half the chocolate-ricotta mixture on top of cookies; smooth top. Cover with remaining cookies; top with remaining chocolate-ricotta mixture, and smooth top.
Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate at least 6 hours and up to 2 days.
Before serving, using a vegetable peeler, shave remaining 2 ounces chocolate over top of cake (or just eat the two ounces of chocolate)

Friday, September 4, 2015

Labor Day Triple Fudge Cake: Retro Betty Crocker Party Cookbook

Happy Labor Day Weekend! Instead of posting chocolate barbecue rub recipes today, I thought I'd post this Retro Recipe for Labor Day Triple Fudge Cake from Betty Crocker's Party Book, copyright 1960. The Party Book is all about being a good 'hostess' with fun, if somewhat dated, recipes for most holidays: "More than 500 recipes, menus and how-to-do-it tips for festive occasions the year 'round."

So to celebrate Labor Day, make this simple Labor Day Triple Fudge Cake, virtually labor-free.



Thursday, September 3, 2015

Afternoon Tea: Chocolate Orange Scones

Summer Afternoon (Tea in the Garden): Theo van Rysselberghe, 1901
There are few hours in life more agreeable
Than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.
--Henry James

As a tea drinker, I can definitely confirm that. I love a cuppa and a scone around 5 p.m. So for today's post, I want to celebrate the Birthday of Anna Bedford, Creator of Afternoon Tea. Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford and lady-in-waiting to Queen Victoria, inadvertently invented Afternoon Tea in 1840. At that time, the main meal of the day shifted from midday (luncheon) to evening. English high society didn’t dine until 8 p.m. Anna needed something to tide her over, so she ordered tea with brown bread to be brought to her room around 4 p.m. Initially this meal was brought surreptiously, but after awhile she began to invite her friends, and “afternoon tea” expanded, both in what was served and the number of friends who partook. When Anna Bedford returned to London, she continued her afternoon teas, and soon Afternoon Tea became the rage of the elite. In addition to brown bread and small sandwiches, there were sweets and special “tea cakes.” The custom spread and tea rooms and tea gardens opened to serve tea to all classes. 

Afternoon Tea is not the same as high tea. Afternoon Tea is a lighter meal, and scones are almost always served. I love clotted cream with my scones, and luckily, fresh clotted cream is readily available at my market. I enjoy 'plain' scones, but these Orange Scones with Chocolate Chips are yummy! Make some for your afternoon tea today!

Chocolate Orange Scones

Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup white sugar
Victorian postcard: Afternoon Tea
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons sweet butter, chilled and grated (keep cold until ready)
1 -1/3 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup miniature dark chocolate chips
3 tablespoons orange juice (1 large orange and zest from 2 oranges)

Directions
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Spray baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray or smear with butter.
In large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
With pastry blender or large fork, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. You can also do this with your hands.
Put in freezer for 5 minutes.
Take out of freezer and add cream, chocolate chips, orange juice and orange zest.
Mix together.
Turn out dough on floured surface. Pat or roll into 9 inch circle about 3/4 inch thick.
With 2 1/2 inch fluted biscuit cutter, cut out about 12 scones, pushing dough scraps together for last few, if necessary.
Transfer scones to baking sheet.
Bake in preheated oven until golden-brown, about 10-12 minutes.
Remove from oven and cool on wire rack.

Serve with clotted cream and jam.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Snow White's Mint Frosted Chocolate Cookies: Vintage Cookbook & Recipe

I collect vintage cookbooks, and Walt Disney's Snow White Dairy Recipe Book, published in 1955, by Walt Disney in association with the American Dairy Association, is certainly vintage. I loved Walt Disney's animated Snow White. I saw the original several times. I even have four of the concrete Disney dwarfs--Dopey, Bashful, Grumpy, and Doc --in my garden. Still keeping my eye open for the rest of Snow White's entourage at Flea Markets and garage sales. But I digress....Here's a great recipe from Snow White for Mint Frosted Chocolate Cookies to feed her 'hungry men'.

SNOW WHITE'S MINT FROSTED CHOCOLATE COOKIES


Here's the recipe for Snow White's Mint Frosted Chocolate Cookies. The recipe calls for tinting the frosting a pale green. If you do this, use an organic coloring.